Sunday, July 18, 2021

Separating the Wheat From Tares: Medium Article Claims "Christianity is Not an Option"

(Source)
Christ used many parables and metaphors for describing the judgments of the Last Days, some of which imply that there will be a sifting within the body of Christian believers to separate the wicked, those of little or no faith, and so on, from the faithful. One of these is in Mathew 13:24-30 which states (in the NIV translation):

    Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

    “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

    “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

    “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

    “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

Similarly, John the Baptist told the Pharisees and Sadducees that one greater than him was to come.

His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Matthew 3:12 (NIV). 

    I don't believe these are describing a separation of Christians from the rest of the world, but a separation that will occur among those that profess or have professed Christianity. For instance, in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13, the sowing of the seed is the preaching of the gospel. Where the seed grows up, it represents someone strengthening in their faith and obedience to God. So, when we get to the parable of the wheat and the tares, the wheat represents those seeds that had been planted in good soil. Then an enemy (e.g., Satan and evil men) plants tares. Tares are a weed that I understand are very similar in appearance to wheat when it is young. Thus the admonition to not pluck up the tares is because it would risk destroying the wheat. But when the faithful are grown to maturity and the tares have changed and revealed themselves, Christ will come in the last days to make his harvest, destroying the wicked that grew up in the faith but, in the end, were not faithful.

    Similarly, in John the Baptist's statement, he indicates a winnowing occurring to the people of God in order to separate the chaff from the kernels of wheat. 

    We are seeing this happen today before our eyes, and a good example is the author of "Christianity is Not an Option", Edward Robson, PhD. According to Robson, he grew up a Christian, enjoying the camaraderie and music and other facets of being part of a close congregation. But at the age of 60 he is turning his back on Christianity. Part of the problem is that he apparently lacked both faith and knowledge of the word of God, admitting that "it had been some years since I was able to believe — in any concrete sense — most of what the Christian Bible says about the world’s beginnings, the history of the Hebrew people, or the life of Yeshua of Nazareth." But that was okay, he contends, because he "could see the truth within the book, even if it wasn’t literal."

    That, however, is not the reason he was leaving Christianity. He initially claims that he is leaving Christianity because it no longer matches his expectations, writing:

    That was why I had to leave. Not because I lost faith in the work some churches do: feeding hungry people, speaking out against the marginalization of immigrants, minorities, and other-gendered people, lobbying for justice, teaching peace. But because the church at large, beginning with the Christian church in the United States, has turned away from that kind of religion.

    That was why I had to leave.

But even that is not the real reason. He goes on to explain that "[t]o be a Christian these days is a political statement, a statement that my conscience can no longer tolerate." He is leaving because his politics are no longer compatible with Christianity.

    Yet, he goes on to list the various "sins" of Christianity (even as he later admits this doesn't apply to all Christians or sects): arrogance, ignorance, bigotry, misogyny, child abuse, economic equality, hypocrisy, and war. But when you drill down to his reasoning, it is primarily because of his pride and his desire to be accepted by the ascending modern religion of wokeness.

    Let's go through his list of "sins" he attributes to Christians today:

  • Arrogance: Here his complaint is that "Christians claim to be more virtuous than all the rest of us. Christians (like the followers of many religions) claim to be the only ones who know The Truth." I will be the first to admit that Christians are not perfect, and sometimes forget that we are all sinners. But what really bothers Robson is Christians living in the world, but not as part of the world. That is, Christians tend to prefer to associate with each other, if not even more specifically with their coreligionists of their particular sect. 

    And yes Christians believe they possess the Truth that will lead to salvation. I don't know why Robson would have a problem with this since, as he notes, all religions take this position. I would certainly hope that someone thought their religion was true; otherwise, that person should probably be looking at a different religion.

    And it seems particularly hypocritical of Robson to make this accusation since, as demonstrated by his next complaint, he believes that he possesses the truth and looks down on Christians that would disagree.

  • Ignorance: His ire here seems directed at fundamentalist Christian sects, but would certainly not be limited to such organizations. His complaints here are that Christians reject the theory of evolution and, thereby, distrust science, and aren't into all of the current fads concerning critical studies of American history. More disgustingly to Robson, though, is that Christians increasingly have removed their children from public schools to, as he terms it, "shield them from exposure to a world where truth is data-driven rather than defined by doctrine."

    Robson's argument on this point is particularly stupid--ignorant, even. There are so many holes to evolutionary theory one could drive a semi-truck through them without fear of scraping the sides. The most basic is that it is statistically impossible, at least using the data on the rates of mutations and the shear number of possible wrong combinations in the molecular biology and the established age of the universe, for evolution to have advanced as far as it has on Earth. 

    As far as his statement that Christians distrust science, I have to wonder if the millions of Christian scientists, doctors, and engineers would agree. There is a difference between trusting science and making science your religion, and scientists your high priests. Robson's problem is that Christians don't worship at the feet of holders of Ph.D.s

    As far as his truth being data driven, I would be willing to bet that if he was presented with the uncontroverted data concerning racial differences in intelligence and crime, Robson would immediately reject it as racist without any concern as to the accuracy or strength of the data.

  • Bigotry: On this point, Robson writes: "The Christian religion has been used in America as justification for perpetuating slavery, prohibiting interracial marriage, hating Jews, and persecuting anyone whose sexuality isn’t strictly hetero." My reaction is, so what? Go outside the United States, and you will find religions (e.g., Islam, Judaism) and science (remember the Nazis) used to justify the same things. What is more relevant is that in Christian America the many wrongs he condemns were far less than in other parts of the world.

    Interestingly, Robson states that "Nothing in the teachings of Jesus justifies such animus...." Well, if you are talking about homosexual relations, the Bible is actually quite clear about it. And even if there are no recorded statements from Christ, during his ministry, condemning the practice of homosexuality, He did teach that if we love Him we are to keep His commandments, which he would have known contained a prohibition on engaging in homosexual acts. 

  • Misogyny: Robson's complaint here is the teaching of Paul that wives are to be subservient to their husbands just as their husbands are to be subservient to God. I guess Robson objects to this because it stands in opposition to the misandry taught by modern feminists. 

    As far as his comments about disparate amounts of work performed by men versus women, this is an example of my belief that Robson, in fact, would reject data or science that he did not like. In this case, there is plenty of data showing that when you consider all work, whether in the home or outside the home, men (at least in the Christian West) work the same or more. For instance, men on average work more hours outside the home (see here, here, and here). Although, according to this New York Times article, women spend approximately 1 hour more per day doing household chores than men, the data may not be accurate. For instance, the Baltimore Sun reported on a study that revealed "that men do more housework than their wives give them credit for, and women actually do less than they think." Another writer looked at two of the most widely used data sets for comparing household work and found that "[t]he big problem is that 'definitive' studies like ATUS and PSID emphasize tasks that are typically performed more by women as 'household chores', while either minimizing or excluding more typical men’s chores." And PsyPost reported in March this year that "[a] new study suggests that the unequal division of household and childcare tasks within partnerships may reflect men’s and women’s actual preferences." But perhaps most damning to Robson's argument is a study reported on January of this year by the Institute for Family Studies that found that religious husbands do more housework than nonreligious men.

    It was surprisingly hard to find statistics on how many have died as a result of Christian religious wars. One source,which is openly hostile to religion, reports 3 million killed in all Crusades between 1096 and 1291, although this would, of course, also include the numbers killed by Muslims. The French Wars of Religion (1562-98), the period of civil infighting between French Catholics and Protestant Huguenots, purportedly killed between 3 million and 11 million, including deaths from famine and disease. The Thirty Years War (1618-48) fought between Protestants and Catholics in Central Europe killed an estimated 2 million to 4 million people (although the latter half of the war can hardly be considered a religious war since you often had Catholics and Protestants allied against other groups also composed of mixed religions). I've skipped over the wars of other groups against Christians and the author didn't include specific numbers for smaller conflicts. But he asserts that "[i]n the last thousand years about 40 million people have died in the name of religion."

    Well, how about the number killed in the name of atheist systems? Between 7 and 12 million are estimated to have died in the Russian Civil War.  In excess of 6 million are thought to have died in the Chinese Civil WarThe Cultural Revolution in China was believed to have resulted in as many as 20 million deaths. The Korean War resulted in 3 million fatalities. Approximately 3.3 million died in the Vietnam War. The Soviet Famine of 1921-22 resulted in some 5 million dead; and 6 to 8 million died in the 1931-33 Ukrainian famine. And this is just scratching the surface. In total, it is believed that between 100 million and 110 million died at the hands of Communism in just one century. (See here, here, here, here, and here). 

    But we shouldn't forget Nazism. According to the Washington Post, "Hitler hated Judaism. But he loathed Christianity, too," adhering "to his father’s view that religion was for the stupid and old women." The article describes Hitler's contempt for Christianity to have began when he was a child. After he was in power, it seemed to have intensified. Hitler told his staff:

The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science ... Gradually the myths crumble. All that is left to prove that nature there is no frontier between the organic and inorganic. When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light, but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.

And:

By 1942, Hitler vowed, according to Bullock, to “root out and destroy the influence of the Christian Churches,” describing them as “the evil that is gnawing our vitals.”

And, in fact, Hitler began persecuting the Christians in Germany. So while there might be a debate as to what exactly Hitler's religious beliefs were, he was certainly not Christian nor was Nazism a Christian party. So how many were killed as a result of Nazism? Well, total World War II deaths are calculated as being an estimated total of 70–85 million

    The point of all of this is that in just in the 20th Century, godless religions seeking the worship of the state appear to have caused the deaths of almost 200 million people. So much for Robson's thesis that Christianity has killed more in war than anything else other than greed.

    In conclusion, Robson's arguments are unsupported by the data and facts. He is simply another example of a wolf in sheep's clothing. 

4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Yup, nicely said. Looks like Christianity just doesn't live up to his values, which are about 10 years old, at best. Funny that it worked so well for 2,000 years.

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    2. You know, if he had a bad experience with a church or pastor that left a bad taste in his mouth, and just explained he was leaving for that reason, I would have more respect for him. But to make sweeping and incorrect generalizations about Christians in order to convince others to share in his misery is despicable.

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