Sunday, May 31, 2015

No True Christian

How many times have you heard he claim that "no true" Christian would claim X Y Z?

People from almost very denomination of Christianity have their own special little list of stuff that, according to them, no "true" christian would EVER say.

Some folks claim Jesus is all about love.

Others point to special favorite verses in the Old Testament that prove people who are members of their most feared group of "others" are going straight to hell.  Oddly enough, that group probably would include the people who say Jesus is all about love!

The folks from Westboro Baptist probably wish both groups would drop straight into Hell from where ever they're standing...

This kind of thinking is called the No True Scotsman fallacy, and this is what Wikipedia has to say about it:
No true Scotsman is an informal fallacy, an ad hoc attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion.[1] When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim ("no Scotsman would do such a thing"), rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original universal claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule ("no true Scotsman would do such a thing").

 The use of this fallacy is the result of the universal requirement in most religions that faith is required to believe whatever dogma that specific religion pushes.  Because faith is basically the belief of something without proof or evidence, a debate or argument between two or more people about matters of faithful belief is unending and pointless.

Virtually any holy book of scripture is written so ambiguously that nailing down a specific meaning is often hard to do, and many people do (and have) interpreted them so differently that history is littered (literally) with the remains of the wars and struggles resulting from those differences.

This makes it impossible for anyone to truly nail down a meaning that would actually hold up to the "No True Christian" statements.  Mainly because each of 40,000 differing denominations of Christianity each have their own private definition of what a "true" Christian should be!

As a result, any outsider, like me as an atheist, cannot possibly trust anything that comes after the words "No True Christian..." as pertaining to that statement, one man's truth is another man's belly laugh.

Or howl of outrage.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Gentle Piece of Advice

As many of you know from my many articles about the harm religion causes our society, I'm not exactly a fan of religion.

I do, however, respect your right to believe whatever crazy things you might think appropriate.  Even if I do my best to debunk it.


I am a realist.  I do realize that Atheists' dream of a religion free world is at best, centuries away, and at worst, a pipe dream.  So, there will be, for the foreseeable near future, some form of religion to deal with.

So believe me when I say that I've got some advice for American Christians in light of the new Pew Research poll released this week, which noted that not only are Americans deserting their religion in droves (Pew's words!), but the trend isn't slowing down.

Back off from the extremism.  Forget the mythical miracles, the unproven Resurrection, the ghastly, bloody crucifixion, the misogynistic paternalism.  None of that is a winning ticket in today's America, and especially not to the new Millennials.  If you keep that stuff up, in less than a generation's time from today, your churches will stand empty, foreclosed on by either banks or local governments once your tax exempt status is revoked.

Which it will be.

At least some of the "nones" still do believe in some form of spiritualism and are probably actively searching for something - anything - that can replace that old comforting feeling they got sitting in your sanctuary, listening to the music and knowing that all was right with the world.

So, if you still crave that old fashioned secular power tug, enhanced by plenty of donated cash, you can still reinvent yourself into something the younger generation will buy into.

Literally, of course.  What good is popularity with no money?  I'd be careful, though.  Many of them are a bit more discerning, what with all the online scams they're used to dealing with.

I'd read a few Science Fiction stories.  Those folks know how to invent religion!  (After all, look what L. Ron Hubbard did with Scientology!). I'm sure there are some real good ideas floating around the genre these days.  Hey, and those Millennials do read that stuff!

You can't do any worse than Paul did 2000 years ago.