Google + post that announced my blog post, Does Morality Come From Religion, Or Are We Born With a Sense of Morality?.
It turned into a long debate between, me, the Catholic fundamentalist, and several of my atheist followers. Here's the short version, link is above if you want to read the full discussion.
Essentially, the Catholic fundamentalist (let's call him CF for short), responded to that post saying that he felt morality is in fact something we are born with, but it can be explained by the concept, promoted by Thomas Aquinas and other philosophers, known as natural law, but Christianity takes morality "one step further". I questioned him about this, as to how Christianity could take morality one step further when it endorses slavery, death penalty for homosexuality, and women being forced to marry their rapists? His answer? Exact quote:
"If you understood how sacred scripture should be interpreted, you wouldn't think that the Bible endorses slavery, death penalty for homosexuality, or the forcing of women to marry their rapists. It doesn't endorse any of those things."
Really? How am I misinterpreting passages like this? :
"Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)"
I think that's rather clear, no room for misinterpreting there.....
Wait! Don't you believe that God never changes, and is incapable of making mistakes? If so, then why is it that his commands are changing? If your God is a loving god, as you always like to say he is, then why did he at any point in history approve of such horrific evil (and yes, that's what it is).
It's one of the quandaries that was part of the major push for me in leaving Christianity, among other things.
If you wish to believe in the Bible, despite the fact that such barbaric verses exists, you have only two options. One, you can participate in complex and confusing mental gymnastics to try to rationalize such verses. Your only other option is rejecting the idea of divine inspiration altogether, and treating the Bible as a flawed book written by people who were products of their time, but that has some good truths and rules for living.
Otherwise, you have to accept the fact that the god of Christianity is or has been at some point in history, a cruel, unmerciful tyrant who approved of misogyny, slavery, homophobia (to the point of killing people for their sexual orientation) and genocide.
It's the unfortunate conclusion I ended up coming to, and it's one that I quite honestly didn't want to come to. It runs contrary to everything that I was taught in fundamentalist circles that God is a loving, caring god, but willing to punish those he loves (to correct them, like a parent does). I spent many nights in anguish, knowing deep down I should give up Christianity, but not knowing if I should give up the faith that my entire life was built around.
When I finally faced the truth, it was an anguishing realization, and I didn't honestly want to believe it, but when I finally accepted it, and had the courage to admit to myself that I could no longer believe in Christianity. It was a weight lifted off of me. No longer did I have to defend the indefensible, I was finally honest with myself about who I was, and what I believed.
Another senseless argument I often get from fundamentalists, is that if you criticize the Bible, then you haven't read it enough/don't know what it actually says.They usually knock off using that line when I talk about my past, which includes a year as a Biblical studies minor at a major Southern Baptist university.
What an arrogant assumption. I understand this viewpoint because of my past, it's a feeling that the Bible is so incredible, so life changing that it is senseless not to believe in it. It reminds me of the mentality of pushy telemarketers or door to door salespeople.
For a very brief moment, I had a job in sales, it didn't work both because I wasn't cut out for it, and because the company was slimy as could be. The sales manager for that small company told me "people need our product, they just don't know it yet" and that our point was to "educate them" on our product.
It's much the same mentality that the Bible is too good for someone not to believe in, and with the right amount of debate and convincing someone will eventually succumb to it. Those who don't, no matter what, I have personally heard fundamentalists say are "deceived by the devil" or "rebelling against God".
Just today, I heard a fundamentalist relative say that a relative of a neighbor who is a atheist is offended by people trying to push their faith on her because deep down, she knows there is a god.
So then, by using that logic, my fundamentalist relative is offended by people saying there is no god, because, you know, deep down, she know's they are right? If you following that convoluted chain of logic, then it's a definite possibility.
The irony of ludicrous "logic" like that is usually lost on the people who use it, no matter what the argument is.
I guess I will just keep banging my head against the wall, and keep up the fight whenever a fundamentalist challenges me.
Why? Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment.