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Sep 18 2013

The needs of the narrative

One of the problems with trying to live in a worldview instead of in the real world is that the needs of the narrative become preeminent over everything else. I ran across a good example of this on Christian talk radio (where else?) when the hosts reported a story about someone vandalizing a local cancer center by spray-painting “Christian-oriented” slogans on it, including “Jesus saves” and just “Jesus.” The hosts were offended, if not downright outraged, by the fact that secular reports implied that a Christian was likely to have done this. The nerve! How dare they suggest that a Christian would do such a thing? Whoever did this was NOT a Christian, in fact they were probably an atheist who was just trying to embarrass Christians. And so on and so on.

What made them so sure? Is it that Christians never sin? Of course not, and I’m sure if you asked them whether Christians were all sinless, they’d be the first to agree that this is not the case. Is it that Christians never feel compelled to spread the Gospel, regardless of whether the medium or venue is appropriate? That’s not the case either. Whose soul needs saving more than someone who might be about to die from cancer? It’s entirely plausible that some well-intended Christian might see the Gospel as taking precedence over ordinary materialistic property rights.

So why were the two hosts so sure that whoever did this was NOT a Christian? Because of the needs of the narrative. Regardless of whether or not a Christian vandalized a treatment center in real life, believers need a narrative in which the Gospel inspires only good behavior. Christian vandalism gives critics a basis for criticizing the Gospel, and therefore the vandal has to be excluded from any Christian influence in order to maintain the narrative. The myth takes precedence over the reality.

Multiply that over 2,000 years, and you’ve got a pretty good insight into church history.

9 comments

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  1. 1
    sailor1031

    Ah yes – it was “No True Christian” wot dunnit, innit? Or most likely it was a sign from MagicMan Himself. Obviously these radio hosts are weak in their faith.

  2. 2
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    Jesus saves, everyone else takes full damage.

  3. 3
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    I guess they must hate this story.

  4. 4
    carlie

    So the needs of the narrative outweigh the needs of the truth.

    *runs away*

  5. 5
    carlie

    Sorry, forgot I hadn’t really commented here before. Perhaps starting off with a bad Star Trek pun isn’t the best move (although, sadly, it is representative of the limitations of my brainpower…)

  6. 6
    Leo Buzalsky

    Deacon, I really just want to say how glad I am to see that you’re blogging every once in a while again! (I guess you’ve been occasionally blogging for nearly 3 months now.) I really like having a blog to read that dives into Christian apologetics, even when it’s just related to current events such as this post, and points out the flaws in the “arguments.” I also really like your blunt writing style; it’s something I wish I myself could emulate. In short, keep up the good work!

  7. 7
    One Day Soon I Shall Invent A Funny Login

    Yeah, good to have the occasion post but dude, why are you listening to this crap? Does your radio not have other buttons? For your own sanity you need to start listening to Judge Judy or Rush Limbaugh or somebody else who would seem sane in comparison to “christian talk radio.”

  8. 8
    aziraphale

    No, Naked Bunny, they are cool with that. God wasn’t a Christian at the time.

  9. 9
    Randomfactor

    So the needs of the narrative outweigh the needs of the truth.

    Or the pun.

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