The Invention of Lying Appendix

See the original post here. Because I changed from one blog to another, below are the comments I did not want to lose.

First Comment – stsixtus@gmail.com

Despite your claim, some contradictions set forth in Christianity (or any other religion) are never resolved. This is where the element of faith comes in. In fact, it was a result of our questioning of authority (“really [thinking] about things”) that led to atheism in the first place.

That being said, are you really so simple as to believe a comedian did not understand the underlying tenets of Christianity? Is it not also possible that he willfully exploited obvious contradictions for the purposes of entertainment and humor? If that latter is possible, aren’t you being too simple minded or lazy to “figure out” his intent? Instead, it would appear as though you vilify Gervais as anti-Christian in order to garner the support of your largely – devout – Christian readers. It is a shame that very few of them will see your charade as just as farcical as Gervais’s “insane claims.”

I hope you see my comments as no more (or less) offensive than your own attack on Ricky Gervais and atheism.

My Response

I’m happy to respond to a few mistakes in your comment. I hope that if you would like further comments approved that you would edit more carefully your remarks.

First, there is a difference between a contradiction and an unanswered question. Contradictions are (go figure) contradictory, while unanswered questions are not. Christianity has many unanswered questions. For some, those questions are so important that they cannot believe. Others have faith that those questions will be answered in time. Either way, it doesn’t mean those questions are contradictory.

As an aside, you could still argue that there are contradictions in Christianity, but you’d have to get into them one by one because generally there are reasonable explanations. As I said above, the explanations may not be reasonable enough for some, and that’s why they do not to believe. This is just fine – I don’t need what’s reasonable for me to be reasonable for everyone else – but you still need to make this distinction if you want to sound more informed and less troll-like.

Second, asking questions is good and does not always lead to atheism. I mention in my post that Christianity supports active faith as opposed to blind faith. Many ask questions and, as a result, have a much more active belief. Others ask questions and find themselves lacking. Again, it’s all about how what is reasonable for some is not reasonable for others.

Third, regarding my “simple” assumption about Gervais – what he said was inaccurate, so there are really only two conclusions. One, he could be lazy. Perhaps he didn’t do his research, or he didn’t let his theories cook long enough, or he misunderstands Christianity, or he’s just plain dumb. Two, he could be dishonest. Perhaps he knowingly portrayed inaccuracies in order to add strength to his position, something which is much different than “willfully exploit[ing] obvious contradictions” (I refer to this practice in my post as the “straw man” fallacy). Personally, I don’t think it matters which conclusion is right. What he said is still inaccurate, and you can read why in my post.

Besides, being a comedian does not qualify him to speak on anything. It’s very possible that “a comedian” could misunderstand or misinterpret “the underlying tenants of Christianity.” He’s not a theist. He’s an actor.

Fourth, I answer your objection about it being “just for entertainment and humor” at the beginning of my post where I talk about satire.

Fifth, my attack is not on a belief system (including atheism), or even Gervais as a person, although he should make sure his position is based on accurate fact and not Christian caricatures. The attack is on what he supposes Christianity to be, as I discuss in my post.

Finally, many people see my beliefs as a “collection of lies.” We often do this to anyone who believes different than us. If we are ever going to be effective at understanding each other, we need to recognize that what we consider as unreasonable is quite reasonable for another. What they believe in is not a lie, i.e. an intentionally misleading falsity– it’s just something we don’t accept. The sooner we stop this definitional slandering, and stop categorizing the beliefs of others as “lies,” the sooner we can all have productive, meaningful conversations with each other.

Second Comment – martinchnz1@gmail.com

I like believing in a God who “allows” 22000 children to die everyday. It makes me happy to know he’s lazy too. It’s cool because it’s all their “plan” and he’s just so mysterious.

Why don’t you turn your cheek at all his stabs at christianity instead of critisizing. It’s not very nice to be so mean about his ability to tickle your funny bone, you’re supposed to love all of your fellow people and that is what the father has written… In his amazing book, which was compiled by the almighty pagan emperor Constantine with the 4 gospels out of a couple hundred that he decided were best. Constantine must have just been the “vessel” for God to choose which gospels to include…. yay. I love being such a “non-blind” faithee.

Good for you snuggles. Enjoy

My Response

Snuggles? Anyway…

First, if you are really concerned about the supposed contradiction between evil (in the form of 22,000 children dying every day, or some other form) and the existence of a kind God, I invite you to read my post on the problem of evil. You can find the first of three parts here.

Second, as for turning my cheek to the attacks of others on my belief, that’s just silly. I don’t think it’s best to go out looking for a fight, but I won’t allow any uncontested slam dunks against things which I believe. Besides, as part of the covenant I made when I chose to follow the Savior I promised to stand as a witness (Mosiah 18:9; see also verses 8 – 11). Standing as a witness of Jesus Christ includes correcting false ideas propagated by others.

And in relation to that, I didn’t intend to be mean. I did intend, though, to be blunt, and Gervais should have been more responsible with the claims he made.

Third, you make a common mistake regarding the relationship of “love” and “allowance.” I don’t have time to go over it here in a comment, but if you’re interested in learning more I invite you to read a sermon entitled “Love and Law” by Dallin H. Oaks about this relationship here.

Fourth, your Bible history is a bit rusty, but your point is well taken. If you’re interested in learning what Mormon’s think about how the Church was influenced after the death of the apostles, see here.

Clearly, what is reasonable for me is not reasonable for you. That’s just fine. Perhaps as you learn more and become better acquainted with more accurate principles regarding the concepts you’ve brought up, my position will become more understandable.

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