Former Believers Had Severely Underdeveloped Theologies
Daniel Florien, curator of Unreasonable Faith, proves once again that former believers never actually took the time to understand theology. By quoting Robert Price, another ex-believer who also lacks a full understanding of good theology, Florien unsuccessfully tries to make the point that religious belief (specifically Christianity) stunts people’s moral, intellectual, and personal growth.
In the morality department, Florien once again cites fear of hell as the only reason that Christians are moral. No good for goodness sake; only goodness because of a reward in heaven.
I have a newsflash: Christians have nothing to fear from hell. The Christian’s faith in Jesus removes all need to fear going to hell. All of the good done by a Christian should never be because of fear of punishment. Instead, it should flow naturally from a heartfelt desire to please God. This is what saving faith is really about.
Christianity stunts a person’s intellectual growth, according to Robert Price, because wrong beliefs about theology will send you to hell. The safest path here is to not question anything. But this just isn’t right. I’ve said it time and time again that we go to hell because of our sins, not because of mismatched theology. It doesn’t take believing in something, it takes faith in Christ for eternal life.
I should point out that right doctrine and theology pleases and glorfies God, as C. Michael Patton argues here. That goes along with loving God with all of your mind. But it isn’t the main point–the main point is still faith in Christ.
Finally, Christianity stunts personal growth by teaching others a party line of morality instead of teaching them to think for themselves. In this post, I’ve argued that mankind is born into sin. We deserve the penalty for sin even when we’re fresh from the womb. Our entire nature is sinful. So, according to these guys, I’m supposed to adopt my own set of morals and beliefs based on what exactly? My sinful flesh? That’s a great idea.
A look at history should satisfy anyone that humans cannot be trusted to do the right thing. Ever. Not without a moral compass or some sort of guide. To the Christian, the Bible is that moral compass. Thinking for oneself when it comes to morals is just dangerous. This is moral relativism and the idea is a major philosophical failure.
How does atheism, on the other hand, promote moral, intellectual, and personal growth? Atheism has no moral compass, so it must rely on either moral relativism or some other philosophical system of morality. Usually, atheism assumes a Judeo-Christian system of absolute morality while trying hard to distance itself from God. So it looks like the Bible may be the atheist source of morality after all, they just don’t want to admit it. See this essay.
Friendly Atheist once posed the question If a miracle occured, would you believe in God? to its atheist readership. For humor, it added a webcomic where one character, a theist, asked another character, an atheist, what would it take to make him believe. The atheist said that if God printed a personal message to him in the stars, that would work. The next night, that happened and the atheist still found a reason not to believe. The comments section of that post was filled with agreement–the atheists almost universally declared that there is nothing that would make them believe–not even witnessing a bona fide miracle.
My point is this: who is more close-minded? Religion doesn’t close minds, atheism does.