To Dave_G: A Friendly Education
[b]This is NOT a debate topic.[/b] This is merely a personal letter to Dave, or any other person who wants to read it, over some misunderstandings we have here.
Dave, it seems that you were brought up in a very hypocritical environment. I believe you mentioned at one point that you were raised in church, but you've since deconverted. This may be due to intellectual reasons on your part, but I have a suspicion that you observed some things going on within your church and found it disturbing. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Regardless, I'd like to educate you on a few things regarding Christianity.
[b]1) We aren't all “fundies”.[/b]
What constitutes a fundamentalist varies, but for now, I will use the definition of someone who believes that the entire Bible is the literal word of God and therefore inerrant and infallible. There are certainly many who do believe this, but many who do not as well.
I hold a belief as put forth by the Chicago Statement. Inerrancy only applies to the original autographs. I think the Bible was written without error, but through the process of translations and transcriptions, errors have come up inevitably. The original message has been slightly tarred, as it were. But as for me, I think the issue of inerrancy really isn’t a big deal at all. If an error is proven in the Bible, so be it. It still must be examined for truth claims just like it would be if the error wasn’t proven.
In addition, I’ve probably never encountered a Christian who was fond of evangelizing in the way that “fundies” are commonly portrayed as doing: walking around and saying, “You’re going to Hell! Convert now!” This is not my form of evangelizing, nor is it anyone’s that I know of.
[b]2) We aren't all Young Earth Creationists.[/b]
This is extraordinarily common misconception. At [i]every[/i] atheist forum I’ve ever been to, I will be having a discussion with someone over an unrelated topic, and someone will quip something like, “What would you say to the evidence for the Big Bang?” or ask me something like, “Why do you think dates of the earth come back as a lot older than ten thousand years?”
I am quick to say, “It comes back as over ten thousand years old because it [i]is[/i] over ten thousand years old. And the evidence for the Big Bang is pretty good. I believe it.”
I’m actually an Old Earth Creationist. I accept the dating of the universe, but as of now, I don’t believe in evolution. If I was to examine the evidence for evolution and find it conclusive, I would accept it. But as of now, I do not believe in evolution; I believe in some sort of special creation.
It is simply wrong to label in this case. You should first ask what our beliefs are before making assumptions.
[b]3) We aren't all serious hypocrites.[/b]
I won't say that we aren't all hypocrites, because it's impossible to find someone who isn't a hypocrite. Even you are a hypocrite to some degree. We all turn away from our set beliefs or act differently from what we say we will at some point in our lives. This doesn’t make us bad people, really. It makes us human.
But the problem of hypocrisy in the church is not a new one, nor is it not serious. I’m sure we’ve all encountered it at some point in our lives.
I assure you, however, that not all Christians are serious hypocrites. I wouldn’t consider myself to be one. I don’t go out and drink on Friday nights. I don’t go out and have sex, or do drugs, or say bad things about my parents or rebel against their authority, or anything else that’s characteristic of teenagers these days. Many of my Christian friends are the same way.
That doesn’t mean that I’m perfect. I’m far from it…I fall short every day. I, like everyone else, am a sinner, but I’ve been forgiven by grace. But I think it’s wrong to label Christians as people who frequently turn back on their belief systems to fit in with the world. It certainly happens a lot, but it’s not uniform.
Thanks for reading. I tried to make this as kind as possible…Did I succeed? :-)