Monday, July 14, 2008

Points And Rights And Hard Thinking And Rethinking

I sincerely hope that there are more Christians like this one.

From Questions > Answers:

Religion fascinates me, as do attacks on it, now that I accept them as a good and necessary thing rather than something to get all knee-jerky about. Fundamentalism basically trains you to just say, “I’m Right, because the Bible says so!” and either storm out of the room or add a placid, “I’ll pray for you.” Neither approach is acknowledging that the opposition has, er, a point, or even the right to one.
Read the rest here.

I have had way too much experience with the “I’m Right, because the Bible says so!” and “I’ll pray for you” ones.

Many religious people seem so threatened by any sort of skepticism concerning the notion of faith that my usual conclusion is that they actually have none and refuse to admit it.

From later on in Questions > Answers:
Wilson tends to pick and choose from the different gospels, rejecting certain things outright - Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem, for instance, which does sound pretty unlikely in those days of primitive and frankly dangerous travel - yet accepting others that seem as random (his distant blood relation to John the Baptist) and even going on to build fairly extensive speculations based on the accepted “fact” (quotes because why this is somehow more probable than Bethlehem seems to be a little sketchy). In this, he’s no different from most Bible folk, who skip all sorts of things in Leviticus, like selling your daughter into slavery and sacrificing bulls, as well as verses like “Be ye separate,” which the Amish take quite literally. I prefer his approach, where the New Testament is poked and prodded and manhandled in a genuine, heartfelt search for answers rather than slapped with the bumper sticker “God Said It. I Believe It. That’s All There Is to It.” Wilson’s way forces some hard thinking and often rethinking. I like this, even if many so-called Christians seem to not just dislike it, but actively recoil at the very thought of it.
Many religious people do seem to think that it is OK to pick and choose what to believe from the Bible. In spite of the fact that they do this, they seem incapable of thinking that an atheist, like myself, could do this also. Let alone find any value in it. Whether Christ was fictional or factual is irrelevant to me. Some of the things that he supposedly said, by way of the Bible, are valid and morally correct. I don’t deny them. I like them. I also think that most of the Bible is bunk and incredibly harmful. And of course, the difference between them and me is that they are supposed to believe all of the Bible, and I have the freedom to do with the Bible as I choose.

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