Yes That is Crazy!

This is Christian band Mercy Me's song "Crazy." They don't see that the problem of evil lurks in the background with the video clips at the end. Why would they wish for heaven when God can't get it straight here on earth? And if their faith is "crazy" and not according to "wisdom," why would they ever want to believe in something stupid or unintelligible in the first place? This is wish fulfillment at its very best and one of the reasons Karl Marx called religion "the opiate of the people."

Here's another one from them; they are clearly anti-intellectual:

Thanks to Jon Curry.


Anonymous said...

The full quote is this:

"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people."

~Karl Marx

While he was talking about the misuse of power by those in religious authority, over those who are economically oppressed, I think those who know God intimately would say that it is not religion that gives them hope, but the relationship they have with God Himself.

I think if I had to choose though, between opium and religion, at least a well chosen religion doesn't hurt anyone and would be a comfort. Even Victor Frankel in his book, "Man's Search For Meaning" said that those who had a strong faith in God did better than those who did not. I'd rather do better with just religion is that was the only other choice.

Anonymous said...

..and I humbly admit that I am crazy and would fit every word of that song. :) Reason cannot explain everything as evidenced by the swing after the Enlightenment...nothing new under the sun and I don't believe the Great Conversation will ever end in time and space.

Kyle said...

"Why would they wish for heaven when God can't get it straight here on earth?"

There is no room for man's sin to cause the ill effects on earth it MUST be God's fault. Apparently, that is all John will allow for. The Christian understanding of sin is that God has allowed it to exist on earth by Adam's choice and be a curse to his fallen descendants. Christ removes the curse for those who surrender themselves to him for salvation. To the rest eternal Judgement sets right the wrongs they committed. So for all individuals, God will right all wrongs through forgiveness or judgment but there will be no injustice allowed to stand before God forever.

Fallen Earth is not Heaven, and God never told us this life would be easy and have no trials. He said the opposite. Repeatedly. I'm going to rephrase John's statement with a truth injection.

Q: Why would they wish for heaven when God warned them repeatedly that earth was a cursed land and that death would come upon all who sin and yet provided them with atonement of sins through Jesus with the promise of eternal life in a blissful, sinless state, in the presence of God exploring the infinite wonders of the mind and heart of God.
A: Because it is the perfect fulfillment of the created needs of man and it beats the Hell out of the alternative.

Brother Crow said...

Once again, the idiotic posturing of the faithful, as they imply (or flat out state) that "those who know God intimately would say..."

I wonder how Jennifer and others who claim that they know God intimately (and of course, what a hoot - could an ant understand a human? Jennifer, you are only human) address the hyper-idiotic media faith of MercyMe and others, who so offensively show thousands being killed by a tsunami so that they can make their point about "the world"?

And Kyle so vapidly defends God as a champion of justice in a world messed up by humans...we who made the rock wall collapse under the ocean, forcing a wall of water to destroy innocent babies who of course were "born" in sin.

Or the fools on the band who sing "i boast in the suffering of my savior" - wow, another suffers for me? How sweet!

Even when I was a Christian, and a pastor, I despised so much of what I saw in the Contemporary Music scene - and especially the worship music, which was basically emotional masturbation at the expense of feel-good religion.

Jennifer, how in the hell do you separate religion from God? It cannot honestly be done, such religion is the very existing expression of god on earth. Yeh, religion does not hurt anybody...though I think you probably mean Christian religion, having forgotten 9/11. But, let's see...Christian religion has never hurt anybody? Hmmm...I choose opium, every time.

Kyle said...

"And Kyle so vapidly defends God as a champion of justice in a world messed up by humans...we who made the rock wall collapse under the ocean, forcing a wall of water to destroy innocent babies who of course were "born" in sin." -brother crow

Bro crow,
In spite your dismissal of my explanation of God's justice in a fallen world, you failed to even grasp what I said.

"we who made the rock wall collapse under the ocean, forcing a wall of water to destroy innocent babies"

This is irrelevant to the argument I made. Is the substance too hard for you to answer? Man's sin resulted in God cursing the ground and creating a dangerous environment for the children of Adam. Christians don't say that man created physics, obviously God did it and he is responsible for the results thereof. The results at time are destruction and death for human beings, even babies. While it is sad to hear and Christians don't wish it on others, calamity is part of God's righteous dealings with his rebellious creation. You accuse God of sin for doing so. How can you judge God? Blessings and cursing come from God. If you don't thank him for your blessings how can you blame him when the ground opens up and swallows you (or your baby, which BTW did you thank him for your baby?) whole for your ingratitude and unbelief?

The Tsunami is part of the curse. The whole earth is cursed and God takes every life, from preborn infants to elderly folks. All life is in his hands and he can end it at any time by any means. Unlike human beings trying to act like God, he is justified to remove the gift of life from Adam's fallen children at anytime. "The wages of sin is death."

Joseph said...

As an avid student of music and a musician myself, I will readily confess that there is a strong emotional pull to Contemporary Christian Music. It is aimed at putting the listener in a worshipful state. The songs have catchy riffs and singable melodies. They associate themselves with things in Philippians 4:8 ("whatever is noble, pure, lovely, etc). I feel soapy clean and wholesome just listening to this song. As a Christian, I derived a sense of moral support from the music. It normalized my belief systems and related to my feelings.

Now whenI listen to these songs as an unbeliever and think critically about the underlying belief system, I find them to be (perhaps unintentionally) manipulative. I understand that we are entering into a subjective area here, though, criticizing music and all. People can take it very personally because they identify with it.

Anonymous said...

Brother Crow,
I said I know God intimately...not that I understand Him completely. Do you think we're just making it up? As if it wouldn't be socially easier to just conform? Maybe there's a god gene that will come out like the elusive gay gene. If it's a genetic predisposition then I guess I'm stuck.

My view, and that of many others, is that religion cannot be separated from a belief in a deity, but God is not contained in man made systems.

By a well chosen religion I mean that if a person is shopping for an opiate religion, they can choose one that gives them a hope in something good. The God of the Bible isn't "good", or at least I don't believe so, He is righteous...which is better than good.

The song begins by saying he used to be practical...I used to be very much like the mother in the old "Miracle On 34th Street"...extremely practical. So what happened? My logic and common sense didn't figure into an experience that I cannot deny. Then what happens when that experience is built upon by other, similar experiences that are also being experienced by others. (I'm not talking about alien abduction here, but total life transformation from the inside out.)

What do you suggest a person do when they have THAT happen? Maybe none of us have ever experienced love or hate or anything that we perceive as real. Have you seen Pan's Labyrinth? I believe there is another reality and a greater truth than what we see and touch.

Brother Crow said...

kyle, I don't blame god for tsunami's, because I don't believe in a god - at least, not like that. What I blame is the god of the Bible for making claims that he does not honor, promises that he does not keep...and I blame christians like you who make up justifications for that god by bringing in ideas and excuses that are not consistent with the bible which they honor as the grounds of all revealed truth.

No - tsunamis happen because we live in a natural world where tsunamis happen.

jennifer, i have had a number of profound spiritual experiences. There are neurological/genetic studies that indicate that there may actually be a "god" gene, effecting the frontal lobe of the brain where numinous ideas, instinctual impulses, and a strong feeling of archetype take place. It may be possible that there are neuro/psychological reasons for strong religious experience.

You sound like you may be a person who is willing to be honest. Let me ask you - why do you believe in the God of the Bible? Why do you believe he is righteous, as opposed to good (which by the way contradicts what Jesus said about him to the rich, young ruler - "there is none good except God alone.")? And, seriously, don't you recognize your own self-contradiction, that you believe things about God that are not biblical (ie, he is not good, but righteous, which contradicts biblical claims)?

I think it is this aspect of Christianity that bothers me the most. I think you are afraid.

David M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David M. said...

If us knowing God is like an ant understanding a human, then how in the world do you think you can explain away God. Your own logic defies you!

I'm still trying to figure out why contributors to this site have to try and validate themselves with intellect. Intellect won't get you anywhere! You still die at the end. At the lowest philosophical level, if you all are right, then I just miss out on selfish endeavors, but if I'm right, you all will have a very rude awakening.

I heard one person say once that nietzsche isn't an athiest anymore.

You might learn that there is something bigger than yourself out there.

marie said...

wow that video was really big budget.

i think that guy on the computer should worry about radioactive fallout outside his window

that is so true about the problem of evil at the end.

christian music sucks, i am sorry. even when i was a christian, i was generally not emotionally moved by the music. If you want to be moved, listen to Mussorgsky or Philip Glass or Saint Saens beethoven or something.

Joseph said...

Marie, I will echo your praise for the great composers. I have somewhat extreme musical choices, as I play classical but listen to hard rock.

We're getting into the realm of musical taste here, so I try to avoid being unnecessarily offensive by separating the musical style and even the positive, feel-good lyrics from the Christian message itself--which we're critiquing. So I won't go so far as to say it all sucks (I think groups like Third Day and Switchfoot have some real talent).

What I will say is that when I was a Christian exploring CCM, I was really turned off by some of the hyped-up holiness, phony-martyr syndrome, and copy-cat nature of many of the bands who were coming out of nowhere in droves. I remember attending a Christian bookstore and reading a promotion at the end of the isle: "Do you like NWA? Try Gospel Gangstaz! Have a friend whose into KORN? Check out P.O.D! Think TLC is cool? Wait till you get a load of D'Vine!" and so on and so forth. While a many Christian bands appeared to be sincere, many more seemed to be out to cash in on the "It's Cool to Be Christian" market.

Anonymous said...

Brother Crow,
Why would evolution produce such a reaction in the brain if it serves no purpose? Why would we have the capacity to worship at all? How odd that random processes would cause such delusions. But wait...whether good or bad, religion of every kind has been the common denominator in every long lasting and powerful civilization. I'm not supporting power for the sake of power, but just as an observation, religion has given strength to people through all ages.

I've explained in many places here why I believe in the God of the Bible, but in a nutshell, and please know this is just a nutshell, it is because I find the Being I came to know through sheer desperate seeking in those pages more than in any other writing. I believe most religions have some truth, but the Bible is the most complete revelation of who God is. There are some things I don't understand, but I think everyone would say that regardless of what they believe or don't believe.

I do believe God is good...the ultimate good. I don't believe Jesus meant that God is good as in being a "good man". We have so many overused N.T. Wright says in his book, "The Last Word", we carry suitcases with labels and no one remembers what the contents are. I don't think God's goodness is synonymous with gentleness. I think God's wrath is part of his goodness.

I'm not sure what you think I am afraid of. I can assure you that I am not afraid of this conversation, but I do have realistic fears just like anyone else.

Steven Carr said...

The tsunami?

I think the Bible sums it up best.

Psalm 89

O LORD God of hosts, Who is mighty like You, O LORD? Your faithfulness also surrounds You.
You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, You still them.

The Bible - blind obstinacy since 1000 BC

zilch said...

Jennifer says:

Why would evolution produce such a reaction in the brain if it serves no purpose? Why would we have the capacity to worship at all? How odd that random processes would cause such delusions.

If the "God gene" exists- and this is far from certain, not to mention what exact effect it could possibly have- then evolution has produced it for the same reason it produces anything: it enhances differential reproductive success. It might conceivably be the case that holders of a putative "God gene" are more likely to survive than non-holders, for instance because they are braver in battle, or more protective of kin, or build more cohesive societies. Evolution doesn't give a fig if faith is a delusion or not: all that counts is if it works.

Lots of evolved features could be seen as "delusions": for instance, our seeing what is actually a continuum of varying wavelengths of light as being divided into different "colors". It works, but it is an artificial construct.

Or the fact that small children in modern cities are still more afraid of lions and tigers than of cars. It was certainly adaptive for humans to fear large animals thousands of years ago, but the fact that nowadays cars are far more dangerous is something that must be learned.

And evolution, once again, is not random. Mutations are random, but natural selection is not.

Joseph- I'm a musician myself, and my tastes are also a bit extreme. I play mostly medieval music, and listen to lots of stuff: at the moment, This Corrosion by "The Sisters of Mercy", a rather different band than "MercyMe".

Lee Randolph said...

Hi zilch and jennifer,
this 'god gene' in my opinion is more likely a result of cognitive heuristics and biases or algorithms for quick judgments.

Once the idea pops into the head that something is in control, since its conceptually similar to our experience, then that idea gets perpetuated because it is a quick and easy way of thinking about things. I think this is similar to what dawkins means by 'meme'.

Look at how often it happens here at DC and has happened in history.
Have you ever seen that famous sign "Notice: this department requires no physical fitness program. Everyone gets enough exercise jumping to conclusions, flying off the handle, running down the boss....."
"Jumping to conclusions" is the result of using a heuristic. It is so common it is a joke.
It is the standard operating procedure for people.

"God said, I believe and that settles it" is a quick and easy way to deal with things. No thought required.

This is why the scientific method is so useful because it helps to overcomes those heuristics and cognitive biases to help root out the truth.

zilch said...

Yep, lee- whatever the "God gene" is, if there really is a genetic component to faith, I sort of doubt that it is a DNA portrait of an old man with a beard. It's almost certainly something far more subtle and complex, that has nothing to do with a concept of "God" per se, but rather a perceptual bias that in some way makes the culturally evolved concepts of religion more attractive.

King Aardvark said...

Sigh. My wife listens to these guys.

bpabbott said...

hope is eternal ... but only in that it will exist as long as there are people to hope.

The actions are people will leave an physically eternal mark ... no hope required.

As my grandmother was found of saying ... "it is going to be, it is up to me!"

Anonymous said...

Zilch and Lee,
I don't believe in a "god-gene". That was a bit of a play on genes being cited for every behavior and trait.


"And evolution, once again, is not random. Mutations are random, but natural selection is not.

Do you believe that evolution is guided? What are we evolving toward? Do you think religious people are the fittest?

zilch said...

Jennifer: the idea of a "God gene" is still a hypothesis with rather weak support. If you're interested, you can check out this link for starters. For my part, I believe that religion probably has enough going for it in the ideosphere to not require genetic underpinning. That's not to say, of course, that it is true: merely that it has fitness as a meme.

And no, I don't believe that evolution is "guided", in the sense that some outside intelligence or force is directing it. The reason natural selection is not random is that what it takes to survive and reproduce is not random: to be successful an organism must be able to get energy from the environment, avoid being a source of energy (food) for other organisms, withstand environmental assaults without breaking down, and reproduce itself. These are all qualities that require a high degree of organization.

What are we evolving towards? Well, if by "we" you mean "all living things", I would say, given our current rate of environmental destruction, we are evolving towards a world dominated by bacteria, grasses, and cockroaches. If, by "we", you mean "human beings", it's hard to say. Whatever direction human genetic evolution is going, it's currently far outpaced by cultural evolution.

Are religious people the fittest? Also hard to say. I believe that part of the reason religion evolved (culturally, not genetically) is that it conferred an advantage to its followers in cohesiveness, as a kind of social contract, by putting together a larger social group, grants advantages to those who subscribe. In the past, it was advantageous to have a carrot-and-stick wielding God behind the rules to enforce order. But given enough education, it seems to work pretty well without God too- look at Sweden, for example.

However, if we are concerned with the survival of civilization as a whole, I would say that nowadays the conflicts that religion brings to the world, fighting about whose imaginary friend is better, are significantly decreasing the survival chances of all of us: theist, atheist, animal, plant, and all that we have made: music, art, love...

Shygetz said...

I would like to weigh in on the question of a "god gene". Daniel Dennett makes an interesting case for the existence of a gene that predisposes people toward spiritual belief. His argument is that the God gene allowed early humans to benefit better from the placebo effect in response to the local witch-doctor/priest/whatever's treatments, which were almost entirely ineffectual from a biological standpoint. I think it is an intriguing possibility.

Do you believe that evolution is guided? What are we evolving toward? Do you think religious people are the fittest?

Evolution is "guided" by natural selection, not by any rational being. We as in humans are actually in an unprecedented period of very poor natural selection, thanks to our advances in medicine, agriculture, monogamy, etc. I would say that, as of now, our evolution is largely dispersive--that is, not in any particular direction, and dominated more by variation than selection. I do think that, at one point in our history, religious people were fitter than their equal but non-religious counterparts. I think that time has passed, the environment has changes, and religious people are now less well equipped to handle the modern world than their equal but non-religious counterparts.

Anonymous said...


I'm changing the flow for a moment....what would you say was different about your spiritual experiences vs. the wonder, or "high" we feel naturally in response to say...a beautiful sunset or experience in nature?

Shygetz said...

Hi jennifer:

Hmmm, I don't know. It's been a long while since I have had a religious experience that wasn't obviously due to emotional manipulation by people (you know, the kind of feeling you get at the end of a weepy movie), so my memory is somewhat cloudy. I would say that they are definitely very similar, but I don't remember if experiences that I considered "religious" were subtly different from experiences that I considered wonder. I would guess that they were pretty much identical, but I could be failing to remember an important subtle difference.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Shygetz. No worries...I'm just curious to know how others would define a spiritual experience.

Anonymous said...

I read the Wiki article and found it interesting. This is getting way off topic but I would like to throw out the idea that our brains are not simply "wired" to create reality, they also respond to it.

In other words, if I am normally a happy, energetic person but suffer a great loss and become depressed, the chemistry in my brain can actually change. I can become chronically depressed, not because of the initial grief, but because my brain can create, as a response to prolonged thought pattern changes resulting from grief, an "unbalanced" chemistry which results in a new way for me to process information and emotions.

I have to wonder if what we observe in the brain is really a creative impulse or a reaction to an external influence. In the article, the "god gene" is called a hypothesis, but even if it becomes a theory, I would question....speaking critically...if the findings may have a double interpretaion depending on what controls are used in the study.

One of the links in the article went to Neurotheology, which cited studies where the temporal lobe of the brain was stimulated and the participants reported an "ethereal presence" in the room.

That's nice, but do you think that explains what happens when there is no doctor to administer weak magnetic impulses? Do people only have spiritual experiences near appliances or transfer stations?

zilch said...

Do people only have spiritual experiences near appliances or transfer stations?

So you're saying Jesus is like a major appliance? Just kidding...

My astrophysicist friend John once worked for a couple of months in an office near the powerful magnet of a particle accelerator, and started getting headaches. However, he didn't characterize them as "spiritual".

Lots of factors have been implicated as predisposing to spiritual experiences, including drugs and migraines (Hildegard von Bingen was probably a sufferer, judging by the typical migraine "fortification" appearance of her visions). Certainly culture and upbringing play roles as well.

Teasing apart "external" and "internal" influences on us that result in "spiritual experiences" is a rather intractable problem, and I doubt that it will be well understood anytime soon. But in any case: if having spiritual experiences helped to enhance survival for those who held them, that would explain, not how they work, or whether they are partially genetic or wholly cultural, but why they evolved.

But even if spiritual experiences, and religions, conferred fitness on their holders, that does not mean that they are true, or that they are good. Those are separate questions.

Shygetz said...

That's nice, but do you think that explains what happens when there is no doctor to administer weak magnetic impulses? Do people only have spiritual experiences near appliances or transfer stations?

The experiment was done because it was found that religious experiences activated blood flow to specific areas of the brain, suggesting that stimulation of these areas were either a cause or an effect of religious experience. By stimulating some of these areas electromagnetically, it was found that some people had religious experiences, suggesting that activity in this area of the brain is the CAUSE, not an effect. No one said this activity has to be triggered by external electromagnatic fields. This activity can be triggered by various stimuli, including religious ceremony, but the fact that the religious experience can be triggered manually suggests that there is nothing mystical about it.

guaranocracy said...

Many good ideas here so far, in my opinion. Especially those of Zilch, Jennifer, Shygetz.
I think after 66++ years of bouncing these ideas in my head, it helped me GREATLY to expand physics theory here. We must, for rationality, for explicit consistency, integrate ALL Rational Thought and Experience.
The Big-Bang and Increasing Entropy evolve from Stochastic ElectroDynamics.
This is, the necessary rules for Everything to EXIST is to NATURALLY, to INEVITABLY, to Evolve from space filling virtual pairs, electrons Quickly annihilated to NOTHING by close, negative energy anti-electrons. The BEST biological evolution and human science evolution increases Entropy SOONER, increases the honest, open competition for the FAIR distribution of life energy sooner. This is the SCIENCE of RATIONAL VALUES.
One consequence is that religion based on ANCIENT myth does not integrate the human power of reason and increased experience obtainable today with microscopes, telescopes, clowd chambers, oscilloscopes and UNBIASED DOUBLE BLIND mental tests: no prayers have more than placebo effect.
In fact, religous belief insults the main skill humans have over other earthly animals: REASON.
Some fanatics chant: 'faiith is superior to reason'. They ignore the visible: the COMPLETE faith a dog has when it sees its MASTER come home - wags its tail, jumps up and down, licks his hand, yelps with consumate pleasure as it anticipates a heavenly bone. I can't imagin a human giving more heart felt praise to a ' master god' than a good dog to its master. AND any thing like man with a FINITE brain has NO more chance to understand an unimaginably INFINITE brained, INFINITELY powerful god than a dog understand its master.
But to get masses of believers, preachers claim to get to paradise, we only need to PRAISE god, without understanding, by just knealing, raising up bowing down, singing to him, imagin kissing his hand with such pleasure that our hearts truly beat faster.
Consider the faith believers have in the christian bible: They claim it is the "inspired truth" of 'god'. But rationally 'truth' requires consistency.
A godly inconsistency christians love: current earthly 'imperfections', pain, disaster, death are the 'logical' consequence of 'mans origional sin' of trying to 'know good and evil'. The ancient Jewish writers joyously wrote that their Jewish god at first created this amazing tree whose fruit would fill one with this 'godly' knowlege but then their god with jealous wisdom claimed 'one will surely die the day he eats it'.
'reason' 1 Only god is allowed to know good and evil so man can never know god is good or EVIL, man can only believe god is good or evil.
'reason' 2 After Adam and Eve sin, Moses, Genesis3:22, writes "the LORD God said: 'BEHOLD, the man has become as one of US,to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever" "Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from fhe garden of Eden."
'reason' 3 Only the 'day' of their 'life' in garden of Eden was their last. Moses describes many days, out of Eden, where Adam and Eve 'knew' each other long enough to raise Cain and Abel and Cain to get angry at the unfairness of God's liking flesh over grain.
'reason' 4 The first 'good' Eve should have been taught by the godly fruit of 'knowlege of good and evil' was to hurry and eat of fruit of godly 'everlasting life' BEFORE the day was over or god came lookong for them.
'reason' 5 Also the PERFECT godly knowledge of godly evil, should have made Eve recommend that Adam, her love, could keep god from doing them evil, by eating FIRST of the not yet forbidden godly fruit of 'everlasting life'. This good for Adam and Eve also made god less EVIL because it used god's own commands to keep his good blessings to his own creations. Moses in Exodus 32:1-14 similarly persuaded god to "repent of the EVIL which he 'thought' to do unto HIS people". Its obvious here that god's talking snake could have been better influenced by a pre=inspiration of a spirit like SED gave me.
'reason' 6 If god's 'most subtle' serpent was really a creation of an infinitely wise god it would have painlessly saved all of mankind for perfect walks around never wilting Garden of Eden with the most amazing god, forever, by simply saying eat of tree of everlasting life FIRST.
'reason' 7 The snake of Eden had the power for a greater saving of mankind than Jesus Xifixion by men; unless Jesus supernaturally reversed time to give the snake another chance and coached it in this.

kyller said...

God is a pissed off brat. A being of ultimate power unable to control his raging emotions and taking it on the weak creation. Can't even get his stories straight...