Don Camp Knows His Indoctrinating Catechism Fairly Well. Now He Should Think Through It!

Don Camp has roosted here at DC for some time now. I wonder what his motivation is. I hope he's here to test his faith against the evidence, but of that I can't say. He's a former teacher/professor of literature classes and his comments are respectful and polite. His arguments are always a brand of special pleading though, which he cannot see. What he's doing is spitting out the catechism he was taught at an early age, by mindlessly quote-mining from the Bible and/or the catechism theology built on it. He knows his catechism well even if he has never thought through it. Let's see if an atheist can make him think about it. Take a good look at what he said:
In the end, it is not what you believe that is crucial but who you believe. A person may believe all the doctrine he is taught as a kid in a Christian home and still not be a believer because he is not trusting in the person or the mercy of God.
Surely you have heard this said before. I said it. Every ex-Christian has probably said it. So Camp tells us nothing we haven't considered before. Nothing. Yet he may think it's profound. It's not profound at all. It's a mess of words intended to confuse truly inquiring minds and obfuscate (or hide) the truth from minds like Camp himself--who mindlessly wrote them!

Where do Camp's words come from? Is Camp plagiarizing someone else? No. Yet the exact words he used above are not found in the Bible either. In fact, there isn't a quote that comes close to saying this, nor is this the only thing we find stressed in the New Testament. Oh sure, belief is stressed, but so are two other things. First, in the epistles we find that if anyone teaches false doctrine or believes it, they are doomed to hell. Christians derive their doctrines from the gospels, just as surely as they do the epistles. So doctrine is stressed. Second, in the gospels obedience is stressed by Jesus. In the epistles obedience is stressed too. Paul demands it as an apostle.

So once again, where did Camp get these words? Well, I'm here to tell you it's in the catechisms we all grew up on when being indoctrinated by our parents in Sunday School, and catechism classes. Other than that I don't know where they originated from. Surely not from Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Luther or Zwingli. Do they make sense? No.

"In the end, it is not what you believe that is crucial but who you believe. A person may believe all the doctrine he is taught as a kid in a Christian home and still not be a believer because he is not trusting in the person or the mercy of God."

Nonsense. The epistles dispute this. Correct doctrinal belief about who Jesus is, and other things, is what saves or condemns us, according to most of the New Testament. Besides, there are so many conceptions of who Jesus is that Christians must tell us what to believe about their Jesus, or else I can be saved believing in my Hispanic maintenance man. So how can I trust in the person or mercy of God if the content of what I believe doesn't matter? From my reading of the New Testament what Christians believe mattered. False doctrines about God, or a different Jesus than the one Paul preached (II Corinthians 11:4), or even disobedience to the true gospel was not tolerated in Paul's churches, and could send one to hell.

Camp is special pleading when speaking of belief unto salvation anyway. "Belief" is clearly a western concept. And guess why it's a western concept? Cultural Anthropology professor David Eller describes what Malcolm Ruel said about belief in his book, Belief, Ritual and the Securing of Life.
Ruel demonstrates that the concept of belief in Western civilization and Christianity has evolved, from a kind of "trust" in god(s) to specific propositions about God and Christ to the notion of "grace" based on the personal experience of and commitment to God and Christ to a conception of belief as an "adventure of faith" which does not have any particular destination or make any specific claims. The evolutionary trajectory of belief in Christianity is, then, distinctively "local" and historical--that is, culturally and religiously relative--and not to be found in every religion. Many religions do not have any "creed" of explicit propositions about their supernatural worlds, and many do not mix fact, trust, and value in the English/Christian way. Ruel concludes that the English and Western concept of belief is "complex, highly ambiguous, and unstable" and "is demonstrably an historical amalgam, composed of elements traceable to Judaic mystical doctrine and Greek styles of discourse." [Source: Introducing Anthropology of Religion, p. 33.]
Why does it never cross Camp's mind there are other religions who don't require belief, much less belief unto salvation. For them religion is what you do, as Eller has told me. So the very way Camp expresses this is already special pleading his case. I don't accept the value of belief, much less belief unto salvation, so his words fall on deaf ears.

Any relationship I have with someone is not going to be with an invisible undetectable non-acting thing that's indistinguishable from a brain fart. I need to have evidence I'm really entering into a relationship with a person who exists! That is a prerequisite above all else. Then additionally I need some level of understanding about the person before I will enter into a relationship with him or her. I don't know that Camp's parochial modernized god exists, and I don't know anything about such a non-entity either. So I cannot be asked, or expected to enter into a relationship with an imaginary friend.

Camp's point is that those of us who cannot accept the doctrines in the Bible about God and Jesus never had a relationship with God or Jesus, because if we did, we wouldn't talk this way.


Doctrine = teaching.
Doctrine = teaching.
Doctrine = teaching.

If there is no doctrine or teaching then how does Camp himself know anything about his god and his Jesus? Let him try, just try, to tell us about the relationship he has with his god without putting forth doctrine (i.e., teaching) about said god. Is God merciful, as Camp says? Then that's a doctrine about his god, and we should look for evidence for said doctrine. But as ex-Christians we didn't find evidence for a merciful god so we stopped believing in that imaginary friend.

Camp is trying to find a way to say ex-Christians never were saved, because another item in his catechism says we cannot walk away once we are saved. Forget the evidence of our collected testimonies. He's got a quote, right there in that Calvinst Bible saying otherwise. This is what mindless quote-mining from the Bible and the catechism theology built on it looks like folks. To see this I wrote a post titled, Five Definitive Answers When Christians Say We Never Were Christians.

I'll bet I just wasted hours of my time by thinking about this and writing. Oh, well, cheers,