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.

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

New Year. Same Old Story. Or Not.


Sadly, many are attracted to Christianity because it’s presented as a haven from the struggles and strains of everyday life. Browse the shelves of Christian bookstores (brick and mortar or online). Notice the numerous books that target the emotionally needy—individuals who need a quick fix to satisfy their insatiable addiction to having their spiritual ego stroked. Modern Christianity places an enormous emphasis on the special believer. Some go through life attempting to execute steps and techniques to solidify their anticipated place in heaven. We all fall short of the glory of God is a phrase proudly proclaimed in Christian circles. This keeps believers ripe for any new book, conference, or sermon which purports to unveil how to strengthen one’s walk in Christ or gain unlimited favor of the Father.

It’s common for people to profess the faith of their parents. In fact, that’s how most become Christians in America. They are Christian by default. Very few undertake a personal study of Christianity prior to declaring Jesus their Lord and Savior. As a result, they are ignorant of what it means to be a follower of Christ. Decades later, still clueless.

The prevalence of biblical ignorance among black Christians is disturbing. Not surprising, yet disturbing nonetheless. This is a topic I’ll address in a future post. If you’re a Christian and can’t articulate what that means from a historical perspective, then you need to educate yourself. Not with the latest re-packaged Joel Osteen or T.D. Jakes books. Not with evangelical material that offers several steps to fill-in-the-blank. Biblical literacy (memorized Bible verses don’t count) begins with one step: Step outside of your comfort zone and examine your faith critically. Don’t get offended when asked about the Christian faith. Who? What? When? Why? How? You should be able to articulate well-reasoned answers. But you won’t find answers on Wednesday/Thursday nights at your church. Your children aren’t given this information in Awana. Remember the United Negro College Fund slogan “A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste”. It applies here as well.

This is the time of year when many embark on resolutions made for the next 12 months. Add this to your list: To read the Bible in its entirety using critical thinking skills. Simply employ logic and reason when analyzing passages.

As a general rule, critical thinking involves developing some emotional and intellectual distance between yourself and ideas — whether your own or others’ — in order to better evaluate their truth, validity, and reasonableness.

Critical thinking is an effort to develop reliable, rational evaluations about what is reasonable for us to believe and disbelieve. Critical thinking makes use of the tools of logic and science because it values skepticism over gullibility or dogmatism, reason over faith, science of pseudoscience, and rationality over wishful thinking. Critical thinking does not guarantee that we will arrive at truth, but it does make it much more likely than any of the alternatives do.

I’ve made one promise for 2012. Stay rational.

December 30, 2011 Posted by | Apologetics, Biblical Studies, Christian Education, Spiritual Reasoning | , , , , | 2 Comments

Dialogue Of Reason: Science And Faith In The Black Community


Faith has traditionally played a significant role among African Americans, while science has been marginalized. It is time to confront the issues that have kept too many Blacks out of the halls of science and confined to the pews. A dialogue with Richard Dawkins, Anthony Pinn, Sikivu Hutchinson, Todd Stiefel and moderated by Mark Hatcher concerning the role of faith and science in the Black Community.

Professor Anthony Pinn, Religious Studies at Rice University: “This is an ideal time and this event is an important opportunity to stress the importance for African Americans to critically engage the world and, through reasonable means, assess the issues impinging upon quality of life for African Americans across the country.”

Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson, noted author and activist: ”The Black Church’s policing of the bodies and destinies of black women and the lives of black gays and lesbians represents a bankrupt ‘morality’ which is just as pernicious as that of the Religious Right…if being black and being Christian are synonymous, then being black, female and religious (whatever the denomination) is practically compulsory. Insofar as atheism and humanism provide an implicit rejection of both black patriarchy and ‘authentic’ blackness, those who would dare to come out of the closet as atheists are potential race traitors.”

October 21, 2010 Posted by | Science (Video) | , , , | Leave a comment

Onward, Christian Soldier – Part 5


The series “Onward, Christian Soldier” continues. There are 10 commonly accepted principles for new Christians. The following list is from The Way of the Master.

  1. Read your Bible daily
  2. Have faith in God
  3. Spread the gospel of salvation
  4. Pray to God in faith
  5. Beware of the world, the devil, and your flesh
  6. Attend church regularly
  7. Give thanks to God in everything
  8. Be baptized in water
  9. Give 10% of your income to a church
  10. Never question the Christian faith; stay away from those who do

Wow, 10 simple steps for living the Christian life. No wonder so many can’t articulate what it means to be a follower of Christ. Some may say, “Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship with God”. Well, when I see a handy-dandy checklist like this it gives me pause.

According to Wikipedia:

Religion is the belief in and worship of a god or gods, or in general a set of beliefs explaining the existence of and giving meaning to the universe, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

Christianity is clearly a religion.

The last principle is quite disconcerting, but it’s easy to understand why questioning the faith is admonished. Christians aren’t encouraged to use intellect and reason in their faith. Such practices are for conservative Christian scholars only. If you’re ever in doubt about what the Bible says just look at your study Bible notes or an evangelical commentary. Avoid sources that point out errors, inconsistencies,  and questionable conduct and beliefs sanctioned by God. Those who don’t believe the Bible to be perfectly shaped and molded by God himself are Satan’s pawns positioned to keep you from experiencing God’s blessing and divine favor.

In part six of this series I’ll scrutinize the education of new Christians in the local church. Perhaps I’ll do a better job of keeping my sarcasm in check, or not. Until then, stay rational.

Onward, Christian Soldier – Part 4

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Christian Education | , , , , | Leave a comment