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"No More Christians!"
March 6, 2007 8:13 PM   Subscribe

Based on research (from the Barna Group) that shows Christians act no better than non-Christians the Community Christian Church have made a series of Mac vs PC parodies (1,2,3,4) that criticize a certain type of Christian. The pastor of the CCC goes even further by saying the last thing the world needs is more Christians. Interesting discussion about the parody clips from Christian/Christ followers can be found here.
posted by meech (63 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
wendell.
posted by quonsar at 8:15 PM on March 6, 2007


From the "goes even further" article, I don't care when pastors get into that "here's why Christians aren't any better than regular folk" stuff, because often the reasons don't make any sense (there are plenty of reasons not to help people on the street beyond being un-Christian). But the general theme of the article is good- Big Idea, indeed.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:25 PM on March 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I knew those ads would suck. Why did I try watching them?
posted by Dasein at 8:25 PM on March 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, I was just thinking about this the other day. In most "Christian" countries, I assume the number of Christian households outnumbers the number of homeless people. According to Jesus's teaching (and a pretty blatant, non-metaphorical, difficult to misinterpret teaching) all those Christians should be cooking dinner and making a bed for a homless person tonight. There shouldn't be anymore people on the streets.

What's more, if the guest steals their DVD player and sells it for crack, the Christian should go find them and invite them back again. Jesus was pretty clear about that as well. I don't see it happening that much.
posted by Jimbob at 8:42 PM on March 6, 2007 [6 favorites]


I saw what they were getting at pretty quickly, they should have made them shorter.
posted by Emo Squid at 8:43 PM on March 6, 2007


So this is so the pastor can shill his book? Nice.
posted by basicchannel at 8:44 PM on March 6, 2007


... and what is going on here?
posted by basicchannel at 8:51 PM on March 6, 2007


I know of so many CCC churches. Churches with any other letter combination do not abbreviate; only CCC churches. Very strange.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:54 PM on March 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is a pretty common issue that arises among Christians (or do I mean Christ Followers.. Damn!). Yeah, one of the major problems with Christianity is that its supposed adherents don't act all that Christ-like. That's not very surprising news.

It's a shame, though, because it turns the religion into a parody of itself. Christianity has a very strong and powerful message and Jesus was a pretty fucking rad dude. It's a shame that what always should have been a message of love has become a farce.

By the way, I want to see some more of this "research."
posted by inconsequentialist at 8:58 PM on March 6, 2007


IANAXTIAN, but I dig on the historical and philosophical Jesus, and from what I know of what the big J had to say, CCC duder is right. Modern Christianity has nothing to do with the gospel and goals of Jesus, and everything to do with being part of a club, judging others, and generally feeling holier than thou.

Add in the scumsuckers that preach dominionism and the prosperity gospel, and you got a movement about as far from "Christian" as you can get.


Jesus wept.
posted by stenseng at 8:58 PM on March 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


I thought the videos were pretty cute. So much of the "christianity" these days has been all about an image that people project, and less about a basic simple message, that it was entertaining to see it getting deflated a bit.
posted by brain cloud at 9:00 PM on March 6, 2007


Oh god, this commercial reminded me that when I was 13, I gave up secular music for a while. A very, very short while.
posted by inconsequentialist at 9:04 PM on March 6, 2007


By the way, I want to see some more of this "research."

I couldn't find the research online but that's probably because Mr Barna wants to sell some copies of his book. Here is a Barna survey on divorce that gives its methodology.
posted by meech at 9:14 PM on March 6, 2007


I'm more impressed with the Sikh Sikh Langar or free kitchen myself.

Lunch at the Langar: Exploring a Free Kitchen in Delhi
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:17 PM on March 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Christ, what a bunch of assholes...
posted by wfrgms at 9:33 PM on March 6, 2007


I can't watch YouTube at work, so am tantalised by the following question: is the xtian the PC dork or the Mac 'hipster'?

I am torn in both directions: the PC dork has all the sartorial sense & charisma of my stereotypical xtian, but on the other hand, the Mac 'hipster' has the smug self-righteousness down pat.

Can somebody *please* tell me which way they went? The suspense is killing me.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:59 PM on March 6, 2007


sebastienbailard: yes - Sikhs are a thousand times as xtian (in spirit) than most professed xtians. I have a great deal of respect for them. What goes on a Gurudwaras - eg those free kitchens - goes a long way towards demonstrating how organised religion can actually be a force for good in the world.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:03 PM on March 6, 2007


I remember once when I was delivering pizza I slowed down to look at the house numbers. I was driving like an idiot because I was toward the center of the street - not knowing whether the house was on the left or right side but the street was empty. Well, I found the house so I was going to stop but I saw there was a car coming up behind me. So I started toward the curb, but the guy had the idea to pass me on that side. So I switched to let him pass and that's when he decided to go to the left. (You know that thing you do when you are face to face with someone and you both get into the stutter rhythm of trying to go the same way - like that but with cars). So the car lays on it's horn and I stop (slowly), figuring it's the best thing to do, just let him get around me. He passes on the left and the guy riding shotgun is this scruffy looking guy with long hair and a beard who flips me off and shouts "ASSHOLE!"
And they accelerate past me.
Bumper sticker said "Jesus is my co-pilot"

I'm not so sure it's just the name "Christian" that has been tarnished.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:07 PM on March 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


(2nded on the Sikhs - there's a Gurudwara out here and a large community.)
posted by Smedleyman at 10:08 PM on March 6, 2007


You know, I was expecting worse when I began to watch those. They weren't so bad. I don't know if I'd go as far as funny, but at least not too cringe-worthy.

UbuRoivas, the "Christian" is the PC, and the "Christ Follower" is the Mac. But the Christ Follower is less of a douchebag than the Mac is. He doesn't say much, in fact... the Christian is doing most of the work here.

Interesting that the CCC people don't end up describing themselves through these videos, they just point at a few "Christian" stereotypes and say "We're not like that." But I guess that's the point: that being a follower of Christ needn't be an outward, conspicuous lifestyle choice, but rather a (duh) religious choice.
posted by dammitjim at 10:31 PM on March 6, 2007


a small note on Sikhism: having just recently visited the Golden Temple - the Sikh Holy-of-Holies - in Amritsar, a few very impressive facts stood out.

Like Hindu & Muslim temples & mosques in India & elsewhere, you have to remove your shoes. Unlike those other places of worship, at a Gurudwara nobody is collecting shoe-minding fees, and nobody is using their religion as a weapon to shout at you and shame you into leaving your shoes with them unnecessarily, just because you are loaded with tourist dollars.

None of the officials is turning a blind eye to Indians using minarets as a daily opportunity to grope western women. No priests are trying to extort money from you. No priests or other officials are preventing you from entering or watching proceedings.

Not only are the Sikh temples 200% welcoming, they also put on free/cheap food, and free/cheap accommodation. Perhaps more importantly, they have toilets, which are not only free to use, but also clean. Pretty much everywhere else, tourists & pilgrims are seen as cash cows for rorting in every possible way (in mosques to a lesser extent than in Hindu temples). I feel that the Sikhs are justly proud of their approach to things like this.

posted by UbuRoivas at 10:32 PM on March 6, 2007


UbuRoivas--they did the Christian as the PC.
posted by sleeplessunderwater at 10:53 PM on March 6, 2007


D'oh, should've previewed.
posted by sleeplessunderwater at 10:55 PM on March 6, 2007


The requisite Wikipedia article on Sikhism. As I live in Kentucky I have no pressing reason to opine about the Sikhs.

I can't find a Wikipedia article on the CCC. However, something not from Wikipedia:

"Most Christians imagine that Jesus did away with all this barbarism and delivered a doctrine of pure love and toleration. He didn’t. (See Matthew 5:18–19, Luke 16:17, 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 20–21, John 7:19.) Anyone who believes that Jesus only taught the Golden Rule and love of one’s neighbor should go back and read the New Testament. And he or she should pay particular attention to the morality that will be on display if Jesus ever returns to earth trailing clouds of glory (e.g., 2 Thessalonians 1:7–9, 2:8; Hebrews 10:28–29; 2 Peter 3:7; and all of Revelation)."

- Sam Harris in an essay at the Council for Secular Humanism. (Said essay is also found in his latest book, Letter to a Christian Nation).
posted by davy at 10:56 PM on March 6, 2007


I know of so many CCC churches. Churches with any other letter combination do not abbreviate; only CCC churches. Very strange.

Ever heard of LDS?

Mac Spoof ads are the pinnacle of lame. In other news this was the second most watched video on youtube today
posted by delmoi at 10:57 PM on March 6, 2007


So do Macs make people Gay? If so what does Linux do?
posted by davy at 10:59 PM on March 6, 2007


this was the second most watched video on youtube today

I KNEW IT!
posted by Count at 11:03 PM on March 6, 2007


Smedleyman: Christians are assholes, too.

I was just resurrecting an old essay I wrote about topic, and I think it kind of overlaps with this discussion. Here's a short excerpt:

“…It makes me want to disown these people, disown this religion, and set up camp in some remote hillside and come back when everything has blown over. But the truth is, authenticity means embracing the bad along with the good. [...] Being a Christian is not necessarily about holiness, but wholeness. The simplest truth in this is that a Christian is a human, a complicated being with multiple motives and superfluous struggles, and not merely a pigeonholed salt and light sculpture.”

I think that the pastor of that church, and the creators of these ads, are feeling a similar thing. They're hoping to help Christianity become genuinely people-focused, and lose the ulterior motives or pretentious faux-holiness. Part 1 is disowning the Christianese lingo. I guess Part 2 is reminding Christians everywhere to embrace the flawed-but-trying nature of all residents sharing the planet.

Thanks for posting this, meech. Super interesting.
posted by Milkman Dan at 11:10 PM on March 6, 2007


*drools on shirt front* Huh?
posted by nola at 11:11 PM on March 6, 2007


So the "pc" guy is the "stereotypical christian" in the ads, while the "mac" guy is the "edgy, subversive, Jesus-is-cool-and-so-am-I" type. But as some of the commenters on the last link note, both are a little too self-righteous for it to be very effective.

It is unfortunate that the medium they chose to push their message of radical "Christ followers" is a part of the very subculture that they satirize. Ripping off pop culture is such a huge presence in evangelical christianity and 99.7% of the time it's horrendous.
posted by kyleg at 11:50 PM on March 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know, I don't care if you're a self-proclaimed righteous Christian smugette or an even more righteous Christ-follower who doesn't rub it in my face. You want to believe some Jewish dude hung from a cross until dead, was taken down and entombed, rose from the dead and said goodbye to his followers, and rose up into heaven to sit at the right hand of some "God" figure . . . . Go right ahead. It is crazy-assed impossible bullshit. But go right ahead.

I appreciate not having your idiocy rubbed in my face with bumper stickers and the like. But I'd really like y'all to stop rubbing it in my face in the domain of policy and state power, where we have rules against that shit no one is following these days.

Christians, in aggregate, have been a force for evil in the world. Or is that "Christianity," so I don't offend anyone too much?

Heck, all organized religion has been a force for evil, in the end. This Sikh-glorifying stuff is amusing (Sikh transit gloria mundi). You need to hire the best assassins in South Asia? Khalistan has you covered.

/atheist rant
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:45 AM on March 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't think the underground church in China has problems with any of these concepts.

Did you know they are praying that Christians in America undergo persecution in order to purify us? For real.

In Vietnam, underground Christians talk about going to "Bible School".

That's what they call it when they are thrown in prison.
posted by konolia at 5:25 AM on March 7, 2007


I wonder if these Christ-followers are less likely to get divorced, have an abortion, stiff a bum, etc. Something tells me that just changing your hat, doesn't change who you are.
posted by xmattxfx at 5:32 AM on March 7, 2007


I have a friend in Yahweh.
posted by breezeway at 5:50 AM on March 7, 2007


Thanks for posting this, meech. Super interesting.

Yeah, what he said.
posted by mediareport at 6:04 AM on March 7, 2007


We have a survey from the Barna Group on our show this weekend.
posted by parmanparman at 6:43 AM on March 7, 2007


Interesting. Makes me wonder whether I'm a Buddhist or a Buddha-follower.
posted by desjardins at 6:44 AM on March 7, 2007


So do Macs make people Gay? If so what does Linux do?
posted by davy at 10:59 PM PST on March 6 [+]
[!]

Make you a virgin?
Badumpah KSH!
Thanks, I'll be here all night!
posted by eurasian at 7:08 AM on March 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


So am I a born-again virgin or just revirginized?
posted by davy at 7:20 AM on March 7, 2007


Ever heard of LDS?

Not all people who consider themselves Christians believe Mormons are Christians.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:35 AM on March 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I liked the piano. dink dink dink. donk donk donk.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:57 AM on March 7, 2007


Not all people who consider themselves Christians believe Mormons are Christians.

But the Mormons do. So unless judgment is being passed on their christianity, the LDS church is a valid example of the initials phenomenon.

Also, I see UU used a lot as an abreviation for the Unitarian church.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:00 AM on March 7, 2007


This is a pretty common issue that arises among Christians (or do I mean Christ Followers.. Damn!). Yeah, one of the major problems with Christianity is that its supposed adherents don't act all that Christ-like. That's not very surprising news.

I was just thinking about this the other day - it gets back to a problematic decision made by early Christians: they decided that to was more important to believe in Jesus than to listen to him.

If I ever get around to starting my church (which is to say, if I'm called), the first thing I would do is put out my own Bible. It would start with the Gospel of Thomas then go to Mark, Luke and Matthew and I would leave out John. In my mind, belief in Jesus' divinity or anything else mystical/magical pales in comparison to the importance of his ideas of God's kingdom on earth, which is always possible now -- and within the ability of humanity to achieve (but the way there is through behavior, not belief). But part of achieving this is jettisoning so much of what we think is important, that it's not really surprising that early church leaders provided the shortcut of belief and begging God for forgiveness every week.

I've been listening to a great podcast out of Stanford (Religion 15: The Historical Jesus) from lectures by Thomas Sheehan which have crystallized some of this for me.
posted by illovich at 8:18 AM on March 7, 2007


But illovich, Jesus never existed. And if God is so great and good, why won't he heal amputees?
posted by davy at 8:24 AM on March 7, 2007


Sorry, I was typing fast and not thinking - I should have posted this link for the Gospel of Thomas, which is introductory material about the text rather than Patterson and Meyer's translation of the text.
posted by illovich at 8:26 AM on March 7, 2007


"I was typing fast and not thinking"

Not thinking is common in religious folk.

As to the former, I type so slowly (and write so badly) that I'm glad to have Sam Harris to point to.

And for the sake of conciseness, "God is supposedly answering millions of prayers on earth every day, but he completely ignores amputated limbs and refuses to restore them."
posted by davy at 8:37 AM on March 7, 2007


Lentrohamsanin Actually, I'm not sure that UU people consider UU to be a sect of Christianity. I know it started that way, but I think they kinda left Christianity behind. Individual UU people may, indeed, be Christian, but the religion as a whole may not be anymore.

I'm an atheist, but my mother and sister are UU and I've never heard them refer to themselves as Christian.
posted by sotonohito at 8:46 AM on March 7, 2007


Well Davy, it is certainly possible that Jesus never existed. It doesn't really matter, in a lot of senses.

However I should point out that the site you link to (meant "For all who would struggle against the tragedy of religion") seems as biased against Jesus as Falwell is biased for (his own version of) Jesus. The last people you want to listen to on an unsettled subject are the ones who already know the answer -- on either side, they'll make sure to only concentrate on "facts" that support their side, and only be willing to talk about "inconsistencies" on the other.

If you want to believe that Jesus didn't exist, that's fine. But expect to be frustrated by stupid people who haven't yet seen the proof that you have -- because the question is not as settled as the anti-Christian sites you link to would like to imagine.

I would point out that the entire case of your linked websites seems to rest on the assertion that the most magical events of the Bible have to be true, or else all of it is baloney. That's a pretty weak argument, and pretty much just mindless preaching to the choir (ha ha). Religious writings from the Middle East in that period were extremely allegorical and symbolic, and to ignore that is to not understand what you're arguing against.

Why won't [God] heal amputees?

I don't know -- but it's sort of an immature question. I know, I know - you think it's a gotcha question (like the site), but it's really not. It won't even phase most Christians, and I would think they might consider you an asshole for asking it.

Do you have any better arguments? Like from any knowledge of the subject, maybe?
posted by illovich at 8:51 AM on March 7, 2007


That's true. My past experience had been with Unitarians who were basically realllllllly open minded and non-denominational christians, but that's not true of the organization as a whole.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:54 AM on March 7, 2007


Not thinking is common in religious folk.

God, you're an asshole. What's funny to me is that you obviously don't even have the tools to engage with this material meaningfully, but you're willing to paint "religious folk" as being unthinking.

What's sad to me is that it's people like you that egg the fundamentalists on. The second someone tries to talk about religion (academically, even) you tell them that religion is a fairy tale and that their stupid.

Let me tell you, that's no way to win an argument. Your attitude alienates people who believe, and convinces them that Atheists are assholes -- just like the asshole fundamentalists that probably convinced you to think about Christianity as a whole the way you do.
posted by illovich at 9:04 AM on March 7, 2007


I thought the ads were cute, too. Some of 'em went a little overkill on the concept, but I laughed out loud at the bumper sticker thing. The Christian dude reminds me so much of someone I know.

The thing that bothers me with the Christian vs. Christ Follower thing is that there's still judgmental behavior going on. It's just that the "Christ Follower" dude is more likable.

I identify more with the Christ Follower guy, sure, and there seems to be an awful lot that's wrong with modern Christianity, but I'd be no better than the Bible-thumpers if I criticized someone for listening to only Christian music, displaying lots of bumper stickers, etc.

...er... not that I don't. *hangs head* I'm just saying the "My brand of Christianity is better than yours" motif is probably not a good lesson to be teaching.
posted by katillathehun at 9:10 AM on March 7, 2007


I just developed a new policy: as soon as I read the phrase "my book" in any article promulgating some sort of correct worldview, I'm just going to stop reading it. I predict it will save me equally well from the Dawkins, the Harrises AND the Fergusons of this world. Everybody's got a fucking answer, don't they.
posted by nanojath at 9:22 AM on March 7, 2007


Me: "Not thinking is common in religious folk."

illovich: "God, you're an asshole."

No, God is non-existant. I am the asshole. Unless of course you mean I'm God, in which case SEND ME MONEY.

Anyway, pray tell me why I should care that superstitious deluded non-thinkers might not approve of the way I discuss their goofy beliefs?

As to the cited web sites, it really is a simple slam-dunk. The issue is "the problem of evil": if God exists He simply cannot be All-Powerful AND All-Knowing AND All-Good; maybe He cannot heal amputees, and/or He doesn't know about them, and/or He likes to watch them be amputees; He's weak and/or stupid and/or just plain mean. And then there all those helpless infants who were drowned in the 2004 tsunami (who can't have all been born to Pagans) and all the victims of all the world's holocausts (many of whom were "Jesus-followers"). So why should we believe in such an unworthy God? (Or maybe there's some better God you'd like to tell us about, and if so where is She/He/It?)

And what "tools" don't I have to engage which material "meaningfully"? I've already admitted on this site several times (this makes twice today) that I can't write for toffee, and I twice pointed to Sam Harris who (I was SO very pleased to discover) can address this subject as completely as I'd want to better than I'll bother to learn how.

So it's your turn: show me God.
posted by davy at 9:42 AM on March 7, 2007


Davy, the problem of evil - the theodicy - in no way "disproves" the existence of God... it simply disproves a God which is omnibenevolent and omnipotent, or omnipotent and omniscient, or any combination of the three.

Some of us "non-thinkers" believe God is working at this stuff right along side us. God gave us free will - therefore God can't be omniscient. And bad shit happens to good people, so God either "wills" bad stuff to happen to us (which is sort of ruled out by her lack of omniscience) or God simply chooses or lacks the power to prevent bad things from happening.

As for the ads - I'm a student in Hyde Park and have had some contact with CCC-types. What's at issue here is identity - fundamentalists still want to assert a literalist interpretation of the Bible without coming across as 'judgemental.' I would caution - if you examine their beliefs from their really hip website, you'll see that they're just another literalist group in sheep's clothing. ("We believe the Bible is entirely accurate, complete, and reliable. We look to the Bible for the revelation of the character of God and the final authority on all matters of faith and conduct.") They may not bash gays or women on the face of it, but I'm sure you don't have to scratch the surface very deep to get at some pretty scary stuff.

Elijah believed he was the only person in the world who understood God's message to Israel. He died (or was taken up in a giant flamin' cadillac) believing this to be the case. I suggest Xians like CCC try to process this message. If there are enough of us in the world to really build the awesome kingdom, why are you putting out these stupid videos? Stop wasting your money on crap like this and get to work. Buy up private spaces in urban centers and create public clinics and shelters. DO the actual work listed. In fact, if you really want to model yourselves after the original Jewish followers of the Jesus movement, before the gentrification, sell everything you own and give the proceeds to the poor. Then go door to door, asking forgiveness from the poor, feeding and clothing the poor, caring for the sick, and visiting those in prison.

It's not super-complicated. No one has some sort of monopoly on being "Jesus-like." It just means that you have to work really hard at your downward-mobility - at becoming one with the poor.

To be honest - the Kingdom of God won't even contain any Christians, because they'll all have retired after building it. Then everyone can live in peace and relative comfort, worshiping whatever God they choose. Maybe keep a few of us around for maintainance work, or something.

Probably, the final Kingdom will be populated by Buddhists.

Read Q. Think for yourself. Get to work.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:02 AM on March 7, 2007


If I ever get around to starting my church (which is to say, if I'm called), the first thing I would do is put out my own Bible.
I would just use Lamb.
posted by Coventry at 10:29 AM on March 7, 2007


Every church should put out its own Bible. It should reflect the beliefs and experiences of that individual community. Open the canon.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:51 AM on March 7, 2007


Theodicy disproves the existence of any god worth believing in. If YHVH is just a slightly more impressive-looking version of Dubya why bother? Why not, oh, shore up human reason using objective reality?
posted by davy at 12:36 PM on March 7, 2007


"Why not, oh, shore up human reason using objective reality?"

And vice-versa too!
posted by davy at 12:40 PM on March 7, 2007


Why won't [God] heal amputees?

I don't know -- but it's sort of an immature question. I know, I know - you think it's a gotcha question (like the site), but it's really not. It won't even phase most Christians, and I would think they might consider you an asshole for asking it.


I thought it was one of Jesus's party tricks to heal people? Like, he had "Cure Serious Wounds" on his character sheet or something.

I'm still trying to figure out why God designed our eyeballs inside out. Not, "Why did God create all those clever parasites" or "What the hell was he doing with all those dinosaurs?" but why the hell did he do such a hack job on the eyeball? (I figure the reason for the parasites was that God's basically a jerk, really.)
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:20 PM on March 7, 2007


Davy:I am the asshole.
At least we've found common ground.
Davy:As to the cited web sites, it really is a simple slam-dunk. The issue is "the problem of evil": if God exists He simply cannot be All-Powerful AND All-Knowing AND All-Good...
What is it about defining your sources as a "slam dunk" that marks an obvious counter for an opponent?

Actually, all you've proven is that a God-that-exists-as-you-define-God doesn't exist. Sort of. But then you seem to infer that it's only worth believing in God if it meets all of your criteria, which implies that you don't necessarily disagree with religion -- you just haven't found the right one yet.

Of course, negative theologians^ have a different opinion of the whole process you're using to evaluate the question.

But this is beside the point; I wasn't talking about God, I was talking about Jesus & Christianity-- which is not the same thing necessarily, at least in my case.

As a rule I don't discuss God with people in these terms. It's a fruitless discussion for obvious reasons.
Davy:And what "tools" don't I have to engage which material "meaningfully"? I've already admitted on this site several times (this makes twice today) that I can't write for toffee, and I twice pointed to Sam Harris who (I was SO very pleased to discover) can address this subject as completely as I'd want to better than I'll bother to learn how.
Therefore, you don't have the tools to engage with the material. The problem with pointing to Sam Harris is that you're basically believing what he tells you, instead of working it out for yourself, so when you spew your uninformed anti-religious bile you look like an idiot, even to someone like me who doesn't subscribe to the beliefs you despise to much.

Believe it or not, it's intellectually worse when you say "I'm so sure of this that I don't even need to be able to talk about it for myself, I'll just point all questions I can't answer to this really good book that has all the answers I need."

It reminds me of something else, but I can't quite put my finger on it.
Davy:So it's your turn: show me God.
Sure. Which one?

I never claimed the ability to show you any such thing, so your challenge is meaningless and empty.

If you'd like some information on the evidence for and against the actual existence of Jesus that is based in rigorous academic process and less tainted by the biases of either partisan side -- I'd recommend looking into the podcast I mentioned above by Stanford professor Thomas Sheehan. He also has a book available for free at infidels.org called The First Coming: How the Kingdom of God Became Christianity which you might find interesting.

The short answer to the question of Jesus' existence -- that I feel is a good working hypothesis -- is that there is so much secondary evidence of Jesus being a historical figure in some form that if you take seriously the lemma that he was a construct, then you have to assume that of many other historical figures. (wikipedia article)

Does this mean that the Gospels are literally true? No. Does this deny that many things attributed to Jesus were tacked on by later followers? No.

This is not a true/false situation. Finding evidence that not everything is exactly as presented with a religion doesn't invalidate the entire package, it just makes the package that much richer and more interesting to poke around in.
sebastienbailard : I thought it was one of Jesus's party tricks to heal people? Like, he had "Cure Serious Wounds" on his character sheet or something.
You have to understand the Old & New Testament (and most other texts from that period) as deeply allegorical, multi-layered and rooted in their own context. If you limit your understanding of a religion to the ravings of it's most uncritical, zealous believers (e.g. Fundamentalists) then to be fair you have to judge atheism not on the merits of solid thinkers like Dawkins, but by people like Davy.

My favorite example is a reading of the story where Jesus turns water into wine: At that time in Jewish practice, only Rabbis drank wine during religious ceremonies. A reading of the actual meaning of that story is that Jesus turned the norm with his teachings, and taught that all should drink wine together. This is framed as a miracle and a magic trick, but actually describes a very specific and human event.

Note, I'm not sure this is an accurate reading -- it's just one I heard from a scholar once and like very much, because it speaks to the proto-democratic tendencies I find in Jesus' teachings. I bring it up to point out how what seems to have a near-ridiculous literal meaning in biblical literature can have a second allegorical meaning that requires a little more work (mainly because the culture of origin is so foreign to us at this point).
posted by illovich at 2:14 PM on March 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


You need to hire the best assassins in South Asia? Khalistan has you covered.

Is that a current thing, or are you just referring to the long-overdue removal of the Hitler of India? Becoz, you know, I thought the entire concept of Khalistan was dead in the water pretty much straight after Blue Star.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:29 PM on March 7, 2007


Davy, at the end of the day, you can choose to believe what the bible say is true or not...that is you choice. As a Christian, I will never condemn nor condone your beliefs and your viewpoint. I am just saddened that you have seen only one side of the 'Christian' belief system. Christianity is about believing in ideals that is bigger than you and me and acting on those through love, compassion and hope. It gives meaning out of chaos and offers an everlasting hope. Yet for its beliefs and acceptance to a moral code, it is still about making a choice. You have made your choice and I have made mine. I am being honest when I say that I wish you luck and good fortune. I wonder you would offer me the same?

While I find you no ill will, I am taken back a little about your comment that

"Not thinking is common in religious folk."

If thinking is common in non-religious folk, then why would you brand all Christians like this? To me that just sounds like you’re committing the same harsh judgement that you mock me of.

I thought that Metafilter was a place where a respectful discussion of focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand and not on other members of the site. Not all Metafilter members are non-believing people.
posted by Prunedish at 5:16 AM on March 8, 2007


“Ever heard of LDS?”

Whoa yeah. Totally. Man, this one time I dropped like....oh, no, wait.

From the “Why won't God heal amputees?” site:
“And yet, even with millions of people praying, nothing will happen.”

Obviously. God is a ‘you broke it, you bought it’/ ‘as is’ sorta guy.

I have to kind of second Baby_Balrog. Only in the sense that, SO many people spend SO much time and SO much money on trying to get other people to do stuff. I dunno - why do people all have to be Christian together. What, everyone has to be donating and working for charity and being Christ like otherwise we feel like jerks? You’re an idiot if you go off and do it on your own? Never got that part.
I’ve enjoyed the Penn Gillette sort of thing. He talks about how he routinely gives blood and donates bone marrow, stuff like that. And how he says to people (many Christians apparently ‘cos he’s an athest) “I saved someone’s life today - what did YOU do?”
Which, y’know, is assholish, but damn funny and with a pretty relevant point.
I’m not much for the ‘holier than thou’ approach, but y’know with people pushing the ‘holier than thou’ and not actually doing stuff themselves I s’pose the gloves come off.

But yeah, why does one have to be an Xian or label oneself in any way to do good work? It doesn’t really need any justification or other people plugged into the program. Like I’m gonna shout “HEY LOOK EVERYONE I FED THIS HOMELESS GUY ‘COS I’M A TAOIST! DON’TCHA ALL WANNA BE A TAOIST WITH ME!!?? ‘COS I DON’T WANT TO BE A NUT OR ANYTHING FOR GIVING MY TIME AND MONEY AWAY.”

Silly. Giving of oneself doesn’t really need a name.

Funny how there’s no requirements to being most Xians tho. You just have to say it. Unlike say, collecting for the Red Cross. You can’t just say you’re a member of the Red Cross and not be and be treated as one - i.e.- collect money for charity and such. Xian - no such qualifier.

Consider the contrast: “I’m a member of the Red Cross so I fed those people.” vs. “I’m a Christian so I fed those people.”
One seems - to me at least - far more legitimate and business-like than self-aggrandizing. Of course, that’s ‘seems’ I’m commenting on. Certainly as there are Christians who are dicks there are Christians who are charitable.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:54 PM on March 8, 2007


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