Kenneth Copeland, Faith, Fear and Ignorance

Early this morning I happened to see Kenneth Copeland talking with another preacher about faith. It disturbed me and discouraged me. It became clear to me while listening in for about ten minutes of wasted time that Christianity is here to stay. Just as Christianity survived the attacks of Voltaire, Thomas Paine, Nietzsche, Robert Ingersoll, and Bertrand Russell, it will survive the attacks of skeptics in our day. That’s both disturbing and discouraging to me. Christians have told the oft repeated story of how an anvil has broken many a hammer, and just like the anvil, the Bible as God’s anvil will break any hammer attack by skeptics. Christians tout the claim that skeptics have come and gone but the Bible has withstood every attack. Yes it has. And it will survive, perhaps easily. It’s an impossibly tough nut to crack, but not for the reasons Christians tout. Not because the Bible is true. Not because the evidence is on the believer’s side. But because of faith, fear and ignorance.

Copeland said faith was an action word. It's not. It's a noun. Verbs are action words. He said if someone yells "fire" in a theatre, the man who sniffs and says he doesn't smell any smoke and who looks and doesn't see any fire, will die if he doesn't get out. He said "I'm not gonna die because of my nose. I'm gonna believe God's word." This scenario is a non-analogous one, because it presumes that the person yelling "fire" is telling the truth even when the initial evidence seems to be against it. People have been known to yell "fire" in a crowded theatre when there is no fire.

During the brief time I was watching him it became crystal clear to me he is ignorant. He is ignorant about the Bible, philosophy, and history, to name just a few things. I don’t write about televangelists, because my aim is much higher that that. I usually aim at the premier apologists and Christian philosophers of our day. But these televangelists have a great many watchers and donors enough for some of them to be rich. This may be a better indicator of the level of understanding of the person in the pew than others. Ministries like his flourish because there are a great many ignorant believers with money. Even as a minister I tried to argue with my congregations that their offerings would be better used in the local church and on the mission field than on televangelists, and I said that prior to the Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker debacles.

Maybe the main motivator that keeps believers from being informed is that they have a fear of doubt which can lead to hell, I don’t know for sure. Maybe it’s anti-intellectualism, since the Bible disparages reason in favor of faith. Maybe it’s the desire to be "fully persuaded" in order to please their God, which doesn’t allow them to entertain any doubts or question their faith. Again, of that it might depend on the individual believer. But they are ignorant. Millions of them.

I think there are several areas of study which could provide the antidote to this ignorance. Maybe many believers just do not read the Bible. Chris Hallquist is right. When asked after a debate which books he would recommend, he said, “read the Bible.” Why? Because it debunks itself. It contains the reflections of ancient superstitious and barbaric people. Christian, have you read the Old Testament? Have you read Judges 19-21, seen here (scroll down)? One of my goals here at DC is to help believers become biblically literate for this very reason.

Copeland talks about the Bible being the word of God, but has he done any study at all in the five stages of Gospel transmission (scroll down), or has he really wrestled with the Biblical inconsistencies? I didn’t think so.

I think Copeland should also look into the history of the church which demolishes evangelicalism. He should look into the history of theology too, and he can even read evangelical Roger E. Olson’s treatment of it, to see how theology has been fought over and changed through the years. He should look into how theologians down through the years have interpreted the Bible, by reading evangelical Donald K. McKim’s edited book, Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters. It’s simply ignorant of Copeland to be that cocksure of his particular theology and his particular interpretation of the Bible, even by the standard of better informed evangelical writers (who, by the way, do not draw the proper conclusions necessitated by their own studies, presuming as they do that they've finally got it right when they admit it's an ongoing and ever-changing venture).

Copeland should also try to understand the history of Christian ethics, by reading J. Philip Wogman’s book, Christian Ethics: A Historical Introduction (Westminister Press, 1993). Christian believers who claim they alone have a standard of ethics should go to the library and read that book. They don’t have one. There isn’t any evidence they do.

That’s enough for now. But I think Christianity will survive our attacks because of ignorance. It’s not because our arguments have been defeated. So I commit myself and hope other skeptics (and believers) will join me in stamping out ignorance. I'm not afraid of this. Are you?

21 comments:

lee said...

John,
Very interesting post! I am optimistic however that one day this nation will protect the ignorant from fraudulent scum and begin to indict and hold responsible those that prey on them, like Copeland.

Sigmund Freud once said that man created God to deal with impersonal nature. Tsunami's, volcano's, earthquake's are all impersonal forces for which we can have no appeal. However, a God who is above such things can be appealed to, sacrificed to, and His wrath might be assuaged.

In many ways modern man still retains vestiges of primitive man and even when exposed to the light of reason, will choose instead the comfort of what is familiar; like Plato's parable of "the cave".

I am optimistic however because man is evolving. New generations, shake off some of the prior generations superstitions and, almost imperceptibly inch toward reason.

Brian_E said...

I'm with you. And while I agree with you that our task is mighty, I remain vigilant, and also realize that this is not an overnight process; this is a centuries long process. Plus there are several factors that give me hope:

1. The Information Age
- Never before in the history of mankind has so much information been so easily and readily available.

2. The watering down of Christianity
- Just look at what's happened with the church over the last hundred years! Strict religious dogmas are constantly being tossed aside and ignored even by the most feverish denominations. This trend will of course only continue.

3. Science
- Everyday science answers more questions that people used to only get answers from religion for. Again, another trend that can only go up.

Keep at it John; you're making a bigger impact than you can possibly know.

Jon said...

Look at Peter Popoff. After being exposed as a fraud in a most embarrassing and public fashion, today he's back up to the same old tricks and again making millions. Christianity can't withstand the arguments, but for most people persuasion is not about arguments.

Personally I participate in this discussion not so much because I'm trying to persuade people but more because I just find it interesting and enjoy learning about it. It would be nice if my friends and family stopped flushing money down the toilet by giving to religious groups, but I'm powerless to stop it.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi John,
HELL YEA!
I'm committed to stamping out ignorance. My internets fixed now so I'm gettin busy on my next article. It should be out this week.

baz said...

John, be not disheartened! :)

Religion is not our enemy, ignorance is. But I try to remember two overlooked facts:

1) there is a negative correlation between religious belief and intelligence.
2) according to MENSA, intelligence is increasing steadily (by 2-3% per decade, IIRC).

Ty said...

A deconvert here, one there. The process is slow, but worth the effort for ourselves and our children. And actually I think the data is revealing that the tide is actually turning. Anti-nonsense books like yours, Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, and the like are gaining tremendous ground. Eventually, and soon, reason is going to get the national exosure it needs to awaken people to these great writings which soundly dispell the notion of religion. I think that if the next president announces their firm belief in science and reason (and only one candidate is likely to do that), that it will propel us into the "Age of Science."

Positive thinking is "magic"! ;)

David B. Ellis said...

I think the main factor that keeps religion alive is a sense of insecurity.

Which is exactly why, I think, the USA has such a high rate of religiosity for a developed country---because we are the one developed nation with little in the way of a social safety net as compared to the others.

Lack of health care being a prime example.

I suspect as real security rises religiosity decreases. The evidence seems to point to this.

If we get some substantive improvements along these lines in the US I suspect we would see the same sort of fall off in religious belief that other countries have seen.

We might well do far more to fight the spread of religious fundamentalism in the US by working for universal health care than by atheistic evangelism.

Though, of course, there's no reason we can't do both.

Mike Wine said...

Thanks, John, for the article and the website. I agree with much of what you write! I've read your earlier book (downloaded to my Kindle), and probably will read your latest effort. As one who attends an unprogrammed Friends Meeting, I can say that the spirit works in many ways...and certainly in your life! I would not be a good defender of the 'name it and claim it' Pentecostals like Copeland since they seem to be a latter day manifestation of Baal worship. I do think that we're in for a long run of evangelicalism in the USA, but I also believe that it has now peaked in influence. Many of us who appreciate the life and teachings of Jesus, find a wide diversity of writings to be helpful to our lives. For example, one of the best 'devotionals' around right now is "The Sacred Depths of Nature" by Ursala Goodenough...who is not even a Theist! She intermingles a short chapter on science and then a short 'devotional' chapter on nature as sacred. Though I would be in slight disagreement with you on the existence of spirit, I appreciate your 'ministry' at DC very much!

On the question of belief in God: I suspect that a book like Justin Barrett's WHY WOULD ANYOE BELIEVE IN GOD would be the best evolutionary explanation. That is, belief in God is not adaptive, but, in effect, a spandrel (as Stephen J. Gould would have said). We are pattern recognizing primates and we have TOM, Theory of Mind, 'built in' and so we see a pattern of something 'out there' and ascribe MIND to it...and thus GOD. Though belief in God is not adaptive, religion clearly is! So, what you are actually facing is that homo sapiens tend to see a larger mind or overall pattern and thus believe in something. Then, this biological phenomenon feeds and conforms to the ever adapting religious milleu in which the homo sapein finds him/herself. That's enough for now! Thanks, Mike

goprairie said...

I do not have any confidence that religion can be done away with by logic and reason alone. For every bit that you explain away, they cling to or reinterpret some other bit until they have retreated to what science cannot yet explain - well, neither can God but they retreat him to there and cling to 'faith' that he is still alive and useful there.
Usefullness to the human brain is the key. We need to figure out why the human brain so WANTS there to be a god. What functioning in the human brain is fed by religion, where in the brain religion comes from, what sorts of things are really going on when people feel a 'personal relationship' or 'one with' or god's 'presence' -
Once you explain to a person that their fear in the dark comes not from hidden spirits and lurking predators but an overactive peripheral vision that is fed directly to the instinctive reptilian brain, they can understand that there is really nothing there and keep a grip on the panic. Once you tell them why they feel the awe they do in nature, they can be less likely to ascribe it to being 'one with god' out there.
I think brain science is one way to help us out of this mess.
We understand nutrition and metabolism and diet and exercise and use those things to control health and weight and no one uses those machines with belts to vibrate away the fat thighs anymore. In the long run, I think everyone knows the Bible is debunked and many have an idea that god is maybe out dated and debunked, but they do not know what to do with the feelings and intuitions and unexplained hoo-doos that people call religious or spiritual experience. Science done with the right questions in mind could help a lot.

Atheist Okie said...

I use to go to a church who was huge on Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, and Jesse Duplantis.

I recently went to the church's website and noticed something in their Statement of Faith I never noticed before: "We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God; it is infallible and superior to conscience and reason. (I Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Peter 1:23-25; Hebrew 4:12)[http://www.duncanchristiancenter.org/documents/statement%20of%20Faith.htm].

How telling.

DingoDave said...

David B. Ellis wrote:
-"I think the main factor that keeps religion alive is a sense of insecurity.
Which is exactly why, I think, the USA has such a high rate of religiosity for a developed country---because we are the one developed nation with little in the way of a social safety net as compared to the others."

One of the things which attracted new converts to early Christian communities was their social welfare system. This is true even today. I believe that there is an invese link betwen the condition of a community's public welfare system and the virulence of the people's religious/nationalistic fervor. In my opinion, one of the most effective strategies for weakening the power of the clergy in America, would be for the U.S. federal government to introduce an effective 'National Health and Welfare' system into the country. Then, instead of going to fraudulent shamens (read clergy) for some relief from their suffering, people could rely (indirectly) on other people to help them. You guys in America definitely need to put an effective national health care program in place, sooner rather than later, if you wish to weaken the power of the clergy over your people.

Ann said...

Hi, I've read your blog for a while now. I am a Christian (have attended many types of churches, currently Quaker), understand and accept evolution, etc., and don't hold to a literal interpretation of the Bible. Yet I do hold to the teachings and life and example of Jesus. He stands for LOVE in action whether or not one is a Christian, holds to literal interpretations of anything or not, or anything else. I believe that many churches have lost previous converts because there is too much debate and "apologetic" and not enough love. I don't believe too many people want to leave a community that truly follows Christ's teachings rather than debate prophecy, literal vs. allegorical Bible, archeaological veracity, and so on. The Bible is not all something to be thrown away, even if much of it is hyperbole, allegory, poetry, geneology of people we aren't related to, and more (which I have read about thoroughly). If Christ's life and resurrection aren't practice in current life, how is anyone going to stay in such a setting? A formulaic, God-in-a-box "religion"- many people will leave it. Make a confession of faith, believe something, then work and maintain this to avoid damnation- that is much like Islam- which, too, is losing members. I would leave it, too.
However, I don't understand why you are so zealous to see so many people deconverted, except that you might feel a need to compensate for much of the early work of your life which you now feel to be of no use. I cannot read your mind, but why are you working so hard at this...if you are comfortable in what you believe now, why not let others believe as they do? You seem to have quite a convincing personality...and perhaps whether you are an Assemblies of God fundamentalist or a convinced atheist, you seem adamant in convincing others of your position.
My faith has withstood a lot of challenge and change as well. But I am definitely beginning to awaken to a different kind of love, the kind Jesus talks about.
I am not advocating that one not expose ruthless clergy who exploit people for money- we all admit they exist and prey on fears. Most clery I know, however, do not do this, and rely on fairly meager compensation in order to minister to people. I am the first one to laugh at Jan Crouch's pink hair.
I read a pretty decent book (didn't agree with all of it but most of it) called, I think, Christianity Lite- by a progressive Christian, which does expose some of the fundamentalist stuff for what it is, but also exposes the new atheists as also having quite an agenda. The truth is, much done in the name of "religion", especially Christianity, has been of great service and hope to people, but so much of it is behind the scenes- in the real work and lives of people, not the glitzy leaders or scientifically unfounded theology. And fraudulent religious leaders are the primary ones Jesus spoke against. He did NOT support the Pharisees of the time because they had NO LOVE for people, just like many people today have no love. Mother Theresa, though a member of the Catholic church which has had scandal after scandal, does not engage with people about these debates and theologies, what the trinity is, etc.- she just went out and did the work and miracles happened. I have a feeling she wouldn't give a whit about being beatified or canonized- just that her healing work continue. That is what the true Christ is about.
Maybe someone will come here and pick apart my post because it seems that's what a lot of people come here to do, but I'm willing to deal with that. Thanks,
Ann

Brother Crow said...

When I deconverted, within one year my wife and my three children (two sons, in their 20's, and a daughter, a teen ager) were happily agnostic/atheist. I did not evangelize, I just kept living my life...but they saw a difference. Here's a funny thing - as a Christian pastor, I told people "don't try and preach to the unsaved, live a life worthy of their respect." Most people did not, because "The Word" is a central force of manipulation in the religion (and the truth is, christians can't live up to the message, because the message is so convoluted, self-contradictory, and ultimately insane). Now, my life as an agnostic/atheist has convinced and "evangelized" my family...and a few others who have known me, seen my struggle, and like what they see right now.

My point? Perhaps our greatest field of influence is very close to home...maybe home. Friends. Colleagues. (A lady at work asked me, "why are you so calm and together?" I answered, because I am an atheist. It blew her mind).

Of course, christianity survives for much the same reason. People ape the religious rituals, symbols, systems and doctrines they see at home. Some rebel, and get converted. Some don't.

But, here is the great thing. We all die. And then, it doesn't matter. 2012 is not far away!

oli said...

Very good article John. Despite the debunking of theology that everyone here manages so well and the out right ridicule of religion that Dawkins and Hitchens manage so effectively, i'm not confident in any enormous strides against religion anytime soon, small strides yes, big ones no.

What i think might well happen is that the church will start to loose a lot of its "talent". The young, smart and inquisitive. With the internet and sites like this its just too easy for a doubting christian with an inquiring mind to find information to lead them away from their faith. This is a good thing, and a bad thing.

As the smarter people leave the faith, christianity will be left with those who either aren't smart or who lack intellectual curiousity. This will make them even bigger targets for televangelists, fundamentalists (who operate on emotion, not reason) and other negative influences.

Its sad but most christians don't read the bible, they read selected passages recommended by their preachers. They don't read scholarly apologetics, or biblical criticism, they simple aren't interested enough.

Over here in the UK christianity is propped up mostly by the old, many of whom religion is just a thing they do, they aren't well educated in their faith. The only church groups that attract the young are the fundamentalist groups that work on emotion, and you can't argue reason against emotion, as Atheist Okie said about his old church
"We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God; it is infallible and superior to conscience and reason."

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I think some will always believe regardless of evidence against what they believe. I'm not as concerned with that as I am with what they do with that belief. Does it lead to discrimination and hatred? Then I have a problem with it. Does it lead people to want to legislate morality? Then I'd like to see it gone. Does it lead people to truly help their communities and truly live their lives loving others? Then I'm quite ok with that.

Shygetz said...

Hi ann. Jesus reportedly said a lot of things, some of which were good, none of which were new. So did Jefferson; should I worship him, as well?

The Bible is not all something to be thrown away, even if much of it is hyperbole, allegory, poetry, geneology of people we aren't related to, and more (which I have read about thoroughly).

No one here (I don't think) wants the Bible to be thrown away, any more than I want Aesop's Fables thrown away. I simply want the stories in the Bible to be recognized for what they are...stories.

Make a confession of faith, believe something, then work and maintain this to avoid damnation- that is much like Islam- which, too, is losing members. I would leave it, too.

Most polls and projections, including the U.S. Center for World Mission, have Islam growing in both number and percentage of world population. Where did you hear Islam is losing members?

However, I don't understand why you are so zealous to see so many people deconverted...

*sigh* No matter how many times one answers this question, someone else comes along to ask it. I will take my point of view as an American. We'll start with the Christian push to dictate creationism be taught as science to kids in public school. We'll move on to the Christian dominionism movement in general. Even though the laws have been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, it is still technically illegal for an atheist to hold public office in some states. Anti-abortion domestic terrorism, abstinence-only sex education, children dying due to faith-healing, members of my government dictating that canker in orange trees be cured by applying magical "Kabbalah water", radical Islamic terrorism, my President declaring a "crusade", coerced prosetylization in my armed forces, widespread distrust of atheists in the public square. Pharmacists (and now cab drivers) refusing to do their jobs because it violates their religion, yet refusing to find a new career that doesn't violate their religion. Political and social movement organizations and retail outlets getting to campaign and do business tax-free because they shroud themselves in religion. Dangerous cults brainwashing and harming children and young adults under the legal protections afforded to religious practices. The entire idea that belief without rational justification is a GOOD thing is dangerous; it leads to all kinds of quackery and crankery, which cost people their lives. Not to mention the inconvenience of people yelling at me from a street corner or knocking on my door on a Saturday morning trying to convince me that, no matter how happy and satisfied with life I think I am, there really is a great big Jesus-sized hole in my life, and they have the answers that can cure all of that pain that I am unaware of having.

I read a pretty decent book ...which does expose some of the fundamentalist stuff for what it is, but also exposes the new atheists as also having quite an agenda.

Yes, we do have an agenda. It's to try to eliminate the stuff above.

The truth is, much done in the name of "religion", especially Christianity, has been of great service and hope to people

You were correct, until you added in the Christian exceptionalism part. There is no reason to think that more people are motivated to good deeds by Christianity than by Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confuscianism, etc. There is also no reason to think that more people are motivated to good deeds by religion than by humanism. Would you be an ass if you were not Christian? If so, does that say something about the converting power of Christanity, or does it say something about your need for authoritarian control? Given the fact that people also claim to have their lives turned around by Islam, Buddhism, etc. and these religions are mutually exclusive, the evidence suggests the latter--those who require religion to be good require someone in a position of greater power to tell them what to do, and it doesn't seem to matter too much which diety is doing the telling.

Mother Theresa, though a member of the Catholic church which has had scandal after scandal, does not engage with people about these debates and theologies, what the trinity is, etc.- she just went out and did the work and miracles happened.

I'm not touching this one...suffice it to say that there is some debate as to how humane Mother Theresa's ministry was, and there is documented evidence from her own hand that she really didn't believe the dogma she was spouting.

That is what the true Christ is about.

Once you self-proclaimed Christians can be bothered to agree as to what the "true Christ" is about, feel free to come instruct me. Until then, I will remain unimpressed; I can count the days until someone comes along with a different version of the "true Christ" on my fingers and still be able to pick my nose.

Maybe someone will come here and pick apart my post because it seems that's what a lot of people come here to do, but I'm willing to deal with that.

What kind of response do you think your post deserves? "You know, you're right, Christianity is AWESOME!"? We skeptics tend not to just sit quietly and nod along while someone lambasts us from a pulpit. Stick around, read some of the old posts, and allow for the possibility that maybe, just MAYBE, we aren't crazy, or compensating for a disappointing past, or angry at God, or inherently evil tools of Satan, or any of the dozens of other excuses some theists like to use to dismiss us without having to hear what we have to say.

Spirula said...

Who didn't see this coming?

I'm betting Copeland will go down like Hovind because now the IRS will be very curious about his "ministry".

Cole said...

What I'm against is teaching people that a god who beats his son to death in order to forgive sins is the one true God. I'm against any God that torments people forever with eternal misery and rejoices as babies are getting their brains bashed in. These teachings can terrify people and cause psychological damage to people and cause them to live in fear. I remember one lady not to recently that came to a meeting who got the hell beat out of her by her husband because she got drunk. Both eyes were swollen shut and black she could hardly walk. And as she sat there she started crying she said "I think God is punishing me." That's what I'm against. I'm against any God that abuses people. Am I mad at God? no. Am I mad at the Christian God. Yep. Maybe I shouldn't be but right now I am.
If you want to believe that way go ahead. But don't force it on others.

Robert_B said...

Judges 21:7-23 To find wives for the Benjamites (they were unwilling to use their own daughters), the other tribes attacked and killed all occupants of a city except for the young virgins. These virgins were then given to the Benjamites for wives.

21:7 How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing we have sworn by the LORD that we will not give them of our daughters to wives?
21:8 And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up to Mizpeh to the LORD? And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabeshgilead to the assembly.
21:9 For the people were numbered, and, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead there.
21:10 And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children.
21:11 And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man.
21:12 And they found among the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.
21:13 And the whole congregation sent some to speak to the children of Benjamin that were in the rock Rimmon, and to call peaceably unto them.
21:14 And Benjamin came again at that time; and they gave them wives which they had saved alive of the women of Jabeshgilead: and yet so they sufficed them not.
21:15 And the people repented them for Benjamin, because that the LORD had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.
21:16 Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?
21:17 And they said, There must be an inheritance for them that be escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not destroyed out of Israel.
21:18 Howbeit we may not give them wives of our daughters: for the children of Israel have sworn, saying, Cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin.
21:19 Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.
21:20 Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards;
21:21 And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.
21:22 And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come unto us to complain, that we will say unto them, Be favourable unto them for our sakes: because we reserved not to each man his wife in the war: for ye did not give unto them at this time, that ye should be guilty.
21:23 And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught: and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them.

tigg13 said...

Forget the gullible - you want to get rid of christianity, tax it, regulate it and make it accountable for the damage that it does.

Take all that money away and make churches criminally liable for any harm that their beliefs might cause and most of the big name religious people and institutions would go the way of the dodo in no time.

Don't believe me? Look at the tobacco industry. As long as greedy, unscrupulous people can get rich just by ignoring the facts they will continue to do so no matter how many people get hurt.

Ann said...

I completely agree about the harm done in the name of Christianity- not disputing that at all. Don't believe I don't know. I had a wonderful grandmother who unfortunately would never take medicine because she was a Christian Scientist. Refusing blood transfusions, go to the hospital, rely on witch doctors or crazy preachers, and anything like that is dangerous. I have a problem with Christians who solicit the last time of the faithful while they live in mansions- and Jesus did speak about this with the widow's last 2 shekels. Most of Jesus' teachings were directed toward the religious heirarchy and ultimately that cost him his life.
I have been going through a lot of thinking myself, and I believe that what passes for Christianity today in most churches is something Jesus would likely not recognize.
I think I'm going to read more Origen- early Christianity- very unlike the stuff of the post-Alexander church which led to most of the churches we have today.