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Friday, July 25, 2008

Reply to Brittany


In a comment to my post "In The Middle Of It All," you wrote,

Christian's are NOT perfect. We make mistakes, sometimes, Huge mistakes.

Yet, the beauty in all of those mistakes, in all of that evil, we are offered a way out, we are offered a chance to be forgiven. His name is Jesus Christ. He is the beauty in all of the darkness. He is the only hope for all that is good and right.

Needless to say, there was nothing in my original post that suggested that Christians should be perfect. Both atheists and Christians can agree that humans are imperfect. Both atheists and Christians can agree that one should try to be as perfect as possible, even knowing that perfect attainment of that goal is impossible. Those aren't the issues.

The issue is whether your behavior, Brittany, and that of your fellow Christians, contributes to greater perfection or greater imperfection. I maintain that evangelizing the way Ray does, makes you less perfect, that it makes you immoral.

If you don't evangelize the way that Ray does, then good for you, and thank you for doing at least that much. But there's another issue to be found here, perhaps one just as serious:

We atheists know that, whatever mistakes humans make, we're stuck with them. Once that cookie from the cookie jar is stolen, it can't be unstolen. Once that girl is raped, she can't be unraped. Once that man is murdered, he can't be unmurdered. Once that bomb is exploded, it can't be unexploded. If we commit an immorality, then we can certainly apologize for it, regret it, learn from it, and even use it to become a better person afterwards -- but the damage is done. The man is still dead, the girl still has the life-long scars from her ordeal, and where there once was a city is still a radioactive wasteland.

By contrast, evangelical Christians believe that these mistakes don't matter, that they can be erased through belief in and worship of Jesus. To you, Jesus is like a cosmic reset button, wiping the slate of your soul clean when you press it so that your crimes no longer count against you in the final tally. The man is dead, the girl is raped, but if Jesus forgives you then it doesn't matter, not in the cosmic sense. Moreover, if the man died an atheist, or if the terrible experience of the rape pushes the girl away from religious belief, then they end up in hell, whereas you're not only going to heaven, having been cosmically forgiven, but you won't even have the burden of having sent those people to hell on your conscience -- my understanding of fundamentalist theology is that all that stuff is "burned away" upon entering heaven, leaving only a pure and sinless soul.

I think that's monstrous. I don't see how a moral person can subscribe to that version of metaphysics and see it as a good thing.

You also wrote,

God is loving. He loved us so much that He allowed His son to die for us.

Whatever this hypothetical God wanted to achieve by allowing his son to die, he could have achieved without allowing his son to die, or allowing anyone to die, or even to suffer. (I know what you're going to say, "free will," but the free will defense has been debunked by philosophers -- it's rather technical, but I can try to explain it to you if you wish. If you don't want to know about it, then I won't bother.)

God is also just. I have heard countless times atheist describe God as un-just, yet when He punishes cild molesters and murderers He is still called un-just? I don't get you guys? You want there to be a just God, yet when He punishes the murderers, the sinners you still call Him unjust?

Hitler was a vegetarian, which means that his behavior toward animals was highly ethical -- but this doesn't negate the fact that he was one of the most unethical humans who ever lived. The same would be true with your god, if he existed -- he would be highly unjust, in spite of taking some just actions such as punishing murderers and child molesters. Which, of course, he would only do if the murderers and child molesters neglected to ask his son to forgive them -- if they did that, God would let them off scot-free. Do you honestly believe that that's justice?

If after reading this you're still wondering why I regard evangelical Christians as hatemongering and inhumane, then I can only suggest you take a good, hard look at your closing sentence:

Accept Him while you still can...

Read that sentence again, and again, and again, as many times as it takes for you to get the picture: Christian evangelism is a bullying threat. And I think you are a lesser person for subscribing to it. I think you're a decent person who can do much better.


  1. Well stated Dave. Don't expect anything more than the usual though; you'll be accused of hating god, living in sin, not being able to see the light, hardening your heart, etc etc etc... and none of your - very valid - points will be addressed, it's a shame.

    It's like when someone mentioned that there are many people who have never heard the gospel, the classic fundie response? 'Well missionaries travel all over the world to spread the gospel....so there!'

  2. Well thought out and well wriotten, Dave. Spot on.

  3. Well done, Silent Dave. Well, done.

  4. With ref to Ray's latest post about Seafood, and Jesus ressurection body:

    "Jesus was in His resurrected body, and prepared and (presumably) ate fish with His disciples "

    "Does the resurrected body need to digest the food? And if so, does the resurrected body have to urinate and deficate and pass flatus?

    And if so, does the ressurected urine and faeces smell?

    Does the ressurected male body have testicles? If so, what are they for?"

    I doubt Ray will let the comment stand

  5. Once, during my brief stint as a Catholic, I was in confession and I was having a lil chat with the priest about baptism and belief. He said to me 'Don't worry about any past sins or transgressions. When you were baptized they were wiped completely out and never happened'.

    I was absolutely incensed by this, because not only had I heard it from the Baptists all my life (only with the born again slant) it was just simply a LIE.

    I can not stand the way some xians run around acting like they can do anything pretty much with complete impunity because all they have to do is 'ask for forgiveness' and presto !! It's like they never did anything wrong!!

    Expat, that's another dodge of reality I can't stand. They never really answer that question about people who have never heard the gospel, they just dodge it with the whole missionary line.

    I'm getting all worked up so I'm gonna stop. Dave, this was great.

  6. Hi,

    " I maintain that evangelizing the way Ray does, makes you less perfect, that it makes you immoral."

    I honestly see nothing wrong with the way that Ray evangelizes. Perhaps it bothers you that he asks questions that directly targets your conscious (you know, the thing that let's you know what's right from wrong)?

    "To you, Jesus is like a cosmic reset button, wiping the slate of your soul clean when you press it so that your crimes no longer count against you in the final tally."

    Your right in a sense. Yes, Jesus is like a "reset button". He allows are evil sins to be forgiven. But I think you need to understand the fact that God knows are every thought. He knows the true intentions of our hearts. He is going to judge "EVERY" single person on earth, whether you believe in Him or not. According to God's law, (the one ray preaches) all of mankind is deserving of hell. Not one man is good. Following so far!:)
    Therefore on the day of judgement, God will declare every single sin we have ever committed. Now, enters Jesus Christ. God loves us so much that He is willing to let His one and only Son die for our sins so that we may be saved. Jesus' death allowed our "sins" to be forgiven, they will be for gotten.

    "but I can try to explain it to you if you wish."

    Explain away! I'm still for the "free choice argument", but go ahead if you think that's necessary. (Not trying to be sarcastic):)

    "Do you honestly believe that that's justice?"

    Yes, I do. The murderer, the child molester, basically, the sinner, you, me, essentially everybody, falls into this category. Lying is the same as murder, a sin is a sin, whether it be small or large, in the end it is all still evil (sin). So you see, we're not worthy of God's mercy, yet He loves us enough to save us from our evil ways, through Jesus Christ.

    "Christian evangelism is a bullying threat."

    Try looking at it through a Christians perspective....
    I care about you. I don't want you to end up in hell, just because of your own folly. I love you enough to tell you the truth, and that truth is Jesus Christ. Only He can set you free. Trust Him friend....He loves you and wants you as His own.

    flinging dust,
    "I can not stand the way some xians run around acting like they can do anything pretty much with complete impunity because all they have to do is 'ask for forgiveness' and presto !! It's like they never did anything wrong!!"

    A true Christian would not act this way. A true Christian strives to be like Jesus Christ. Don't get me wrong, we make mistakes, I personally make tons of mistakes. As I mentioned earlier, Jesus knows the true intentions of our hearts. He knows if we truly seek forgiveness or rather if we are not truly seeking forgiveness.

    In Christian Love,

  7. brittany,
    a few questions. I don't know this, so I hope you can help here. Did Jesus ever reject someone who was asking for forgiveness? Or is there a clear statement that he'd do so?
    Another thing is original sin and the Fall. If I understand this correctly, we are born with this sin on our conscience, even though we don't realize it, we can't feel it. So hypothetically if someone was behaving completely sinless, even in his desires and thoughts, from his birth to his death, he would still be guilty. God could have told Adam, 'you messed up mightily in not obeying my will, even though you had no idea that this could be wrong because you didn't have the knowledge you got from the fruit yet, but that doesn't concern me because as long as it's wrong in my mind it's wrong no matter what. Because I am a just god, here's the Law you're supposed to obey, and I forgive you your sin. Go on and sin no more. I'll know how you're doing, so don't try anything funny'.
    That's justice, even and especially with the punishment of death. Handing down sinfulness, making the point that the punishment Adam was sentenced to wasn't enough, negates justice. It makes justice meaningless.
    Being merciful after a meaningless justice is humbug. Requiring someone to hope for mercy additionally to obeying the Law to avoid getting tortured for eternity is immoral by any standard, even an absolute one.
    Such an absolute standard means that no matter what the standard is, violation is evil. If the standard is evil or immoral (consciously immoral is equivalent to evil), violating that standard is good. To put it differently, the very existence of such a standard makes good impossible, thusly making everything evil, including God himself.
    Mercy is a negation of an absolute standard of justice, which means that the standard isn't absolute anymore the moment mercy is shown. It's broken.
    I don't know if this was what the OP was getting at, but those are my thoughts on it.


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