I’m not sure about my title, I originally entitled this article, “To Suffer or Not To Suffer?” You tell me what is more appropriate.
Most of my best ideas come to me while in the shower. Most of my worst ideas also come to me while in the shower. My point – most of my ideas comes to me while in the shower. Since Scavella recently expressed disappointed with some of the recent articles for what may be considered straw man arguments, I felt that this might allow for some more philosophical argumentation. You will, however, have to excuse me for the lack of philosophical articulation in this post. Like most epiphanies, especially ones that happen in the shower, this one could easily be shot down with one sentence – I am looking for that one sentence. So theists, please help me with this one. This is not an argument against the existence of god/God/G-d. It is an argument against the incompatibility of earthly suffering and heaven.
One of my friends refers to himself as an “Irreligious Follower of Jesus,” another writes on her Facebook profile that “I’m in love with Jesus, its [sic] a relationship NOT religion.” Dan Kimball wrote a book called “They Like Jesus but Not the Church: Insights from Emerging Generations.” A recent commenter on this site wrote:
“Christianity is not about a religion… Christianity is about a relationship…” I even recall myself saying, on probably more than one occasion, “I’m not religious, I’m a Christian.”
What is this incessant need to disassociate Christianity from “religion?”
Is it because religion is too structured? Is religion barbaric? Is religion primitive and uncritical? What do these people mean when they say they are Christian, but not religious, or that the essence of Christianity is not religious. What do these Christians see about “religion” that makes them want to deny their religiousity?
I wrote this article awhile ago on my personal blog (August 13, 2006 to be exact), but Roopster gave me permission to re-submit some of my old works. I apologize if some of the links are out of date. This post is, of course, a polemic against Biblical literalism, not all Christians. So lets not go there. If you are a theistic evolutionist or whatever, good on yea, let’s move on.
I often wonder what is a greater threat to the Christian faith, the theory of evolution or the belief in creationism (currently passing itself off as “Intelligent Design”). Honestly, I hate writing about the subject and so this will probably be the only time you ever read about it from me. The reason that I am writing this now is the result of a recent article I read in the Globe and Mail (a nationwide Canadian newspaper). The article stated that the journal, Science, published a study that found only 40% of Americans believed in the theory of evolution and an astonishing 39% considered the theory “absolutely false”. Comparatively, at least 80% of citizens of Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, and France believe that the theory of evolution it true. What is even more astonishing is that the percentage of “unsure” Americans has grown from 7% in 1985 to 21% in 2005. It is obvious that the culprit of the difference between Europe and the United States is religious fundamentalism.
I went to a lunch on the beach yesterday. It was beautiful. My daughter was splashing in the water and my wife looked as gorgeous as ever. Yet, for some reason, I wasn’t having the enjoyable time I usually do when out with my family. Maybe it was the setting: my wife had convinced me to attend a church hanging-out-at-the-beach function – all of her old friends were there. I wasn’t keen on the idea, but I thought it would be worth the brownie points with the Misses.
I have nothing against hanging out with Christians – it’s not like they are trying to convert me: since I am there with one of their former longtime attendees, they assume that I am one of “them.” I usually play along. Stirring up debate with a 100 or so Pentecostals at a beach party isn’t my idea of fun, nor is it very tactful. I figured I would mind my own business, be a pleasant human being, and enjoy my day at the beach – but what happens when I get asked what book I am reading to keep myself amused when the answer is Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion”?