Will the United States Become a Theocracy?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, answers the question: Will the United States become a theocracy?

Note: I accidentally called the filibustering Texas state senator Wendy Wright. It’s actually Wendy Davis. My bad.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Brian

    Wendy Davis was the woman who filibustered in Texas, Wendy Wright is the Creationist Kook that Dawkins had a “discussion” with.

  • SeekerLancer

    Hemant is right on here.

    People like to throw around the fear of a theocracy but I don’t think it’s in danger of happening. As much as the religious right should be railed against for its Christian dominionist beliefs, the evidence points to the secular movement growing in strength and numbers every year. Polls show the youth are becoming less and less religious and religious leaders are losing political fights such as gay marriage and intelligent design.

    Groups like the Tea Party are an extreme, knee jerk reaction to the changes that are occurring. Groups of people who prefer the status quo always crop up when it’s threatened. It’s a last gasp of desperation.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Not gonna happen. This is not one denomination. This is dozens (hundreds really, plus independent churches like the megachurches) who don’t actually like each other very much. It’s not at all uncommon in many fundamentalist churches to hear entire sermons about what is wrong with all the other fundamentalist churches. And the fundies REALLY don’t like the Catholics and the Mormons. So even if they could manage to seize control of the government, the coalition wouldn’t last very long. It’s why people who want to exploit these groups for political gain keep them focused on issues like abortion and gay rights because beyond those and a few other issues they don’t really have nearly as much in common as people not from a fundamentalist tradition seem to think.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    When I was a kid I listened to the adults and realized, quite on my own, that the racist old folks were full of crap. Black people were just fine (or rather they run the gamut from asshole to awesome just like white people and every other kind of people). Young people today are figuring out the same thing about gay people. The gay people they know aren’t anything like the bigoted stereotypes they are hearing about in church. They’re also smart enough to look around at their whole state on fire because it hardly ever rains there any more and wonder if maybe the climate scientists might know what they are talking about.

  • kelemi

    People have gotten wise to the Tea Party.

    There are many brands of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. They are not unanimous in their opinions.

    However, we need to be on the alert so it doesn’t happen.

  • kelemi

    Well Put. I couldn’t have said it any better.

  • Machintelligence

    Exactly. This current coalition of fundamentalists is a last gasp effort to try to thwart liberal trends and retain power. It is causing a serious problem with retaining young people in the church. I have seen numbers indicating that the Southern Baptists will have less than 10% of their current crop of kids as members by the time they reach 30. Also, alliances where most of the parties believe that their allies are doomed to hell are not going to be stable if they achieve success. They will promptly turn their guns on each other.

  • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

    That was a painful debate. She was unbelievably ignorant and stubborn. A science denier that repeatedly told the one and only Richard Dawkins that there isn’t a single piece of evidence in favor of evolution. And laughed off the proof he kept citing or the idea that she had ulterior motives for pushing her dogma.

  • Kilian Hekhuis

    “We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project” – As someone who’s hearing impaired, I’d love subtitles or a transcript.

  • http://chancemcmahon.wordpress.com/ Chance McMahon

    The facts on the ground suggest a “no,” in my opinion even if in the short run things like abortion rights, gay right, and public education suffer as a result.

    Part of my reasoning to agree with your conclusion is that Republicans tend to only gain political power in midterm elections and this is because voter turnout tends to be much lower than during a presidential election (not that the numbers are resoundingly high during a presidential election). Even then, I think that midterms like 2010, where the Tea Party came into power is misinterpreted as a victory for the Right when really, I think most people were just angry with the way that Democrats were handling legislation. This partially suggests that the views of Republicans are not that popular and they have to do things like getting power via Voter ID legislation or Gerrymandering districts.

    Another part of it, at least the way I see it, is that passing all of this legislation is a long swan song. I think they’re aware that their ability to command and respect with these issues is waning, so they pass a ton of legislation to ensure that short term their views prevail.

    All of this suggests that they manufacture popularity via staying in political power. If a real threat of theocracy came, people would fight back against it. But I also think that there needs to be organizing against this kind of legislation as well

  • Baby_Raptor

    Facts don’t matter. What you BELIEVE matters!

  • Baby_Raptor

    To be fair, them not liking each other doesn’t stop them from becoming quick bed fellows (Is that one word or two?) when there’s a common enemy.

    Look at how quickly Mormonism became okay during the election. Or how the Catholic Bishops and the Fundiegelicals paired off to fight the birth control mandate.

  • Free

    I am a Christian. I do not separate from faith from my daily living like most religious people do. I have a relationship with God. I am flawed. I am not able to “cast the first stone” or else I would be a dead man. I have been exhorted to love God first and fellow man before myself. These are but a few distinctions of the revealed will of Jesus for those that bear His name. From this position, I wanted to make a few comments about this post. First, this nation never was and never will be a “Christian” nation. Regardless of the comments of Barton and the like, we by biblical definition are not going to be a Christian nation. We are not and will not be a Theocracy. The church is a theocracy. This nation’s constitution protects the freedom for churches to exercise this theocracy for it’s people. The constitution is still and should always be our foundation and the source we look to for law and practice. I am just as fearful that America is seeking to rewrite the constitution as much as folks are concerned about a Theocracy. The reality is that this nation was founded and established by men and women of faith. The elected leaders were by and large affected in their world view by their faith and practice. I could show many instances of archived language in various documents that show the indisputable nature of their faith. They wrote Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Bill or Rights etc… from a world view that held many tenants of faith. This is just a fact of history. This does not mean we should be or were intended to be a Theocracy. We get tripped up today in seeking to get into the minds of these fore fathers to seek intent. We ride the “separation of church and state” bandwagon to death. If we would be honest we would agree that this language does not exist in the Constitution. We would also rightly agree that this was the sentiment of Jefferson and many of the founding fathers however. But a more careful look at the existence of this language would state that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” The First Ammendment is the closest language held in the founding docs. The term first appeared by Jefferson in a writing to the baptist denomination. He did take his thought from John Locke. However, it is not intrinsic to the founding documents. What was intended was that as a nation we will not agree to or cooperate in the establishment of a national or state religion similar to what the first americans experienced in England. The constitution also made it very clear that the free expression of religion was also guaranteed. Here is where the challenge lies. Will we add to the Constitution or will we live within it’s freedom concerning this central tenant? See, I am not fighting for a Theocracy, I call that heaven! I am, however, seeking and expecting in lines with my identity as an american, exercise the expression of my faith in my culture. Separation of Church and State does not mean no faith expression in the public arena or our fore fathers would not have used the language they used when and where they used it. I think the establishment of the Atheist religion would be an avenue where atheists could operate with public expression and feel a level of freedom that religious american have experienced in keeping with the Constitution and our national identity without rewriting the history that made this the most uniquely powerful and influential nation in world history.

  • pRinzler

    “Separation of Church and State does not mean no faith expression in the public arena”

    By who, the government or its citizens? No one is in danger of anything if they pray in public, but we are all in danger once the government starts favoring one religion over the other (or religion or non-religion).

  • Hilary

    Three things:
    1. Could you edit this into paragraph breaks? Makes it easier to read.

    2. I am also person of faith. I very much enjoy my religion (liberal Jew) and am getting ready to lead Torah (bible) study tonight at Shabbat services. But in the public sandbox, I play by secular rules. Any ethical interaction with other people needs to be justifiable without resorting to “because God/bible says so.” I do this because I expect reciprocal treatment – it’s just too easy to twist religious institutions to justify hurting people because you think you are helping them.

    3. I will fight any theocracy* tooth and nail, with all my heart, alongside atheists and other theists of all types who understand that a theocracy is one of the worst ways to rule. In a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-faith (including no faith) society like the USA, it would be beyond epic fail.
    *Including Israeli theocracy. I support a Jewish nation alongside a Palestinian nation, both at peace, both economically secure, both with a secular government that recognizes and supports religious freedom for all citizens.

    PS we are not the most powerful and influential nation in world history. We happen to be very powerful at the moment, and even that is shifting.

  • C Peterson

    Many good points in this video.

    I agree, the likelihood of the U.S. becoming a theocracy is very small. My concern is some sort of Constitutional crisis coming out of a handful of the backward states that continue to resist the social and political change occurring in most of the country. These are places that already freely throw around words like “secede”. What happens when we start getting riots? What is the real ratio of sane, moderate people in the Bible Belt to crazy firebrands? Within these extremist states, can the moderates take back control? I don’t know, but we could be in for some interesting times in the near future.

  • Free

    Agreed. That would be a hill I would die on.

  • pRinzler

    Oh, one small thing: you said, ” I think the establishment of the Atheist religion. . . .” If atheism is a religion, then

    • Off is a TV channel

    • Bald is a hair color

    • Not collecting stamps is a hobby

    • Unemployment is a job


  • Free

    I stand with you. Thanks for the grammar encouragement.

    The only comment I would make in regards to your post is #2. Secular rules, as outlined in the Constitution do not prohibit ethical interaction or expressions of faith. I do agree however, that these interactions should be for the betterment of all utilizing social decorum and concern for others as to validate the decency of your proposed view.

  • Rob

    Correct, there is very little chance that this country will become a theocracy. Even Christians don’t want that to happen. Anybody who insinuates differently is either dishonest or ill informed.

    However, the way the question is stated is a little ominous. In reality, Christians are NOT a true enemy of atheists. If the Christian population didn’t exist in this country (like atheist think would be utopia), something else would definitely fill that void in society. The result would be catastrophic. You can’t have the safety, civility, human regard, and mutual respect that Christian society brings and maintains while simultaneously tossing the morality that makes it work.

  • duke_of_omnium

    You’re begging the question that “safety, civility” etc. are peculiar to, and deriving from, a “christian society”. In fact, safety, etc., did not come to “christian society” until forced there by secularism. I think – and I suspect that many atheists and even some christians agree — that we could have a society which is just as safe, civil and far more respectful without it being a “christian society”.

  • pRinzler

    And, in fact, several Scandanavian societies are doing just that. Religion is down, and civil society is working well.

  • Free

    I am saying that Atheists would fare better under the Constitution if they say their world-view as a religion. It does fit the definition as defined by Websters Dictionary.

  • Rob

    “However, we need to be on the alert so it doesn’t happen.” There’s literally no chance of it happening. There’s not even a micro-trend in that direction. Don’t waste your time being on alert to block a theocracy. Better to spend your time being alert to an impending police state, that’s where the real danger is right now (in the U.S. anyway).

  • pRinzler

    Atheism is not a world-view. Atheism is, at minimum, just the lack of a belief in god. It’s not a religion because it’s not a belief. Atheists see that no one has made a sufficient case that there is a god, so there’s no reason to believe there is one.

  • Stev84

    Not in principle. But the actions and the very ideals of religious fundamentalists are frequently immoral and unethical and not compatible with a free, secular society.

  • Mack Stevens

    No, I don’t think it will happen here in the US. I do welcome the crazy antics of the religious right as they see their influence and power wane; it only creates more unbelievers and hastens religion’s decomposition.

  • WillBell

    I agree, it won’t happen in the US. The Republican Part hasn’t won the popular vote in years and a younger generation is shifting the country in a more progressive direction. Both parties will move to the left or middle eventually to appease this new generation. Minorities produce another angle that slowly will draw the US further left, and I can’t wait for the day that theocracy is a fear that is behind us for good.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

    *facepalm* You’re right. We’ll add a note to correct that.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

    Yes! We’re working on these. In the meantime, we’ve completed captioning for this video: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/06/30/do-i-know-for-a-fact-that-there-is-no-god/

  • Brian Westley

    They’re hardly perfect, but you can turn on the automatic captions. “Wendy Wright” turned into “when you write”, but most of it is accurate.

  • Free

    I understand. But you live in a country that was influenced and its founding documents were influenced by faith. It seems to be the vehicle that drives expression. Atheism bears the name of God in its construct of a word. It should consider that its tightly held anti-beliefs and tenants are equally upheld. Since atheism is by definition religious not in the theist or deist vernacular, you should use the channels this nation recognizes.

  • pRinzler

    “But you live in a country that was influenced and its founding documents were influenced by faith.”

    Perhaps the Declaration of Independence, but that document doesn’t determine how the country is run, the Constitution does that, and it definitely a secular, not religious, document. If religion was so important to the US because it is referenced in the declaration, how did it wind up getting left out of the Constitution? (Actually, that was a very explicit and contentious issue at the constitutional convention, as memory serves, I hope I’m not wrong about that.)

    “[Faith] seems to be the vehicle that drives expression.”

    You’re kidding, right? You can’t be expressive without faith? Wait, what are you saying is expressed? “Expression” of what? Am I misunderstanding you?

    “Atheism bears the name of God in its construct of a word.”

    I hope you’re not implying that atheism has any responsibilities to the idea of god (aside from rejecting it).

    “It should consider that its tightly held anti-beliefs and tenants are equally upheld. ”

    Vociferously voiced, perhaps but tightly held? The vast majority of atheists I know would drop atheism immediately if sufficient evidence for god were available. Most atheists I know are driven by evidence, and skepticism that carefully evaluates claims, especially extraordinary ones. It is many religious types, to the contrary, that have to hold onto their beliefs so tightly, because they have little evidence to support them otherwise.

    “Since atheism is by definition religious not in the theist or deist vernacular, you should use the channels this nation recognizes.”

    Didn’t I just lay out for you how atheism is *not* religious, because atheists don’t hold religious beliefs? And, the channels that this nation recognizes, via the constitution, are secular, not religious.

  • Nox

    The only way you have the freedom to choose your own religion is if the government doesn’t have the freedom to choose your religion for you. The Establishment Clause is not in conflict with the Free Exercise Clause. It is the thing that protects free exercise of religion.

    The first amendment wasn’t chosen randomly. It was a reaction to seeing what established state religion did to Europe.

  • Stev84

    For legal purposes (for example first amendment challenges) atheism is already given the same status as religious beliefs.

  • Machintelligence

    I suspect most of the crazy firebrands are not that courageous. It might be necessary to call out the national guard, as happened during the civil rights protest days, but look at what happened there: Governor Wallace backed down and after a few of the hecklers had their heads busted and were arrested in Chicago, the rights marchers had peaceful demonstrations and won in the end.

  • Michael W Busch

    No, it doesn’t. From the most recent version of Merriam-Webster, emphasis added:

    re·li·gion noun ri-ˈli-jən

    1. b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance .
    2: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.

    Atheism says that there is no god and, more generally, no supernatural entities of any kind. See the difference?

    And as others have said, atheism is given the same status as religious beliefs when it comes to US law.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Yes. So long as they are united in hate against a common cause like Obama or abortion or gays, they will put aside their difference. If they ever accomplished those goals they’d be back to hating on each other again.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Well if they leave for more liberal churches or stop going altogether that changes things. If they leave for an equally (or ever more) fundie church, then that’s just the same thing with a different name tag.

  • RoxnSox

    I would add Japan and Singapore to the list of safe, civil societies without a strong influence of Christianity.

  • Hilary

    A lot of times I have to use the Edit option after I post, to insert paragraphs. I think that no matter where we stand with regards to the supernatural and religion, we can all agree that Disqus is damned annoying sometimes.
    About using religious principles while interacting in the public square, or with people in general – I agree that it can be done for the betterment of all people, but that betterment has to be demonstrable here, now, in this world not a hypothetical afterlife, using standards we can measure.

  • Mario Strada

    Paragraphs. Please. I read the same sentence six times and finally I gave up.
    I suspect that if I read the whole thing I would disagree with many of the conclusions and agree with others, but I guess I’ll never know.

  • EmpiricalPierce

    It’s said that “May you live in interesting times” is a Chinese curse.

    I’m uncertain of its origins, but as an atheist in the south, I would very much prefer that times not get interesting in such a manner.

  • C Peterson

    As an atheist not living in the South, I also prefer they not get interesting in that way. But I consider it a real possibility (enough to be concerned about, but far from inevitable or even terribly likely).

  • EmpiricalPierce

    True enough. You should never reject a possibility on grounds of it being unpleasant to think about.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Christians don’t own morality, Rob. There’s nothing about morality in the bible that didn’t exist before the book was written, and God is not a requirement for being a moral, good person.

    “Christian” society in America means hatred of gays, women as property, rampant deregulated capitalism, letting poor people/elderly/disabled/ children starve, racism, ETC. Any thinking person would agree that this is not “safe,” “civil” or “humane.”

    If you’re going to continue insulting Atheists by implying that we have no morality outside that which exposure to Christianity has forced on us, I would suggest you cease commenting here. It’s bullshit, and we don’t take well to bullshit or insults.

  • pRinzler

    There’s nothing about morality in the bible that didn’t exist before the book was written, and God is not a requirement for being a moral, good person.”

    This is undeniably and empirically true, but that doesn’t matter, I guess, to the True Believer.

  • Matt Bowyer

    Not likely, but there’s always a chance, however small….

  • Rob

    The very existence of a human conscience is evidence of God. And without conscience there would be no morality at all. I’m not saying Christianity brought morality into the planet. There is no viable natural explanation for the existence of conscience even being suggested (outside God). If there is no God, all laws/morals are man made, and thus can be overruled, by anyone strong enough to do so, without guilt.

    Also, absolutely none of the characteristics you mentioned are even present in Christianity. “hatred of gays, women as property, rampant deregulated capitalism,
    letting poor people/elderly/disabled/ children starve, racism, ETC.” If you have some sort of Biblical passage that supports your claims, please post them. Otherwise, I can show you many examples of the exact opposite.

    Be argumentative, just don’t be dishonest about it.

  • pRinzler

    Assuming there is no natural explanation for conscience (but see below), that doesn’t mean that God did it. You’d have to establish that those two explanations must be mutually exclusive, and not merely on the basis that “we can’t think of anything else.

    However, there is evidence for conscience, and morality in general, that has nothing to do with God. Primates show the beginnings of morality, and as such fit nicely into an evolutionary explanation for why there is morality. Social animals would very logically evolve morality.

    While hypothetically any moral code could be overruled as you suggest, in practice there are evolutionary reasons why morality tends to be similar throughout societies, even as they show differences as well (something also consistent with evolution). Prohibitions against killing, especially within one’s tribe, would logically evolve in social animals. We naturally feel disgust toward rotten food in a similar fashion because evolution has evolved us in that way (even though some people can overcome this disgust, or lack it outright, also in parallel with moral codes).

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Tea Party. Quiverfull. Christian Patriarchy. Pastor Anderson who gets torn apart regularly on this very blog. Westboro Baptist Church. The GOP platform, calling for reductions in social safety net, hatred of gays, and in Texas for the eradication of teaching critical thinking.

    Not all Christians, or even most, are for “hatred of gays, women as property, rampant deregulated capitalism, letting poor people/elderly/disabled/ children starve, racism, ETC”, but Christianity definitely has those strands within it.

  • Rob

    “Primates show the beginnings of morality” – I actually didn’t need proof that conscience exists in animals. I really just meant that science has no explanation for it’s existence in the first place. Conscience (as well as cognition and and a few others) have no logical means in evolution. No starting point, and no growth process. (by the way, “it benefits the species” is not a good explanation of how/why it evolved.) So, without making this an origins debate, atheists would logically have to claim conscience somehow evolved, and Christians logically must say God installed it in humanity. No surprise.

    But regardless, if atheism is true, the rules governing morality are arbitrary and constantly shifting. On top of that, no logical thinker (atheist) could reasonably disdain any of the horrific acts people participate in. Boston bombing, Batman shooter, 911, etc. These acts are all simply displays of supremacy based on the “survival of the fittest” principal. Survival of the fittest negates morality.

  • pRinzler

    Again, just because science *currently* can’t explain something – that fact by itself – does not mean God did it.

    How can you say that cognition has no growth process in evolution? You don’t think that the growth of cognition can be traced through species that are descendants of others, especially given differences in brain structure among species? Even our own brains show this, with what is called our “reptilian” brain (reptiles having evolved before us, and are one of our antecedents in evolution).

    In general, why type of thing (or types of things) would be good explanations of how/why something evolved?

  • Rob

    “… but Christianity definitely has those strands within it.” – Thank you for at least being honest.

    It’s true, Christians rarely live up to the high “Biblical Christian standard”. But you at least have to be charitable enough to differentiate the two. Christianity is not to blame for people who claim it, but fail to follow it. Anyway, it sounds like what you have a problem with is mostly “political-christanity” (which I also have a problem with), not “actual Christianity”.

  • Rob

    My main problem with the evolution of cognition and conscience (which are different by the way) is that the birth of cognition, like life itself, cannot be explained outside of a creation scenario. And the blind assumption a viable explanation will be offered in the future is a stretch, given the size of these hurdles.

    It’s not that all our naturalistic theories have holes, it’s that we can’t even begin to offer any sort of reasonable place to start a theory. So you may say “that doesn’t mean God did it”. True, but when the science roadblocks seem to mirror the philosophic roadblocks to evolution, I tend to look for a more reasonable solution and invoke the Occam’s razor thought process.

    “good explanations of how/why something evolved?” I don’t know, some reasonable examples I guess (non micro-evolution examples). I mean, to be fair, evolution is a fairly reasonable way to interpret the data (when starting from a humanist world view). But with 150-200 species going extinct daily, evolution is not required to explain any past extinction step patterns. Just because something goes extinct doesn’t mean it turns into something else. The fossil record show many extinctions, but no “evolutions” (unless you want them to exist – but then again, some can find Babe Ruth’s face in a cheese sandwich).

  • pRinzler

    “but when the science roadblocks seem to mirror the philosophic roadblocks to evolution,

    Can you explain this?

    Also, you appear to think that science has nothing to say about cognition. Isn’t there a lot of science on cognition, especially as it has evolved?

    “But with 150-200 species going extinct daily, evolution is not required to explain any past extinction step patterns.”

    Species going extinct is fully within evolution. Natural selection includes, among other things, the environment in which the species finds itself, and its adaptations to that environment.

    “Just because something goes extinct doesn’t mean it turns into something else.”

    Evolution doesn’t claim that. I don’t get this.

    “The fossil record show many extinctions, but no “evolutions” (unless you want them to exist – but then again, some can find Babe Ruth’s face in a cheese sandwich)”

    Are you saying that there are no transitional fossils?

  • Baby_Raptor

    1) This is a pre-assumptive argument based on the fact that you already believe in God. There is absolutely no proof for either claim you make here.

    There is no requirement for God for there to be laws and morals. None. Proof? People had laws and morals before Bible!God. More proof? People without Bible!God will follow laws, and develop morals of their own. Still more proof? Lots of different animal species show aspects of having a conscience, or having a system of rules that regulate their groups. Are you going to claim that animals somehow have a relationship with Bible!God too?

    God over-rules his own laws plenty. “Thou shalt not murder” is a Commandment, yet he’s got more blood on his hands than any mortal. God says not to covet, yet he also demands that he be the only God anyone worships. There are a lot of verses that lecture against being prideful, but Go read Job. Listen to God carry on about what a Bad Ass he is, and how dare Job want to know why God just ruined his life for a petty bit with Satan. I can continue if I need to.

    “Also, absolutely none of the characteristics you mentioned are even present in Christianity. ” Is this some sort of No True Scottsman, or are you really that ignorant?

    I was referring to how “Christians” in America act today, but if you really insist we go back to the Bible…

    Hatred of gays: See every verse that condemns us to death. Women as property: See the verses about women being required to submit, see the story of Junia, see the laws about a raped woman being required to marry her rapist, see all the stories about the Israelites taking women as war spoils. Racism: See the verses where it’s very specifically said that you can only take slaves *of other nation s,* because other nations are inferior. See also the “Curse of Ham” BS.

    Though you are right about one thing, Capitalism isn’t biblical. I can just imagine all the pants-shitting that would happen if we tried to institute something like Jubilee.

    Lastly, the fact that I disagree with you does not mean that I am a liar, and you would do well to get this way of thinking out of your head. Your assumptions are mostly false by the flaw of pre-assuming the proof; a proof you have no real evidence for. The fact that I disagree with this does not make me a liar. And claiming that it does is insulting.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    How should one tell the difference? I’m not Christian, I never have been (raised Jewish before my fall into apostasy lol), and every time I tried to read the NT I realized it was full of contradictions that made everyone talking about Real Christianity ™ right, and thus everyone wrong as well.

  • Rob

    I hear you. But essentially, the biblical standard is the goal of every Christian. “Christianity” is defined by the Bible, not the people who fail to meet that standard (which is really everybody – and many don’t even try). That’s where ‘grace’ comes in – but that’s another topic for another day.

    Yes, I can see why the NT would be hard to read for you and many others. But I’m guessing the contradictions you saw were probably the same cultural references that typically get cited. They often don’t match the message(s) of our current culture (talking about gays, greed, politics, etc). Is that correct? Or am I missing what you’re saying there?

    The problem as I see it is that the ‘rules’ found in the NT almost always apply to Christians and how to conduct ourselves. But instead, for some reason, we try to apply those standards to society, which has already outright rejected Christianity altogether. So then Christians get frustrated (unjustly) when society isn’t following the rules, but the rules weren’t even meant for society.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    No, the contradictions were far more fundamental than that. I mean, yeah, Christians talking about abortion have absolutely zero biblical justification for it, but that’s just normal human hypocrisy and religious brainwashing. I meant things like the different irreconcilable birth stories for Jesus, different irreconcilable death and resurrection stories for Jesus, and completely contradictory teachings about right and wrong. When Paul tells slaves to obey their masters, there’s no way he was receiving orders from a moral being, yet many Christians supported slavery for centuries. When Timothy says Jesus orders women to sit down and shut up, that’s immoral too. There is no way any moral being would tell just over half of humanity to be subservient to the other half because penis, yet it’s a central teaching to some Christian sects. And because Christianity has been the dominant religion in this country since it was founded, women didn’t get the right to vote until 1920, because good Christian men didn’t have to listen to women. You can’t separate the personal and the societal as much as you might want to.

    If Christians did just use the rules for their own personal selves, I wouldn’t care very much. I’d still think it was very silly, but it wouldn’t affect me. The attitudes the religion has- about sin, forgiveness, gender roles, reason and logic, and more- affect the society in which I live and am a part, so I would always have to take an interest in it.

    EDIT: Everyone claims to be following the Christian Biblical Standard. What does that mean? How can I, a non-Christian, tell who is right when everyone can point to scripture to back up their interpretation?