religion

Objections to Christianity: A Lack of Consensus

As a part of our ever-expanding “Objections to Christianity” series, I would like to address another objection I often come across.  Following is the general form the argument tends to take:

If God exists, and if there is compelling evidence that He exists, then why are there so many atheists?  Furthermore, why are there so many different religions, each with its unique take on who God is?  Why are there so many sects even within the same religion, each with their own idea?  If this evidence were so compelling, then it seems that the majority of people would be on the same page.

Now, in this writer’s humble opinion, this is one of those objections that I refer to as a “talking point” rather than an actual argument.  (As I mentioned in a recent post, Hitchens was a master at this style of rhetoric.)  The reason for this, I believe, is that the concept, when put into the form of an argument, requires one to face point-blank some assumptions bound up in it that (from the point of view of the proponent) are probably best left unexposed.  If I were to formulate this idea as a formal argument, it would look something like this: (more…)

It takes work

Thinking back on this post by Captain Cassidy, on my mind today is a particular group of people: ex-Christians who have become disillusioned with the faith.  This demographic represents a pretty significant segment of the skeptics whom I encounter, and on the whole I have to agree that their reasons for leaving their particular church are pretty valid — I probably would have left, too, had my experience been akin to theirs.

However, as much as I empathize with such individuals and regret that their experience with the church has been thus, I can’t help but be a little irked when such people use their unfavorable experiences with their church (or with the group of Christians with whom they’ve largely had contact) to make sweeping, disparaging comments about Christianity as a whole.  That, because they felt stifled and abused by their church, that allows them to say that the whole religion is that same way.

In my subsequent discussion with the Captain on this topic, I use marriage as an analogy:  For myself and for many, many others who are happily married, marriage is a blessing — but there are also many, many other people who have undergone messy divorces.  We’ve all encountered the “bitter divorcee” who makes blanket statements about the superfluousness of the marriage institution, who have made a vow never to be vulnerable to another person like that again for fear of getting hurt.

Do such experiences mean that the institution of marriage is a bad one?  Those that are happily married would most likely beg to differ. (more…)

Sin kills

Objections to Christianity: The Doctrine of Sin

A common objection to Christianity involves the doctrine of sin.  The particular position I would like to address is the assertion that the doctrine of sin is inherently abusive.

In a way, this blog post is a follow-up to a discussion I was having with Captain Cassidy on her blog.  I thought the subject matter too important and involved to bury it in comments — so here we are 🙂

Before we start, I want to make clear that the discussion will center around whether or not the concept of sin is inherently abusive — it is abundantly clear that the doctrine has been (and is being) used in abusive ways.  But that could be said of all kinds of things — in the wrong hands, even the most benign philosophies can be used for the purpose of abusing another.  I think it’s heinous to use the doctrine of sin (which to me is a blessing) for the purpose of abusing another person; nevertheless, I think it is important to note that Christians are not on trial here — the doctrine of sin is.

The way I see it, the doctrine of sin can only be called inherently abusive if two things are true: 1) the doctrine is knowingly false, and 2) it can be shown that an accurate understanding of sin and its role in human life inevitably leads to some kind of mental or emotional trauma. (more…)

Why do I believe? – My testimony (the short version)

I’m going to take a brief reprieve from the onerous “Meaning of Life” series to answer an important question asked by Arkenaten.  Since the question was somewhat buried in the Rules section of all places, I thought I’d devote a post to it, because I imagine it’s a question that will come up a lot:

Why do you believe?

Now, in spite of Arkenaten’s slight misgivings that my answer may involve too much metaphysics and philosophical ramblings, my answer is actually much less technical than that — for it’s a question that’s best answered, I think, by telling my story rather than giving a litany of intellectual reasons.  (Also, since among the aforementioned misgivings was also one that involved my tendency toward prolixity… I will try to be brief.) (more…)

What is the meaning of life? – Part 1

Twisted Inspiration made a profound (to say the least) comment on an entry of mine:

I am really interested to hear how you define “meaning”, what makes it important, etc. (Not what’s YOUR life’s meaning, but what IS “the meaning of a life”?).

The meaning of life?  Piece of cake!  This shouldn’t take long 😉 (more…)

Theological Debate on Facebook

Happy Monday, everyone!

As a new blogger, I’m doing my best to look at my site with critical eyes often, and I have a suspicion that my posts might tend to be a bit too long, on average, to encourage and facilitate robust discussion — which, in itself, is a violation of one of my own guidelines, for I understand that people’s time is valuable, and “brevity is the soul of wit,” as Polonius wisely stated.  (Come to think of it, he didn’t often take his own advice either — what a rat.)

On the other hand, with a topic such as this, sometimes lengthy explanations are necessary in order to provide a thorough portrait of my thought process.  Nevertheless, I think I shall try, from now on, to limit such lengthy posts to once a week at most, and for the most part keep my entries succinct.  Hopefully this will lead to more discussion and interaction, which is the chief purpose of this blog; for I want to hear what y’all have to say — I already know what I sound like 😉

In the spirit of such a resolution (is it too late to call it a New Year’s Resolution?), today I would like to put out a brief plug for the religious discussion site on Facebook that actually is responsible for giving me hope that religion can be discussed with civility and mutual respect.  It’s called Theological Debate, and being a closed group (to prevent activity therein from spamming your friends) you will need to put in a request to join if you wish to check it out.

It’s a small group, but the atmosphere of discussion is unlike anything I’ve seen before on other such sites, for all active members have grown to appreciate the demeanor of the group and thus each actively strives to maintain it.  If you’re into theological discussion (which I hope you are, having found your way here), I recommend popping your head in and seeing if it’s a forum that appeals to you.

Thanks, as always, for reading, and have a great start to your week!