Dan Fincke Just Didn’t Love Jesus Enough

Reading this post by Dan Fincke at his new home at Patheos, I had a sense of deja vu. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had Christians say something similar to this because they really do have a difficult time explaining how someone can stop being a Christian. An old friend of his sent him this “analysis.”

Hi Dan! I read your article about how you deconverted. I just want to make one comment and I say this in love because we are friends and I am not judging you in any way. It sounds as if you were trying to get your faith from people and doing the legalistic things of Christianity and not relying on your relationship with Jesus and your love for Him and this is what made you lose your faith. But that’s not what being a Christian is about. Christianity, being a true Christian isn’t a religion, ultimately it’s a relationship with Jesus. The other things flow from that because you love Jesus.

Well at least it wasn’t “you must not have ever been a real Christian,” which I must have heard a thousand times. In an uncharacteristically sarcastic response, Dan expresses his frustration with such statements:

That was it! I never knew I was supposed to love Jesus! Wow! It was right in front of me all that time! As you can imagine, I was surrounded by Christians who were telling me, “Whatever you do, remember this is a religion of rules, not loving Jesus! Whatever you do, don’t love Jesus!” And I foolishly listened to them!

And those hours and hours of intense prayer, all the Bible study, all the efforts to bring my friends to Jesus, all the worship services singing Jesus’s praises with shivers down my spine and sometimes tears in my eyes–I can’t believe that that whole time I never thought to just love Jesus.

Actually–wait a minute. I totally forgot. I did love Jesus. I loved Jesus enough to commit every fibre of my being to Jesus. I loved Jesus enough to do everything I thought was necessary to express my love for Him and to grow closer to Him. I went to a devoutly Christian university to study about Jesus and live with fellow Jesus-lovers, I devoted my heart, soul, and mind to figuring out how he could be known and how to convince others of His existence so that they could believe in His love and come to be saved. I kept myself sexually chaste as best as I could because it was what I thought Jesus wanted. I risked alienating friends and families by constantly making Jesus the central issue in our conversations…

How fucking dare you question my love of Jesus? Why don’t you, dear Christian, for once in your life, question your own goddamn intellectual conscience instead of other people’s commitments to Jesus.

But here’s the real problem. As Dan puts it, when someone makes an argument like the one he quoted, they are “trivializing our entire intellectual, moral, emotional, social, and spiritual lives with banal clichés.” It’s just a means of casually dismissing us rather than seriously engaging our experiences and our positions.

35 comments on this post.
  1. jonrowe:

    It’s interesting to see how fundamentalists try to rationalize and reconcile a sense of “fairness” with said creed. There are versions of the faith that don’t try to do this. The mean old Calvinist (those who believe in “once saved always saved” — the P in TULIP) might say, he simply wasn’t of God’s elect. God selects His elect and there was nothing Dan could do to “choose” God no matter how hard he tried. So to Hell with him.

  2. anteprepro:

    Bets on some contrarian seizing upon this as “Overly Emotional” and implying that he left Christianity for emotional, instead of rational, reasons? Despite the irony of saying that of an atheist who was responding to an accusation of being overly logical and not emotional enough ?

  3. sgailebeairt:

    and they made him mad enough to cuss!!

  4. ArtK:

    It’s just a means of casually dismissing us rather than seriously engaging our experiences and our positions.

    It is, and in my opinion, for two reasons. First, because the fundie lives in a world where everything really is that simple. The second, and more important, is that if they engaged us on our experience and positions, they’d have to examine their own experience and positions and they can’t afford to do that. Each person who leaves a religion is a threat to those who remain, because that tells the religious that they might just be wrong. Since one of the things that religion offers is absolute certainty*, they can’t tolerate anything that creates doubt.

    * Yes, even when that certainty is that their god is arbitrary and uncaring, punishing and rewarding randomly. The certainty is that god is good and that everything happens must have a good purpose.

  5. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden:

    Dan Fincke just didn’t love FtB enough. He thought this was a place of intellect and philosophy and argument and forgot to simply *love* FtB. Otherwise, he would never have left the fold.

    Poor Dan Fincke

  6. Enopoletus Harding:

    One of the best takedowns of the idea that True Christianity is not a religion I’ve listened to is the Amazing Atheist’s at youtube.com/watch?v=yBo7Z_abiLE

  7. Michael Heath:

    As a teenager back in the 1970s I found evangelicals loved to expound on “backsliders”. These so-called backsliders were presumed, often falsely, to know Christianity was true but rejected devotion and submission to God anyway. Such stories are very much in the comfort zone of these Christians who continue to enthusiastically and relentlessly promote this narrative.

    The existence of authentic backsliders is not surprising, religion has long succeeded if the culture promoting it is more advanced than the target audience. And yet some don’t fit the personality profile to be devout and yet scared to death of the threats Christianity presents. These backsliders have irrationally succumbed to Pascal’s Wager while trying to delay their submission to a set of truths they wish weren’t true. The threats of religion are instead found lacking when it’s scrutinized by those whose thinking skills and knowledge are advanced beyond what Christianity asserts, like those who understand and apply the scientific method for discerning objective truth.

    What wasn’t discussed back then; was people who investigated the truth claims of Christianity and found them to be false, lacking evidence, logically contradictory, and frequently -incoherent. The idea of abandoning faith because it was found to be a juvenile character defect was not considered a part of our reality by such Christians, but instead was and a suspect remains a topic which is determinedly avoided. I’ve recently been bringing up in meat-world my conclusion that faith is a juvenile failure of character. I’ve been overwhelmingly met with genuine surprise; my audience had never confronted the idea faith could be a bug rather than a laudable feature. This isn’t just evangelicals who respond like this, but also secular conservatives. Our Christian heritage has so embedded the idea faith is good it goes unquestioned. This legacy is now best promoted now by professional sports figures who defectively conflate aspiration with faith.

    I suspect contradictory observations that Christians do consider the non-religious who’ve rationally rejected their beliefs are outlier results or when such investigations are related, strawmen are created in place of actual stories that best represent the experiences of people like me. People who rejected faith because we found the factual assertions false and where the religion demanded one accept assertions lacking in evidence which were also irrational, often to the point of incoherency. e.g., an intervening god described as good beyond the standard of any human yet who also promises to punish some humans with unimaginable horrors for all eternity. No amount of good deeds to some can come close to cancelling out such evil perpetuated against even one human.

    When people who’ve progressed beyond faith are now brought up, the response I observe now is of two responses.

    The first is an anecdote about some other person they know or have heard of who was once an atheist but now is a Christian. If I know the person I find one of two things are true about this person. They never demonstrated any informed perspective on the best arguments against faith in the supernatural. Or they were right wing authoritarians with all the mental deficiencies that come with such a profile. Like discerning what is true, what is not true, and how to determine either.

    Another reaction when confronted with an informed person who rejected Christianity is psychological projection by the Christian defender; that the person who rejects Christianity has been “indoctrinated” or “brainwashed”. I’m frequently the target of this assertion, by people who can’t physically even hold a book which challenges their faith, let alone read about challenges to their faith. This type of assertion is not comfortably defended but instead the last word with fierce avoidance following.

  8. Jasper of Maine (I feel safe and welcome at FTB):

    Apparently, one loses telepathic ability when deconverting too.

  9. dingojack:

    Jasper of Maine – well of course you do, once you’re disconnected from the collective (take Seven of Nine, for example).
    Enopoletus Harding – I’d say: ‘sooo, christianity is not a religion, then? Great, that means that your speech is no longer protected, and BTW, christians, you owe a gazillion dollars in back taxes! Bwhahahahaha!!!’
    ;) Dingo

  10. raven:

    Christianity, being a true Christian isn’t a religion, ultimately it’s a relationship with Jesus.

    Relationships with imaginary sock puppets don’t work for everyone.

    Xians miss being true followers of the Aesir. It’s not just about the Norse religion; snow giants, Ragnarok, giant snakes, Valhalla, and great parties.

    It’s also a personal relationship with the god or gods of your choice; Odin, Thor, Freya, Freyr, Frigg, and about 40 others. With that many to choose from, you can easily make up your own pantheon.

  11. otrame:

    Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so mad. Good for him. Also good for him for handing out the perfectly phrased answer to this piece of effrontery.

  12. raven:

    The other cliche and logical fallacy of the fundies is that atheists don’t even exist. We are all just mad at god or want to have lots of parties or something. Ken Ham uses it often.

    Which means of course that the fundies are just angry with Thor, Odin, Ahura Mazda, Zeus, the Easter Bunny, and the Elves.

    Besides which, atheists get along really well god, jesus, and the holy spook. It’s many of their followers and their Oogedy Boogedy perversion of the religion that we have trouble with.

  13. Rodney Nelson:

    Many Christians cannot conceive how someone who was a Christian would give up their beliefs in Jesus. It’s a failure on the part of the apostate to forgo Christianity, which is perfect. Dan’s friend has determined that Dan didn’t love Jesus because if Dan did love Jesus then he’d still be a Christian.

    The idea that there’s contradictions and flaws in Christianity is incomprehensible to many if not most Christians. That someone would look critically at Christianity and reject it because of these faults and failings is unfathomable. In Dan’s case, if he’d loved Jesus then he’d accept those faults and failings just as any other lover excuses faults of their beloved.

  14. otrame:

    if they engaged us on our experience and positions, they’d have to examine their own experience and positions and they can’t afford to do that.

    QFT but I would add

    if they engaged us on our experience and positions, they’d have to examine their own experience and positions and if they have the tiniest sliver of intellectual honesty hiding somewhere they can’t afford to do that.

  15. grumpyoldfart:

    I couldn’t love this miserable bastard:

    If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children,and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26
    `

    I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. Matthew 10:35-36
    `

    The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. Luke 12:51-53
    `

    He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:37
    `

    And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. Matthew 19:29, Mark 10:29-30, Luke 18:29-30
    `

    And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. Matthew 8:21-22, Luke 9:59-62
    `

    They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage. Luke 20:35
    `

    Whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Matthew 5:22 [cf Ye fools and blind. Matthew 23:17,19 ... Ye fools. Luke 11:40 ... O fools, and slow of heart to believe. Luke 24:25]
    `

    Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out … And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. Matthew 5:28-30
    `

    There are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. Matthew 19:12
    `

    The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:41-42
    `

    He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16
    `

    Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34, Luke 12:51-53
    `

    He that is not with me is against me. Matthew 12:30, Luke 11:230
    `

    Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Matthew 13:12, Mark 4:25
    `

    Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Matthew 17:20
    `

    Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do. John 14:13-14, 15:7, 15:16, 16:23
    `

    If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. Luke 17:6
    `

    All things are possible to him that believeth. Mark 9:23
    `

    Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19
    `

    That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. Luke 16:15
    `

    In those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. Mark 13:8, 24-25, Matthew 24:3-30, Luke 21:10-11
    `

    All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers John 10:8
    `

    And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. Mark 16:17-18

  16. Sastra:

    “It sounds as if you were trying to get your faith from people and doing the legalistic things of Christianity and not relying on your relationship with Jesus and your love for Him and this is what made you lose your faith.”

    Translation: you weren’t mixing up categories enough.

    The words “legalistic things of Christianity” probably refer not just to rules you have to follow, but to basic apologetics and reason and empirical evidence and following a line of thought to its conclusion. This is what you do when you’re evaluating facts to see whether they’re real or true or not. Does God exist? Did Jesus rise from the dead? Is there a monster hiding in Loch Ness?

    When coming from a position of Faith, you’re supposed to switch strategies. Don’t act like you’re trying to determine a fact: instead, act like you’re trying to live by a value or carry out a commitment. Just assume truth and slip and slide yourself to the department where you now decide how you’re going to feel and deal with it. Do you trust God? Do you love Jesus? Do you think the Loch Ness monster deserves to be treated with the same consideration as other endangered species?

    It’s a classic mental bait n’ switch, an immunizing strategy which always protects a belief from critical analysis. It’s a bit of intellectual dishonesty and biased self-deception which is minimized and played up like a virtue. Can you be loyal enough? Can you love enough? Can you be sensitive and concerned and compassionate and appreciative enough? It’s all about you and your damn humility. Ignore the actual issue. Don’t be objective. Don’t focus on the real question; reframe it into a different question — a moral one — and try to live up to that.

    This little category confusion is structured right into religious thought. It’s the foundation of spirituality. And they do it every time, dragging it out like they’re rescuing us from our heartless nature and pointing out what it’s really about.

    Wrong. Curiosity, clarity, and consistency.

  17. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze–:

    This is interesting:

    How fucking dare you question my love of Jesus? Why don’t you, dear Christian, for once in your life, question your own goddamn intellectual conscience instead of other people’s commitments to Jesus.

    I thought Dan was big on not using harsh language. That’s one of the reasons I stopped reading his blog.

  18. matty1:

    I just realised there is actually no such thing as religion.

    -Christianity is not a religion it’s a relationship with Jesus
    -Islam is not a religion it’s a form of totalitarian government
    -Paganism is not a religion its a cult

    and so on I don’t think there is a single thing fundies would point to and say “That is a religion”. Except maybe atheism.

  19. Daniel Fincke:

    Thanks for the link and the empathy, Ed!

    I also appreciate the many supportive comments from others here.

    For those surprised, in a follow up post I talked about this post and how it relates to my views on civility. Long story short, I have never been unilaterally against “dirty words”, “harsh tones”, or expressions of emotions, including anger. The post linked to offers links to clarifications on those points for those sincerely interested in the nuances of my position.

    The one place I think I crossed the line was in a private, one sentence e-mail that preceded this blog post in which I brusquely just told the woman who had written me “fuck you”. I shouldn’t have done that. I should have written the detailed explanation of all the things that was wrong with what she said that my follow up post (in which I also apologize for the excess) covers. That would have been more productive, more civil, more effectively critical, more potentially educational, and more ethical.

    I have confessed frankly to having a bad temper before and have told a detailed story about how I lost it once before. I try to control it but have never tried to pretend that my stances in favor of civility and rational, charitable discourse come from me being perfectly tempered myself. These are ethical ideals I feel compelled to aspire to, not ones I think I am perfect at realizing.

    Nonetheless, I don’t apologize for anything in the post Ed quoted. Not all anger is bad and not all expressions of it count as a loss of temper.

    What I apologized for, both publicly and privately, was just the private “fuck you” since that was unproductively and unsympathetically malicious on my part. Judicious use of sarcasm and anger focused on making critical arguments are fair game and I’ve never criticized those things themselves. My use of the word “fuck” in saying “how fucking dare you” is a reasonable enough expression of indignation. I wouldn’t get carried away with it everyday (lest I become a caricature, self-righteous, or unduly surly) but it has a place on occasion when it is warranted and when it is balanced by self-criticism too.

    I’ve never attacked all “dirty language” but rather have only ever criticized the routinized use of abusive names which have malice loaded into them. I have been especially troubled by the treatment of such words as not even just forgivable occasional slip ups but as ethically good and vitally necessary. I have also criticized personalizing what can and should be intellectual disputes as a matter of first recourse and I have criticized general dispositions to regularly assume the worst of one’s opponents in discourse. Insofar as I hastily personalized the issue, used malice directly aimed at harming my friend, and assumed only the worst of her in my initial e-mail, I was wrong and so I apologized. Insofar as I expressed an important indignation at Christian mistreatment without interpersonal abusiveness in what Ed quoted, I am quite pleased. But I am most pleased with the follow up post which I linked at the top of this comment in which I cooly, civilly, and critically dissected everything that was wrong with what she had said to me. That is the model I aspire to write according to and think would be a better default mode of expression for all of us.

  20. iknklast:

    The one I usually get is “I’m so sorry for you.” I don’t ask why, because I know they will tell me soon enough. “You don’t have any joy in your life.”

    I rarely use curse words when talking to people (though sometimes when screaming at computers), but my first instinct whenever I hear this is “What the fuck makes you think you can reduce my life down to a joyless hellhole just because I don’t share your delusion?”

    So far, I haven’t done that. Maybe in the future I will. Great response, Dan. It’s right on board with what I want to say to people who always claim I could be a believer again if I would just open my heart to Jesus. When I was little, I was so “in love” with Jesus I considered him my best friend – and from a four year old, that’s quite a compliment for any adult. None of these interlocutors can see inside my heart or my mind to know what I felt, how big the lump in my throat would get when I’d hear “The Old Rugged Cross”, or the sincerity of my feelings. Thanks for responding without stopping to be polite. I think sometimes that’s needed (though not every time by any means).

  21. dingojack:

    grumpyoldfart – so Jesus wanted his followers to be stoned to death on orders from his dear old dad*.
    Whadda guy!
    Dingo
    —–
    * see Luke 14:26, Matthew 10:35-37, Luke 12:51-53, Matthew 19:29, Mark 10:29-30, Luke 18:29-30
    as compared to Deuteronomy 21:18-21

  22. Chiroptera:

    Yeah, well I rarely get into conversations in real life about religion. But if someone were to try that little nonsense on me, I think my response would be, “that’s all very well and good, but the fact is that I believe that there is no god. If your intent is to change my mind, I think your efforts would be better spent on providing some clear cut empirical evidence that the evangelical Christian god is a real entity, not by trying to guess what my mental or emotional state was when I dropped out of Christianity.”

    -

    On an online forum, I did respond to the charge that atheists really do believe in God, but just want to deny it to live a sinful life or whatever. I recall that my response was on the lines of, “the problem is that most of atheists spent a lot of time carefully examining our beliefs and know pretty well what we really do belief, and your statement is just not true.

    “Now repeating this untruth to yourself may be comforting to you since you want to force your god to uphold some notions of fairness that you have; repeating this untruth may be comforting as you and your co-religionists console each other as we obdurate atheists refuse to acknowledge the truth of your positions.

    “But if your intent is to change my mind, simply telling me things that I know are untrue isn’t going to be effective.”

  23. Vasha:

    The one I usually get is “I’m so sorry for you.” I don’t ask why, because I know they will tell me soon enough. “You don’t have any joy in your life.”

    An acquaintance of mine said that to me and I snapped at her something like “How can you think you know what my life is like?” And she actually apologized and said I was right. We had a short, not too detailed discussion after that and she was interested. Not something that happens often. I’ve had several people use the quoted statement smugly and not back down from it.

  24. raven:

    “You don’t have any joy in your life.”

    Yes of course.

    You aren’t cowering in fear in the demon haunted darkness of your own creation. Afraid of the gods of xianity; demons, satan, and the worst one, the Sky Monster itself.

    You also miss out on the other positive benefits of xianity. The sacraments of hate, lies, and hypocrisy. You can’t even hate science and claim the earth is 6,000 years old and going to end any day in that happy moment when jesus shows up and kills 7 billion people.

    And it’s your own fault. You were created evil according to the bible, that original sin thing.

    There might be some uplifting things in some versions of xianity but the fundie version is about as dark as it gets.

  25. Bronze Dog:

    I didn’t deconvert to atheism in one go, but one of the big first steps on the journey was reading the Bible and finding out the biblical Jesus wasn’t the same nice guy they talked about in church. I went on for a while believing in Nice Guy Jesus, rationalizing the nasty stuff as insertions by nasty people. Even in the early stages of atheism, I kind of went Jefferson, still seeing Jesus as a nice normal human whose teachings had been corrupted.

    Then in all the various internet arguments I had, I realized there wasn’t any real reason to believe in Nice Guy Jesus. It was all modern spin by the comparatively secular church mixed with wishful thinking. If Jesus existed at all, it seems more likely to me that he was the failed apocalyptic cult leader I saw in the Bible.

    I remember one nutbar named Annie who was doing some massive trolling, saying my friends and I became atheists because we wanted to sin, while we were pointing out how disgustingly immoral and barbaric she was for explicitly wanting to put us in concentration camps. (Apparently, we weren’t allowed to implicitly compare her to Hitler for reasons she wouldn’t elaborate on.)

  26. iknklast:

    “On an online forum, I did respond to the charge that atheists really do believe in God, but just want to deny it to live a sinful life or whatever.”

    I’ve always found this one stupid and illogical. If we really believed in god and just wanted to sin, how does pretending we don’t believe in god help? It won’t make it less sinful, and we’ll just end up burning in hell anyway. Seems to me that, for wanting to sin, you’re better off staying Christian and praying for forgiveness. You’ll do a bit of penance if you’re Catholic; if you’re Protestant, you’ll just get off your knees, dust yourself off, and go smiling away, knowning your lord has forgiven you.

    Believing in God and pretending not to so one can sin with a free conscience is utterly devoid of logic or rationality; it’s funny believers can’t see that. Wait a minute…most believers think it’s rational to believe in a good being that commits endless evil acts out of the goodness of his heart, that is three and one at the same time, that is his own father and his own son, and is totally omnipotent but helpless against chariots of iron. I get it…

    I had a boss that used to tell me the problem I had was I kept trying to see things logically (I was working for the state of Oklahoma at the time – a totall illogical place to be and to work). Maybe he’s right.

  27. mandrellian:

    I’m just pleasantly surprised that Dan got fired up enough to not only be sarcastic at length, but drop the F-bomb!

    And rightly so – that kind of trite, dismissive, fucking clueless response deserves nothing less.

  28. F:

    I’ve always found this one stupid and illogical. If we really believed in god and just wanted to sin, how does pretending we don’t believe in god help?

    Yeah, I know. The projected part of that equation is what needs fixing: It’s certain sorts of religious folks who operate à la Constantine, doing whatever it is they want or need to do for business or pleasure, because they can be forgiven on their death bed (or purchase indvlgences, or be baptized late in life).

  29. Susannah:

    grumpy old fart #15
    Great list! I’ve saved it for use elsewhere. (with link, of course)

    And Dan,
    It’s unfortunate that I always “freeze” when I get too mad. If I could time-travel, I’d take your post and slam it down in front of a few people. I think I could manage that, even frozen.

  30. andrew:

    As a relatively recent (2 years-ish, depending how you count–really more of a process than an event) decovert myself, I totally feel him on this one.

  31. d.c.wilson:

    Well at least it wasn’t “you must not have ever been a real Christian,” which I must have heard a thousand times.

    My response to that is usually, “Well, you’re what a real Christian, I’m fine with that.”

  32. lorn:

    The main problem I have with Christianity, even, perhaps especially, with religions that want you to have a personal relationship with a deity or prophet is that you are having a relationship with an imaginary construct, essentially an idea. You are having a relationship with an imaginary entity. Even their supposed words, which are supposed to enlighten and console are leftovers from an imagined conversation well over a thousand years ago. Even if you have great faith in the truth they are echoes of a time long gone.

    Of course If you strain long enough to discern “God’s will” and the “love of Jesus” you end up hearing only the sound of your own heartbeat in your ears and the reflections of your own thoughts. You are still talking to yourself.

  33. Crudely Wrott:

    I just want to make one comment [1] and I say this in love [2] because we are friends and I am not judging you in any way [3].

    [1] No. You may want to make only one but you will not be able to limit yourself to one. You will make many; each one more inane than the previous.

    [2] No. You are merely carried away with the illusion of “fellowship”, something that is common in any sort of club or fraternal exclusivity. Like a cub scout or a college fraternity or a small town council.

    [3] No. You are and will continue to pass judgement based on the privilege that you assume from mere membership. Typical and unavoidable. You will also tell other members of your little club so that they will know the extent of your fear.

    In sum, you lie like a rug. More succinctly, you lie like a camouflaged ambush predator and blame me for not being aware of the subtle inferences and deep insight of your subterfuge.

    Nice try but no dice, no cigar.

    You simply lie, whether from ignorance or intent, you simply lie. I am perfectly comfortable as I ignore you. I am not harmed by your myopic certainty. Stuff it, asshole.

  34. democommie:

    “And yet, I still came to believe Jesus was a fraud.”.

    If Jesus did exist, I doubt that he was perpetrating any fraud. No TV, no radio, no tent revivals with collection plates. No. I think the fraud was committed by those who saw a way to make a nice living while using their “KKKristian love” as an excuse to extirpate the apostates, heathens, pagans and infidels.

    As to Mr. Finckes use of foul language; you go Dan-o, fuck those fucking fuckers and fuck their fucking faith.

    Michael Heath did not point it out (unless I missed it) but the overlap between KKKommitted KKKristians and the ReiKKKwing of the GOP is like a Venn Diagram total eclipse of the numb.

  35. kantalope:

    The only reason you don’t believe in unicorns is because you don’t love unicorns enough? And the reason you don’t love the unicorns is because you don’t believe in them. So, you don’t believe in unicorns because you don’t believe in them enough.

    I believe I have that right now.

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