Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Lying for Jesus™

One thing I have come to learn in recent years is that no matter how non-controversial an issue is in terms of evidence, there will always be at least one person who takes up the opposing position. We never landed on the moon, the holocaust didn't happen, aliens live among us, even that Darwin stole the theory of evolution from Wallace. Even in this modern day and age there still are some flat-earthers out there. When it comes to ideas like teaching evolution or separation of church and state issues, the subversive nature of some Christians comes to light.

The best way to sum up this behaviour is to describe it as Lying for Jesus™. Because while the 9th commandment clearly forbids lying, in political and public movements it seems that there are many who are intellectually dishonest enough to rationalise breaking that commandment in order further the cause of Christianity as they see it. The Dover trial was a prime example of this, despite the overtly religious reasons behind the decision to push ID they tried to conceal the religious motivations when it came to a court of law. The dishonesty for the sake of promoting religion is there for all to see.

The creationist movement is the most apparent case of Lying for Jesus, in the public constantly professional creationists will either wilfully ignore or misrepresent science in order too keep their position. Either they don't know better or they are hoping the target audience doesn't know better. Why hasn't Kirk Cameron asked a scientist why the Crocoduck hasn't been found in nature or what constitutes a transitional form? When Ken Ham gets a crowd of followers to echo "were you there?" he would first look at how historical knowledge is accumulated and fit into active observations we see today. These are extreme examples and easy targets to go after, but they are symptomatic of the rampant dishonesty that permeates through the professional creationist strategy.

The ironic thing about the message of Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort is they have an argument that goes "If you tell a lie, that makes you a liar." Well that makes Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron liars, their misrepresentation of science in the name of Jesus may be a noble cause to them, but that systematic dishonesty underpins their entire attack on evolution. It may be that Jesus saves and forgives all, but we aren't at the gates of heaven yet and lying has consequences in the real world. It deceives the ignorant, it angers the knowledgeable, and it labels them as hypocrites.

The Lying for Jesus™ doesn't stop at creationists either: there's televangelism, issues regarding separation of church and state, lies about contraceptives (especially in AIDS-ridden Africa,) or anything really that regards atheism. And all this comes from a religion where some claim that only those who follow it are moral. that the moral code is laid out by God in their holy book. The most important part of the moral code being the Ten Commandments, one of the ten being a commandment forbidding bearing false witness. I guess it's the same as "thou shalt not murder", it's only to be obeyed when it isn't in the name of Jesus.

The problem as I see it is that the qualification of salvation in Christianity has it's priorities wrong. Instead of being a good person, it condemns everyone as sinners so the only way to break that cycle is to believe that a Jewish carpenter / cult-leader 2000 years ago happened to be God in human form and by believing that it admonishes all sin - except of course denying the holy ghost. It's not up to living a good moral standard, a virtuous non-believer is an oxymoron. Rather it's about subservience, adhering to flock mentality and believing in something logically absurd. Lying for Jesus™ is a means to a justifiable end, it's a hypocritical means, but it's a means that will continue as long as Christianity and knowledge continue on their separate paths. Pulling people from the path of knowledge to the path of salvation is worth the price of throwing society back to the dark ages.