Millennials Put Off By Rigid, Judgmental Religion Offered … More Orthodoxy

In a way, the Christian Post‘s Kevin Shrum is quite right about why young people reject Christianity these days. He accurately summarizes research into the “Nones” by James E. White and George Barna, and we’ll even spot him the point that the church isn’t always to blame for people who leave.

And if you turn around his last seven bullet points (no, really), he really gets at the problem: people feel like the church is a horribly judgmental place more concerned with keeping its own brand of morality afloat than actually helping anyone in need. You’ll notice that Shrum never says a word about service or ministry. It’s all holiness all the time. Unfortunately for churches like Shrum’s, holiness just isn’t very popular in our culture these days. What people want in spirituality is egalitarianism, an emphasis on the ways in which God welcomes, rather than rejects.

It’s okay that Shrum or other conservative pastors might say “Sorry, we can’t offer that in our church.” To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you go to church with the God you know, not the God you might want or wish to know.

Weirdly, though, the standard conservative religious argument these days is that the churches that demand orthodoxy—another word for holiness—are the ones that do best. That’s even true! Conservative churches do fare better these days than liberal ones, though the sociologists tell me that’s mostly the result of their later adoption of birth control. The cultural trends are the cultural trends, even if they do take longer to catch up with some groups than others.

It makes a certain surface amount of sense, then, that Shrum would argue that churches should stick to the demands of holiness. If orthodox churches are doing best, they should do more orthodoxy! Harder orthodoxy! Double down and make those sinners repent!

Trouble is, Shrum’s already stipulated White and Barna’s argument that this is exactly what the “Nones” don’t want. You can’t move to the “narrow way” without getting more judgmental and exclusionary. Sure, he admits that the church is “all too imperfect,” but in a pluralistic society, the literally holier-than-thou act is just deadly.

That leaves Shrum with two options: acknowledge that the church as he conceives it wants a bigger slice of a shrinking pie (that is, hope that as Christianity declines in the US, more of the people who remain will be orthodox believers like him); or, as he just about comes out and says directly, he can skip Christian introspection and blame the people leaving the church for their own lack of faith and discipleship.

If that’s the “well-articulated, well-understood Gospel” he wants to proclaim, well, good luck to him. Churches like mine will be around to pick up the pieces. We always are, and in an increasingly pluralistic United States, we will be for a long time to come.

126 Comments

  • jeffj@cruzio.com' Jeffrey G. Johnson says:

    Of course there is nothing the church can do about the fact that more and more people are figuring out how preposterous the fundamental premise of religion is.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    The question should be, “what does God want?”
    Would Jesus hold people responsible for not following God’s will?
    Would he judge them for it?

  • GMG248 says:

    Well said, Daniel. This raises the possibility that a purely personalized evangelical form of faith is intentionally embraced by many in order to excuse themselves from all responsibilities for the material and social welfare of others. The focus on holiness can result in a narcissistic self-absorption and self-obsession that masquerades as religious faith. This kind of asocial religious faith is its own worst enemy and not the culture that sees through it for what it truly is.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    The fundamental premise of religion is false, but without it religion has nothing to offer. Congregations like Daniel’s will be there to pick up the pieces as people figure out they don’t need the false premise, but will they also figure out they don’t need that either?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    What can we do? We just spent thousands of years telling ourselves what the church wants is what God wants.

  • oaim50@yahoo.com' Don says:

    Face it. Some are holier than others. They have to work at it. Give them some credit.

  • Dennis.Lurvey@live.com' Well_Read says:

    The more strict faiths like evangelicals, those that believe in inerrancy, have their people on a very short leash. The coercion they use to keep their own in the faith is absolute. If you leave you loose your family and everything you hold dear (and more importantly you are tortured in hell forever). People won’t leave because their family, friends, and possibly their job will abandon them. More like Jonestown and less like Joel Osteen.

    There are very serious and credible people putting together documentaries that debunk the old testament, the new, and god; that are available on PBS, youtube, and Netflix. They use findings from digs in the cities that are mentioned in the bible, and texts from outside the bible (as well as common sense) to show the stories in the bible are just not true. We have plenty of evidence of who wrote and re-wrote those stories to create what Jews and christians believe today.

    Christianity is dying in America because the underlying premise is just not true as advertised. Clergy just cant accept people don’t believe what they claim is true, so they make up other reasons (like this article) to blame something/anything else. Christianity is dying in western countries where the populations are literate and educated and growing with illiterate Chinese rice farmers and tribes from the outback of Africa.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    For me, going back to the source material, not the whims of men.

    If you can’t get clean source material then go with what is reasonable and compassionate.

    I always viewed it that if you are a good person and do what is right God will treat you appropriately. If God sends you to hell despite your goodness and God’s understanding (I mean God is suppose to be omniscient right, and who better than someone with omniscience would better understand why did, or did not, do what you did). If such a God would still punish you than such a god would not be worth of worship, much less respect.
    Imho.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Wasn’t all the source material, even clean source material the whims of men?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    the underlying premise is just not true

    OK, but what is the underlying premise of Christianity? I think the underlying premise is Jesus takes the dead to live forever in heaven if they are true believers. I am not sure all Christians in today’s world would still agree that is the underlying premise, and so to me that is the big question. What is the underlying premise of Christianity? I think the point of Christianity has evolved to where the underlying premise can’t be stated because that would lead to questions. Of course not stating it also leads to questions, so I think we are stuck and not getting anywhere.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    That would be a matter of faith.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Faith means rigid belief, and millennials are questioning. The circle is complete.

  • Dennis.Lurvey@live.com' Well_Read says:

    most ppl think the underlying premise is ‘love your neighbor’, which you can do without religion. Jesus accepted everyone, but christians today only like other christians. cities all over the country are getting sued for not allowing other religions to have monuments or say prayers on the public square.

    but most studies show the reason most ppl gravitate to religion is they are afraid to die. the life after death, totally unprovable, is what keeps religion alive.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    I guess we will have to agree to disagree on the definition faith. 🙂
    I always found questioning to be part of faith.

  • robert.m.jeffers@lonestar.edu' Rmj says:

    Pish tosh. Most of those PBS documentaries you mention feature Biblical scholars: some religious, some atheists, some agnostics.
    I studied their works in seminary. They didn’t “debunk” the Scriptures, they explained them. They debunked the simplistic literalist readings of scripture, the idea that Moses wrote the first five books, etc., or that there is a vast “Red Sea” in the desert of Egypt (now gone? and where is the sea bed?). But most of the archaeological work is considered Biblical scholarship. It doesn’t “prove” the literalist reading of Scriptures because that reading can’t be proven.
    That reading is also only about 100 years old, and rather particularly American. As for the insult to the Chinese and the Africans, I can only say I know a number of people who are white, literate, and religious.
    If you want to imply that only “backwards” people who are non-whites are still “religious,” feel free to parade your bigotry in public. But that’s all it is.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    The scholars in those documentaries do seem to agree there is no 40 years of wandering in the desert by the nation of Israel, because that would have left tons of evidence that is not there. No wandering in the desert means no actual exodus, and that means no real Moses. That is the main thing I got from the documentaries. No Moses also means all the earlier Bible personalities like Abraham and Noah and Adam are probably not real. I think we already knew there was no literal Adam.

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    A lot of people want the social connections. A lot of people go to church as Nones just because it provides them with a network. In my neck of the woods, you won’t find a job unless you have church connections. Of course, I don’t have a job. I wish there were a liberal church here that I could go to, because the social isolation is pretty awful. We don’t even have anything like ELCA, and certainly no UCC or Episcopal or – heaven forfend – a UU church.

    In cities, the Sunday Assembly is enjoying some success as a lot of atheists like to have a social framework usually provided by church. Most don’t, I suppose, but a lot do.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    We should ask Daniel how many atheists he has in his congregation?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Faith is questioning, but not expecting answers.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    Faith means rigid belief

    Faith is questioning, but not expecting answers

    Faith is a rigid belief in questioning, but rigidly not expecting answers?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Faith is a contradiction.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    Ah.
    Thank you for the clarification.

  • Dennis.Lurvey@live.com' Well_Read says:

    if you went to seminary then you aren’t exactly an objective arbiter are you? If you look up the religious history of america in the library of congress or the national archives you will see actual history, if you look up the same on wallbuilders.org it says only christians discovered america and they all held hands and prayed from Florida to Maine.

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    No doubt more than he knows.

  • jeffj@cruzio.com' Jeffrey G. Johnson says:

    I think the main premise is that God gave his only son so that the world’s sin could be forgiven and so they may have salvation.

    This is based on the following assumed premises:

    A. God exists in theistic form, i.e. has personal relations to humans, listens to prayers, and intercedes in the natural world.

    B. Jesus existed, he really was divine and he really came back to life after dying on the cross.

    C. There exists a heaven and an afterlife, some kind of soul that survives the death of the body.

    In the modern world it’s abundantly clear that A, B, and C are simply myths that humans once upon a time found plausible and convenient. The continued acceptance of these is based on habit, tradition, and peer pressure.

    Nobody who started fresh today, without religious indoctrination, could study what is known about science, history, philosophy, and the major religions and then conclude “Wow, that Christianity really impresses me as the one true source of knowledge and truth’.

    The wide availability of knowledge and information makes it harder and harder for people to be fooled by religion’s claims about life and the world.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    That makes it seem pretty clear and simple. So how come we just spent 5 years and tens of thousands of comments trying to figure it out?

  • jeffj@cruzio.com' Jeffrey G. Johnson says:

    I think I was about 10 years old when I realized how crazy it was that all the Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and others not born into Christianity were somehow doomed. The idea that one needs to follow a specific book in order to not be punished by God never had any sway over me. That was back when I thought God was real. If he was anything near as great as claimed, certainly he couldn’t be silly enough to demand everyone be Christian, regardless of nationality, language, or culture.

    If one just lists everything that is expected and claimed of God by humans, including by those who pretend to know his will, it’s pretty obvious that the requirements for God can not be met because in their entirety they form an incoherent set of properties.

    The usual cop-out when people realize the embarrassing impossibility of God is to say “God works in mysterious ways” or “the mind of God can’t be known”. Or if you ask me, nobody knows God, no one has ever spoken with him, and he has never done anything on earth. You may credit him with creating the laws of physics and all matter and energy, but beyond that he’s laissez faire on earth. Of course that hypothesis offers no explanation for what created God. So for all intents and purposes, even if we can’t explain the mysterious origins of existence, God as conceived of by most humans doesn’t exist. Any other conception of God is just a theory, a label tacked on to what is actually completely unknown and unexplainable, and totally irrelevant to human life.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    I just finished writing the below and realized it was an autobiographical tome so, if tl;dr:

    I don’t know anything.
    I have faith, not certainty.
    There is no evidence either way but certain belief systems, like Christianity can be rationally discounted, imo.

    Long for version:

    When I was 12 or so I came to the conclusion that there was really no way to know anything. Prior to that, and after, I consumed a diet of sci-fi and history which lead me to the conclusion that all anyone “knew” was what they thought they knew. As a matter of fact there was no way to disprove that this was all a dream or a computer simulation or something else nor anyway to prove that it was not a dream or computer simulation or whatnot.

    Not only that but this ignorance cut even deeper. Things could be misremembered by you and anyone at any point, or all points, could just be lying to you, each other, and/or themselves. Your eyes could lie to you, as they constantly do, or you could mishear something, or your perspective could (does) warp what you see, hear, read, etc. The entire order of things was resting on this tenuous ability to share your perception with others, but that in no way made anything true, real, or any other word you would designate to explain such a relationship. All we could do is grope around in the dark and be pragmatic in our perspective with an eye to remember that we could wake up or be shut off, or something else radical could happen, at any moment.

    As I grew older I learned more about the situation I found myself. My mom had lightly initiated me in Christianity, with prayers before bed, but no real indoctrination. And my father never really talked about it. The idea that all those non-Christians were going to hell just because they didn’t “accept Jesus” quickly put that out of the realm of likelihood. What kind of “God” would determine who gets punished in eternal torment forever just because they didn’t accept god’s blood sacrifice of himself to himself for actions they didn’t even commit. (Still baffles me how anyone believes that.)

    In the West(ish) there was also Judaism and Islam to consider. Judaism though was ethnically based and how is that gonna help me. It’s like me wanting to join the mafia or the yakuza. Even if I could get in there is a very real glass ceiling because I am not “one of them.” Again, why would God, this all powerful, all knowing, all creating being, limit himself to one people one rock circling one star in one of how many galaxies/dimensions/????. Islam at least was universal. Anybody could join and it didn’t preach a suicidal level of pacifism (turn the other cheek, which I understood Christians would do if they took Jesus to really be God and were attempting to really follow what he said instead of bsing it) in that you could defend yourself and community but not more. At least that was practical. And they had the one book that was written down within a handful of years by the people who knew the Prophet as opposed to a collection of books over hundreds of years, some of which weren’t written down for centuries after the events happen, or the majority of which was written by a guy who didn’t even meet the “incarnate God” while “He” was alive (also “He” never claimed to be God according to his own words. Odd).

    So I decided at 15 to become Muslim. I decided to wake up for the dawn prayer, even though I had no idea how to do “it,” and set my alarm. I woke the next morning, before my alarm even went off, and preceded to not pray. I was unwilling to buy the God thing. There was no evidence either way and why would I go about listening to something that may not even exist. Over time my agnosticism grew more and more atheistic because I didn’t believe it was possible. I made a choice regarding the grounds of belief and I chose that the evidence against a God was greater regardless that there was no change in evidence either way. What was relevant was that a God was not needed to explain existence. There were/are theories for why we look and act like we do, why languages exist, why we “feel” things, what light is, and so on for practically anything. Including potential, as yet untestable, theories about why there is all of this (waves arm broadly) as opposed to, well not this. It was still groping in the dark but at least it wasn’t a totally unsubstantiated “everything was created in seven day (yeah days like you experience them)” or “we speak languages because our ancestors tried to build a tower to heaven” or “the entire world was flooded and left just one family to repopulate.” Being versed, in time, in the way myths, and stories in general, worked I understood the metaphorical nature that could lie behind these tails.

    Even then, so what? Why should I bother with those stories. Buddhism, minus all the reincarnation mumbo-jumbo, provided a much more practical approach to things and could be useful for mental health and the such, similar to Stoicism from the Western traditions. Along with the practicality of the martial philosophies of Miyamoto Musahsi and Sun Tzu, and the scientific method, as developed in West over the last centuries, and its undeniable practical applications, I found myself with a pretty solid collection of theories that cover (practically) everything (that matters).

    But I was miserable. It wasn’t working for me. At this point though I had become a pretty hard-core New Atheist and was stomping on theists whenever the opportunity arose so the thought of admitting I had no idea was damaging to my pride. I didn’t know how it happen but some how I had become certain there was no God. I would ask how that happen but I had stayed self-aware enough on my journey that I could see how all the pieces fit together. I had grown comfortable and confident that I knew something. I had continued to state the “more you learn the more you realize you don’t know” and the “real wisdom is knowing you know nothing” platitudes but I had become a hypocrite. I knew and anyone who didn’t know was stupid or blind. I rubbed their faces in their ignorance and while it gave me a momentary joy to be better than them it left me with nothing at the end of the day.

    Material items never pleased me so I just sought me knowledge or experiences. Being a psychonaut was fun and, like a vacation, was refreshing but it yielded no real results. No friendship or relationship ever filled that hole. If anything that hole only made it worse as I sought that fulfillment I did not have from those relationships. I wanted to not need or want anything as I knew such trust and acceptance was also a tenuous at best as anything or anyone could vanish or betray your trust. I needed to try something else before I finally just killed myself, because, you know, why not.

    (It should be noted, at this point I had no belief what so ever regarding that an afterlife existed. I was not only comfortable with that but expected it and looked forward to “the end.” That the opposite might be true was unpalatable but I viewed as mentioned previously, “If God sends you to hell despite your goodness and God’s understanding (I mean God is suppose to be omniscient right, and who better than someone with omniscience would better understand why did, or did not, do what you did). If such a God would still punish you than such a god would not be worth of worship, much less respect.”)

    So I took the leap of faith. It has not been at all like I expected. I stated elsewhere and was ridiculed for it but, I did not feel like I was giving up on anything I had learned. And adversly nor did I come to “know” anything either. Nothing changed but everything changed. The universe did not realign, God did not appear to me, and nothing happen. The change was in me alone and again I realized I knew nothing and there is no way to truly know.

    I have faith, confidence, but not certainty. I won’t claim to know anything like I found myself doing so before. I don’t know how God could know the future and how I could have free will. I don’t know if God could create a rock so heavy he can’t move it. I don’t know why there is evil in the world if God is all loving and benevolent. I have theories for some of these and no idea for others, but one thing I do know (lol) is I don’t know anything.

    I am sure when we develop time travel (God willing), we will see that the Prophets (saws) and the miracles all have physically rational explanations. Things we can reproduce. One day, if we don’t kill ourselves or are obliterated by the some natural event we may become Q like in our own right, God willing, and God, I anticipate, will remain as elusive as He is know. (Note: I use “He” colloquially and not because I believe God has a gender.)

    My faith isn’t about any of that though. Perhaps my “feeling better” (a sentiment my internal anti-theist wants to scoff at because there are clearly bio-chemical and bio-electric) is just a combination of willful thinking and psychological repurposing. Even if that is true I am okay with that. My faith isn’t about that either.

    My faith is about having faith. I don’t know anything, but I have confidence that there is a God and He is just and is outside my ability to conceive.

  • phillinj@slu.edu' NancyP says:

    Barton of Wallbuilders speaks for the anti-intellectual right wing Evangelical/Fundamentalist politicos, pastors with fantasies of being “kingmakers”, and gullible or pre-occupied lay congregants. Mainline seminary types consider him a joke. Even some literalist conservative evangelical/fundamentalist seminary profs consider Barton a joke.

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  • mike.reed@inumc.org' PastorM says:

    Look at work on the stages of spiritual growth by James Fowler and Scott Peck for some insight here. One way to see the “Nones” is to say that they have grown or moved beyond fundamentalism and will not go back. They may return to churches that are less rigid, more open, and more involved in service. More so-called orthodox churches will always grow faster because people need order, structure, and fairly strict doctrine. Over time, some will realize that the so-called orthodox approach does not work for them, so they leave or drop out. Many do not stop believing or serving but do not look to the church any longer.

  • lsomers3@tampabay.rr.com' lsomers says:

    The church (churches) need to die and let Jesus loose on the world again. He has been held captive to theologies and rituals invented by Greek philosophers and Roman Emperors and clerical sycophants since the disaster known as the First Council of Nicaea and the 6 subsequent destroyers of the Jesus of history and the movement he inspired. The pagan god-man of orthodoxy is absurd and more and more intelligent young people see it for what it is: ridiculous and a hold over from the superstitious paganism that was the hot-house in which orthodoxy grew and bloomed.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Daniel,
    I have been wondering about the relationship between Christianity and the nation as a whole, and thinking this might be something that deserves more articles. It seems to me the current situation is religion has total freedom to be anything they want, preach anything they want, control their people any way they want. This has not always been the case in every country in history, but I think it is here. So why is there so much interaction between church and state, disagreements, fights even? As far as I can see, Christian complaints fall in two categories. One, when they pay taxes (Render to Caesar) they would like to have veto power over how that money is spent. The other problem is when their morality goes beyond the law, sometimes they would like to upgrade the law to make everyone follow more closely their moral code. In a more perfect world, religion and Christianity might just follow a live and let live philosophy as long as the government is not trying to force them to do anything against their religious code. The government has always seemed to be accomodating of religion, sometimes even to the point of giving them religious exemptions to not have to follow laws that might apply to everyone else. In a more perfect world, Christians might understand the most righteous thing they could ever do would be to offer comfort and assistance to those in need, and there is nothing stopping them from doing that. Basically I think Christians are currently living in a world that is perfectly suited for letting them live their religion to the max. They should be happy, but instead they seem to be really upset about something. They know they can’t set up a theocracy. So exactly what is the problem? Does this make any sense?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    As soon as you try to make it about Jesus, you end up with the same problems again, one way or another. Forget him.

  • primalsoup@aol.com' Just_PrimalSoup says:

    Sam…I am sitting here slack-jawed. Seriously, outstanding account. I won’t go into a long drawn-out spiel here, but suffice it to say, as they say, “You are not your father’s oldsmobile Kool-Aid drinker religious fanatic.” And as an agnostic, I found your short form conclusion was perfect. We definitely see eye-to-eye on that.

    Just to rephrase your last paragraph, and in my own words, “God”, if he/she/it/other/TBD or not, exists… is the unknowable, unthinkable, unspeakable. And I can live with that just fine. It gives me all the “peace” I need.

    P.S. I personally don’t think kalqlate was ridiculing you, but rather just giving his (tough love??) POV. Anyway, that’s the way I saw it, from my POV. 🙂

  • jeffj@cruzio.com' Jeffrey G. Johnson says:

    The assertions of religious freedom these days all seem to be related to controlling others or dictating uses of public property for the display of religious symbols. I don’t think there are any restrictions at all on how people worship in their homes or churches, or their rights to publicly proclaim religious messages in any arena open to general free speech. That doesn’t seem to be enough freedom for them. Perhaps there is something inherent in the psychology of the religious impulse that naturally incorporates the desire to control others in order to enforce a world that is “perfect” by the standards of one’s own religion.

    The Hobby Lobby case is a perfect example. Even when employers were exempted from paying for birth control, they argued that filing an opt-out exemption violated their religious freedom because they were performing an action that enabled their female employees to obtain birth control, even though that action had to do with business compliance with government regulation, and nothing whatsoever to do with their religious observance or religious beliefs. It’s pretty clear that what is going on here has nothing to do with religious freedom and everything to do with wanting to impose restrictions on women’s access to birth control. This is over-reaching on religious freedom claims to establish a flimsy legal justification for infringing on the rights of others.

    This is just one step away from asserting the right to censor all kinds of individual freedoms that upset one’s religious sensibilities.

    We really need to educate people better on what religious freedom should actually entail for an individual. It certainly isn’t the right to impose restrictions and limitations on others.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    What is religion in America? There is the desire to control others to enforce the standards of one’s own religion. What else? Is that it? Or is there something more to American religion? I think that is a question worth looking into.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    Thank you.

  • jeffj@cruzio.com' Jeffrey G. Johnson says:

    But if your definition of God is thus, does that match other definitions of God? Part of the problem when people make statements about “God” is that they don’t specify what properties their version of God includes.

    Do you believe God speaks English, is surveilling your thoughts, feelings, and actions, listening to your prayers, intervening in the world by locally modifying the laws of physics? Because many people mean that kind of God when they say the believe in God.

  • PyotrZ@gmail.com' PyotrZ says:

    “…acknowledge that the church as he conceives it wants a bigger slice of a shrinking pie”

    This is like those wealthy who oppose sound ecological management. They double down on the environmental exploitation in order to become as rich as possible before the inevitable collapse. You need a lot of power and money to stay personally comfortable during global catastrophe.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    I don’t think that this sort of oppression is religious i nature. I think it is by-and-large kyriarchic and is part of the fundamental nature of humans. Religion, just like anti-religion, can be used for this goal. And adversely religion, and anti-religion, can be used to fight this oppression. There are plenty of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc. who support the use, and availability, of birth control.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    My question is what is Christianity in America. We can see how they are stirring up trouble on certain issues. What about beyond that? Is that all they are here, just troublemakers, or is there anything else to Christianity?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I have heard on good authority that God is a concept by which we measure our pain.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    I think there is more, just is there with any movement. But the loudest are always the ones who get attention. The Christian Right in America got in bed with the Conservatives and made the GOP into an ideological party more than it was before. This alliance has allowed Christianity in America to define Christianity in America. There is a Christian Left and there are even members of the Christian Right who disagree with what is being done in their name.

    The thing I find unfortunate is that most people don’t speak up and just want to “live their life.” They don’t seem to understand that all of this not only effects their lives but how they are perceived. That isn’t to say that I don’t understand their hesitation. The loud ones can be quite difficult to deal with and if they aren’t willing to listen then why bother, right?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I think that shows a contradiction between two different points I have been trying to make. On the one hand, I am saying Christianity should be in a live and let live mode with society, and just expressing their religion through comforting and helping those in need. On the other hand I have been saying what is Christianity doing besides stirring up trouble to try to force their will on others. So if there is a side of Christianity doing it right and not being troublemakers, we wouldn’t notice them. Maybe this religion stuff is harder than I thought. It is easy to see bad religion, but might not be easy to notice good religion.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Becoming as rich as possible is probably a good strategy because the global catastrophe will really be caused by the actions of all the other rich people, so you need to protect yourself and your family by having enough money to buy your way out of whatever problems the rich end up causing.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    I think it is easy to see bad in general. Most good behavior passes under the radar. Just like people using guns to hurt others as opposed to all the other people using guns properly. I think it would be disingenuous to put this on religions doorstep when it seems to be at humanities.

  • primalsoup@aol.com' Just_PrimalSoup says:

    Hi Jeffrey,

    I think I specified my conceived properties of “God” with my unknowable, unthinkable, unspeakable phrase. When you ask about God speaking English, listening to prayers, etc., you (it seems to me) cast “God” in some kind of human form. Understandable. People love to make God into something human. So much easier to relate to. I get that.

    But for me, if, and heavy on the IF part, if there is some”thing” recognized as “God”, or something I can recognize as “God”, it is more of an idea, an energy, an attitude, a frame of (human) mind, an integration of all that is, a oneness with existence, an…. well, you get my drift. But I have no idea, and that’s the truth. It’s not that important to me that “God” is an actual entity. Doesn’t matter (to me). But that’s just me. 😉

  • Judaism though was ethnically based and how is that gonna help me. It’s like me wanting to join the mafia or the yakuza. Even if I could get in there is a very real glass ceiling because I am not “one of them.” Again, why would God, this all powerful, all knowing, all creating being, limit himself to one people one rock circling one star in one of how many galaxies/dimensions/????

    ——————————————
    Wow. I can’t think of a more misconceived conception of Judaism. But thanks for telling me what I and my people believe.

    My congregation is at least half converts from Christianity. I’ll let them know that there is a glass ceiling and that they are not “one of us.”

    The description of Christianity as suicidal in its pacifism is also a gross misrepresentation.

    Your “faith” sounds like its based largely on an uneducated view of the world’s religions.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    I was waiting for for you. Not you, per se, but the you in general. There is always the guy who comes along and insists that someone else doesn’t know what they are talking about. They essentially call them stupid and say their belief and understanding is unfounded. They insist that the others understanding is ridiculous and they name call.

    It wouldn’t matter what I said or how I said it or what my point was, they attack. They have to. I expected an atheist to be honest, but thank you for proving that such attacks aren’t limited to a certain belief system. Thank you for showing me that it is just human nature.

    You could have asked me to elaborate. Or you could have asked me to help you see why I see it this or that way? Or you could have attempted dialogue in a million different ways, but you didn’t. Why?

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    Also if you use

    at the beginning and

    at the end you can do cool things like:

    Judaism though was ethnically based and how is that gonna help me. It’s like me wanting to join the mafia or the yakuza. Even if I could get in there is a very real glass ceiling because I am not “one of them.” Again, why would God, this all powerful, all knowing, all creating being, limit himself to one people one rock circling one star in one of how many galaxies/dimensions/????

  • Or you could have attempted dialogue in a million different ways, but you didn’t. Why?
    ———————————————
    I can’t imagine why. I mean, doesn’t everyone love having their religion compared to Italian and Japanese criminal syndicates?

    I do appreciate your non-answer, however, as well as your attempt at turnabout. It definitely confirms my initial impression of your remarks.

  • Thanks. I’ll stick with my method. It’s clear enough for the purpose to which it is put.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    If you insist. It is your decision.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    I apologize. I can appreciate and understand why you would interpret that statement the way you have. It was not my intent to besmirch any group.

    There is nothing that I can say that I can guarantee that you will hear or appreciate. If you would like me to prove my history chops I will try.

    We can speak of Tolstoy, Yeshua, the Sanhedrin, the Khazars, Moses, Yeshivish, Rambam, Halakha, the pogroms, the pale, Constantine, Paul, the Councils of Nicea, and such. Please let me know.

    If not, best wishes. I just pay that you find it in your heart to give the benefit of the doubt rather than assuming the worst of people. Again, I apologize for any consternation I may have caused.

  • Yeah, that put me off. I am happy to let it go, though. Your apology is much appreciated.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    Do you have any alternatives to suggest for me to replace the offending organizations?

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    Seriously though:
    Do you have any alternatives to suggest for me to replace the offending organizations?

  • Nancy,

    I’m sure you’re right — but it’s the Wallbuilders, not your mainline seminary types, who’ve got themselves a political party, controlling something like 36 well-gerrymandered states, at their disposal.

    -dlj.

  • Jeffrey,

    You’re missing the most important premise of your construct, the post-apostolic invention of that “the world’s sin” that you refer to offhand as though it actually existed.

    -dlj.

  • Sam,

    The idea that gods have wants is certainly news to me. Where did you hear that?

    The next thing you know Santa Clause will be coming down the chimney to collect gifts from us.

    -dlj.

  • “You could have asked me to elaborate. ”

    Sam,

    If a child drops a burst balloon on the sidewalk, asking the child, or even its mummy or daddy, to elaborate would not occur to me.

    -dlj.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    Is it news to you?

  • A breakthrough! Jim, for the first time ever, a good-humored and intelligent post out of you!

    A pleasure to see. Congratulations and thanks you!

    Cheers — indeed three and a tiger,

    -dlj.

  • Certainly. But I repeat myself.

    -dlj.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    Ah, thank you for sharing. I’m glad you have arrived. What other bits of “wisdom” do you have to share? Perhaps anther irrelevant anecdote.

    Ah but what is context to the troll. A hindrance only. So throw it out, throw it out….

  • Only with apparent illiterates who ask me questions the answer to which are obvious to normal people…

    -dlj.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    How do you determine illiterate?
    How do you determine obvious?
    How do you determine normal?

  • “Sam,”

    That “certainly news” means news seems to me obvious.

    It would seem to me normal that any literate person would agree with me on that.

    That’s all the questions you get tonight. Back to insulting Jews or whatever was next on your agenda.

    -dlj.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    Lol.
    I see.
    Good bye.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    I’m extremely disappointed.
    Oh well.

  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    I wanted thank you.
    I just realized you are the embodiment of Fox News. 🙂

  • Daniel,

    The last time I was in your precise neck of the woods I saw the Rev. Sloane Coffin collecting draft cards in a silver salver at the communion rail. Since this was in the Rockefeller Chapel, you can see I understand you cover a certain breadth of social and political reality in your theological day.

    You say “Weirdly, though, the standard conservative religious argument these days is that the churches that demand orthodoxy—another word for holiness—are the ones that do best. That’s even true! ”

    Don’t the Southern Baptists, in your opinion, demand orthodoxy? (A rather un-Baptist demand, imho, but wth…) And aren’t they the church most rapidly hemorrhaging members of any in the United States?

    Cheers,

    -dlj.

  • Sam,

    My remark is precisely in the context of your Jews as mafiosos trolling: there’s nothing of yours I would want elaborated.

    -dlj.

  • jeffj@cruzio.com' Jeffrey G. Johnson says:

    I don’t think original sin exists. I was just stating the premise as a Christian might, on their terms. A Christian would also believe A, B, and C above are true. I think they are false.

  • Jeffrey,

    Yes, I realised when I read some of your other posts lower down the page that something of the sort was true of your position. That leaves me less potentially to disagree about with you. 🙂

    Still I think that the fourth, or perhaps first, premise that I suggested, original sin, is the most important of the bunch. This is true in some sense for most Christians, I would think, but it is emphatically central to the position of the neo-Calvinists who think themselves privileged to declare themselves America’s chosen.

    Don’t you agree?

    Best wishes,

    -dlj.

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  • s.d.stewart@gmail.com' Sam says:

    LOL. Of course, Trump.

  • jeffj@cruzio.com' Jeffrey G. Johnson says:

    Sure. Premises can be built upon premises. Original sin is certainly fundamental to the basic premise I stated about salvation. Without original sin there is no need for salvation, so it is more fundamental to the roots of Christianity. Resurrection and salvation are probably closer to the hearts of most Christians.

    A, B, and C are assumptions about reality that are necessary but not sufficient for Christianity. If you add the premise that assumes original sin as a fact, it might be a sufficient set of fundamental premises.

  • robert.m.jeffers@lonestar.edu' Rmj says:

    Which claim is, itself, a theological one. For better or worse, the work of Bultmann and the “Death of God” theologians never quite caught on.
    Which means it’s an old set of ideas, too.
    Just saying the “held captive to theologies” phrase means: held captive to all but MY theologies.
    ’round and ’round it goes…..

  • robert.m.jeffers@lonestar.edu' Rmj says:

    Who is objective? Where do you stand to be non-interested in what matters most in life? What is the ultimate value of “objectivity,” and why do you think it makes one position superior to another, or more knowledgeable than another?
    Is it your “objectivity” that makes you superior to the “illiterate Chinese rice farmers and tribes from the outback of Africa”? If so, I have no use for it.

  • robert.m.jeffers@lonestar.edu' Rmj says:

    Theologians were figuring that out over 80 years ago. Biblical scholars did away with the literal readings of scripture more than 150 years ago (it’s what gave rise to the fundamentalist literalist reading of scripture). Bonhoeffer, Bultmann, Tillich; I could give you a list of names.

    And church attendance in America was actually at its highest at the end of the 20th century, more than twice what it was at the beginning. Any decline would represent a return to status quo around 1906, when 41% of the American population reported to the Census Bureau that they were members of a religious organization. That number was 70% by 1998.

    If it drops back down to 41%, we’ll have caught up with the first years of the 20th century. And nobody was declaring the church “dead” and Christianity “finished” in 1906.

  • jeffj@cruzio.com' Jeffrey G. Johnson says:

    What distinguishes today from 1906 (among many other things) is the ease with which information can be disseminated and retrieved. It’s much harder for institutions to control what people may or may not read and learn.

    Still some may make the case that in this market of competing ideas that religion can hold its own. Humans have shown over the ages a remarkable propensity to believe what they want to believe despite contrary evidence. The most powerful force Christianity has going for it is not God or any other doctrine; it is the bonds of community. People like belonging and having the emotional support and reassurance. So the doctrines will change, but for those who like this kind of thing something like religion will probably persist. It just won’t be able to demand the same kind of authority over laws and institutional policies. It will just be another pastime or social activity.

    I like to think that belief in God and an after-life are inevitably on the way out because advances in cognitive neuroscience will render obsolete the idea of a “soul” or other magical entity capable of living beyond the death of the body. The writing is already on the wall for those who can read it.

  • gormanbud@earthlink.net' Burnt Orange says:

    It seems funny to me that todays young people reject judgemental religions while accepting secular P.C. restrictions on their freedom of speech, thought and actions. These same individuals deprive others of their careers, their opinions and their jobs based on their differences of opinion on social issues. Bigot, racist and homophobe are the new blasphemies in the secular religion of progressivism. They are as intolerant and as hateful as any inquisitor or firebrand preacher ever was. Humans are just being human with their social controls and the tactics used to control others whether religion, politics or ideology.
    Religion just has given way to political correctness as a vehicle for getting others to “conform.”
    Just changing the name of the method used for social control does not make it any more acceptable.

  • wesseldawn@gmail.com' Duck says:

    To coin an old idiom, “the pot calling the kettle black”.

    As generally understood, the person accusing (the “pot”) is understood to share some quality with the target of their accusation (the “kettle”). The pot is mocking the kettle for a little soot when the pot itself is thoroughly covered in it.

  • cgoslingpbc@aol.com' cgosling says:

    Albert Einstein said he gave up religion when he read his first biology book. So did I.

  • jeffj@cruzio.com' Jeffrey G. Johnson says:

    Excess in enforcing laws or restrictions is always an error. The question of how much is excess is one society must debate. For example, that officer who pulled Sandra Bland out of her car was excessive about doing his job.

    As Jesus said, laws were made for man, not man for laws.

    So your point doesn’t seem funny to me at all. It is not merely an equivalent substitution as you suggest. In one case the obedience is to ancient rules relating to bartering daughters, enforcing male property rights over women, and slaveholder rights over slaves, how to manage burnt offerings and what kind of animals to eat, where you may insert your penis, how severely one may beat a slave or when it is commanded that daughters, sons, or wives should be stoned to death because they act on their sexual desires, etc.

    In the other case the rules are geared toward human freedom, happiness, and equality based on the radical notion of the Enlightenment, one in general vehemently opposed by religions, that every biological human is born with the same entitlement to dignity, respect, justice, and equal rights and freedoms.

    Which do you choose?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    American society is not trying to make religion conform and is tolerating the religions and letting them be anything they want. Religion IS trying to make the rest of society conform to their moral codes, and then judging the world and blaming them for being intolerant.

  • gormanbud@earthlink.net' Burnt Orange says:

    As you well know the Old Testament is NOT binding on Christians and your references are just red herrings. Maybe Christ’s message of love and reconciliation was lost in your antipathy toward the Bible and religion in general.
    Religion is a organization constructed by man. It is flawed and often wrong in its’ attempts to search for a universal truth. Your view seems to be that is is intrinsically bad and seeks power and control just for its own sake.
    Many religions are for dignity, respect, justice and equal rights. Religion NOT secular society led the fight for the abolution of slavery and the dignity of everyman.

  • gormanbud@earthlink.net' Burnt Orange says:

    Is religion, in your book, some monolithic organization that somehow conspires to deprive others of “freedom?” Religions are varied and go from the reclusive Amish to the political Mega Churches. They come in as many iterations as there are colors of the rainbow. How can you indict all with the same admonishments?

    If anyone did that to another segment of society you would be carrying on about broad brushes and stereotyping.
    You really seem stuck in a time warp from the 15th century or maybe it is the modern religion of Islam you are worried about. I can’t imagine how you group everything under one umbrella of “religion” and expect agreement with your sweeping statements.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Christianity in general is responsible for voting for Republicans, and they have won them a lot of elections. We as a nation are now paying for those sins. The Christianities can be different, but all those voting for Republicans are equally guilty.

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    It’s ALWAYS about Jesus,Jim Reed.Release yourself from the cramped confines of your truncated, tiny little finite worldview/mindset and get over yourself.Most of the so-called”Death of Christ/God”crowd are themselves dead.WAKE UP!!

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    Authentic Christianity will NEVER,EVER die,because Authentic Christianity is anchored in the Rock that IS The Risen Saviour Himself.I don’t care how many or whoever is putting together documentaries that are supposedly debunking The Word of God(And frankly,that concept would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sadly pathetic),Our Saviour will NEVER BE OVERTHROWN.EVER.So get over yourself,”Well_Read” and dial your rhetoric back a notch.The IVP press tome”Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels” alone has over 890 pages compiled by over 80 Biblical scholars,ALL with PHD’S,from the best schools in the world: Harvard.Yale.Cambridge.Princton.Rutgers.Oxford.Whi do you think you’re kidding,sir? If you don’t want to believe,more power to you,and so be it.But the idea that Authentic Christianity will EVER be “debunked”,whatever you even think that means is sheer,unadulterated nonsensical drivel and ludicrous wishful thinking on the part of the woefully misinformed.—PEACE IN CHRIST, ALWAYS!

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    I have another well-worn adage you would do well to heed,Well_Read: “It is always better to remain silent and be thought a fool,than to open your mouth and remove all doubt”.

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    Well,shucks,Jeffrey…you’ve got it all figured out!! We should all just throw our Bibles away and embrace YOUR mindset/worldview,and follow YOU…yes?

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    Wow,Jim Reed…who did all that,and STILL haven’t got it including you? I’m simply astonished at that level of futility.What’s wrong with you people? How many times you have to be told: THE SCRIPTURES ARE CLOSED TO UNREGENERATE UNBELIEVERS!! Get a clue,people!!—Sheesh!

  • jeffj@cruzio.com' Jeffrey G. Johnson says:

    Gee, I could have sworn you were comparing judgmental religion to political correctness…let’s see..

    It seems funny to me that todays young people reject judgemental
    religions while accepting secular P.C. restrictions on their freedom of
    speech, thought and actions

    Yep, there it is. You also mentioned that they are “as intolerant and as hateful as any inquisitor or firebrand preacher ever was.”

    Perhaps also you didn’t notice that I paraphrased Jesus when he defended his disciples for picking fruit on the Sabbath. The laws were made for people, and not the other way around.

    So I was addressing your comparison. Don’t now pretend like you didn’t make it. My point is that your comparison is bogus, because judgmental religion is placing rigid adherence to scripture and “traditional values” above human freedom and happiness. While PC mind police can get out of control and over-bearing in certain instances, over-all the concern with equality based on race and gender is a large step forward compared to the judgments handed down over the ages by religion.

    And I think Jesus pointed in that direction when he said that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.

  • jeffj@cruzio.com' Jeffrey G. Johnson says:

    No.

  • jeffj@cruzio.com' Jeffrey G. Johnson says:

    I guess swallowing such a huge load of hogwash would put anybody in a bad mood.

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    Why not,Jeffrey? When you complied your post I’m certain that you actually assumed that you knew what you were talking about,so…now that you’ve eviscerated Christianity and Christian theology/philosophy/tenets,your pronouncments have obviously shown us (Christians) what idiots,louts,and naive,gullible fools we are,so…why not tout yourself as the new guru of common sense,someone even Jesus Himself has nothing on? —what’s the problem?

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    Wow,Jeffrey…you unbelievers can be seriously obtuse at times,not to mention downright hilarious.You are WAAY too funny to put anybody in a bad mood,especially me; I actually look forward to engaging your ilk on these posts,especially those who actually think that they know what they’re talking about when it comes to what Authentic Christianity is about.I read somewhere that atheists think that they know more about religion in general and Christianity in particular than Christians!! (Now that IS funny!!)—To be fair,among far too many Christians that’s true,sadly; but you can be sure that I’m not one of those Christians,Jeffrey.The blatant ignorance and uniformed pseudo-analyses propagated by the arrogant,condescending pseudo-intellectual poseurs calling themselves atheists and claiming to be able to dissect The Christian Faith is simply pathetic,sad,and the height of folly.So…if you want to go down this road,Jeffrey,I’ll be glad to go with you.I’ve been a born-again, blood-bought, Spirit-filled child / servant of Almighty God for 39 years and having studied,and am still studying every aspect of my Faith for over 25 years,there is very little that I don’t know about it,certainly more than any self-professed atheist,so…once again,PEACE IN CHRIST, ALWAYS!—BRING IT ON!!!

  • jeffj@cruzio.com' Jeffrey G. Johnson says:

    No true Scotsman would claim to know what “Authentic Christianity” is about.

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    Ahh,the old”No True Scotsman”canard; something that can only be regarded as a tiresome,boring deflection away from the issues at hand.Tell me Jeffrey: Do you think that Christ Himself knows what Authentic Christianity is? Take your time; I’ll wait.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    That is reasoning in a circle. It comes down to only believers believe. It does mean it should be possible to go on discussing this for a while.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I don’t think the concept of authentic Christianity applies here. It is more a concept used between different Christian churches when they judge each other. That is probably the strength of Christianity. When they argue over who is the authentic Christian, everybody wins and the others concept loses. It allows Christianity to divide unlimitedly, and that is a mechanism to ultimately outrun any contradiction.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    That is really all you have left. Wait for Christ to come.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I think I have you beat in that blood bought spirit filled category. I was that over 45 years ago, and over 40 years ago I grew beyond the Christian stage. You can’t truly understand Christianity until you have seen it from both the believer and ex-believer sides.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    One problem those PHDs can’t get around is the timing of the telling of the gospel story. The story of Jesus of Nazareth with all the miracles was written in the last third of the first century, with each new version expanding on the story as told in the previous one. It is the story of the life of a man in the first third of the first century But in the middle of the first century we have the writings of Paul. Christianity at that time was the story of a Christ Jesus that was found in old testament scriptures and visions, and knew nothing of the gospel story as told later in the books that became the New Testament. There was no gospel Jesus in the middle of the century, so the story was made up.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    You could at least give it a try.

  • jeffj@cruzio.com' Jeffrey G. Johnson says:

    Obviously not since he’s dead, if he ever existed, and when he allegedly was alive Christianity did not exist.

  • jeffj@cruzio.com' Jeffrey G. Johnson says:

    Yep, same here. It’s amusing when Christians assume that atheists were never Christian or Muslim or Buddhist. There is a built-in assumption necessitated by faith that if someone doesn’t believe it can only mean they must not understand.

    They are discounting the possibility that maybe I was a Christian long before they were born, and that breaking free took decades of agonizing struggle. That struggle at first seemed like an epic cosmic contest over one’s soul in slow-motion. Only later do you see you’ve actually been battling the ingenuity that centuries of church leaders put into psychological mind control to keep the masses subservient.

  • jeffj@cruzio.com' Jeffrey G. Johnson says:

    There is a very delicious irony in this:

    Our Saviour will NEVER BE OVERTHROWN.EVER.So get over yourself

    I think the relevant teaching was “physician, heal thyself.” (without capital letters).

    Moving on:

    the idea that Authentic Christianity will EVER be “debunked”,whatever you even think that means

    I’ll say what I think it means. To debunk something is to reveal that what is claimed to be true can not be backed up with evidence by those who claim it. When a claim is extraordinary, extraordinary evidence is required. The fact that many people believe a claim holds no weight. All of humanity has been wrong about things many times before.

    Whether or not Christianity is based on true and accurate beliefs says nothing about how revered that set of beliefs may be, or how appealing they may be, or how much comfort and well being a person may derive from those beliefs. The opposite is also true: the deepest devotion and most sincere faith is not evidence that the beliefs are true in any way. The beliefs may have many fine qualities, such as encouraging virtue and good acts. They simply lack the advantage of being based on truth.

    The idea that there is a divine being interested in human welfare who intervenes in our world, that he sent a son who died and came back to life, and that we have a non-physical entity in us that survives the death of the body are all claims that have little or no evidence to back them up, while the contrary evidence is overwhelming.

    The state of knowledge today is such that whoever seriously considers the question of claims about reality made by Christianity can not fail to conclude that they are based on absolutely nothing but hearsay, while all the hard evidence we have contradicts it. To not reach this conclusion requires one to ignore well established facts and evidence, selectively seeing only what one wants to see.

    He who has eyes to see, let him see.

    There are so many competing voices that there is no authority who can unambiguously and unequivocally claim to define “Authentic Christianity”. It is really a matter for each believer to decide for themselves. And for non-believers too.

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    Wow…thank you for showcasing your profound ignorance of the Christian Faith,and the history of it.You’ve made my point,yet again.Sad but hilarious.Feel free to try and clear up your confusion,if you can.I’m having a ball here!!

  • jeffj@cruzio.com' Jeffrey G. Johnson says:

    You seem to be confusing being ignorant of a claim with not believing a claim. I know what Christians believe. Don’t you grasp that it’s possible to know what a religion claims (thus not be ignorant of it, by definition) while not accepting those claims?

  • gormanbud@earthlink.net' Burnt Orange says:

    So now it is ALL Republicans are guilty. Stereotyping and broad brushing seems intellectually lazy. Check Republican governors around the country. They are repairing much of the economic damage done by your liberal programs and policies over the years.
    Are Democratic voters guilty of killing 50,000 Americans in Viet Nam? Maybe the additional 50,000 dead in Korea could be laid at the Democrats doorstep by your assessment.
    As a committed atheist I find your Christian bashing and blaming them for Republican political policies just another vehicle for your continued assault on the Christian religion.

    You are entitled to your own bigoted prejudices but if any religion presents a threat to your safety and well being it is the Muslim radicals who, in the name of religion, would like nothing better then to murder you in cold blood.
    Republicans and Christians might just implement political solutions of which you disapprove. Big difference.

  • gormanbud@earthlink.net' Burnt Orange says:

    It has been a long day!!

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    All Republicans are guilty, if they are still voting for Republicans. The time when you could still theoretically justify being Republican is long past, it ended when Bush took us to his wars of choice against a non-enemy for purposes of Republican greed and sank our nation into torture. It was clear during McCain’s campaign when the greed is good philosophy came out in the open. Before that I am sure they were the party of greed, but it wasn’t advertised for the nation to see. Greed is good, and the party is finally able to be out and proud about it. They don’t want to share or spread any of the wealth, and now they can finally say it. The poor Republicans felt that way. Why are poor republicans so proud about the greed of the rich? I am not exacely sure, but I think it is somehow connected with Christianity. The Republicans are the party of blocking voter rights. The Republicans are lockstep against the president in anyting, like sending that open letter to Iran telling them to go fuck themselves because if Iran signs any deal with Obama and the rest of the world, the Republicans will cancel it at the first chance they get. They will also cancel health care at the first chance they get, but so far the first 100 chances haven’t been successful.

  • No millennials were harmed by being interviewed for this article.

    -dlj.

  • gormanbud@earthlink.net' Burnt Orange says:

    Empty headed DNC talking points mixed with atheistic hate. Christains seem to be an obsession with you. Muslims are beheading people, suicide bombing markets, crashing planes into buildings — but your obsession and outright hatred for your fellow Americans who happen to be Christians has addled what is left of your thought process.

    My guess is if Republicans take the W.H. and control Congress you will be putting on a suicide vest and taking down as many Americans as possible who don’t vote like you. Your head is filled with cartoon characters that Advertising Agencies have made up during political campaigns to demonize anyone NOT a Democrat. Bet you even believe Republicans push old people off cliffs in wheelchairs for fun and profit. What a dark sick little world you inhabit.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Obama has the option of pointing out the Republicans will oppose anything he does. He can logically show why the Iran deal is good, and the more he does the more the Republicans are painting themselves into a corner. He might as well continue that course of action, because however it ultimately works out, and whatever the Republicans decide to do about it, they lose. They are rejecting logic to play their political game, so we can just sit back and watch them ruin themselves.

  • gormanbud@earthlink.net' Burnt Orange says:

    Welcome back to earth. Your point of view is shared with many others. They are made more cogent by dropping the Christian angle. The entire civil rights movement was powered by the Southern Baptist churches but no one complained about religion and politics being mixed during that time. Sometimes organized religions can come together to advance some social good. Sometimes they try to hold the line against change they consider bad. Political points of view often determine which side someone is supporting vis a vis religion being a force for good or bad.

    At this time in our history Republicans seem to be using some religious organizations as a constituent groups much like Democrats appeal to and advocate for partisan special interest organizations seeking social change. At times some types of social change MIGHT not be in the best interests of society as a whole. .

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    The Christian angle is key to understanding our situation. The lockstep conservative Christian voting block made it possible for the greed of the rich to grow much bigger and faster, and with nobody to answer to since they no longer had to answer to their voters that were now voting more on belief than on answers. All the rich had to do is tell the Christians what they wanted to hear, and that is the kind of thing they have been learning to do for way before this country was founded.

  • gormanbud@earthlink.net' Burnt Orange says:

    What you are referring to is WHITE fundamental Christians. Funny how Catholic Christians often vote Democrat and at times liberal. Black churches are also Christians and vote straight Democrat. Not sure if the remaining groups of fundamentalists vote as a bloc. Even if they do they are not as stupid and lemming like as you might like to think. While there are large pockets of them they would have a hard time swinging a national election. They might actually believe some of the solutions advocated for by the Republicans. Could be right could be wrong but doubt their religious leaders are leading them around by the nose. Republican primaries in some states are affected by them just as liberal secular groups swing Dem. primaries in many states.

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    Sigh…that’s the saddest comment on what most atheists think they know about The Christian Faith yet,Jeffrey.Do you even hear yourself?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    It kind of makes sense when you think about it. Christianity is basically reasoning in a circle. It comes down to its true because its true, and they believe it because they have been telling each other.

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