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June 6, 2011


Turn Off Your Moral Compass: Accept God.

by juju2112
In this video, author Francis Chan speaks quite cogently on how he struggles to understand the atrocities in the bible, and ultimately concludes that God has a more highly developed sense of morality.
Francis Chan explains how God’s ways are not our ways.


I’d just like to address a few bits in this video:

“I mean the other day, the image came to my mind of Romans 9 where God compares me to a piece of clay. And he says, “You’re like a piece of clay and I’m the potter”. And so just that, I thought, wow, that means I’m like a piece of clay trying to explain to other pieces of clay what the potter is like. Think about that for a second.”

This metaphor sounds good, but how do we know it’s true? Maybe God’s an alien? Or maybe he’s supernatural, but his ways are completely within our ability to understand? How would we know? Mr. Chan has simply made something up and because it sounds good, people will accept it.

We need to get evidence for this, not look to the bible. No doubt, many theists think they do have evidence. They don’t know about the brain’s defects, though. Confirmation Bias. The Placebo Effect. Our brains are built to see patterns in everything. That’s the basis of intelligence. The downside to this is that we tend to “see” anything we expect to see. Our expectations dominate our perception of reality. This effect is frighteningly powerful. We need to use science to bypass our biases if we’re to determine the truth.

Most theists will accept the clay metaphor into their mind completely unchallenged, however. The conclusion? Don’t question anything about God. Turn your critical thinking off. It’s not relevant.

“I mean, we’ve gotta be careful here. We have to guard ourselves against, first of all, heartlessness. I mean, do you understand what we’re talking about? We’re talking about real people here. We can’t just have these theological discussions about a doctrine when we’re talking about people’s eternal destinies here at the same time.”

“And then I think about the carelessness. We can’t be careless in this discussion. We can’t just argue for our point of view, for what we think is right. And so we present our case, and we neglect all the other evidence? Man, do you understand what we’re dealing with here? We’ve got to lay everything on the table, and go, “Look, it’s your destiny at stake, so I want to just present all of the facts, everything I can think of in this book, and let you decide.”

If this guy knew there wasn’t a hell, he’d be a lot more relaxed. He could discard all that fear, worry, and guilt. I’m glad he’s trying to examine his beliefs, but when you start with the premise that “God is above all forms of questioning”, you don’t have much hope. Turning off your critical thinking skills is the worst thing you can do when trying to find the truth.

“Maybe the thing I’m most concerned about is this arrogance. In Isaiah 55, God says, “Your thoughts are not like my thoughts. And your ways are not as my ways.” He goes, “As high as the heavens are above the Earth, that’s how much higher my ways are than your ways. And that’s how much higher my thoughts are than your thoughts.

“So when we begin an argument with, “Well, I wouldn’t believe in a God who would…”. Who would what? Do something that you wouldn’t do? Or think in a way that’s different from the way that you think? Do you ever even consider the possibility that maybe the creator’s sense of justice is actually more developed than yours? And maybe his love and his mercy are perfect? And that you could be the one that is flawed?

No, I could believe in the God of the bible (if there were good evidence). I just wouldn’t worship him. I judge the slaughter of innocents that God commanded to be immoral. I reject the notion that if God does something, it’s automatically good. I decide what’s good or bad. I will not turn off my internal moral compass. That where the danger of this idea comes in. By turning off your internal moral compass, you put yourself at risk of doing things that are unchecked by your morals.

“You’re in essence saying, “Well, God wouldn’t think that way or act that way because I wouldn’t think that way or act that way. And yet, when I read the scriptures, man, all through this book, I go, God, there are some things you say that I would never say. There are things you do that I wouldn’t think to do. I mean, even from creation, so Adam & Eve sinned and you’re going to put a curse on the Earth? See, I wouldn’t think to do that.”

“And then there are other passages that are even more difficult for me to stomach. Like Exodus 32 where the people sinned, and God tells his priest, “Here’s what I want you to do: I want you to each to grab a sword, strap it to your side, and then I want you to run back and forth, and I want you to just start killing people. Some of them will be your brothers, your friends. Because of this sin. And I’m reading that, and 3,000 people dying, going, “Wow, did you just do that?”

In what moral system is slaughtering innocents a “more developed” sense of justice? What greater good could possibly be served by this? Is your desire for wanting to believe in a god really so strong that you’ll ignore the blaring siren that’s going off in your mind that says, “This is wrong”?

It’s really okay to not believe. The world doesn’t fall apart. You can still do good things. People will still respect you. Really! It’ll be okay. Just…. relax.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. TheRealThunderMonkey
    Jun 7 2011

    I’ve operated with the nearly the same premise: We (as humans) are incapable of understanding a being that may be infinite. Any attribute that we apply to God, limits God.

    True blasphemy (taking God’s name in vain) isn’t saying “God damn it”, but a mortal being assuming to know what God (or Allah or Yahweh) wants or desires.

    • Jun 7 2011

      I think we have to use our own morals to judge things. It seems like this kind of thinking is what leads to a lot of immoral behavior by religious folk. Gays are bad? The bible says so! Stone witches? The bible says so! Sex is bad, women should shut up, etc. All these things get justified when people start discarding their own morality.

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