An old children’s church song came up in a recent discussion, and now it is stuck in my head:
O be careful little eyes what you see
O be careful little eyes what you see
There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little eyes what you see
It then proceeds to warn children about the use of their ears, hands, feet, and mouth. It’s a Christian version of the monkeys that hear, see, and speak no evil.
This will have to be quick since I am hitting the road soon. This second edition of my sporadic series “Stuff Christians Say” features another post from SBC Voices: Helping Old-Earth Creationists Face the Supernatural Question.
In this post, Ken Hamrick proposes that Christians accept all the scientific evidence for an old earth and for evolution. Yes, he says, perhaps the world really does look billions of years old and perhaps evolution really is taking place. But here’s the twist: it is all really just 6,000 years old. You see, God created the universe to look really old in order to require faith. He wanted the material world to demonstrate his glory but not to prove his existence. He wants us to have faith, not evidence.
Let me quickly outline a few… difficulties.
This is the inaugural post in an ongoing series of sorts, Stuff Christians Say. Christianity is chock full of inconsistencies, contradictions, and dangerous propositions – not just from its holy book, the Bible, but regularly displayed through the words and actions of Christians themselves. I don’t necessarily mean hypocrisy – though that would be included as well – but actions and positions taken by Christians which contradict their beliefs and require quite a bit of maneuvering to attempt to justify. More examples will come throughout this series.
Posts will be prompted from various items around the Christian blogosphere. If you come across something ridiculous said by Christians, or something clearly at odds with their claimed beliefs, feel free to send us a link or even write up an article of your own. If we like it, we’ll publish it. Send any such suggestions and submissions to email@example.com.
This first post comes to us courtesy of SBC Voices, a blog frequented by several people in the Southern Baptist Convention. SBC Voices tends to provide lots of material that would fit into this new series of posts, so expect to see it pop up again. In this case, the post is Sex in the Ditch, and it falls under the category of dangerous propositions, providing one demonstration of why religion in general and Christianity in particular is not just false but in some ways dangerous.
We are all familiar with the do’s and don’ts of Christianity. Obey all the rules or you go to Hell, unless you let Jesus pay the price for your sins so that the eternal loving God won’t be forced to do what he doesn’t want to do – sending you to Hell. Of course, once you become a Christian you’re still not off the hook because the rules still apply. There are inconsistencies on this point, but we’ll have to take it up another time.
Christian rules includes numerous regulations, requirements, and restrictions on human sexuality. In a nutshell: don’t engage in sexual activity with anyone who is not your opposite-gendered spouse. Don’t even think about sex with anyone who isn’t your opposite-gendered spouse. If you do, you go to Hell (unless Jesus, etc, etc). If your desires and inclinations run contrary to these commands, you need to change your desires. God said so.
Are you a woman who enjoys the company of various men? Sinner. You must change. Are you a man in love with another man? Don’t you act on that desire, and if you can’t change your desires, you’d better remain celibate. Are you a married couple who likes to spice things up with pornography? That is not sex as God intended and it had better stop!
All of these rules are predicated on one powerful belief: there exists a supreme being, a sovereign deity, who has the right, the authority to tell you what your life should be. You don’t get to make decisions for yourself, you must follow his ways. Eternal punishment falls upon all who dare defy him.
In the comments on that SBC Voices post, one particular fellow offered the following:
I am also confident of this one thing, there will be a separation in the end when the one true God shows his power and shakes Heaven and Earth for all to see.
The meaning – nay, the threat! – is plain enough: in the end God will separate those who bow to his whim from those who choose their own path, and those who choose their own path will suffer.
This is the dangerous proposition of Christianity. For all its talk of love, grace, and forgiveness, overshadowing it all is the mighty threat of eternal damnation and the never ending wrath of an all-powerful God. Don’t follow his way and he will smite you. Literally.
This has led to many people being at odds with themselves. We all have areas of our lives we want to change, areas we feel need improvement so we work to change, to better ourselves. Then Christianity steps in with absolute claims regarding a swath of human behaviors, insisting that we must change these areas whether we want to or not. The homosexual woman is warned of dire consequences if she will not change her behavior. The cohabiting couple in an open relationship is told what an affront they are to God and how Hell awaits them if they will not get married and be monogamous. And scores of teenage boys – and more than a few girls – have been told that their awakening bodies must be tightly controlled with a careful guard over their thoughts because God absolutely does not want them to think about sexual behavior. I know from abundant personal experience the kind of guilt that can go with lustful thoughts, the desire to do what pleases God yet the constant presence of thoughts I was told were wicked in God’s site.
Christianity’s dangerous proposition is that people should abandon that which they consider good and right for themselves, that they should turn from behaviors they desire and should embrace the rigid standards of a wrathful God who will cast them to outer darkness if they will not obey.
The problem with this proposition (one of the problems) is that it requires the existence of a being who simply does not exist. For all their claims of knowing God or experiencing God or seeing the hand of God at once, the evidence for God is scant. If we’re not careful, based on the evidence alone we might be tempted to conclude that he simply is not there! Christians insist that people must change their minds to suit the whims of a non-existent deity. They are forcing people to conform to rules put together by flesh and blood humans living thousands of years ago – humans who felt it necessary to mix their rules with a healthy dose of fire and brimstone.
Here is the good news. There is no God. There is no one who can dictate what your life should be. I do not advocate that you go off and give yourself over to hedonistic indulgence; there are ways apart from God to formulate what a meaningful life should be, but such a life will be lived within the freedom and flexibility of individual personality, individual desire. The world is open before you. Make of it what you will, and enjoy the journey. You are truly free.
And those Christians who warn of Hell and eternal judgment if you will not submit your life to the whims of the ancient humans who wrote the Bible? Don’t mock them, don’t berate them, but let them see you enjoy your freedom. They are locked down, tied up in the kind of masochistic relationship that leaves them beaten while saying, “Thank you, more please.” Let them see in your life what freedom truly means.