Happily, Mr. Rogers has returned. To make things easier, I am going to address his comments here in a blog post so we can keep things somewhat coherent. His posts will be in italics and my response will follow them.
I don’t claim Christians are “better.” We are sinners, saved by God’s grace. I did not “desperately” hope that you were hurt. I don’t wish that on anybody, and I’m glad you were not. I’m just trying to discern why the extremely sarcastic tone. It’s interesting that you reacted so strongly against my incorrect projection on you of what you think and feel, yet you freely project upon me what I think and feel, saying I “desperately” wanted something to be so and referring to “preachers like you” as if you know what I’m like.
Now regarding a true Christian, it is someone who trusts in Jesus’ sacrifice upon the cross to save him or her from sin, and decides to follow Christ with his or her life. You are reading into my words about Mother Teresa something I did not say or imply. I think she is a great model of a Christian, and I spoke of the wonderful way she lived out her faith in the blog post that you quote. I do disagree with her teachings on salvation, but to say that I say she “deserved to be damned” is not what I said or believe, at all. You took Luke 19:27 out of context. Jesus was telling a parable about a king saying to execute his enemies; this was not a command by Jesus to execute anybody. My blog on Bible translations already answered your question, but you didn’t seem to be paying attention. Yes, I know there are some people who think there is only one translation, but most Christians don’t think that. Are you going to judge Christians by a minority who are poor examples? Do you want me to judge all atheists by the bad representatives, like Joseph Stalin or Mao-tse-tung? That would not be fair to atheists, would it?
I have already given an example of your Bible distortions in your reply above. This is already getting long, so I’ll do a separate reply to point out distortions in your original post.
He thinks *that’s* long. 🙂
Mr. Rogers, all theists claim that they are better than everyone else simply by saying “we have the right answer and you don’t and will be damned/punished by our god”. Most, of not all theists, claim that their god does things for them e.g. “miracles”. Most theists, if not all, claim that those who do not agree with them are either stupid, duped, hateful or rebellious. That certainly seems like claiming you are better to me. It’s like how fans of one American football team are sure that they have made the right choice and everyone else are “losers”.
As for if you hoped that I was hurt by someone who was defined by you as not a real Christian, I find that your immediate assumption that I was to be evidence of that hope. You did not ask what made me an atheist, you made a faulty assumption that many Christians have in my experience, all certain that they were right in assuming that no one would ever leave their religion unless it was some person who was only pretending to be a Christian upset the atheist. I was indeed extremely sarcastic because I find the bible and many Christians’ cherry picking of it to be utterly ridiculous. In my experience, movie makers and pastors do their best to ignore the more hilarious and nasty parts of the bible. I’ve sat through enough sermons and watched enough bible-based movies and television shows to know this well. I decided to point out those parts that Christians do their best to pretend don’t exist, and I see I’ve hit a nerve.
I’ve been spending some time reading the qu’ran and finding just as many (for its size) stories that show how ignorant, violent and silly your god is in it too. That’ll be a post in the future.
I see you find it “interesting” that I reacted against your *incorrect projection* on me. Really? You are surprised that I called you out on your lie about me? As I noted above, you didn’t ask what made me come to the conclusion that there is no Christian god nor any god or supernatural at all. If you were not intent on casting me as a strawman atheist, why not ask me directly?
Thank you for giving me your definition of what a Christian is. All Christians have given me basically that definition and all have claimed that only their sect had the right way to do it, from you, to Roman Catholics to Calvinists, etc. And no, Mr. Rogers, I don’t think I’m reading anything at all into your post about Mother Teresa. You say that Roman Catholicism is *wrong*. I ask you directly, are Roman Catholics going to be sent to hell for being Roman Catholics? If you do not believe this, what do you think will happen to Roman Catholics who hold to their faith without renouncing it? Is Mother Teresa destined for hell? Now, after seeing your answer to this, I will be more than happy to apologize for misrepresenting your views. I would also draw your, and our audience’s attention to a resolution by the Southern Baptist Convention about Roman Catholics: http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/amResolution.asp?ID=964 We see that your sect only grudgingly considers the Roman Catholics to be worth talking too, even if you share the same social issues. You are still intent on converting Catholics. Yep, the resolution says that the SBC rejects the term of “sheep stealing” but that is exactly what you are doing. That’s what attempts at conversion from one Christian sect to another is.
You claim that I have taken Luke 19 out of context. That is a very common claim by Christians. Let’s look at your claim. You claim that Jesus was telling a parable and that is simply about a king killing his enemies. Why yes he was. Now, what is a parable? Well, Merriam-Webster says it’s a “a usually short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle” and here’s wiki’s article on it. Parables are analogies, showing a story in a different frame, and per the bible, parables are used to hide the real meaning of what Jesus is saying. For instance, the parable of the faithful servant has that there is a servant and who is his master? Per your claim, they are simply just a real human servant and master, but many Christians claim that the servant is representing believers and the master is God. In the wiki article, the link above, it has some of those Christian’s words and I just googled about the parable and found a lot of Christian commentary on it on what the parable means and which character represents what (here’s http://www.parables-of-jesus-christ.net/Matthew24-45-51.htmlone). Can you show me how they are wrong and you are right?
But let’s take another parable that is very similar to the parable of the minas. The parable of the tenants (also known as the parable of the vineyard) has a vineyard owner who leaves his vineyard in the care of some people. These people cease to obey him and he sends his son to take back control. The tenants conspire to kill the son. They do and JC says that the owner will come to throw them out and kill them. After JC told the story, the Jewish leadership were angry since they knew he meant them as the bad tenants. Now, again, per your claim, JC was only talking about a conflict in a vineyard. But again, many Christian say that this was an analogy for the second coming, and that the vineyards owner is God who will kill those who disobey him, the story of Revelation. Who is right?
Now, finally back the parable of the minas, Luke 19. You say it’s only about a king who ends with saying to execute his enemies and that it is not about god or Jesus at all. Let’s look at it. The story opens with the apostles sure that the kingdom of God was going to come soon, and it appears the reason they thought so was because “11 As they were listening to this, He went on to tell a parable because He was near Jerusalem, and they thought the kingdom of God was going to appear right away.” Now, this seems to me to be JC quieting that assumption that JC will establish a kingdom of god as soon as he gets to Jerusalem, by telling the apostles he has to go away (die) before he becomes the “king of kings”. To me, this is the context. Mr. Rogers, can you tell me what the context you think the parable is told in?
We have a man who left a country to be given authority to be king of that country. Before he left, he gave his servants money to take care of. They did various things to benefit or not benefit the future king. When he returned as king, he rewarded them or punished them as he saw fit. The king says that those who have supported him will be rewarded with what they have and more. Those who didn’t support him will have everything taken away. This king finishes with saying “But bring here these enemies of mine, who did not want me to rule over them, and slaughter, them in my presence.” Now, this is very similar to the parable of the talents. At the end of that, we have the master throwing the failed servants out into the “ outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” From also googling the parable of the talents, I can see that it is also often thought by Christians to be about God and Jesus, being the master (for example here). There are differences between the parables. The ones about the tenants and the talents have God/Jesus doing the killing/damning. The parable of the minas has God/Jesus telling their believers to do the killing. IF the bible is accurate, there is no reason to think that God/Jesus didn’t mean this. If it is not accurate here, then there is little reason to think any of it is accurate. I have asked Christian after Christian but they all differ on what should be considered literal and what should be considered metaphor/analogy. Since we have no magic decoder ring to decipher this, we are left with Christians who insist that their and only their version is the correct one with no more evidence than the next.
I have read your blog about other bible translations. And you have no more evidence yours is any better than the next. You use the same arguments that everyone uses when trying to claim that their favorite is the best. Mr. Rogers, you might want to read more by other Christians to know just how similar your arguments are. This could also apply to reading things from other religions, since most if not all religions use the same arguments to claim that they are the only right ones; for instance, “look at the universe, isn’t it obvious *my* god made it?”.
I am not judging Christians by a “minority who are poor examples”. Hmmm, so those Christians who disagree with you are “poor examples”, good to know.
As I stated before, it is not bad behaving Christians that made me an atheist. It is the fact that your claims are baseless. Every Christian is sure that those Christians who don’t agree with him are “poor examples”, but I have yet to see any of you being able to show that those Christians are any less blessed and graced than you and none of you can show evidence for the events you claim to be true. I know that there are plenty of decent, humane people who happen to be Christians of all sects and of other religions entirely. They are still wrong if they cannot support their claims.
You are more than welcome to try to judge all atheists against Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, or some atheist jerk who is a misogynistic twit. Like clockwork, you mention that lovely little bit of nonsense. You would not be the first Christian to do so and certainly won’t be the last. The problem with trying to judge me against Stalin, etc is that I’m not a megalomaniac. People can come to the conclusion that there are no gods and still disagree on many many things. Same with Christians, eh? And supposedly Christians have a ultimate truth. Well, not so much. You can’t even agree on how one is saved, what I would consider the root of your religion.
Next post, addressing the claims of “distortion”.