Skip to main content

Self-Deception 101

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~

For those readers of this site who may be contemplating a return to the fold, I offer a brief course intended to smooth your transition. You may have forgotten what it takes to be a good Christian, so I am here to help you brush up on three very basic principles, the three strands of our brief course which I call Self-Deception 101.

The idea for this course comes from a recent Christian visitor to this site who actually used all three of these basic precepts within a very brief span of time in his comments. So, if you happened to read his comments and paid close attention, then you may qualify for advance placement credit.

The three basic principles of self-deception are these: 1) Testing god offends him, 2) You must always TRY to believe in Christian dogma, and 3) Much of Christian dogma is above human reason. Now, let’s expand on each of these time-honored and well-proven principles of Christian faith. But, first, we should recognize that all three basic principles underpin all other religions, as well; they are by no means exclusive to Christianity and will all stand you in good stead should you decide at some later date to pursue a different religion.

1) Testing god offends him.

This rule is discussed in an article by the apologist Ron Julian at “Is God doing right by me? … That we ask such questions is not surprising; in fact, the Bible tells us that our troubles are intended to raise such questions. God has an agenda for His people, and high on the list is His intention that each of us confront the issue of God’s character.” But, clearly, we are to accept that character as it appears in the Bible. We are to read that god aided the Israelites in destroying the Canaanites and all other tribes which had taken up residence in the holy land during the Jews absence, but accept that he loves humanity. And, it is hard to see how praying to god is not somehow testing god. Is the god of the Bible the real god? Well, since we are forbidden from running any kind of test, we must accept the word of those anonymous ancient scribes who wrote the Bible. So, testing god offends him. Granted, this is a bit like my being offended when the bank asks for positive identification before giving me a loan, but good Christians must learn to accept.

2) You must always TRY to believe in Christian dogma.

The three basic principles of self-deception are these: 1) Testing god offends him, 2) You must always TRY to believe in Christian dogma, and 3) Much of Christian dogma is above human reason. The Bible and apologists tell us we must be open to the message; we must try to believe. Now, some might argue that this is a de facto introduction of confirmation bias into the equation of belief, but the Christian will argue that that’s not a problem if what you’re trying to believe is true. Now that sounds reasonable, and, after all, while the evidence alone will lead us to belief in electricity, or gravity, or love, the story of Jesus is a little more complicated, so it takes more effort to believe it. They assure us, however, that our effort will be amply rewarded.

3) Much of Christian dogma is above human reason.

The Bible and apologists are fond of reminding us that god is the supreme intelligence, the intelligence which underlies and sustains all creation, and that we shouldn’t expect to understand everything god understands. Yes, the trinity is a mind-bending concept which is beyond human understanding. And, yes, the human mind is grievously challenged to understand why a just, compassionate, and loving god would create a torture facility for those who won’t or can’t believe in him. But, god understands and will make it all clear to us after we die. It does seem strange, though, that god is so super smart, yet he can’t make things clear to us. Okay, there is perhaps an outside chance that what seems silly in Christian dogma really is just silly, and that the authorities are just trying to sneak stuff past us by convincing us we’re stupid. But, shouldn’t we have already learned those first two principles by now, that god is offended by testing, and we must always TRY to believe?

Now, I don’t pretend that these three principles are all you need to know to be a good Christian, but I do believe that there is no better training in the self-deception required to be a good Christian than you’ve gotten right here in this modest course. If you have read this far, and understood and believed, then Christianity may be just the thing for you. Good luck with that.


Popular posts from this blog

So Just How Dumb Were Jesus’ Disciples? The Resurrection, Part VII.

By Robert Conner ~ T he first mention of Jesus’ resurrection comes from a letter written by Paul of Tarsus. Paul appears to have had no interest whatsoever in the “historical” Jesus: “even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, we know him so no longer.” ( 2 Corinthians 5:16 ) Paul’s surviving letters never once mention any of Jesus’ many exorcisms and healings, the raising of Lazarus, or Jesus’ virgin birth, and barely allude to Jesus’ teaching. For Paul, Jesus only gets interesting after he’s dead, but even here Paul’s attention to detail is sketchy at best. For instance, Paul says Jesus “was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” ( 1 Corinthians 15:4 ), but there are no scriptures that foretell the Jewish Messiah would at long last appear only to die at the hands of Gentiles, much less that the Messiah would then be raised from the dead after three days. After his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus—an event Paul never mentions in his lette

Are You an Atheist Success Story?

By Avangelism Project ~ F acts don’t spread. Stories do. It’s how (good) marketing works, it’s how elections (unfortunately) are won and lost, and it’s how (all) religion spreads. Proselytization isn’t accomplished with better arguments. It’s accomplished with better stories and it’s time we atheists catch up. It’s not like atheists don’t love a good story. Head over to the atheist reddit and take a look if you don’t believe me. We’re all over stories painting religion in a bad light. Nothing wrong with that, but we ignore the value of a story or a testimonial when we’re dealing with Christians. We can’t be so proud to argue the semantics of whether atheism is a belief or deconversion is actually proselytization. When we become more interested in defining our terms than in affecting people, we’ve relegated ourselves to irrelevance preferring to be smug in our minority, but semantically correct, nonbelief. Results Determine Reality The thing is when we opt to bury our


By David Andrew Dugle ~   S ettle down now children, here's the story from the Book of David called The Parable of the Bent Cross. In the land Southeast of Eden –  Eden, Minnesota that is – between two rivers called the Big Miami and the Little Miami, in the name of Saint Gertrude there was once built a church. Here next to it was also built a fine parochial school. The congregation thrived and after a multitude of years, a new, bigger church was erected, well made with clean straight lines and a high steeple topped with a tall, thin cross of gold. The faithful felt proud, but now very low was their money. Their Sunday offerings and school fees did not suffice. Anon, they decided to raise money in an unclean way. One fine summer day the faithful erected tents in the chariot lot between the two buildings. In the tents they set up all manner of games – ring toss, bingo, little mechanical racing horses and roulette wheels – then all who lived in the land between the two rivers we

Christian TV presenter reads out Star Wars plot as story of salvation

An email prankster tricked the host of a Christian TV show into reading out the plots of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Star Wars in the belief they were stories of personal salvation. The unsuspecting host read out most of the opening rap to The Fresh Prince, a 1990s US sitcom starring Will Smith , apparently unaware that it was not a genuine testimony of faith. The prankster had slightly adapted the lyrics but the references to a misspent youth playing basketball in West Philadelphia would have been instantly familiar to most viewers. The lines read out by the DJ included: "One day a couple of guys who were up to no good starting making trouble in my living area. I ended up getting into a fight, which terrified my mother." The presenter on Genesis TV , a British Christian channel, eventually realised that he was being pranked and cut the story short – only to move on to another spoof email based on the plot of the Star Wars films. It began: &quo

On Living Virtuously

By Webmdave ~  A s a Christian, living virtuously meant living in a manner that pleased God. Pleasing god (or living virtuously) was explained as: Praying for forgiveness for sins  Accepting Christ as Savior  Frequently reading the Bible  Memorizing Bible verses Being baptized (subject to church rules)  Attending church services  Partaking of the Lord’s Supper  Tithing  Resisting temptations to lie, steal, smoke, drink, party, have lustful thoughts, have sex (outside of marriage) masturbate, etc.  Boldly sharing the Gospel of Salvation with unbelievers The list of virtuous values and expectations grew over time. Once the initial foundational values were safely under the belt, “more virtues'' were introduced. Newer introductions included (among others) harsh condemnation of “worldly” music, homosexuality and abortion Eventually the list of values grew ponderous, and these ideals were not just personal for us Christians. These virtues were used to condemn and disrespect fro

I can fix ignorance; I can't fix stupid!

By Bob O ~ I 'm an atheist and a 52-year veteran of public education. I need not tell anyone the problems associated with having to "duck" the "Which church do you belong to?" with my students and their parents. Once told by a parent that they would rather have a queer for their sons' teacher than an atheist! Spent HOURS going to the restroom right when prayers were performed: before assemblies, sports banquets, "Christmas Programs", awards assemblies, etc... Told everyone that I had a bladder problem. And "yes" it was a copout to many of you, but the old adage (yes, it's religious) accept what you can't change, change that which you can and accept the strength to know the difference! No need arguing that which you will never change. Enough of that. What I'd like to impart is my simple family chemistry. My wife is a Baptist - raised in a Baptist Orphanage (whole stories there) and is a believer. She did not know my religi