In my experience, most Christians – on the left no less than on the right – believe in whatever kind of God they want, or often need, to believe in. Fine. Fair enough. But in that case, neither left nor right can claim the name “Christian” and, at the same time, cite the Bible as, in any sense, being authoritative. If you are playing tennis, then you must abide by the rules of tennis. Therefore, you cannot play tennis and simultaneously claim to have defeated your opponent with a score of 5 under par. I.e., you cannot claim to worship God according to the dictates of your own private, idiosyncratic conscience, however enlightened such may be, and simultaneously play the “Christianity-game” by the rules of the publicly examinable document known as the Bible. If, as you claim, the Bible
Most of the time, I think that people who live in Christian cultures – both Christians and non-Christians – would mightily profit from a moratorium on reading, commenting on, and preaching about certain biblical doctrines and ideas. Which doctrines and which ideas? The list is far too long to even list, much less annotate. So instead, I will pick a specific example: being “born again”. I make bold to assert that we would all be better off if, for perhaps a generation or so and per impossibile, Christians stopped talking about being “born again”. We – meaning “all inhabitants of a Christian-dominated culture” – think we know what the New Testament means by the phrase “born again”. We don’t. In fact, we have, at best, only the palest and most emaciated notion of what the term means, th
Today's "Skeptic's Collection" column is rendered all too relevant by recent tragic events at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX.
Over the last several years, I have gradually developed what some religious folk might well consider a bad personal tradition -- though I think it is a very good one! -- of occasionally dropping a turd in the ideological punch bowl of monotheistic, especially Christian, belief, not by denying any orthodox Christian teachings, but on the contrary, by thinking through those teachings’ logical implications more consistently than most Christians are willing to do. So, e.g., the Jesus of the Incarnation is fully God, not only because He loves to play with little kids, but also because on occasion he loves, or at least is willing, to slaughter