Monday, March 01, 2010

Love those top ten lists

And the number one sign that you are a pinheaded atheist:

You think that the top ten signs you are an unthinking Christian represents reality, not a gross stereotype.

I’m guessing those who actually think this list exhibits substantive truth also have definite beliefs about what black people like to eat, how Jews do business, the thriftiness of Scots, the peacefulness of Muslims, the hygiene of the French, etc. True, sometimes people are only bigots against one group—but usually if you scratch below their lizard skin you’ll find other groups they about which they claim intellectual and/or moral superiority.

Let us examine the ten reasons:
10- You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of your god.
Well of course we deny the existence of other gods (duh) but there is no outrage when someone denies the existence of  our god—we fully expect people to deny his existence—and of course our holy book tells us that many will deny his existence. In fact, all of us would deny him were it not for grace—so why would be outraged? It's like being outraged that the sun rises each morning.

9- You feel insulted and ‘dehumanized’ when scientists say that people evolved from lesser life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
Hard for me, as a theistic evolutionist, to address this lie, other than to say denying evolution generally means no more than that: a denial of evolution. You must have a very high opinion of yourself if you think that your teaching something that (some of us) deny leaves us insulted or feeling dehumanized. You know about Imago Dei? Given that, it should be clear that atheists are in fact impotent when it comes to making us feel dehumanized. He who is within us is stronger--etc.

8- You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Trinity god.

 We do not laugh a polytheists, we disagree with them. And it is Triune God, not Trinity God. I think atheists are much better at laughing at people you disagree with than we are. Go to the atheist web sites--they are having a grand time guffawing at Christians.

7- Your face turns purple when you hear of the ‘atrocities’ attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in ‘Exodus’ and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in ‘Joshua’—including women, children, and animals!
Oh, we flinch all right. Far from shrugging it off as you imply, we struggle mightily with the genocide in the Old Testament, and are grateful that it is a thing of the past. We know that God ordained it, we know that it was part of his redemptive plan,  we understand that, in ways that we don't understand,  it is good—but most certainly we do not read it without flinching.

6- You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about god sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
There you go again. You seem to imagine we go about laughing at everyone. (Except, I bet, atheists—it seems to me that many atheists think we don’t laugh at them but are afraid of them. Which is actually funny—and does make some of us laugh. So I guess we do sometimes laugh. But at atheists, not polytheists.)

5- You are willing to spend your life looking for little loop-holes in the scientifically established age of the Earth (4.55 billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by pre-historic tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that the Earth is a couple of generations
Conveniently neglecting, are we, that many, many Christians are Old Earth Creationists?

4- You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs—though excluding those in all rival sects—will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet you consider your religion the most ‘tolerant’ and ‘loving’.
Sorry, no—we believe, as God tells us in his word, that he will have mercy upon whom he will have mercy. We are commanded to proclaim the gospel—but we do not believe that God is ever in a box about whom he cares to save. There is no ritual that you have to perform or magic incantation that you must recite--it is all God's prerogative.

3- While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor, speaking in ‘tongues,’ may be all the evidence you need.

A) Many of us are historians, geologists, biologists and physicists. B) Many of us are cessationists who believe that gifts of the Spirit such as speaking in tongues ended with the apostolic era.

2- You define 0.01% as a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
No—since everything that comes to pass was ordained by God, and no man can thwart his will, no prayer can ever cause God to change his mind.  We understand that--and therefore do not expect any particular  "success" rate. You do not understand the purpose of prayer (to be honest, neither do I.) But I do know this: all prayer is a success, because it represents the privilege of communicating, without fear,  with the creator of the universe.

1- You actually know a lot less than many Atheists and Agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history—but still call yourself a “Christian.”

A pervasive myth. Some Christians know less than some atheists about the bible, theology, church history, etc. But if you selected an atheist at random and a Christian at random from, say, my small, southern, Baptist church—well I’d bet the farm that it would look like Olympic hockey with my brother or sister playing the role of  Canada and the random atheist looking a bit like the Jamaican team.

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