Thought you guys would enjoy this... I have a friend who lives close to me, lovely old guy, who used to be a minister at a local church. We get on well, share gardening tips, small talk, the odd cup of coffee. I have been fascinated for a long time with finding out his story - as the reasons why he left the church seem shrouded in mystery.
Well one day, I was feeling a little mischevious and steered the conversation subtley on to religious belief, we quickly began debating the usual parry and repostes we have come to expect i.e. evolution, lack of evidence, biblical floods, big bang etc etc. Getting tired of going nowhere fast I decided to go in for the kill...asking him how he justified his belief (as he did) in the old testament namely Duter. and Levit. (I quoted chapter and verse from my "ready to hand - in case a christian comes a-callin" worse aspects of these wretched books.
He answered me as plainly as I tell you now...
" I just ignore them"
Thats it, folks.... by far the most honest answer yet provided by a christian defending the bible!
I have to admit I fell about giggling for the subsequent ten minutes...after that there didnt seem to be any point to the debate. He had answered the question with an answer that admitted a rational mind rejecting ridiculous proposition and doctorine. Although it seems cowardice to not go one step further and reject the notion of the abrahamic god in its entirety.
but does he just reject the patently immoral aspects of the bible or does he reject the irrational ridiculous propositions and doctrine as well? for instance, does he still believe in the immaculate conception, the virgin birth, the resurrection, the ascension? i assume he must if he still considers himself a Christian.
i just find it fascinating that he can consider himself a Christian when he happily ignores and rejects huge sections of his religion's foundational text.
that's really cool that you guys are still good friends. those are the kind of conversations that can put a friendship in danger. that yours came through unscathed is awesome.
To go from a man of the cloth, to not attending even a church service on a Sunday - would suggest that he has rejected the notion in its entirety... But there seems to be that niggling deep seated fear that he might be missing out on something when he dies... thats all I can think of.
I would wager if he picked up Dawkins, Hitchens or Harris that last candle would be extinguished too.
Perhaps I should encourage him to read my copies, to hear his views on them.
I've heard some pretty honest answers from an academic who also happens to be a Catholic. He's pretty rational, makes fun of creationism and supports evolution. I don't think I've ever been flat out caught off guard by his answers, though.