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Do You Think They Believe It?


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I always find myself scratching my head at this question. Does Christianity's highest level leaders (ie The Pope, televangelists, Christian Coalition leaders,etc) actually believe the religion or are they faking it to control the masses?

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I don't know. Some of them say stuff that is so bizarre that no person in their right mind could believe it.

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I always find myself scratching my head at this question. Does Christianity's highest level leaders (ie The Pope, televangelists, Christian Coalition leaders,etc) actually believe the religion or are they faking it to control the masses?

I cannot say they are knowingly faking. Rationalization of behavior plays a big part, and so does delusional fantasizing. It's a powerful psychological defense mechanism. For example, do you think Jim Bakker was intentionally being an embezzler and fraud? He could not possibly rationalize that with a "christian" view, so he had to invent some scenario that would allow him to keep up the scam. Isn't it plausible that Jimmy Swaggart at the times of his d'alliances with prostitutes had some "defense" in mind that allowed him to indulge himself? Pathetic though it may be, I can see where Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell have really convinced themselves that they are making sense with their periodic headline-making outrages.

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I think some do belive the crap they are spewing and some dont.

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I'm positive the Pope believes, mainly because of the investment needed to become the Pope. Other leaders, I'm not so sure. I don't think they're faking it, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of them were. But the Pope and other leaders in churches where the leaders have to give up so much of what life is to get to their position, I can't see anyone doing that simply to indoctrinate people and get their money.

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The Christian leaders I know best--horse and buggy people and related groups--they sure believe it. The empire-building televangelists--I would guess they believe the god and hell and damnation part. Some time ago I read a very interesting article on infidel.org or wherever. It was written by an atheist preacher who is secretly atheist but publicly a pastor in his church. I take it he's sincere about wanting to make the world a better place, helping people cope in their daily lives. He said he normally preaches on rather liberal ideas where he can't be pinned down so easily.

 

I wish I had kept the link. I think he's onto something. Christianity is not going to go away anytime soon. What better way to temper it than have an atheist preach in a way that lets people live good lives but not condemn everyone who believes differently from themselves. I don't see myself preaching but Christians are asking my advice on certain issues regarding the world and life in general. I think there is a role for us exchristians to mediate between strict orthodox belief and total unchurched secularism....I'm asking myself if I should delete that--am I asking to have my head bit off???

 

Let's put it this way: If you don't know what I mean and want to have it explained, please ask. We can take it from there. I am NOT saying that being unchurched is bad. I am saying is there is a wide rift between the strict Christian segment of our society and the secular segment that barely knows the story of Jesus beyond the nativity scenes and christmas carols. I am suggesting that those of us who have been churched and no longer are may be able to stand in the rift between the other two segments as sort of mediators.

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In my opinion, the former Pope John Paul II did not actually believe the Bible or the Christian religion. He served because he thought that the Catholic Church could be a force for good in the world, especially with reformers at the helm. When you read his reworking of the the doctrines of salvation, hell, and the atonement, you see such a profound and deliberate shift from what every Catholic had said previously, that it was just too hard to believe that he was actually interested in "the faith passed down from the saints." Pope JPII was a smart guy. Hence, he was no Christian.

 

Also, another person who was not a Christian but pretended to be was C.S. Lewis. Lewis had very little interest in the Bible and traditional Christian doctrines. He was most interested in reforming the Christian mythology in the way that Plato and Socrates intended to reform ancient Greek theologies.

 

Conservative intellectuals such as C.S. Lewis like to peddle religion as a socially useful instrument of control, but they don't buy into it. In point of fact, most of them can't buy into the crude religious dogma they've been selling you. If you want to get a sense of what C.S. Lewis really believed about "God-man relations," you must read his anthology of George MacDonald which includes this revealing comment:

 

"Naturally the first emotion of man toward the being he calls God, but of whom he knows so little, is fear. Where it is possible that fear should exist, it is well it should exist, cause continual uneasiness, and be cast out by nothing less than love. . . . Until love, which is the truth toward God, is able to cast out far, it is well that fear should hold."

 

In essence, it's the substitution of "pious frauds" and "noble lies" for the darker truth. It's the doctrine of conservatives back through Strauss and Burke and Machiavelli. Plato too, actually.

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In my opinion, the former Pope John Paul II did not actually believe the Bible or the Christian religion. He served because he thought that the Catholic Church could be a force for good in the world, especially with reformers at the helm.

 

You mean like Gorbachov thought Marxist-Leninism could be reformed into a force for good...

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Conservative intellectuals such as C.S. Lewis like to peddle religion as a socially useful instrument of control, but they don't buy into it. In point of fact, most of them can't buy into the crude religious dogma they've been selling you. If you want to get a sense of what C.S. Lewis really believed about "God-man relations," you must read his anthology of George MacDonald which includes this revealing comment:

 

"Naturally the first emotion of man toward the being he calls God, but of whom he knows so little, is fear. Where it is possible that fear should exist, it is well it should exist, cause continual uneasiness, and be cast out by nothing less than love. . . . Until love, which is the truth toward God, is able to cast out far, it is well that fear should hold."

 

In essence, it's the substitution of "pious frauds" and "noble lies" for the darker truth. It's the doctrine of conservatives back through Strauss and Burke and Machiavelli. Plato too, actually.

Could I possibly get some more documentation on the C.S. Lewis thing? I could really use that material in a debate I've been having on and off with a friend.

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Could I possibly get some more documentation on the C.S. Lewis thing? I could really use that material in a debate I've been having on and off with a friend.

The difficulty with C.S. Lewis is that he was very careful with what he said and wrote so as not to tip off his conservative readership about his true thoughts about "God-man relations." Most Christians who "read" him are quite dull and don't really understand Christianity, so they don't see where C.S. Lewis parts ways with Christianity. Trying to show a Christian that they have misunderstood Lewis is impossible and should not be attempted.

 

Certain Christians understand Lewis's tricks and criticize him. Mostly, they come off looking like crazy and mean-spirited critics. Ironically, they are not as crazy as they appear. A web-site illustrating this ciriticism of Lewis is Here, where it says: "Clive Staples Lewis has been perhaps the single most useful tool of Satan." The author is actually not too far off the mark in what she says about Lewis's strategies in the Christian religion. Other Christians say that Lewis was no Christian at all, but come off looking unreliable because of their toxic hostility.

 

One strong Christian critic of Lewis, who realized that Lewis rejected everything unique about Christianity was a Calvinist Anglican named Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who was the Priest of Westminster Chapel. Unfortunately for us, Lloyd-Jones did not write a book on Lewis's tricks. He knew that most people would think he was insane or mean-spirited if he did so. Instead, he simply commented to Christianity Today magazine on the occasion of Lewis's death that C.S. Lewis was not a Christian at all and Lewis did not believe Biblical theology. J.I. Packer, editor of CT says:

 

By ordinary evangelical standards, his idea about the Atonement (archetypal penitence, rather than penal substitution), and his failure ever to mention justification by faith when speaking of the forgiveness of sins, and his apparent hospitality to baptismal regeneration, and his noninerrantist view of biblical inspiration, plus his quiet affirmation of purgatory and of the possible final salvation of some who have left this world as nonbelievers, were weaknesses; they led the late, great Martyn Lloyd-Jones, for whom evangelical orthodoxy was mandatory, to doubt whether Lewis was a Christian at all.

 

Perhaps your best bet is to buy the book C.S. Lewis & Francis Schaeffer: Lessons for a New Century from the Most Influential Apologists of Our Time. This book compares Biblical Christianity to Lewis's "Christianity." The book is sympathetic to Lewis and is written by people who dislike the Bible but yet call themselves Christians, so it is not as hard-hitting as I would have appreciated. But it does point out the ways in which Lewis departs from the Christian faith.

 

Lewis was a Platonist, a Platonist who imagined, as Plato himself did, that popular mythologies held by ignorant people, could be reformed and harnessed for good ends.

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I think some do belive the crap they are spewing and some dont.

 

Agree completely.

 

After all, there are always those nutcases out there that KNOW one of the easiest ways to become rich is to start a religion of some kind.....

(speaking in general terms other than just christianity for example)

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I'd not put a shilling on Pope Voldemort XXIII believing any of it.

 

popehorns2.jpg

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Hmm. Well, it depends.

 

I do agree that JPII was overall a good guy. I don't think he believed in the Bible literally, I think he was what they call a "liberal Christian". I think he believed in God and Jesus and the saints, but in a very open-minded, inclusive way. That's good enough for me.

 

I've got no reason to believe that everyone else is just faking it. It's too pat. They're just too into it. A person doesn't make the kind of effort they do if they know it's all a lie. No, I think they truly believe in what they do, just like a fanatical Muslim suicide bomber truly believes they're going to bang 72 virgins for their hard work.

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A web-site illustrating this ciriticism of Lewis is Here, where it says: "Clive Staples Lewis has been perhaps the single most useful tool of Satan." The author is actually not too far off the mark in what she says about Lewis's strategies in the Christian religion.

 

Did you notice that every instance of the word "war" was replaced with "piano covers," with "jew" and "cia" being replaced with "blip" in that essay?

 

"Clive Staples Lewis has been perhaps the single most useful tool of Satan since his appearance in the Christian community sometime around World piano covers II."

 

and

 

"Testifying both to the blips, and also to the Greeks, repentance topiano coversd God, and faith topiano coversd our Lord Jesus Christ. Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."

 

and

 

"In short, his "conversion" to Christianity was finanbliplly and sobliplly good for him."

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