Why I Hate the Phrase: “True Christians Don’t Do That!”

It never fails. Any time a situation arises where a Christian, or group of Christians, is in the wrong Christians come out of the woodwork to distance themselves.

 

“A True Christian wouldn’t do that!”

“As a True Christian, I’m appalled and I wish you wouldn’t call these people Christians.”

 

Listen, folks. There are over 40,000 different denominations of Christianity. Each one values certain verses from the Bible more than others. Some denominations are more progressive and value the “nice” verses more than they value the “bad” verses. This does not make the more progressive denominations more or less Christian than the others.

 

The only thing most denominations agree on is that Jesus died for the sins of humans. If someone believes that they are Christian. Whether they support gay marriage or not isn’t a determining factor. Whether they charm snakes, believe in faith healing, disallow women from wearing pants, etc. isn’t a requirement for calling oneself a Christian. It may be a requirement to be members of certain denominations, but whether someone is Pentecostal or Methodist, they still fall under the umbrella of Christian. Whether they embrace or disregard Leviticus they are still Christian.

 

Stop saying “True Christians would never do that!” Christians do all kinds of things. Our prison systems are full to the brim with Christians. You don’t get to tell them whether or not they are allowed to call themselves Christian. If they believe Jesus died for their sins they are Christian. You can scream they aren’t Christian until you’re blue in the face, but they still are.

 

If they use the bible to justify their bigoted actions, they usually have verses to back it up. You don’t get to decide their interpretation of the bible is wrong. Just the same way they don’t get to determine your interpretation of the bible is wrong. There is no way to determine which denomination is following the bible the correct way. There is no one correct way to follow Christ. If there was 40,000+ different denominations wouldn’t exist.

 

Chances are they don’t think you are a True Christian, either. Can you guess why? Maybe because you aren’t following Christ the way they are. Funny how that works, huh?

 

Stop telling atheist not to call people you don’t like Christians. We’re tired of being dragged into this debate amongst the Christian community over which denomination is the right one. You’re all wrong.

If God Falls Like a Tree In the Forest and No One Hears, Does God Exist?

At the beginning of every semester, I tell my students: there is a world of difference between hearing music and listening to it.  Emphatically despite the fact that “hear” and “listen” are often used interchangeably in casual speech, as though they were exact synonyms. In fact, they mean two completely different – although not entirely unrelated – things.

 

I’ve spent a goodly portion of my life thinking about language and trying to understand its expressive range, the better to express myself. I’ve noticed that transitive verbs do not carry the same weight – are not charged with the same energy – as intransitive verbs. Did any of your English teachers ever tell you that? Mine didn’t: I had to discover it for myself.

 

Let me illustrate: We regularly hear music, but we also occasionally listen to music. The transitive verb requires a direct object to complete its meaning; the intransitive verb is complete in itself (hence its greater potency), and the prepositional phrase that follows adds no weight to the verb: it simply brings the verb’s activity to a focus.

 

school-class-401519_640

The difference in energy between transitive and intransitive verbs is faithfully reflected in our daily experience. Taking the illustrative case I’ve offered above, consider the fact that hearing is an altogether passive experience which might actually be described as a condition, often ignored and therefore mostly registered unconsciously; every animal with ears has pretty much the same experience of hearing, assuming similar auditory capacities. (There are interesting differences, of course: dogs can hear at least an octave higher than humans, and humpback whales and elephants can communicate in wavelengths much longer than those available to us.) The capacity – the sense – known as hearing is our ability to register physical phenomena in a way that’s available only to an exquisitely fine-tuned nervous system, by means of equipment (eardrums, etc.) that can respond to (resonate with) disturbances in some fluid medium such as air or water. The old conundrum, “if a tree falls in a completely unpopulated forest, does it make a sound?” is thus answered: sound is the name we give to that nervous-system registering, that experience of a disturbance in air or water. Where there is no experience, i.e. no experiencer, there is no sound.
Continue reading “If God Falls Like a Tree In the Forest and No One Hears, Does God Exist?”