2/07/2007

Strange Things Said By Christians

Last night on the Michael Coren Show, Chris Hedges went head-to-head with Charles McVety. They were arguing about the so-called Christian hard right. Of particular interest to the discussion was Hedges' new book.
Hedges is, apparently, a Christian. As such, I found his views extremely puzzling. While I may not agree with everything McVety says or believes, at least I can understand his views. At least he is genuine. The same cannot be said for Hedges.
Hedges' new book is about what he feels is a fascist movement within Christianity. The so-called socially conservative Christian hard-right has apparently misappropriated Christian language and iconography for some nefarious means in order to enslave the world and bring it under Christian control. One of the major aspects of this hard-right group is its belief in Christian education, something Hedges feels is wrong. In fact, after last night's debate I think I would go so far as to say he has a moral objection to Christian education. Furthermore, he is ardently against Christians teaching Creationism and feels that they are propagating a lie.
Yes, he used the word lie.
Not myth. Not allegory.
Lie.
Lest the true impact of such a position be lost on you, let me explain what it means for a professed Christian to believe that creationism is a lie.
It is not unusual for Christians to believe that the Creation story as outlined in the first three chapters of Genesis is a metaphor, allegory or myth intended to explain a higher truth. While I do not agree with any of these ideas, it is possible to construct a belief system from these interpretations which does not invalidate the Bible. (Please note, however, that I would say that such belief systems have obvious problems when dealing with Sin, The Fall and the subsequent Redemption of Man).
However, the use of the word lie implies that there is no truth whatsoever in the Creation story. This poses a significant problem for anyone wishing to use the Bible as the foundation of their beliefs, which Christians do. How can you accept a book premised on something which is not true and then construct a belief system around it? Are you not admitting that you have based your life on something which you believe is false? If Creation is a lie, then the premise of the Bible is a lie. If the premise of the bible is a lie, then the rest of the Bible cannot hold up to scrutiny. It is certainly a lie as well.
So, why bother to believe it?
Why not just be an atheist or agnostic?
It would have been good if McVety had caught that comment made by Hedges. Sadly, he didn't. As far as I am concerned, it is more revealing of Hedges' true beliefs than anything else said last night.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

The story sells better from the pr standpoint.

Frances Kissling of "Catholics for a Free Choice" disavowed her Catholicism years befor starting the organization. COntinuing to call herself Catholic added the element of insider activist.

"Jews for Jesus"? They are actually Christian, no?

The liberal mainstream media loves the religious turncoat.

It is a guaranteed religious bestseller.

Headline: "Ex(priest, imam, rabbi, cleric) attacks the (institution, beliefs etc.)"

In the introduction to these discussions, there should be an disclosure of beliefs.

By that same token, just wait for the book from Garth Turner - ex-"rigid" Conservative to shoot up the charts.

Canadi-anna said...

There are a lot of weird Christians.

I've read Anglican and United ministers debating not just the divinity of Christ, but his very earthly existence.
People who call themselves Christian will say that 'it really doesn't matter if Jesus was a real person or just an amalgam of stories from other cultures' or 'the resurrection story wasn't meant to be taken literally.'

Of these people I would say that they can call themselves what they like, but Christian? Why would they want to use the label if they don't want to wear the faith?

Brian Lemon said...

What distingushes Christians from Jews is Christ. The Old Testament has been called the Jewish Bible.
For us, I believe a bigger issue is acceptance of the divinity of Christ - which of course the United Church of Canada has dropped as a basic tenet of its doctrine.
Before we worry about this writer, we might cast our eyes on the UCC.

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

A lie is not a lie unless the person telling the story believes it to be a lie.

You know what I know to be true. But I wouldn't call the creation story a lie, unless I was telling it as fact.

iska said...

I think Hedges used the word "lie" because those people advocating creationism are saying that it is what ACTUALLY happened: they are not saying it is a myth, or an allegory, they are saying this is the "truth": that God created the world in 6 days some 50000 years ago etc etc

vicki said...

Hedges comment should have a strengthening effect that will divide nominal christians and those who have faith in Christ. Belief in Genesis is foundational to the rest of Christianity. If you don't believe the story of mankind's sin in Genesis,(Creation) why would you need salvation thru Chist?If you can dismiss some of scripture as metaphor why not all?

Peter Thurley said...

"However, the use of the word lie implies that there is no truth"

This relies upon the law of the excluded middle, which states simply that "x must be either T or F". It is possible to deny the law of the excluded middle in what is known as intuitionist logic. I'll give you a quick example to show one area where intuitionist logic may be helpful.

Consider a heap of sand in front of you. Now take on grain of sand away. Do you still have a heap? Take another grain of sand away? Do you still have a heap? Keep repeating the procedure until you have just one grain of sand. If you answer yes to the first question, you're logically required to draw the same conclusion, due to the most basic of logical principles, modus ponens. But obviously we don't want to say that one grain of sand is a heap of sand. So where does the heap of sand cease to be a heap of sand? This is unclear. It seems reasonable to say that the conditional proposition "If I take away a grain of sand from these other grains of sand, then this collection of grains of sand will be a heap of sand" is not necessarily true. But it is not necessarily false either. So when does the removal of a grain of sand result in a heap of sand ceasing to be a heap of sand? Do we really know?

Or consider the interpretation of colours. We see this one in our everyday lives. I say thats orange, you say it is red. Where, exactly, can be say that orange becomes red and red becomes orange? It seems implausible to attribute truth or falsity of a claim to the interpretation of our perception of a colour - The contested proposition "That colour is orange" is neither true, nor is it false.

There are three ways to deal with the heap problem. You can either deny that there ever was a heap, you can try to differentiate between the 9999th grain of sand and the 10000th grain of sand by saying thats where a heap ceases to be a heap, or you can bite the bullet and say that one grain of sand just is a heap of sand. None of these solutions is very desirable. In response to this problem, some philosophers have begun to allow more values into their logics - that is to say that it is possible that T and F are not the only values in the logical system, and consequently, the falsity of a statement does not necessarily imply its truth.

Why do I make these comments? I make them not because I agree with the Hedges guy, but because your entire argument Hedges on a gross misrepresentation of how the word 'lie' is used, what it means or doesn't mean, and the logical consequences that follow from it. Perhaps he was refering to Creationism as 'lies'; I don't know, I wasn't there. But you cannot take that to necessarily mean that he discounts the ENTIRE creation story, and the implications that follow from that story. In other words, I don't think you are logically permitted to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as you have done, in the same vein as Iska's comments above.

vicki said...

ISKA..most 'Creationist'commentary I have read will not make any claim that Creation can be proven based on the fact that there is no human witness available. Clear Creationist commentary will however assert evidence from science,history and geology as well as other sciences, that support age of the earth, presence of very large animals in the not to distant past, and a world wide natural disaster as well as other events and phenomenon.
Belief is a choice.The theory if evolution requires a faith in only that...'theory', not evidence.

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Evolution is a fact and a theory

It doesn't take faith to believe 2+2=4 It takes faith to believe 2+2=something other than 4.

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

On Jews for Jesus. A Jew is a Jew birth ethnicity (their mother was a Jew) and/or religion (which includes converts).

There is a such thing as a Jewish culture that is equivalent to a Catholic culture (like Irish Catholic culture, where a lot of traditions don't matter what someone believes).

A Jew is a Jew from birth to death. A Jew for Jesus accept Jesus as a saviour. However, there are many non ethnic Jews who become Jews for Jesus....Jews for Jesus are the only ones on this planet who would consider them Jews.....most of the world considers non ethnic Jew converts to J for J's as only Christians.

Ruth said...

I also meant to comment on Jews for Jesus.
As far as I am concerned, since Christianity started as a sect of Judaism, there is no inconsistency in their position whatsoever. The only reason Christianity ever became anything other than a sect within Judaism is because of the fact it spread to Gentiles. Because of this, and especially because of Greek converts, Judaism and Christianity parted ways over circumcision and food laws. (Yes, I know this is an extremely simplified version of the facts of the time. it's only meant to illustrate why I believe there is no inconsistency.)

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