How Christians Disagree

Who’d have thunk it?  Some people did something ridiculous because it’s god’s will.

A small Pike County church has voted not to accept interracial couples as members or let them take part in some worship activities.

Members at a business meeting decided to put the matter before the whole church. Last Sunday, nine people voted for the proposal and six voted against it, Harville said.

Other Christians disagree, but read the article and take special note of how they disagree.

“It’s not the spirit of the community in any way, shape or form,” Randy Johnson, president of the Pike County Ministerial Association, said of the vote.


“It sure ain’t Christian. It ain’t nothing but the old devil working,” Harville said.

The devil?  Horseshit.  It’s full-on believers in Christ thinking they know god’s will and deciding that god’s will is compassionate no matter how inhuman.  If there is a devil, I’m content to believe those people are it, but let’s not imagine for even a moment they’re not Christians.  Lots of Christians supplant human decency with whatever arbitrary command they think is god’s will.  How many of the believers saying racism is un-Christian, for instance, have no truck whatsoever discriminating against gays to honor the good lord?

There’s not a single believer quoted in the whole article saying something like “Man, that seems awfully pointless and lacking in empathy.”  Nope, it’s an echo of the way Christians always resolve moral disagreements: by repeatedly insisting that they’re the ones who really know the will of god for all he same reasons their opponents believe the same. And they somehow expect to resolve their moral differences this way.  This is the problem with religion (well, one of many problems).  There is no conclusion so inhuman or so at odds with basic competence that faith cannot be used in its defense.  Religion gives strength to any opinion, including opinions so stupid they find support nowhere else but in the unflinching (and uncritical) certainty of faith.

There are conclusions about the world and about morality that have been discovered and confirmed through reason, and sometimes Christians luck out and stumble onto them through faith (while FSM-knows how many others stumble into sanctioned lunacy through faith).  But it’s wrong to say that faith is a reliable way to get there, and by pretending like it is, whether you’re a Christian or an atheist trying to be diplomatic, you’re breathing life into the force that keeps our society at odds by lending credibility to ideas that make the world a shittier place – ideas that would otherwise be rightly thrown away.

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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.

  • Phillip IV

    The amusing side of this particular kerfluffle was perusing the comments sections at various places where that story was discussed – and see the fundies drop their “Their interpretation of Scripture was indubitably wrong, our interpretation is indubitably right.” lines before heading for cover as fast as they could, lest anybody start a discussion on how to tell the difference.

    These are actually the slightly ‘better’ kind of fundies – those that, at some level, know that they’re wrong and just don’t want to be right. So they put their fingers in their ears and sing loudly, or run quickly. Those that actually manage to convince themselves that their position isn’t incoherent are a lot more dangerous.

  • Rob

    Even more amusing and/or eyeroll worthy, I’ll have to see if I can find the link, the church denies being racist

    • Aliasalpha

      Something along the lines of “No we have no problem with ethnicity A, just as we have no problem with ethnicity B, its the mixing them up thats vile and disgusting and must be stamped out, thats not racism!”?

  • JohnnyAl

    One thing that jumped at me when reading the article was how many people DIDN’T vote. They claim that 35-40 people were at the service, but most left because they didn’t want anything to do with this. Does that mean they disagreed with the pastor?

    I wonder why they didn’t stick around and vote then. Could it be that they really agreed but didn’t want to make it “official”?

  • RhubarbTheBear

    With only 15 people feeling strongly enough to vote one way or another, I’m surprised this dingleberry of a news item made it onto anyone’s radar. Then again, maybe the unwanted attention they’ll now inevitably get will knock the slightest bit of sense into some of the individuals involved.

  • stupid commenter

    So… If I am understanding you correctly you are saying that churches should just agree not to allow inter-racial marriages and that racism isn’t really so bad, right? Of course that’s what you mean, since as the reader I get to decide what you mean in your writings.

    ^^^This is how those Christians read and interpret the Bible (and probably why their church is so tiny).

    Maybe, just MAYBE, there is a way to correctly/accurately interpret an author’s intended meaning. If that is the case, then perhaps we can take a look at the Bible and see whether it supports their position (which, of course, it doesn’t).

  • noastronomer

    “…they’re the ones who really know the will of god…”

    Which itself is a cop-out, passing the buck. It allows cowards to be intolerant by proxy. By explaining every inhumane act they commit as the ‘will of god’ people like this avoid any push-back from their conscience. Or from the community.

    Atheists don’t have this luxury. We have to own our prejudices.