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The Continued Credulity of the Religious
The Christian Post has an article on its website entitled Mark Driscoll: 8 Truths About Jesus and the Cross. You can follow my link to read if you like. I must admit, as a skeptical person, my dander goes up as soon as I hear the word “truth” mentioned. As an atheist, I get especially curious when the word “truth” is associated with an evangelical pastor like Mark Driscoll. In reading the article, I found myself go through a range of emotions. The first was amusement. I laughed at how silly his truths were. Then I went into what can only be classified as sadness or despair. I found it quite lugubrious to realize that he is passing this garbage off as truth. The last emotion I had was anger. It angers me to realize that thousands will read his words online and hear him speak such blatant nonsense from the pulpit. As a response to that, it is worth looking at his “8 Truths”. Driscoll’s words are in quotes.
- “God is holy and without any sin.”—The first objection that must be raised is that he is assuming that not just a god, but his particular supernatural being exists. This is not necessarily the place to present the mountain of evidence against such thoughts, but suffice it to say, if you are reading this blog, you are probably familiar with much of that evidence. The idea that god is without sin is highly evasive. “Sin” is defined as an act that violates a known moral rule in a religion. I suppose if this god makes his own rules, he most likely does not violate them, or can change them as need be. However, if we look at the actions of the god of Abraham, he is hardly without fault and can often be judged, by any standard you choose to do so as immoral. He promotes genocide, infanticide, and a whole host of other atrocities. Is he, according to Christians without “sin”—possibly, since he seems to change the rules as he goes. However, Driscoll is implying that his god is “good”. Again, use any definition of “good” that you choose, this blog does not have the time for a philosophical debate on ethics, so pick the definition that you adhere too, and the god of Abraham does not at all equate to anything “good”, but rather is far more equivalent to what most of us would call evil, dictatorial, and totalitarian regimes.
- “God made the world and us as good”—There is zero evidence that god exists, let alone that he made the world. In fact there is quite a bit of evidence showing exactly where and how our world was made and god is not a necessary part of the equation. The second part of his sentence is meant to imply that the humans that god created first were created as good and in his image. It is quite clear to anyone with a basic understanding of science (we are talking about a 7th grade education here) that we did not all descend from Adam and Eve; they never existed and were never created as “good”. Second, the notion, that all human beings are created as “good” in the first place is ludicrous. To sustain such a theory, we would need to have that philosophical discussion of ethics previously mentioned. Suffice it to say, that what is “good” is not universally agreed upon, so how can all humans be created as “good”? This sets aside the important objection that we are not “created” by a supernatural being in the first place.
- “We rebelled against God”—This brings us back to the absurd fallacy of Adam and Eve. Driscoll is stating as truth, that because two people who never existed, broke a rule mandated by a god for whom no evidence exists to support, we are all guilty of a crime against this god. This is nothing more than intellectual rubbish. No one who supports Driscoll’s claim here can be called anything other than credulous—and that is the nicest adjective that can be used to describe them.
- “We are sinful”—Driscoll has the gall, and this is common to most preachers, to claim that we are all sinners because of the “original sin” or as he writes, the “actions of our first parents”. He takes it further by pointing out that any who feel they are not sinners are “proud” and quotes Augustine claim that “pride” is the greatest sin of all. Again, this is nothing more than intellectual rubbish. How absurd a notion is that? Imagine holding you responsible for a crime that your grandparent committed. It is intellectual refuse due to the fact that the entire argument is full of holes and makes no sense. As there is no evidence that god exists, so too is there a lack of evidence for the concept of a “sin”. There is certainly no way that we can all be guilty of something that does not exist. Driscoll is passing off as a “truth” the idea that we are all doomed based on pure hocus pocus and speculation. Follow Driscoll to the land of credulity and stupidity.
- “Sin results in death”.—I was going to skip this absurd claim by Driscoll. It is such an absurd statement it really need not be attacked. However, I cannot resist. On the surface, “sins” do not exist; therefore, they cannot result in death. He states that if we sin, we are separated from god, so while we continue to exist, we are spiritually dead. I suppose he does not have it all wrong after all. We are separate from god, as god does not exist, we cannot be anything but separate. We do exist. I would also argue that we are “spiritually dead”—in the way he means it as well. If god does not exist, I most certainly do not have any “spirituality” towards him/her. I suppose I am living the life that he is railing against. Hmm interesting. He actually came close to a truth with this point but ruined it with the concepts of sin and the idea that “spiritual death” is a bad thing. Oh well, better luck next time Mark.
- “Jesus is sinless”—Driscoll claims that Jesus was and is the only person to live without sin. This statement presupposes much about the life of Jesus. It is quite clear to every scholar on the subject that we know very little about the life of Jesus, that the four accepted gospels of the bible are full of holes, had multiple authors, and do not always tell the same story. That being noted, how can Driscoll possible say that Jesus lived without sin? The only evidence to back up Driscoll’s claim would be that Jesus claimed to live without sin, others claim he lived without sin, or that he is in fact the son of a deity and thus sinless. There is zero evidence for any of those three arguments. In fact, I am going to make a counter argument. Jesus was a conman. He knew that he was not the son of any deity with as much certainty that you or I know that we are not. He developed a scheme to dupe people into following him. As a result of his treachery, millions of people have since suffered and died at the hands of the church that he is responsible for creating. Therefore, not only is Jesus not “sinless” but through his deceptions, can be held as an accomplice (at best) for more human suffering than any other living being in history. “Sinless”? Hardly.
- “Jesus became our sin.”—Driscoll states that “on the cross, Jesus willfully became the worst of what we are… he took our sins on as his responsibility and paid the price for them that we should have paid-death.” More intellectual rubbish. Jesus, if he even existed at all, certainly did not have the right or ability to take my “sins” or immoral actions away from me. This is a purely ludicrous idea. Imagine that you commit a murder. Please show me the court, that will allow me to step in and say, “No need to punish this person, I will accept responsibility, go ahead and punish me.” Sounds ridiculous right? It gets worse. Now find me a court that will accept the following statement. “I stand before you today asking that you punish me, with death, for any “sins” or immoral actions that anyone commits in the future.” Really? Is any objectively thinking person going to argue that statements like those make sense? The idea that the death of Jesus absolves you for anything you might do is pure fantasy.
- “Jesus died for our sins”—This is a continuation of the above point and is equally foolish. Driscoll writes that Jesus willingly died in acceptance for your “sins”. That in fact, god was going to mete out the punishment to all of us, but Jesus stepped in an “took the bullet”. This concept is offensive and wrong on many levels. First, Jesus does not have the right to absolve you of anything (as previously noted). Second, this deity that we are supposed to revere actually accepted the death and suffering of his own son for your screw-ups? That concept is morally bankrupt. Driscoll actually writes that Jesus paid the price for any “sins” you might commit. So I suppose that gives you free reign to be as immoral as you like—just remember to state your faith in Jesus and ask for forgiveness from time to time and you are good as gold! Lucky us.
In closing, Driscoll’s statements are really nothing new or revolutionary in Christianity. Yet, people will listen to this nonsense. They will, by the thousands, or more if we count the other pastors who will be preaching the same garbage this Easter season, listen to it, and never stop to question it. They will accept these eight concepts and others like them as the “truths” that Driscoll and his ilk proclaim them to be. What a sad state of affairs we find ourselves in. The religious are credulous at best and uneducated at worst. What make this a more embarrassing state of affairs for humanity, is that it is a continued and promoted state of credulity and ignorance.
The popular (and always great to read) atheist blogger Greta Christina, in her blog “If everyone does one thing…” on March 25, challenged each atheist to do something different than you normally do in order to advance atheism. Her idea is that if each one of us did something new, what a difference that would make for the cause of atheism. I think that is a brilliant idea Greta. Here is my suggestion. Find a theist in your life and ask them some questions regarding these “8 Truths”. Perhaps you can get them to think a bit more than Mark Driscoll would like. If not, then I suggest taking the advice of Richard Dawkins and “mock and ridicule”.
Thanks for reading. I look forward to your comments.