Archive for August, 2012

The Plan from Here

Posted in Primary on August 27, 2012 by RWZero

So. What should I do…

For a while now I’ve been writing posts on here intermittently, as things have come to mind. Most of them can be divided into: complaining about Christianity, or complaining about the way certain atheists complain about Christianity. A small trickle of people still read the blog, but it looks like they mostly come across it in search results, rather than because of anything new that gets posted. Nobody comes here to argue with me–they scarcely ever did, neither when I was defending Christianity nor when I was attacking it. I am likely to repeat myself if I post stray comments. So it’s time to stop the way I’m doing it right now.

I’ll stop posting generic objections to Christian beliefs. I am compiling pretty much all the issues into a little book that I will post at some point–yes, there are a lot of books detailing the objections to Christianity, but there are a lot of small, more subtle objections that those books tend to overlook. And whatever: this has been my life, so I get to write about it. I’ve posted about some of these issues here; others I haven’t. There are a lot of them. I am imagining that it will be about 70, 80, maybe 100 pages in the end, with one disconfirmatory observation per page.

The other little book that I intended to post was the original writing project–this blog was supposed to be the chapter-by-chapter writing of a book in defence of the Christian faith called “Reflections in Stained Glass,” comprising about 100 essays defending the key aspects of the faith. As the reader may or may not be aware, I wrote these, I got to the end of them, and found (around that time, for reasons that were not entirely related to writing my thoughts down) that the ideas could not stand up under their own weight. I went back and revised all these essays (there are nearly 100 of them) and changed the thinking to match my current perspective. The intent, now, is to finish up a compilation that has the “before” essays in the first half, and the “after” essays in the second half. The purpose is to document and show the change in my beliefs, and to compare the “before” thinking with the “after” thinking–one of the most noticeable things about it is that my essays have not changed very much. So the “before” essays are a picture of someone who has been pushed just to the edge of the line.

I’ve already revised all the RISG essays; I just have to compile them.

I have not written the “Problems with Christianity” compilation; that will probably be a while, and few / no people currently reading this will come back to this corner of the Internet to see if I’ve posted it. Such things are a dime a dozen.

*

Christianity continues to affect my life, and it continues to affect the world. As such, I will continue to write posts on here about the following topics (for now):

1. Things that affect my life. For instance, someone shoved two Bible tracts into my car the other week, depicting children burning in hell. I was going to scan them and talk about them for a bit.

2. Things that happen in the world at large. For instance, religiosity is declining in some parts of the world, laws are being changed, Muslims are moving into new places…

3. Things that happen in the Christian world. Books that I read, prominent evangelicals who die or change their minds about things, where the movement is headed on its path towards its final destiny.

The only other things I will post are the two compilations mentioned above. Furthermore, I was at some point considering writing a book called “The Lonely Pulpit,” which was going to be a review of churches that I visited. I may still do this, even though it will no longer be from the same perspective. It would be a good survey of the state of churches (at least in my city) today. However, perhaps this would be better as a separate blog. Ship of Fools once had something called “Mystery Worshipper,” which was based on a similar idea.

That’s what happens next.

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Love Wins

Posted in The Facts and Ideas, The Narrow Path on August 25, 2012 by RWZero

I finally got around to reading this, after it caused a stir last year. There is not much to say about it.

Rob Bell begins his book with some legitimate questions and legitimate observations. Then he spirals off into chapter after chapter of the evangelical trademark: voluminous, ambiguous, equivocal, saccharine, platitudinous prose.

There is nothing in this book. There are some questions to the effect of “how could God be like that?” followed by some weak rationalizations about how “he can’t be like that, he’s God! God couldn’t be like that!” (I agree, Rob) and then a bunch of stories about how the Matrix (sorry, Jesus) is all around you; when you go to church, when you take a drink of water, and so on. Right here, right now. Jesus. It’s a mystery. The magic of it all. Jesus is so much more than some simple doctrines. You can’t explain it. Can’t deny it. Jesus.

You cannot argue with a book like this, because it contains no arguments. It is something you read because you’re already a Christian, and it will make you feel a bit better about what you are already into. It has no value to anyone who has stepped, even briefly, outside of the paradigm. What can we do about this problematic doctrine of hell? I guess we can cast some doubt on whether the Bible really, truly means that there is a hell, like the church has always tended to view hell. Then we can talk about how good God is, because God is by definition “good,” and a hell-God doesn’t seem good to me, so it wouldn’t make sense if God were this other kind of God.

A great deal of circularity plagues that line of thought.

The fact that you can write a book like this and have it widely published is a testament to the low standards of the Christian bubble. You can be “Christian famous” just for thinking in complete sentences and having the discipline to put together a manuscript. Fortunately, there are lousy reviews of this book floating all around modern Christendom, many of them defending traditional notions, which will eventually force theological jellyfish like Bell to poo or get off the potty.

Keeping tabs on Christians and their Evolution

Posted in Faith and Science on August 22, 2012 by RWZero

A rather depressing article in Christianity Today.

Key excerpts:

“‘I want to understand what God is thinking. Why did he make chimps almost the same as humans?’ – Todd Wood”

“Wood is not daunted. In order to be a young-earth creation scientist, you have to be stunningly independent. Wood worries that no new generation is rising up to advance creation science. “I’m searching for someone willing to help me develop the next generation of baraminology.” At the same time, he’s less and less interested in fighting against evolutionary creationists. ‘I’m beginning to think the war is detrimental to the church.¬†We all have enormous unanswered questions, whether scientific or biblical. We all see through a glass darkly.'”

Dating Sites

Posted in Uncategorized on August 17, 2012 by RWZero

I can guess the Christian girls from their profile photos at a rate far higher than chance.

It’s that smile.

Comment Threads

Posted in The Narrow Path on August 15, 2012 by RWZero

Just because an original article or video is about a religious topic does not mean you have to debate the entire gamut of philosophical thought in the comment threads.

It is possible to limit the scope to the issues raised in the original material.

Guilt

Posted in Faith Experience, The Facts and Ideas on August 13, 2012 by RWZero

What a mindset the people have who make these things:

Well, if God asked me that question, I would say:

“Actually, I can’t do much about it. I try to be nice and I give some money to charity, but I can’t really do too much about earthquakes, pestilence, cancer, birth defects, third-degree burns, cataracts, bear attacks, chronic nerve pain, automobile and industrial accidents, the imprisonment and torture of people under Communist regimes, and the inevitable suffering and death of every member of the human race. As far as I can see, many of these things will always be with us, because you put most of them there. So, could you answer my question?”

Eating Your Cake

Posted in The Narrow Path on August 6, 2012 by RWZero

I’ve been thinking recently about Christians who have their cake and eat it too.

I mean, go ahead folks. Swear, be gay, be a feminist, do drugs, believe in science, scoff at the idea that all people deserve to go to hell, have some out-of-wedlock sexually-themed fun… then go to church on Sunday and pretend to be a part of this construct that is antithetical to everything listed above.

But what’s worse? Is it worse to be a “bigot” or a “prude” or a “square” who has consistent views… or someone who’s incapable of putting the pieces together?