The QuasiChristian

Critical Thinking and Spiritual Reasoning

Unquestioning Faith: Ignorance Is Bliss


The definition of “indoctrinate” is to teach (a person or group) systematically or for a long period to accept biased ideas uncritically. Uncritical in this sense means not tending to find or call attention to errors, discrepancies, inconsistencies or questionable content.

The very essence of church services is an environment of passivity. Being exposed to a repetitive ambience of emotions and fervor leaves the mind malleable, thus making it more susceptible to indoctrination. One begins to assimilate what’s being said without actually processing it. Stimuli that produce excitable and heartfelt feelings are assumed to be the Spirit of God. An atmosphere that is euphoric captivates those present, enticing them to free themselves of mental restraint.

A passive mind conforms to anything and questions nothing when pleasure is derived. Once you’re emotionally attached to something it becomes more difficult to be objective. This makes it practically impossible to be critical and voice an opinion that’s in direct opposition to those whom one experiences impassioned ecstasy with on a weekly basis.

The continued search for an emotional high eventually leads to biblical ignorance. Many have a short attention span when it comes to serious study because they derive no sense of pleasure from it. It doesn’t provoke a warm and fuzzy feeling inside so it’s shunned. Those who want to go deeper in their studies often find themselves alone in such endeavors. Diluted teaching and prepackaged Bible studies are the norm for most congregations in order to accommodate the illiteracy and disinterest of the audience.

I’ll use the spiritual term “stronghold” to describe the indoctrination process of Christians. It’s frightening when one quenches their desire for knowledge and abandons their sense of reason in favor of playing church. The outcome is an individual who doesn’t know the historical background of the faith they profess, can’t articulate what it means to be a follower of Christ, and exhibits very little Bible knowledge. Memorized Bible verses that have become clichés among Christians masquerade as biblical literacy.

You’re invited to worship with us, but please check your brain at the door.

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January 10, 2012 Posted by | Christian Education, Commentary, Spiritual Reasoning | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Blame The White Man. Blame Satan.


Personal accountability is hard to find these days. Believing in the devil has been detrimental to the African-American community as a whole. I refuse to pass on this mythical nonsense to my young children. Before, it was the white man holding a nation of millions back, now it’s Satan. Enough already with the excuses. Break this psychological bondage perpetuated generation after generation.

Each time I hear Satan blamed for something I cringe. The black church has taken the phrase, “The devil is a liar!” to another level. Effectively making this character a scapegoat for an entire race of people. One of the rules of playing church is to authenticate your faith with clichés. The enemy is attacking me. My marriage is under attack. The devil is using you. Satan doesn’t want you to hear this message, that’s why you were late getting to church today. Satan wants to prevent your financial breakthrough because he knows you’ll start praising God. The last one is often used when the speaker is encouraging the audience to “sow a seed” (i.e., give money).

Pastors of black congregations are usually quite skillful in making Satan the fall guy. In fact, when black Christians say, “Service was good today” they probably mean: “The devil was blamed for something, everyone nodded and shouted in agreement, and each of us gave a high five to someone and told them they’re coming out of whatever situation they’re in.” If you can master the art of story telling with Satan as the antagonist, then you’ll attract more people who want to play church. More folks signing up. More money coming in.

It’s not politically correct for African-Americans to publicly blame “Whitey” for the ills in their community as done in the past. Many find that term offensive and that belief outdated. Pointing an accusatory finger at Satan appears to be an acceptable way to invoke empathy from whites. Yet, it also invites apathy, underachievement, hopelessness, and self-hate within the black community. As black Christians continue to proclaim the power of Satan they do a disservice to their children by giving legitimacy to a spiritual Boogieman.

January 6, 2012 Posted by | Commentary, Satan, Societal Concerns | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Many Is Too Many English Translations Of The Bible?


New American Standard Bible

Daniel Burke (The Huffington Post)

Scholars estimate that at least 200 English translations have been published since 1900 — many of them revisions of earlier texts. Sorting out the differences between the New American Bible and New American Standard Bible, for example, can be daunting for even experienced
readers.

The market can be so confusing and crowded that half of customers who visit Christian stores to buy a Bible leave without one, according to a study presented to Christian retailers in 2006.

“Heck, I’m overwhelmed and I’m supposed to know what the hee-haw I’m doing,” said Tickle, author of “The Great Emergence,” a well-regarded book on the future of Christianity. “Bibliolatry is not a word I use very often, but we are probably veering very close to it.”

There’s even a cottage industry of experts to help people choose a Bible. Paul Wegner, a professor at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona who conducts church conferences about the Bible, says Christians constantly ask why there are so many different Bibles, and which is the “right”
one.

“People almost throw up their hands, there are so many Bibles out there,” he said. “Maybe they’ve created a market for me.”

To counter consumer confusion, publishers began marketing Bibles based on “felt needs,” or secular interests, said Andy Butcher, an editor at the journal Christian Retailing.

Christian publisher Zondervan’s 2010 catalog of Bibles (“The Book of Good Books”) runs 223 pages and includes Bibles tailored toward black children, students, spiritual seekers, women with cancer, busy dads, new moms, recovering addicts, surfers, grandmothers and camouflage
enthusiasts.

“The next thing will be a Bible for men in midlife crises,” Jeffrey said, “with ads for Harley Davidson motorcycles inside.”

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October 20, 2010 Posted by | Christian Education, Commentary | , , , | Leave a comment

How Spiritual Leaders Get Through What They’re Going Through: Lie or Leave


Iyanla Vanzant (The Huffington Post)

True or false, right or wrong, good or bad, the average human being will at some point live some degree of inauthenticity. Whether at work, at home or in public, we have been trained to believe that who we are at the core of our being is often unacceptable. As a result, we work diligently to live up to – and sometimes down to – what others have made us out to be, whether or not it is an accurate reflection of who we are. Should we be bold enough to attempt to tell them that we are not, we cannot and we have no desire to be who they require, they get mad and threaten to withdraw or withhold their love. That’s when we panic! Once panic sets in, our choices seem limited: knuckle under to the expectations or walk away. Misery results when we knuckle under. It is difficult to live being someone you are not. It is even more difficult to tell the truth when you are taught that who you really are is unacceptable. Heartache and anger are often the outgrowth of walking away. If we can’t be authentic with you, we can choose to be authentic without you. This approach almost always leads to spending a great deal of time in anger. There are other choices; however, once fear, panic or anger sets in, they become difficult to identify.

I have been in deep contemplation about the allegations hurled at Bishop Eddie Long. I am not at first concerned with whether or not he has done what he is accused of doing. That is his business and his Creator’s business. My job is to love, in good times and in bad. I have learned the hard way to mind my business, without judging who people are and what they do. I am more troubled by the lack of space being provided for the truth to unfold. Humans cannot seem to wait for or honor the truth. Instead, we make it up based on who we believe people should or should not be. My heart goes out to the young men who have lodged the allegations of inauthentic living against the bishop. If they are telling the truth, they are being demonized for it. Their motives are being questioned, and their humanness is being put on trial in the court of public opinion. As it relates to them, there doesn’t seem to be any space for the probability of truth. Should we allow it to be so, it would mean that the bishop has betrayed us and we must judge and attack him.

My heart is also tender for Bishop Long. Having been in a position of leadership, I know the sting of the arrows that are thrown at you. I know what it feels like to be judged while having your connection to, and admiration of, a community threatened. But, what if? What if this bishop or any bishop, cardinal, priest or pastor has a truth that has been withheld? What if the natural human fear of being rejected, abandoned and unloved motivated him to live within the confines of external expectations? What if this bishop or any other person within a church community is a good human being whose human needs and desires are considered unacceptable in the eyes of other human beings, specifically those in the church? Where does that person go to tell the truth? Is there space in the minds and hearts of his peers, or community to hear, accept and release judgment about what his truth may be? Could be. Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows?

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October 12, 2010 Posted by | Commentary, Current Events | , , | Leave a comment