"I'm a Christian and I'm not Gullible"

Ref left this comment on my Rick Perry post the other day.

It contained so many questions I receive so often that I thought I’d give it some attention.

 

Behold:

I am a Christian. I am a conservative. I am neither stupid, nor gullible, nor uninformed. With that said, what I find rather odd is that the majority of athiests who are so vehement in their rejection of whatever hold they believe the Christian community has on this nation are the front runners in mankind’s intrisic ability, and, supposedly, inalienable right to believe as we see fit. Yet, there seems to be no boundary when posting one’s opinion of the stupidity of those that, for whatever reason, choose to espouse a belief in the divine. This is, in my opinion, rather ironic as a belief in some type of God is, bar far, the majority perspective. Is it that many of you see those inclined to believe in the divine as simply less intelligent than the elite minority of you that, somehow, happen to have had the restrictive veil of religion removed from their eyes and, now, see the truth? Thanks for your response.

So often I hear the Christian tell me they’re not gullible, that they are well-reasoned, etc.  I always anticipate that they’re going to go on to explain why believing in somebody rising from the dead is a reasonable conclusion, but they never do.  Just “I’m not gullible” and then leave me at taking their word for it.

Well Ref, that dog don’t hunt.  If you want me to believe you’re not gullible, you need to pony up some evidence for your position.  Got any?

As far as your intelligence, I don’t really know.  People like Isaac Newton and Blaise Pascal were pretty sharp, yet believed a very dumb thing.  So I don’t believe all Christians are stupid, but I do believe they all hold a very stupid belief.  I guess your comment will have to be the rubric by which I gauge your intellect.  Frankly, it’s not helping you in my eyes.

…what I find rather odd is that the majority of athiests who are so vehement in their rejection of whatever hold they believe the Christian community has on this nation are the front runners in mankind’s intrisic ability, and, supposedly, inalienable right to believe as we see fit.

The majority of us feel we’re the only ones who get to believe as we like?  Who the hell has ever made that argument?  Show me one atheist saying Christians can’t believe as they wish.

What we do say is that you are all wrong.  You are.  There’s no shame or guilt in saying so.  Freedom to believe as you like does not mean freedom to be free of criticism.

Yet, there seems to be no boundary when posting one’s opinion of the stupidity of those that, for whatever reason, choose to espouse a belief in the divine.

Yes, there is no boundary for this.  You spend a lot of time bemoaning how we criticize your beliefs and literally zero time defending those beliefs.  This needs to be reversed.

This is, in my opinion, rather ironic as a belief in some type of God is, bar far, the majority perspective.

It’s only ironic if you confuse telling someone they’re wrong with telling them they can’t believe what they wish, which is what you’ve done.  This is not a good way to convince me you’re intelligent.  You may respond by asking me how dare I question your intelligence when you were so polite in your comment.  If you do, I have the following responses.

1.  I’m not going to placate you because you were nice to me.  I’m not trying to be mean, but I am being honest, and honesty in this case is disparaging.

2.  Your comment was full of pointed questions that insinuated less-than-noble motivations on the part of atheists, so don’t hide behind “but I was so nice.”

And so what if it’s the majority perspective?  The majority of people on this planet thinks Christianity is false (Christians of various denominations make up about 31% of the global population).  If the majority is the arbiter of what’s true, you’re hosed.

Is it that many of you see those inclined to believe in the divine as simply less intelligent than the elite minority of you that, somehow, happen to have had the restrictive veil of religion removed from their eyes and, now, see the truth?

They certainly place a lesser premium on evidence and reason when it comes to the god question.  If anybody else came up to you and said they know somebody who walked on water a few centuries ago, you’d rightly consider them mad, yet Christians want me to act like they’re justified believing all the wonky things about Jesus.  No, sir.  The standard is the same.

You spent a whole comment asking pointed questions designed to paint atheists as elitist without merit.  You didn’t spend so much as a consonant explaining why you’re right.  Until you do, how am I supposed to respond?  “Well, I have no idea why Ref believes this silly position, but he feels he’s so put upon.  And even though I have all the reason and evidence on my side, I don’t want to come off as elitist, so I guess I can cut him some slack.”

If that’s the response you’re looking for, you can go piss up a tree.  I am so tired of Christians and other religious folk asking me to acknowledge how noble their positions are when they don’t lift a finger to defend them.  And if you think that you shouldn’t have to defend your position for we atheists to lighten up on religion, listen to Greta Christina to learn about a small percentage of the reasons we’re pissed off about power being in religious hands.

Beliefs are not some irrelevant matter of opinion.  They are the gatekeepers to our actions and our actions affect those around us, especially the actions of people in the halls of power.  The accuracy of our beliefs matters!  If you have nothing but shitty reasons for your beliefs, you are failing humanity as well as yourself.  That is why we care.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • http://zenoferox.blogspot.com/ Zeno

    When people cite geniuses of the past as examples of smart Christians, it aggravates me when they include Newton. Sir Isaac was mentioned in a recent Catholic Radio broadcast as a believer in creation. Sure, he was a dedicated believer in a deity, saw himself as uncovering a small portion of God’s divine design, and devoted many unproductive years to religious speculation and theology. Nevertheless, Newton was not a Christian in any sense that today’s mainstream Christianity would recognize. Sir Isaac was a closet unitarian who would have lost his professorship had his lack of belief in Christ’s divinity become generally known. People who don’t think that Jesus Christ was God are not warmly embraced by today’s most enthusiastic Christian apologists.

  • http://war-on-error.xanga.com/ Ben

    The majority human position on the basic god question is an essentially vague and unqualified one since we are predominantly social information specialists and not metaphysicians. It also means we’re likely to favor reasons that derive from our actual area of expertise even if we have no business doing so.

  • Sastra

    When Christians spread the so-called Good News of the gospel do they see themselves as taking away people’s “right” not to be Christian? Do they see persuasion as the same thing as force? Do they think the Christian is attacking the non-Christian? I assume not. So why, when the situation is reversed and the atheist is trying to change the Christian’s mind, is this suddenly seen as someone violating a person’s “right” to believe whatever they want?

    They’re not thinking it through.

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    Ref appears annoyed that atheists are not impressed by his Christianity. In fact, these atheists think he’s deluded and, to make matters worse, these atheists are so unkind as to express their opinions of his delusions out in the open, where anyone can see them.

    C’mon, Ref, show us mocking atheists how we’re wrong. Give us the irrefutable evidence that God is real and Jebus died for our sins and Rev. Billy Joe Jim Bob is right to demand 10% of our income so he can support his mistress.

    Permit me to make a suggestion. The following is a non-exhaustive list of reasons you goddists trot out to justify your goddism and which atheists can easily shoot down. Try not to use them.

    ● Fine tuning.

    ● God of the Gaps.

    ● The Bible is historically accurate.

    ● Religion is comforting.

    ● There are more Christians in America than atheists.

    ● Everything has a cause.

    So, Ref, give us your best shot.

  • unbound

    I would indeed like to see Ref demonstrate his intelligence and defend his position regarding his belief in god. I truly would like to hear the intelligent position regarding why god definitely exists.

    By the way, part of that explanation needs to include why your particular god is the correct god as opposed to all the other gods that people actively and have historically worshiped. After all, there does need to be some degree of precision in understanding what god you find to be believable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1583067300 alisonmeyer

    Zeno, it doesn’t look like this particular fellow used the “smart christians from the past” argument, although it could have been inferred by any of us reading because it’s such a common one. It’s very hard for people to rationally separate out a part of themselves when that part is being criticized, no matter how that criticism is parsed. Look at how we atheists are all over the various “all atheists are. . .” demonizations, and recall that most of those are coming from people who very strongly connect statements about their beliefs with statements about their character.

    While people of all stripes who disagree with christianity might try to limit their statements to the religion or the religious practice,religious people will react emotionally and personalize it. Add in the fact that we have so many people in the news and on the web being stupid in the name of their religions, and even the most non-accusatory questioning of religion will generate a slew of comments aimed at the religious as well as the religion.

    In reality, I don’t see any way around it without going all accommodationist, or continuing as we have and rebutting each standard-issue objection over and over whenever it comes up.

    As for the historical smart christian argument, I do like to point out that it was sort of like living in a sharia-law state back then, so if you didn’t want to end up killed or imprisoned, you were a christian whether you were or not, so that argument is null and void. . .

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Dear Ref,

    In you quest to persuade atheists that you are “neither stupid, nor gullible, nor misinformed”, you might wish to learn how to construct a coherent paragraph. The meandering verbiage you currently produce doesn’t speak well for your clarity of mind.

  • Zinc Avenger

    “I believe a man rose from the dead 2000 years ago in defiance of my entire life experience of the way the death works because I have a many-times-translated book that says so, and some people I trust tell me so as well, because they are reading the same book. But I’m not gullible!”

  • http://larianlequella.com larianlequella

    My favorite thing to retort with when I get the inevitable, “You seem so nice for an atheist.” is that I respond with, “You seem so smart for a theist.”

  • Daniel Schealler

    What I find rather odd is that the majority of athiests… are the front runners in… supposedly, inalienable right to believe as we see fit. Yet, there seems to be no boundary when posting one’s opinion of the stupidity of those that, for whatever reason, choose to espouse a belief in the divine.

    Okay… Whut?

    I don’t even…

    Did I read that right?

    Because to my reading, what Ref has done here is grant that atheists are very strong porponents for freedom of conscience and by implication also freedom of speech… Then tried to make it look like that is somehow inconsistent with not placing boundaries on our expression of our opinions.

    Is that right? Is this a fair reading of what Ref has said here?

    Because that makes no sense.

    Commitment to freedom of speech = no boundaries on the expression of opinions.

    Not having boundaries around what views may or may not be expressed is what freedom of speech is.

    It’s a sign that we’re doing it right.

    Which is why I wonder if I read that wrong, somehow.

    Ref, are you reading this? Can you comment, clear that up a bit? Would be greatly appreciated.

    Looking forward to your response.

  • John Morales

    Two words: Nicene Creed.

  • Andrew G.

    Intelligence and rationality aren’t necessarily linked – smart people can be better at fooling themselves.

    • Richard

      I agree, because religion is simply a trap for the mind.

  • http://smileofthedecade.co.uk patrick graham

    Whenever these Christian responders insist they are not gullible and are intelligent – don’t you just know that the very next step is to wade into battle with fallacious arguments

    (In this case, appeal ad populum, and appeal to tradition… the usual suspects.)

    No Doubt the “no true Scotsman” argument would be brought out in defence of massive abuse scandals, corruption, torture and murder over the 2000 years of Christian history…it usually is.

    but having never argued rationally, that argument (both term and concept) will be unknown to the confirmation bias crowd..

    for an understanding of rationality – please read…
    http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html

    (keep it up JT)

  • Crommunist

    “I’m conservative. I’m Christian. I’m not gullible”

    And I’m a fucking unicorn. Look at how my horn sparkles in the moonlight!


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