Faith means never having to admit you were wrong

Jesus performed “healing miracles” all around the Galilee countryside, except in his hometown of Nazareth. The people there knew him and his tricks.

Threatening to throw Jesus off a cliff - Luke 4: 19

As one young “Christ follower” says: “After bringing Jesus out of the desert, God calls Him to preach in Nazareth where he is unable to do many miracles because of their lack of faith (Matt 13:58). But it gets worse. He then preached in the synagogue and offended the people (Mark 6:3). They were so incensed by His sermon they tried to push him off a cliff (Luke 4:14-30).”

That doesn’t stop Christians like the blogger quoted above – they just go into their Have-it-both-ways mode. Jesus as God is not the same as Jesus as man… Jesus as God is omniscient and infallible, Jesus as man is fallible and still learning… How can you tell which Jesus you’re dealing with? By the results, of course! If a miracle succeeds, it was God. If it fails, it was just the human.

This is the heart of faith: A person is in a car crash and survives – “Praise the Lord!”… but their spouse is killed – “God works in mysterious ways.”

A child is in hospital with doctors and medicine and survives some rare and often-fatal illness: “Proof that prayer works! Praise the Lord!”

Meanwhile there are 30 countries in Africa in which over 10% of children die before the age of 5. The leading causes of death for them are simple: acute respiratory infections, diarrhea, measles, malaria and, of course, malnutrition. Worldwide, according to UNICEF and the World Health Organization, 7,000,000 children a year die from preventable causes. So why do so many innocents die? “God works in mysterious ways.”

Faith means never admitting you were wrong. It’s not a good attitude for raising children, making educational policy, or running a government.

4 comments on “Faith means never having to admit you were wrong

  1. carbuncle says:

    I’ve read through about 30 of your posts here, originally intrigued by your stated aim of providing context for the Roman occupation that you believe is ignored or treated inadequately by those who call themselves Christians – whether scholars or average people.

    I was curious about what context you could lend because it is useful to understand the “realities” of the context of Jesus’ life, and I will admit I have read and heard more than a few teachers who fail to read the context correctly and hence misunderstand something.

    After having read a good chunk of your writing, I don’t see a lot of new insight or context to the Roman question. I do see a lot of rants on the awful hideousness of the Mosaic Law and Old Testament history, which don’t really bear a lot on the Roman question. Of the content you do offer on the Old Testament, I don’t see a whole lot of reflection on the context in which the Old Testament or its stories arose.

    I was finally stirred to offer comment in this post as you simply generalize, stereotype, and create straw men to feed your need to take a club to Judeo-Christian faith systems. Sorry, but I don’t see you offering anything new to those you would talk to. If your intention was to be helpful, you need to find your focus again. If your intention was to simply rant and rave and spout unoriginal vitriol probably motivated my some injury inflicted on you by someone who claimed to be a Christian at some time, well join the club – it’s a big one on the internets, but it won’t change anything for you or the guy who hurt you. I was deeply hurt by a grandparent once, and I don’t hate all old people because of her. Maybe you should try and get past the anger and actually explore a group of believers who actually believe in rational pursuit of the divine. It is possible to be a Christian and still believe in an ordered universe, science, rationality and honest questioning. Personally, I share your derision of those who would just brush off questions with “God works in mysterious ways”, or “Just have faith.” There are more like me than not.


    • Jay says:

      Actually, in my experience, every single Christian I ever met – back when I was a Christian trying to resolve the existence of evil problem for myself – who claimed to believe in the “rational pursuit of the divine” ultimately fell back on some tortured variation on God Works In Mysterious Ways. Or, if it wasn’t that, it was You Can’t Hold God To Human Morality. Or sometimes it was Your Human Mind Can’t Comprehend God’s Plan. C.S. Lewis was really big on that one.

      And you know why? It’s because there is no rational pursuit of the divine. All the incredibly intelligent, educated, articulate Christians who built very complex frameworks to justify the randomness of reality started out from the single impossible standing card – “God Exists” (with the corollary “God is my particular God”) – and then proceeded to build their houses of cards from there. But you can’t do that. You can’t insist that you are pursuing reason if you are not going to apply reason to your original premise.


    • Jay says:

      Also, it’s super offensive for you to imply that someone’s skepticism stems from some emotional injury in the past. I could just as well accuse you of being a Christian because your dad abused you as a kid. Of course I have no idea whether you did or not, just as you have no idea whether Robin was attacked or not. So stop it unless you want to come off as a condescending ass to the people you’re trying to convince.


  2. carbuncle says:

    I apologize, it was not my intention to categorize you in particular, more that many I have known who were vociferous opponents of “religion” could and would openly admit their doubts began with a hypocrite.

    I’ll give you a case in point from your post: your main point is that Christians give God all the credit for good and plead mystery when there is evil. Sure there are some that do that, but you are painting with as wide a wider brush stroke than I did when I said lots of atheists have been hurt by people in church and that is what led to their anger and energy in opposing the religious. In your conclusion you take your “many” and extend it to “all” with your statement “Faith means never admitting you were wrong.” You have now successfully painted these errors in reason on every single person who espouses faith in any higher power.

    Which is actually the fatal flaw in your argument. In your comment, you claim that there is, categorically, with absolute certainty, “no rational pursuit of the divine.” You claim absolute knowledge, which is absolutely necessary to have absolute certainty there is no divinity. You basically claim divinity for yourself – one characteristic of divinity is omniscience. A good rationalist always recognizes the limits of his own knowledge. Having no time for any pleading of the end of knowledge in others, you hamstring yourself in refusing to consider the limits of your own being.

    Humanity are finite organisms with only a limited capacity to perceive. We can’t know anything with absolute certainty. The enlightenment was begun by men and women of faith, who didn’t fall back on that ignorance as a default, but instead sought to discover more about the divine through the study of how creation works. This I believe is what God always intended. Do I start with the assumption of God’s existence? I have tried to rule it out, frankly, because I was not raised with faith. I was not raised inculcated with the concept of divinity. But when I break down life into its component parts, when I study microbiology and the components of cells and how they operate, the smaller I get the more I recognize that the components themselves follow orchestration and organization that there is simply no intelligence behind. You say you are convinced by the chaos of life around you there is no god, I am convinced by the organization and order of life around me that there is. When you get down to a molecular level, there is no force moving proteins, amino acids and even smaller particles to exactly where they need to be for a cell to live and operate. There is nothing. There is no possibility that there are just really really small computers telling them what to do. We know from physics that particles can only be divided so many times before they simply lose locality. The answer isn’t in the dimensions that we can perceive. And when we get into the consideration of other dimensions and their influence on our perception of reality, suddenly the science seems to point to the concept of outside, unperceived influences on our reality. They point to the existence of a soul. They point to the existence of a spirit realm. They point to God. This isn’t pleading mystery: this is pleading science.


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