Atheists: Open or Close-Minded?
Vincent Skolny, guest poster at Unreasonable Faith, has made a rather fascinating post entitled “Christianity is Self-Projection as God.” In it, he rehashes the old argument that Christians pick and choose what they want to believe out of the Bible, and the result is:
. . . a rank and unique pride that claims a divine stamp of approval upon the Christian’s own life, while rejecting both all of the Bible that doesn’t appeal to her or his liking and the gods constructed by other Christians, reflecting other parts of the bible.
It’s an arrogant syncretism of life and religion that we call Self-Projection as God (SPAG).
Of course, no examples are given (though judging by the article, he could have provided numerous examples).
Among biblical Christians, where is there disparity about the nature of God? I don’t see it. Yes, I see disparity in the God of Mormonism, the God of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the God of Fred Phelps, but those people are not biblical Christians. The problem is that atheism makes no distinction between biblical Christians and cults of Christianity. They see biblical Christians and cults of Christianity under the same flag, just different expressions.
True, good men of faith have disagreements about how much God allows and permits versus how much he decrees. Look at the arguments between myself and, for example, the poster going by A Helmet. The entire Protestant Reformation was over the sufficiency of grace and whether meritorious good works were also required (the Sacraments).
But the conception of God as Creator and Sustainer of the Universe has never been in disagreement. The basic attributes of God are common to all biblical Christians.
And just what are those basic attributes that no one disputes? God is a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God created the Universe and sustains its existence. God created mankind in his image (not the other way around). God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and eternal. He is necessary as opposed to contingent. God is sovereign over his creation, and is working a plan in creation for his own glorification, of which everyone plays an integral part. Biblical Christians, if I missed anything, leave it in the comments.
What the post reveals about the poster, however, is scary. It reveals his supreme close-mindedness, which is actually quite common among atheists. Take this, for example:
For a practical demonstration, just pick a pair of contrary or contradictory Bible verses that are on either side of a sensitive issue and ask a Christian what she or he thinks about them. The better you know the Bible and the Christian, the easier it will be to pick the appropriately contrary verses, but the result will always be the same: The Christian will start rationalizing and explaining the contradiction in a way that accommodates them to his or her own life.
Strip away the rhetoric, and what did Skolny say? The Bible has contradictions that can’t really be explained, so if you want to stump a Christian just pick an appropriate contradiction and ask him to explain it. He’ll rationalize it.
What Skolny is doing is assuming as a matter of course that the Bible has contradictions, and then making the further assumption that Christians lack awareness of Bible difficulties. I’ll grant him the latter, most Christians display a shocking lack of knowledge of the Bible. But the former is a little harder to prove, and I’ve seen many sites trying to do it without success.
Further, Skolny is effectively hardening his heart to any explanations that might be given about these alleged “contradictions” by dismissing them as “rationalizations” before he ever even hears them! This is the core of the issue I’ve seen with atheists. They believe that the Bible is bull without investigating the issue (they take the word of other atheists without consulting the other side) and they close their minds to any other explanation that doesn’t fit their worldview.
Isn’t this the same thing that they accuse us of doing?
Posted on October 14, 2009, in Apologetics, God, Theology and tagged atheism. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.
I don’t see the comments you quoting as relating to the nature of God in an ontological sense but to what God requires of people. The atheist appears (to me) to be saying that each Christian picks and chooses which parts of the Bible God really expects us to follow based on his or her own tastes. Atheists are much less concerned with what God is in an ontological sense than what he requires. In fact everyone except academic theolgians is more concerned with God’s commands and morality than supposed facts about his nature. It is his legal natrue more than his metaphysical nature that concerns all but the most academic theologians who base their soteriology entirely on getting our understanding of God’s metaphysical makeup right. Whether you kill or steal or whatever doesn’t matter to these theo-egg-heads but only whether or not you acknowlege things they believe like “God doesn’t really have hands and feet–that’s only anthropomorphism you moron.”
That’s actually our article guest posted at unreasonable faith and it’s not a rehash of cherry picking. Cherry picking would imply hypocrisy and the possibility of faithfulness.
Because the Bible is impossible to reconcile SPAG is necessary to being a Christian and faithfulness is an impossible and meaningless term.
Here are the SPAG articles at The Avangelism Project Blog.
This will be very helpful: