Does my Christian bias get in the way?

I suppose it all depends on who you ask.  Many skeptics would suggest it’s true, that I wouldn’t be able to objectively assess arguments critical against Christianity (not that I’ve been offered any).  On the other hand, I would suggest it wouldn’t.  Of course, most people likely don’t think they’re so biased that they can be objective when considering any particular issue.  However, in this area, I think I can demonstrate that at least in principle, I’m likely to be objective.

You see, I’m not wedded to Christianity.  Let me explain.  I think it’s true, but I don’t need it to be true.  Many people do.  It’s part of who they are, part of their very fabric.  But I haven’t been a Christian my entire life; I wasn’t raised in a Christian home.  So I don’t think I’d lose ‘who I am’ if it were shown to be that my religious convictions were false.  Of course I’d be surprised, but I wouldn’t be destroyed.

I believe Christianity is true because I have been convinced that it is.  It’s not a feeling I have, it’s not an emotional conviction.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had what I’d describe as a ‘spiritual’ experience.  In other words, I’m not emotionally attached to this, so I don’t feel a need to preserve my faith at all costs if and when confronted with arguments undermining it.

So I’m willing to consider anything that might lead me to what’s true.  My life’s philosophy has always been: I’d rather be correct and uncomfortable than wrong and happy (or ignorant) about it.  I could deal with having been mistaken for the last decade or so, it wouldn’t be the first time.  I’d get over it, especially if it meant I was now right.  That’s always been somewhat of a character flaw of mine.  If I’m wrong, I want to know.  I like being right.

Comments

  1. If we are all honest with ourselves, we all begin (or should begin) entirely neutral when presented with a claim. Understandably, we can often be biased and influenced by family, friends and society as a whole. We should evaluate each claim based on the evidence presented and not be swayed by emotions or possible consequences of the conclusion we reach about the claim.

    I think many problems arise and bias appears when evaluating a new claim based on a previously reached conclusion. If a conflict occurs we must be willing to re-evaluate a previous conclusion, but I think most people are not willing to do that.

    I can appreciate the main idea of your post, John. Please don’t read this to be confrontational, but what was it specifically about Christianity that you found so convincing?

    • It rang true. When I began my goal was to trip up a friend who was a pastor. I wasnt an atheist, I was apathetic. I didnt care about religion. So just to give him a hard time I would try to find things to make him answer for. Contradictions, historical issues, claims of other religions, etc. Along the way he gave answers, never urged me to feel anything or just believe. Eventually he had me read apologetic arguments for multiple religions and to check what I could find.

      I determined that Christianity was more likely true than not. Eventually after a few years of really indepth critical study I became convinced it was true.

  2. Interesting – thanks for sharing.

    In my experience, I grew up in a house that really didn’t think one way or the other about religion. While in grade school I visited a local Christian church through some classmates who were involved in that church. While I enjoyed being with my friends, I questioned things then and didn’t find their answers compelling. Since then I’ve had friends take me to a variety of churches, yet I still remain skeptical of their beliefs. At one time I was even engaged to a girl that played piano in her church, so it’s not that I haven’t been exposed any of it.

    Over the years I’ve studied many different religions and have yet to find any of them convincing enough to believe. It’s just curious how we are able to examine the same claim and reach totally different conclusions.

  3. zqtx,

    Are you a moral person? I mean, do you more often than not do the right thing? If so, then becoming a Christian would cause you to give up what, exactly?

    See, that’s the thing I don’t understand about atheists. What does becoming Christian cause a person to give up? If anything, it can help a person rather than hurt them. I realize this sounds like Pascal’s Wager, but I’m not suggesting people believe in Christianity for its own sake. I’m just curious why so many atheists seem to actively wish that God does not exist. Why? What is so terrible about Christianity, or the Christian God, that causes so many to reject Him as though He exists?

    • Even passive atheists seem to resist God and religion rather than having a “ehh, not my thing” like some people just arent into golf.

      It seems more than just not buying it. It seems to be a conscious distancing. Ive always believed ot is because they think to believe religion is to be unintellectual. They think being atheist has a certain amount of smartness amd intelligence associated with it.

  4. @Terrance,
    I like to think that I’m a moral person and that I would be able to make a positive impact on the world before I die, but I fail to see how that relates to accepting the claim that Christianity is true. It is unreasonable to think that one has to accept Christianity to be a moral person.

    You are mistaken in your thinking that I “actively wish” he does not exist. I just don’t believe there is evidence to support the claim that he does exist. The same could probably be said about you and Lord Xenu – it’s not that you reject Lord Xenu, you probably think Lord Xenu doesn’t exist in the first place.

    Do you understand?

    @John
    Again, “rejecting” or “resisting” something is knowing something to be true and refusing to believe it. That’s not the case with me. Being an “intellectual” really has nothing to do it. I’m not trying to be smug about it. I just choose to believe in things that are supported with evidence and I have yet to see any religious or spiritual claim that has met its burden of proof so far.

    • Z

      Not necessarily. Theres things I resist because I dont want to deal with it. Im not saying you consciously know God is real and Christianity is true. Id be more inclined to think you like being where you are and have an investment in being an atheist. I think you like being an atheist and resist arguments and evidences because of that.

  5. I like to think that I’m a moral person and that I would be able to make a positive impact on the world before I die, but I fail to see how that relates to accepting the claim that Christianity is true. It is unreasonable to think that one has to accept Christianity to be a moral person.

    Not what I meant. I’m saying that if you already do the things Jesus commands, then what are you giving up by becoming Christian? Why this active rejection?

    I wasn’t talking about you specifically, though I think your presence on this blog is a good indication that you’re more than just indifferent to the religion. You may be right about my disbelief in other gods, but I’m not meandering about the web arguing against their existence.

  6. To answer Terrence’s question-
    I consider myself a moral person. I don’t think being a Christian would change that at all. I can’t see many places where my personal ethics would be different if I were a Christian- my ethics are generally compatible with a Christian worldview.
    What I would be missing by being a Christian would be honesty. I honestly believe (and I have sincerely taken the time to understand this) that there is very likely no god(s) at all, and further that there certainly is not a God as described in the Bible. If I have honestly taken the time to investigate this and have concluded that I cannot believe in Christianity, I am being fundamentally dishonest to my own beliefs if I profess to be Christian.
    There are many beliefs that I could have- and that you could have too- that wouldn’t cause a major shift in heuristics or behaviour. Why would you expect someone should just accept something without enough evidence?

  7. George,

    I’m not expecting you to do anything. I’m speaking to those who adamantly reject Christianity for no reason whatsoever. Their so-called “reasons” are almost always absurd (demonstrably so) and still they reject it, almost as though they’d somehow be making some major, unforgivable concession. I just don’t see it. I don’t understand what is so wrong with Christianity that people reject it so actively. If you don’t believe, you don’t believe. Fine. No problem. But to reject it the way some of these atheists do, almost angrily? I don’t get it.

  8. George,

    Do you have a blog or way of explaining how you have confirmed this for yourself, to whatever extent you have:

    ” I honestly believe (and I have sincerely taken the time to understand this) that there is very likely no god(s) at all, and further that there certainly is not a God as described in the Bible.”

    I’m curious.

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