that awkward moment (surreal actually) when Christians dismiss the scholarship of non-Christians

That awkward moment when you ask, "Hey, I wonder if there's been any more public discussion on whether or not I'm saved"...

So it turns out that there has been a discussion online regarding my personal religious views (or lack thereof). Ironically, the subject made its way into the public realm when my friend, Dr. Jim West, introduced the topic as a red herring distraction from a lengthy discussion we had been having about why he continues to support the denial of rights and privileges to same-sex couples when it comes to having their marriages legally recognized by various secular state governments. The discussion where I challenged Dr. West on his fallacious logic regarding what he insists must necessarily follow if same-sex marriage is legalized can be found in the comments here.

In response to our exchange, Dr. West posted this post, in which he introduces yet another logical fallacy (a red herring) which he has used in the past, namely, that only Christians can critique Christianity, and that critiques made by those who are not Christians can be dismissed because they have no vested interest in the preservation of the faith. Or, to use Dr. West’s words,

“…we have different perspectives PRECISELY because I see life through the lens of Christian faith and he does not. It is for this reason that our views on several issues differ…I simply recognize that, at the end of the day, we approach problems and issues from differing starting points.”

Of course, once anyone reads the original disagreement, one quickly notices the inherent logical fallacy is Dr. West’s line of reasoning: my critique was regarding Dr. West’s selective hermeneutic depending on the particular social issue he’s addressing. While discussing slavery, despite the fact that the Bible clearly establishes divinely ordained slavery (Lev. 25:44; Exod. 21:4-6; Deut. 15:16-17) and endorses this previously established slavery (Titus 2:9; 1 Peter 2:18; Col. 3:22; Eph. 6:5), Dr. West opposes it. Similarly, despite the fact that the Bible clearly sees women as secondary in status to men, and that the New Testament commands women to remain silent (1 Cor. 14:34; Col. 3:18; Eph. 5:22-23) and not to have authority over a man (1 Tim. 2:12), Dr. West does not preach the continued suppression of women’s rights in our secular government. And yet, when I asked him why he continues to support the suppression of the rights and privileges of same-sex couples, he responded with a different, more fundamentalist, literalistic hermeneutic, stating:

“…i’m a christian and we don’t have the luxury of dispensing with things just because our culture thinks we should. culture isn’t the final arbiter of truth. revelation is.”

Of course, the blatant hypocrisy and inconsistency of this highly selective hermeneutic is glaring. Are not the passages condoning slavery and the suppression of women also “revealed Scripture”? Why is it that when the biblical revelation orders women to remain silent, Dr. West uses one hermeneutic to work around the passage so as to allow some women to have authority over men in the secular state government, but when homosexuality is condemned in the Bible, all of a sudden this sacred revelation is binding for all time, even for our secular government?

The question I posed to Dr. West was why he inconsistently employed one hermeneutic to read passages he was OK with dismissing, and a different hermeneutic to retain prohibitions against things he didn’t like (like homosexuality). And yet, Dr. West’s response deflected from his own inconsistency, and he proceeded to attack the accreditation of the one pointing out the hypocrisy, namely, me. I wasn’t a Christian, so we simply have to agree to disagree. However, that wasn’t the point of contention! The issue was Dr. West’s inconsistency, not my accreditation.

I based my critique on logic and facts (what the text actually says), and because he had no answer to his inconsistency, he simply ignored the critique, and invoked a rhetorical red herring to deflect from the critique: I wasn’t a Christian, so we’re going to disagree on this.

The only problem is, ignoring a critique does not invalidate the critique. Or, to quote Aldous Huxley, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

Or put another way, exposure of genuine logical fallacies and hermeneutical inconsistencies are valid regardless of who is pointing it out. The fact that one is not part of a particular group does not negate said person’s critiques of said group. To argue that one must first be a devout, believing Muslim in order to truly understand and therefore critique Islam is just as fallacious when it is applied to Christianity. (And qal w’homer, it is all the more fallacious when the one doing the critiquing has, in fact, been formally trained in both a graduate Christian seminary and at the doctoral level in one of the top state universities in the nation.) And, Dr. West would be among the first to affirm the notion that a person need not be properly accredited or affiliated in order to convey truth, be it an unaccredited college or an unaffiliated congregant. Dr. West knows that one’s lack of affiliation and accreditation does not limit one’s ability to speak truth.

And yet, rather than answer the question, Dr. West dismissed the critique arguing that since I was an agnostic, my point of view was not binding upon Christians (again, a non sequitur).

So, Dr. James McGrath called Dr. West on his dodge and non sequitur, describing Dr. West’s comments regarding same-sex marriage to be “so ridiculously illogical as to be bizarre”.

In response to this, Dr. West, rather than acknowledge that he had dodged the issue at hand, doubled down on my agnosticism, claiming,

“I didn’t say Bob wasn’t a Christian. BOB SAYS Bob isn’t a Christian. Bob calls himself an agnostic.”

And while the statement is true (although I would ask whether one can question the unprovable faith claims made by a group and still retain affiliation with said group), it continues to miss the point: Dr. West’s entire critique of whatever my personal religious beliefs may or may not be was a diversionary tactic designed to avoid addressing his inconsistent interpretation of passages, as well as his selective invoking of the “revelation” of the Bible. Dr. McGrath went so far as to remind Dr. West that the Israelite Exodus from Egypt is also “revealed” – (in fact, they named an entire book after it!) – and yet, Dr. West has elected to follow the interpretative conclusions of the so-called biblical “minimalists” and deny the biblical accounts of the Exodus as they are presented in the Bible. Dr. West has even written in defense of “minimalism”, and has argued that those who insist upon the historicity of the very “revealed” biblical accounts of the Exodus “are the true distorters of Scripture.”

Once again, Dr. West rejects slavery and the suppression of women, and rejects the historical biblical Exodus, but when it comes to marriage equality for same-sex couples before the law, he suddenly remembers that Scripture is “revelation” that must be codified into secular state law for all time. The selective inconsistency is obvious.

Joel Watts also chimed in with a thoughtful piece asking whether the religious preference of an individual actually matters in a scholarly discussion about the Bible. Mr. Watts rightly challenges Dr. West’s fallacy that “acceptable facts can only generate from acceptable quarters,” and rightly concludes:

“…who the hell cares what religion someone is if their statements are supported by the philosopher’s trinity — facts, logic, and reasoning? Further, the religion of the person, or the lack thereof, does not in anyway limit them from contributing to a discussion on said religion.”

But meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice, an interesting thing began to occur on James McGrath’s blog; a conversation broke out regarding whether or not I was actually a Christian. I watched as different individuals chimed in with evidence for and against my religious affiliation. The conversation got so bogged down in claims and counterclaims that James suggested that someone take the time to just ask me. So one of the individuals making comments (named “pithom”) did just that: invited me to answer the question once and for all.

And so I did. Here’s the text of my response on Dr. McGrath’s blog:

“that’s not a bad idea. and thanx to pithom for the invitation.

so tell me: where in matthew 25, when the king is separating the sheep from the goats, does it list church attendance, proper position on same-sex marriage, or even belief in the existence of god in the list of reasons given by the king for admission into the kingdom.

where in this passage (matt 25:31-46) does it even mention doing these deeds in the name of jesus?

what is more important: proper action or proper belief?

i say action. lived life is superior to believed life, and i’m not even from missouri.

kind and just deeds are not means to an end; they are ends in themselves. we should not do kind things so we can get something in return (like a hypothetical star in a hypothetical crown in a hypothetical heaven). rather, we should do what is right because it is the right thing to do, understanding ‘right’ as that which builds up self and neighbor and community, and makes others’ lives a little brighter.

if we take care of each other, the afterlife will take care of itself. and if there is none, then we still lived a great life, and our children will speak highly of us at the city gates. and if there is, then all the better.

stop arguing about life after death and start living the one before it. live it well. be merciful. be fair. and love one another.

however you define that, that’s what i am.”

Of course, anyone who has ever read my “about me” page on this blog or my Wikipedia user page should be able to ascertain the answer. But still, my personal beliefs (or lack thereof) are not the point!

Rather, the points are twofold:

  1. One’s personal religious or nonreligious affiliation should not matter in a professional, scholarly debate about the subject matter. Unless one appeals to one’s own faith as evidence in support of an argument, one’s personal religious beliefs, or lack thereof, should be moot. As long as the argument is rooted in facts, evidence, logic, and reason, then it doesn’t matter if the scholar is Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, atheist, capitalist, communist, or Martian: sound arguments are sound regardless of who makes them.
  2. The entire discussion over the fate of my eternal soul and my status as a Christian was, from the outset, a diversion from the issue at hand: Jim West’s inconsistent hermeneutic, and his selective appeal to the “revealed” status of Christian Scripture when the condemnation of homosexuality was under discussion. The entire discussion of my agnosticism is moot.

So, Joel Watts decided to have some fun with the situation, and after asking me if he could, posted an online poll asking whether or not I am “saved”. But the poll was designed to highlight the above two points: that in scholarship, one’s religious affiliation or non-affiliation is moot as long as the arguments are sound.

Interestingly, Joel informs me that at last count, with 29 votes cast, over half of those casting votes apparently understand the fallacy of Jim West’s diversionary tactic, and 55% have voted that my religious affiliation “doesn’t matter because facts are facts.” However, I was also intrigued to discover that 34% went ahead and voted “no”, that I’m not saved, and that only a paltry 10% (3 votes) voted that I am, in fact, “saved”.

Thus, from this data we can conclude two things:

  1. that I had better stock up on otherworldly fire retardant, and more importantly,
  2. we can see why fallacious appeals to an opponent’s lack of faith (like screaming “ATHEIST!”) are so effective: nearly half of those casting votes cast judgment on the fate of my soul rather than notice that the poll was designed to test whether voters could recognize the logical fallacy of appealing to my moot religious affiliation. (But I do offer my thanks to those three brave souls who consider me saved. ;-)

I want my friend to change his opinion on same-sex marriage. I want him to see the beam in his own eye – the inconsistency of his hermeneutic – that everyone else so clearly sees. I want him to see that using an appeal to the revelatory nature of the Bible to suppress the civil (not religious, but civil) rights and privileges of LGBTQ individuals is just as wrong as when it was done to slaves in the 1860s and to women in the early 1900s. I want him to stop posting embarrassing (and to many, offensive) comparisons between homosexuality and criminal activities like polygamy and pedophilia, and lumping them all together by arguing, “insofar as they are deviations, they are similar.” Such comments are not worthy of scholars and professionals, but are instead what we have come to expect from many fundamentalist preachers and politicians. I want my friend to change his scholarly opinion, and I want him to stop attacking the beliefs (or non-beliefs) of other scholars making valid points. Again, such sloppy rhetoric is not worthy of scholars.

Rather than make my personal beliefs the topic of conversation, I simply ask my friend to apply a consistent hermeneutic to his reading of the Bible, and to stop singling out gays for special condemnation.


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26 Responses

  1. I often wonder if people who are so tenacious about following the ‘revealed word of god’ in the Bible (e.g., advocate against gay marriage and equal rights) also advocate for stoning disobedient children? If not, then they can’t really be honest when they say something similar to “we don’t have the luxury of dispensing with things just because our culture thinks we should.” Clearly they are doing just that; they *are* dispensing with something because culture thinks we should (or they do, but then that would still make them hypocritical, wouldn’t it?).

  2. And don’t forget bestiality. The rightwingteapartyrepublican wacko’s think that it’s a small step from being gay to goat fucking.

    It’s readily apparent that Dr. West’s views have nothing to do with Scripture and everything to do with the plain fact he thinks gay and lesbian folks are icky.

    I congratulate you Dr. Cargill. I could not remain friends with someone like Dr. West without wrecking my blood pressure but then again, as a gay man, maybe I have more invested in the argument.

  3. Addendum: Stoning disobedient children is found in Deut. 21.18-21 for those who are curious.

  4. Wow, what a statement. My hat’s off to you Bob.

    Michael

    PS. On a rather unrelated note, I hope the twins are doing well.

  5. [...] Cargill has responded to the current string of posts regarding the dismissal of Scholarship based on the (non/lack of, almost) supernatural views of the [...]

  6. [...] Bob Cargill has posted about some of the discussion which took place or intersected with this blog, which resulted from [...]

  7. Great Job, Dr. Bob.

    Religious people dislike it when you call them on their hypocrisy, which is understandable.

    But that’s THEIR problem, not yours.

    More generally, it’s tough to keep them on ANY topic. Once they’ve exhausted the “talking points” they’ve learned . . . they’re basically “at sea” and so that is when they normally change the subject (which sometimes can simply be a turning of the subject to … a personal attack on YOU).

  8. A few rules of interpretation: If you LIKE the verse, you interpret it literally … if you DON’T like the verse, you (1) interpret it “metaphorically” or “figuratively” or (2) say that “this verse was obviously limited historically — see the surrounding context — to the time and place in which it was directed (and then loudly change the subject when the person with whom you are having the discussion actually WANTS to discuss that “context” since a full discussion thereof is a bit scary to you), or (3) find some other, dishonest way to come to the conclusion that “yes, it SAYS that, but it doesn’t MEAN that”.

    But then there’s the whole “Death penalty for picking up sticks on the Sabbath Rule”. Can anybody help on this one ?

    According to “God” (as quoted in the Bible, any version thereof) picking up sticks on the Sabbath is not only WRONG . . . those who pick up sticks on the Sabbath are to be put to death.

    See Bible, Book of Numbers, chapter 15, verses 32-36.

    Yup. According to this passage, “God” is quoted on the subject.

    Assuming you believe that the Bible (any version you like) is unchanging and inerrant, then if you cite the Bible as accurate re: homosexuality (this being the latest raging issue), then you thereby concede that the Bible is also accurate re: picking up sticks on the Sabbath. . . . That’s just how this sort of thing works; anything else is cherry-picking and is fundamentally dishonest … not that this matters to some religious folks.

  9. I can not wait to hear the first honest response about this stance from a minister – “look, I grew up being taught that gays were grody and the idea of gay sex repulses me and that’s more or less why I interpret the Bible to back up what I feel.”
    I would give that minister a pat on the back! Not cuz I agree, but because at least someone is speaking honestly and we can carry on a conversation that isn’t an utter waste of my time.

  10. @ cd.dedalus “Assuming you believe that the Bible (any version you like) is unchanging and inerrant, then if you cite the Bible as accurate re: homosexuality (this being the latest raging issue), then you thereby concede that the Bible is also accurate re: picking up sticks on the Sabbath. . . . That’s just how this sort of thing works; anything else is cherry-picking and is fundamentally dishonest … not that this matters to some religious folks.”
    One thing you are assuming mate is that the “BIBLE” is one book, and that it applies evenly. This is ignoring that the Bible has over 60 books (some versions over 70) which of course means that whatever application is possible should only be expected for those that the book was written for. What is written in Numbers does not apply to a Christian because said person is not a Jew. I would also say that what is written in Numbers does not apply to a modern day Jew because what was written, even if they are religious, would apply for a 500-300 BCE Jew. The only text that, in the case of gay marriage, applies to Christians is that one in Ro 2 (which if read up to chapter 3 does not necessary deny homosexuality) because Paul is speaking to Christians. Which is the whole point of this particular problem, If Christians don’t accept gay marriage because of Ro 2, but are happy to eat pork although forbidden in Leviticus, with what authority do they deny gay marriage for those NOT within a Christian tradition? i.e. secular marriage.

  11. Seriously Bob, is there a worse response than fideism? It is counter productive and I like how you put it, “sloppy rhetoric.”

    Can you imagine if a Catholic scholar said in the middle of an argument–perhaps concerning the perpetual virginity of Mary or the infallibility of the Pope– “That’s just because you don’t have the Holy Spirit Jim. Therefore, you don’t understand.” I’m fairly confident that would not be a valid argument for him. So to use it in his own “argument” is sloppy at best, and really, probably edges more to unfair and… well… ‘dishonest’ is not the right word… but it’s kind of like a child putting their fingers in their ears and yelling “la, la, la, I can’t hear you” because you made a valid point, but at the same time thinking putting your fingers in your ears and yelling “la, la, la, I can’t hear you” is wrong. Maybe hypocritical is the word I’m looking for. (can you imagine Longman telling Jim he doesn’t understand Hebrew Bible history and reception because he doesn’t have the Holy Spirit?)

  12. And, as a non sequitur, I sit in reverent awe and jealously at the fierce awesomeness of your beard!

  13. Daniel:

    You just illustrated my point.

    The Official Christian View is that “the Bible” IS “one book” that contains many parts, each of which was “written” by God.

    Your attempt to pigeonhole verses that you dislike simply (as noted) illustrates my point. Liberal Christians pre-Civil War did this, too … by purporting to limit pro-slavery verses “to a time and place” they were able to rationalize their own anti-slavery views as being consistent with “the Bible”. I’m glad they made this attempt and I’m glad that they formed a huge chunk of the Abolitionist movement, but their position on that issue was less-than-shaky.

    ALSO: You quote from Paul, but Paul was not God and was not “authorized” to speak for God.

    Finally, there are so many versions of “the Bible” … each of which claims to be “the best” . . . but how can this be ? The NIV simply OMITS verses that appear in the KJV, for example. . . . IOW, there STILL is no “final, definitive version of the Bible,” even today.

    . . . as to this last point, I submit the following from Martyn Percy, a canon doctor at Sheffield University, who said it best:

    “There has never been a settled, definitive version of the Bible; it has been an evolving book which has gone through many translations. Only fundamentalists think it came in a fax from heaven.”

    Your comment does not put you in the “fundamentalist” camp (AFAIAC), so please do NOT think that my comment (which tends, as most of my comments do, to seem a bit more terse than I intend them) to be directed to you as some sort of “enemy” because this is not my view of you.

  14. Why thank you. It is greying well (and uncontrollably). I feel like a defenseman enforcer (except I can’t skate).

  15. STOP WITH THE BEARD TALK, DANG IT. I’M TRYING.

  16. lol. give it time, young blogmaster.

  17. Well, I guess within a literal understanding of “If you confess Jesus with your mouth, and believe in your heart he was raised from the dead, you will be saved” is a major criteria in answering your salvation question.

    I prefer to use the term Jesus follower instead of Christian (There is a huge difference) I also don’t believe the church has the right to mandate governmental policy – though of course, every person has the right to vote as they see is right.

  18. I will ditto the words above by Craig Benno. Bob, do you confess Jesus with your mouth and believe He was raised from the dead?
    True believers who are also true scholars are always going to butt heads with theologians, especially the fundamentalists who seem to rejoice in their self righteousness. I belong to a camp of Christians/Christ followers who do not believe that every word of the bible is inspired or written by God. I recognize the difference between spiritual and civil law, which tweeks with each civilization.
    Where scholarship fails, is in the understanding that believers like Dr. West, who are led by the Holy Spirit, are always going to be on the firing line. Bravely, I support Dr. West’s belief on the issue of Gay marriage. I do however, reluctantly , support their right to a civil union. Homosexuality, as anyone who is conscious of nature can see, is against the natural order of things.
    With much care, I will say, with love and admiration BC, that your charisma may be dangerous to you. People love to agree with the famous Dr. Bob Cargill because they have a groupy mentality.You are a winner and, we all like to be in the camp with the winners. Without the beard, you are a very handsome, incredibly intelligent bible dude. Like I would tell my own daughter, be very careful to remember that those who love you most and are your best friends are often those who are brave enough to disagree with you.
    with admiration
    barbara singer

  19. In the natural order of things there are gay people. They are a percentage of every population on earth. The reason for their existence and their contribution to the success of our species escapes Jim West and Barbara Singer. They are unconscious of nature because their development has been arrested by a belief in spirits, spells and magical oaths.

  20. [...] However, none of these opinions of so-called modern science should pose any sort of problem for the … As a believer in giant heroes and demi-gods, I don’t have the luxury of dispensing with things just because our culture thinks we should. Culture isn’t the final arbiter of truth. Revelation is. Sure, Adrienne Mayor may believe, based on the presuppositions of her materialist-naturalist worldview, that the giant bones of heroes and demi-gods are just “mastodons” and “whales”. But has anybody seen one of these so-called “mastodons”? No – so it also depends on FAITH. We have different perspectives PRECISELY because I see life through the lens of faith in giant heroes and demi-gods and she does not. It is for this reason that our views on several issues differ…I simply recognize that, at the end of the day, we approach problems and issues from differing starting points. [...]

  21. Dear cd,dedalus:

    “Your attempt to pigeonhole verses that you dislike simply (as noted) illustrates my point. Liberal Christians pre-Civil War did this, too … by purporting to limit pro-slavery verses “to a time and place” they were able to rationalize their own anti-slavery views as being consistent with “the Bible”. I’m glad they made this attempt and I’m glad that they formed a huge chunk of the Abolitionist movement, but their position on that issue was less-than-shaky.
    ALSO: You quote from Paul, but Paul was not God and was not “authorized” to speak for God.”

    I wasn’t quoting Paul as authority per se, I was quoting Ro 2 as the only verse (maybe 2 Co also) that COULD be seem relevant for Christians. Yet, with further reading this too fails to make a damning point against homosexuality. I don’t know if we are in agreement or not…

    “Finally, there are so many versions of “the Bible” … each of which claims to be “the best” . . . but how can this be ? The NIV simply OMITS verses that appear in the KJV, for example. . . . IOW, there STILL is no “final, definitive version of the Bible,” even today.” As it should be, the Bible should evolve as the Christian church evolves. I would be tempted to remove Ro 13 myself.

    “. . . as to this last point, I submit the following from Martyn Percy, a canon doctor at Sheffield University, who said it best:
    “There has never been a settled, definitive version of the Bible; it has been an evolving book which has gone through many translations. Only fundamentalists think it came in a fax from heaven.”

    Kudos on knowing Percy, he is rather magnificent. He no longer teaches at Sheffield though. He moved to Oxford, not that matters here…

    “Your comment does not put you in the “fundamentalist” camp (AFAIAC), so please do NOT think that my comment (which tends, as most of my comments do, to seem a bit more terse than I intend them) to be directed to you as some sort of “enemy” because this is not my view of you.” Likewise….

  22. You cited to a work purportedly written by Paul, so — yes — it is my contention that you were positing Paul as an authority.

  23. Dr Cargill:

    You have my unending admiration for your skills in the art of debate. When I read some of the so called logical outcomes that Dr. West stated must happen if gay marriage is validated I was sickened. Seriously, found myself wincing at some of his so called outcomes. Look I spent 8 years as an officer in the Army, and have heard some pretty sick crap hanging out with a bunch of men all day but the “outcomes” Dr. West consider inevitable makes me question him. I’ve never in my whole life considered the idea of a man marrying a 5 year old boy..to even put that kind of sick shit in writing only reflects on the mind of the writer since clearly he is capable of imagining some pretty depraved crap. If this guy is calling himself a Christian then he needs to get some serious prayer sessions going cause if his mind and by association his spirit are capable of devising some of the marriage combinations that he listed then he is one sick puppy.

    I have said many times that straight men who think too much about gay men have some twisted repressed stuff going on inside of them and West proves me correct. Marital combinations that in my 30 some years as a gay man have never entered my mind seemed to come quite easily to West. Will the real pervert please remove his blind fold.

    This guy may have all of the highest credentials that can be conferred by Caesar but his soul is as twisted as Jack the Ripper. He may feel he is fine but take it from me if his “outcomes” can make a seasoned ex-soldier like me wince then he has a very dark side to his imagination which he revealed to anyone who isn’t wearing blinders. It’s like the cop who has to think like a crook but who becomes so adept at it that his inner workings actually become more twisted than those of the criminals that he pursues.

    What I don’t understand about modern day Christians is why they are so willing to exclude this person or that group from the banquet table of life? What I got from the bible and my subsequent readings was that Jesus sought to welcome the “outcast of society” to the banquet table. He didn’t dine with the chief priest and Jewish muckie mucks, he ate with those that others shunned. His ministry was focused on inclusion of the very people that the main stream culture shunned. Which is why I say if he returned today the Christians would crucify him just as the Jews did. If we use the gospels as evidence then he would not be interested in sitting down with Pat Robertson, Newt Gingrich, or West, he’d be spending his days sitting down on the sidewalk talking with a strung out crack head, or a young woman doing all the wrong things for a buck. In other words those that West and his self righteous ilk would reject as not being worthy.

    I don’t have the degrees that you and West do but I know this without a doubt. Nothing exist but for the infinite will of the Divine One or God if you like.

    Most Christians remind me of a bunch of children climbing, pushing, shoving and punching one another in a pointless and vainglorious attempt to prove that God loves them more than anyone else. Furthermore what I don’t understand about Christians is why they have so many sects. If God revealed his truth to mankind via Jesus then why is it that even the Christians can’t line up behind a single unified doctrine? Instead when you open a phone directory there are as many pages dedicated to churches as there are to lawyers, doctors, or car dealers. I thought being a Christian meant doing what Jesus did welcoming the outcast, not turning heaven into a “get-your-ticket- punched destination that is only reserved for Daddy’s favorites.

    In closing Dr. Cargill I once again commend you for the positive and open-minded nature that characterizes your blog. I will share one of my favorite quotes with you and your readers.

    “Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.

    The heated mind resents the chill touch and relentless scrutiny of logic.”

  24. Wow…I used to think I could write. Now I’m like the kid who draws Garfield on notebooks looking at a Caravaggio.

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