Pastors Shocked at New Findings: Christian Scriptures as Violent as Koran!

2012-559-VA--lighting-the-religious-violence-fuseIt always perplexes me how many Christians really know very little about their Holy Bible. I mean, it’s obvious that you have to ignore plenty of it in order to believe other parts, because there’s just no way to logically reconcile the contradictions. But for people so adamant that this book is the Ultimate Handbook of Life, the Universe, and Everything, they seem to be strangely ignorant of many things it contains.

I have an example, but first, a disclaimer and an apology.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to mock, attack, or accuse Christians as a whole group of being bad in any way. There are a lot of very good people who happen to be Christians, and most branches of the religion have re-imagined it to be something far better than what is actually found in the Bible. I can respect this; there actually is some great stuff in the Bible, and if you want to keep that and build a religion out of it while throwing out the evil bits, I fully support you.

Apology: I feel like I should be sorry for my faux click-bait title. It’s modeled after the article titles on many propaganda sites that my conservative friends share articles from. So if you think it’s silly or offensive…sorry. I just mean it to be ironic and satirical.

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The Supreme Court Ruling on Same-sex Marriage is Constitutional

The 14th Amendment is where it's at...equal rights for all Americans!

The 14th Amendment is where it’s at…equal rights for all Americans!

For all their whining about how wrong the Supreme Court was to say that two people of the same sex can get married, opponents of the ruling seem to have forgotten what religious and personal freedom really means in this country. They cry about the Constitution being ignored, thrown out, or misinterpreted, and also that the Constitution says nothing about marriage. Of course it doesn’t, because when America was founded the government had nothing to do with marriage–it wasn’t until the 20th century that they instituted marriage licenses, at least partly for the purpose of preventing mixed-race marriages.

In modern times, of course, conservatives who want to prevent LGBT people from marrying who they love have used the government’s involvement in marriage in the same way. Doing this is as “unconstitutional” as preventing people of different races from marrying.

To make this as simple as possible, let’s examine the cases of two individual people, and how their lives might be affected by the freedoms laid down by the Constitution and other founding documents of America.

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Rainbows and Happiness and Broken Friendships

America...finally following in the footsteps of some of the best countries in the world

America…finally following in the footsteps of some of the best countries in the world

On Friday I woke up in Olathe Kansas to the news that the Supreme Court finally ruled that state bans against same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. My news feed on Facebook quickly became overrun with rainbows and happiness, and it was wonderful.

And then the jerks came out. The happiness of others makes them sad, they said. Simply agreeing with the “homosexual agenda” makes you a satanic heretic, they said. You’re promoting sin and leading people to hell along with you, they said. God needs to hurt or break you so you’ll turn back to him, they said. Your mind is so warped, they said. Oh, and all of this love.

Love is defined by actions, by how you treat other people, and these statements are not loving. It isn’t loving to hurt people who believe differently. It isn’t loving to ignore everything we say and throw random bible verses and condemnation at us. Saying that you do it “out of love” does not help, it only calls into question your definition of love.

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The Scientific Method vs. Religious Dogma

science-cartoon1We, as humans, know that we know very little. The more knowledge we obtain, the more we realize how much knowledge is still out there, still beyond our reach. This fact is strongly upheld by both science and religion, but where the two differ is their treatment of the fallibility of the human mind. While the scientific method is built on principles designed to reduce the effect of our biases and ignorance, religion, particularly Christianity, takes advantage of that ignorance and even asks us to embrace it.

I watched this video a while ago, and recently came across it again. The first time I watched it, I was still a Christian, but something he said at the end really stood out because it highlights a major difference in the way I approach the world as compared to, say, almost everyone else I’ve ever known. He says, “If you think that something is true, you should try as hard as you can to disprove it. Only then can you really get at the truth, and not fool yourself.”

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Rejecting Division

keep-calm-and-find-the-common-groundThis post is not about giving up on a certain form of basic math.

I grew up in an environment that was generally hostile toward atheists, gay people, and any religion other than Protestant Christianity. If not openly hostile, at least passive-aggressive. I never liked it, though for a while I lacked the understanding and knowledge to realize what was wrong. As a result, I mostly went along with it, and even bought into some of the attitude because that’s just what was expected of me.

My personality type is strongly averse to conflict. Whenever tension rises, I start looking for ways to find common ground and resolve the dispute. Unfortunately, there are many people who aren’t interested in common ground. Some of them are set in their ways, holding to ideas they grew up with and having no interest in exploring new ones. Neil Carter quotes Phil Vischer on the subject, talking about the “incurious” people who make reasonable discussion difficult.

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