In Search of an Honest Christian


Do honest Christians exist? By honest, I don’t mean Christians who pay their taxes and keep their promises and choose not to steal or lie. What I mean in asking the question is whether or not there exists a Christian who honestly believes in Christianity.


There are, undoubtedly, many who claim to be Christians. They insist, often loudly and angrily, that there is a god and that religion is the answer for virtually all human pain and suffering. The ultimate reality, so they say, is supernatural. Physical reality, whether brains or fossils, whether dna or atomic decay rates, is not all there is. Not everything can be explained or accounted for in terms of the existence and interaction of material substance of one sort or another. In other words, there must be more, a spiritual realm. There are angels. There is a soul in man, and above all, there is a god and his kid and a ‘holy spirit’ of some sort.

So I’ll ask again: do honest Christians exist? You may think that to be a silly question given the notoriety of late among such prominent professing Christians as Rick Warren, William Lane Craig and Ray Comfort, just to name a few. But the operative word here is professing. Yes, many profess to be Christians and make a pretty good living writing books about it or appearing on talk shows or teaching in our universities and colleges. But my question is again whether or not these people, in the depth and quiet of their own hearts, honestly believe Christianity.

I contend they do not. I contend that they are living and speaking in denial of what they know to be true. I contend that they are labouring to persuade themselves of what is indelibly and inescapably obvious: that there is no god and that they are morally accountable to themselves and the rest of humanity, all humanity.

No one has made the case for the non-existence of honest Christians (albeit inadvertently), with greater clarity and force, than John Calvin. ‘There is within the human mind,’ said Calvin, ‘and indeed by natural instinct, an awareness of divinity’, and one’s awareness and subsequent interpretation of the will of this divine being supersedes the written word of this god (ie – the Bible). With his secret will of god invention, you can pass off any personal desire as the will of your god, even if it directly contradicts the Bible.

Before we turn to his guiltless atrocities, let’s hear him make his point again. This impetus to action ‘is naturally born in all’ and ‘is fixed deep within, as it were in the very marrow.’ No matter how vocal their denials or sarcastic their laughter or loud their derision, ‘the worm of conscience, sharper than any cauterizing iron, gnaws away within.’ It’s nothing divine which prompts one to deny others equal rights, to subordinate women, to harm or kill those who disagree, to threaten the educations of children, to seek vast wealth and prosperity at the expense of others and/or be blindly dismissive of their calamities and misfortunes, or to impose your beliefs upon others. ‘There is within the human mind,’ sadly, these baser drives and one must wrestle with whether to indulge them, and if so, how to justify them. One can cherry pick the Bible, but when the branches are bare, what then? Thanks to Calvin, no longer are you so restrained.

But how do we know everyone knows god belief is a ruse? On what grounds do we refuse to honor their claim to being Christians? Calvin points us in two directions. “You can tell what they are by what they do” (Matthew 7:16) but if you can say that what you do is the secret will of your god, well, nevermind that Bible. Also, thanks to his other invention of predestination, you can wipe away the guilt of harm to others by believing you’re predestined, as a good Christian, to do what you do and they, who are not, are fair game, which no doubt Calvin told himself as he had people burned and beheaded and tortured in Geneva. But can ‘the worm of conscience’ be truly squashed in this way? Can one, through these means, dismiss what they know is wrong? For ‘it is not a doctrine that must first be learned in school’, to be aware of the realities of one’s actions and motivations, but one of which ‘each of us is master from his mother’s womb and which nature itself permits no one to forget.’

I can’t emphasize strongly enough that such knowledge is inescapable, and that countless burning lamps shine for us in the motivations and repercussions of our actions, not to mention the rest of the realities of the universe. These things are plain to all, rendering all without excuse, but are there blinders or entire blindfolds to shield one’s eyes from such illumination?

The problem is that some despise what they see. The problem is that they hate what they know. The problem isn’t that they look upon reality or contemplate the conviction of their own conscience and turn away saying, ‘It’s ok; my god says it’s ok; he’s real and revealed his will to me.’ The problem is that they wilfully and selfishly and knowingly loathe the reality they see and know to exist and would rather indulge their own fleshly lusts and worship their own selfish desires and hatreds than to honor and care properly for themselves or the rest of humanity.

Calvin didn’t give a crap about Christianity, and no Christian buys any of it, from divine crackers to walking zombies, from 6 day creation to Noah’s ark, from magically multiplying fish and bread to wine from water. There is no such thing as an honest Christian. There are those aplenty who with their mouths scoff at the notion of atheism and formulate their arguments to ‘prove’ atheists don’t exist. Perhaps there are even some who from years of wilful rebellion and self-induced hardening of heart have anesthetized their minds to reality. Perhaps there are some (many?) whose minds have simply given over to the deeper cultivation of their self-delusion, some (many?) who have degenerated to such a degree that they’ve rendered themselves impervious to the clearest and most persuasive of evidence. But in any and every case, they are still without excuse. The plea of belief will not suffice at the final bar of judgement.

Do not go in search of an honest Christian. You won’t find one. Instead, look to such pearls of wisdom such as “distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires” (Susan B. Anthony), “you know your god is man-made when he hates all the same people you do”, that “faith is believing something you know ain’t true” (Mark Twain), that “the way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason” (Ben Franklin), “men never commit evil so fully and joyfuly as when they do it for religious convictions” (Blaise Pacal), and that perhaps “on the first day, man created God.”

And then share these glorious pearls with a ‘professing’ Christian and direct them to reality, to the gnawing by that worm they so desperately try to suppress and hope that the light may shine out of the darkness they try to shroud it in, to the greater glory of themselves and the rest of humanity.
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This was in response to this piece of crap forwarded to me by the Chaplan.

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141 Responses to “In Search of an Honest Christian”

  1. “that there is no god and that they are morally accountable to themselves and the rest of humanity, all humanity.”

    Why in the world, if there is not god, would I or you be morally accountable to anyone? Who sets the standards on what is right? You? Me? If there is no moral law giver, there is no morality—period. You killing another is nothing more then a speck that will live for infinite-decimal period of time killing another speck who will live for infinite-decimal period of time. In the grand scheme of things, so what.

  2. Of course there is morality, but it’s set by the society in which you live and it may vary from society to society, just as it does today. People with similar moral views will set up what is acceptable and what is not and it is imposed on everyone who lives under their rules.

    That’s how it works in reality, whether you believe in some silly supernatural entity or not.

  3. So you’re saying then that if tomorrow it was proved that there is no god or for whatever reason you lost your faith, then the police should be alerted to be on the look out for you, Mike? You don’t own any firearms, do you? Chainsaws? Large knives, perhaps?

    There is a moral law giver, ourselves. Society creates laws and as a member of society, we are accountable to them. Sometimes, sadly, laws appear to be unjust and must be changed, either peacefully or violently. In our nation’s short history we’ve seen this, and I’d say the process is still ongoing.

    Society is also responsible for religion’s morals. Ignoring how religions came to be for a moment, the interpretations and implementations of religious morality has changed to reflect society’s changing (arguably “refining” or “improving”) morals. The horrors we see today in Islam were once true of Christianity, the stoning, torturing and so forth of blasphemers and non-believers. Did the Bible change? No. Did society? Certainly. At one time the Bible was used to justify white supremacy, slavery, imperialism, and denial of women equal rights. Again, did the Bible change? No.

    So as an atheist, I certainly don’t believe any god is the source of morality, but I’ll go further to say that religion is less a source of morals for society than society is a source of morals for religion. With each successive generation, that worm of conscience grows, and it becomes harder and harder to maintain the “moral” teachings of Christianity, resulting in successive modifications, justified by strained interpretations of the Bible, cherry picking of passages, or in the case of Calvin, simply inventing excuses. An example of the latter is a recent Pew survey of American Christians where over half said followers of other faiths can go to heaven, and roughly a third say atheists could go, too. Whatever happened to the only way was through Jesus? Oh yeah, right, that infamous “secret will or god”, or perhaps the inability to reconcile society’s morals with the horrid teaching that good people, just because they don’t bow and worship a god in a certain way, deserve eternal torment. Even Billy Graham can’t reconcile that (although his way out is to say hell isn’t torture, just not being allowed to go to the prom known as heaven).

  4. PastorMike, coveting things is not immoral although your supposed “Moral Lawgiver” says it is. I don’t know, if you disagree with me then perhaps you would care to demonstrate why it is that coveting a more fuel efficient vehicle is somehow immoral.

  5. This is pretty good, too.

  6. Last night I was watching the Mark Twain Award given posthumously to George Carlin this past year and was reminded of Carlin’s bit on the ten commandments, particularly because of Quantum’s comment. Coveting is what drives the economy, if your neighbor gets a vibrator that plays “Oh come all ye faithful” you want to get one too! How wanting something that your neighbor has can be seen as immoral is beyond me, so long as you don’t want to steal the exact thing that your neighbor owns.

  7. Great re-working of the original Christian, “There are No Atheists” piece.

  8. As usual, Philly, a great piece.

    Pastor Mike, do you believe that taking life is wrong? Or is it situational (particularly when in service to a state or gov’t entity)and not hard bound at all?

    Strange, that. I’ve taken some lives, and it’s odd that the same people I know who loftily say, “Only God may take a life” seem to think this is a good thing that I’ve done. “It was war…” so I’m told. I’m informed that since a certain book says that there will be wars and rumors of same, it’s OK in that venue. There was even a chaplain who made me pause so he could bless my ammunition “to its purpose” (i.e., the destruction of a human being neither of us would ever know)when I was on my way to a sniper post.

    Where was love your enemey … return good for evil, etc.? Lost and far behind the rendering unto Ceasar schtick, I can tell you.

    The concept of a “supreme law giver”…my ass.

    You probably mean well, but I saw through it by the time I was five years . I had a girl friend almost forty years ago who discribed such things as religion: “A pound of smoke”. Never heard it better.

  9. I never thought about coveting being what drives the economy, and I guess society as well.

    Thanks for the nods.

  10. Bravo, and well done!

    I wish there was a PhillyChief to turn the tables on every pious theist that spewed garbage like that. Though I’m sure the response’d be something along the lines of, “even the devil can quote scripture.”

    I love that the more . . . fervent theists openly admit that an omnipotent badass on a cloud is the only thing keeping them from killing their wives, selling their children, and sodomizing their pets. That without the restraints of their religion, they’d run completely monkey-shit and have to be put down like rabid dogs.

    Kudos to them for at least recognizing they’re not truly fit for society, and for warning us all beforehand of the danger we’re in, should we ever find a way to disprove their gods.

  11. Dammit, Philly, you do this sort of thing so much better than me!This was one of your best fiskings yet.

  12. It astounds me that people are still harping on the “you can’t be moral w/o god” ridiculousness. If fear of eternal reprisal/lusting after eternal reward is keeping you moral, then you’re a pretty pathetic and nasty individual, not to mention supremely selfish.

    PhillyChief is right on the money when he says “that religion is less a source of morals for society than society is a source of morals for religion”.

    And thank god for that. Or rather, please don’t. He can’t hear you anyways.

    @Mike,
    The reason we as humans don’t rove around killing and plundering each other is because we’ve evolved a sense of morality. If we killed our neighbour for a haunch of mastodon, then our neighbour wouldn’t be able to help protect us from the next ravening herd of sabre-toothed tigers (or whatever). We’re programmed to have moral behaviour towards those who are in our community. For a long time, that community was rather small, and outside the community that moral code didn’t apply, because it didn’t affect us the same way. Now however, the entire human race is within our community, we are one society now, and we have decided that (more or less) we need to be moral to all other humans. It has nothing to do with gods or devils, but with sociology, anthropology, genetics, and evolution. We evolved to have morality because it helped us survive.

    We also made up religious beliefs because they helped us feel more comfortable about the unknown, and gave us something to unify our communities. Fortunately we no longer need bronze-aged superstitions to feel a sense of community, and we’ve evolved the intellectual capacity and tools to actually find out about the reality of our environment without resorting to making up stories.

  13. The question I ask back when you get the “Why shouldn’t you…” that includes raping, murder, robbery if you have no supreme being/author of morality to check you, you could just… is why SHOULD you? No answer, just a lot of angry, indistinct noises.

    Even with all this ‘guidance’ from on high look at what the believers of this or that get up too when “moved by the spirit”.

    I like Philly’s reference to Calvin. Just think about what it was like to live in Geneva under his hand. Aaaaah, the sweet smell of burning heretics and other sinners!

    But I know people who think that Calvin’s Geneva would BE the place to live in a godly fashion.

  14. I wish there was a PhillyChief to turn the tables on every pious theist that spewed garbage like that.

    There’s a little PhillyChief inside of everyone.

    Though I’m sure the response’d be something along the lines of, “even the devil can quote scripture.”

    Actually I had a Christian say to me after exchanging Bible passages, “you can make the Bible say anything you want”. Yes you can, Sugar, yes you can. :)

    The question I ask back… is why SHOULD you?

    Indeed!

    Dammit, Philly, you do this sort of thing so much better than me!

    I don’t know about that. It’s clear when I satirize, but not always when you do it. Many people failed to see Swift’s satire, so you’re in good company. ;)

  15. Thing is, adhering to everything you've listed is, fortunately, not what's required of me to honestly be a ChristianAccording to…..?

  16. Hey All,

    First off, love the look of the site and especially appreciate the open forum and thoughtful input. Great job, and very interesting posts and comments.

    A bit about me: I grew up a Catholic in NYC, probably a big reason I identified so much with George Carlin. As a kid sitting in church, I was prodded into praying to a Jesus hanging, in bloody agony, on a cross. Let’s just say he didn’t exactly look to be in a position, nor the mood, to help a 10-year old bed-wetter on matters of faith.

    I came to question a religion which seemed all about guilt, and about controlling people by exploiting that guilt. As I grew older I looked elsewhere for answers. I mean, seriously looked at other religions, philosophies, the occult, etc.

    Having been a Catholic, I never was permitted to read a Bible. Lay people didn’t have the proper authority or understanding to discern truth for themselves.

    I finally got around to reading one at the age of 20. For the first time, I was seeing the whole story, not just passages that were aped to me from the pulpit for agenda’s sake.

    Like so many others, I’d looked for God in the people who preached Him. I was raised on a god made in man’s image. That’s all religion is to me, god in Man’s image. And there’s not a single one worthy of membership,I can tell you.

    What I needed to discover is that no set of rules, no socially-agreed-to set of laws, and certainly no priest or pastor was going to open the clouds for me.

    The Bible tells me that Adam and Eve screwed the pooch with just one law to follow. And it’s been the same way ever since. When we’re a law unto ourselves, the law takes an ass-beating.

    I realized by looking for God in people who claimed to know Him, I was setting my sights way too low.

    I’ve never judged a gym based on the fact that some people go there to socialize, show off the goods, or just ‘look the part’. Some work out for an hour a week, then go straight to McDonald’s afterwards.

    Can I be less forgiving when seeking God or a church than I am when I choose a fitness center? In both cases, it’s about why I’m there,not the guy next to me.

    Anyway, you asked for an honest Christian, so here I am. Thanks for letting me post here.

    Ron

  17. I don’t see what you’re saying, Ron, as evidence that you’re an honest Christian, but rather, an honest or sincere person who calls himself a Christian.

  18. What I’m saying, Philly – and I’m not sure if this meets your measure of honesty as it applies here – is that I honestly looked at things from every angle, theist, atheist, gnostic, whatever….and found the same honesty within the Bible. The very fact that so much history, warts and all is included in there somehow spoke to me. This wasn’t a neat, contrived fairy tale. It’s got raw, even ugly truths about man and God that are, in fact, hard to explain.

    And I just have to think that, if you’re gonna risk martyring yourself for a fairy tale as Christians did in Biblical times, you’d fill in those holes with all the bullshit you could think of. Especially as many times as it’s been translated, and as many early Christians kept the story going long after Jesus had been and gone.

    So I honestly believe its message to me. That is this: even though the picture’s still not entirely clear to me, I can feel assured in my faith that what I don’t already understand about Him won’t violate that trust.

    The honesty I strive for is in the seeking of God; and then in applying what I learn to my life, as opposed to judging someone else’s life by what I know….or think I know.

    BTW, sorry if my posts are too long. I’m generally not one to blather on at other people’s sites. But I like yours, and the the fact that you honestly approach your topics.

  19. There’s two subjects really in my post (the problem of trying to strictly follow the format of a pre-existing work). One is whether Christians are honestly Christian, as in following Christianity to the letter. The other is about whether any Christian truly believes there’s a god.

    As for the first, no way. As for the second, I have no idea what’s in one’s “heart of hearts”. I can only take someone at their word unless given reason to believe otherwise. Naturally I disagree heartily with your conclusions, but if you say you sincerely believe there’s a god, so be it.

    I don’t know why though there’s this needless clinging by some new-agey religious types to cling to the name of the religion that they grew up with when clearly they don’t fully subscribe to it. Are you telling me you won’t eat shellfish, that you’ve given away most of your wealth in preparation of the end like Jesus said to do, that you wouldn’t suffer a witch to live, feel gays deserve stoning (and disobedient kids, too), some guy named Jonah lived in a whale, pairs of all species got on a boat and survived a world wide flood, you must be saved because Eve was duped by a talking snake, manna falling from heaven, a talking ass, the sun and moon were ever frozen in the sky, that pi=3, 4 thousand fed from a loaf and a fish, and every other thing in the Bible? I’m guessing your answer is no, as it is for every Christian I ever encountered.

  20. Right, well therein are some of the ugly truths included in the Bible I mentioned previously. Thing is, adhering to everything you’ve listed is, fortunately, not what’s required of me to honestly be a Christian. A lot of that came out of man’s attempt at “holiness”.

    It’s a history of intolerance and extremes that predates Jesus.And if every christian you met was an honest one, maybe it would have ended there too. What I see today is a lot of christians excusing their own extremism and intolerance by applying Old Testament law in place of New Testament grace as it suits them. And OT law existed for no other reason than to demonstrate the impossibility of meeting God’s moral standard on our own.

    As for the miracles, I don’t get to decide what limits God has to have just to make it all more believable or palatable for me. Where’s the value in a god that can’t do anything I can’t do myself? And if I’m deciding what limits he can have, then which of us is ‘god’? :)

    That’s the thing with me, I don’t pick and choose my faith like a buffet. Then I’d be just like all the other christians you’ve met, who customize their religion based on personal comfort and convenience.

    As for giving up my possessions..when Jesus told that man to sell everything he owned, he was testing the guy’s sincerity. Was he down for this enough to sacrifice all his material wealth? What was more important to him?

    What I know now when I read the Bible,is that there’s history in there along with instruction. In its entirety, it provides not so much a blueprint for Christianity as an argument for man’s need for a savior.

    I’d actually think a lot less of you if you didn’t dispute me, Philly, given your beliefs. And I’m not here to try changing them. That shit didn’t work on me either. I had to try out all the paths and work things out on my own.

    Anyway, I didn’t intend to occupy your time on an older thread, but I really appreciate that you did take the time to offer honest responses.

  21. According to the Bible itself…
    “..a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.” Galatians 2:16

  22. Reminds me of Clutch’s Spacegrass
    T-minus whenever I feel like
    Galaxie 5-0-0
    Panel dim, light drive
    Jesus on the dashboard

    Whenever it feels right
    Whenever it feels right
    Whenever it feels right

    Follow the Bible “whenever it feels right”. How convenient that when you found THAT passage, it felt right, huh?

    Jesus on the dashboard

  23. That passage just answers your question. It’s not my mantra. There’s more to this story….

    “What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin, how can we live in it any longer?” Romans 6:1

    I said up front, I don’t just pick what suits me. That first verse wasn’t a license to ill.
    It just means that keeping all the laws you can write would’t do for me what Jesus did on that cross.

  24. I don’t just pick what suits me

    You pick what you think (believe, feel, “know”) is right, which is indistinguishable to anyone else from just picking and choosing like at a buffet.

    Romans 3:31 “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid”

    Whenever it feels right
    Whenever it feels right
    Whenever it feels right

    Jesus on the dashboard

  25. Absolutely true, the law is still in effect. The whole of that passage describes our being made righteous by faith in Christ and not through observance of laws. That doesn’t void the laws, it fulfills them.

    Again, we’re not picking and choosing….we’re looking at the whole of the message.

  26. The “message” is whatever your faith tells you is right, which guides your choices at the buffet.

    That’s indistinguishable to anyone else from picking and choosing and creatively interpreting the Bible to suit their desires.

  27. If what I shared of my understanding of the Bible makes me indistinguishable from others who pick and choose, it can only be in the eyes of those who don’t know what the book says in the first place.
    In which case, they’re not in a position to judge how closely I adhere to what it says.

    You picked and chose some extreme examples of Bible passages by which to measure how honestly I follow my faith.
    I simply offered some background of the Bible by way of illustrating that it’s not about following rules. It’s about not being able to follow them to the letter. That’s why we’re called Christians, and not lawkeepers, or Bible-onians.

    Judging me according to a few passages is like me saying you’re not an honest atheist if you’ve ever wished someone a merry christmas, or said ‘bless you’ after a sneeze.

  28. Bullwinkle, how do you choose which passages of the Bible not to follow (e.g. the passages PhillyChief laid out)? According to what standard is a passage judged “extreme”?

  29. Judging me according to a few passages is like me saying you’re not an honest atheist if you’ve ever wished someone a merry christmas, or said ‘bless you’ after a sneeze.

    Well yes and no. If an atheist said such things out of habit, or simply acknowledging the holiday is called Christmas, then no. Saying them to acknowledge the miraculous birth of a god or to wish the blessing of a god on someone then yeah, that wouldn’t be very honest.

    For better or for worse, as a Christian you are stuck with that Bible, warts and all. The fact that you have the secret decoder ring in your brain to know which parts Jesus REALLY wants you to follow, how to follow them and what’s safe to ignore as being too “extreme” and only those who agree with you must have the same decoder ring and those who don’t simply “don’t know what the book says in the first place” is pure crap. Oh I’m sorry, I meant faith. Of course, there are millions of other Christians who have faith they’re right and you “don’t know what the book says in the first place”.

  30. It’s not so much a secret decoder ring as it is a matter of how you approach reading it. If your purpose for reading it is to simply find inconsistencies or loopholes, no doubt you can have a field day with it.
    That’s why your stated criterion for honestly following it is impossible to meet (re. obeying every passage). There are laws, practices and such, that are are diametrically opposed to other parts of scripture, like the ‘eye-for-an-eye’ philosophy vs. ‘turn-the-other-cheek’.
    So taking a logical approach when confronted with conflicting data, there are essentially two conclusions to reach: a) throw out the whole experiment as either inconclusive, irrelevant and/or flawed; or b)establish from further research an heirarchy of relevance, pertinence and/or priority concerning the conflicts. Basically, what’s true, what’s not true, or USED to be true but no longer is; what factors might have changed that would affect a change in data.

    In your case, it’s option A by a mile, and you have no obligation to look any further. You found what you were looking for.

    As did I, by taking the tougher road down option B. No decoder rings, no personal insight available only to me. No visions or divine visits in the moonlight, stone tablets, golden plates, or L.Ron Hubbard on speed-dial.

    Just a search for truth that led me to Christ, that One changing factor that separated the old from the new, the wheat from the chaff, and the scales from my eyes.

    If that’s magic, then I’m a rabbit, happy to be plucked from the hat I was in.

    I always measure people I meet by whether I’d have a beer with them. So I’ll just say…..cheers!

  31. No in my case, the claim for the supernatural, including deities, is unwarranted. Holy books have no bearing on that.

    We’re commenting on whether you can deviate from the recipe for razor blade casserole and still be an honest razor blade casseroler, but my choice to eat any razor blade casserole is not dependent upon the recipe. It’s dependent upon the fact that it’s a razor blade casserole! Eating that would be crazy.

    Btw, I’ve yet to drink enough beer that I’d ever eat a razor blade casserole, and I hope I never do.

    Cheers

  32. Hi! I found you through your link over at cl’s blog, and I just wanted to say I’m really enjoying my visit here. Love the writing! As far as cl is concerned, you’ve nailed him dead center with your no-nonsense ripostes. Kudos!

  33. Welcome, Jim!

    It’s really not difficult to interact with CL, which is why I don’t understand all that nonsense concerning him over at Daylight Atheism. I enjoy CL for two reasons, he’s often entertaining (I admit I have abnormal tastes at times) and it makes for decent exercise to take apart his machinations and see what he’s up to and how exactly he’s doing it.

    Also, CL is a great example of what I feel many people don’t get about debates, that it’s not always an exercise entered into by both parties in good faith and thus, argumentation will proceed honestly and amicably staying on topic until the topic is either resolved or mutually agreed upon that resolution is impossible. People with agendas to push may very well “cheat” in order to gain the upper hand to “win” the argument. Personality also plays a part, like it or not, as emotions can be played to the point of obscuring or derailing rationality. CL “games” the system (or attempts to). If one is blind (willfully or not) to that sort of thing and engages in argument with such a gamer, well, they’ll probably get pwned. CL is a higher level gamer, so it behooves you to spar with him. Ebonmuse doesn’t get this.

    I don’t venture to CL’s blog normally, but if doing so means attracting readers of obvious taste and intelligence, I may have to visit more often. ;)

  34. Hmmmm… finding someone of any faith (or lack thereof) is pretty difficult. Does anyone truly live out the logical conclusion of all their beliefs or moral standards?

    Can any of really balance our moral scales at the end of the day?

  35. Disagree (although I’m not sure I’m getting your point)
    Yes
    Yes

    I don’t feel people who hold contradictory beliefs can “live out the logical conclusion of all their beliefs”, though. For instance, believing in the efficacy of prayer yet going to the doctor for help.

    If you can’t balance your moral scales at the end of the day, then you have to either rethink your behavior or your morals.

  36. P/C

    Your challenge is not nearly as hard as others make it, nor is it very easy.

    I could just as well say the same as you–looking for an honest atheist–and there are precious few of those, too.

    But that's missing the issue. We both are focused on humanity. You because you say Christianity has robbed men of their human-ness; I because I hold Jesus was not even remotely Calvinist (thank God!), and in between, Christ came and took on flesh.

    Christ presented his case, and left matters alone for the individual to mull over, except with the temple leaders, who pretended they knew more than He did. Then he got a little riled.

    I'll just put it this way–Jesus would break bread, and quaff brews with you, with no compunction about it whatsoever. He wasn't advancing Roman Catholicism or Calvin or Luther or Zorba the Greek–he was just being himself. He wasn't a boozer, but nobody at the wedding in Cana ran dry–did they? Nah–his style was/is abundance, not scarcity.

    I often have said that if God were Calvinist–why would anyone want to worship a pissed-off God? Indeed, why would they? One of the pope's outfits cost more than Jesus' entire 3 year ministry, something about which Judas Iscariot the Accountant took note. Baptists have so many rules that Jesus would probably go to the mountain to pray just to get away from them!

    However . . .

    In your search for an honest Christian, you must (logically, if for no other reason) admit Christ into the equation. That means admitting a body of evidence contrary to yours. I, like Jesus did, can accept that you have a different body of evidence for your belief. Therein lies our excuse to drink many Milwaukee canned products, and talk. I have always held that if another man will talk without calling names and spilling my beer, then he is probably an honest man. LOL If he will further be willing to hear me as I would hear him–without condemnation, but in true discussion, well, then, I will buy him another beer and keep on talking.

    Honesty is about taking the time to listen, and, well, even to disagree.

    Therein lies our common humanity. Peace–jb

  37. [...] By jbiii Dude–(posted this to your “honest Christian” [...]

  38. Did you read the article which inspired this post?

    Anyway, the existence of Jesus is dubious enough, but him being a deity is even more of a stretch to accept, and anyone who rationally looks at that god claim would be forced to admit that; therefore, the Christian is either dishonest or irrational.

    I'd say drinking beer from Milwaukee is irrational, too. Gross, and likely to give you the shits. Quite the win-win there!

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  117. Hey Chief,

    I've decided to transfer my comments from your "dead" blog to your website. I'll just have to read your stuff from home.

    In Response to:

    "Revelation is not good evidence, Paul. If I have some moment when I think or feel there's a god, what's that? That could be gas for all I know. Likewise, if someone told you that they knew Grunkels from Alpha Centauri were real because if you open your mind to them, you'll sense them, you'd think them nuts, so why should I not think you're nuts?

    So unless you have demonstrable evidence, you don't have good evidence, and you very well could have no evidence.

    Thanks for the heads up on the not safe for work aspect of my new site. I wasn't aware of that. "

    Well, 7 days is up.

    If God chose to reveal Himself to someone, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't mistake it for gas. My prayers have been for a revelation which was tangible and undeniable that you would immediately recognize, not just a feeling or an "opening [of the] mind to [Him]".

    You make a good point about the Grunkels from Alpha Centauri. Freud said that if someone believes in something that is not in fact real, there would be social, emotional and psychological problems that would begin to surface. Basically, he considered it a form of psychosis to believe in a non-reality (or in your words, "you'd think them nuts"). Obviously, if your coworker believed that these Grunkels existed and that they spoke to him throughout the day or were hiding behind corners, it wouldn't take long for people to recognize his instability. So why then is a belief in God (who from your standpoint doesn't exist) scientifically proven to correlate with BETTER mental, emotional, and physical health than those without a belief in God? No psychosis (well, maybe some of us suffer from it ;) ) People with a belief in God are for the most part stable, coherent, productive members of society. I don't think you could say the same for our Grunkel-believing friend.

    You mentioned that there is no evidence for the existence of God. Why is it then that virtually every prominent Physicist today believes there is a God? Have you heard the term "radiation background echo"? Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered it in the 60's and won a Nobel prize for Physics in 1978. The take home message is this; before there was SOMETHING in our cosmos, there was NOTHING. Without an explanation for how something comes from nothing, scientists who are basing their beliefs on actual science are left with only one reasonable conclusion… God exists. The anthropic principle is another compelling idea within the realm of Physics. Antony Flew and Frank Tipler are just two professors who converted from Atheism to Theism because of the evidence brought forth by the laws of Physics. The examples above are only the tip of the iceberg. There IS evidence for the existence of God… lots of it. The problem is not a lack of evidence but a lack of desire to examine it. One place you could start… http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/atheismi

    You're looking for an honest Christian? Well, I can't vouch for how honest they are, but there are a group of people in your area (Philadelphia) that have made the decision to follow Christianity in a radically different manner than the mainstream. I would say they are much closer to the "narrow way" than most. They live in community, pooling their resources and serving the needs of the people in that community. Their mission is simply this, "To Love God. To Love people. To Follow Jesus." I heard about them through Shane Claiborne's book "Irresistible Revolution". Check out their website http://www.thesimpleway.org/

    Good luck on your journey,

    Paul (paul.laliberte@gmail.com)

  118. First, the argument that believing in something not real would result in noticeable social disorders, you don't have noticeable social disorders, therefore what you believe in is real is faulty. I can think of numerous examples where people who believe in very real things have social disorders and of course people who believe in non-real things not exhibiting social disorders. Essentially, it's a false premise.

    Next, the claim about physicists is simply untrue but even if it were, that doesn't prove anything. At one time most people believed the sun revolved around the Earth. Was that true then since most believed it? Also, an appeal to authority, in this case physicists, is a logical fallacy.

    So I'd wish you luck on your journey of discover and enlightenment, only I don't believe in luck, and what you really need is a willingness to learn and more practice at critical thinking.

  119. Typical east coast liberal garbage, how amusing. You're an idiot and probably worship Obamanism.

  120. I've had the misfortune of reading some of your comments, and I can't even grant you the title of idiot because even an idiot manages to present their own views whereas you merely ape the most extreme and ridiculous things you hear from the usual right-wing propaganda machines.

    Just so you know, the east coast liberals don't care for most of Obama's handling of things and my view is he's a misguided pussy. He had the power and mandate from the people like FDR had yet he's done nothing, pushed nothing, asserted nothing and now can't even manage to get others elected. The best line I heard, which came from your dreaded liberal media, was 'the audacity of winning becomes the timidity of governing' (or something like that).

    The Right's bullshit about socialism is quite comical. That, like most of the propaganda, is coming from corporate sources and people like you, the average income, hard working Americans, are getting played like pawns. These rich fucks want to stay rich and fuck you, me and everyone else in the process. Their idea of America is some huge whore there to satisfy them when they need it and then get the fuck out of their way, so naturally they paint government as the problem because it tries to stop them from fucking everyone over AND pay its rightful share yet they've managed to convince dopes like you that that is an attack on YOU, that it's big bad socialism come to get you. Wake the fuck up, Jackass. You're getting played. Same goes with health care. The insurance companies are playing you teabagging morons.

    Education repeatedly gets slashed every year by the Right. Why? Because were you properly educated, you'd never fall for this crap. You'd have critical thinking skills to actually investigate who funds the tea bagging events, who funds the ads attacking health care reform, who funds the campaigns of those voting against it and against green initiatives which will hurt the oil companies. Wake the fuck up.

  121. In a piece about honesty, you might want to get the facts straight about just what Calvin did in Geneva (hint – he never had anyone burnt or beheaded) and you might want to take the time to actually understand what he understood predestination to be. He only 'inadvertently' makes you point when force it out of his wrangled ideas.

  122. share these glorious pearls with a ‘professing’ Christian

    wait.. you want me to share a Blaise Pascal quote with.. Blaise Pascal?

  123. Being the great humanitarian, he did argue for beheading as a kindler, gentler method than burning, but he had people killed. The more you comment, the more I'm amazed at your assertions which are contrary to reality.

    Oh, and I find it amusing that your only response is this.

  124. he did argue for beheading

    Yes, he pleaded for leniency on behalf of Servetus. Hardly the only person to support the death penalty! Seems rather unfair to single out one person for a normative practice, let alone one who by the standards of the time was in fact more lenient. While we can decide that the actions of people in the past may be wrong, it is highly unfair to judge their character by modern standards. In any case he never had anyone beheaded, and he never had anyone killed (he was merely an expert witness in the trial – he wasn't even a citizen in Geneva, let alone in power – the fact that his plea for mercy was ignored is evidence enough of this. It is your assertions, sir, which are contrary to reality.

    Oh, and I find it amusing that your only response is this.

    You weren't expecting to be taken seriously in this post, were you? It's factually incorrect parody… and?

  125. Not that I agree with it, but I understand why people ban you. You simply make snide remarks and naked assertions. Frankly, I find that to be reason enough not to ban you. I'll glad give a fool all the rope he needs to hang himself.

    Good day.

  126. I wasn't being snide, I was being ironic. Hardly unacceptable when your whole piece is a piece of parody, one would think? In case you missed the irony:

    “men never commit evil so fully and joyfuly as when they do it for religious convictions” (Blaise Pacal)…
    And then share these glorious pearls with a ‘professing’ Christian


    If you're referring to that other blog, and telling me I was banned, I find that interesting, for I wasn't even being ironic there. Seems your friend is not a fan of civil disagreement.

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  134. I'd like to think if there wasn't an honest Christian surely they would sin and pay for it?

  135. There are honest Christians.

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