This entry was posted by on Friday, 26 August, 2011 at

I was listening to Christian radio last week (because: Surprise! I still listen to Christian radio sometimes) and the DJ was reading a “letter” that he had received from a young girl (I have to assume that it was really an email, if we accept the premise that little girls actually send messages to radio DJs at all) whom, as I recall, was wheelchair bound for an unspecified reason. I do not recall how much was in the original letter and how much was his own commentary, but the gist of it was that “the world” convinces you that you have no value if you do not fit into a particular mold, but God/Jesus/The Bible/The Church (whatever the term used was) says that you do have value even if you do not fit the mold.

At that moment I almost wanted to pull the car over and throw everything down. I finally had the answer for which I had been searching for eight years:

Christians spend a lot of time talking about nonsense with no basis in reality.

What church was this guy talking about? Oh, I buy that the church will accept you if you do not fit into society’s mold. In fact, they probably will NOT take you if you do fit in to society’s mold (at least their interpretation of it). But you still have to fit into the church’s mold. I can not even say how many people were, for lack of a better phrase, “forced out” of my church group precisely because they did not fit the mold. No one would admit that, of course. In fact, I have no doubt that if you asked anyone involved in any of these incidents, they would genuinely claim they bent over backwards trying to accommodate the person, but that it just did not work out. Of course it did not. Because they did not fit the mold. There is nothing to be done.

I know, I know. Maybe I just went to a bad church. That is a very real possibility. Hell, I felt compelled to lie to almost everyone that I knew for years and years as a condition of attendance, so I am not exactly what you would call “objective” in these matters.

Last weekend I went to a certain local establishment with a friend. I recalled that the previous time that we had been there, we had been accompanied by a third person. I do not want to go into details, but let me summarize by saying that the individual in question spent an unpleasantly long time arguing against a comment that I had made about a specific socioeconomic matter. Yet I remained unconvinced by his arguments, and more annoyingly, completely unsuccessful in my attempts to shift the conversation to another topic.

Some people just really like to argue. I do not understand where that comes from, but I know that is is there. I do not care for arguments and debates. If in the right mood, I do like to try to understand other people’s point of view, but if and when I do bother to state my opinion on anything [like, on a blog maybe?] I do not generally spend additional effort trying to convince someone who strongly disagrees with me that they are wrong. (Alright, I admit that sometimes I can not resist a good sarcastic jab just to mess with someone’s perceptions every now and then, but that is the extent of it.)

Anyway, I was out with my friend again and wouldn’t you know it, this very same guy shows up again. He and my friend proceed to get into a lengthy debate about faith. I am ashamed to say that I pretty much hung my friend out to dry on that one by not saying anything the entire time. I could point out that this man was really an acquaintance of my friend in the first place and I had only ever seen him three or four times, and also that it was my friend’s fault for encouraging him in the first place. Yet still, are not conversations about faith and doubt kind of “my thing”? Not that day. Not with that guy. For one thing, they were not even talking about theology exactly, merely discussing hypotheticals. It seems silly to criticize, given that my post just a couple of weeks ago was one giant “what if”, but I did not see the value in what they were discussing. I could not even confidently predict a likely outcome in the real world of the scenarios they were debating, let alone offer any conclusions about what that outcome may or may not say about God.

A different friend recently wrote a lengthy post; the first part was an anecdote about the struggles of a certain individual whom she had known at some point in the past, and the second part was about what God showed my friend through that experience. It was the sort of thing that you can not argue on facts. That is, I suppose that you could argue the details of the story, and I recognize that there is a slight possibility that the entire thing was invented for a school assignment, but I think that it actually was a true event. However, you can not argue the second part (which is really the whole point of the post) on facts simply because there are no facts. Here is what God showed you? Here is what you feel about this and that? That’s… nice.

I certainly would not say that feelings have no value, but they are not evidence. A feeling can be a good starting point, but if that is all you ever have then… it simply is not enough. [Hold on a moment, the kettle is calling. “Yes? This whole post, you say? No? The entire BLOG‽ Well that’s disappointing.”]

In my bolded statement above, “nonsense” is the wrong word. Nonsense has no meaning, no value, and is possibly even made up on the spot. Christianity is none of those things. No, the word that I wanted is “fiction.” Fiction can be entirely self-consistent and even remarkably accurate to real life, either by intention or coincidence. That does not make it true. On a practical level, I find that Christianity largely amounts to empty platitudes and unprovable assertions. It sounds good. Consistent even. And if it gives some people hope and strength, then good for them. For me, at the end of the day, at the end of eight years of days, it is not enough.

If there is one simple thing that I should have asked my contrary acquaintance above, and perhaps my friend can use this in a future encounter, it would be this: Who would you say has a better knowledge and understanding of whom? Is it my knowledge of God, or His knowledge of me? Presuming that the answer to that is self-evident, therefore if God thus far has not revealed Himself in a way that I am able to comprehend… why is that my fault?

One Response to “Finite”

  1. goodbyetonto

    Yes, you did hang me out to dry. I do not blame you for not being interested in engaging in pointless debate though. That conversation was initiated on my behalf mostly because I was buzzed and did not know what to do in that awkward situation. I let my guard down. Typically, if I do not want to be around you, I would just tell you. I appreciate this entry, and yes your comment at the end there does deserve some further exploration. I just seem to want to prove Christians wrong. I get so heated all the time just being around them. I am sorry that you had to waste your afternoon listening to me bitch about those issues. No hard feelings on my end.

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