Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Not Even Christians Believe Their Own Bullshit


Something I find terribly aggravating about Christian apologists is the fact that not even Christians themselves actually believe the claims they're making.  For example, in the books Mark, Matthew, and Luke, we find a story about a rich man who asks Jesus what he must do in order to inherit eternal life.  Jesus answers this question by commanding the rich man to sell all of his worldly possessions and give the money to the poor.  The rich man then walks away in sadness, apparently not wanting want to give up his vast material wealth.  Jesus then turns to his disciples and says, flat out, that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  He's literally describing an impossible task, then telling the world that "this impossible task is easier to achieve than for a wealthy person to enter the Kingdom of God."

This story is interesting to me, because there really isn't a whole lot of room for interpretation.  Jesus himself is unilaterally telling the world that personal wealth is one of the greatest obstacles in existence to achieving salvation.  It's even a theme that gets repeated over and over in other passages.  The only "true" Christians are those who devote themselves to a life of purely selfless service for the sake of the less fortunate, and the accumulation of material wealth is simply antithetical to that goal.

If I were a true-believing Christian living in the First World, I would be absolutely terrified by this revelation.  I would be donating my life's savings to charities and selling everything I have.  I would actively look for things in my life that were not absolutely essential to survival and just get rid of them.  It's therefore very strange to me that Christians almost never attempt to seriously live by this kind of principle.  If anything, we usually tend to see the exact opposite, with the most prominently outspoken Christian defenders nearly always being the most affluent.  The very same Christian conservatives who claim that America was founded on Christian principles are also the same ones who seem to be the most hell-bent on defending the status of rich people in this country.  Sure, there's the occasional Christian doctor or something that moves to the third-world and does real, altruistic work, but for every one of those people, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, who choose to stay at home with their big screen TVs.

I've occasionally posed this problem to Christians, and I have yet to see a single apologist ever live up to the expectations of their own faith.  Instead, all I ever seem to hear are either tortured rationalizations or absurd reinterpretations of clearly unambiguous doctrine.  It's as if they honestly think Jesus will be totally impressed with that fancy new car or that expensive laptop when there are literally billions of people around the world who live in abject poverty.  Seriously, guys - you really think Jesus is going to be okay with that?  You don't think this will have spiritual consequences for you?

I can only imagine the cognitive dissonance this must generate in Christian apologists.  On some level, they have to realize how absurdly hypocritical they're being.  You cannot claim to be a disciple of Jesus while simultaneously ignoring the central tenet of his entire message. It even says very plainly in the book of Matthew that there will be those who profess to be good Christians, but to whom Jesus is just going to say "I never knew you; depart from me!" [Matthew 7, 27]

To me, this is a dead giveaway that not even Christians really believe their own bullshit.  Because if I actually believed this stuff, like if I literally believed that my immortal soul was hanging in the balance, then I wouldn't mince words over what Christ maybe meant to say or not say.  I would be paranoid as hell about gaining the most altruistic attitude it was physically possible to have.  So the simple fact that Christians are obviously not adopting a similar behavior tells me that they can't really believe the things they claim to believe.  If actions speak louder then words, then Christians might as well be mutes.

But hey, Christians, if you want to gamble your eternal salvation for that steak dinner or shiny new house, then you go right ahead.  It'll be a great way for us to measure just how much of a hypocrite you really are.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You got YouTube response https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI7WNdXlzOU

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

For example, in the books Mark, Matthew, and Luke, we find a story about a rich man who asks Jesus what he must do in order to inherit eternal life.

Yes.

Jesus answers this question by commanding the rich man to sell all of his worldly possessions and give the money to the poor.

No. The rich man is not being commanded, but being counselled.

And in case you think no Christian takes that as good counsel, look at Franciscans and generally at monks.

The rich man then walks away in sadness, apparently not wanting want to give up his vast material wealth. Jesus then turns to his disciples and says, flat out, that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. He's literally describing an impossible task, then telling the world that "this impossible task is easier to achieve than for a wealthy person to enter the Kingdom of God."

He's also saying that for God nothing is impossible.

Now, you may not have noticed, but televangelists who get rich are a minority of Christians, inferior in numbers even to monks and Franciscans.

The Hovind family were by the way living as poor volunteers, investing all gifts to the work and living themselves as a kind of appendix to the work known as Dr Dino Adventureland. They were therefore taking these words very seriously.

And Kent has been in prison for ten years for a non-extant withholding of due taxes. Volunteers living off the charity they function for don't count as having taxable income.

Not My Name said...

Now, you may not have noticed, but televangelists who get rich are a minority of Christians, inferior in numbers even to monks and Franciscans.

Inferior in numbers, maybe, but not in visibility. The problem is that they're one of the most visible and vocal segments of Christianity these days, and yet you don't see most mainstream Christians calling out the hypocrisy -- to the contrary, if those charlatans didn't have lots of support from like-minded people, they wouldn't be getting rich from being "men of God".

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The Hovind family were by the way living as poor volunteers, investing all gifts to the work and living themselves as a kind of appendix to the work known as Dr Dino Adventureland. They were therefore taking these words very seriously.

If the organization were not entirely under the Hovinds' control, i might be inclined to agree. But in that case, Kent probably wouldn't even be in prison today -- because then the $430k in transfers that resulted in the structuring charges, along with the failure to withhold taxes, either wouldn't have even happened or would have been someone else's crime.

(By the way, did they ever explain what that money was for? Genuinely curious here -- i haven't found anything yet in the documents i have access to. And the irregularity of the transfers, but not the amounts, makes it seem rather unlikely that they were for rent and such.)

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And Kent has been in prison for ten years for a non-extant withholding of due taxes. Volunteers living off the charity they function for don't count as having taxable income.

They do if that "charity" is a tax dodge. They apparently never filed for tax exemption. And merely being religious doesn't make you a church, and it certainly doesn't automagically make you a nonprofit organization.

The employees weren't "missionaries", and the Hovinds knew it. Even the *employees* knew it. If you're a missionary, you know damn well that you're a missionary. But they didn't seem to consider it that way; to them, it was just another job. They had to punch a time clock, had vacation, sick days, etc. The organization itself had rather meticulous records to corroborate this fact.

The "missionary" BS was merely a tactic to avoid having to withhold payroll taxes or contribute to FICA.

(Frankly, though, i wouldn't be at all surprised if Kent is still in prison because of how he handled the situation overall. He did everything he could think of to impede both the investigation and the IRS's actions to collect on his tax debts. He didn't even seem to be sorry for anything til after he was convicted. If he'd been like, "Oh, damn, i didn't know i was supposed to report that. Can we work something out?", he still might have lost a bunch of property...but the government would rather see you out earning money -- and paying lawful taxes on it -- than eating away at its income from a prison cell.)

Jack said...

I am a "christian" but you are right on about Christians sitting at home...Matt 25 is perfectly clear that we must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, etc. Any other behavior will land you with the goats! The majority of "Christians" do not measure up, period, end of paragraph. Including me!