Christianity Needs a Preacher

I once wanted to become a preacher.

I believed so fervently in the Bible that the thought couldn’t escape me that the more I learned about it, the more I should share what I learn with others. It felt only natural. (Or supernatural, as it were.)

My church gave me a few opportunities to preach, and I cannot lie, it was fun. I knew what to say to get shouts of “amen!” and “preach!” from the pews, and when up there, my usual fear of public speaking seemed to fade completely.

Those opportunities came when I was a fairly cookie-cutter Baptist fundamentalist. I stuck to the doctrine and expressions and talking points that were oh so very familiar to the listeners.

I preached, but I didn’t challenge.

I didn’t challenge because I wasn’t challenged.

Baptist fundamentalists, not unlike so very many other sects of Christianity, have a groove into which most of their adherents can fit into without causing much friction.

Far too closely to the end of my life as a Christian, though, I learned that Christianity cannot exist in a frictionless environment, that Christianity must shatter the grooves so many people fit snugly into, upending not just worldviews but whole lives, redefining the fates of its adherents in such a way that, frankly, I had never seen before.

I never had the opportunity to preach this radical new (ancient) form of Christianity. My faith was swallowed up by knowledge, and so I cast off the vestiges of Christianity.

Part of me regrets that decision.  Continue reading “Christianity Needs a Preacher”

Christianity Is under Attack‽

The first chapter of Ken Ham’s The Lie begins with a bold statement: Christianity is under attack! I’ll let the inimitable Jon Stewart speak on that notion as only he can:

Yes, the long war on Christianity. I pray that one day we may live in an America where Christians can worship freely! In broad daylight! Openly wearing the symbols of their religion… perhaps around their necks? And maybe — dare I dream it? — maybe one day there can be an openly Christian President. Or perhaps, 43 of them. Consecutively.

Christianity has a pretty sweet ride here in the United States. In my county alone, there is just about a church for every 250 people; they’re everywhere! Pastors and church leaders are respected members of the community. Church or worship service-like programming can be found on television at all hours of every day. The President of the United States has a spiritual advisor who is a Christian, and next to a highway in Kentucky, a 1:1 scale model of Noah’s ark stands as a brazen testimony to Judeochristian fundamentalism.

If there is an attack on Christianity, at least here in the United States, it’s not a very overt attack. So let’s look at what Ken Ham is talking about here. Continue reading “Christianity Is under Attack‽”

Introducing “The Lie: Evolution”: An Examination

Ken Ham posing next to a dinosaur exhibit

Some years ago, never mind how many exactly, I had the opportunity to attend an Answers in Genesis conference featuring Ken Ham, their founder and president, and another gentleman whose name I cannot recall but whose presentation was much more targeted toward children.

At the time, mind you, I was a fundamentalist Christian with a passion for creationism. I spent my time debating the merits of “creation science” in a number of online forums, and greatly enjoyed seeing the Ken Ham live and in person. I even dropped $60 or so on a collection of around ten Answers in Genesis publications.

cover art of "The Lie: Evolution," featuring an apple-shaped globe with a bite having been taken out of itAmong those books was The Lie: Evolution: Genesis — The Key to Defending Your Faith, (Seriously, the book basically has two titles for some reason) written by Ken Ham, “a very popular and effective speaker with American church audiences,” according to the blurb.

When I heard Mr. Ham being an “effective speaker,” he described what he considers one of the primary reasons why so many scientists accept evolution despite having the same evidence available to them as the clearly scientifically superior creationists: they wore different “glasses” which colored their interpretation of the evidence available to them. Continue reading “Introducing “The Lie: Evolution”: An Examination”

How to Prove an Atheist Exists, Biblically

As a bit of a follow-up to Definitively Proving God’s Existence, I want to add that in the Hebraic myth discussed in 1 Kings 18:21–40, God was proven to be real by Elijah’s sacrifice being accepted, with a spontaneous combustion of the sacrifice caused by God himself.

The prophets of Baal had no such luck with their sacrifice, as in the myth, their god did not exist to aid them in any way.

How would this play out in a contemporary context, if a believer in the God of the Bible decided to make a sacrifice to God as a show of faith in showing that he is real, in the face of unbelievers who may be making a counter sacrifice?  Continue reading “How to Prove an Atheist Exists, Biblically”

Definitively Proving God’s Existence, One Way or Another

As a skeptic, I have often asked for proof that God — specifically the God of the Bible, the religion of which is an overwhelming majority in my area — exists, to which I’m often told that there is no proof that God exists, that it simply requires faith, or that there is plenty of proof but that it takes faith to actually accept that proof.

I’m also often challenged to prove that God doesn’t exist, the implication being that one cannot prove a negative and so cannot prove that God doesn’t exist, leaving open the possibility that he does exist.

The Bible even goes so far as to say that you cannot test God (Deuteronomy 6:16; Luke 4:12), and some apologists will say that you cannot test God from a position of a lack of faith but that those who have faith in God can test him because they already know he’s real.[note]Got-Questions.org takes this position. Nothing says “useful knowledge” like conducting tests designed to confirm something which you already believe in. I’m sure confirmation bias won’t affect the results in any way.[/note]

Would you believe, though, that there is an experiment described by the Bible which is entirely repeatable and which can be performed by any group of people, provided one of them is a believer in the God of the Bible and the other isn’t? Continue reading “Definitively Proving God’s Existence, One Way or Another”

In Remembrance of 2001/09/11

Today marks the fourteenth anniversary that a handful of faithful Muslims chose the path of martyrdom in an act of terror against the United States.

Rick Beckman and Secular Now would like to remind you that religions — especially the Abrahamic religions of Judaism née Hebraism, Christianity, and Islam — have antagonism toward human cooperation built into their core scriptures.  Continue reading “In Remembrance of 2001/09/11”

Five Things Christians Get Wrong (About Their Own Religion)

Two-thousand years ago, a small religion popped up in the Middle East, inspired by Paul née Saul of Tarsus’ teachings about a man named Jesus.

Just as quickly, that religion died. It went extinct.

That’s not to say that “the faith” didn’t continue; rather, it rapidly evolved into something altogether different and incompatible with the original religion of Paul.

The traits which evolved are legion — encompassing everything from how Christians ought to live to nuances in what they are to believe — but I took a few moments to lay out what I consider to be the five biggest ways in which Christians get their own religion wrong. Continue reading “Five Things Christians Get Wrong (About Their Own Religion)”

On Mass Resurrections

Join me at a local cemetery to ask the question, “What would we expect to see if the graves opened up, giving up the dead contained therein back to the land of the living?”

Matthew 27:53 describes just such an event in conjunction with the crucifixion of Jesus, but not only is this huge, amazing, incredibly awesome event merely a footnote in the Bible compared to so many more mundane events, it somehow occurred without leaving a mark on history.

Now, just why would that be?

Featured image: source, license