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Thursday, 11 October 2012

Christians! Should You Be Reading This?

From a true-believing Christian's point of view, reading and learning about anything but the Bible is to be avoided. The problem is, it can lead to 'knowledge', the acquisition of which was the original sin for which Christians say we all need to beg God's forgiveness and for which he supposedly sacrificed his son in a bizarre, barbaric blood sacrifice ritual which no one at the time seems to have noticed and of which no one now seems to be able to explain the mechanism.

This time it's mostly in the New Testaments where the Bible shows it's real hostility towards learning and the acquisition of wisdom. Paul particularly, and perhaps understandably so, seems especially worried in his epistles that people are going to learn stuff which might make them question rather than just accept his authority on things.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.



I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.

And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.



Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.



For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.



For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.



For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.
Paul seems to have got into quite a state with that first epistle to the Corinthians, doesn't he.

Martin Luther, Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1533
One person who seemed to have taken Paul's teaching on board, and with gusto, was the 'Father of Protestantism', Martin Luther. Here's what he had to say on the subject of reason:
Reason is the Devil's greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil's appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom ... Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism... She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.
Martin Luther, Erlangen Edition v. 16, pp. 142-148

Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but -- more frequently than not -- struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.
Martin Luther, Tischreden (Tabletalk)(1569)p. 353

There is on earth among all dangers no more dangerous thing than a richly endowed and adroit reason... Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed.
Martin Luther, quoted by Walter Kaufmann,
The Faith of a Heretic, (Garden City, NY, Doubleday, 1963), p. 75

Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his Reason.

People gave ear to an upstart astrologer [Copernicus] who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred scripture tells us [Joshua 10:13] that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.
Martin Luther, "Works," Volume 22, c. 1543
Love that last one, but Luther seems even more petrified than Paul did that people may start thinking and reasoning for themselves. The modern equivalent would be the drug pusher having his house searched and trying to frighten the police into not looking in the loft.

Johannes Calvin; Titian
Last but not least is John Calvin's view of humans and their works in general, which, one assumes, would include human thought and reason. Anyway, it's so touchingly sweet, loving and tender I couldn't resist including it.
We take nothing from the womb but pure filth [meras sordes]. The seething spring of sin is so deep and abundant that vices are always bubbling up form it to bespatter and stain what is otherwise pure.... We should remember that we are not guilty of one offense only but are buried in innumerable impurities.... all human works, if judged according to their own worth, are nothing but filth and defilement.... they are always spattered and befouled with many stains.... it is certain that there is no one who is not covered with infinite filth.

In John Calvin: A Sixteenth-Century Portrait, 1989,
William J. Bouwsma, Oxford University Press, USA, p. 36.
With this anti-intellectual teaching forming such a prominent part of basic Christianity, is it any surprise that reasoning with so many Christians is almost impossible; that proud ignorance and resistance to learning seem to be such prominent features which are waved with inordinate pride?

It's hardly surprising that so many charlatans are able to pose as scientists, philosophers and intellectuals and to earn a living parasitising people to whom ignorance is seen as a blessing and something of which their priests extol the virtues, the easier to sell them 'faith' for money.

Spot the difference:

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.



I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.



Isn't it sad to go to your grave without ever wondering why you were born? Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be part of it?

Richard Dawkins

7 comments:

  1. Rosa -

    Disclaimer: I am a Christian.
    Disclaimer #2: I have no argument with you or your writings.

    I just want to present myself, on record, as someone who believes almost in entirely in everything you argue against, as well as someone who has been reading you for a few months now. I was first turned on to your writing when I came across your C. S. Lewis, You Cannot Be Serious! posts.

    As one who believes in the ideas you proclaim as fallacies, I wanted to respond to this post in the most respectful of ways. A few years ago, I would have agreed with you, that no, I should not be reading the things you write. But I've been greatly challenged by what you've written and I think that it has done me good to engage the things you think about - to seriously ponder and try to validate the things I've been raised to believe as to whether or not they are truth.

    All in all, I've enjoyed your posts, your thoughts, and I appreciate your willingness to stand up and speak about what you believe. It's caused me to question and to think - and those are two things I think people of faith need to do more of.

    I, for one, know that I do not know very much. I also recognize that a lot of what I believe is based upon how I was raised; and in the same breath, I think it's important not to alienate myself from people who do not believe the same as I do, but to carefully weigh, consider, and question in the process of determining what it is that I believe and if it fits or not with the reality of the world we live in.

    All in all, I want to thank you for your posts. Keep up the good work - I appreciate that you put energy and effort into establishing what you see as truth (and I do not mean that as a knock in any way).

    I hope you allow this comment to be published.

    PS I think your Creationist Twit Award is one of the most fantastic things online and I wish it got more publicity. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Your appreciation is much appreciated. :-)

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    3. Ever the sore loser, eh, @Scotsmanmatt

      At least you abandoned the pretence of honesty and integrity and are now just using insults and abuse.

      Is this belated honesty?

      Delete
    4. I've had to delete another abusive post from you @Scotsmanmatt.

      Do you think you could stick to the subject of the blog please. If you need to type out lots of self-important, pompous wind-baggery and abuse other people when they've exposed your dishonesty to feel better about yourself, can I suggest you start your own blog and do it there?

      Delete
    5. I've deleted another of your self-justifying whines.

      can I again suggest you create your own blog for that sort of stuff rather than parasitising this one for it with comments bearing no relationship to the contents of the blog?

      Delete
  2. It's really amazing to me that people can read such tripe and think 'wow, that's really amazing and uplifting and makes me feel really good. I could really get behind that way of thinking'. "Noxious whore". Gotta remember that one.

    ReplyDelete

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