Who Are the Christians?

It happpens over and over again.  People ask where Freethinkers get their morals and values if they don’t believe in the god/Jesus and don’t believe the Bible provides us with these values.

It takes a while to spell out that our morals come from our collective experience.  Then, of course, there are the experiences in the history of Christianity that are not all that morally great.

Maybe it would be better to answer with three words:  Klu Klux Klan.

The Klan was in the news recently and today I found its offical website.  I would reccommend the site to readers because the Klan has played such a large role in our country’s racial history.

If you do visit the site, perhaps you will be as surprised as I was how Christian it is.  In the question and answer section, one question is why the Klan burns the Christian cross.  The answer is because fire is cleansing and the burning cross symbolizes the return to high moral standards represented by the Klan.  It is not disrespectful of the cross, the site says.

The section that outlines the Klan’s beliefs is full of scripture.  There is scripture to prove every Jew is responsible for killing Jesus and scripture to prove God favors one race, the white race, over all others.

I suppose 99% of the world’s Christians say they strongly dislike the Klan.  But, the faith door was left open by the vague language of the Bible and the Klan walked right in.

http://kkk.net/index.html

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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48 Responses to Who Are the Christians?

  1. Henry says:

    Jon: “People ask where Freethinkers get their morals and values if they don’t believe in the god/Jesus and don’t believe the Bible provides us with these values.”

    They get them from God, written on their hearts. Even a dirty old atheist gives a witness to God.

    Romans 2:14,15 (NIV)
    14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law.
    15They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

    • entech says:

      NO,NO,NO – read the words you quote
      … who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law …
      and so on, the law as you call it, the 600 and odd scribblings from ages past, means nothing unless it means everything. This must necessarily include such things as stoning death for naughty children, those that are not obedient (Boys only?) and those that are not sexually innocent on their wedding day (I think that is only the girls).

      In the main people know what is right and what is wrong without being told by some representatives of the one of the many gods and goddesses. Of course somethings are not so obviously wrong and it is for those that we are given instruction on the requirements of the law (by the representatives of the supreme law giver).

      • Henry says:

        “In the main people know what is right and what is wrong without being told by some representatives….”

        Yes, written on their hearts. You’ll catch on….maybe.

      • entech says:

        Must be getting close to the old one about:
        Is it moral because god says so, or does God say it is moral because it is?
        If the first my brother could have sold his daughter into slavery!
        If the second who is this God that just repeats the obvious?

        Morality must exist independently of any God or scripture otherwise how theists and theologians know which ones could be safely ignored and which must be enforced. Perhaps the moving finger rights writes that on the hearts.
        Thou shalt not kill/murder unless you are God and you are applying it to innocent first born of Egypt, or to the entire world by drowning.

        • Henry says:

          Your ignorance of the Law is a stumbling block, one that you embrace as it can be helpful (for the moment) in feeding your agenda.

          • entech says:

            Not so much ignorant of the law as ignorant of the law giver. Waiting for something more than old writings telling me about stumbling blocks and follies and other foolishness.

          • Henry says:

            entech: “Not so much ignorant of the law…”

            You are ignorant of your ignorance.

          • entech says:

            That is pretty trite, if I was not ignorant I would not be ignorant of that which I am ignorant.

            The assumption that someone does not accept your beliefs is ignorant shows a self centered arrogance that is ignorant of other possibilities.

          • Henry says:

            entech: “The assumption that someone does not accept your beliefs is ignorant….”

            Actually, I was referring to your dabbling in the Law. You were incorrect in describing some of it. Ignorance in speaking about a faith not your own. And you continue to be ignorant of your ignorance.

    • Avatar of realist realist says:

      You need to add gorillas and other animals to the list because primates as well as other animals are capable of altruism, a huge component of moral behavior. Did god write on the hearts of baboons as well? We know that all living organisms have evolved to sustain their lives. Morals are nothing if not ways of behaving that result in greater good for the species. Humans are not the only ones who act morally. But of course you will say animals are made for our convenience and use according to Christian teaching, not our compatriots in the journey of life. Christianity’s inability to see humans as just one form of life on earth is sad and ultimately self-defeating.

      • Henry says:

        r: “Christianity’s inability to see humans as just one form of life on earth is sad and ultimately self-defeating.”

        Fortunately, you really don’t see humans as just one form of life either. Otherwise, you would kill with little thought other members of your same species. That isn’t the case (I don’t think, but perhaps, please enlighten me). Logically, humans are significantly different than the rest of the animal kingdom and are not “just one form of life”.

        • Avatar of realist realist says:

          Why must my thinking that humans are but one form of life cause me to kill wantonly? Your logic, or lack thereof, escapes me.

          • Henry says:

            r: “Why must my thinking that humans are but one form of life cause me to kill wantonly?”

            I actually didn’t say that. You will have to try reading closer.

        • Avatar of realist realist says:

          Humans are not that different from other animals; we share a vast majority of our genetic materials with other primates for example. Why does being part of the animal kingdom bother you so much, Henry, you old animal you.

          • Henry says:

            Not bothersome at all. We are at the top of the foodchain, unless one is too squeamish (or regulated from by our lovely logical NPS) to carry firepower into bear country.

          • Avatar of realist realist says:

            Try to keep up, Henry. The NPS allows guns into parks now much to my astonishment.

        • entech says:

          This is one of the most disgusting things that come out of this business of morality from God, the impression you people give that this God given morality with its threat of punishment is the only thing that keeps you from murder and rapine. Shown by the statement that realist would kill a fellow human without a thought unless it was thought that they were superior.

      • Henry says:

        r: “We know that all living organisms have evolved to sustain their lives.”

        No, you don’t know. There isn’t adequate information to know. It has been theorized.

        • Avatar of realist realist says:

          Actually I think I do know that animals have evolved and since it isn’t toward self-destruction it must be for self-preservation. Had it been for self-destruction, well, they wouldn’t be around anymore, would they? I’ll take my theory over your ignorance.

          • Henry says:

            Again, theory. When it becomes the law of evolution, then we can talk more on this. You don’t know.

        • entech says:

          But the law of your faith is so difficult, over 600 and many of them ignored at different times and different conveniences.
          Not so much ignorant of the difference between scientific and popular usage of the word theory as a willful and deliberate misuse. Ignore the theory of gravity at your peril.

          Your inability to accept is a result of your need to feel superior, you are not, just another animal you and me alike.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Re.” the 600″:The Pharisees predated the Rabbis. Timelines. Torah-Talmud “Woes of the Pharisees”. Judaizing. OT-NT. Fulfillment.

      • Henry says:

        r: “Did god write on the hearts of baboons as well?”

        Don’t know from a scriptural standpoint. Neither do you.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Henry 5:46 “Don’t know from a scriptual standpoint. Neither do you.”

          A few pages back, you said you were not a literalist. I’m trying to figure out what that means. Others do as you do here, claim not to be literalists. But then you and others use scripture for the ultimate end of an argument. I don’t understand what it is to be either a literalist or not a literalist.

          • Henry says:

            Jon, to my knowledge, scripture is silent on God writing on an animal’s heart.

            Concerning literal reading of the Bible, let’s take the example of writing on hearts of men from Romans 2. If you are a literalist, this would be actual writing on the heart instead of a figure of speech.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 6:18 “If you are a literalists, this would mean actual writing on the heart instead of a figure of speech.”

            I understand that, but I don’t understand how someone can say, for example, “The Bible says Jesus died for our sins,” and say they are not literalists. Aren’t they saying they believe this is the undisputably last word, the literal word, on the matter?

          • Henry says:

            Jon, that is why it is important to rightly divide the Word of God. The figures of speech used in scripture are frequent. Concerning Christ dying for our sins, that is literal and broadly supported by many sources. I know that angers you, but that is the case.

        • Avatar of realist realist says:

          Hey, you’re the one assuming “writing on hearts” by supernatural beings, not me. I’m just pointing out what you have overlooked in your statements.

  2. Brad says:

    Nobody can prove where morals and values come from. Just about every religion will claim it came from their god.

    But then when you have an outfit as evil as the KKK being able to stake their claim of Christianity via the Bible, it makes a strong case that if morals come from the Bible, then evil also comes from there as well.

  3. Michael Ross says:

    Snake handlers, Klansman, hateful bigots, racists and homophobes. All Bible believers fit into one or more of these categories according to Freethinker propaganda. I have been in Christian circles for more than 30 years and I have never personally known anyone that is any of these things. Check that, I can think of one overt racist.

    If you want to demonize Christians for something, how about their support for so many of our idiot wars that have taken the live of millions. Why not? Because these wars are supported by the establishment that are only using Christians for their support, money, and votes. And you, Mr. Freethinker, will not oppose the establishment as they are the anti-Christ.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 4:29 “Snake handlers, Klansmen, hateful bigots, racists and homophobes.”

      I thought I made it clear these are not all Christians, but groups that got into the Christian tent because the Bible left is possible for almost every conceivable nut case group that has ever existed to cite this holy book as the basis for what they believe.

      I personally have not know snake handlers or Klansmen. But, hateful bigots, racists and homophobes, oh yeah. There are homophobes right here on this board.

      • Henry says:

        Jon: “There are homophobes right here on this board.”

        Oh yeah. No doubt. I have observed a number of posters who are afraid of saying anything negative about the cult of homosexuality. They are scared.

        • Avatar of realist realist says:

          Let’s see, Henry. A cult by definition has to have a leader. So who’s the leader of the “cult of homosexuality”? Could it be Mother Nature? Horrors!

          • entech says:

            Interesting how Henry picks up on the phobia in homophobia, most usage would have it as a fear of something; another one is Islamophobia. Both are used to suggest an irrational hatred (any hatred is actually irrational but that is another longer story) but should mean fear of, I can understand that aspects of Islam would invoke fear and for many Christians a hatred because they know the God of Abraham but reject Jesus as anything more than another prophet.
            I can’t see the reason to fear or hate the two young men or women who find themselves attracted to some of the same sex and want to share their lives with them.

            Interesting too is that many Jews and Muslims think of Christianity as a cult, there is but one God indivisible and one, this three business is a bit of a strange cultish addition (in the eyes of those that follow the one true and indivisible God) – So Realist, the other question must be who is the leader of this other cult?

          • Henry says:

            r: :”A cult by definition has to have a leader.”

            Untrue. Usually entech pulls out the dictionary for these type of matters. Conveniently (for him), this hasn’t happened.

          • entech says:

            http://www.allaboutcults.org/characteristics-of-religious-cults-faq.htm
            The site above seems to think anyone that does not follow their ideas of Trinity and faith alone is a cult.

            cult bing dictionary
            1. religion: a system of religious or spiritual beliefs, especially an informal and transient belief system regarded by others as misguided, unorthodox, extremist, or false, and directed by a charismatic, authoritarian leader

            2. religious group: a group of people who share religious or spiritual beliefs, especially beliefs regarded by others as misguided, unorthodox, extremist, or false

            3. idolization of somebody or something: an extreme or excessive admiration for a person, philosophy of life, or activity

            Going by the Bing dictionary definition Jews of the period (and probably now) would view the Jesus Movement as a cult.
            1. Not orthodox following a messiah who patently was not. The same messiah being a “charismatic, authoritarian leader.

            2. ideas certainly regarded as misguided and false by the orthodox, otherwise it would have been orthodoxy.

            3. Just about encapsulates Christianity.

            Started as a cult, divided into many, a cult for all seasons.

          • Henry says:

            Interesting you used a dictionary other than your usual Merriam-Webster. Apparently M-W didn’t give you the answer you were seeking.

            Reminds me on one occasion one of my own personal experiences. The other side resorted to using a foreign dictionary for a certain definition in American business. All the domestic dictionaries didn’t work for them. That decision worked against them.

          • entech says:

            Collective veneration or worship (e.g., the cult of the saints—meaning collective veneration of the saints—in Roman Catholicism). In the West, the term has come to be used for groups that are perceived to have deviated from normative religions in belief and practice. They typically have a charismatic leader and attract followers who are in some way disenfranchised from the mainstream of society. Cults as thus defined are often viewed as foreign or dangerous.
            Expansion of meaning on Merriam-Webster.

            So Realist was not quite correct in saying part of the definition of cult is in requiring a leader. But I can’t think of one that doesn’t, I mean would there have been the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project (and mass suicide) without Jim Jones or Christianity (and mass martyrdom) without Yeshua.

          • Henry says:

            entech: “Cults as thus defined are often viewed as foreign or dangerous.”

            Then that fits very well with how I used it.

          • entech says:

            Going by its Palestinian heritage and rebellion against Rome adds confirmation to my description of the Jesus Movement as a cult, in your terms. Foreign to America and historically dangerous because of its rebellious history.

  4. David says:

    Suggesting that the KKK is somehow representative of Christian values makes little sense. One could argue that Mao’s China or Stalin’s Soviet Union represent what is possible under atheism.

    I don’t think atheists arguing that morality is something for which is known in our hearts or Christians believing in a natural law really are that different. The longer argument for atheists regarding what is useful for society falls flat with me. We can and have clearly pushed aside morality when it is useful to the person trying to avoid it. I’m not saying that Christians are better people because they believe in God. What I am saying is that an atheists really could define morality how they want. I think that is your point with the KKK. That said, the KKK certainly has to do a lot more mental gymnastics than an atheists.

    Another thing that gets trotted out is the rationale for Christians following God’s law because they are afraid of going to hell. I don’t think that remotely sums up the average Christian’s motivation. Certainly not today if ever. I think Christians like atheists do things – particularly against their self interest – because they believe them to be right. The difference, of course, is that Christians generally believe that there are things that are “right” where I think atheists would have a hard time arguing that there are things that are “right” (and I don’t mean correct) versus things that are useful, which is a slippery slope.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      David 6:04 “Suggesting that the KKK is somehow representative of Christian values make little sense. One could argue that Mao’s China or Stalin’s Soviet Union represent what is possible under atheism.”

      Thank you for your essay explaining so carefully your views.

      The argument is run out often that Communists, including Marx/Engels, were atheists so everything bad that resulted was due to atheism. I’d encourage you to compare the written purpose of the KKK to the Communist Manifesto. You will see the KKK is about Christianity, pages of scripture and little else. The Manifesto is about class. What little reference there is to religion in the Manifesto, or in any other Communist writing I’m aware of, condemes religion’s (specifically the Papacy) role in class warefare. The Papacy is seen (probably correctly) as being on the side of capitalists against the proletariat in class warefare.

      As I attempted to point out in the blog, the “document” which Christians refer to to justify their faith is the Bible. The Bible is so vague and ancient, it allows the KKK to use it as their document as well. In my view, people can feel an awareness of a spiritual entity, or, believe there has to exist some spiritual entity. But, trying to use the Bible as the back story for what the entity is is and where it came from seems quite futile.

      • David says:

        Jon,

        I agree that atheism certainly does not lead to despotism. Nor does religion for that matter. I am not interested in the KKK to be quite honest. I think of them as a bunch of loons. The fact that they use the Bible to justify their views is not surprising. I don’t think that it says much about the Bible but rather more about the KKK. Stalin certainly used Engel and Marx for some terrible purposes. While I may think that it is the natural outcome for communism, it certainly is not the intent. Similarly, I don’t think the natural outcome of the Bible is the KKK, but importantly it is clearly not the intent of the Bible. I don’t think that the Communist Manifesto is ancient or all that vague – not that I’ve read it – but one can distort it to grab power. Clearly some bad people used communism as the opiate of the masses – sort of ironic. I guess I don’t think there is anything to be gleaned from the KKK using the Bible to justify their lunacy.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Well said

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          David 8:03 “I agree tha atheism certainly does not lead to despotism. Nor does religion for that matter.”

          I agree with you as well. I bring up the KKK because so many who post here, especially new people, start in on how atheism has no moral authority. My point is neither does Christianity. Most atheists conduct themselves is a reasonable way because the know it is in their self interst to do so. So do most Christians. Christians are mostly good citizens for the same reason as atheists–it has nothing to do with their religion. KKK uses the Bible to justify what it does. It turns out the Bible is not very helpful as a guide to good morals–that’s why the KKK can use it.

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