Christianity is bolted to reality. I know. I did the very same double take when I read that in a headline yesterday morning. Even refreshed the page and yet, there it blared as loud as before, “Christianity: Bolted to Reality”.
There’s a fantastic line from one of the world’s most celebrated films, Home Alone, that goes something like this, “Uncle Frank? Is this a joke?”. I had no choice but to recite this, my favourite Kevin McAllister line, as I clicked the link to the blog post.
I had to know if this was satire.
It had to be satire right? Either that or I’m dreaming?
Upon clicking the post by Greg Koukl and skimming, I realized this is an attempt at discrediting the atheist community, in particular, “new atheism” and not at all satirical.
So, I said, “Alright, Jesus man, let’s do this” and took a swig of Fireball.
With my cogs properly lubricated, I read this holy apologist’s first assertion, which is that “new atheism” has no new arguments. It appears as though nothing slips by this pew-glued proselytizer, because this is correct since no atheism at all is really an argument. It’s more of a request: “If you want me to believe in your saviour, please provide some evidence”. Or even a response: “No, I won’t believe that until you prove it”.
He says though, that the new atheism comes with a new attitude, which is, of course, a poorly disguised way of crying, “persecution”. Scared we might actually make sense, he has to reduce our increasingly loud voices to just “attitude”.
It’s funny because he then refers to two intelligent and influential men to illustrate this attitude. Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Richard Dawkins can get fierce from time to time but it’s usually triggered by utter nonsense and I would hardly label that attitude. And of course, anyone who would describe Sam Harris as having an attitude, either has no idea who Sam Harris is or has never heard him speak or debate, or they’re unusually deluded. Sam Harris is cooler and more relaxed than a bike rack in Fargo in January.
So, essentially, Koukl is saying that atheists have an attitude… of wit, brilliance and cool, calm, and collected reason. H’ohhh boy! You really nailed it to us that time. I think I have a bruise.
Our arguments are shallow, he goes on to say as if there should be depth to something that is essentially just a “no” to an absurdly wild claim. As atheists, he says, we also attack what Christians do! Which is correct, when you’re trying to limit our freedoms and rights. Unfortunately, when you try to force scripture-inspired policy or when you indoctrinate helpless children, or when you purposely demonize contraception in parts of the world that so desperately need it, we’ll attack what you do. Just like, I would hope, if I started to key your car, you would likely take issue with my actions as well.
The best part of this argument by Greg of God, though, is when he says that we never check that these people, the ones who do things that we attack, are actually true Christians. Once again, the no true Scotsman fallacy is invoked, which begs the question: If I add up all the people in the world who’ve been labelled, “not a true Christian” by someone at some point in time, it would leave nought but one or two true Christians left in. Hardly much of a religion, don’t you think? Sounds more like the buddy system, to me.
Kouklamanza says, with an air of hurt reminiscent of the scene in Forrest Gump when no one will let him sit next to them on the bus, that we dismiss Christianity. Well, of course, we do chapel chap, just like we dismiss the Ogopogo, Bigfoot, Ra and Santeria. It’s silly to believe anything for which there is no strong evidence. Stupid is as stupid believes, Forrest, Forrest Gump.
Christianity can’t be dismissed that easily.
Oh, but it can, altar boy. Not only can it be dismissed that easily, but millions of us have dismissed it that easily.
It just isn’t going to go away.
Oh, but it is Bible bro. The numbers are dwindling, the power and influence are receding and the mass desperation like that which is displayed in your post is indicative that you feel the tides turning yourselves.
You can’t find just one questionable thing in the Bible and then have the freedom to completely disregard all of it.
Sure you can, if that one questionable thing is the entire bloody premise of the book… ie. God.
It’s not going away.
You said that already, Square Greg. That round hole is not going to accommodate you, no matter how many times you try. The repetition of your claim whiffs of the famous children’s book, The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies, so stop kicking, pull yourself up off the floor, dust yourself off and face facts. It is going somewhere. Christianity is headed to the same lovely afterlife that all religions and myths are destined for: antiquity.
Christianity is not a house of cards; it’s a big, giant, complex, durable worldview. It’s a way of thinking; it’s an ideology; it’s an explanation of the world that is bolted to reality.
You and I most likely do not share the same definition of reality here. To me, reality does not include any of the following:
- Talking snakes. While I would love to believe that and even might enjoy having a talk with a serpent (providing he’s not a Jehovah’s Witness), it’s simply not true. If snakes talked, ever, we would know by now.
- All of humanity descending from one couple – a bounty of genetic evidence has disproven this.
- Virgin births – a common myth that made its way into each civilization since the dawn of myths. A myth, for which there is no evidence to support, and quite a bit of evidence to the contrary.’Talking bushes – I can’t even dignify this with a refutation. Even if there was a god who decided to come to chat with us, if he chose a bush that also happened to be on fire, I’d question his intelligence. I mean, he could have chosen anything to speak to us through, the moon, an ocean wave, a volcano or a human skeleton… but no, he decides shrubbery should have an impact. Hot, hot, shrubbery.
- Reanimated human beings – Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of The Walking Dead and all, but I don’t pray to a statue of Darrel’s crossbow every Sunday before it airs.
Add 950-year-old men, living inside of a whale, all the species of animals on one boat for months, etc, etc and you have what us sane people like to call, a “tall tale”. It’s not bolted to reality, my friend, it’s been haphazardly glued to it using non-toxic glitter glue and it’s starting to come loose.
My conviction is that the foundational principles of Christianity resonate with our deepest intuitions. That’s why I can go into a philosophy class and say, “Let me give you five or six foundational elements of a Christian worldview and I think you’ll have a hard time arguing against these ideas taken individually. These are the things that make up the foundation and the basic superstructure of the view we call Christianity.”
What you’re saying is that these principals do not need Christianity to be understood, as they can be attributed to our intuition. See, now you’re getting it!
One of the foundational, cosmological questions is why something exists, rather than nothing. Why is anything here at all?
I fail to understand why we need to know this. Of course, everyone would like to know an answer to this, but it could very well be that there is no answer. Making up stories to explain it may make you feel better, but it doesn’t me. I’d rather keep looking and not limit human knowledge by saying, “God did it”. Talk about a closed-minded way to look at things. If this question is ever answered, there will be evidence to support the findings. Until then, formulating wildly improbable hypotheses about it and then committing to them so fully that you shut out anything to the contrary is behaviour I’d expect from someone like Gary Busey, not someone who claims to have a worldview that is “bolted to reality”.
As far as whether or not I’m dreaming goes, I’m sure now that I am awake. I mean, who has Fireball in a dream? A smooth rum or a crisp craft beer, but Fireball? Nope, this isn’t a dream, and this Christmas cracker really believes everything he said. Sigh.
How would you respond to the claim that Christianity is bolted to reality? Let me know in the comments!
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