This, admittedly, should have been my first topic posted, as it sums up every single reason why I started doing this.
And there’s the first question I ask myself – Why the need for a site like this?
Well, the main purpose is to point out problems with Christianity. (Note that I said with
, which implies both ‘within’ and ‘pertaining to’. There is a distinct difference, which I alluded to in my description of this webzine at the top of this page.)
Next question – How did these problems come to my attention?
Here’s where the story gets interesting. So sit back, and let me tell you a little about my past:
Both of my parents are Christians, my father since his late twenties and my mother since her adolescence/teens. They raised my older brother and me in church, and they enveloped us in the love of God so that we never even thought to doubt what was so firmly established.
Such a standard of Christian heritage can certainly make one complacent.
This is the problem I had. I grew up with everything Christian, and, to boot, I always thought (and perhaps still do think sometimes) that I had the right ideas on everything.
I was bulletproof.
Now we find ourselves at age 16 or so. Our intrepid hero has found the Internet, and in it, a cavalcade of information all trampled into his head from sources unknown.
It was then that I received the E-mails in question, as it were. You’ve all probably received them, if you’re a Christian or have Christian friends or colleagues. Those sappy E-mails about how a father sacrificed his son to save his son’s friend who was drowning, and other such sentimental subjects.
These seemed plausible at the time, perhaps even believable. I had been a Christian for years by this point, and I had heard many stories of the same kin told as sermon illustrations in the Baptist churches I had grown up in since I was literally a week old (I was born on a Sunday and attended with my parents the next Sunday).
Well, time has made me wiser, and life has made me cynical. I doubt more things now that I would have at one time accepted with little difficulty, and I don’t begrudge myself or anyone else for it. In fact, I openly welcome the label of “cynic” or “skeptic”, as this site shows.
Within the past few months, an obsession of mine has been urban legends. A great former high school history teacher of mine introduced me to the popular site snopes.com
, and I have recently rediscovered it with a passion.
Probing that site has done more to make lose faith in humanity than anything else I could have possibly witnessed.
Many of you are privy to the nature of urban legends; someone passes on a “Did you know that…?” statement to all of their friends (often by E-mail, which I will return to shortly) that may or may not be true and is in fact more likely to be the latter. Well, this site, run by a husband and wife team, researches these tales or claims in order to determine their veracity. The number of legends they address is staggering, and I am just now getting to the end of the legends after a few months of browsing their site a few nights a week for a few hours each night.
Now that I have gone that route, let me retell a story from my youth. Around the aforementioned age of 16, I received an apparently well-circulated E-mail that was allegedly evidence of the existence of God as documented by NASA scientists based on 'real' scientific information mixed with Biblical concepts. (For the full content of the E-mail and its refutation, click here
Of course, being the open-minded youth that I was, I leaped for joy at the news this E-mail brought. My efforts to prove God’s existence could now cease, for I had conclusive proof! In my youthful exuberance, I took this information and put it under my hat, waiting for the chance to unveil my hat trick.
Well, it didn’t turn out quite the way I had hoped. I went into a chat room, as was my custom at the time, this one an Atheist-Christian chat. Well, any experienced chatter could attest that such a chat room had malicious intents, and indeed, this was the case; it was a chat room started by an atheist to trap unsuspecting Christians and berate them at the expense of their faith. I don’t quite see the point, but they did it, nonetheless. When I unveiled my fabulous secret, the response was plain - and I quote - “xer legend”. (For those not up on popular atheistic terms, an 'Xer' or 'Christer' is a derogatory slang for a Christian.)
I couldn’t have known it at the time, but he/she was right, dead on, in fact. I had largely forgotten about the E-mail until, after browsing snopes, I found it again, this time with a big ol’ “False” attached to the summary debunking.
So, why do we have to make up stuff like this to make our point? Have we run that far out of options that we have to falsify accounts in order to make ourselves sound like we have a logical, rational answer?
If that’s the case, then Christianity needs to go back to square one, to a better understanding of what faith is. To prove my point, let me quote an outside source:
“Here's the problem with faith: that which are articles of it can't be proved. (According to our dictionary, faith is firm belief in something for which no proof exists. In other words, if such validations were possible, those concepts would stop being matters of faith and start being matters of fact.) Those who are convinced of the existence of God, therefore, have no incontrovertible, irrefutable answer to anyone who challenges them to provide evidence of the veracity of their belief systems' tenets. They are left unable to squelch the nay-sayers, to demonstrate beyond any shadow of doubt that their inner direction is the right one, and so have to endure the catcalls and jeers of those who insist on independently verifiable proof of that which can't be proven.” (from snopes.com)
Even though this quote makes a good point about the nature of faith, I do not agree that those who believe in something by faith “are left unable” to defend their faith. As I have learned, there are two distinct kinds of arguments and therefore two kinds of logic: deductive and inductive. In the former, one must prove their claim with absolute certainty; in the latter, one must only prove within any reasonable doubt. I propose that it is perfectly logical (in the inductive sense) to consider Christianity as a perfectly viable option, given that the person on the receiving end has a somewhat open mind (for instance, they cannot be dead set on having 100% conclusive proof, for the argument is inductive and cannot prove with absolute certainty). However, that is a debate for another time, one that I hope I am up to.
My whole point in this, though, can be summed up this way: Christians are notorious for being called ‘brainwashed’, ‘weak-minded’, ‘naïve’, and a slew of terms that are ultimately derogatory based on the intelligence of Christians. Of course, Christians contend that Christianity does not have to be a scholar’s religion, and I agree; even so, Christians need to be schooled in what their faith really means
, or it ends up meaning nothing at all. The skeptics of the world will win their battle against us simply by discrediting those who hold our faith.
Let’s be perfectly frank – it’s hard to disprove Christianity in itself as a possibility. No one has yet come up with conclusive proof not to believe Christianity might be true, and this inability to refute Christianity definitively leaves plenty of room for the possibility. Of course, critics have their own existential substantiations of this claim, such as the coexisting of a supreme, all-powerful, and personal God with evil, pain, and suffering (i.e. “How can a good God let evil exist in the world?). But each of these has a definite answer that is easily understood with considerations to other basic precepts of Christianity.
(Without going too in depth, let me paraphrase here what I said in a previous article
: Saying that Christianity explains away flaws by putting them in context of their tenets is like saying it’s stupid to believe that jumping out of a tree will make you fall to the ground simply because ‘the principle of gravity says so’. One has to accept certain related presuppositions to believe practically anything
that is even remotely complex, so that argument is pointless for questioning Christianity.)
In this, I have undertaken a big thing: to give a home to those Christians who are skeptical (and rightfully so) of the “too good to be true” things that so many Christians believe as fact without checking their sources.
My sincere hope is that more Christians will start to see the ridiculousness of the sub-culture and start to turn to more sure things, to that which is truly eternal.
After all, faith is not the hope of proving others wrong.