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The Church is a Whore…….

August 12, 2009

….but she is still my mother. This quote is attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo, but no one is for sure if he actually said it. Doesn’t matter. It’s a great quote and I couldn’t help thinking about it while listening to Sean Faircloth’s talk this past weekend.

Quick side note: I’m not going to be posting any final thoughts on the conference itself. Rather, I’m going to have a bunch of posts on thoughts I had during the conference.

Now, back to the whore and Sean’s comments. Sean pointed out in his talk that the church used to be known for taking care of the sick, feeding the hungry and loving the fatherless and the widow. Now, all we are known for is being power hungry, building the church as a business (I can’t tell you how many church leadership books I want to throw out the window) and insist that we are smart, hip and with it.

Now, I think Sean is overstating the case a bit, as I know plenty of churches that are doing everything he mentioned. But, I want to focus on his point about the church being a business, loving power, and insisting on our relevance.

The fact is, the church in America has played the whore way too often. We have chased after our lovers of Success, Power, Control, and Influence. We have allowed them to violate us and open us to shame. People are disturbed when atheists mock Christians. Some of their mockery is flat wrong. But, it must be admitted, much of it is deserved.

I’m sure Christians don’t like the imagery of the whore, but I assure you, it’s entirely biblical. Allow me to quote from Ezekial 16. Warning: This passage would be X-Rate if anyone ever filmed it.

30 “How sick is your heart, declares the Lord GOD, because you did all these things, the deeds of a brazen prostitute, 31 building your vaulted chamber at the head of every street, and making your lofty place in every square. Yet you were not like a prostitute, because you scorned payment. 32 Adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband! 33 Men give gifts to all prostitutes, but you gave your gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from every side with your whorings. 34 So you were different from other women in your whorings. No one solicited you to play the whore, and you gave payment, while no payment was given to you; therefore you were different.”

Hard core words. True words. Words that need to be applied to the church because we have lost our first love.

I love the church. It’s my mother. It’s where I learned the amazing idea that God came to this world as a person to take all of the suffering, sin and brokeness on Himself. That He takes me into His family through no merit that I could offer Him. And how that family is supposed to work in the world to introduce them to the Bridgegroom, fight evil such as human slavery and transform the world.

But instead, we have become prostitutes. We, like God’s people in Ezekial, don’t have the excuse of being forced into prostitution. We do it gladly. Shamefully. We have given ourselves over to having private museums, fighting for “Christian” rights, or keep mumbling about how this used to be a Christian nation. And so, feeling threatened, we retreat into the walls of the church, hurling harsh words over the ramparts were we are safe and protected.

And I’m just as guilty. I’ll admit, in my almost daily conversations with atheists, I want to play the power game. I want them to think that I’m smart. I want to tear down Dawkins, etc as human beings by saying they can’t have morality. I go out of my way to prove how smart I am, how smart Christians are, and how credible we should be. It’s a bit pathetic and I hate it when I do it.

That isn’t to say I’m not smart, and Christians aren’t smart. Nor is it to say Christians shouldn’t share the good, rational, reasons for believing. I love all of those thins. We should not be afraid to step into any of the realms of science, history and philosophy. All of my students at Ohio State are scientists, engineers, writers and philosophers.

But we need to step into those realms with no weapons, no defensive attitude and a wide open heart and mind.  Because if we don’t,  we will always find someone who is smarter than us, prettier than us, more moral or more artistic than us who aren’t Christians. Instead of appreciating that person’s talents, we seek to tear them up because they may not be “believers”. Instead of dealing with arguments, appreciating the art, or their intelligence, we use names like “Atheist hord” or “these kids look like they didn’t fit in at High School”. It’s easier. Safer. Less involved. And, not the way Jesus would do it at all.

When that happens, we have forgotten our Bridegroom who didn’t grasp the power of God, but became a weak servant, who embraced weakness, honesty, and humility while boldly telling the world it was in trouble.

That is the man I’m willing to die for, to be ridiculed for and, God forbid, even go to jail for if need be. Oh, and,  I don’t see how American Christians can look Chinese or Sudanese Christians in the face and say that we suffer persecution. They suffer for the gospel and still love their enemies in the process. They embrace the people who imprision them. Love on those who kill them.

We don’t. We suffer, most of the time, because we are chase after our baubles, trickets and lovers. When we do that, we deserve to be mocked. We deserve the scorn we receive. Even worse, we smack our enemies in the face, not with great arguments, reasoned discussion or love, but with name calling, crying about persecution, and retreat further into our whorish livestyle.

I realize some women might find this language offensive. I apologize. I hope you understand the point I’m trying to make. I’m tired of the church (which includes myself) not Loving God and loving others, which ARE the two chief commandments. I’m tired of us grasping for power and influence. And even further, If I’m left to myself, I will always return to my idols. Always.

We need to be embraced by Christ so that we can be weak, put down our “weapons”, walk straight into the line of fire without “shooting back”. It’s seems mad. It seems crazy, but so does the Gospel itself.

I want to see what happens when we Christians go into the lions den, smiling, praising God and loving our enemies.

To the atheists who read this blog: Sorry to let you in a little family conversation. Maybe you will find it interesting. I promise to go back to other things tomorrow.  And thanks Sean, for prompting the thoughts.

Doubtfully,
J-

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47 Comments leave one →
  1. August 12, 2009 6:45 pm

    It’s quite clear that this whoring after money and power isn’t a modern development at all, but is nearly as old as the church itself. From the point it became more than a fringe cult and became established, it was probably inevitable this would happen. The Holy Roman Empire, the upper ranks of the Anglican church, the Jesuits (who I recall played merchant go-betweens for the Japanese and Chinese, and raked in a lot of gold on the way), the modern mega-churches, it’s all part of the same theme.

    I wonder if it’s something that goes along with being a church that proselytizes. You compete with secular authority, and by so doing you become similar authority. Individuals and small groups, on the other hand, cleave more to the “true” example than the larger organizations, which inevitably become grasping and corrupt. And, as we have seen in the States and increasingly in other cases, there are a large segment of the population that will hold the corrupt up as saints, regardless of anything done by or to them.

  2. August 12, 2009 7:04 pm

    John, great post! This is the kind of thoughtful thinking that modern Christianity needs. Jim Wallis would be proud.

    JPF

  3. Chris permalink
    August 12, 2009 7:27 pm

    As an atheist who was formerly Catholic, I have to say your words are most welcome. I have always loved and likely will always love the side of the Church that I have seen so often on a personal level–the loving, giving, joy-bringing side of the Church. I remember vividly, on my first visit to the Vatican, seeing the nuns working there with the biggest and most wonderful smiles I’d ever seen, truly happy to meet every person that visited.

    On the other hand, the last parish to which I belonged, in Minnesota, was incredibly wealthy and constantly pushing for more donations. Their actions and priorities had little to do with Christ’s mission–little of that money ended up in the hands of those who most needed it.

    While I no longer believe, I still feel a strong connection to the Church I loved. I can still enjoy and find fulfilling a Mass at the right kind of parish. I just wish the Church at the national level (and international, though I generally agree more with the international than the national) would make it easier for those on the ground to get on with Christ’s business.

  4. Ryan Georgioff permalink
    August 12, 2009 7:38 pm

    This is beautiful.

    I once called that same whore my mother, though I do not any longer. This gives me hope for people of faith.

  5. August 12, 2009 9:15 pm

    Of course this is interesting. It’s always interesting to read a critique of the church by an adherent, since critiques of the church by outsiders tend to get predictable and repetitive.

    There’s already more than enough religious (and political — is there much of a difference?) debate that boils down to “Our side rules and your side drools.” A position of “Our side doesn’t always rule and here’s why” is worth reading no matter what “side” one is on.

  6. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 12, 2009 9:28 pm

    Thanks Ryan. I appreciate you stopping in. Hope you stick around.

    Doubtfully,
    J-

  7. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 12, 2009 9:29 pm

    Chris,
    Thanks for stopping in and glad to have you.

    Doubtfully,
    J-

  8. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 12, 2009 9:31 pm

    Hey Jonathan

    Great name. I think you should keep it. 🙂 Thanks for stopping in!

    Doubtfully,
    J-

  9. August 12, 2009 9:38 pm

    We could all do with this sort of introspection before casting stones at others. Well spoken.

  10. AdamK permalink
    August 12, 2009 9:40 pm

    I’ll have to reread your post and think it through. But I had just two quick comments.

    First, I have a problem with “the church.” There is no “the church.” There are thousands of churches. The Mor(m)ons call themselves the church. The Scientologists call themselves the church. The catholics call themselves The! Church! So I don’t know what you mean. I’m not being snarky. Each sentence in which you use the phrase “the church” is actually confusing to me, and I don’t know what you mean.

    Further, this phrase is one of thousands of “christianese” that I don’t understand. Why is “the church” female? Even in your metaphor, you seem to entertain the conceit that men can’t be whores. That’s just silly. (For that matter, why is god a “father.” Seems to me the fertile mother would be a more salient image for the creator of all things. Did god do something unmentionable with the waters of the deep to bring forth land? I don’t even want to know what he did to bring forth animals. {shudder}) What do god and the church do in private after the kids are all asleep?

  11. August 12, 2009 9:54 pm

    I must say, in my travels I have seen many more Christians in this mindset than in the “business” mindset (however, I tend to avoid the “business” of church when at all possible).

    Still, a very eloquently written point.

  12. AdamK permalink
    August 12, 2009 10:04 pm

    “God came to this world as a person to take all of the suffering, sin and brokeness on Himself.” Then why are all of us still suffering and broken? (I don’t know what “sin” means, unless you mean doing wrong on occasion.) If god wanted to do something about it, it looks to me like he failed.

    “He takes me into His family through no merit that I could offer Him.” Being a concerned, publicly articulate minister is of “no merit”? That must be one of those showy bits of phony-looking christian “humility.” Isn’t showing off your humility in public vanity? Isn’t that a sin? Wouldn’t god prefer you assess your worth more objectively?

    “That isn’t to say I’m not smart, and Christians aren’t smart. Nor is it to say Christians shouldn’t share the good, rational, reasons for believing.” I can’t believe an honest atheist would think christianity equates with dumbness. You’re obviously smart and have nothing to prove. Christian geniuses are a dime a dozen. The trick comes when you claim “rational reasons for believing.” From an atheist perspective, it looks like the primary reason christians believe is because it is the membership requirement: in order to belong to this family you must pretend–squeeze your eyes closed and pretend as hard as you can–that the imaginary list of items in the credo is real. Many Tolkien aficianadoes are brilliant as well. They can speak Elvish, recite the lists of the Feanorian kings of the first age, and draw a freehand map of Beleriand. Brilliant, and detailed, and wholly consumed in their fantasy. They draw spiritual nourishment from it. But when they claim it all really happened, and that the immortal elves are real, we have reason to doubt their reasonableness.

    As to the gist of your post, I’m humbled and blown away. I wish with all my heart you were representative of the mass of christians who stalk this secular nation.

  13. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 12, 2009 10:58 pm

    Adam,
    I’ll try to address some of your statements here, but I’m hoping to address them in more detail in later posts. So, I’ll try to be brief.

    First, I have a problem with “the church.” There is no “the church.”

    Fair enough. In this case, I mean all Christians who would confess the Nicene Creed without hesitation. In this case, the Mormons and the Scientologists are left out.

    Why is “the church” female? Even in your metaphor, you seem to entertain the conceit that men can’t be whores.

    To be techincal, it’s not my metaphor, it’s the Bible. If you like, you can use the metaphor of a wounded lover whose significant other has broken their love and wasted it. Fair?

    Being a concerned, publicly articulate minister is of “no merit”? That must be one of those showy bits of phony-looking christian “humility.”

    I used this to show that I’m not above the critique of my fellow Christians. And no, it’s not false humility. To be blunt, I know myself better than you. 🙂

    From an atheist perspective, it looks like the primary reason christians believe is because it is the membership requirement: in order to belong to this family you must pretend–squeeze your eyes closed and pretend as hard as you can–that the imaginary list of items in the credo is real.

    Last time I checked, this wasn’t a part of the membership vows of my church. If you are refering to Faith, that’s not how most Christians have defined the word. I realize we convey that sometimes, but that is our mistake.

    Good comments and I understand where you are saying. As for the problem of evil, I’ll be addressing that more in the future, so I won’t say more here.

  14. August 12, 2009 11:11 pm

    You say: “Fair enough. In this case, I mean all Christians who would confess the Nicene Creed without hesitation. In this case, the Mormons and the Scientologists are left out.”

    A vast majority of Christians I have sat in the pews, handed out food, and prayed with wouldn’t know how to recite the Nicene Creed if it smacked them square-on in the face. “Nicene what?” Kinda shows how relative the whole thing is…

  15. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 12, 2009 11:14 pm

    Not at all Ryan. If you explained what the creed affirmed, you probably would have a little more luck.

    That aside, I was using that illustrate the beliefs that do bind CHristians together despite some of their other differences.

  16. August 12, 2009 11:23 pm

    My point, though, is that even if you explain the tenets of the creed (I studied theology, so I know what it says as well as its theological implications), MOST people could care less about the nuances that were so vital to the early Christians who ratified it (for example, Athanasius’ assertions regarding whether or not the duality of Christ was homoi-ousios or homo-ousios (“similar” or “same”). And what is the point of belief if you don’t know what you are actually believing in?

  17. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 12, 2009 11:47 pm

    Well, I don’t think that ignorance is as widespread as you might think. I think it depends on the church.

    And, I would agree with you. THey need to be educated about what they believe. But to be fair, how many atheists haven’t really thought out their position and are atheists because they are pissed at the church?

  18. Reaper permalink
    August 12, 2009 11:55 pm

    Nice post.
    Gives me a little ‘faith’ that there are still people of faith, not just shysters.

    Usually we just hear preaching from Church of the Holy Dollar, it’s good to know there are still people out there with quiet, genuine, faith.

  19. Oliver permalink
    August 13, 2009 12:10 am

    @AdamK

    Why is “the church” female?

    I guess the conceit is simply poetic, similar, to the way that Galician fishermen refer to the sea in the feminine where normally it’s el mar.

    Either way I don’t see how ascribing feminine characteristics to the concept of a universal church (whether or not such a thing exists) implies anything about the potential of men to whore themselves.

  20. August 13, 2009 12:12 am

    I think most of us are atheists because of the problem of evil, which in its modern iteration, is now the problem of suffering. Bart D. Ehrman’s discussion of the problem in his book “God’s Problem” is perhaps the best from a reflective and theological standpoint. I can tell you this though, it is a WIDELY conceded fact at Harvard Divinity School by both professors and students, that theodicy is a failed project and that even the Liberation Theology approach, by far the most promising, is dead in the water.

    JPF

    MDiv ’10 H.D.S.

  21. Oliver permalink
    August 13, 2009 12:14 am

    As many as can dance on the head of a pin 🙂

  22. Johann permalink
    August 13, 2009 1:18 am

    Among the ones I’ve talked to, it usually goes the other way – if they are angry it is because, after they leave the church, they feel (or in some cases know) that they’ve been lied to and controlled. I know some people, my best friend among them, for whom the road to atheism started with thinking “Hey, that can’t be right…” about something their church did – but that route is more about long and painful introspection than anger. Not saying that anger isn’t there as well, as many of them are abandoned by “friends” or denounced by their pastors for their change of heart, but it’s generally not the cause of that change.

    These are experiences I’ve heard about from others – for my own part, I’ve always been an atheist, and my earliest reaction to religion that I remember was amusement at the idea that grown-up people have imaginary friends and build special houses to talk to them, and some pity that they would put so much time and effort into this. After all, they could use that time hiking or riding a bike or learning about all kinds of animals! (I was seven, and really curious about nature. =) ) My biggest religious insight at the time was that religious texts were longer and more boring than fairy tales, but not much different otherwise – certainly nothing to be angry about. What anger there is came later, as I started learning about the negative impact of religion in the world – the lies of the Vatican about contraception to get people to “be fruitful and multiply”, the witch hunts and kidnappings of children in Africa, the annual harvest of blood in Kashmir, the executions of apostates, the way women are treated like dirt in so many “holy” texts and by the people who believe their message…the list goes on and on, and this is just in our day. But that anger is not a cause of my atheism – perhaps it comes more easily when one is not emotionally or socially committed to one of the belief structures at fault here, but it was not there at the beginning.

    I don’t know how representative my experience is, but I thought I’d share.

  23. August 13, 2009 1:48 am

    “But to be fair, how many atheists haven’t really thought out their position and are atheists because they are pissed at the church?”

    That is not a fair assertion — you are falsely implying that atheists must rally under one banner, as the Christian church is supposed to do; the reality is that we skeptics each have our own unique worldviews, and Jesus presents only one. The fact that Christians cannot agree about who their god is severely weakens the plausibility of the truth claims they espouse.

  24. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 13, 2009 3:09 am

    I’m don’t think it matters whether atheists rally under one banner or not. I think it matters whether they thought out their positions and some have not.

    And I would disagree. I think Christians agree on more than they disagree. But, it appears we might have to agree to disagree on this point.

  25. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 13, 2009 3:11 am

    Well, I think everyone’s experience is different and there certainly can’t be just one reason for why someone leave or stays in the faith. We are way too complicated for that sort of thing.

  26. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 13, 2009 3:17 am

    Of course they think that. 🙂

    I’m going to be posting on the problem of evil very soon. I disagree about Ehrman. I think the case has been presented in much stronger ways. It seems to me that the problem of evil is more of an emotional issue rather than a logical one. I think people think its a self evident contradiction that a good God would allow evil. But, it isn’t. Something self contradictory would be, “The Boston Red Sox rule and the boston Red Sox sucks.”

    I’m sure you are intrigued by that, but that will just give away my post on the issue. 🙂

  27. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 13, 2009 3:22 am

    Thanks Reaper. Glad you are here. Although, you have to check that Scyth at the door. Thanks. 🙂

    J-

  28. Reaper permalink
    August 13, 2009 3:26 am

    Actually it came from “reaper of daisies”… long story from college
    years… for obvious reasons I don’t usually put the whole tag line in 🙂

  29. Oliver permalink
    August 13, 2009 3:45 am

    Something self contradictory would be, “The Boston Red Sox rule and the boston Red Sox sucks.”

    Not to jump the gun, but mightn’t another self-contradiction run something like “God is omnipresent and benevolent and God allows children to be sold into slavery”?

    😦

  30. Oliver permalink
    August 13, 2009 3:56 am

    Not an ecumenical concern, but is there any chance you could use non-threaded comments? It’s hard to follow the cadence of the conversation when it’s presented non-linearly.

    Oh, and I almost forgot to say: amazing post. I’m actually quite moved by the robust humanity and unanticipated honesty I find here. Looking forward to more from you.

    Thank you.

  31. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 13, 2009 4:00 am

    Oliver,
    How do you do that? The non-threaded I mean.

  32. Oliver permalink
    August 13, 2009 4:23 am

    I’ll have a look at the the theme you’re using and see whether it’s a setting you can configure yourself via the admin panel.

    Otherwise it may be that it’s hard-coded as a feature of the theme, in which case I’ll send you a code snippet and instructions on how to apply it.

    BRB…

  33. Matheus permalink
    August 13, 2009 4:51 am

    Why do you need the hypotesis that God exists at all? Is it because it makes you feel good? Or because you feel its true? How do you know this feeling correctly maps to reality?
    Why do you believe mostly in christianity but not at all I presume in scientology or even some cargo cult from Vanuatu?
    What do you feel when you think that if you were brought up in India you would probably be an Hindu, but still you would probably be the same person and still have the same moral values? Doesn’t it make you feel like belief in a deity is not needed at all? That moral values come built in all humans, and work hard to develop and apply them, while suppressing our tribalistic nature?

    Sorry to cram all these questions in one post =)
    Just trying to minimize the time wasted in round trips.

    PS: Great post by the way. And removing all religious references and applying it to everyone wouldn’t devalue it at all.

  34. AdamK permalink
    August 13, 2009 1:22 pm

    I was raised in a non-religious family going back many generations – atheists, apatheists, secular jews, unitarian universalists, congregationalist deists.

    I have no personal reasons to be angry at the church. I have always been interested in the mythologies and superstitions of various cultures.

    That would be that, if “the church” could find it in its collective heart to live and let live.

    I would have no reason to be angry at “the church” were “it” not a hotbed of aggressive authoritarianism, slavery, sexism, homophobia, child rape, witch-burning, hypocricy, anti-science nuttery, patriarchy and theocracy. All expressed, moreover, in royalist, sexist, anti-democratic, anti-humanistic metaphorical mumbojumbo, with its burden of logical contradictions clouded from view in the foggy euphemism of “mystery.”

    That teensy quibble aside, I’m sure christianity is a lovely little religion. Some of my best friends are christians.

  35. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 13, 2009 2:13 pm

    Quite a list there, Adam! And, some of my closest friends are atheists. Not that there is anything wrong with that. 🙂

  36. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 13, 2009 2:17 pm

    Matheus,
    Lot’s o’ good questions. I will try to hit on all of them in the coming weeks, so if you don’t mind, I will wait until then.

    Thanks for stopping in!

  37. Ray S. permalink
    August 13, 2009 2:23 pm

    I don’t really know where to start. I suppose I applaud the attempt to return (assuming for the moment the church’s original purpose was such) to works of charity, but at some level this doesn’t come off as completely free of the whoring it describes. By attempting to, in some small way, speak for all Christians (or what Christians should be), you approach that power broker status you disdain for others. By way of example, a quick check of Wikipedia identifies some of the schisms in Christian history that have arisen over nothing more than the Nicaean Creed. Not only are there several different English language translations in use by different churches, that Roman Catholic Church (to differentiate between them and the Eastern Orthodox, a split engendered by an argument over the creed) is currently in the process of revising the official English translation (though apparently, only for use in the US, other English speaking countries will continue to use the previous one). Others according to Wikipedia, notably Jehovah’s Witnesses and certain evangelicals reject the creed. For those of us on the outside of this discussion, there certainly seems to be a divergence of belief among self professed Christians.

    Then assuming that you would like to share with us what you believe Jesus taught and encouraged, you throw in ‘fight evil such as human slavery’, presumably knowing that there’s little to nothing in the bible against slavery (couldn’t that have been a commandment?) and much in favor of it. Please be careful in claiming to know what God wants or what Jesus would do (although according to the Nicaean Creed, they are consubstantial and thus that phrase would be redundant); The sources you have for formulating such ideas have their flaws. I suppose we can save that discussion for later.

    As for feeding the hungry, tending the sick, clothing the naked, etc, that is not done by the church. It is done by people. Perhaps they think of themselves as a congregation, or perhaps only neighbors, but I see nothing in such groups that prevent individuals from taking advantage of those they are supposedly helping, regardless of whether or not they are religiously affiliated. I see no need to make specific accusations here, though they are far more widespread than just the obvious examples.

    So my discussion here will not address what all Christians believe, but will be centered more on what you believe and why you believe it. I’m interested to hear your take on the problem of evil, and hopefully some more detail about the future Rev. Figdor’s experience. Another topic of interest to me is the whole concept of sacrifice. In the old testament, sacrifices are demanded and expected, yet sacrifices (outside of American baseball) are generally repudiated by our modern sensibilities. My interest in this was recently piqued again though debate in the aftermath of the zerging of Ham’s Fantasyland; One part of Genesis says that two of each animal were brought aboard the Ark, another says that seven pairs of ‘clean’* animals were brought aboard, to allow for the necessary sacrifices after returning to dry land. I confess that I find the concept of sacrifice, whether animal, vegetable or mineral, troubling.

    I’m sorry if I’ve intruded on a family conversation, asking impertinent questions. Please accept my apologies in advance if anyone feels offended.

    *One poster suggested that the notion of ‘clean’ vs. ‘unclean’ was unknown at the time of Noah, and that this was indicative of textual anachronism. this is new to me, so I’m willing to be educated on the matter. The flood story is not one I consider to be factual, but retro-writing could offer other insights into the texts we have.

  38. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 13, 2009 2:24 pm

    Thanks Oliver.

  39. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 13, 2009 2:55 pm

    Ray,
    Not at all, intrude away. I’m just going to try to answer your comments throughout the coming weeks. There is a lot there, and I for one, hate half-ass spur of the moment comments. So, give me some time.

  40. Daniel permalink
    August 13, 2009 9:08 pm

    reminds me of a good sermon I heard once from a good pastor of mine…we still need to make the shirts

  41. August 13, 2009 10:24 pm

    First time on your website. I agree with your comments. You are describing the human condition, and I, like you, stand convicted. It is also precisely why I am a Christian. I need a Savior.

  42. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 13, 2009 10:42 pm

    Welcome Bob. Glad to have you.

  43. AdamK permalink
    August 14, 2009 11:35 pm

    “I need a Savior.”

    This is a good example of christianese that I absolutely just do not understand. I’m sure it makes sense to christians but it communicates nothing at all outside the flock. Would be nice if someone would come up with an explanation of “saving” that didn’t sound like circular reasoning: god made humans, humans disobeyed some random rule god made up, god damned humans to eternity in torment, god felt sorry for humans, god saves humans from god’s random rules and the damnation of which he is the source. How is that not a brat pulling the wings off flies? Why would anybody want to worship someone who rigs his own game and beats you up when you lose?

    I don’t mean to sound sarcastic, but I can’t think of any serious way this might make any sense at all.

  44. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 14, 2009 11:46 pm

    Adam,
    Good point on the Christianese.

    There are a ton of issues in those statements that I and others hope to address as we move on. But I would like to point out that all reasoning tends to be circular, when it comes right down to it. See Socrates infinite regress.

  45. August 15, 2009 8:31 am

    FYI, the “reverend” Figdor is studying Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard, and prefers to avoid the honorific reverend. It’s part of that, “No Gods, No Kings, Only Man” thing we have going on (and by man, I mean human).

  46. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 15, 2009 12:04 pm

    Indeed, JPF. I shall strip you of your rev. title. 😉

  47. AdamK permalink
    August 15, 2009 1:08 pm

    “All reasoning tends to be circular”?

    There’s a fine all-purpose cop-out. I’ll have to remember that one.

    I didn’t mean to be addressing the reasoning, anyway, as much as the story. God puts humans in a no-win situation, where they must freely choose to kiss his ass. And praise him, thank him, and give him all the glory. And pretend they like it. And say “God is Love!! And His Holy Ass tastes like roses and orange peels!! Yay!! Also, please don’t condemn me to eternal torment, Your Niceness!!”

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