3/11/2007                                                                                       View Comments

Foolish Christians?

by DagoodS

On occasion the Christian informs us that they expect what they say will appear foolish. As if it was a badge of honor; giving a stamp of approval to the statement by someone being puzzled by it.

I suspect this harkens back to 1 Cor. 2-4 where Paul states that the preaching of Christ crucified is “foolishness,” and Paul himself brags of becoming a “fool” for Christ. 1 Cor. 4:10. And what Christian does not want to be like Paul? Er…I mean what Paul said Jesus would want.

Thus we hear statements prefaced by “This will sound foolish to you…” or “People believe I am a fool when I say...” often followed by some trite quip about faith or prayer.

But then I look at how Christians actually live. They don’t look very foolish to me. No sirree! In fact they look quite clever.

You know what looks foolish to me? Not planning for the future. Spending every dollar in your wallet seems very unwise to me. Common sense tells us we should be aware that things change, and we might need a bit of help from a bank account.

So we plan for retirement by investing, or putting money in a 401(k) or IRA or Mutual Funds. (Sorry this is so Americanized.) We anticipate our children’s futures by having education funds. We have bank accounts, savings accounts, checking accounts, Christmas Clubs. Sometimes more than one.

We keep a little extra cash “just in case.” Stocks, bonds, portfolios and coffee tins with cash hidden in far corner of the garage. Reviewing the history of humanity would indicate this is smart.

I would expect, then, Christians, being foolish, are doing no such thing. I would expect that they do not worry about what to eat, or drink or wear. Only we pagans would be pursing such useless trinkets. Matt. 6:30-32.

The idea of a Christian, who has this “foolish” faith in the creator of the universe caring for them, having a bank account or stock portfolio, would be laughable! They have no need for such things. Can you imagine Paris Hilton worrying about how much money is in her bank account? Christians have so much more power than that to tap into.

But what do I see? Why, they follow the stock market more closely than I do. They have larger homes, retirement funds, education packages, and bank accounts than I would ever dream. What exactly is being so “foolish” about being more worried than I am as to how tomorrow will turn out?

Know what else seems pretty foolish? To not take advantage of the medical advances we have now. If we need treatment, we have doctors, surgery, hospitals, clinics, medications of every stripe, physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, mental therapists and even massage therapists. Yes, being a man, I have that foolish tendency to “tough it out” until I am really sick. It is very likely I will be one those that drives themselves to the hospital after having a heart attack.

Even as a Christian, I could not proudly equate that to relying on Christ. I was just being stubborn. (And I hate doctors, surgery, hospitals, clinics, etc.)

I’d think it pretty foolish, rather than having open heart surgery, or chemotherapy, or having an orthopedic doctor set a bone, that the Christian has the elders of their church pray over them, and then never treat again. James 5:13-15. So—is that what we see Christians do?

Nope. They go to the same doctors, sit in the same waiting rooms, and receive the same prescriptions as I do. Oh, sure they add a line item to the Wednesday Night Prayer Sheet. But on Thursday, they are keeping their appointment!

It is with wry amusement we see Christians go to the doctor, have surgery, continue with a course of medication, and then say how God healed them with the power of prayer. Those doctors did not have anything to do with it. *roll eyes*

Oh, no. Christians are not foolish in the least. They take advantage of the bull Stock Market and the newest medication from Johnson & Johnson, just like I do.

Churches have locked doors and alarms.

Think about it.

Luke 6:27-35 clearly states that if someone steals from you, don’t expect it back. “Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.” O.K. that not only sounds unwise, it sounds dangerous.

Apparently, when a Christian says they are foolish, they would prefer we forget or not read Luke 6. (Hey, I will do ya one better. If you had people at the church 24 hours in order to tend to the needy, feed and shelter the homeless, and be open for those in need at 2 a.m., (Matt. 6:1-4) you wouldn’t have to worry about locks. Odd concept, eh?)

When I am told by a Christian that what they say may appear foolish, I look at their locks, their bank account and their medicine cabinet and inwardly smile. What they do seems to be quite unfoolish indeed!

News Flash to Christians: we can read your Bible, too! We see what Christ says about how you should live, what you should do, and what you should put your trust into. We see how you act (not just what you say) and we are unimpressed with your claim that you “foolishly” believe in this God. You act too wise in the ways of the world to claim being foolish.

Look at the Sermon on the Mount. (Matt. 5:1-7:23) Go read it. Jesus speaks how Christians should be shining out like a city on a hill. How you should treat people respectfully, and not doing so is the equivalent of Murder. Give to anyone who asks. Love your enemies, not just those that you find worthy to receive your love. Give to the needy. Pray in secret. Fast. Don’t store up treasures on Earth.

Don’t worry about storing up treasures on earth. Don’t worry about clothes, food or the necessities of life. Don’t worry about money. Stop judging, and don’t worry about how you will live, ‘cause God will give you anything you ask for out of Love.

Interestingly, Jesus finishes up these very practical commands with the parable of the two builders. The foolish one built on sand, whereas the wise one built on rock. I think we all know which one was which in the story Jesus was talking about.

Any Christian reading this, please re-read the Sermon on the Mount. It will not even take you five minutes. Which foundation are you building on?

We have philosophical arguments against the Christian God. Historical problems, archeological problems, and severe methodological problems. We have inconsistencies, contradictions and things that simply don’t add up.

But one of the biggest problems, to me, is the pragmatic problem. Christians don’t live as if they really believe it, either. And any argument to the contrary has all the appearance of a hollow shell. We may be “wise” in the ways of the world, but we aren’t stupid. We recognize justification to defend the fact that Christians don’t pragmatically think Jesus really meant what he said.

The story (and possibly urban myth) is told of a time that Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart went into one of the stores in order to buy a fishing reel. The manager of the store, obviously knowing who he was, said to just take it and not worry about it. Mr. Walton insisted on paying for it. (And, I might add, knowing the personality of Mr. Walton, this would be very much in his character.)

Mr. Walton had no worries about whether the fishing reel would be provided.

Christians tell me that they are “foolish” because they believe in a God. A God that is the owner of Wal-Mart, Apple Computers, Microsoft, General Motors, Toyota, Honda, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Yamaha and Sony combined. A God that loves them, and will care for them, and has committed the ultimate sacrifice for them.

And then they stand right next to me in line, worried about having enough money to buy a newspaper.

Foolish? Or very wise indeed; since they, too, pragmatically are convinced there is no such God.

13 comments:

freedy said...

Christians who are successful,happy,and healthy are that way because it's in their nature.(very few, by the way).

They are hard working, disciplined and would be even as unbelievers.

God has nothing to do with it!

RubySera said...

I suspect the Christian claim to foolishness is only one of their ways to safe-guard the claims of their religion. They make no claims of being foolish when the topic regards money. They may, however, use Jesus' parable about being "wise as the children of this world" to shut up the questioner. Or Jesus' command "Be ye wise as serpents." (Please don't notice that the last part of the verse is missing or what it actually says because, well, it might be inconvenient at times. They do feel a need to protect their own interests and at times that can hurt someone. That is unfortunate but necessary.)

Where I come from, birth control is forbidden. Government aid to farmers is forbidden. Child allowance (another goverment handout) is forbidden. Farming is considered to be the most godly way of life, and almost compulsary for respected community members. The community takes care of 75% of hospital bills. Thus, we have large families living on unaffordable land in debt over their ears. We also have eighty-year-old deacons with homes paid for and children well-launched going for open heart surgery.

The one time I dared raise the issue I got a really lame but indignant reply. I forget what it was. Something about preserving god-given life. Yeah right! What about that hard-working farmer with the designated large family (read "baby per year") whose real talent was in anything but farming? He was obligated to fix the old guy's heart with money he didn't have at work he hated, trusting God to give him sleep at night. Oh, just to keep things fair, the church would reimburse 75% of the hospital bill when his wife went to have her next baby.

When the American border closed to Canadian beef earlier in this decade, the beef farmers were very hard hit. Some had to leave the church because the community would not help with the financial difficulties. There were rumours floating around that perhaps the old guys were running out of money, too. There was a special meeting held to discuss the possibility of allowing farmers to accept government aid.

I was no longer part of the community but I still had family and other acquaintances there. I had extremely mixed feelings. If the old guys decided to allow government aid now that their money had run out, they were being about as utterly hypocritcal as humans can be. On the other hand, if they forbid it, they are simply tightening the already deadly grip on the penniless. They decided on the latter. Those farmers who could afford to do so, got really creative. Others left the church. And "earned" all the crap people automatically "earn" by leaving.

Did I mention that these are some of the most upright Christians in the world? At least, listening to their sermons you get that impression. In fact, (according to them) they are second to none when it comes to correctly dividing the Word of God. We're not supposed to make fun of them, but what, pray, are we supposed to do? Huh? Pray? Oh yeah, I resorted to Old English. Oh well....only those who want to will hear.

infidel666 said...

Another excellent article dagoods! Wow! Damn you drove that point into concrete! Fabulous my friend.

HeIsSailing said...

I have said this before, and I will say it again. Being a Christian in the USA costs us absolutely nothing. Despite the teaching to 'count the cost' (Luke 14:28), deny self, and take up the cross (Mark 8:34) and follow Jesus, Christians by and large speak piously, but act just like everyone else, your generic law abiding citizen. What about the Spirit's work to sanctify the believers and to make them more into Christ's image? Does that even exist?

I recently wrote an article concerning Christians who only pray for those things which do not require any faith. Despite promises of miraculous healing, they pray only for the mundane. Check it out:
http://heissailing.edublogs.org/2007/02/11/my-miraculous-hangup/


However, these are generalizations. There are Christians out there whom I truly do admire in the sense of true giving of self, and serving the poor and unloved. They are few and far between, but they are out there. See here for an example:
http://www.thesimpleway.org/

Telmi said...

Some believe fervently, many believe superficially. Since the advent of the New Testament, "Jesus" rather than "God" [of Old Testament] has been invoked by some [or many?] Christians as the pinnacle of love, peace, humility etc. Christians who have a preference for using the name of Jesus [instead of "God the Father"] to talk about their faith and Christianity appear to know something about Jesus's teachings as narrated in the NT. And I suspect they may know something about the portrayal of God the so-called Father in the OT, as a genocidal maniac, a capricious, malevolent psychopath, a sadomasochist, a jealous egotist etc etc. But then, Jesus allegedly made clear claims about this same maniac being his God, his Father and that he, Jesus, and the Father are "one". Hence, to believe in Jesus is to believe in the genocidal maniac aka malevolent psychopath aka the sadomasochist of the OT. As they say, you cannot have your cake and eat it, too. It is clear that the teachings as expressed in the NT are poles apart from those of the OT, where killing recklessly or mindlessly was a norm, encouraged/instigated with glee by none other than the Maniac himself aka God. Christians may have a preference to use the NT as a testimony to their faith, but, unfortunately, they cannot avoid the baggage of the OT. Their God, they should honestly admit, is a maniac, a genocidal criminal and there is no alternative interpretation for it, if they want to be honest about it.

The next question is: Do they wish to continue believing in this God?

eel_shepherd said...

I heard a saying once: "No-one believes in god the way they believe in gravity." And you're right, DagoodS., Xtians don't behave in a way that squares with their professed beliefs.

I listen to one of the Xtian radio stations fairly often, mostly for the comic relief, but partially to get a handle on the way they think. Well, it's almost wall-to-wall Jesus, but the key word there is "almost". The exceptions are: one hour a week devoted to a lecture delivered at the Commonwealth Club of California; the odd infomercial for some health product called Flexogen; and, definitely not a 1-hr./week show entirely devoted to money management and investment strategies. Listening to these guys talking about maximising their return, with zero concern for the fact that these returns are coming out of the hides of "the meek", is enough to make you puke. They couldn't care less who they're fucking in the ear, as long as it pays better than whatever else they could be putting their dough into. No doubt they have some default image of where the rubber meets the road, during all this "returning" on their "investment" that's either highly edited or, more probably, totally false.

No, all this "this may just sound like folly to you" preamble to their folly is just a sort of an advance guard, as if they have reams of hidden background knowledge which would just be too time-consuming to try and bring you up to speed on.

When really, the emperor has no clothes. And, in some corner of their minds, they know it and they live like it.

mike said...

Yea, christians talk about being content with what you have, but they sure fight to get all they can. Interesting isnt it?

Anonymous said...

I have a question....
If something doesn't fit the description, does it keep the same name?

ex.
If a cat could talk, and walked up to you and called himself a man.
Would you just agree?

Would you just talk about the cat behind its back to everyone else about how the cat thinks its a man?

It can't be what it calls itself if it doesn't fit the description... DUH !

(Meaning, all those so-called christians either dont know, or dont care. If they dont care. Then they aren't christians.)

Anonymous said...

I have a question....
If something doesn't fit the description, does it keep the same name?

ex.
If a cat could talk, and walked up to you and called himself a man.
Would you just agree?

Would you just talk about the cat behind its back to everyone else about how the cat thinks its a man?

It can't be what it calls itself if it doesn't fit the description... DUH !

(Meaning, all those so-called christians either dont know, or dont care. If they dont care. Then they aren't christians.)

DagoodS said...

Anonymous,

You bring up a good point. Perhaps they are not “true” Christians, right?

So I look in your Bible as to how I can look at the cat…er…Christian and see whether they are really who they say they are. Shall we?

According to 1 John 3:6-9 whoever abides in God does not sin. According to Mark 16:17-18 (if you believe that is inspired) “true Christians” will cast out demons, handle snakes, drink poison unaffected, speak in tongues, and have the power to heal merely by touch.

It would seem I am looking for sinless, snake-handling, poison-drinking, demon-exorcising, tongue-speaking people with the evident power to heal by touch.

Those seem awfully hard to come by—do you know where any are?

erf1018 said...

Sadly, your words make sense – although you paint with a very broad brush. It is easy to sit on the sidelines and evaluate the lives that others lead. I realize this may be a stretch, however after reading your opinions, I guess it is safe to assume (or perhaps not) that the idea of the Biblical truth is not one that you would endorse. So holding anyone to a standard that you don’t believe, and I would content do not understand – is not reasonable. If you are in fact an English Biblical literalist, then your words have much more credibility.
I will agree with you that Christians often do a horrible job at living out of the faith they profess to have. I am guilty of hypocrisy every day. I don’t say that with the least bit of joy, but with sadness. On the other hand, I don’t feel that I have a God given right or responsibility to pass any judgment on anyone. As I see it, my purpose in this world is to simply extend grace – sometimes the grace to let others be. Now, I do have strong personal convictions about who God is, and how Jesus came to gain my freedom – but again I don’t have the power to impose my faith on anyone else. God is in the business of life changing, I am simply asked to try my best to bring comfort to a world that He loves – regardless if they believe in Him or not. Are my efforts above reproach – no, but I am trying. I will say that my response to Jesus has taken me to places far outside the limited scope of your lens, where personal wealth and size of home are of no value. I have been to places where 80% of the people we serve die within 6 months, yet we go simply to try to meet their physical needs.
I understand the root of your argument and I would also contend that many American Churches have missed the point of the gospel – but many have not.
I heard it said that the greatest single cause of atheism in this world is Christians, who profess Jesus with their lips, but deny Him by their lifestyle – that is what an unbelieving world finds unbelievable. I agree with that. However there are many people who quietly go about the business of serving others, out of their love for Jesus.

erf1018 said...

Sadly, your words make sense – although you paint with a very broad brush. It is easy to sit on the sidelines and evaluate the lives that others lead. I realize this may be a stretch, however after reading your opinions, I guess it is safe to assume (or perhaps not) that the idea of the Biblical truth is not one that you would endorse. So holding anyone to a standard that you don’t believe, and I would content do not understand – is not reasonable. If you are in fact an English Biblical literalist, then your words have much more credibility.
I will agree with you that Christians often do a horrible job at living out of the faith they profess to have. I am guilty of hypocrisy every day. I don’t say that with the least bit of joy, but with sadness. On the other hand, I don’t feel that I have a God given right or responsibility to pass any judgment on anyone. As I see it, my purpose in this world is to simply extend grace – sometimes the grace to let others be. Now, I do have strong personal convictions about who God is, and how Jesus came to gain my freedom – but again I don’t have the power to impose my faith on anyone else. God is in the business of life changing, I am simply asked to try my best to bring comfort to a world that He loves – regardless if they believe in Him or not. Are my efforts above reproach – no, but I am trying. I will say that my response to Jesus has taken me to places far outside the limited scope of your lens, where personal wealth and size of home are of no value. I have been to places where 80% of the people we serve die within 6 months, yet we go simply to try to meet their physical needs.
I understand the root of your argument and I would also contend that many American Churches have missed the point of the gospel – but many have not.
I heard it said that the greatest single cause of atheism in this world is Christians, who profess Jesus with their lips, but deny Him by their lifestyle – that is what an unbelieving world finds unbelievable. I agree with that. However there are many people who quietly go about the business of serving others, out of their love for Jesus.

.:webmaster:. said...

The greatest cause of atheism is reality.

If people weren't insisting that a god belief was mandatory, the word atheist wouldn't even exist.

Everyone is an atheist until they are taught that there is a god to answer to.

Besides, why is being an atheist so bad? Is being an Islamic better? Is being a Pagan better? Is being a Deist better?

I thought only Christians are going to live forever in a wonderful playland in the sky? Everyone else is going to be tortured mercilessly forever in hell, right? So atheist, cultist, and wrong religionist are all the same, right? Why all the nervousness when it comes to atheists?