Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Conversations with Jim, Part 1. Why Christianity Promotes Moral Laxity; Why Their God is not Worthy of Worship, and Why Pride and Hate Can Be Virtues

I am beginning a series of posts here in reference to comments made on another one of my blogs titled, "A is for Atheist" by a commenter named Jim (aka anonymous)  I have chosen not to post them there, but here instead, as they are in the format of a conversation, and therefore, would be easier to follow along with as I answer each comment one at a time.  Enjoy.

This is one of Jim's replies to my post titled " On The Question Of Yahweh And The Slaughter of The Canaanite Unborn Fetuses: Dear Anonymous - Part One. My Response to a Recent Commenter on This Blog"

I am held accountable for my actions. My failings are held against me. My imperfections count. That’s why it’s said that Jesus came, to fill the gap between the standard God has set and how close or far away I am from it. Jesus is not a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, as some have used it. That only works if God isn’t all-knowing and seeing and it isn’t true to the Christian message. God claims to know the actual hearts and minds of his creation. Nothing, no cover-up, no ingenuine repentance is fooling God. The temporal consequences of sin do not go away either, just because we are forgiven. Sin costs us here. Some people, Christian, atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, Muslim, Mormon, etc., may “get away” with sin on earth, like I “got away” with my shoplifting. God saw it and will deal with me justly for anything I do. You can’t honestly suggest that Christianity promotes moral laxity even if some Christians are morally lax. That’s just not so. Ideologies that ignore or reject the existence of God are responsible for more deaths than all the religions of the world combined. You can just check an older copy of the Guinness Book of World Records (Judicial section under Mass Killings) to find that out. Social Darwinism fueled the Holocaust. Communism was responsible for 66 million deaths under Stalin, Lenin and Khrushchev. Dennis Prager writes “more innocent people have been murdered, tortured and enslaved by secular ideologies – Nazism and communism – than by all religions in history.” Genocides in Africa, communism in China, ad nauseum. No, God is not the root of evil, it is His hand that stays evil’s full force.

Look, you claim that your "job" is to educate, but you are presupposing the answer and backfilling the argument with things you don't like and then twisting some of it from its original meaning, (or possibly you just don’t know you’re doing it) when I would put it to you that you don't fully comprehend what you're doing. "Most people who have rejected God have rejected a really bad interpretation (and I would add, presentation) of him." I think that's pretty apparent in general, but maybe more so with you. Have you ever spent time with something like "Evidence That Demands a Verdict"? Have you ever tried to consider that when Jesus says that his disciples need to be willing to leave families, etc., that maybe he means something different than how you're choosing to take it? There ARE other parts of speech that Jesus employed at various times in his teaching, opening the doorway to more than one possible reading of some of the passages you object most to. I obviously don’t want you to read it to be more “effective” at what you do, but maybe if you better understood what we believe, you’d be fairer and less angry about it. I don’t know.

You also said that hatred and pride were virtues, but the way you described it sounded more like defense mechanisms to me. I’ll have another look just the same. By and large though, most psychotherapists will tell you that hate is really just the eventual result of deep-seeded (or is it seated? I think both actually work here) fear, as is pride. If you want to know what I think on that topic, I might go into it more, but my diatribe is long enough this time. Thanks for posting my responses and for taking the time to read them. I'd appreciate if you wouldn't insult me by calling them fodder. That's just disrespectful and patronizing.


My response:

Dear Jim,

You tell me that as a Christian your "failings" are held against you, and your imperfections count, and God will, as you say, "deal with me (you) justly for anything I (you) do." I am interesting in knowing just how you think your god will "deal with you"-- unless of course you believe your god will be sending you to hell for your failings. Repenting is not a just way of "dealing with your failings"--but that is all Christians claim they must do to be "saved" and go to heaven. If there was real justice within the Christian matrix, you would not be able to get away with merely "repenting" of your sins--so please, tell me how your god deals with you "justly". To say "sorry to Jesus" and then being allowed to walk away scott free is not a just and fair method of "dealing with you." (Your sins, i.e. your offenses against your fellow man/woman). As I said before, repenting does nothing for the victims of the "sins" Christians commit. The only real justice for victims and society comes from secular laws--not your god. The Christian matrix is a system that leads to moral laxity, as there are not consequences for believers in this life for the transgressions they commit. Yes, in this life, Christians believe they have a "get out of jail free" card--as long as they do not get caught. If they get caught, it is only secular laws that mete out justice--not their god. According to the Christian belief system, their god does not care if the little children that are atheists are raped and murdered--they will go to hell--but if the priest who committed those crimes repents, well, he will find paradise in heaven, while the children he raped and murdered burn in hell! It is difficult to fathom anything more unjust than that.

I am not the first that came to the conclusion that this version of Christianity is unjust and leads to "moral laxity." Pelagius pointed this out long ago--we see the results of this version of Christianity via the actions of Christian society as a whole--so his analysis was quite correct. The other version of Christianity believes humans are judged solely by their works, and everything they have done is written in the Book of Life, and this is what they are judge by--as the Bible says. Furthermore, according to Hebrews 10:26-27, there is no repentance for your sins, as once you have been "saved" and have the laws written on your heart, and you willfully sin--you go to the pit of fire--NO REPENTANCE.

You also claim that atheist ideologies are responsible for more deaths than all of the religions combined--which is not the case at all. Let me give you a short history lesson to illustrate why.

The anti-Semitism and atrocities committed by Hitler's Nazi's, was influence heavily by the works of Martin Luther, including his "On the Jews and Their Lies" in which Luther called for all Jewish rights, including rights to their own religious writings be eliminated; their properties razed; their monies confiscated; and to use Jews as forced agricultural labour. The Jews were scapegoated, and also blamed for the death of Jesus, so it was easy to incite hatred against them and blame them for the economic hardships they faced--not because the Jews were the money changers--but because of the economic sanctions placed on them after the Treaty of Versailles, where they were made to pay restitution for starting WWI. The reasons for the atrocities committed in Germany have a very, very heavy Christian influence. On an even deeper level, it makes one wonder how Christians can trust their own bible (half of which consists of the Jewish Tanakh) when as Luther claimed, the Jews are "untrustworthy"-- this is a non-sequitur of epic proportions.

The tyrannical governments of many of the so-called "atheist regimes,"and their totalitarianism could be attributed to other factors, and were not created to impose atheism on others. For instance, in Russia before the Russian Revolution (1917), the Russian Orthodox Church and the czarist autocracy controlled the country and the wealth, while peasants and the working class suffered in poverty. Nothing could be done to influence the Czar to change his policies, which then resulted in worker strikes, culminating in actual revolution. Their revolutions were anti-Imperialistic, and directed towards removing Imperialism (which works hand in hand with the church) in order to establish socialism and a more even distribution of wealth within the country. As church and state worked hand in hand in oppressing their nation, it would therefore be a natural progression for the socialists to eliminate religion along with the Czarist government.

Just as was in the case of Russia, China too, was a feudal society where the few elite controlled the wealth and power, while the majority barely survived, resulting in many peasant uprisings. Their revolution and the communism that followed was an effort to elevate the living conditions of the poor and oppressed workers. In the case of China, Christianity had been in practice since the 7th century, and although it waned between the 10th and 14th centuries, it reestablished itself the 18th and 19th centuries. This "western influence" then led to the Taiping Rebellion from 1850-1864--a civil war launched by a heterodox Christian who believed he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ. This rebellion is considered one of the deadliest in history, and resulted in the deaths of approximately 20 to 47 million people.(Revolutionary armies in the modern era: a revisionist approach By S. P. Mackenzie p. 78) We can see then, that just as it was in the case with Russia, when the Communist Party of China came to power in 1949, China viewed Western religions such as Christianity as the tool of Western colonialism. Therefore, In an effort to separate themselves from Western Colonial influence, Mao, in a similar move to Jefferson's, aimed for the separation of church and state. This move had nothing to do with forcing atheism onto the people, and everything to do with removing Imperialistic regimes. So you see, many of the so-called "atheist regimes" were heavily influence by Christianity. Even if they were atheists, and had committed the above atrocities, that would not make Christianity or their god, if he existed, anymore worthy of worship, as two wrongs do not make a right.

As a final note, you claim my view of hate and pride is a defense mechanism. Well, if you consider that hating someone that hurts me--which saves me from further hurt, then yes, you are right. I am defending myself against further hurt by hating those that hurt me. Also, hate can be a great motivator. There are many instances where hate has motivated either a person or a whole group of people to great accomplishments, such as when the Haitians rose up against their French oppressors.

If my pride saves me from being meek and humble and willing to follow anyone's "advice," then yes, my pride is a defense mechanism against those who would use and abuse me to their own end. Defense mechanisms can come in handy in life. The Army, the Navy, and the United States in general employ many defense mechanisms in order to defend themselves. However, defending something that is indefensible does not help society progress--and Christianity, in the face of logic and reason--has proven itself to be quite indefensible. On the other hand, pride as I said before, is merely the proper amount of self respect and is a virtue. If you have self respect, then you are morel likely to hold up all the rest of the virtues--which for me, makes pride perhaps the primary virtue.