Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Three beliefs that are killing the church


3. The Earth is 6000 years old

The riotously funny (and sadly mostly forgotten) Bill Hicks illustrated the insanity of creationism by an imaginary conversation, “Okay, dinosaur fossils, how does that fit into your scheme of life? Let me sit down and strap in. He says, ‘dinosaur fossils? God put those here to test our faith.’ Thank God I’m strapped in right now here man.” If you want to be taken seriously by smart people, you have to not be stupid. Saying that The Flintstones was basically a documentary is a sure-fire way to get judiciously laughed at for being batshit crazy.

Listen, I don’t pretend to know all the particulars of the origins of everything. I’m not that smart. But don’t tell me that dinosaur fossils were put here to either test our faith, or that somehow Noah’s Flood managed to neatly arrange all the different strata layers with no rabbit fossil ever touching a Precambrian trilobite fossil. I actually heard some popular creationist say that there was an “ice shield” hovering above the earth before Noah, and once people starting sinning too much, God turned the ice into rain. Wonderful. Too bad that’s not science. It’s also really stupid, because light couldn’t penetrate that much water, but let’s just forget about that.

Just because evolution happened doesn’t mean that there isn’t a God. You can’t take a literal approach to Genesis (which is pretty hard, because what is six days to God anyway) and ignore creation itself. The famous Christian scientist Francis Collins (who was the head of the Human Genome Project) wisely said that God really gave us two books: The book of the Bible and the book of creation. You can’t ignore one just because you don’t like what it’s saying. Also, if you don’t believe in evolution, look up the transitional fossil Tiktaalik.

2. Gays are pedophiles

I’m going to keep this one short. We shouldn’t even have to talk about something so ridiculous. Just because gays like the same gender, does not mean that they like children of the same gender. How fundamentalists can’t seem to remember this boggles my mind. I honestly don’t know where I stand on gay marriage, but I know that God loves gays unconditionally, and we have to treat them with human dignity. The bottom line is you are not being loving, and not being a good Christian, when you hate someone. If you slander gays as being the worst thing in the universe, child abusers, then you’re a hateful jackass.

1. The world is going to end tomorrow

Listen. Christians have been saying we’re in the end of days since the first century…. and they’re always wrong. The Bible itself says in Matthew 24:36, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” It’s right there, in black and white. The idea that God only meant the day and hour, but really didn’t mean the year, is just stupid. Do they really think God is that misleading? Was He being sarcastic in that verse? I’m pretty sure anyone who honestly extrapolates that verse is going to come to the conclusion that we shouldn’t try to “ballpark” the apocalypse.

The pragmatic reason why we shouldn’t try to construct a doomsday calendar is simple: It makes us look like a fear-mongering religion that’s more concerned with escaping to Heaven than helping people on Earth in the here and now. As it says in John 3:16, God loves the world. Therefore, we need to help people in the confines of our broken world and not just throw a Hal Lindsey pamphlet at them.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Reza Aslan and the deadness of Islam


Well, it seems that in the last week Islam has been getting sort of a public relations boost through Fox News’ interview with Reza Aslan. Admittedly, the interview was handled very poorly, but the fundamental point that the Fox News host made is legitimate: does Azlan have any biases writing about Jesus since he’s a Muslim? It shouldn’t have been the crux of the entire conversation, but it was worth bringing up. Everyone is biased of course, Christians included. The problem is Christian historians and philosophers like N.T. Wright, Gary Habermas, and William Lane Craig don’t get interviewed on liberal news shows, because their belief that Jesus is the son of God doesn’t make big headlines. In other words, it’s not cool.

Besides that though, the main point I want to make is that Islam is not compatible with western values and democracy. It hasn’t worked yet, and it never will. Let’s start with some uncomfortable facts, shall we? Only one religion blows themselves up to kill innocents. Only one religion throws acid in the faces of little girls for trying to learn how to read. Only one religion forces women to cover themselves head to toe in medieval rags. Every country that has a Muslim majority enforces sharia law. Just the country of Spain translates more books in a single year than the entire Arab world in the past thousand years. Finally, only one religion is responsible for Al-Qaeda.

Quite the list of inconvenient truths, eh? You won’t see any of those facts on the Daily Show or on Rachel Maddow. Why not? It’s because there is an attempt by Hollywood elites to make it seem that Muslims are victimized by mean, bigoted Christians. You know, all those examples of nuns and missionaries blowing themselves up as they feed the poor. Wait… that doesn’t happen at all, does it? Nope.

Reza Aslan is part of a (very small) new wave of Muslims that are attempting to make Islam look cool. Through the media, they are somewhat succeeding. The problem is that the Bible tells us we will see them by their fruits, and we have. Islam is the most backwards religion on the planet. As a sidenote, Aslan’s premise of his book, Zealot, is ridiculous. He says Jesus was just a political revolutionary. According to him, the Gospels aren’t eyewitness accounts, therefore they’re unreliable. That’s nice and all, but if you aren’t using the New Testament as sources, then what on God’s green Earth are you using? Your own imagination?

I know it’s unpopular to be a Christian, but I have long since discarded being politically correct. I don’t care if I’m not as cool as George Clooney or Brad Pitt. The bottom line is that we need Jesus, not Muhammad.