I will preface this post with the fact that I am not a Christian, and am not really sure what I believe in terms of a higher power, so take it for what it is worth. A recent topic on one of the message boards I frequent got me thinking about the Christian Bible. I make no claims to be a biblical scholar, nor have I read more than scant passages when forced to in the process of being confirmed or at the various bible camps I was tricked into attending in my youth. My view of the bible is that it is an old piece of historical fiction, or if you must it could be a loose biography based on 3rd or 4th hand accounts. I’m not basing my view on anything concrete, just vague recollections about how it was transcribed. So with my view in mind I find it mind boggling when other people quote bible verses as “proof” of some point they are trying to make. As far as I’m concerned they could be quoting Moby Dick to me, as it would have the same impact (well if they quoted Moby Dick I might be more inclined to listen). I am convinced that you can find a bible passage to support whatever agenda you are trying to push. I could probably scan through the latest novel I read to find quotes that would support my views on life as well. So what exactly does it prove? It proves nothing.

Why I am bothering to write this post at all has partially to do with the fact that I get very annoyed when people quote bible passages to me, claim to follow the teachings in it to the letter, but in reality do not follow all of the teachings. They follow some of the teachings, and use the bible as a weapon to make them feel superior to others who have “not seen the light.” They tell other people that they will be going to hell if they don’t accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior. They say they feel compelled to share this because they want everyone else to be able to join them in heaven. I’m not quite sure why they want me to join them in heaven when clearly I am evil incarnate, and not worthy of joining them in this special place. I do take slight comfort in the fact that I will not have to spend my eternity with such close-minded people. I am fairly confident that most of my friends and family will join me in hell, so at least I will have company.

It all makes me think of a recent blog post from a friend of mine. I’d link to it, but I don’t want her to get any sort of religious wrath for what I am writing. I hope she doesn’t mind, but I am stealing a passage from her post in which she describes leadership training she is taking part in:
There are 7 levels and, according to Torbert, the largest percentages of people tend to think at the Achiever (4) or Expert (3)level. That’s great because we need experts and achievers but, sometimes it can be difficult to solve a problem when you are that close to it. Achievers and Experts tend to perceive their own way as the only way (hey, they are the experts after all) and are more interested in results rather than investigating other possibilities.

Some verbal cues that you are thinking in the Expert logic is “yes, but…” That’s a pretty good clue that you’re not really listening, or if you are, it is only to try and find fault with the other person’s argument. Achiever’s say “we can agree to disagree” which also indicates that you’re really not interested in the other person’s point of view.

This captures so clearly my frustration when I get into discussions with people who are trying to push their religious views upon me. I could come up with 1000 valid points as to why they should be more open-minded, and perhaps even concede that Christianity may not be the only way to avoid an afterlife burning in hell, but they will always respond with “yes, but…” They aren’t listening, just parroting what they have read, what they have been parroted by others, the discussion is useless. Of course on the flipside I do have to acknowledge that it is possible that they are right, that I will spend an eternity in hell because I have refused to come to jesus. I guess that is the risk I will take. It is good for me to try my hardest to see the flipside; otherwise I just go down my own path of “yes, but…” and don’t really listen to their points of view. It reminds me that it is not helpful to find evidence that the bible isn’t meant to be taken literally because then I am trying to push my own agenda. I certainly don’t have all of the answers. As much as I believe that we should strive to be good people, and try our hardest to just do as we would have others do to us, that is not enough for some. So while they might challenge me to read the bible so I can see for myself why I need to be saved, I also challenge them to read the bible and follow all of it not just the parts they have cherry picked as interesting.


Anonymous said...

Yeah. I find that people who want to share their religious views with me are generally very uninterested in hearing mine.


ParadoxialShift said...

It is quite interesting that you bring up some of the points you do. Obviously we'll be meeting in hell as well.

I myself believe in a higher power, I believe in someone named Jesus Christ, but I don't necessarily believe he was the son of this higher power. I also fully accept all of the other gods that are worshipped around the world as I believe whatever higher power is out there can manifest itself to people however they like.

Now beyond the Jesus Christ comment I get the blasphemy stuff when I say I fully accept that a higher power could be nothing other than another being. Not to be a sci fi junky, but you explore the nature of an atom and now we have the scientific capability to see within the neutron to a point. Scientists are saying it looks like another atom with all new electrons, protons, and neutrons. Who is it to say we are not a pimple on some higher beings rear end and we are just a bunch of atoms to them. Although I consider this highly unlikely the possiblity is there, but by god you tell that to a religious zealot and yup I am going to hell in a handbasket!