Friday, May 3, 2013

Keeping your eyes on Christ

When I was a theist one of the things I often heard amongst my fellow believers was about the importance of keeping your eyes on Christ. They applied this advice to just about every situation in life that one could fathom, but in doing so they also shunned wisdom and the seeking of knowledge. The reasoning was that they had found what they were looking for and therefore had no reason to look for anything else.

In our church we all had a very literal interpretation of the scriptures, and what we could not make sense of logically was relegated to one of the many mysteries of God. One of the key rules was that you don't question the Lord. Our job as servants of Christ was entirely based on obedience to what we perceived to be God's will. One of the things that I have learned from my experience is that there is not just an us against them mentality in fundamentalist Christianity, but there is a huge divide in what we call wisdom and what they believe wisdom to be.

This is best exemplified by a particular verse of scripture that tackles both issues at once. We find our text in Psalm 14:1 1"The fool says in his heart,“There is no God.”They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;there is no one who does good." The first thing to note here is that those who do not accept a belief in God is by default considered a fool and devoid of wisdom. The second thing this verse reveals is that without God in your life you are by default bad and therefore incapable of being good by both Jewish and Christian standards. 

One of the things many of my fellow atheists fail to understand is that theists don't view the world as we do. They view the world through their faith in God and what they believe is his will as revealed throughout the scriptures. In the eyes of a believer one who is not a spiritual person is automatically a slave to the desires of the flesh or the world. Which all happen to be bad according the the bible. For the believer a spiritual person is one who is driven by a desire to please God and worship him through their life and actions. 

The apostle Peter walks on water

Our church was what you would call a Christ centered church. There is a story in the bible where Jesus is seen walking on water while the apostles were waiting for him on a boat. At first they were afraid and thought that they were seeing an apparition. I personally don't think that this story was not meant to be historical but rather a lesson in faith. We find this tale narrated in Matthew 14 and in the other gospels. 

Let's take a look at the meaning of this story from a believers perspective since I think this will help atheists understand how theists see and interpret things differently. I used to accuse theists of playing semantic word games. But at the time I never considered that the reason that they redefine words is not by any fault of their own. They redefine words based on what they mean to them as they are used in their faith systems.

29“Come,” he said.Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14: 29-31

The underlined portion of that text is the lesson that this story is trying to convey. You see, while Peter kept his eyes on Christ he, like Jesus was able to walk on water. The story then states that when he saw the wind he became afraid. I could imagine this scenario where he pauses and looks around and realizes that the storm is pretty strong, the waves are pretty high, and... I'm walking on water! It's the rational mind kicking in and saying: "if you go out there you will sink! It's impossible to walk on water." Because of this moment of logical reasoning Peter sank and Jesus had to rescue him. Christians are trained to wear blinders to such ideas as reason and logic. 

Keeping your eyes on Christ

18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 1 Corinthians 1: 18-19;25

As you can see theists consider mans wisdom to be foolishness and God's wisdom to be supreme no matter how illogical it may seem. When I was an evangelist I met a man in my church who claimed to have been a Christian all of his life. He said to me one day that he never read any other book that wasn't "the word of God!" He actually believed that everything he would ever need to learn in this life was found in the bible! When I started reading secular books on evolution and other topics I was chastised by my church elders who warned me that the devil would use those books to ensnare me and take me away from the path of righteousness and truth. They were right!

This man was just trying to live by one of the bibles basic principles as he understood it. True wisdom comes from God; this is a recurring theme throughout the scriptures. 10"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." Proverbs 9:10 That's why when Christians are discussing morality they only see it from their own perspective of what is moral in the eyes of God.

The Christian concept of morality hinges entirely on your faith and obedience to what you deem to be God's idea of morality. Obedience to God without question is moral, living as if he doesn't exist is not. Arguing morality with a Christian is an exercise in futility given these odds. The few verses I have demonstrated here shows that theists view us as immoral no matter how we live or what we do simply because we don't believe as they do. 

Science and faith cannot be reconciled rationally

It is my opinion that science and faith could never be reconciled because they are two very contradictory methods on how knowledge is obtained. One requires hard work and research and the testing and discarding of ideas and theories while the other is based on acceptance without supporting evidence. Faith says: " this is the way things are and you can either accept it or deny it." Science says: "this is the way things may be, but they are always subject to change or revision as new evidence is uncovered." 

Keeping your eyes on Christ requires that you look neither to the left or right, but rather straight ahead. It is nothing more than a willful ignorance of the facts of life and the world around you in exchange for faith/belief in a superstition. 

Note: All biblical citations are from the New International Version


  1. Nice post, it explains very well the mind of the theist. I can remember my scientific nature is what led me away from religion.... I just could no longer accept that what was presented as fact could be true, when there was so much evidence proving these facts wrong.

    1. Thanks Christian, I feel that unless you've experienced theism at its most extreme charismatic levels you could not possibly understand the mentality. Book knowledge is great but nothing beats experience.