Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The shield of faith

13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:13-17

The full armor of God

Have you ever wondered why theists apparently don't seem to get it that their beliefs are irrational? Have you ever sighed a long breath of frustration after dumbing down the simplest facts and still getting resistance? Have you ever thought to yourself what the hell is wrong with this person while engaged in a debate about the existence of God? Well my friend, today's your lucky day; because I am going to break it down for you from the perspective of a former fundamentalist evangelist. 

It's funny that the bible refers to the analogy of a soldiers armaments to emphasize the need to arm yourself spiritually against the world and the wiles of Satan. Every piece of the armor is given a spiritual equivalent. The most important weapons that a soldier or knight may have are his primary offensive weapon his sword (the word of God), and his defensive weapon his shield (faith). 

The shield of faith

1Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
  1. pledge or promise: a declaration that inspires or is intended to inspire confidence
  2. confidence: confidence in personal ability or status
  3. certainty: freedom from uncertainty
The definition of assurance comes from the Bing online dictionary which I have also linked to. As you can see there are three definitions, but for the sake of my argument here I will be referring strictly to the third one. I remember when I was a theist that there was a very popular song amongst believers entitled 'Blessed assurance.' As a fundamentalist Christian I was sure that what the bible said was inerrant and true. Anything that contradicted these "facts" could only come from one source: Satan!

As a fundamentalist I found that loyalty played a huge part in my faith in God. Loyalty to the Lord and what I believed about him was the most important part of my life at the time. I was a man on a mission who had committed one hundred percent of my life to what I believed. There were no words that could dissuade me of what I knew deep down inside to be the truth. Science, logical thinking, reason, all were nothing but tools of the devil to deceive the faithful.

19For it is written:“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”20Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 1 Corinthians 1:19-20

The man in the picture is Thomas Jefferson and the quote attributed to him is a very reasonable piece of advice that we can apply to our lives and how we think and view the world we live in. But questioning God or the existence of God was not even an option. My personal definition of faith is what I like to call voluntary ignorance. With the wealth of information that is out there wouldn't it seem logical that you would want to put your faith to the test? Wouldn't you want to find a sure fire way to prove to others that the god you believe in and bow down to is in fact real and whose existence is beyond refutation?

This is where the problem lies. The bible condemns your questioning God, once you accept that he exists and submit your will to his then your job is to be a good little servant and obey. 

But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" Romans 9:20

The shield of faith deflects all reason, logic, understanding against anything that is against what a believer professes. As in real life combat, a shield as mentioned above is a defensive weapon meant to deflect the enemies strikes against you. Faith requires loyalty to stand up against scrutiny. 

  1. state of being loyal: the quality or state of being loyal
  2. feeling of duty: a feeling of devotion, duty, or attachment to somebody or something
As a Jew, Muslim, or Christian you feel obligated to your god of choice, and once fully committed you would defend those beliefs to the death if necessary. Religious beliefs are much like extreme patriotism. Oscar Wilde said it best when he said:"Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious." Like patriots all three adherents of the various faiths mentioned above have demonstrated throughout history that they are willing to kill and die if necessary for their beliefs. The numerous crusades were caused by  a combination of the desire for political and religious power.

In conclusion, we can attribute the theistic stance against science, logic, and reason to two primary reasons. The first and foremost reason is faith and the next and last reason is loyalty it's that simple. Breaking free from the delusions of religious beliefs is a personal journey that one must take on his/her own. There are no words that another can tell you to shake your faith nor any evidence that could dissuade you from your beliefs. Whatever it is that leads you to question your beliefs has to come from within you. That was my experience and I have found that every individual experience is different.

Note: All biblical citations are from the New International Version I have also used Bing search for word definitions used in this post.


  1. Having difficulties with automated spelling....

    I was saying, that this reasoning would not stand up in a court of law, and yet they ask people to swear on the bible.... a contradiction that has always baffled me...

    1. I actually think that swearing on the bible in a court of law and having in God we trust over the bench is a violation of the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Doesn't the separation of church and state go both ways? So why are we using a religious document as a deterrent to false testimony due to a fear of God?

    2. I have never "sworn" on the bible or any other document. In my rare interfaces with law and justice I simply "affirm that my testimony will be true to the best of my knowledge," and have yet to run across a judge not willing to accept that as sufficient.

      I also think that it is a blatant violation of the Constitutional principal of Separation for politicians to take oaths of office on the bible. I admire the rare one or two true Americans who have taken the oath of office on a copy of the US Constitution. It is the latter document they are sworn to uphold, not the former.

    3. I have never had to take an oath in court or anywhere for that matter. Besides I am not eligible for jury duty since I have a felony assault charge on my record from 2003. I don't really care because a shit about this joke of a justice system. Nor do I vote because I think its full of shit and no matter who you put in the White House things will remain as they want it to go.

      Politicians only care about themselves and are not in touch with the communities that they are supposed to be serving or representing. Ever notice how they all come out of the woods when its election time? Then you hardly ever hear about them again.

    4. Of course Christianity says shit like this - if you are wise you're not going to believe it, but if you are stupid and raised in it you certainly will. Of course religion hates wisdom and intelligence, even more so an especially stupid religion like Christianity.

  2. I know every journey is different and no matter what I say to a theist will not turn them immediately. But if I can sow one seed of doubt that lingers then I feel I have already done part of my job to rid the world of this societal evil.

    1. "if I can sow one seed of doubt that lingers then I feel I have already done part of my job to rid the world of this societal evil"

      Sometimes that's all it takes but as in my case that was like talking to the wall. I had an answer for everything. The deeper the indoctrination and commitment the harder it is to see straight and find your way out.