Posts tagged ‘Popular’
I came across an interesting post written by a thoughtful Christian who has moved beyond a literalist, fundamentalist mindset regarding the Bible as the inspired, revealed word of God. Here are some highlights (although you probably should read the whole post, in order to understand the context from which these bits are excerpted – the comments are worth reading too):
The question of whether the Bible is God’s word is not a new one…. There are certainly a number of things which seem “wrong” if we are to take a literal understanding….Yes, genetics has confirmed that we are all related through mitochondrial DNA – but this does not mean one person; it means one small group of people (who were located somewhere in Africa). It also assumes that humanity is hundreds of thousands of years old, which means we need to accept, at least in part, the theory of evolution….
Suddenly, we find ourselves in the position of looking at the Bible and deciding which parts are to be taken literally, which parts are to be taken allegorically, and which parts are to be understood as no longer applying to us because they have “been fulfilled in Christ.” This is a very dangerous thing to do. Once we start doing that, what difference is there between Christianity and any other man-made religion?
…the Bible has been used to say whatever man wants it to say…and so justify anything we want it to.
When I first came to the de-Conversion blog I was afraid to read comments left by Christians. I was afraid that my atheistic position was actually weak, and that they would present some argument for God that I hadn’t considered, or that was so rationally sound that I couldn’t ignore it. And to be perfectly honest, I wanted them to succeed in convincing me. I read the responses searching for a glimmer of truth, looking for some defense that would lead me back into the comfortable faith of my childhood. It didn’t take me very long to figure out that would never happen.
Here is why:
1. They never bring anything new to the table.
I’ve been an avid reader of the blog for over a year now, and I’ve read virtually every comment. I’ve read hundreds of Christian arguments and apologetics, but of those hundreds, no one has ever introduced a new or novel argument. They all use the same hackneyed apologetic tactics and arguments, and to make things even more frustrating, they present these arguments as if no one has ever heard of them before, as if they are completely original and earth-shattering. Since most of us here are former Christians who were deeply immersed and educated in the faith, this attitude is nothing less than insulting.
2. They present no convincing arguments...
Since de-converting from Christianity, many who claim to follow Christ have accused me of wanting to lead a life of sin or wanting to hide from God, or just plain turning my back on God. I had one Christian named Dan, after I said the sentence that is the title of this post, tell me “Then you shouldn’t be, shame on you. It’s called faith for a reason. Sure God could reveal himself to us quite easily but he wants us to have faith in Him and Trust Him not just believe and not to be tempted.”
It’s odd to me that I do not attack their character and yet they attack mine, that somehow does not seem very Christian to me. I have some wonderful Christian friends and family. I have also made new Christian friends who I have met through various web sites.
Recently, I asked Dan a simple question – “Do you think I’m telling the truth when I say I don’t believe God exists” his response: “In a word…No.” I had given Dan no reason to call me a liar.
In fact, I do not call Christians liars for believing in God, yet some of them are so sure of their belief that they would call unbelievers liars for saying they don’t believe in the Christian God. I guess I understand this because I felt the same way when I was a Christian, though I never accused anyone of lying. I felt they had fooled themselves, not that they were flat out lying…
So far we have reviewed the existentialist themes of death and isolation, why they are considered to be ubiquitous human issues, and why they are important. Then we looked at the fundamentalist Christian “answer” to these issues, and how I suggest that answer goes awry. Here, we continue with another existentialist theme: our freedom.
Freedom/responsibility - Just as we are, each of us, our own parent, so too are we the author of our lives. No better term exists for the description of the rock-bottom responsibility – an unavoidable responsibility – each of us has to create our lives. I am the author of my life. I write my life in the first-person; I do not “find” it in the third-person. I am responsible for my decisions. I constitute my world, no matter what my circumstances, no matter what I am given; if nothing else I am still responsible for my attitude toward my life.
It may sound odd but how, really, could it be otherwise? For any proffered external basis for valuation and decision-making – such as “you should do x because x is reasonable” or the pragmatic “you should do x because it helps you achieve your goals” – it always can be asked: “and why should I care about that?” Even the justification “You should do x because God says so” (and even assuming I agree that God does in fact say so) requires something further – after all, why should I care what God says?…
Recently, with help from several folks around here, I put together a list of the convenient categories that Christians like to come up with to explain why people leave the faith.
Now, with help from several folks around here, I put together a list of the inconvenient categories that amount to the real reasons why we left.
Here are the inconvenient, real reasons that a number of de-cons on this blog have given for their leaving the faith. I’ve edited them a bit for clarity, and I’ve removed some extra or explanatory text that some de-cons included. This was just to get them all down to as concise a set of statements as I could. If any of you feel I’ve overdone it, and messed up your meaning, my apologies. Please post a correction or fuller explanation.
And if you don’t see you’re reason in here, please add it in a response below.
1. God never shows up. Not in visions, miracles, visitations, angelic appearances, or challenge matches (think of Elijah vs. the Baal priests).
2. Prayers are NOT answered.
3. Christians are NOT different from non-Christians.
4. Church disunity.
5. The Bible is contradictory with itself, reality, and morality…
An A-Religious Commentary: