At some point in your conversation you’re going to ask your loved one ,“Why did you start questioning your beliefs? What prompted all of this change?”
They may answer by saying (and not in these exact words) that it was the inherent irrational dichotomies of the religion. When you go “Huh?” they’ll have to explain further. First, let’s start off by defining the concept.
An irrational dichotomy is a division into two mutually exclusive, opposed, or contradictory groups of thought, or a dichotomy between thought and action, or holding two contradictory beliefs as valid simultaneously.
Sometimes a person is exposed to evidence that runs counter to their previously held beliefs and their notions of reality. They then hold a contradictory dichotomy of ideas within their mind, which must eventually become resolved.
This is an uncomfortable and often distressing time for them and can, if left unresolved for an extended period of time, lead to stress and guilt and, in extreme cases, mental illness and dysfunction.
Christians, and indeed most religious adherents, fall into this group as they are told to believe one set of ideas, then are exposed to contradictory evidence from real life; i.e. news programs, teachers, science articles, documentaries, or close friends, but they are not allowed to resolve these dichotomies because their holy book is supposedly the unchanging word of a perfect God. IT can’t be wrong. And reality continues to send evidence that IT can’t be wrong.
Caveat: The following points are made to highlight the irrational dichotomies of Christian dogma. They may, or may not, apply to you. You may be a scholar, or a very liberal Christian (i.e. a “cultural” Christian), or indeed a Christian in name only. Therefore, if some of them do not apply to you, please disregard them, and realize that I am writing to the many, many Christians who DO have to live with these dichotomies on a day-to-day basis. However for those that do apply to you, please take the time to consider them rationally in an attempt to reconcile them. Now, on to some dichotomies your loved one may mention.
In the following irrational dichotomies, I will posit a common Christian belief, followed by commonly understood contradictions that should make you question those beliefs and bring your world-view more into alignment with reality.
Many Christians have to believe that you must maintain a loving relationship with Jesus Christ and God Himself. And if you don’t, you are in danger of eternal damnation.
- However, you can neither see nor hear the very entities you’re supposed to build a “relationship” with. Relationships require a “give and take” of information and opinions that you literally cannot accomplish.
You must believe that you are the wonderful, special creation of a perfect God, given reign over all the creatures, and dominion over the Earth itself.
- But you also believe that you’re born a deeply flawed and dirty sinner, a pitiful creature deserving of hellfire for the disobedience of your first ancestor and the sins you commit daily. For many Christians, you must believe you are “sin” incarnate and only redeemable by the grace of God, which is only good until your next sinful act, or “backsliding” thought.
You must believe that God is an all-powerful and perfect being. And that if God wills it, it MUST be so.
- But you also know of His many, many plans that failed. The Bible is full of them. Just to name a few:
1) The Garden of Eden (we ate the apple when he didn’t want us to)
2) The Great Flood (Evil is still in the world, and always has been)
3) Tower of Babel (Notice that our buildings are much taller than that now, and most of the world has a common language again, English)
And they go on and on.
You believe that God knows everything, past and future, and He can read your mind and knew you before you were conceived.
- But you also believe that because of free will, He doesn’t know which way you’re going to go on that moral decision you have facing you later today. (If He DID know, you would not have free will, as your future would already have been decided.)
You believe that God gave us free will and wants us to love Him freely. For love forced is no love at all, only tyranny.
- But He very pointedly tells us in the Bible that He will throw us into a lake of fire for eternity if we don’t love, worship and obey Him. That is “love” with a gun to your head.
You believe good people go to heaven, and bad people go to hell.
- But you also believe that any axe murderer or child-raping psychopath waiting out their last days on death row can get to heaven simply by “accepting Jesus” before the end. (Like Jeffrey Dahmer did in May 1994) What difference is there if you have free will and responsibility for your actions when you can abdicate all your responsibilities by throwing your sins onto a scapegoat, a savior, which absolves you of them?
- And that a good person who does not accept Christ as their savior will go to hell. According to Christianity, it can be argued that Hitler is in heaven now, while all the Jews he killed would be in hell. Hitler was a Christian (a Roman Catholic) and actually considered himself to be “acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews, I am doing the Lord’s work.” – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf
You believe that God reveres life, and that he’s concerned about every single sperm and egg.
- But, you’re well aware that the Bible says that He ordered His followers to kill over two million people. And that He, personally, killed over 300,000 people (and that’s not counting 65 cities whose death counts were not given, or those killed in His various plagues or the entire population of the Earth in the Great Flood).
- When He told his people to attack and kill those in neighboring towns, He frequently told them to rip open the bellies of pregnant women and kill those unborn children as well.
- Also, any gynecologist will tell you that one quarter to one half of all fertilized embryos spontaneously abort before the woman even knows she’s pregnant. That would make God, whom you must believe to be responsible for each child’s birth, the biggest abortionist of all time.
You believe the Bible is the inspired, unchanging word of the Almighty God, who has an eternity to reward or punish you after death. But, if you’re like most Christians,
- You’ve never even read it.
- You believe that you can just pick and choose whatever you want to from it, ignoring the parts where its laws are contrary to modern morality.
You believe that God is all knowing and all powerful, capable of seeing the future, creating entire universes, and destroying worlds at a whim. NO one who knows this could possibly hope to best him in any way.
- But Satan was supposed to have been able to plan a rebellion against God, AND waged a great war against Him.
You believe that FAITH in God is necessary for salvation. And that’s why He doesn’t supply direct evidence of his existence.
- But in the Old Testament, he provided evidence such as all these of the time:
- The pillar of smoke and fire the Israelites followed across the desert
- The manna that he showered down from heaven for 40 years
- The parting of the Red Sea
- The 10 plagues of Egypt
- Holding the sun and moon still in the sky for Joshua.
And that’s not even counting the miracles Jesus supposedly performed in front of many unbelievers in order to get them to believe. Why doesn’t God give people direct evidence now if he so intentionally and visibly did then?
You believe that your children should get a good education, and you encourage them to learn all they can at school. And indeed you stand in awe of all the technology around you that lifts your life above the drudgery that was common only 100 years ago…
- BUT then you believe that your children shouldn’t accept anything that their teachers may tell them that contradicts an Iron Age book whose authors thought that the sky was made out of water (the Firmament), that Demons cause sickness and that witches were real and should be killed.
You believe that God sees and hears everything that you do, say and think.
- Yet American prison populations are over 90% Christian. How can any Christian perform any crime or immoral act if they think that God is actually watching them? It would be like shoplifting when you know that a policeman is watching you do it, or speeding when you know that a state trooper has been behind you for the last 15 minutes.
Think of the pedophile priests. Can they actually believe that an omniscient God is watching them when they do the things they do to children?
You believe that Jesus died for your sins.
- But you also believe that “Jesus Lives!” Not only that, but you can talk to Him anytime you want and that He’s as alive as anyone on Earth.
You believe that this country is going to hell in a handbasket with all the murder, rape, cheating, and lying going on here. And that we need to bring God and Christ back into everyone’s lives.
- BUT in your very next breath you vehemently assert that this is a Christian nation with more than 90% of our population being Christian, and that it’s the OTHER 10% that are to blame for the nation being in such awful shape. In just about every election in America, if you don’t profess to be a God-fearing Christian, you’re simply unelectable. Think about it.
You Believe that 90% (or more) of Americans are Christian.
- But when pressed, it doesn’t take any time at all to get you to admit that half of your neighbors (or more) are not REAL Christians. And only YOU can tell which ones are and which aren’t real Christians.
- Or that the Catholics or Baptists or Mormons, or whatever, aren’t real Christians.
- AND if any Christian anywhere does anything reprehensible, you promptly claim that they aren’t real Christians. That allows you to continue to think that Christians are only represented by good people.
You believe Christianity is the best and only TRUE religion in the world. And that the only way to a blissful afterlife is through Jesus Christ.
- BUT you have never taken the trouble to study ANY of the OTHER 1,000+ religions in the world.
- And when pressed to explain how you came to Christianity, you can only say, “It was my parent’s religion” which is the same reason that just about everybody else in the world gives for their choice of religion.
You believe that Christianity can’t be wrong when millions of people believe in it. The numbers prove it!
- But you also know there are millions of people who believe that Islam is correct, or that Hinduism is, or Buddhism, and all of them think Christianity is wrong.
- Also, you know that there are more than a billion people in this world who don’t believe in any gods at all (e.g. Chinese, Europeans, Japanese, and Scandinavians).
To sum up, understanding and enlightenment will come to you only when these irrational dichotomies are ultimately resolved and your beliefs once again make internal sense and fall in line with observable reality.
Don’t you think it’s time to give some thought to those irrational beliefs you’ve been carrying around all your life?