The QuasiChristian

Critical Thinking and Spiritual Reasoning

Church Fathers: Spirit Filled Anti-Semites, Misogynists, and Racists


Over the next several weeks I’ll be posting disturbing excerpts from the works of those known as Church Fathers. I wonder why this isn’t a topic of discussion in seminary? These individuals are revered by many as “godly” men. Yeah right.

Church Fathers, a miniature from Svyatoslav's ...

If you’re not familiar with the term Church Fathers, here’s a definition:

Those persons whose views the Church considered to be foundational for the development of early Christian orthodoxy and spirituality. The time of the Fathers is classically divided into three periods: the foundational years (until the Council of Nicaea [325]); the formational period (until the Council of Chalcedon [451]); and the decline of the patristic era (in the Latin Church, until the death of Gregory the Great [604] or perhaps Isidore of Seville [636]; in the Greek Church, until the death of John of Damascus [749]). Viewed as founders of the mainline ecclesiastical tradition, the category of Fathers includes apostles, bishops, martyrs, apologists, heresiologists, theologians, and historians.

The authority of the Fathers is based upon their support of the tradition. The teaching of any specific Father which diverges from the tradition bears no particular weight unless approved by a general council. The Church accepts the unanimous agreement of the Fathers with respect to scriptural exegesis as faith without error. The balance of their combined teachings in theology and doctrine, especially when the Fathers are taken in relation to one another, is given specific consideration in matters of modern ecclesiasical debate.

Jefford, C. N. (2000). Church Fathers. In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible (D. N. Freedman, Ed.) (255). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.

January 24, 2012 Posted by | Church History, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Harlot Shall Be Burned with Fire: Biblical Literalism in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


Religion Dispatches: Sarah Sentilles

I must admit that part of me is relieved to have these disturbing passages out in public. These bloody verses that insist women be punished with violent death—often for perceived or imagined sexual transgressions—are usually overlooked, downplayed, skipped over, ignored. Most people like to pretend they aren’t really in the text. Especially people who claim to take the Bible literally.

Passages like these should render biblical literalism impossible. Their existence illuminates that literalists always engage in selective literalism, choosing the passages that support the arguments they want to make. And what is the rubric for selective literalism other than convenience and the maintenance of oppressive power relationships? When faced with such verses—or even passages about keeping kosher or not being around women who are menstruating—many a literalist will argue something like “that was then and this is now,” while in the very next breath (I’m talking to you, Rick Santorum, and you, Michele Bachmann) they’ll insist that homosexuality is an abomination or that women should submit to their husbands. Why? Because it’s in the Bible.

The film could, in fact, be read as an argument against biblical literalism; a warning about the misogynist violence embedded in the biblical text…

Click To Read Entire Article

January 14, 2012 Posted by | Biblical Criticism, Biblical Studies, Women | , , , , , | 2 Comments

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.

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