Thursday, March 24, 2011

Oh, C'mon Now, Who Are You Trying to Fool?

You wanna mess up your kids? Tell them every stray thought will land them in hell and then show them the works of Heironymous Bosch.


Once upon a time, sin was a big deal to me. I was convinced, utterly convinced, that every little sin was sending me to Hell. I absolutely, sincerely convinced that Satan watched everyone at all times and listened to our thoughts and that any stray thought or negative emotion of any kind- no matter how fleeting- could land me in Hell. Immediately.

I was nine.

Yes, my childhood was a happy one. Ever try not thinking about Satan? Good luck with that.

Ever try not feeling angry about anything ever? Better luck with that one.

Keep in mind, that's not unusual Christian theology. Plenty of Christians belief that even feeling slightly angry at someone else is the same as murder. (coughRayComfortcough) Even more feel that finding a woman vaguely attractive is exactly the same as a gangbang with five hermaphrodite hookers, a goat and a pineapple- and it's all the woman's fault, btw.

Now, I know this guy comes from the Ray Comfort school of "ever been angry? enjoy hell, sucka!" school of theology, which is why I find this post a little bit . . . disingenuous.

The following comes from page 1951 in the John MacMarthur Bible Commentary and addresses the fact that born again believers do not habitually sin.

Why Christians Won't Habitually Sin

This passage begins with the phrase "Whoever commits sin" (v. 4). Commits translates a Greek verb that conveys the idea of habitual practice. Although genuine Christians have a sin nature (1 John 1:8) and do behave sinfully, their confession of sin (1 John 1:9; 2:1) and acceptance of forgiveness prevent sin from becoming the unbroken pattern of their lives (John 8:31, 34-36;Romans 6:11; 2 John 1:9). God builds a certain growing awareness about sin that provides four effective reasons why true Christians cannot habitually practice sin:

1. Genuine Christians cannot practice sin because sin is incompatible with the law of God, which they love (1 John 3:4; Psalm 119:34, 77, 97; Romans 7:12, 22); whereas habitual sin betrays the ultimate sense of rebellion - living as if there were no law or ignoring what laws exist (James 4:17) - in short, lawlessness.

2. Genuine Christians cannot practice sin because sin is incompatible with the work of Christ (1 John 3:5). Christ died to sanctify (make holy) the believer (2 Corinthians 5:21;Ephesians 5:25-27). Habitual sin contradicts Christ's work of breaking the dominion of sin in the believer's life (Romans 6:1-15).

3. Genuine Christians cannot practice sin because Christ came to destroy the works of the arch-sinner, Satan (1 John 3:8). The devil is still operating, but he has been defeated, and in Christ we escape his tyranny. The day will come when all of Satan's activity will cease in the universe, and he will be sent to hell forever (Revelation 20:10).

4. Genuine Christians cannot practice sin because sin is incompatible with the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who has imparted a new nature to the believer (1 John 3:9; John 3:5-8). This new nature shuns sin and exhibits the habitual character of righteousness produced by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24).

So, who sins? Everyone. Who doesn't lie, who doesn't get angry, who doesn't feel lustful? Surely some of the people who claim to be Christians must actually be Christians, and I've never noticed a difference in behavior between Christians and nonChristians, have you? Christians have a higher divorce rate, there are more Christians in prison and the more religious a country is, the more crime it has. Christians sin, just like the rest of us.

What this is, really, is a No True Scotsman and a Guilt Complex. This allows you to say, "But they're not really Christians" any time I point to a clearly sinning Christian, "real Christians don't sin!" Sure. Unless conversion is actually being replaced with a pod person, yes, Christians sin like the rest of us.

[Note: before you go all apeshit in the comments section, follow the link, see why that is a logical fallacy and not acceptable in argumentation and DON'T USE IT.]

The Guilt Complex of this is a little more subtle. It explains the constant rerererererededicating their lives to Jesus that so many Christians engage in. You'd think once or twice or three times would be enough, but no, they're dedicating their lives to Jesus on a weekly basis. How many times does it take, really? 58,000 apparently. I can tell you what the internal struggle is, because I've lived it.

Christian: Oh, not again!

Atheist: What?

Christian: I keep sinning. I'm not really a Christian!

Atheist: You believe in Jesus, right? You accept him as your Lord and Savior, right? Sure you're Christian. Fairly obnoxious about it, actually.

Christian: No, no, no! I can't be a Christian, I keep sinning!

Atheist: Sinning how?

Christian: I keep finding women other than my wife attractive!

Atheist: Srsly?

Christian: How did you say that without vowels? Never mind, yes, it's sinning! It's adultery!

Atheist: Dude, finding an attractive woman attractive is no big deal. You're not fucking them, are you?

Christian: NO!

Atheist: Yeah, you'll be fine.

Christian: No, I won't be fine. I need to become a Christian, or I'll burn forever in hell when I die! I could die at any moment! Please, God, save me!

Atheist: Um, yeah, well, call me when you're done with that.

These poor people, they're absolutely tormented. Tormented by assholes who tell them, over and over again, that being human is proof of their worthiness for eternal torment. It's sick.


  1. I hope you're happy. You've made me unable to stop reading that the point that I've been doing my own takedowns on my own blog. I've been diving into the archives though. I'll let you do the newer stuff. (-:

  2. Sorry. I suppose I should have posted some sort of warning . . .

  3. It depends on what church tradition you're from evidently. For some, they can do whatever they want all week and as long as they confess on Sunday and say the right words they're good to go for another week. :-)

    I wasn't that fortunate. My tradition pretty much is summed up in your post. I guess this "sucka" will be enjoying hell. *sarcasm*

  4. You know Justin is going to pop in here for another round, right?

    Wait. That's probably what you intended to do. Pretty sneaky...

  5. Genuine Christians cannot practice sin?

    Well, to be fair, he might have a point. I've met many who didn't need the practice.

  6. If there's a single thing to be said in favor of strict Comfortian theology (and, surprise, there is. But only the one) it's that they believe christians aren't any better/more ethical than atheists. So kudo's to them for noticing the obvious.

    I don't know where this persistant myth that christians "sin" less and are more generous and lead happier lives and have better sex and rainbows and unicorns and jesus fly out of their ass every time they fart comes from. The stats that the religous on average give a small percentage more to charity? The existance of religous charities? Whatever the case, it's demonstratably false: I've studied the expulsion of wind of the "religous right" and I can guarantee you it's just methane (mixed with just a dab of highly-concentrated stupid).

  7. Gosh I love your witty snarkiness! While I really haven't hammered down my complete religious standpoint, and I wouldn't really consider myself a full blown atheist(I'm more of an agnostic) you have so many logical valid points. You've definitely confirmed my belief that christianity is even more ridiculous than I already thought.

    Thank you for continually pointing out the silliness of the sheeple peoples.

  8. isn't the WHOLE FUCKING POINT that ALL people sin, and the ONLY WAY to enter Heaven is to have extra-special forgiveness? because humans are incapable of NOT SINNING, PERIOD?


  9. No, I will not engage you here, but I will say that PF and others in agreement with her do not understand the article, and more importantly, you do not understand what the Bible says about born again believers and false converts. If you are sincerely interested to understand that Christians DO sin, but they are not SLAVES of sin, you can read about why that is here: and many other articles under the scroll box "Examine Yourselves" in the left side bar.

    So there's some old material for you formerconserative, but do make sure you keep your eyes on the road. ;)

  10. Hey PF, Thanks for the add to the blogroll!

  11. @Justin-

    ....because apparently if we don't understand your point, its our fault for being too stupid and not your fault for not explaining it well enough.

  12. You are welcome to ask questions in the comment section of the article if you genuinely desire clarity, fc. I welcome you to do the same for the other two articles you ridiculed without understanding or seeking clarity. Up to you.

  13. I have spent most of my life learning and studying about my faith, the background, the culture, and the history behind it. I still have far from a perfect understanding of Christianity and that's why I continue to read a variety of sources.

    The stuff that you write on your blog is not foreign to me. I understand it perfectly. I just disagree with it. I could not possibly disagree with it more. It is self-righteous, judgmental and presents your particular interpretation of scripture as the only one that can possibly be correct. You come across as someone who thinks only you and those who agree with you about every single detail of scripture have the sole pipeline to God and everyone else is a poor lost soul in need of your great wisdom and guidance. You have absolute no tolerance for any difference of opinion about anything.

    I understand you. I just don't agree with you. Yes, I ridiculed your 2 posts, because sometimes ridicule is the nicest and most gentle way to point out something that is really upsetting. The non-ridicule version probably would have been a bit angrier. I invite you to look at the content behind the ridicule and ask yourself if that's really the way you want to come across. Sometimes criticism is constructive. Its not always an attack.

  14. Like I said, there are answers to the questions you raise and clarity can be provided. But only you can walk through the door to engage in a healthy and positive discussion. You do not understand it perfectly because that is clear in the articles you wrote. So it's not about simple disagreement. The door remains open, fc.

    This is my last post in this thread - hope to hear from you at airō. Take care.

  15. Ok Justin

    a few things:

    a) I can't commment on your blog, even if I wanted to, because the comments section only loads form me maybe 5% of the time. You have so many widgets and scripts running on your page that the comments almost never load, not even the form where I can make a comment. That makes it pretty hard to ask questions.

    b) If I've already "raised questions" why do I have to go over to your place to raise them again? Is it that you are afraid of commenting somewhere where the majority of people disagree with you, so you need to go back to your home turf? If you are so intent on getting your message out to me and making me see the error of my ways, then why do I have to come to you?

    Also I believe you are taking my sarcastic and rhetorical questions as genuine questioning and misunderstanding. Try getting a sense of humor. It will make life more pleasant.

  16. This is my last post in this thread - hope to hear from you at airō. Take care.

    Sorry. I prefer to stay away from blogs that make my brain want to crawl out of my ears and strangle me. So if I have to choose between reading your self-importantly stupid drivel there or outsourcing it to PF for greater lulz, I'll risk the tremendous cost of looking like an elitist bastard.

    Also, seeing as how you ignored everything I said the last time around, I figure I should give you the same courtesy. Jackass.

  17. @Geds-

    I'm waiting to see if we get another "These people are being mean to me" post on his blog, like the one from a couple of days ago.

    Now he has TWO bloggers reading him.

  18. Now he has TWO bloggers reading him.

    If he keeps this up he may well get in to the heady circulation I have of, like, 12 regulars.

    Of course my regulars like me. Mostly. Sometimes. At least, when they link to me it's to say, "Geds said something interesting/thoughtful/funny," not, "Hey, look at this jackass, getting his jackassery all over teh internetz..."

  19. dude, is Justin STILL acting the Pharisee?

    some people just WANT to be blind.

    Geds - i'm a semi-regular. i only have a few hours each day where i'm COHERENT enough to read you. but i TRY to stop by once a week...
    you've written a whole thing on Byzantium that i WANT TO READ. i just don't have the brain-spoons right now [fucking pain meds. of course, without them the pain is so bad that i STILL can't think... sigh.]

  20. you've written a whole thing on Byzantium that i WANT TO READ

    Don't feel bad. I haven't actually written the whole thing and probably never will. It's surprisingly hard to make time to finish. Or, rather, re-start.

    Said the guy who just played video games on a Friday night because he has no life to speak of...

  21. lol. i'd like to read at least what's up?

    and then maybe nudge you to write more about the Axum/Aksum empire :D


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