Some of you know that the title for this blog was BLATANTLY stolen from Suddenly Christian, a blog by liberal Christian author John Shore. I was and still am a regular commenter on his blog posts, and I recommend him to anyone, whether you’re an atheist or a believer. You may not agree with everything he says, but he’s a great writer and he always listens to the opposition.
That being said, a month or so ago John decided to stop by and comment on my Godless Bible Study post. Here’s what he said:
Morse: Why spend so much time teasing around with something about which you have no genuine interest? What’s the use? Why not involve yourself exploring and debating and being creative around something you actually DO find personally valuable? It just can’t be that you so much get off on the endless, ENDLESS back-and-forths that you so easily instigate between yourself and believers. Either you really DO think there’s something compelling and attractive about Xtianity, and you’re trying to get to it, or you’re just baiting people for the masturbatory distraction of it. Neither’s particularly … well, honest.
If you believe in the true worth of Christianity, then say and deal with that. If you don’t, move on to something else—something you DO believe in. Why waste your talents, you mind, your heart on something you find beneath you going in? I’m saying this as a real friend. Move on.
So I wanted the opportunity to respond to John, because I think his points are points a great many Christians and other religious people make. Check out my response under the fold.
Let’s break this down one question at a time. John’s first question/comment:
Why spend so much time teasing around with something about which you have no genuine interest? What’s the use? Why not involve yourself exploring and debating and being creative around something you actually DO find personally valuable?
In response to the first question, I do have a genuine interest in religion. Even more so, I have a genuine interest in religious people, the things they believe and why they believe those things. Just because my position is different from theirs and I do argue and debate them does not, in any way, indicate that I have a lack of interest in this issue.
As far as exploring and debating and being creative about issues I find valuable, I do. Why must I limit myself to only one thing? This presents a false dichotomy. (If I’m using that term correctly.) I don’t have to choose between promoting scientific advancements and debating the beliefs of the religious. I can do both, and many other things beside. If we all only stuck to one topic what kind of boring world would this be?
Either you really DO think there’s something compelling and attractive about Xtianity, and you’re trying to get to it, or you’re just baiting people for the masturbatory distraction of it. Neither’s particularly … well, honest.
I find the subject of Christianity INCREDIBLY compelling. The story, for what it’s worth, is a great one. It’s not original to Christianity, but the Bible has made the story its own and has inspired billions of people with it. And I greatly respect the fact that many of those people have been inspired to do positive things because of those stories. But I don’t ignore all the horrible things that are also inspired by the same stories. And so I’ll talk about those things, and debate them, and sometimes argue about them.
My interest in Christianity, in any religion, is mostly with the believers. The scriptures are fine, but I study those and look at them in order to understand the people. I love my fellow humans, and to try and understand them is the least I can do when I am sharing the planet with 6.5 billon of them.
Again, this isn’t an either or position. I don’t have to choose between converting to Christianity or just arguing about it to get my jollies. I like to study Christianity like I would study any belief system, like I would study any history or any mythology. I get enjoyment from that and I learn from it. I’m sure it upsets many that I don’t convert after giving it some study, but that doesn’t mean I can’t go on studying it.
If you believe in the true worth of Christianity, then say and deal with that. If you don’t, move on to something else—something you DO believe in.
Why do I have to choose between the arbitrary options that you are giving me?
I’m sure I’m going to risk repeating myself, but here goes.
Just because my idea of the worth of Christianity has to do with it as an academic subject and a way of understanding homo sapiens sapiens as opposed to a world view that must be followed does not mean that I can’t study it and go on talking about it.
And John, you seem to think that I only have the ability to deal with one subject at a time. I doubt that is true for you, and I know it’s not true for me.
I choose not to ignore something that a billion or more of my brothers and sisters hold so dear. I would be stupid to ignore it, even if I don’t agree with it.