Demi-Christians or whatever you call them...
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11-10-2013, 06:51 PM
Demi-Christians or whatever you call them...
I'm kind of rambling here, but I've met many people to whom this applies.

I'm wondering how educated people who don't believe in the Bible literally can continue calling themselves Christian. If you accept the scientific method as a valid way of learning about the universe and trust the discoveries of modern science, then the whole story that validates Christianity is gone. Without the stories of the Bible, you have a religion based on nothing but a vague idea of a deity you call 'God'. There were no events to demonstrate his personality, his power, or his desires. If the Bible is not a literal account of history, then you don't know anything about God. Everything about him becomes an unfounded assumption.

How was the world created? By God? How do you know? If Genesis is a bunch of metaphor, then its value as a historical reference is gone. All you have is a book saying God did it.

What should we do, as Christians? How do you know? If the words of God in the Bible weren't actually said, and he never actually smote those people and flooded the Earth, then how does anyone know what God wants? If you don't believe in the stories, then he hasn't spoken to anyone or taken any action that can be identified as his work. The stories, as metaphors, become worthless. Without them being true, the authors of the Bible had no way of knowing how God wants us to live.

The Bible is not mere background material, it is the sole pillar upon which Christianity rests. If it is not a literal account, then no aspect of Christianity is divinely inspired. There is no basis to it. Everything must be a fabrication based on nothing more than the beliefs of Jewish priests collected and cataloged over a few thousand years.

In such a case, why call yourself Christian?

If all you have is a vague notion of a god unsubstantiated by... anything, then I'd call you a deist.

"I have faith" only goes so far. There should be a reason for your beliefs. If your beliefs stem from the Bible, but you decide that it isn't a true and accurate account of history, then your entire belief system rests on the baseless beliefs of ancient people who knew nothing more about God than you do. That is to say, nothing. Without the holy book, the religion is nothing more than "He told that he said that he said that he said.... and I believe that last guy because I choose to."

It just seems so... dishonest.

tl;dr - If the Bible isn't a literal account, then being Christian makes no sense.

If something can be destroyed by the truth, it might be worth destroying.

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11-10-2013, 07:37 PM
RE: Demi-Christians or whatever you call them...
No.

It's not that black and white.

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11-10-2013, 07:46 PM
RE: Demi-Christians or whatever you call them...
(11-10-2013 07:37 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  No.

It's not that black and white.

Why not?
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11-10-2013, 07:50 PM
RE: Demi-Christians or whatever you call them...
(11-10-2013 07:37 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  No.

It's not that black and white.

I have to agree with KC. Americans are so frickin' indoctrinated in Fundamentalism, they are never exposed to other views. http://progressivechristianity.org/
Kinda woo woo. But whatever floats your boat. At least they're not so dangerous.

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11-10-2013, 07:54 PM
Re: Demi-Christians or whatever you call them...
It makes sense... Hitch had the great rant about how liberal non Fundy christianity adds up to make sense.

It just doesn't make sense... Or better said, it doesn't seem sensible or reasonable.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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11-10-2013, 08:02 PM
RE: Demi-Christians or whatever you call them...
(11-10-2013 07:50 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(11-10-2013 07:37 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  No.

It's not that black and white.

I have to agree with KC. Americans are so frickin' indoctrinated in Fundamentalism, they are never exposed to other views. http://progressivechristianity.org/
Kinda woo woo. But whatever floats your boat. At least they're not so dangerous.

It depends on where the bar is set for being "Christian".

Is the bar the belief that magic Jesus saves you from hell?

Is the bar the belief that following what Jesus said enough to save you from hell?

Is the belief in hell even necessary?

Certainly the belief in the divinity of Jesus isn't.

Who knows? There are at least tens of thousands of flavors from which to choose.

There are people who've never read the Bible and don't go to church and have only a vague idea of theology who think of themselves as Christian.

Fuck, even Calvinists think they're Christians.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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11-10-2013, 09:33 PM
RE: Demi-Christians or whatever you call them...
(11-10-2013 06:51 PM)Elesjei Wrote:  I'm wondering how educated people who don't believe in the Bible literally can continue calling themselves Christian.

If the Bible isn't a literal account, then being Christian makes no sense.

Interestingly enough (or not that interesting, but meh), wanting to become a better educated christian is exactly why I'm here now, as an atheist. I can understand the need to hold on to belief. I actually remember at some point in my "education" that led to my deconversion telling my wife "man, I don't want to be an atheist".

But I'm glad I decided to be brave enough to not put those blinders back on.

I chalk it up to the "evolution" of christianity. It has come a long way, it's had to. That's why I'm encouraged that in time, it just might fall into the minority way of thinking. It's going to take quite some time. But hell, when I was in high school, I never would have thought that legalization of marijuana would be something that I would see in my lifetime.

It only takes the right argument at the right time and place, and to the right people for change to spread. I'm not holding my breath (except after bong hits Tongue), but I'm hopeful.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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11-10-2013, 09:57 PM
RE: Demi-Christians or whatever you call them...
It seems to me that there are cultural Christians. They were raised Christian, the people around them are Christians, they parrot the Christian doctrine they have heard all their lives. Those people didn't didn't choose Christianity, that's what they came into and they just go along with it because that's what you do. Don't make waves, follow along with the group, and defend that same group.

In a lot of the deconversion stories you hear about never questioning the belief you are brought up with. The crisis seems to be when a person starts questioning when all around them still seem to be firm in their belief.

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11-10-2013, 11:23 PM
RE: Demi-Christians or whatever you call them...
kingchosen Wrote:No.

It's not that black and white.

I think it is, though maybe I'm not clear on what I mean.

I don't mean to say that only Christians who believe in magic Jesus are real Christians, or that belief in Adam and Eve are mandatory beliefs for Christians. The point was that the only source for Christian's knowledge about God or Jesus comes from the Bible, and the stories that explain it involve magic that so many modern Christians reject. From employing the scientific method, you'll find out that the great flood never happened, and that a lot of other stories didn't either. Others also conflict with well-documented, cross-referenced history.

So, assuming someone doesn't believe in all the stories that conflict with science and history (ie. almost every story I know of except for the ones that involve non-magic Jesus and his disciples), then everything in the Bible that reveals the nature of God is a fabrication of man.

If the stories that tell us what God said or did are fabrications, then we have nothing to go on for knowledge about God. How do we know what God wants of us? We don't. All we have are fictional stories. Everything that is Christianity is built on those stories; the creation story, sins, God's miracles and punishments... It lays out a picture of what God did, what he is like, and what he wants us to do. We only know those things if the stories are true. If they aren't, we don't know them.

In that case all you have is a book written by men who never saw or heard from God, had no historical examples of God to share, and who just wrote down what they thought the creator of the universe was like. One giant, multi-author opinion piece.

Either the Bible is accurate and we know what God is like through real events, or the Bible is not accurate, and we have nothing upon which to base our beliefs. Without the stories being historical accounts, everything we say we know about God would be baseless.

*note: I mean "we" as in people in general

If something can be destroyed by the truth, it might be worth destroying.

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12-10-2013, 10:25 AM
RE: Demi-Christians or whatever you call them...
I think the NT is pretty clear about those things that are "fundamental" to what constitutes the "core" doctrines of the faith. Fundies abandon all intellect in going all the way, liberals abandon sound reasoning by "half" believing what they want and ignoring the stuff they don't like. But in reality Fundies don't go all all the way. No one can.

Go get some snakes - let's test our faith, um, nah. It's all good. Well why not? Because people get hurt doing that.....

Don't sell yourself short Judge, you're an incredible slouch.

Martin Luther was the "father" of two movements - The Reformation and Nazism.
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