Christians Are Better than Their Religion

I had a lengthy discussion with one Nathanael Brown. (I’m sorry that the discussion is disordered, that you have to read it bottom to top, and there isn’t good threading. Blame Twitter.) Since this started in the context of demonstrations on the National Mall, both for and against, about whether the Bible’s rules about marriage and divorce should be written into US law.

He allowed that US law is not the same as God’s law, but with a caveat:

So I used Jeff Dee’s approach and asked what that meant: specifically, whether this was a threat, and what will happen to me after I die if I don’t accept Jesus. Would I be sent to hell, and would there be suffering?

He was very reluctant to answer directly:

I kept asking, and he kept ducking the question, hiding behind such fig leaves as Bible quotations and

and

In short, Nathanael came across as very reluctant to either face up to the ugly side of his belief, or either defend or condemn the “worship or burn” system. The closest he came was when asked why he’s not condemning God’s threat, when he’d surely condemn a mugger’s “your money or your life”:

I’m pretty sure that at some level, he recognizes that some Christian beliefs are immoral: that it’s not right to torture people, especially forever, especially for a “crime” as minor as not believing in a god for which there’s no good evidence. That just ain’t right. But at the same time, I’m guessing that he’s been brought up to believe that you’re supposed to believe these things, and to believe that they’re good; that you’re not supposed to question God or the Bible, and you’re certainly not supposed to think any of it is wrong.

This is the sort of thinking that leads people to defend genocide, and I can only hope that Nathanael eventually grows out of his mental prison and starts examining his beliefs honestly and critically.

I’m convinced that he’s better than his god, as are the vast majority of Christians. But he just won’t let himself realize that.

2 thoughts on “Christians Are Better than Their Religion”

  1. Absolutely bang-on. The doctrine of damnation was always disturbing to me, and eventually what chased me out of evangelicalism.

    Hold their feet to the fire (ie. of hell) — point out that they are uncomfortable with justifying in God what they would unhesitatingly anathematize in any human; that they are not only morally superior to their Cosmic Sadist, but they know they are superior.

  2. “@arensb He leaves that choice in your hands.”

    “@arensb If you figure out a way to beat [G]od you let me know :)”

    [G]od is the local mafioso.

    He runs the neighborhood and if you want “protection” you’d better pay up.

    If you don’t pay up, don’t say he didn’t warn you.

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