10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer

Moderator: Brian

Re: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer

Postby sirlamre » Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:49 am

Brian said: It pretends to be aimed at intellectual Christians, but instead, it's aimed at people with little, if any, understanding of what Christian theology actually says. The video pretends that you're average intelligent Christian is someone who considers Jesus a genie that grants wishes. For intelligent Christians, the universe is a little bit more complex than that."

That concept of Jesus being a genie who grants wishes is about right -- most people DO have that simplistic belief in Jesus -- and an equally simplistic view of the Bible.

Brian, the problem is that probably something approaching 90% of Christians may be "intellectual" in more common terms, like what they went to school for,
but Christianity as a culture has been for thousands of years a "listen to what the minister says, and nod your head. Read the Bible and see how you should agree with what the minster told you the Bible means"

Actual intellectual unbiased critical analysis of the Bible is incredibly rare amongst Christians -- many claim they do this, but only a vanishingly small percentage do that without predetermined biases to the concept.

As such, almost all "Christian" viewers of that video have a limited understanding of theology -- if they know something about theology, it's likely that they were taught it from a narrow set of sources all from within a purely Christian framework, and likely the framework of just one denomination.
Their understanding of theology is almost certainly not from a framework broad enough to encompass the human religious experience at a world level.

One outcome of the mindset of that culture is a group of people who may intellectually KNOW that Jesus says He loves everyone and doesn't condone violence and child-beating and wife-slapping.
But at the same time, they will say "God created the Bible through the inspiration of men, and everything in it is literally what God said to do"
And then they enter into a sort of denial state about how the Bible condones things that are directly in contravention of what it appears Jesus Himself did.
And they then simply go to a "well, OTHER Christians might do this or that" sort of "not me" mindset when confronted with Christian actions vs Bible expectations.


I think the concept of the title being "intelligent Christians" is simply trying to challenge people into paying attention because you don't want to ignore that
and internally then label yourself "I'm a non-intelligent Christian, so I don't have to answer those questions"
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Re: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer

Postby Brian » Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:49 am

sirlamre wrote:Brian said: It pretends to be aimed at intellectual Christians, but instead, it's aimed at people with little, if any, understanding of what Christian theology actually says. The video pretends that you're average intelligent Christian is someone who considers Jesus a genie that grants wishes. For intelligent Christians, the universe is a little bit more complex than that."

That concept of Jesus being a genie who grants wishes is about right -- most people DO have that simplistic belief in Jesus -- and an equally simplistic view of the Bible.

Brian, the problem is that probably something approaching 90% of Christians may be "intellectual" in more common terms, like what they went to school for,
but Christianity as a culture has been for thousands of years a "listen to what the minister says, and nod your head. Read the Bible and see how you should agree with what the minster told you the Bible means"

Actual intellectual unbiased critical analysis of the Bible is incredibly rare amongst Christians -- many claim they do this, but only a vanishingly small percentage do that without predetermined biases to the concept.

As such, almost all "Christian" viewers of that video have a limited understanding of theology -- if they know something about theology, it's likely that they were taught it from a narrow set of sources all from within a purely Christian framework, and likely the framework of just one denomination.
Their understanding of theology is almost certainly not from a framework broad enough to encompass the human religious experience at a world level.

One outcome of the mindset of that culture is a group of people who may intellectually KNOW that Jesus says He loves everyone and doesn't condone violence and child-beating and wife-slapping.
But at the same time, they will say "God created the Bible through the inspiration of men, and everything in it is literally what God said to do"
And then they enter into a sort of denial state about how the Bible condones things that are directly in contravention of what it appears Jesus Himself did.
And they then simply go to a "well, OTHER Christians might do this or that" sort of "not me" mindset when confronted with Christian actions vs Bible expectations.


I think the concept of the title being "intelligent Christians" is simply trying to challenge people into paying attention because you don't want to ignore that
and internally then label yourself "I'm a non-intelligent Christian, so I don't have to answer those questions"


I agree with a lot of what you say here about "average" Christians, sirlamre, but the fact remains that there are deeper strains of thought in Christian circles, and if you're "intelligent" in any sense of the word, these are issues you'd have come across fairly early in your Christian understanding. They're questions that fairly smack every Christian (or Judeo-Christian theist in general) in the face. The video makes it seem as if these questions haven't been dealt with in Christianity's 2000+ year history. That's why I think it lacks some credibility. Anyone who's attended a bible study or had any sort of Christian education should be able to knock these questions down easily. Atheists like myself might not be {i]satisfied[/i] with the answers, but if you can get over the hurdle of believing in God in the first place, the answers aren't that hard to grasp.

I know that Christians are often encouraged to think uncritically about things, but dogma and practice are often very different things. There are lots of Catholics, to take one example, who have no issues with birth control, abortion, or homosexuality. You can't simply assume that because someone is discouraged to think for him/herself, that automatically means that they don't.
"I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower
Makes you talk a little lower
About the things you could not show her."

-- Counting Crows, "A Long December"
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Re: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer

Postby sirlamre » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:30 pm

Brian wrote:

I agree with a lot of what you say here about "average" Christians, sirlamre, but the fact remains that there are deeper strains of thought in Christian circles, and if you're "intelligent" in any sense of the word, these are issues you'd have come across fairly early in your Christian understanding.

They're questions that fairly smack every Christian (or Judeo-Christian theist in general) in the face. The video makes it seem as if these questions haven't been dealt with in Christianity's 2000+ year history. That's why I think it lacks some credibility.




Sure-- that's quite true.
But what I was saying is that the questions are often not really thought about -- because it's too complicated - for the average Christian. You're right that theologians have taken on these questions -- to a degree.
But what someone said about people not being encouraged to ask hard questions applies here to theologians as well --
The classic example of the whole monastery of monks who spend 50 years figuring out how many angels will fit on the head of a pin comes to mind --- much time spent counting angels and not enough time thinking about the really
serious questions --- like "how likely is it that Christ really did cuss out a fig tree and it died the next day, or is that just a 1st century Snopes entry made up by someone who wanted to add a miracle to the urban legend list for Christ"

I think there are lots of questions like this which get asked --- and the answer is given purely from within the perspective of
"I already believe in Christ and in a Bible that was literally revealed 100% perfect in every way by God", so I have to find an answer for this thorny question that doesn't mess with what I've already decided I believe."

This won't be news to you - but it informs the concept of just how little people really want to "screw around" with the stability of something fundamental to their lives.

Religion is the one area of human experience where people _absolutely_ walk in the door to think about a question and do NOT want to find out or admit that something they've believed for decades might have fundamental errors with it.

By definition, religion wants to "save your eternal soul from utter destruction" and ensure that you will live forever, as it's basic motivation.
That means that religion lives within us quite differently from science or politics - at a much more fundamental level of our sense of self-security and sense of survival.

Children from the age of understanding are indoctrinated with the idea that if they don't believe/obey/submit to God's (as told by mens') authority, they will DIE FOREVER, or worse, roast in screaming pain FOREVER.
They are also indoctrinated with the idea that they HAVE TO make "the correct" choice, and NOT be misled by some guy with horns on his head and a trident in one hand.

Now this indoctrination may be harsh and deliberate and outspoken -- especially in fundamentalist circles-
Or it may simply be a fact that a child has NEVER seen Mom or Dad do anything other than accept without question what they're told in church - and yet they've also seen Mom and Dad choosing differing political and social views, but _never_ challenging a religious view put forth by that guy who stands up every Sunday morning and gives boring talks.
Mom and Dad always seem to like everything he says, no matter what.

It's the best imaginable formula for ensuring that questions are not _really_ encouraged and acceptance is encouraged.

I think we sometimes don't even realise how subtly that "don't ask, just believe" mantra has been buried in our culture, in terms of religion. It informs the very fundamentals of how we raise our children "because I said so, that's why"
and our public schools "because I'm the teacher and I said that the Civil War started for this reason"


So I really do think that there ARE a lot of theological questions with very bad answers -- and for reasons of personal fundamental subtle subconscious reasons: "I have to accept this, because I've been told I should believe this, everyone around me believes this, and I'm going to die in hell if I don't"
..people don't REALLY want to challenge some of the ideas they would ordinarily challenge readily.

So they accept substandard answers, and "just believe" things.

There are many good spiritual things about Christianity --- but not every "fact" in the Bible is necessarily so,
yet many many people refuse to squarely face that....because they've been indoctrinated over 2,000 years NOT to do that...
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