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It’s time for a reality check!

28 Nov

Well, it’s time for a new topic.  In case you’re stopping by for the first time, each month we pick a new topic to talk about and one of our four authors starts it off on the first week of the month.  Then each author takes a turn adding to what the previous author started.  Our hope and goal is to eventually have a GodDam Book where we turn our “topics” into chapters.   Last month was our first month trying this out and we really got a great response and some awesome feedback so here goes round two.

In the last month or so, the God Dam blog actually got quite a bit of traffic from a site called exchristian.net.  It was really cool to connect with a community of people who have been involved in the church in the past but are now atheist, agnostic, existentialist etc… It was interesting to hear some of the stories and dialogue with some of the people involved in a community that to be honest acts more like the church is supposed to than the church usually does.

With that in mind, as well as my own fascination with naturalism, I decided to make this month’s topic atheism.  I’ve recently started following a blog called the “friendly atheist” and this weekend they posted a video of Greta Christina (check out her blog here) and her speech titled, “Why Are Atheists So Angry”.  It’s about an hour-long but at least for me, it was worth it.

She begins her talk explaining why so many atheists are angry.  She talks about the oppressed women, and the raped children that religion seems to ignore if not encourage.  She talks about stupidity and close mindedness and hypocrisy but about 28 minutes in she makes an observation that I really thought was interesting.

To start off you must know her definition of religion. She gives it at about 26:40. She says that, “Religion is a belief in supernatural entities or forces that have an effect on the natural world. These entities or forces are invisible, inaudible, intangible and otherwise undetectable by any natural means.”  Now obviously we can debate whether or not this is the best definition for religion but that’s really not the point, so for the sake of the argument just go with it.

She goes on to say that because religion is based on invisible, inaudible, intangible, and otherwise undetectable sources, it has the potential to be very dangerous because there is no reality check.  This is something that I noticed my senior year in Bible College.  I saw professors and classmates who were convinced by scripture of certain things that simply didn’t work in real life.  They were rigid and unflinching and even made the claim that if evidence could be found to disprove them, they would not change because of what was stated in the Bible.

The general consensus is that Theology informs reality.  To me, that is kind of silly.  What if you’ve read the Bible wrong?  It’s happened before, just ask Galileo.

I feel like a more balanced approach is necessary for Christians. The bible is important but if what we see in reality doesn’t match up, we need to take a step back and re-evaluate.  If God is logical, and if he spoke through scripture into a logical world, then the Bible ought to work in reality. If it doesn’t then one of two things is happening.  Either we understand reality incorrectly, or we are reading the Bible wrong.

Christians need to start using the brains that God gave them and they need to add the reality check that seems to be missing in theology.

~James

P.S. Please leave feedback below, subscribe via email, or rss feed to the right, and come back next week for more on this same topic.

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5 Comments

Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Atheism, Philosophy

 

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5 responses to “It’s time for a reality check!

  1. Micah

    December 1, 2011 at 10:37 am

    James can you give some examples of what you mean by the bible working in reality. There are many things that God did in the bible and in my own life that seem very illogical.

     
    • James

      December 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm

      Very good point Micah and thanks again for stopping by. (PS I don’t know if your interested but any time you’d like to write a guest post for us, we’d be more than willing to let you. Somethin to think about.)

      When I talk about the Bible working in reality what I’m really talking about is our interpretation of the Bible working in reality. Examples: Several years ago people believed, based on their interpretation of the Bible, that the earth was flat. When scientific evidence showed them that reality and their interpretation of scripture was different, people came to a cross road. Either Galileo is a moron, or the Bible is wrong, or magical option number three, we were wrong in our interpretation. That’s probably the easiest example. Early slavery in America is another one where we realized, hey slavery sucks, but the bible seems to approve, either the Bible approves something that sucks, or we are reading it wrong. I feel like the nature of men and women is a similar example but it would probably take me a lot longer than a quick comment to explain how I feel about that. I’ll put it in my ever growing list of topic to write blogs on.

      Hope that helps explain what I was trying to get across. Thanks again for the question.

      PS Don’t forget to subscribe to receive the GodDam Blog via e-mail.

       
  2. Kevin Mullarkey

    December 2, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    I agree somewhat, that Christians are too rigid in what they believe and how they interpret certain things which could be simply interpreted incorrectly. But I don’t think that God is necessarily a “logical” God. He has done many things in the Bible that are indeed illogical, and unexplainable by mankind. For example, miracles are simply illogical. How can we explain the sun standing still in the Old Testament? It had never happened before then (as far as we are aware), and has never happened since. And by all means it should have had massive effects on nature etc. So do we disregard that part of Scripture because it is illogical to us? I certainly don’t think so.

    I think I understand what you are getting at, but the way you worded it makes it seem like we simply interpret things wrong that don’t make sense in the “real world”. Yet much of Scripture (prophesy, miracles, Jesus raising from the dead, etc.) don’t make sense in the real world.

     
    • James

      December 5, 2011 at 2:01 am

      Thanks for commenting again Kevin. I do need to find a better way to explain this concept. You bring up a great point with miracles and prophecy. This still probably isn’t the best way to say it but for me, theology needs to work day to day. The commands on how to structure your church, eat your food, parent your children etc, need to work in reality. And reality needs to be constantly checked against scripture. Our interpretation of scripture needs to take in to account, and balance these four things: what the bible says, what tradition says, What experience tells us, and finally what reason tells us. We run into problems when we consider one of these things above the others but a balanced approach that looks at scripture, experience, reason, and tradition could be verry helpful.

       
  3. Abbie

    January 2, 2012 at 7:44 am

    I have nothing intelligent to say like the rest of you, just that you summed up, very closely, how I feel on the subject. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks :)

     

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