Christian Apologists don’t have enough faith

I don’t normally blog on religion, but there has been an jump in foolish writing coming from the wacky end of the religious spectrum. On the top of the list are folks like Vox Day and Geisler and Turek (I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST). For some Christians, faith isn’t enough, apparently—they want logic and science to be on their side. Apologists perform some crazy cognitive acrobatics to try to prove that their beliefs have some objective reality. (Huge hat tip to Deacon Duncan over at Evangelical Realism.)

Apologists like to think that they are persecuted for their pursuit of “truth”. For example, to Apologists, there is a vast anti-Christian conspiracy. Whether it’s the crazy atheists keeping all that good Creationist learnin’ out of the public schools, or the New Atheists’ attempt to TAKE OVER TEH WORLD!!11!!, conspiracies are a major part of apologist thinking. As a non-Christian and a true minority, I can tell you that to the rest of us this seems truly bizarre. Every president of my country, the vast majority of Congressmen and women, and most of the residents of the United States are Christians of one sort or another. It hardly seems likely that there is or even could be a conspiracy to oppress them in some way. The U.S. is remarkable in its ability to tolerate every kind of religious wacko, mainstream or not. There has never been a nation more friendly to the religious freedoms of individuals. I’ll tell you what—next time a teacher says in class, “all of the Jewish students may now follow me in the Shema. Anyone who is ‘other’ may sit in a moment of silence. If you are a follower of Jesus the false messiah, I pity you,”—next time that happens to someone you know, I’d like to hear about it. Next time a teacher tells your kid, “Well, Saturday is the Sabbath, not Sunday. I’m sorry, but you fail this quiz,”—next time that happens let me know. I’d especially like to know about the next time someone spray paints Jewish stars all over your church and says, “Nero was right—to the cross with all of you.”

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Cults are bad for your health

Cults kill. It’s really that simple. But different cults kill in different ways. It’s not just Jonestown and Killer Kool Aid (OK, Flav-r-Aid). The so-called mainstream cults that are particularly dangerous, because we tolerate them.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have their own brand of craziness. It’s not bad enough that they come to your door to annoy you in person, but they forbid their members life-saving medical interventions—for no good reason.

Christian Scientists decline medical care because some lady 150 years ago got better despite the interventions of 19th century quacks.

Then there’s Scientology. This is a particularly pernicious cult. It preys the most vulnerable—those least able to make rational decisions, and often denied access to health care—the mentally ill. Instead of offering real mental health care to those in need, they inculcate them into their cult, convincing them to avoid modern psychiatry, often with tragic results.

Look, I’ve got nothing against religion. I’m not religious, but I know it’s possible to be a rational thinker and still be a believer. Unfortunately, it’s also possible to be religious and avoid rational thought completely.

We often hear that “religious education belongs in the home”, a sentiment with which I’d agree. What’s less often said, but needs to be, is that critical thinking belongs in the classroom, even if it insults a family’s religions sensibilities. Kids need to learn to evaluate evidence and make good decisions. If this means they learn about evolution against their parents wishes, good. If it means they learn to doubt their parents beliefs on transfusions, that’s good too.

Religion can be comforting, uniting. But in the marketplace of scientific ideas, religion is bankrupt.

An update on cult murder of diabetic girl

It had seemed at first that there would be no help for the living children of the killer parents in Wisconsin. But, in a fit of rational behavior, the authorities removed the remaining children from their parents care. I hate to see families broken up, but until the parents are deprogrammed, it simply isn’t safe for kids to live in that house.

The parents apparently have ties to the “Unleavened Bread Ministries”, who admit to eschewing medical care in favor of prayer. The cult has been unenthusiastic about claiming the family as members. As quoted by ABC news, David Ells, the cult leader of the “Matzoh Ministry” (at least, that should be their name, due to the alliteration):

“We are not commanded in scripture to send people to the doctor but to meet their needs through prayer and faith. As anyone here in the ministry will tell you, we are not against doctors for those who have their faith there and never condemn or restrict them in any way,” Eells writes. “But we know that the best one to trust in for healing is Jesus Christ. The foundation for receiving this benefit from Him is repentance and faith in His promises.”

So, unless they have somehow proven to themselves or their leader that their faith is strong, doctors are out.

According to Unleavened, these are “America’s last days.” It’s not surprising that an apocalyptic cult would focus more on death than life.

Unsurprisingly, the dead child was pulled out of public schools. Maybe home-schooling should raise a red flag for authorities. Or maybe these death-cults should be monitored more carefully. Or maybe we should make an example of the parents, and lock them up, although I’m not sure that would really help anyone.

It’s too bad their minister can’t be held responsible. But then, he probably speaks for God, so maybe the buck stops there.