The single most infuriating thing I am currently dealing with in my trek to the “dark side” of apostasy is liberal Christians. Fundys are easy to dismiss. “You believe a literal flood covered the earth?” “Earth is 6000 years ago, you say?” “Walked on water and water into wine, really . . . you’re a buffoon.”
Image by Mai Le via FlickrBut when I ask liberal Christians the same questions about miracles and incongruence in the Bible, they deny them all as rubbish. “Of course Genesis is a metaphor,” they state plainly and matter of fact. They tell me it is perfectly within the bounds of their belief system to state all roads and all religions lead to heaven. Some go so far as to deny the divinity of Jesus and other core Christian beliefs. But, they still want you to be a Christian with them! They knowingly hold onto Christianity solely because it was the tradition they were raised in.
“I may be apostate, but according to my theological understanding of Christianity, you sir, are a heretic!”
The argument they make which bothers me the most, even though they handedly dismiss ninety-nine percent of the bible as mere myth, they still believe it contains some sort of mystical truth about god. They shake their heads in frustration toward me when I tell them I do not see any truth in the bible. They cannot understand the fact that any good ideas in the thousands of pages which make up the bible are there because of humans. They refuse to believe that we would have come up with “thou shalt not kill” without the commandments.
Some truth? Some truth!
I consent, yes, some of the people in the bible certainly did exist. And also, some of the stories may be true, in a basic sense. For example, Joshua and Jericho, yes there could have been a horrible earthquake tearing the city apart. And there is no doubt in my mind Joshua and his band of Hebrew thugs would have exploited the devastation by massacring all the survivors. Later, attributing this genocide to Yahweh. Sure, the destruction may have happened, but it does not prove god. The kernel of truth in the story does not provide me with anything constructive or valuable. A holocaust like this when viewed outside the lens of God’s will is truly horrifying on all accounts.
I don’t know what kind of truth about god or even life could be found in the pages of the bible. Compared to all the shit you have to wade through to find it. This analogy reminds me of a devotional shared with me when I was in youth group. Some of you may have heard it as well. There are several versions of it floating around anonymously on the Internet. It is meant to encourage teenagers to live a pure life, completely free from the smallest compromise. Ultimately, it tries to keep children from going to bad movies and listening to satanic secular music. This is my paraphrased version:
Once upon a time there was a fanatical fundamentalist mother who did not trust her children enough to let them see PG-13 movies. Fearing they would become dirty rotten sinners who hated Jesus, if they went to see such a film. They would probably get addicted to porn, too. One day her 15 and 17 year old son decided they wanted to go see the new James Bond flick! So they begged and pleaded to their mother to let them go with their other friends from Christ’s Christian Academy. Well mom wouldn’t stand for this! She immediately read into the movies negative components on her favorite website, www.FundyFilmReview.xian. She discovered it contained 2 swear words and an implied sex scene. “I don’t know what kind of Christians those other people from your school are, but you are not going to go see such an abomination of a movie!” But her sons continued to plead their case. They told her the movie was fun, uplifting, and about good overcoming evil. After a long conversation, mom told them she needed some time to think about her answer. The two boys bounced up to their room, to study Judges for a paper they had to write about Jephthah, thinking; “She has just got to let us go see the movie now!” Later that evening Mom called her two sons back down into the kitchen. On the counter there was a pan of warm, freshly baked brownies! The Mom told her sons that she had carefully thought about her sons request and decided if they eat a brownie, then they could go see the movie! “You see, the brownies are mostly good, just like the movie you want to go see,” Mom explained. “I made them homemade from scratch with the best ingredients I could find. But . . . I also mixed in a soft piece of Fido’s dog shit into the batter, too. So, if you eat a little shit, then you can go watch a little shit.” The children declined and went back to their rooms.
Christians who hold a view of the bible containing “some truth” are trying to convince me of the inversion of this story.
They are saying, “Look at my holy book. It is a mountain of shit, but, if you spend your entire life digging through it . . . mining deeper and deeper into the heart of Shit Mountain . . . then you will find this teeny, tiny jewel of truth about god. It probably isn’t very big, but it will reveal a little about Him to us. No one has found it yet, but I am just sure it is there and I am content wallowing in the shit looking for it. In fact, this is how I am going to spend the rest of my life and I think you should join me. Come on, it is ignorant to say that there is nothing of value in Shit Mountain. It is huge, old, and people have been digging in it for thousands of years.”
It seems they are so close to seeing the reality of the situation. At any moment the blinders could fall off. They could realize there is no small piece of truth and they are wasting their life. I wish there was something I could say or do to help them take that last step. How do we deal with these people? What do we say to take them from where they are to where we are at?
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