Why Do Christians Want to be Rational?

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4 thoughts on “Why Do Christians Want to be Rational?”

  1. Once again, love your stuff. You come at things from a unique perspective that I rarely hear, which is refreshing. Once again, thinking back to my Christian days, I did find myself caught between these two forces – the desire to be rational and logical and skeptical, and the desire to have faith despite all the odds and do the weird and seemingly nonsensical things God wanted me to.

    I think this tension arises for several reasons. First, there’s the ever-present Biblical contradiction problem. In some places, the Bible says to test spiritual matters – test God to see if He’s faithful by tithing, test spirits to see if they’re from God, etc., but in other places, the Bible actively discourages critical thinking, such as in the passages you cited, among many others.

    I remember thinking about Thomas a lot during my deconversion, and how Jesus said his blessing would be less. I started to pray for the blessing of Thomas, because I was starting to really need evidence to believe some of the things I believed, and some blessing would be better than no blessing at all.

    In a way, I guess you could say that prayer’s been answered, since I’m now blessed with the knowledge that there almost certainly is no God, and that I don’t have to wake up early on Saturdays, and that masturbation is morally acceptable, and that it’s okay to approve of gay people, and… well, the benefits of nonbelief are many.

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    1. i appreciate it! You are correct; the benefits of nonbelief are many. And the interpretations of the Bible can be a slippery road to walk. One of the other problems that I see is that people dive straight into theology, but pass the obvious stuff like “Snakes don’t talk.” Then they say, “Well, hey, are you only saying your own ideas have value? Entertain a counter-perspective!” But…snakes don’t talk.

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      1. Well, the thing is that they believe in the existence of supernatural forces like God and Satan and angels. Given the existence of such forces, it’s not irrational to believe that animals can talk, that the dead can be raised back to life, or that people can fly up into the sky. It’s not until you start to unpack things like the meaning of words like “supernatural” that the irrationality starts to surface. Not only that, but attacking things like the talking snake leaves you vulnerable to the “that’s just a metaphor” defense.

        I personally prefer to attack Christians on ground where they’re more likely to not just laugh off my objections. I either go for very foundational beliefs, without which Christianity doesn’t work, such as the goodness of God, or areas where Christians are actively disagreeing with one another, and thus have to accept that the issue is not clear-cut. Take things like prophecy for example. Do prophets still exist? How can you tell a true prophet from a false one? Questions like those can help get the believer to put on their skeptic’s hat, and that is more likely to help them see the irrationality of their own beliefs.

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      2. I like your tactics, kid. 😉 Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in simply disagreeing with your opponent, but it can be satisfying to actually correctly identify an objection and address it.

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