Do Christians need to be cured?

From my series:
How to Cure a Christian

Before beginning this series, I want to repeat some of the basic positions which I have written before.

My starting points:

  • No one is perfectly healthy.  We all need curing.
  • There is no theist god.  So Christian Theology, in pure propositional form, is wrong though it may serve adaptive purposes.

No need to De-Convert

I use to be a fervent Christian, and now, from a Christian perspective, I am certainly an Atheist.  But I happen to think that, just like other religions, Christianity can offer a great deal of benefit to believers and others.  I feel many people are actually better off being a believer than being an Atheist.  So I am a pragmatist who understands that even false beliefs can serve us well.  So often I feel there is no need for a Christian to de-convert.

However, I also believe that though a given faith may benefit a believer, on the other hand, it may be harmful to those around them.  Likewise, some beliefs benefit the believer in the short run but often hurt them in the long run.  For this reason, we all need to watch our beliefs and see how to improve them.  Likewise, we can sometimes help others by moving them toward healthier beliefs.

Learning from a Christian

No one is perfectly healthy and we can all stand to learn from each other.  Our first reflex should be to understand.  That understanding may benefit us far more than anything we think we can offer the other person.  The discipline to truly listen, reflect and act kindly is far undervalued.

De-Converting a Christian

There are a huge varieties of Christianity and I feel some are more healthy than others.  In my post “My Favorite Type of Christian“, I have a table which lists some of the categories of Christian doctrines and state which forms of these doctrines (even though mistaken) are healthier than others.  By “healthier” I mean positions which I feel are offer better long term benefits to BOTH the believer and others — a sort of utilitarian view.

So, I think challenging a Christian to move toward these other positions can often be more important than trying to convert a believer into an atheist.

Cocky Atheist

Yes, to Christians, all the above is still offensively paternalistic.  But in my model, a believer can lead a healthy, wonderful, full, meaningful life but in the eyes of many Christians, my live and the lives of other Atheists, are worthless unless we accept Jesus in our hearts or we will all burn forever in hell.  So tell me, which view is more paternalistic?

But arguing dogma, doctrine, beliefs and the like are often not the only effective ways to change.  In my next posts, I hope to illustrate the complexity of changing our ourselves and others.

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Filed under Philosophy & Religion

7 responses to “Do Christians need to be cured?

  1. imarriedaxtian

    Ah Sabio my friend, you are fighting a lost cause. The disease, Religion, is (except in very rare cases) incurable. The rare cases being invariably self recovery by the afflicted. 🙂

  2. i wasn’t sure how to take this series, but i think i’m okay with it. seems plausible and i like the inclusiveness of it. of course, i don’t agree with one of your starting points, but i do believe that there are a myriad of ways to go about healing, so that’s a good starting point. i’m also pragmatic yet not all the way into a utilitarian stance. pragmatism leaves room for things just to “be” that can’t be really put to use. Utilitarianism has too much te for my blood.

    i feared your posts would be more like ^ this one. i’m happy to be proven wrong.

  3. “For this reason, we all need to watch our beliefs and see how to improve them. Likewise, we can sometimes help others by moving them toward healthier beliefs” (Sabio)

    High-five (smack)

    Life is all about growth and beliefs need to also grow. I think someone that holds onto a belief that only hurts people – then I am not sure that is healthy for society (ie: I look in the direction of Christians that deny gay rights in the church and society). Things change; we need to change as; we need to become more mature as well.

    “Atheists, are worthless unless we accept Jesus in our hearts or we will all burn forever in hell. So tell me, which view is more paternalistic?” (Sabio)

    True. However, this is not the view of ‘all’ Christians but I get the generalization – American/Western Christianity is ‘hell-bent’ and meant to be divisive (IMHO). Which is why many of us fellow Christians have backed completely away from that version of reading scripture through this strong cultural lense of Western ideology.

    That being said, I don’t care what someone calls my faith in God – as long as they do not seek violence I give everyone the right to ‘freedom of speech’.

  4. Your paragraph on paternalism reminded me of a cute little quote I got from a forum somewhere. I’ve exchanged the original word “arrogant” from the quote and instead used your “paternalistic”:

    “I’m not paternalistic. I’m pedantic. Allow me to explain to you the difference…”


  5. @ I-married :
    You may find out that I am not fighting the battle you imagine. I choose the title intentionally. Glad you’re reading — keep me honest!

    @ Luke :
    Yeah, I hesitated to put “utilitarian” suspecting that someone would focus on it — and there you are. Smile !
    I wrote “utilitarian” to simply explain one aspect of my logic in case someone started diverting the conversation to how we make decisions of “healthy” vs “unhealthy” (which I did not want to happen). So I tried to say that my tendency in big picture analysis is “utilitarian ethics” but actually, my fine picture (case-by-case, day-by-day) analysis is usually in terms of “virute ethics”. Others modules play all the time too. My post on “The Moral Mind” illustrates my position on this. You read that post — my guess is that we may be close to agreement on my view of how the moral mind works. Not sure if we agree on how best to tune the moral mind, though. We have never dialogued on that.

    @ Society :
    Yep, hugely different doctrinal clusters for people calling themselves “Christians”. Some Christians are more like some Buddhists and some are more like Jihadist Taliban. I try not to generalize — tough to get a safety, caveat clause in every sentence ! But it is worth trying. Thanks.

    @ Andrew :
    LOL !

  6. imarriedaxtian

    imax smack palm on forehead after re-reading Sabio’s post

    Sabio, you remind me of my old zen master i studied under for a short while about 35 years ago. I REALLY need to get rid of all my presuppositions when i read your postings. :bow:

    BTW i read all your new postings. Its all the old ones I am slowly struggling over (as well as the blogs of all your nice friends). Just watch your visitors’ countries counter. If the Malaysian flag gets a new click, its probably me. 🙂

  7. @ I_Married
    Glad you are enjoying. Though me ideas and challenges as you come up with ideas.

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