The mind of a Christian


Peggeen here. In choosing the title “The mind of a Christian,” I don’t mean to imply that all xtians think alike. Obviously they don’t. But after the many years in which I was first a desperate, dedicated seeker of god’s will, then an increasingly hardcore skeptic, I’ve become convinced there is some fundamental difference between my brain and the brain of every xtian I know.

Xtians might say that fundamental difference is simply that they have faith and I don’t. But to me the difference is that every xtian I’ve ever known has a much lower standard for evidence than I do.

I’ll probably write more about this over time. But here’s a case in point.

A news site I visit has a section on religion. One day last week I spotted an article headlined “What is prayer and how does it work?” Clearly, with a headline like that, the article is meant not for long-time Christians, but for the rest of us — unbelievers or newcomers to the faith. So I clicked.

… and felt as if I were reading a foreign language.

For one thing, the author never did fulfill his promise to say how prayer worked. There was not a word about that. He did, however, keep his promise to tell us what prayer is. Sort of. He said that prayer is “a conversation with god.” Then he just went on with no further explanation.


I may be simpleminded, but to me a conversation is this:

Person A says something.
Person B replies.
Person A responds to that.
Person B responds to that.
And so on.

A “conversation” isn’t when I say something and the person (being, entity, whatever) keeps maddeningly, determinedly silent. A “conversation” isn’t when I ask something, then weeks, months, or even years later experience something vaguely related to that and say, “Oh, look! He answered!” A conversation is inherently a back-and-forth exchange in which each party communicates in common language with the other.

The writer obviously believed otherwise. But he felt not the slightest need to offer evidence.

The writer also noted — and also without explanation — that god had “challenged” him to simplify his prayers.

So there I am again. Readers are expected to believe that the all-powerful creator of the universe personally communicated with this guy about his prayerstyle. The writer didn’t claim to see a burning bush or hear a thunderous voice issuing from clouds (and I think he’d have at least mentioned if something like that had happened). We’re left with absolutely no idea of how this incredibly important challenge was issued. We’re certainly not offered even a speck of evidence to back the author’s bland contention that the challenger was the Almighty god himself.

And remember, this was an article that purported to be schooling folks in the basics. But right from the get-go we’re expected not to ask questions, not to expect evidence, but just believe.

This is the place — one of the places — where I butted my head again and again against the concept of religion before finally giving up. I don’t expect anybody to “prove god.” But I do expect them to provide credible evidence, stated in a framework of logic, for any claims they make.

I accept that god, if he existed, would be beyond mere human logic, facts, and reason. However, no god worth his salt would be beneath logic, facts, and reason. No god worth worshipping would expect me to just shut up and pretend I don’t notice flim-flammery, intellectual dishonesty, dubious claims, or unbacked “facts.”

One Response to “The mind of a Christian”

  1. justasqpeg Says:

    I’d want proof that prayer does work before I’d expect to be told “how” it works. And study after study (other than a few that were later shown to be flawed) has shown that prayer is answered no more regularly than random chance would dictate. Oh well. It’s a comforting story… if you can buy it.

    The whole mantra about how prayer is answered in “God’s timing” makes me want to hurl. If I am a caring parent and my child is pleading for a drink of water, I will do whatever it takes to give it to her immediately. Even to the point of violating my principles to do so. To do any less would be evil. A “loving” god, though, can wait until that child dies of thirst because he “knows what’s best”? BS.

    Oh, but you claim that it’s really OK since he took her to Heaven where she can spend eternity X eternity singing his praises. Why would she be singing praises to someone who could have rescued her, or at least eased her suffering, but who deliberately chose instead to let her suffer- in extended agony- until she died?

    Then, why would god have asked that writer to “simplify” his prayers? Because it was hurting god’s incorporeal brain to try to keep up? God is a simpleton, now? Well, actually, that would explain a lot of stuff.

    I also don’t really expect anyone to “prove” their god, but I do expect them to be able to define their god to me. You’ve got to know what it is you are worshiping or your worship is meaningless. And at that point it is elementary to disprove that particular god. Which is why they won’t do it.

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