Monday, January 05, 2009

Blog Boredom

I have started a number of blog entries. One on Rick Warren at the Inauguration. One on arguing against Liberal Christianity. One on the Problem of Evil. And each one I get halfway through and think, “Meh…who cares?”

Isn’t this all the same tired old stuff?

So here is the capsulated version of three (3) blog entries:

Rick Warren

Fail. If President-elect Obama wants Rev. Warren to give a prayer—fine by me. If Obama thinks he is winning any political points with the Evangelical front by using someone he doesn’t want but picked for political perception at the inauguration (like having the token Republican in the Cabinet to show how unbiased, balanced and fair he is) then he doesn’t know who he is dealing with.

Anyone see an article from an Evangelical who was pouring it on against Obama prior to November say, “Hey wait a minute. He DID pick Rev. Warren to pray. Maybe he isn’t the child-killing, liberal, anti-christ we thought he was.”? Hardy Har Har.

He gains no points by having Warren. Even Warren wouldn’t vote for him if the election was held again tomorrow.

Problem of Evil

Its one thing to make all these excuses about how God has to allow some Evil sneak into the world. To show his Glory. To account for Free will. To allow choice. To allow True Love.

But what about all the evil committed in his name? People beating their children to death to “get out the demons.” Women being brutalized in abusive marriages. People justifying lavish lifestyles while the poor of their charities starve.

President Bush.

Wouldn’t it piss you off, if you were God, that in all the evil that has to be allowed, people were doing it in your name? Would ya try to at least eliminate THAT evil?

Debating Liberal Christians

Defining the difference between a fundamentalist and a liberal and an in-betweener is the devil itself. Not that it matters since the most fundamentalist thinkers rarely consider themselves fundamentalists, and nor do the liberals.

I argue against Liberal Christianity because it is wrong. Just because it may get a few things right, it is still wrong. A person who claims water freezes at 10 degrees Celsius is wrong. The person who disagrees, and says “I feel water freezes at 5 degrees Celsius” may be right about water not freezing at 10 degrees, but they are still wrong.

What I see amongst both fundamentalists and liberals is picking and choosing what parts of theism they like and discarding the others. Simply because fundamentalists have a mean streak doesn’t make the method any better; it is just as subjective.

A friend said it best about Liberal Christianity. “The fact you are only part of the solution means you remain part of the problem.”


  1. And each one I get halfway through and think, “Meh…who cares?”

    You need to set your sights higher. You're too good to waste just repeating the same old criticism against religion.

    "The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it."

  2. Yes, I know what you mean - that's probably why I don't post that many posts about religion - it feels pointless to just repeat the same stuff about it - but if you have something constructive to say, more than just a diagnosis, but a solution, that is something worth aiming for. You may find inspiration.

  3. I have been having the same problem lately. Since the election, I just have not felt the same urgency to confront the far right.

    Although I am not a fan of Rick Warren, he does not impress me as someone like James Dobson or Michelle Bachman or Sarah Palin who think that Jesus is a Republican or that only evangelical Christians can be considered real Americans. While I do not think that Obama is going to win many votes by reaching out to evangelicals, I do think it might be possible to further isolate and marginalize the whackiest of the wingnuts.

  4. "A friend said it best about Liberal Christianity. “The fact you are only part of the solution means you remain part of the problem.”" (Dagoods)

    As a person adverse to problems but seeks solutions - and as a fairly liberal Christian - how am I part of the problem exactly? I don't quite get it to be honest.

    I would admit it if I was making more problems for people than I was helping make solutions to those problems - or if I was just plain and simple - someone who did not care about his 'waste' (errors caused to others in this lifetime).

    But I do care...and I do seek to better the planet I live upon - irregardless of someone's religion or non-faith - I treat them all as equals - as my neighbors (cause in many ways - they are).

    But my focus comes from being aChristian - a liberal innovative form of that faith seeking solutions in modern society. My focus is more on the way people treat one another - and calling a problem a problem - no ducking and running to hide for me.

    So I wonder - what makes me part of the problem? I don't speak out 'enough' against bad religion? I cannot stop it? I cannot control the actions of many in this faith becuse I have no power to control their actions - no say into their congregations? How is it I am the problem exactly?

    It's a generic statement in my opinion - and if it is true - then I am the problem - no if, ands, or buts about that. Is it true?

  5. Maybe he isn’t the child-killing, liberal, anti-christ we thought he was.”?

    We are ALL child-killing anti-christs (Romans 3:9-23). If Obama and Warren agree on that, perhaps there isn't much conflict there.
    Happy New Year.

  6. Liberal Christianity is part of the problem because it uses the same erroneous methodology as Fundamental Christianity and thus is completely ineffectual when confronted by it.

    Both use the method of first determining what God they would like (based upon upbringing, society, and interaction with others) and then looking for justification within the Bible, or popular authors supporting the particular Christian’s belief, or within their own minds if necessary. Each takes the same basic elements (the Bible, a God) and then liberally applies, “I think ____” by mode of interpretation to mash their particular God to fit the mold they desire.

    Want a God who supports homosexuality? It is there for the taking by this method. Want one who hates homosexuals? Equally available. Hell? Sure—you can have it or not. All one has to do is spin the verses in the direction desired and voila—they unsurprisingly have their god.

    While a Liberal may make social decisions more closely reflective of a non-theist, this resulted from the world’s secularization rather than of any actual doctrinally determined shift. Intel, iPod and the Internet have created far more Liberals than study and a new method for determining what actually exists. The method remained the same; just found a more-pleasing God to justify living in the 21st Century.

    Thus when confronted by Fundamentalists, the Liberal has no place to retreat except to say, “We think a different determination is needed.” Neither can provide a method to demark inspiration vs. non-inspired writings. Neither can provide a method to use the naturalistic world to make supernatural determinations. Neither can provide a method to demark what is myth and what is history within the Christian framework.

    Each picks-and-chooses what they desire to be “true” and what they desire to be “false.” They both happen to approach the same tree and argue over who is going to pick the best apples. Both unknowingly picking from a tree that produces no apples, and unknowingly are arguing over non-existent apples! Because their own method does not allow for such a possibility.

    Until Liberal Christianity can develop its own theology, and its own method, it will be cursed with the genes of its parent—Fundamental Christianity. It may be more gracious to the poor; it may be more open to diverse lifestyles; it may allow bikinis at camp—but its DNA retains the same wrong reasons for doing so. Not out of self-determination of humanity, but to follow some God it cannot demonstrate exists. The Parent Fundamentalist acts in a way to please their god; the Child Liberal rebels against the parent and then finds itself using the same terms, the same songs, the same justifications for their own lifestyle.

    Sure the Parent will not touch alcohol, and the Child has no problem with a glass of wine—but each are defining what they will/will not drink by their interpretation of a god. They each determine what they desire regarding alcohol and then justify that desire through the medium of Christianity.

    I have lost count of the occasions when I have confronted fundamentalists with lack of consistent methodology while the liberals cheer me on. “Go get ‘im!” “That’s great!” “Wow, you sure know your stuff.”

    But when I turn the same microscope and scalpel on the liberal, asking for the same methodology I hear cries of pain. “Why ya picking on me?” “What have we done to you?” “Why can’t you let a person live-and-let-live?” “Aren’t we on the same team?”

    Did they think I was asking these questions because I was “angry” at their parents? That I was doing it as some sort of retribution to support the Liberal? I was doing it because it is a problem I see! In both.

    I understand Liberals would like to differentiate themselves from fundamentalists. They find the comparison distasteful. Until they can show a difference at the root of the methods, I see them remaining part of the problem. Yes, part of the solution (the more who vote for gay marriage the better, regardless of theistic belief) but still part of the problem. Vote for gay marriage because it is the correct human thing to do—not because one wants to ascribe to a god the approval of such unions.

  7. DagoodS, if it's worth anything, I always enjoy reading your perspective on Christian belief. It's a bit "off the beaten path," so to speak, and refreshing.

    You're at your best, though, amidst the give-and-take of an online discussion. Something I did with a previous blog, which I hope you consider doing, is to post a link summary of where you've started a discussion on another blog. Your blog here really represents only a small portion of your writings. Yes, we atheists would probably chime in too, but enough Christians read your blog so that traffic wouldn't come from only one side.

  8. Dagoods,

    Re: "debating liberal Christians," I think it depends on how we define "Christian." "Christianity" has changed so much in 2000 years that we could use it as an excellent example to argue for evolution.

    Diesel invented the diesel engine. He originally designed it to run on vegetable oil. What is currently called a diesel engine is very different from the original, yet we still refer to it as a diesel engine.

    I have often quipped to you that "you are the best Christian I know," only because you maintain so many of the standards and moral codes that are coincidentally also contained in the Bible.

    I have enjoyed attending Quaker meetings since August (hey, I missed the pot lucks after deconverting and leaving the church). Most Quakers I have met will glaze over and hmm and haw if you ask them for a definition of "God," which seems appropriate to me. Many who attend define themselves as non theist. Yet, they accept and endeavor to follow many of the teachings commonly attributed to Jesus Christ, so aren't they Christians of a sort?

    One major difference I have seen between those who call themselves fundamental Christians and those who call themselves liberal Christians is the ability of some liberals to question and deny the deity of Jesus, yet they still consider themselves "Christian."

    So, I guess we encounter the same problem as do the theists, i.e., what method do we use to determine what a Christian is.

  9. You need to quit burying your good stuff in the comments.

    Hope you don't mind, but I rescued it from undeserved obscurity.

  10. As a person adverse to problems but seeks solutions - and as a fairly liberal Christian - how am I part of the problem exactly? I don't quite get it to be honest.(Societyvs)

    Liberal Christianity is part of the problem because it uses the same erroneous methodology as Fundamental Christianity and thus is completely ineffectual when confronted by it.(Dagoods)

    Maybe if people who have belief in a Creator/God didnt have to encapsulate it within a Doctrine or Dogma, they then good use the good that is in all the faiths for the betterment of Humanity. It is in my opinion that is what Societyvs is doing even though he claims to be Christian. Whats the old adage, "Dont throw the baby out with the bathwater"

  11. “I understand Liberals would like to differentiate themselves from fundamentalists. They find the comparison distasteful. Until they can show a difference at the root of the methods, I see them remaining part of the problem” (Dagoods)

    This can be said about anything Dagoods – and I mean anything – this baseless lump assumption about some ideology or idea.

    Let’s say I know 40 doctors who have sexually molested their patients- should I give up the medicine because 40 people acted in a suspect way to the vulnerabilities of their patients? They all took the same oath to protect their patients – same background – same knowledge – same teachings…do I forgo the help of medicine because some of the links of the chain abused their power? What differentiates a doctor who is helpful from one that’s harmful – methodology?

    Let’s say I know of a handful of lawyers that represent mob figures or drug cartels and find any and all loopholes to make sure these criminals continue to walk the streets – for the sake of their bankroll. Should I lump all lawyers into that same file because of a few corrupt lawyers who use the law like an excuse book? Many lawyers do some great work – work pro-bono and do legal aid – but since the methodology is the same…

    Politics has created mean like Stalin and Hitler and yet I find Gandhi’s and Mandela’s in the same process. It’s all world politics – various strands mind you – but all to serve people and country with the best intentions. Do I give up on politics because a few bad apples did such a horrendous job so as to ruin it for all? Methodology changes in this circumstance – but intention does not – politics is for the people.

    I do find the comparison distasteful – lumping me with fundies – like the Falwell’s, Robertson’s, Phelp’s, Driscoll’s, etc. I speak out quite veraciously against their teachings, church structure, power, and interpretations. If I did nothing and wanted the status quo – I’d agree with you – call me a fundie. But until that happens – I don’t care if we came from the same mother and father – just because we are in the familial line does not make us accountable for each other’s actions.

  12. societyvs,

    That you are a non molesting Christian is not really the point. The need for method is to establish a means that all can use to substantiate consistent results... in this case that there is indeed a God and this is what God is, stands for, means, etc.. The liberal or the fundamentalist cannot do this and so they end up in the same boat (i.e., believing in a God they cannot substantiate). They may be in opposite ends of the boat, but they are still in the same boat.

  13. "The liberal or the fundamentalist cannot do this and so they end up in the same boat (i.e., believing in a God they cannot substantiate)." (Paul)

    Then its a 'method' thing - correct? I am not sure where my examples fail then - they all had the same method but failed in their approaches/intentions.

    That being said, I have also provide a few methods for looking at and examining the scriptures - and this is true. I'll give a simple example:

    (a) I think the bible is about the concern for humanity. The core basis of God seems to be the concern of humans moral and immoral behaviors (and community/society that will exist for us). The bible shows me a God concerned with humanity and this is to be humanity's focus also (ie: love your neighbor as fulfillment of the law).

    The idea is moral ideals will pull you closer to God and humanity - immorality will push you farther from both. This seems to be a clear human mechanism - that works in most situations.

    Prisons houses (isolates) convicts - to keep them away from harming society. Most people will not talk up the glory of the Nazi regime - why? It's disgraceful what they did - and although we should nevre forget - we sure wish it did not happen.

    The bible is a foundation - it's not the house.

  14. SocietyVs,

    I cannot improve on the brilliant synopsis made by Paul.

    You seem to be confusing “professions” with methodology. A doctor who prescribes medicine to cure a patient is not using the same method of healing as doctor who commits a crime for self-gratification. In fact, they are two different things!

    Perhaps I can clear up some confusion using your Doctors and Lawyers.

    In the analogy of the 40 sex-molester doctors—who is it you are analogizing are the doctors? Fundamentalists? Do you understand in the fundamentalists’ analogies, YOU would be the “sex-molesting doctor” as the person proposing heretical views?

    This is my point. In the liberal Christian’s analogies, the fundamentalist is the “bad guy” and in the fundamentalist analogies, the liberal Christian is the “bad guy” and neither is coming up with any method to make any determination as to is in the wrong.

    When you start to understand why each of you is accusing the other of being the 40 sex-molesting doctors in your analogies—you will be on your way to understanding why it is liberals are so ineffectual against fundamentalists

    Your example of lawyers admirably demonstrates why methodology is so important. We have some lawyers, using every legal means within their wherewithal to obtain the best legal position for clients you don’t care for. Clients you don’t think are “entitled” to such legal representation. We have other lawyers, using every legal means within their wherewithal to obtain the best legal position for some clients you sympathize with. Clients you like.

    Each lawyer is doing their job. Each lawyer is following the same methodology. Yet why is it you consider one in the wrong for doing so, and one in the right? Because of your own personal preference. Because of your own likes and dislikes, you have decided one must be doing something wrong (because you consider it wrong) and one must be doing something right (because you consider it right.)

    You have done EXACTLY what I see in both fundamentalists and liberals—the same problem I am addressing. Observe something you don’t like, and attempt to determine its correctness or incorrectness on your own bias and preference, rather than a consistent methodology.

    A consistent methodology is demonstrated when we consistently apply it—even when we get results we don’t like or do not prefer. A consistent methodology would say the lawyers getting the rich clients off is equally doing the right thing as the lawyer who helps the poor clients out.

    It is fine for you not to prefer certain things. That is human. The error comes in when you attempt to transfer that preference over to a God. Because you don’t prefer it—we are told your God doesn’t prefer it. Yet the fundamentalists tells me their God DOES prefer it (not coincidentally because the fundamentalist prefers it.) And then this feeling is bolstered by looking for where to find it in the Bible, where to interpret it once found, or where to simply disregard it upon one’s own personal preference.

    Humorously, while you dislike being linked with certain fundamentalists; they equally dislike being linked with you! They are affronted you dare interpret their Bible in the way you do; you dare call yourself a person respecting Christ; you dare call yourself a God-believer. To them, it is an insult you dare ever call yourself a Christian or aChristian.

    Yet neither can provide a method as to why the other is disqualified from being lumped together other than they don’t like it.

  15. Tit for Tat,

    We all push doctrines and dogmas. Can’t help it. Comes with the human package. I don’t mind people doing that. Where I part ways is when the theist attempts to bolster their preference by claiming it is not from them, but from a God. As if this gives it some greater legitimacy, greater warrant or greater value than saying, “I think___.” Oh, no. “God says ____” is so much more powerful.

    Not that it applies to SocietyVs, but I am eternally amused, when debating with theists, and I say, “Why did God ___?” And they reply, “Who are you to argue with God?” See—I am NOT arguing with God. I am arguing with a human who is making certain claims about what a God does.

    Where this does apply to liberals and fundamentalists is that each think any criticism, any question, is an argument against God. Not the other human. They genuinely think my beef with them is a beef with a non-existent being.

    All bathwater gets thrown out eventually. After searching through the water as best we can and (for the 10th time) finding no baby—we give it a toss. Once some liberal or fundamentalist or whoever comes up with a consistent, objective method to determine there really is a baby in that water, I will re-inspect it. (Since this is water we never truly throw out; we keep having it around and being told we need to keep it in case there is a baby there.)

    Until then, having two groups argue there is a baby in that water, with no method of making such a determination yet accusing the other of being wrong is a problem.