Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Gnostic Gospel

Last week I wrote an article in which I critiqued a blog entry by Christian Cadre member BK. My post, titled, Who's Being Silly, Exactly? is a direct response to BK's entry, titled, "New Atheists Say the Silliest Things." BK has since responded to me, albeit briefly. Here's what he had to say in his defense:

BK said...
1/26/2011 05:29:00 PM
Okay, Bud. I read your comment on your blog. If you cannot see how this differs from saying "Oh my God" and "God damn", then you simply need to step back and think for awhile. But thanks for sharing. (source)

You won't understand his references to "Oh my God" and "God damn" if you didn't read my response to BK's "silly" blog entry. That's okay though, because whether you read it or not, you can catch a glimpse of what he's doing here. His defense is to say to me, "hey, if you don't get what I'm saying, then you just need to keep thinking about it."

In other words, I just don't understand. I don't comprehend. I don't get it. That's why BK says I need to "step back" and "think about it for a while." Notice that he doesn't actually give me a reason why I should accept what he's saying. Notice that he doesn't present a rational counter argument. He just tells me I don't understand and if I think about it enough then I'll see that he's right.

Maybe I'm reading into this too much. Maybe BK just doesn't have the time - or the desire - to say much more to me. That's fine. He's not required to pay any attention to me at all. I mention his response here not to try to figure out the guy, but because, regardless of whatever BK actually thinks, his response reminds me of a common tendency among religious believers; namely, the tendency to see themselves as bearers of a higher knowledge. They are enlightened. They know something the rest of us don't. They have all the important stuff figured out, while the rest of us are "lost."

Think about that word for a moment:

That's what we non-believers are to them. We're confused. We don't know where we are or where we're going. We have no rudder and no compass. We have strayed from the correct path - or were never on the path to begin with. The job of the believers is to "seek and save the lost." The lost become found - the unsaved become saved - when they assent to the correct doctrines and dogmas; in other words, salvation comes to a person when she believes.

That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. - Romans 10:9-10

To be saved, one needs that special knowledge. Enlightenment. Gnosis. Orthodoxy exemplified in orthopraxy; or, to make it sound more biblical, "faith expressing itself through love."

But what makes the religious believer different from the rest of us? How is it that the religionist has discovered, understood, and subsequently accepted this salvific super knowledge while the rest of us haven't figured it out yet? Why is a Christian like BK a gnostic while the best people like me can be is an agnostic? I've seen two answers to this question from those within the Christian Bubble: either 1) we're too stupid, or 2) we're too sinful.

Concerning answer #1, look at BK's response to me. If I don't agree with him, it's because I haven't thought about it enough. Thus, I need to "step back" and "think for a while." If only I could be as smart as BK! I can't be too hard on him, though. I had a similar attitude when I was a Christian apologist. After all, how can you not see how this incredible universe is the product of an Intelligent Designer? How can you be so blind not to see god's handiwork? The whole of creation testifies to the genius of god's creative hand! Duh.

Concerning answer #2, just look at the first chapter of Romans. Non-believers "suppress the truth by their wickedness." Because we want to be wicked and do naughty, naughty things, we "exchanged the truth of god for a lie," even though deep down we really do know that god exists. We see god's qualities in his creation, which means non-believers are "without excuse." If non-believers are too stupid to see, it's a willful stupidity.

Hmmm... Reminds me a bit of what BK said about Richard Dawkins:

Dawkins -- a man who has done as much as any person in history to buy into the idea that there is no God -- cannot remove the God consciousness from his thought and speech. Despite preaching regularly his gospel of the good news that there is no god to whom to answer, Dawkins cannot escape speaking in the language that acknowledges what the heavens declare: God exists and He put us here.

If only Dawkins would allow himself to believe. If only he would accept that special knowledge instead of stubbornly refusing enlightenment. Dawkins must want to be naughty. Really, really naughty. That's the only explanation for his refusal to believe.



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