Let’s get something straight. I’ve never called any Xian stupid. Xian leaders who promote the delusions, homophobia, and science denial, and know exactly what they are doing like my buddies Ken Ham, Ray Comfort, Ravi Zacharias, Rick Warren and the like… bozos, DB’s, buffoons, charlatans, oh fersure. But even them, especially them, they ain’t stupid. (OK, that might be a stretch with Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron).
Malicious maybe, but not stupid.
As far as all my Xian friends and their friends and believers all over the world, I do not assume that their intelligence is any different than the average Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, non-believer, etc. We are all pretty much the same: of average to above average intelligence, and just doing our best trying to figure it out as we go along. Not stupid.
In fact, I’m counting on the intelligence of all our Xian brothers and sisters to figure out that maybe, just maybe, they haven’t thought through what they have been taught and might look at their beliefs a little different if they did. Furthermore, I’m assuming they are plenty smart enough to assimilate new information that they probably don’t know about their own book, because their religious leaders haven’t bothered to tell them much of the “Truth” at all.
I don’t think the average Xian person is stupid in the least, just uniformed and often grossly misinformed.
I was raised Catholic. My parents were pretty liberal about it. Although I went to Catholic grade and high school, I didn’t get beat on by the nuns, or fondled by a priest. They were very concerned about our education, dedicated teachers, and not overly strict. Well, maybe one of them; Sister Mary Francis of Assassin, she was tough!
We had religion class and learned the standard fare about Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and the Sacraments and in church at Mass we got regular readings of the New Testament mostly the Gospels and St. Paul, a LOT of St. Paul (I still can’t stand calling that prick a saint, but I’m relating a bit of history here, so I’ll just have to stomach it). So I have no horror story from being raised Xian. However, it all seemed pretty fanciful to me by high school and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one just going through the motions by then; strongly agnostic towards any and every deity by then and viewed all religions as cultural myths. I did a lot more in depth reading of Bible history and analysis later in life. The last ten years I’ve read so much more. The Internet makes it even easier to access sources, watch documentaries, lectures, and discussions. Any schmuck like me can educate themselves and discover a whole other perspective on whatever faith claims they were taught.
So for the record us non-believers ain’t any smarter than believers, and we don’t assume so, we’ve just read and investigated the claims of your faith; We’ve actually read your Bible.
It is no secret, in fact kind of a truism that the average Xian has barely read that nasty little book and non-believers have studied it, some rather well. Xians are often horribly uninformed and only know what they have heard on Sunday from their priest or minister (And from what I’ve been reading lately the average Muslim is even less well informed). Few Xians even if they are well versed in Bible passages, haven’t read the ugly ones or the ridiculous ones and read them critically, comparing them against one another or learning much of what modern Biblical scholarship and archaeology have learned about the writing of Bible and its stories.
It is a truism that the best way to destroy your faith is to actually read the Bible and try to reconcile for yourself all the absurdities, atrocities, discrepancies, contradictions, and mythical embellishments.
Most Xians only know a few tidbits about the Israelites from the OT and a watered down composite story about Jesus compiled from the Gospels from the NT.
The Nativity story as displayed in the creche’s we put out at Xmas time make a good visual example of what I mean. How many Xians know that the most important event in human history (according to them) the birth of Christ, is only in two Gospels; those ascribed to Matthew, and Luke (we don’t know who wrote any of the Gospels, they were all written anonymously and given those names decades later). The other Gospel writers of Mark and John (whoever they were) and the mighty Paul know nothing of the birth of Christ.
The story of the Wise Men following the Star and visiting Herod who later kills all the male infants is set somewhere before 4 BC, when we know Herod died, and is ONLY found in Matthew.
The story found in Luke with the angel telling the shepherds to visit the child in the manger is set 10 years later after Herod’s death around 6 A.D.: no Star, no Wise Men, no Herod, and no slaughter.
So the crèches we dutifully put out at Xmas time with the wise men and the shepherds together worshiping the Infant at the manger under the Star is a complete fantasy.
I encourage my Xian friends to read the comparisons for themselves, just Google it, one can read for hours. Then read the verbal and logical gymnastics the Xian apologists perform to reconcile the stories and make a plausible composite. There are even worse irreconcilable contradictions concerning the census and how Joseph and Mary ended up in either Nazareth or Bethlehem and how they got there. If you study a little comparative religion you see these kinds of mixing of different stories and myths occur all the time, Xianity appears no different. It is called syncretism and anyone can Google that and learn for themselves in a matter of minutes. Since I live in KY I get treated to seeing Santa now kneeling before the baby Jesus next to the Wise Men and the shepherds. For all I know that version of the Nativity Scene is a big seller nationwide now and in a few decades we will have a new generation of Xians that won’t know Santa wasn’t there either…
Two other gems most Xians may be unaware of:
1. There are no eyewitnesses in the Gospels. As I said above, we don’t know who wrote them and whoever did were not Apostles. Google it. And Paul never met Jesus, only had his visions. No eyewitnesses. That’s not what the Xian apologists tell you.
2. Psalm 137: You know the one that starts with “By the rivers of Babylon…“? Well check out how it ends: “… happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones“.
Isn’t that just special? Don’t trust me, read it yourself.
And do you think that admonishment by God is moral under any circumstances, even if it refers to King David getting even with his enemies by bashing their babies heads against the rocks? If you don’t think it is moral, then I guess you don’t get your sense of morality from the Bible any more than us non-believers do. This is the kind of logic any reasonably intelligent person can follow, but if you are a Xian, prolly no-one ever asked you to think like this in Bible study or Catechism class. You most likely never read that verse before.
Imagine if you wrote a whole book on proper ways to behave, full of kindness and compassion, respect and tolerance, how to be polite and courteous. Pages and pages of pleasant and proper ways to act and treat you fellow humans with dignity, respect and tenderness… but then you slipped in just that one passage, that one sentence out of all the others in the book telling folks to be “happy if they dash their enemies infant’s heads on the rocks“… would you or anyone else STILL call it a “Good Book“? I didn’t think so.
I don’t think anyone’s stupid. Any damn fool with a functional brain and half a heart can see the horrible immorality of the OT and god. Unfortunately, the New Testament isn’t much better despite the often-heard claim “but Jesus changed all that!.” Not really, read Paul. You’ll see why I save most of my invective for him. And anyone can see what a stretch it is to claim the Bible verses are anything more than human writings from one particular nomadic culture that never really developed beyond tribal thinking. And despite what you have been taught it is utterly unnecessary for a good moral, productive life, in fact it most often just gets in the way.
Sometimes in discussions on FB when I point out such things as the examples given above I get very defensive responses:
“And he’s right about everything he said. Xians are terrible people“, “Xians are soooo stupid, right?”
It seems when you have been taught all your life or somebody convinced you later and you converted, that the claims of Xianity are ultimate unquestionable truths that you must live your life by, it is very hard not to see a challenge of those claims as a personal attack on your intelligence or integrity.
Fair enough, many of us secularists have been there too, so I’ll apologize in advance if you take it personally. That is not my intention. I’m appealing to your intelligence in providing information and perspectives you may not have, unlike the apologists who want you to buy the story and wont dare you to compare, analyze, and consider. Many of us secularists were believers once too, even devout ones. And we’re not any smarter than you are.