Posts tagged ‘Bible’
In an effort to produce more creative writing on the de-conversion website (and stir the able minds of our readers to seriously consider their faith (or lack thereof (wow, I’m not sure a triple parenthetical is good grammar))), I hereby present to you: the gospel story in its entirety. Being complete with historically accurate facts, a fundamentalist friendly framework, tongue-in-cheek humor, and many twists of irony, this small set of condensed Biblically faith-based narratives is sure to warm your heart and give you the eternal security for which you have always longed but did not know it yet because you are blinded by Satan. For best results, enjoy with a warm cup of holy water or a wheat wafer and non-alcoholic wine (unless you suffer from frequent stomach ailments).
In the beginning God exists for an eternity. At some point he begets a son and chooses him to be the sacrifice for a world he is going to create. Then he looks ahead and sees all the people in the world who will eventually choose his human sacrifice as their salvation and elects them to that very salvation. [Or something like that. It depends on your denomination and interpretation of complicated theological topics like predestination and free will. But these probably don’t affect your salvation. Well, they might, depending on whether they are true or not. Don’t see a pastor about them unless they scare the hell out of you. But I diverge.]
Then God creates angels, who – though being spiritual in nature – are quite indistinguishable in features from the physical creation he is about to create. In fact, according to Paul they are often confused as gods and worshiped via little stone and wooden creations. Some of them can walk, talk, have wings (though there is no air in the spiritual realm), and they come and go from God’s throne. That is right, God (though spiritual and having not yet created the physical realm) has a throne in heaven and these angels come and go from it…
Christmas is a time when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. I’d like to pay tribute in my Christmas sermon by listing a few of the teachings attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew that frame my view of religion. If only Christians could read and live by these scriptures.
Thoughts on the judgmental nature of Religion
1 Stop judging others and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them. Why worry about the speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, “Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,” when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
Thoughts on the divisiveness of Religion
2 Beware of those who come to divide. You can detect them by the way that they act, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit. A healthy tree produces good fruit, and an unhealthy tree produces bad fruit. Yes, the way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit that is produced.
Thoughts on the greed of religious leaders
3 Why do the teachers of religion, by their traditions, violate their commandments? …
In this article, I want to examine one of the more recognizable yet curious features of fundamentalist belief: the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy. Fundamentalist Christian apologists claim that the Bible is perfect and without error – certainly a striking thing to claim of any book. And this “wow factor” is exactly what gets apologists their mileage with this maneuver. If one were to become convinced that the Christian Bible really is utterly flawless in everything it says, that would certainly be a powerful argument for the truth of a religion based on it.
Now, let me remind the reader that in this series I am assuming a naturalistic stance. I am assuming without argument here that the Bible is not actually inerrant. Instead, what I wish to look at here is two things: one, how to apologists do it? How can they possibly argue that the Bible – which on an honest first reading appears to be resplendent in contradictions and errors – actually only has “apparent contradictions”, not “real” ones? Secondly, why do they do so? What is the pull of this idea, and why is it so hard to let go of for those de-converting?…
Just a humorous bit for those of us who remember trying to bend our minds around “sola fide”.
Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity had not faith alone.
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works faith alone.
Acts 26:20 …..but showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works have faith alone, meet for repentance.
Romans 2:6 God “will give to each person according to what he has done his faith alone.” 7To those who by persistence in doing good faith alone seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life…
A number of months ago I wrote pair of posts called Why Doesn’t God Make Things Clearer? and God and the IRS. They touched on what has become a intellectual cornerstone of my own personal transition out of evangelical Christianity, namely, “divine hiddenness” – the idea that God, if there is one, does not seemed to have made things very clear for us.
But as we say in Texas, there is more than one way to rope a steer. (Actually, I think I just made that up. But it’s pretty catchy, yeah?) Here, I’d like to make this same point a little differently, and, hopefully, more entertainingly.
So let’s start with the basics: people disagree about God. They disagree about God’s existence, and, even among those can agree on this much, they disagree about God’s alleged nature.
But how is this even possible? How can there be so many different religions, creeds, theologies, churches, sects, and denominations? Especially if God, as is alleged, wrote a book to lay it all out for us! And if he did write us a book, then why are their so many, many views about what it really means and what it tells us about this God? This state of affairs does not seem to obtain with the IRS, where the instructions for its basic form, 1040, are intricate, perhaps, but overall pretty clear. To the point: if there is one Almighty God, and this God has one single, simple message of salvation for us all, then why doesn’t he just write the damn thing down – clearly?..
I’ve heard Christians say that what one must do is look at the life of Jesus, and decide what you make of him. This is the basis of Alpha Courses and, in my experience, it’s the way many Christians approach Christian apologetics or evangelism. ‘What do you think Jesus meant when he said x?’ ‘What did it mean for the Jews when y happened?’ ‘Wasn’t the love shown by x to y a perfect sacrifice as prophesied in z?’ etc etc.
The belief is that the Bible, in this case, is reliable reportage – miraculously accurate and by its very nature irrefutable. Christians believe there is enough evidence to decide that water was turned to wine, dead men were raised and thousands of ready cooked fishes materialized from thin air. And furthermore, that there was no other important (perhaps more private) relevant statements made that were not reported in the book.
Surely the decision to believe this is at the very least a cognitive event. In the same way that I do not believe in ghosts (until convinced otherwise), I need to decide whether I accept the Bible / Koran (or 100s of other religious holy books) to be reliable…
Kieran Bennett recently completed his series on why Christians de-convert. To answer this question, he considered 94 of the 117 de-conversion stories he read on one of the largest archives of de-conversion stories on the internet.
Here is what he found:
- Dissatisfaction with the answers to simple questions proffered by the religion was the most common reason cited for de-conversion amongst the sample (14.89%).
- The realisation that religious dogma contradicted observable reality was
the second mostan equally common reason for de-conversion cited within the sample (also at 14.89%).
- 12.76% of the de-converted Christians in the sample spoke about realising the contradictions within the dogma itself.
- For 10.63% of people in the sample, reading the bible was significant in ending their faith.
- Only 8.51% of people in the sample attributed their de-conversion to the hypocrisy of the church.
- In another 8.51% of the de-conversion stories, people tried to speak to god and they now credit god’s lack of an answer for their de-conversion
- And finally, stumbling across the realisation that many religions were just like theirs caused deep doubts for 8.5% of the sample he read…