The Ditch That Is A Wall

Faith. That is what it all comes down to.

In seminary, we learned about "the teleological gap." Or, as Kierkegaard called it, the "existential break." You know...that moat that surrounds the castle of ultimate knowledge. You can go so far, and further you cannot go. Christians have created a drawbridge, and they call it "faith." It is a long, long bridge. It requires turning off the critical faculty at a very early stage in the journey. How did we get here? God created. What is our purpose? God decides. How do you know? Faith.

For Christians, the existential break is a ditch that is a wall. Faith, the drawbridge that seems to so wonderfully cross the gap, is actually a delusion. It is, instead, a wall. It so thoroughly and completely stops the forward motion of learning, understanding, expanding and adapting that it is in essence a form of death.

The vast majority of Christians that I know, who are proudly walking across the drawbridge of faith, are also becoming closed-minded, literalist, and judgmental. They quickly skew to conservative; they believe that they have the corner on morality (an atheist or agnostic cannot be moral, can they?) and they gravitate towards David Chilton and else can we keep the favor of God on our country unless we establish a theocratic government?

Why? Because they have turned off their rational mind, and are now in the monstrous grip of "faith." For some, faith meant that they could pray and find a parking lot at the mall, or cause a bible to float in the air. Faith is delusional, by its very nature. I heard Christian apologists say "faith is knowing something that you cannot see." Delusional.

So, if you choose to "know something that you cannot see" - it leads to accepting that which you cannot know. And accepting that which you cannot know leads to vulnerability to manipulation and extremism. Note how easily Christians are conformists to Republican political agendas and television evangelist insanity (to the tune of over $10 billion given to TV evangelists in one year!). How they are manipulated by personalities, and turn off reasoning when it comes to the inconsistencies of their leaders.

Certainly, Christians are not the only ones who do this sort of thing...but then again, I have never heard a Republican say "The GOP is the way, the truth, the one can have a relationship to God except through us." (Well, at least, not yet!). Christians claim to believe and embrace the most fundamental and necessary truth in the universe...believe in Jesus or go to hell for eternity, and miss out on God's purpose for your creation on earth. Their claim to ABSOLUTE TRUTH qualifies them for greater scrutiny and greater criticism. If you claim to have the ONE AND ONLY TRUTH about the spiritual world...then you better be able to stand the fire.

The very essence of Christianity demands FAITH...demands DELUSION.

Christians have crossed the ditch and have splattered themselves on a wall. Do we try and clean up the mess?


Brother D said...

It takes alot more faith for atheists to believe that everything in creation just "happened" somehow does'nt it? Of course many atheists have their own cop out which is: "we don't know how it happened" How convenient! You demand proof from christians of what is not seen, yet I demand of you proof of what is seen and you can't deliver? Let's start with organic life, where did it all come from? Men are so smart that they still can't produce the simplest life forms. In fact men cannot create anything, all they can do is rearrange what has already been made. When you boys can scientifically/logically prove to me with a high degree of certaintly how human life really started I'll prove to you the existence of God. The bible clearly states that proof of God's existence is in what has been made. Look it up, and
Good luck :-)

GordonBlood said...

Its finally good to see someone just talking straight! Who cares about the legions of Christian philosophers, scientists and scholars! Theyre all just deluded, even borderline insane... Thanks Brothercrow for bringing this to the light!

Now to be serious. There is faith involved in Christianity, but as all the great teachers of the faith have held it is not a massive leap in the dark. It is a leap which when we land is one in which we find comfort and security. Now granted some persons may take that leap pre-maturely or for selfish reasons and then, of course, they may tread into dangerous territory. But for a person who takes Christianity seriously and is committed to truth, then there is nothing reason can do but provide more reason for our belief. Of course there will be doubts and questions along the way. But that is simply the human condition, I imagine most atheists question their own beliefs as well. What matters, as Lewis stated so well, is what one does when the doubts come. Does one irrationally lose their faith for little to no good reason, or rationally think about things after those doubts subside.

Bill said...

Hi dbull: I'm not so much interested in arguing the existence of God or not, as I am the existence of the God described in the Bible. I can say that it was truly a leap for me to go from one to the other. Gordonblood describes it as a leap which lands securely, but I found just the opposite. I found the security came in holding other believers' hands as I was leaping--believers I trusted and respected, hoping that they knew what lay on the other side. When I landed, it was in the bog, short of solid ground. I am not ready to say that there is no God, but I am prepared to say that the Bible is not his book. Until someone can show me a more conclusive connection between the idea of God and the faith of Christianity, I will remain an unbeliever.

Don Martin said...

dbull, I would rather have you tell me where it "clearly states that proof of God's existence is in what has been made." I am a student of the Bible, and nowhere does the bible equate existence with proof of God. God is an assumed reality in the Bible, from page 1. It is not interested in proving God exists. I am like joseph, in that I am not interested in proving God exists...that cannot be done. Cannot. Be. Done. It is a leap of faith. Once again, remember your own religious teaching, salvation is by grace...through faith. It ain't faith if it is certain knowledge.

jakel said...


"Now granted some persons may take that leap pre-maturely or for selfish reasons and then, of course, they may tread into dangerous territory."

Can you give me an example of this? Maybe I need to be more careful in my proselytizing.

Brother D said...

Brothercrow, you said "I am a student of the Bible, and nowhere does the bible equate existence with proof of God."

Really? Look what I found in the bible- Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

If you want to be sure the bible is God's book, you need the Holy Spirit living inside you. If you want the Holy Spirit living inside you, you REALLY have to want the truth. The God I love does not honor half hearted requests. He also sees through men's crafty intentions. A man who refuses to approach the Creator like a little child, with an honest and humble heart, should'nt bother. Just like anything else in life that's worthwhile, getting ahold of the truth carries with it a cost. If you really want the truth you'll find it, if you are more comfortable with a lie, the Creator knows that and that's what you'll find instead. In life you only get what you really want, not what you kind of want. The truth is a precious commodity, its a treasure. In a world where endless lies are the norm, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

Don Martin said...

dbull, I almost said you could not quote Romans 1:20, because that is the favorite "go-to" verse for Xans who are making that argument...and I figured you would use it. Basically, what that verse says is what you say in your post - "God's existence is proven by the natural universe." OK...hmmm...where is the proof of God in that? Circular argument. There is no "proof" of anything, just a statement that proof is there.

Your attitude and argument is why I left evangelical Christianity...and thanks, by the way, for reminding me and giving me subject for a new post.

"If you want to be sure the bible is God's book, you need the Holy Spirit living inside you." OK, so reason and research and centuries of study don't count. They do for the medicine you take, but not for your holy book. You have just proven my original view the bible as a magic book, one that requires "special revelation" to know whether or not it is true. That means the basis of your religion is not rational nor reasonable.

"If you want the Holy Spirit living inside you, you REALLY have to want the truth." Good one...although of course that statement has no biblical justification (which seems to be important to you). So - I can't know the truth of the Bible unless I have the HS in me, and I can't have the HS in me unless I REALLY WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH. This is becoming comic...and you wonder why more and more people are leaving church and turning away from Xanity. This continues to build my argument, that you do not have a rational basis for your belief system. However, it is good argument against straw men...if you don't agree with me, it is because you don't have the HS inside of you. Oh, you claim that you do? No - you don't - because you do not REALLY WANT TO TO KNOW THE TRUTH - because if you really did want to know the truth, you would agree with me...BECAUSE I KNOW THE TRUTH. And you don't. Obviously.

"The God I love does not honor half hearted requests." You are so typical of the believers I have known...and pastored...thousands of them over 25 can't keep things on the level of rational argument (because you know you will lose) so you resort to sideways insults. Not biting, dude. You - thank God!! - do not know my heart.

The rest of your comments are standard evangelical I won't bother.

Shygetz said...

gordonblood said: "But for a person who takes Christianity seriously and is committed to truth, then there is nothing reason can do but provide more reason for our belief.

Ah, self-justified belief; "if you don't believe as I do, then you're not taking Christianity seriously."

Redefining reason and rationality doesn't work here, bub. You have evidence? Present it for analysis; you do not have a lever long enough to move the English language and force "reason" to mean faith.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Shygetz: Thanks for bringing up the distinction between 'reason' and evidence, but I'd put it a slightly different way. "Reason" is a very valuable tool, but it is subject to the 'Gigo' rule -- Garbage in, garbage out. This is the weakness of philosophy on its own, that it is possible to find philosophers on any side of a dispute, and their 'reasoning' is frequently impeccable, given their premises.

This is why we always have to demand that they 'bring in the horse and count thje teeth.' Reason vs. reason gives you a standoff, only the evidence can decide the question, and that's where believers find themself at a loss, swimming in -- or drowning in -- an ocean of facts and trying so hard to get back to the comfortable dry land of argument.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

I believe everyone who posts here seriously "REALLY [has] to want the truth." That's true for believers and unbelievers alike.

The trouble is that there are all these people out there, Jews, Muslims, Zoroastrians, and representatives of the various -- and contradictory -- forms of Christianity. And all of them are saying, equally, that 'if you REALLY want the truth, here it is. I have it.' (And unlike you, I would not claim any of them, or the unbelievers, are lying. All of them are being sincere and honest -- as they see the world.)

The trouble is choosing between them, finding out which, if any of them, really has the truth. And it is harder these days. At one time most of us would spend the vast majority of our days among believers more or less 'of our own kind.' Even if we came in contact with unbelievers, their unbelief sprang from the same sources and premises as our own beliefs. (At one time a good part of this country could say, honestly, 'I've never met a beliving Jew' or even a Catholic, not to mention Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and the other faiths.)

But now we meet, in real life and on the net, all of these, as well as unbelievers, and we have to journey farther and look more carefully to 'find the truth.'

Please remember, dbull, that for many of the members here, they started from where you are. They believed they had the truth as well, and that it was the same truth you hold on to. They started their journey as convinced as you are that evidence would only confirm their beliefs.

But they found that instead, it forced them -- in the name of truth -- to abandon those beliefs.

Jared said...

New blog reader here. Great article.

(I just had this very same discussion with a theist a few days ago!... thought I'd chime in)

In regards to the comment that nonbelievers should have the same responsibility in proving the existence of god(s)...

(Un)fortunately, there is no onus of proof on those who do not believe. I have always held strong atheism and christianity equally faulty in that they both believe they have a QED to a proof that is UN-provable. Belief is confidence in the truth of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof. My view is that in relation to the ultimate knowledge of a Creator-God, there is no certainty. Maybe I’m just screwed (Romans 12:3).

Sounds like a cheap ploy to divert a question but it’s the peaceful fence I sit on. Analogously, it would be like my neighbor telling me that an alien visited him during his sleep. If I question the legitimacy of this claim he will show me countless reports and sightings and will relate his personal experience. At that point, I can either make an attempt to UN-substantiate this claim or I can move on with my life. The problem is… the neighbor becomes very distraught that my lack of belief will endanger myself/family and makes heartfelt attempts to convert us to Alienism.

My point is this: I CAN’T dis-prove the lack of existence of God. But it’s not my claim. Now, I don’t believe in aliens, but I don’t need to disprove them either. Crop circles and ancient stories of whales and floods are nice, but a certainty they do not make.