Why I Am Not A Christian

by Frost on September 26, 2012

September has turned into Christianity Month here at Freedom Twenty-Five.

It started when we asked the question: What Does The Bible Say About Pre-Marital Sex? It continued with Rationalizing Fornication and The Christian Man’s Trilemma, and we wrapped it all up with The Christian Player’s Code.

Readers interested in past discussions of Christianity will also be interested in these older posts: God Is Dead and The Christian Reading List.

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But after all this, am I a Christian? No.

I’m a better man today for having read the bible, a stack of Christian apologetics, a terabyte of blogs, articles and Wikipedia articles on Christianity, and for having spent a hundred hours hearing out the theological arguments of a few dozen pilgrims on the Camino De Santiago.

I have a greater respect for Christianity as the definitive intellectual and literary origin of western culture. I feel a great debt to Christianity for its overwhelming importance to the development of western civilization.

Above all, I think Christianity is a useful belief system, both practically and psychologically, for the majority of people.

But, I don’t believe. I’m not sold on the rational, logical, empirical case for a supernatural historical Jesus. Christian morality doesn’t often ‘feel’ right to me, as it should if I were created with the image of God inside of me. Above all, Christianity would be extraordinarily inconvenient to me right now. Of course I think this fact has no bearing on my lack of faith, but I would, wouldn’t I? There is no way in, uh, hell, that I care to reject the pleasure of the Two Games right now.

Perhaps I’ll revisit the faith question at a later point in my life. For now though, I remain a heathen. But whatever my conclusion, I’m a better man today for having grinded through the subject. I highly recommend the exercise to any man with an ounce of curiosity in his heart.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Abelard Lindsey November 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Someone mentioned in here that the precepts of any religion cannot be proven on the basis of empirical observation. Occam’s chainsaw is very explicit on this point. If a particular thing cannot be observed, the simplest and correct explanation is that it does not exist. This is sufficient reason alone for rejecting any religious belief.

Another issue I have with organized religion is that none of them recognize individual autonomy/self-ownership in the Randian or Rothbardian sense. I have considered myself to be an autonmous being, with complete self-ownership, since I’ve been about 17 years old. Self-ownership is the fundamental basis of my life and worldview. I cannot accept any religion or ideology that does not respect this.

In a related manner, I consider the libertarian non-aggression principle to be the ONLY meaningful standard of morality. I reject all other concepts of morality as meaningless drivel.

I also disagree with the assertion that Christianity is necessary for the well-being of Western civilization. I think the worldviews espoused by those of Heinlein, Rothbard, Von Mises, and Rand are sufficient philosophical standards for the progression of any technological civilization.

Pode October 10, 2012 at 11:36 am

So where’s the body? What are you going to decide about the stories of the resurrection and the disciples behavior afterward? There are so many documentary sources, in souch close agreement with each other, from writers closer to eyewitnesses, writing to audiences of eyewitnesses, than any other event in ancient history by orders of magnitude. If you reject it as ahistorical based on insufficient evidence, you’re left with a purely mythical Geroge Washington, a shadowy Lincoln who may or may not have led some kind of fight in North America somewhere, some (possibly short) guy named Napoleon who fought many battles, and definitely some kind of prolonged major conflict between someone or another in 1910-1950. What convinced me was that I couldn’t explain the behavior of the characters in the resurrection story in any sensical way unless it was true.

The Romans saw the Jews as backward, uneducated, violent, fractious, cowardly, militarily incompetent, rebellious savages who mutilated their children’s genitals and had spent centuries constantly rioting and starting wars over ridiculous religious BS (not unlike the way part of the US thinks of Muslims now). That’s why they crucified Christ for claiming to be Messiah, the prophesied rightful king of the Jews, they didn’t want Him leading that year’s annual rebellion/riot during Passover. The tomb was guarded by a centurion, the backbone officer in Rome’s army, who taught everyone below and above him in rank how to soldier and was responsible for crucifying men who fell asleep on guard duty. They got paid 100-200 times the average daily wage for a field worker. Picture every stereotype you have about a redneck USMC gunnery sergeant, and pay that guy Goldman Sachs i-banker money. Now think about an Afghan Mullah’s council (the Jewish Sanhedrin religious leaders) or better yet 11 dirt poor suspected insurgents (the disciples) bribing that rich redneck lifetime soldier who loathes them to tell his boss he fell asleep on the job, somebody stole the body without waking him up, sorry about the war that’ll cause, I’m ready for my crucifixion now.

If the Sanhedrin somehow ended up with the body thru some other scheme, when Peter started stirring up trouble the next week telling everybody who’d listen “He is risen!”, why didn’t they hang the body from the city gate with a sign that said “Sure about that?”

If the disciples somehow rallied from running for their lives, imagined, planned, and executed a scheme to steal the body somehow and found a religion based on lying about it, why found one that insists that being rich is bad and you should only have sex with at most your one wife? The power that comes from leading a tiny band of slaves and misfits? And then why did all but one of them choose to get tortured to death rather than give up the racket?

I don’t know divine nature, or how resurrection worked, or how to reconcile biblical creation with scientific evidence, or how to live by that code in today’s deeply different society. But I do have too close to 40 years experience with humans, and based on that alone I have to believe that the resurrection was real and therefore whatever else this Jesus guy had or has to say I should probably do.

Frost October 11, 2012 at 10:34 am

I admit that, if Christ is not the son of God, it’s a pretty impressive conspiracy. Far better than the guy who went into a cave and had his revelations alone…

As for comparing the historicity of Jesus Vs. Alexander the Great et al, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So-and-so conquered X land has a lower burden of proof than a deity taking human form.

Rob September 27, 2012 at 9:25 pm

I’m kinda shocked you think Christianity has been more important and relevant to intellectual and cultural history than Judaism. Actually, I’m completely shocked.

Christianity and the other religions keep the masses in line most of the time. And by in line I mean it keeps them from raping and murdering. For that, their very useful and we should refrain from attacking them.

Matthew King September 29, 2012 at 12:56 am

It’s like … like … the opium of the people, or something!

“Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.” In this case, the “defunct economist” is Karl Marx, whom you parrot with pristine unawareness.

Quit serving up regurgitated platitudes from discredited blowhards. At least understand where your received and repeated notions come from. You are not clever, and your attempt at elite condescension exposes you more than you seem to realize.

“I’m kinda shocked … shocked” you think Judaism is more intellectually influential in history than, you know, the doctrine installed in the most influential hyperpowers over the last twenty centuries, the religion spread to every corner of the earth, the cultural lodestar to perhaps 10 billion of the 25 billion human beings who ever lived, and the faith of nearly half the modern world.

Matt

Rob September 29, 2012 at 11:05 am

Matt,

You might find an advantage from learning how to read properly. My comment on the benefits of religion and Christianity are of the most practical kind. Don’t allow your bias and upbringing to blind you. What is more practical than an idea that stops savages from killing you? It is not some platitude. Cultural forces, of which your precious Christianity is part of, literally keep you from being murdered. Can you deny this? Can you deny that the Christian heaven and the Christian idea of right and wrong doesn’t work to pacify and neuter the masses?

Your ad hominem attacks belie a weak position. Give me a reasonable, logical, well thought out response and I will take you seriously.

And Balls September 26, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Thank God!

asdf September 26, 2012 at 8:16 pm

“Christian morality doesn’t often ‘feel’ right to me, as it should if I were created with the image of God inside of me.”

If you understand original sin and the Christian conception of evil then this isn’t a problem so much. You should expect to have impure impulses.

Yet, I can totally understand your point. I accepted Christianity on the basis of an overwhelming moral feeling in me. At one point, during a difficult moral trial, I could basically feel God’s presence right in me. If I never felt that I would probably not be religious, as even though I accept God on rational theological grounds they rely on faith, and faith relies on that personal connection I had with God. Reason was simply the vessel for understanding it. It’s why I became religion the second time rather then the first (when I had no way of understanding it).

“But whatever my conclusion, I’m a better man today for having grinded through the subject.”

MY DEAR WORMWOOD,

I hope my last letter has convinced you that the trough of dulness or “dryness” through which your patient is going at present will not, of itself, give you his soul, but needs to be properly exploited. What forms the exploitation should take I will now consider.

In the first place I have always found that the Trough periods of the human undulation provide excellent opportunity for all sensual temptations, particularly those of sex.

This may surprise you, because, of course, there is more physical energy, and therefore more potential appetite, at the Peak periods; but you must remember that the powers of resistance are then also at their highest. The health and spirits which you want to use in producing lust can also, alas, be very easily used for work or play or thought or innocuous merriment. The attack has a much better chance of success when the man’s whole inner world is drab and cold and empty. And it is also to be noted that the Trough sexuality is subtly different in quality from that of the Peak-much less likely to lead to the milk and water phenomenon which the humans call “being in love”, much more easily drawn into perversions, much less contaminated by those generous and imaginative and even spiritual concomitants which often render human sexuality so disappointing. It is the same with other desires of the flesh. You are much more likely to make your man a sound drunkard by pressing drink on him as an anodyne when he is dull and weary than by encouraging him to use it as a means of merriment among his friends when he is happy and expansive. Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable. An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula. It is more certain; and it’s better style. To get the man’s soul and give him nothing in return-that is what really gladdens our Father’s heart. And the troughs are the time for beginning the process.

But there is an even better way of exploiting the Trough; I mean through the patient’s own thoughts about it. As always, the first step is to keep knowledge out of his mind. Do not let him suspect the law of undulation. Let him assume that the first ardours of his conversion might have been expected to last, and ought to have lasted, forever, and that his present dryness is an equally permanent condition. Having once got this misconception well fixed in his head, you may then proceed in various ways. It all depends on whether your man is of the desponding type who can be tempted to despair, or of the wishful-thinking type who can be assured that all is well. The former type is getting rare among the humans. If your patient should happen to belong to it, everything is easy. You have only got to keep him out of the way of experienced Christians (an easy task now-a-days), to direct his attention to the appropriate passages in scripture, and then to set him to work on the desperate design of recovering his old feelings by sheer will-power, and the game is ours. If he is of the more hopeful type, your job is to make him acquiesce in the present low temperature of his spirit and gradually become content with it, persuading himself that it is not so low after all. In a week or two you will be making him doubt whether the first days of his Christianity were not, perhaps, a little excessive. Talk to him about “moderation in all things”. If you can once get him to the point of thinking that “religion is all very well up to a point”, you can feel quite happy about his soul. A moderated religion is as good for us as no religion at all-and more amusing.

Another possibility is that of direct attack on his faith. When you have caused him to assume that the trough is permanent, can you not persuade him that “his religious phase” is just going to die away like all his previous phases? Of course there is no conceivable way of getting by reason from the proposition “I am losing interest in this” to the proposition “This is false”. But, as I said before, it is jargon, not reason, you must rely on. The mere word phase will very likely do the trick. I assume that the creature has been through several of them before-they all have-and that he always feels superior and patronising to the ones he has emerged from, not because he has really criticised them but simply because they are in the past. (You keep him well fed on hazy ideas of Progress and Development and the Historical Point of View, I trust, and give him lots of modern Biographies to read? The people in them are always emerging from Phases, aren’t they?)

You see the idea? Keep his mind off the plain antithesis between True and False. Nice shadowy expressions-”It was a phase”-”I’ve been through all that”-and don’t forget the blessed word “Adolescent”,

Your affectionate uncle
SCREWTAPE

Booch Paradise September 26, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Instead of asking whether or not Christianity is true, how about asking whether or not there is a god? If you conclude “maybe”, then the question is whether or not this potential god is knowable. From my experience, the answer to both questions is yes. And if Christianity gets anything right, it is that God is knowable through prayer. Also, both games seem trite by comparison when experiencing the manifest presents of God.

Jesse September 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Ive been following this blog for a year and a half and only in the passed few weeks did I realize how insane the fan base is.

” Christianity has been hijacked by feminist multicultural blank slate peace loving sackless leftists”

what the fuck.

Elihu September 27, 2012 at 9:22 am

Raliv’s comment is more true than false.

I would put it thusly: The Church has been hijacked by the American “Conservative” movement, whose job is to pretend to provide opposition to the feminist/multi-culti/etc.

Gar September 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I am a believer in Jesus. But I am not a ‘christian’. Then again, many who call themselves ‘christian’ aren’t, either. Such would be more accurate calling themselves religious feminists, more in line with their beliefs and practices.

Elihu September 27, 2012 at 9:18 am

We call ‘em Churchian’s around here.

If you believe in Jesus, than you are a Christian. It is the religious feminists, who pay lip service to Jesus without actually living up to his teachings, who demonstrate that they do not truly believe in him.

Matthew King September 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm

But, I don’t believe. I’m not sold on the rational, logical, empirical case for a supernatural historical Jesus.

You are looking in the wrong places, friend. Regarding the a posteriori as ultimate — or the sovereignty of “empiric[ism]” — is a labcoat dork’s answer to the meaning of life. It is no coincidence that all men of empiricism, who bend their knee to the god of the experimental method über Alles, are stereotypical nerds and grinds.

If you want to find God in this topsy-turvy culture, I suggest starting with Nietzsche. He was not fooled into thinking a will to scientific truth would suffice to replace God in a true man of independence. Rather, he was of the Alexandrian school: when the empiricists present a man with the Gordian knot of “truth,” he demonstrates the higher truth by slicing their precious construct asunder.

In other words — no one asked you to believe in Jesus Christ yet. Start with simple agnosticism. Do you believe in God, or are you certain he cannot possibly exist?

Let me correct that. Those who presently do insist you believe in Christ are his worst advocates. Because Christianity is inextricable with the late stages of postmodern western culture, it must be presented in a corrupt state. We think we know what Christianity means because it has hegemonically, culturally dominated the air we have breathed for twenty centuries. It has defined the subliminal standard against which we judge everything. So our individual caricatures of the way of Christ satisfy us as the truth of it. “Of course we know what Christianity means. Next.”

But you are skipping way ahead. Believing in a Prime Mover is the first step. The historical “empirical” qualities of Jesus are advanced grad-school stuff. You haven’t rejected it so much as you have (rather passively) allowed the culture around you to reject it on your behalf, and that culture is the false empiricism you cite. C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity might help you understand the bottom, middle, and top rungs of the latter to faith.

Christian morality doesn’t often ‘feel’ right to me, as it should if I were created with the image of God inside of me.

Did you just cite your feelings as a rationale to reject faith? That is more girlishness, simply put.

No one can know the mind of God. We are minuscule embers in the sun — if comparisons to infinitude were apt. What would you know about “the image of God,” whom no one has seen (1 Jn 4), other than by revelation and faith? How can you know it does not comport with “the image … inside” you? “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” Have you considered that, like the “blue-pill” man, the image you perceive inside you is a slightly warped one? The correct starting position is Socrates’s “All I know is I know nothing.”

Above all, Christianity would be extraordinarily inconvenient to me right now.

Christianity is extraordinarily inconvenient now, yesterday, tomorrow, and forever. That’s the gig. It is not supposed to be easy. It is supposed to be the challenge of your life. In a culture struggling to free itself from millennia of Christian influence, the way of faith appears to be the safe and bourgeois choice — what half-a-fag Mormons and “God-fearing” beta cowards gravitate toward. This is the Gospel distorted.

Let us test [the righteous man] with insult and torture,
that we may find out how gentle he is,
and make trial of his forbearance.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death …

(Wis 2:19-20)

What does this challenge mean for the “player lifestyle”? Far less than you think.

1) “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” The Christian is no pagan, true, but neither is he puritan (cf. Chesterton’s “Why I Am a Catholicpace your blog-post title). “Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, / There’s always laughter and good red wine” (Belloc). We are not sticks-in-the-mud, but neither are we raging alcoholics. We seek the golden mean between equally destructive excesses. Before feminism, that was the definition of virtue, a word built upon vir, Latin for “man,” “brave man,” or “hero.”

2) Augustine and Aquinas, the intellectual equals of Plato and Aristotle but anno Domini, approached life with the same “empirical” spirit as you but with a radically different conclusion. In fact, the young pagan Augustine was the equal of any of the nihilist pussyhounds of this century. Look it up.

3) We are in a state of war, a war currently prosecuted by only one side. What you erroneous believe the church considers “sinful” is a direct consequence of your feminist upbringing, the enemy’s poisoning of your mother’s milk with traces of blue-pill bullshit. Of course violence per se has been redefined as “sinful,” regardless of its end: because men excel at it. Likewise, the male sex drive has been redefined as alien and base by the harpies presently engaged in their 2+2=5 campaign. In war, we kill, but it is not murder. In the war of the sexes, we fuck, but it is not crass fornication. You don’t “reject the pleasure,” but you do yoke it to a higher purpose than the advanced mutual masturbation that currently enthralls you. A man does not submit himself to the base passions of sex any more than he would sing the praises of a righteous BM. He conducts his impulses like a maestro at a symphony.

Anyway, you were on the right track with your first-rate series on Christian game in the four links above. The coda in this latest post is gratuitous. What keeps you from the narrow path is not age (“Perhaps I’ll revisit the faith question at a later point in my life. For now though….”). It is ignorance, an ignorance entirely incongruous with your fine breakdown of the Christian ethos in your last four posts.

Your masterful delving into this subject is not prompted by “an ounce of curiosity.” It is rather the “still, small voice” of conscience calling you to your purpose.

Then Eli’hu … became angry. He was angry at Job because he justified himself rather than God; he was angry also at Job’s three friends because they had found no answer ….

“God opens their ears to instruction,
and commands that they return from iniquity.
If they hearken and serve him,
they complete their days in prosperity,
and their years in pleasantness.
But if they do not hearken, they perish by the sword,
and die without knowledge.”

(Job 32:2-3; 36:10-12)

Elihu” = “He is my God”

Matt

erik September 26, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I have a friend like you. He is looking for proof as well. Something concrete to justify belief. You will never find it. Belief is the substance of things hoped for but have not come yet. You will have to make the leap as they say. You either believe the Gospel of Jesus or you don’t, on its own testimony. I thank you for the acknowledgement of Christianity being a positive factor in the development of western civilization. Truth is always the best foundation for building. We turned from the truth and now are heading to destruction unfortunately.

Elihu September 27, 2012 at 9:16 am

So why make the leap of faith to Christianity as opposed to Islam, Hinduism, etc?

Unless Christians can come up with a good answer to that question, I don’t see many converts coming from my generation.

Matthew King September 29, 2012 at 12:37 am

… because you are a man of the West and not a 7/11 owner or swarthy ululating towel-head. (Right?)

There is a reason why the Alpha civilization of the world coincides with Christendom rather than Shintoism or African bug worship. Grow up out of the non-confrontational omega assumptions of your feminized education. Not all cultures are created equal.

The “converts” from your generation are coming to Christianity in larger droves than at any time in history, largely from the dusty shitholes and green-death jungles that were denied primary access to the cross. They know what the West has and what they were deprived. Late-decadence brats have no idea whence their advantages came, and, like feminists, presume them to be eternal.

Oh, that and the fact that Christianity is true. This is not a cafeteria line, where you can pick the peach cobbler or the banana pudding. This is the architectonic of your pursuit of truth. If you were better in-tune with the foundations of your knowledge, you wouldn’t treat the question like a freshman girl who just took her first Comparative Religions class. Like, everybody, like THINKS they’re right! So nobody’s right! It’s called “relativism,” son, and it is the disease that is putrefying your mind on the big questions of life.

Matt

raliv September 26, 2012 at 12:04 pm

I’m not a Christian because I think Christianity has been hijacked by feminist multicultural blank slate peace loving sackless leftists. The Church was strongest when the Holy Roman Empire was around. Now it’s just an embarrassment and weak.

Steffen September 26, 2012 at 2:29 pm

If Christianity is true, nothing about that truth changes because of failed human beings. Leftist weenie pastors, feminist harpies, pick-up artists, and all the rest of us sin and fall short of God’s ideal.

Understanding and lamenting our depravity and debased natures won’t save us, but it might convince us we need to be saved from ourselves. Only accepting God will do that for you.

Nothing I can do otherwise will hold any meaning or redemption under truthful scrutiny.

Matthew King September 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm

You know less than shit about what you speak. Christianity cannot be “hijacked,” impious brat.

nony September 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm

settle down

Elihu September 27, 2012 at 9:08 am

Now now Matthew, are we feeling a bit wrathful?

Steffen’s comment is correct. I will not hesitate to laugh in the face of a man who buys into Churchianity, because I know he is A) a bitch, and B) Not doing God’s will. A true Christian today must either abstain from Church altogether and practice his faith alone, or seek out a Church whose deviations from scripture are minimal.

Matthew King September 29, 2012 at 12:18 am

“Churchianity” is a nonsense term or weasel word of no use for anyone beyond those who are already confirmed in their anti-Christian character. It is a rhetorical slight of hand used to avoid defining oneself enough to be pinned down by counterargument. They want their Christ without the Christianity; the Lord without his church; his head without his body; the bridegroom without the bride. Not possible.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLta2b9zQ64#t=5m25s

This forms a part of your blind spot, but only a small part. I do not “practice [my] faith alone,” an absurd notion for a religion. I practice it in communion or community. Yours is an unstudied solipsism of the man who believes himself free simply by declaring it.

“Laugh” it up, chucklehead. You are better off sticking to subjects you know better. I mistook your otherwise excellent observations on Christianity’s relationship to game as a sign of wisdom. Turns out that wisdom was a chimera, no contest against anything that would threaten your preciously constructed sand castle of self-esteem. Nobody cares about whose face a giddy boy laughs in. We all know abrupt dismissal is a sign of pomp and insecurity.

Matt

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