- “Christians” will probably just dismiss any attempt to even question what they (mis)understand as the “Biblical” account — in even the slightest detail. Fundie “Literalists” will simply, blithely hand-wave away all counter-evidence, no matter how rigorous or persuasive, as having been fabricated by Yahweh as a “Snare for the proud”/”test of faith”. (Hint: “Young Earth” imbeciles already do that on a regular basis, with pretty much the whole of biology/paleontology, geology, etc.)
- On the other side, the “better” sort of “believer” (so-called “religious moderates”) will engage in a different sort of hand-waving: the same kind THEY do in regard to everything else in “The Bible”:
As the issue is (brilliantly) illustrated by one commentator:
Now, fundamentalists and other conservative believers will hotly deny this charge. They’ll insist that they really do follow the literal word of their sacred text. They’ll come up with any number of contorted excuses for why they embrace parts of their religious text and reject others: why they’re wearing cotton-poly blends, why their disobedient children are still alive.
But progressive and moderate believers take a very different approach. They freely admit to cherry-picking. “Sure,” they say. “The Bible says a lot of things — things that are anachronistic and absurd, factually inaccurate and morally grotesque. The Bible (or whichever sacred text we’re talking about) isn’t a perfect document written by God — it’s a flawed document written by people who were trying to understand God. You think you’re telling us something we don’t know? Yes, we cherry-pick. We should cherry-pick. We have minds, and moral compasses, and we’re supposed to think for ourselves. Isn’t that what atheists do? When you read works by thinkers you find inspiring, you get inspired by the parts that resonate with you, and you reject the parts you think are screwed up. Why shouldn’t believers do the same thing?”
In other words: “Fundies” will simply hand-wave away counter-evidence the same way they ALWAYS hand-wave away counter-evidence. “Religious moderates” will simply — evasively — “ignore” all the idiotic, indefensible, vicious shit in their OWN “sacred” text — WHILE FRANTICALLY CONTINUING TO “POLISH THE TURD” (by trying to rescue whichever of the 38,000+ denominations/Non-denominational variants of “Christianity” happens to give them “Jesus bumps”, for whatever reason. — while frantically denying that they have ANYTHING to do with the Fundie whack-a-loons from Wesboro Baptist, or suchlike.
NEITHER SIDE can afford to openly acknowledge what should be blindingly obvious to everybody at this point: the history of “Christianity” is basically one, unbrroken trail of MARTYRS: whether we’re talking about the Inquisition MARTYRING “heretics”, or “the Church” MARTYRING unrepentant “pagans”, or the Crusades, — to say nothing about the “Global Jihad” which has become essentially just another aspect of the cultural background noise of our post-9/11 world (but which nobody can bring themselves to admit is ACTUALLY ABOUT — and not merely “in the name of” — religion.)
(Hint: much of the animus of the “Islamic World” toward “infidels” stems from the fact that they are still pissed off about the Crusades. — among many other things.)
Quite simply, the fact that “Christians” have become better over the last 200 years or so comes down to exactly ONE factor: Christianity has progressively been rendered ever more IMPOTENT. For example, the Roman Catholic church is prevented (for now) from actually taking any sort of punitive action against the 38,000+ Protestant ‘Heresies’ — of which (Baptists/Lutherans/Calvinists, etc.) have managed to grow into “denominations” in their own right.
The only thing “Christians” can do nowadays is: whine, cry and throw tantrums thinly-disguised as “Fire and Brimstone” preaching.
Ultimately, that’s all they can do. They’ve pretty much been culturally impotent since “Deism” happened. The fact that Elihu Palmer and Robert G. Ingersoll didn’t have to fear being burnt at the stake, or otherwise “tortured” back into orthodoxy should tell you everything you ever need to know about why the “Separation of church and state” is a genuinely good thing.
The corruption goes to the base of “Christian” history:
(Hint: What would you do if (say) Muslims somehow managed to have Islam declared the “State Religion” of the United States, after which they forced the closure of all churches and synagogues?
What’s that? I’m pretty sure “Christians” (like Becky Wegner Rommel) would be screech-weeping about “religious freedom” in a heartbeat.
The dirty little secret at the base of “Christian” history?
Hint: Any religion which spreads by “the sword” should DIE “by the sword” — just sayin’. 🙂
Personally, I’m going to find it amusing if — (or more likely, WHEN) some variant of the “Global caliphate” comes a-knockin’ on Becky Wegner Rommel’s door, and tries to get her to obey their “Hijab” bullshit.
It’s gonna be fuckin’ hillarious, watching all those “persecuted” homophobic wedding photographers and such being lined up right along side the “sodomites” they hate so much, and beheaded en masse.
Quite frankly, that is the only aspect of the next (self-inflicted) Dark Age which I would find even marginally interesting. Theocratic tyranny itself? Not so much.
Anyway: I’m off topic-again.
Really, I have absolutely nothing against those who happen to self-identify as “Christian” — well, nothing specific against most of them. I’m well aware that the primary reason they “believe they’re Christians” (to use the terminology Fundies are so fond of) typically has infinitely more to do with MERE GEOGRAPHY (and/or “Mommy and Daddy”), than any kind of coherent understanding of whichever of the 38,000 “Denominations” of Christianity happens to have been inflicted on them.
In the same vein, I am fully aware that those who find “refuge” or “consolation” in a religion are seldom – if ever — capable of EVER dispassionately evaluating the specific dogma foisted on them. Any attempt to do so, after all, would constitute “walking by ‘sight’ and not by ‘faith’ — and would probably result in a relapse into whatever existential crisis precipitated the initial bout of religiosity in the first place.
Which brings me (finally!) to my point about the “historical Jesus” (IF such an individual actually existed — which really is debatable.)
Quite frankly, “Jesus Christ” is to the “historical Jesus” what “Santa Claus” is to ” Nikolaos of Myra” (“Saint Nicholas”):
To put it another way, the question of the “historicity of Jesus” is equivalent to the question of whether or not Abraham Lincoln was a vampire hunter.
Quite frankly, I’m pretty sure THAT fact goes a long way toward explaining the implicit (and often explicit) contempt most “Christians” exhibit toward Jews/Judaism: The mere fact that Jews/Judaism continue to exist at all is a CONSTANT (and implicitly painful) reminder that “Christianity” is neither ubiquitous, nor unquestionable.
Quite frankly, the fact that Jews have (what they consider to be) sound theological reasons for not UNCRITICALLY SWALLOWING “CHRISTIAN” DOGMA (even when FORCE-FED such dogma at sword-point) has to be rather galling — especially for those who pretend that their status as “clergy”/religious “authorities” actually means anything — even though they are legally barred from slaughtering “heretics” and “unbelievers” at whim.