Funny that not even hours after I published the last blog entry, I read this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2151911/Was-girl-murdered-snatched-Vatican-sex-parties.html, wherein a priest, Father Luigi Marinelli, writes regarding his lurid tell-all book about Vatican orgies and other related scandals, "... the Vatican is made up of men, who, like me, are flawed."
Well, pardon the hell out of me. I guess we can't condemn the Christian church now, can we? It's not their fault. They're just flawed. But they're still forgiven! That's the nature of the "sin nature," you see: because humans are inherently sinful, even with the God of the Entire Universe filling them and washing them clean, they can't become sinless. Hell, they apparently can't even become decent humans; Christian-heavy states in the USA are famous for being hotbeds of ignorance, violence, sexual transgressions, misogyny, and deception. But it's just so unfair that the rest of the world judges the truth of their religion by its adherents' behavior! Waah! Christians are so victimized! Circle the wagons! Get in the bunkers! Clean the guns!
Cry me a fuckin' river, Christian douchenozzles of the world.
We, as non-believers, should fight this concept of "sin nature" with everything that we have because it more than anything else is the ultimate cognitive dissonance of the Christian experience. It is the corpus callosum, if you will, that fuses the dichotomy between what Christians believe about the world and what actually happens in it. It is the mechanism that allows them to rationalize being horrible neighbors, ghastly parents, and asshole co-workers and yet still believe they're morally superior beings who are going to heaven. It's what lets them compartmentalize their anti-social behavior and general dipshittery in one room in their heads, and their touchy-feely, feel-good, slogan-driven, childish and overly simplistic faith in Santa Jesus Daddy in a whole separate room and still think these are compatible concepts. It reconciles the many verses in the Bible about how Christians are supposed to be better people with the reality that Christians aren't better--and in many cases are far worse--than non-believers. It's what allows parents to abuse their kids, pastors to commit atrocities, churches to fail spectacularly as institutions, and yet still think of all of themselves as "good Christians."
I'd at least concede that Christianity might be an effective religion if its adherents at least managed to pull "decency" out of their asses once in a while. That wouldn't make their claims true, but at least it'd make them good members of humanity. But as time goes on and their unwarranted privileges get rightfully eroded and removed, their shrill claims of victimization ring increasingly hollow in light of the scandals constantly erupting out of their ranks. A Barna study recently found that 91% of surveyed evangelicals feel that Americans are "hostile and negative" toward their religion (1). Aww, the poor puddies. There's no word on whether or not these same evangelicals realize they deserve all the hostility we could ever dish out. Of course we're hostile toward evangelicals; they are the ones most likely to be horrible people and yet still feel they have the right to tell everybody else how to live and believe. Nobody likes a hypocrite.
That profound disconnect between real results/evidence and their faith is nowhere better illustrated than in the idea of a "sin nature," this wafting-skyward-of-palms admission of ultimate inability to follow even the simplest tenets of decency, much less the more complex rules evangelicalism espouses. Its final implication is this:
"Do what I say, not what I do. Don't judge my religion by my behavior, even while I judge and threaten you. You're not allowed to hold me to higher standards, but I'm allowed to dictate to you how you live, fuck, and believe."
I reject that implication. In the real world, if a product categorically doesn't work as advertised, my response is NOT "buy it anyway! Whee!" By the same token, if someone tries to tell me he is possessed by the Creator of Everything and knows exactly how we as humans should connect with that deity, then I expect a lot more out of him--especially if his next statements regard who I'm allowed to love, how I'm allowed to dress, or what I'm allowed to do with trespassers in my uterus. If his religion itself has dozens of verses about how Christians are supposed to act, then his "sin nature" doesn't excuse him from acting the way his Bible says he should. In fact these verses highlight how impossible his religion is and what a failure his supposedly omnipotent god really is if he's supposedly transforming his followers (2).
I'm allowed to judge a religion by its adherents. Really, in the divine marketplace, a god's main allures are his miracle-working power and what the real-world adherents of his religion are like. Christianity's "miracles" wouldn't exist without random chance and confirmation bias, and its adherents are increasingly violent and inhuman. An ideology's bedmates say more about it than any of its other outward evidences, and Christians' stunning inability to progress past their "sin nature" after 2000 years of steady refinement of their religion tells me far more about Christianity's ultimate usefulness to humanity than any other aspect of that faith.
2. Deut 25:16, 1 Cor 6:9-11, 1 John 3:4 and 3:10, Acts 10:34-35, Romans 2:18, Romans 2:6-11, Romans 6:16, Matt 13:41-42, Phil 3:16, James 2:10, Rev 22:14, and a host of others shamelessly lifted from http://rightremedy.org/booklets/48. Non-christians might get a kick out of reading his huge essay about how Christians are meant to be sinless, all without addressing the simple fact that Christians are the biggest customers on the planet of the Sin Store. His corpus callosum is particularly thick!
(The picture is the new Pope's coat of arms. The Catholic church spent some of the money they could have used to feed hungry people to make this up and put a big plaque of it up on one of their recent huge, sprawling churches. Yes, that's a black guy's head on it; he's called a "Moor" and a Moor's head was a common heraldic symbol in the Renaissance--a crowned black guy's head signified freedom from slavery, so though it's profoundly weird that an ancient old white guy would be so blithely insensitive that he'd put a disembodied black man's head on his shield, it's not that outlandish in the context of history--sort of like how the swastika is historically not a bad symbol but got warped and misused by Nazis. The real shock is that anybody'd take the Pope's scandal-addled church so seriously that his weird coat of arms would be considered a desirable decorative element.)