Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of parables, but only when they are food for thought, not rationalizations. Anyway, I read a blog where someone was talking about how their faith made them feel like they were constantly going in circles, and then one day their dog kept getting wrapped around a tree or pole or whatever and they kept having to walk them around in circles to untangle them and it occurred to them that this must be how god is with him and why god is leading him in circles and that he doesn’t understand the reason for it any more than the dog understands why he’s being lead in circles and that just like the dog being “set free” god is setting him free by leading him in circles…
Now this would be fine if it were food for thought, it’s an interesting “what if” idea. But he’s not using it that way, he’s stumbled on a purely hypothetical notion which, if it were true, would justify his beliefs and he’s decided it’s true – not because it makes sense, but because it gets him to the conclusion he believes he’s supposed to reach.
Anyway, I gave a response and I wasn’t going to post it but the guy ended up being a tool so I’m going to go ahead and post it.
You can use simple analogies like that to justify anything. You could’ve said “so by chaining my son up in my backyard until he’s thirty I’m really setting him free!”
Your religion isn’t working out for you but because being tied up doesn’t work out well for your dog that means your religion is working out for you?
Life is complicated and confusing, and we start out with no understanding of anything. And faith is no guide. It’s a compass that doesn’t point north, but points every direction in turn. Of course you’re going in circles. The reason the bible doesn’t help (or rather seems to help intermittently) is that the bible says everything. It espouses every opposing and conflicting ideology. God is kind and merciful and loving and he’s vengeful and jealous and spiteful and will fuck you up for the slightest thing. You’re saved by faith alone without the need for deeds of the law. Oh, and faith is worthless without deeds of the law. To not have faith is a terrible sin and you will and should be punished for it, so make sure you believe in god and heaven – oh and also nobody knows what happens when you die, to think you do is vanity, mankind has no advantages over the animals and so just live a good life.
The bible is a mass of conflicting ideologies, to “follow” it is like following a dozen people who are all telling you different things.
The solution is simple – USE YOUR BRAIN. Find out what’s good, true, useful, evident, logical and throw out the rest (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Because as we all know you should follow the newness of the spirit, not the oldness of the letter, for the letter killeth but the spirit giveth life (Romans 7:6). Oh, and while you’re at it all of scripture is universally true and useful (2 Timothy 3:16). And you should follow every letter of it until the end of time (Matthew 5:17-19). Except this part of course, that’s rubbish (Matthew 5:33, 38-39) and so on and so on and so on. I could go on like this for hours.
Start consciously choosing which parts make sense and rejecting the rest. You won’t feel like you’re walking in circles any more.
What was his response?
To the christian who commented:
“My brother, thank you for the visit, the comment and the rec! It’s been a privilege and a source of holy joy to watch you and your family grow in Christ over the years since you moved onto the block, and I thank God frequently for sending you to us. A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. (Pro 16:9)”
And to me:
“A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself. (Pro 18:2) LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep. A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this. (Psa 92:5-6)”
His response is to be the ten thousandth christian to (literally) insult my intelligence by calling me a fool. I replied:
“And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:22)
Like I said, I can go all day.