Jesus really is the answer
“We were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody.” And so the three teenage boys did. A college baseball player shot in the back last week just because he happened to be jogging down a street in….Chicago? New York City? Los Angeles? No. Duncan, Oklahoma. Midwest breadbasket town.
What kind of society produces young people who kill just to pass the time? It’s bad enough that big city hospital ERs are filled beyond capacity with victims of theft, revenge, and hatred. But now boredom? And in a town whose biggest attractions are a Chisholm Trail Heritage Center and a steam locomotive? Well…boredom may be a contributing factor to teen delinquent behavior in Duncan, Oklahoma. But murder?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that none of my children will ever kill someone because they’re bored. Nor because they want their shoes, or the contents of their wallet, or their spouse. And the reason I am so confident of that is not that I’m an outstanding parent. It’s because my children believe in God, and know right from wrong. And they know that not only is God their Master and Judge, but their Father who loves them. Because though they all attended public school, they also attended church, and youth group events, and went on mission trips, and hung out with other believing kids. And heard from their mother the truth that God knows them intimately, loves them unconditionally, and empowers them by his Spirit when they turn to him in faith.
There’s a well-known Christian apologetic that goes like this: If you were walking down a dark alley and see ten men approaching you, would you be more comfortable knowing that they were coming from a Bible study? At face value it’s vulnerable to attack…knowing what the Bible says doesn’t mean you’re going to follow it…so-called Christians have massacred thousands of innocents under the banner of the cross…some of the worst abuses of fellow human beings have come at the hands of those in the Bible belt. But the lesson intended is valid: true, believing Christ-followers will act in love, not hatred. You are more than safe in their presence.
The answer to the problem of violence in America, and around the world, is both simple and complex. People need the Lord. Simple. A community populated by humble servants of the true God would have no need of prisons. Convincing society-at-large of that, and battling the powers of darkness that appear to have the upper hand right now – complex and challenging.
In our nation’s effort to preserve the disentangling of church and state, we have thrown the proverbial baby out with the bath water. Whereas in the days of our founding fathers, religion and morality were seen as indispensable supports, now they are cast aside as encumbering and threatening to civil rights. Though we still (currently) have freedom to worship, and to teach our children the truth of God, faith has been so devalued in the halls of government, in the classroom, and ridiculed and attacked in popular culture, the message that it is ancillary at best and obsolete at worst pervades the home as well. And we are reaping the crumbling damage from the dismantling of those supports.
If those three teens in Oklahoma were true Christ-followers, that young college student would be alive today. No doubt about it. Not just church-attenders or Christian by identification only, but true believers, imbued with the Spirit of God by grace through faith. I don’t mean to imply that true Christians never sin, only that great sins like murder are rare among us.
My point is, if it can be demonstrated that true faith in the true God makes a person kinder, gentler, more loving, and I know that it can, why do we as a society not support and encourage it instead of disregard and disqualify it?
With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent.
Unfortunately – for you – your nice little theory fails the reality check: Prisons inmates are much more often believers than atheists (even when considering the fact that there are more believers than atheists in the general population). If you are a christian, chances that you’ll become a jailed criminal are higher than if you were an atheist. So, chances are, that the ten men man who just attacked, raped and killed you in a dark alley were Christians.
Thanks for reading and commenting, AM. I don’t doubt that when asked to check the box for religious affiliation, more prison inmates would check “Christian” than Atheist or No Affiliation, because their mom or dad or a grandparent, or even themselves, went to a Christian church at some time, and they think that makes them a Christian. I emphasized “true” Christian and “true” believer, because going to church or being raised in a Christian home does not make one a Christian. A Christian is one who has surrendered his or her life to Jesus Christ in faith, and is given the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing them salvation. He or she is a “new creation” and is no longer in slavery to sin. Such a one, though not perfect and still able to sin, is not going to attack and murder an innocent human being they meet in an alley or see jogging down the street.
No true scotsman. Really? You don’t have anything better to offer than a logical fallacy? Please, google it. Thanks.
So you take issue with how I define a Christian. How do you define the term?
Christian is a term for a member of Christianity, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the (alleged) life and teachings of Jesus Christ as presented in the New Testament. What makes you a Christian? Believing. Not acting the way your personal view on Christianity dictates.
And, funny fact: All the children from atheistic couples I know also know wrong from right and they don’t need the fear of punishment from a all-knowing big brother to not become criminals. And of course we could now start discussing how unconditional “believe or suffer eternally in hell” really is. But, honestly, I know your faith will filter out any contradictions in your religion, so that’s pretty pointless. Ironically, faith often overrules facts.
So, a Christian is one who believes…what?
Almost anything, as the bible and nt are a self-contradictory mess, so you can justify believing almost anything from it. That’s the funny thing about Christianity: As a moral system it’s completely worthless, because it can be interpreted in millions of different ways – and, even if you don’t like it, all are a valid interpretation of “Christianity”.
If I understand you correctly then, a Christian is someone who believes pretty much anything that’s in the Bible. So, if I believe that a man who claimed to be God named Jesus actually walked the earth 2000 years ago, I’m a Christian. Even if I don’t believe he is God. Or if I do believe he’s God but I have no interest in following him, I’m a Christian too. If I believe the Bible has some truths worth living by, but I am unconcerned with what Jesus has to say to me, I’m still a Christian.
Your definition of a Christian is basically meaningless as you’ve stated it. But it’s what one should expect when an unspiritual person attempts to describe the spiritual. You are not in a position to accurately understand and define something that deals with realities you don’t even accept.
*yawn* Yes, yes. And you cannot tell me that the fairies didn’t create the world because you are no fairy law expert. Sure. Sorry, that’s just an easy exit for mentally lazy people. It’s not valid and it doesn’t even make sense.
And you got that right, being a Christian is basically meaningless. There are so many of them, believing so many things – you can’t even agree on them – so why should anyone take you seriously? Honestly, Christians try to claim being the majority, but they are not. They are many minorities trying to share a common label that really doesn’t cover much, except perhaps “somehow believing in the bible”.
As you yourself showed, you use your religion as an excuse to treat gay people differently. Welcome in the land of the evil people, Caroline.
Oh, btw, do you want to hear my personal theory about what it means to be a true christian?
A “true” christian is someone who believes and acts like he is god. He thinks that he knows god and thus that his will is god’s will. Everything he hates, god hates. Everything he likes, god likes. He justifies that by claiming that it’s the other way round, but of course, the truth is much simpler: He thinks himself as perfect and makes his own voice god’s. He hears his own voice inside himself and claims that it’s god’s. A true christian claims to be humble by claiming to know the absolute truth.
Instead of being humble and accept that at least HE is just human, the true christian is arrogant. Instead of trying to become better, the true christian seeks ways to justify his own wickedness in the bible by claiming it to be absolutely good.
Atom. – As you say, that’s your “personal theory” and you’re entitled to espouse it. But any objective definition of a Christian will be in line with how I presented it. The reason there are many denominations within Christianity who disagree on various articles of faith yet they can still all be Christian is because being a Christian is not determined by holding to a particular set of beliefs. It’s determined by one’s nature – whether one is alive or dead spiritually. Jesus said we must be “born again” to see the kingdom of God. Surrendering to him as Lord by faith changes one from a dead, lost sinner to an eternally alive, found, redeemed, saved sinner.
The reason I haven’t addressed your other objections and arguments is because I wanted to keep our discussion to the issue at hand – what or who is a true Christian. And because it is apparent from your tone that you are not interested in answers but only in argument.
Atomic Mutant, your No True Scotsman allegation is totally off the mark. Caroline already provided a clear definition of a Christian based on the presence of the Holy Spirit. If you want to refute her definition by producing a murderer with the Holy Spirit actually within him, you are welcome to do that. But to do so you’d need to admit the supernatural.
If you just want to disagree with Caroline’s initial definition by mere assertion, you are welcome to be illogical.
You make some unsupported criticisms of Christianity; that’s fine. What is your worldview, ontology, and epistemology? Can you offer an objective, commendable morality, or are you only in the business of tearing other views down?
A “clear definition” containing the holy spirit? Surely, you are joking? Something that you cannot test, that you cannot prove, etc. does NOT make any form of useful definition. It’s just a cheap way out: “Everyone who proves my idea surely has the holy spirit, everyone who doesn’t, hasn’t.”. So it IS just another way of cherry-picking the true scotsmen you like.
But of course, if you really want to use this definition, please prove that the holy spirit exists, how to recognize it, etc. and then we can start using it as a measurement. Before that, it’s just a word without any meaning and using it as an argument is as good as saying “A true Christian is a person who is rbbblkshjioekd!” without giving any way to know what the last word means or how to recognize if some is.
And if my criticisms of Christianity are so unsupported, why don’t you simply refute them? Should be simple, shouldn’t it? Ironically, both you and Caroline chose to ignore them.
And no, NOONE can offer an objective morality. It doesn’t exist – and if it existed, we wouldn’t know. Religion doesn’t have it. Atheism doesn’t lead to it (because it doesn’t lead anywhere, as it’s just a lack of faith, nothing more). There ARE good morality systems, but none of them can claim to be objective – and religion does – and that’s how you recognize the BAD ones.
You are still erroneously applying the True Scotsman allegation. Because you are incurious about modal logic underlying a certain theological position does not shift the conversational burden onto the one who supplied the definition.
You have not supplied proof that negates Caroline’s thesis other than to assert Christians are individuals who hold a certain belief. When you are supplying your own definition of a Christian that is at odds with the one extant in the discourse, you are equivocating. Your instance of No True Scotsman is simply invalid.
It seems you want to push a logical positivist case against religious language, but very few logicians find that project compelling anymore. Your claim about meaning is meaningless if you are unwilling to defend what first philosophy supports your theory of meaning.
I am more interested in critiquing your argument than fielding a general defense of Christianity against a laundry list of generalized assertions. But if you want to focus on one specific critique, I’d do that here even though that would be totally off topic.
Suffice to say, I would support the proposition that an individual who takes Christian belief and its entailing practical commitments seriously will be less likely to commit murder “out of boredom” than someone raised with no specific moral commitments.
Well said! Your statement is clear – a true follower/believer. Heck, even the demons believe – and fear.