How Many Theists Are Like This? March 18, 2009

How Many Theists Are Like This?

In my experience, a lot of older Christians may think this is completely misrepresenting them.

I wonder, though, how often this applies to younger Christians who grew up in the church and have not been challenged about their beliefs very much:


Is it accurate or not?

Is it offensive?

Keep in mind it was drawn by a pastor…

(via nakedpastor)

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  • In a lot of ways I think there’s tons of truth to that. Since many people are raised with a certain religion, that’s the one that’s “chosen” for you. There’s not really an opportunity to explore the different choices of religions (including not having one).

    Consider a child born in India — the child would almost surely be raised as Hindu/Sikh.

    Granted, some people have chosen their religion through personal experiences and the like.

  • Bill


    Maybe, but if the shoe fits…

  • dhoffman5

    It’s true for some probably. There’s a parable very much like this in the Bible – the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.

    I don’t understand the assumption that seems to underlie it though – that Christians are those who haven’t thought about what they believe. Some of the brightest minds in the history of the world have been Christian. Atheists don’t have a monopoly on thought. Some people know full well what atheists think, and simply disagree.

  • yoyo

    Yep it’s written by a Pastor but only in the sense that christians should be working even harder to align themselves in a narrow joy- suppressing way so as to become good god fodder.

  • christi

    Where is Friendly Christian when you need him? 🙂

  • Todd

    You know something? I think this cartoon could apply to lots of different groups, not just Christians. It could even apply to atheists. We live in a very open society in which we can find people like ourselves and build insular self selected little groupthink clubs that keep us from challenging ourselves with worldviews that differ from our own.

    I think that’s what the pastor, who drew this, is trying to point out.

  • Miko

    Switch a few words and that could refer to most any group identity, and not just religious ones.

  • Gabriel

    Seems to describe the majority of christians that I know here in Texas. Though most of them wouldn’t even think of it this deeply.

  • That definitely describes the way I thought when I was a Christian. I remember thanking God for making it so easy for me. Not even that I was born Christian vs. something else, I don’t remember thinking of that at all, actually. I remember thanking God for allowing me to be born into the “true” Christian faith. I often thought, How hard it must be to be someone who truly believes something that isn’t true. Thank you, God, for giving me the privilege of not having to change my faith in order to be right with you!

  • Polly

    The first sentiment about being “Born Xian” is dead accurate for me and my wife. It was a conscious awareness that I could have been “born” Muslim, Jewish or Hindu in some god-forsaken non-jesus country. The rest is complete bunk. I was always very uncomfortable and had to think and read a lot – a lot of Xian lies, that is – in order to keep the faith.

    I always recognize Nakedpastor’s toons.

  • max

    i hear christian cry out .. par le sang du christ .. like crazy ..

  • I agree with todd and others that it could apply to any social group. I’m curious though as tyo why a pastor would choose to use “God-forsaken” to describe some other parts of the world. Doesn’t that imply that God has abandoned those nations where people are not hungry, poor, diseased or war torn? Doesn’t that make the Christian god a god of consumerism and sloth?

  • Erp

    I think the pastor is implying that this type of Christian doesn’t have a correct understanding. More God-forsaken is not the artist’s view of other parts of the world but the character’s.

    (In any case, everyone knows God is an Englishman).

  • Tom

    I made a parody web page about the virgin mary once, in 1996 or so. (In the page, the virgin mary visited a mcdonalds, said a few bland meaningless words at a gas station, and departed in a taxi. There were photos.) I asked some friends of mine who are christian pastors to help me with it… they ended up writing all of the text. We all gave careful attention to making sure it didn’t really say anything, if you really paid attention, because we didn’t want to actually make false religious claims. At the bottom of the page, we put some links to some serious Mary shrines, in case anyone bumbled into our page by accident while looking for religious material.

    I used to get hate mail from monks, nuns, and priests about it. They’d tell me I was anti-christian. They’d tell me I was going to rot in hell. I’d write them back and tell them that the page was in fact written by two pastors and that we intended it as a lighthearted parody and that we had thought that it was so over the top that nobody would possibly take it seriously enough to take offense, and then I asked them if the nasty email they sent was really christian of them, whether Jesus would approve of their language and tone, and whether it’s more appropriate for them to speak to me in that manner or to try to teach me by example how to be kind and good. One monk wrote me back a rather sincere apology. Another did not. The priests didn’t reply. The nun wrote me back to say that I was so vile that she was not going to read whatever I wrote to her because she didn’t need to listen to people who are going to hell and she couldn’t believe I had the unmitigated gall to reply.

    The Mary shrines we linked to all eventually emailed me to demand (under threat of lawsuit) that I remove the link to their site from my page. I wrote each one back to explain that I had placed the link there in case someone seeking religious material accidentally found my page instead, and that while I had no legal obligation to remove the links (I hadn’t said anything about them, I merely made a list, so they could hardly claim I defamed them) I would do so as a courtesy if they really insisted, but every one of them wrote back to demand that I take the links down anyway. One of them did so politely. I replaced them with links including one about the singer Madonna and another to Virgin Airlines.

    Of course, that’s not to even mention the people who would regularly send threats of lawsuits or violence to my web hosting provider, to the point that they finally told me that if I didn’t take the page down they’d close my account. (I moved the page to a different server and closed my account anyway.)

    So, I would say it doesn’t matter if the cartoon is offensive, or accurate or not, people will take offense from it regardless because a lot of religious people fly into an insane rage whenever they think anything about their belief may have been questioned.

  • Leanstrum

    The cartoon is bang on, in my opinion. At least, for many Christians (and those of other faiths).
    I think this concept thoroughly destroys the idea that there is a level playing field in the game of salvation. Some people are naturally credulous and unquestioning – and for them it’s just a case of whether they are lucky enough to be born in the country with the right religion. If you are naturally sceptical and like good reasons for what you believe, then you are at a serious disadvantage even if you are born in a Christian country, since God demands blind, unquestioning faith and expects you to take people’s word for it.

    I asked this question to my mother before I lost my faith.

    “What about those poor people in other countries who are unlucky enough to be born into the wrong religion?”, I asked.

    She would reply, “Well, it’s our duty to minister to as many of them as possible.”

    “But what about the ones we can’t reach?”

    “It’s not their fault they haven’t heard the good news, so they’ll be judged by the content of their soul”

    I want to be judged by the content of my soul! That’s the biggest luxury imaginable! They don’t have to believe the right religion, they just have to be a good person? Let’s leave them, then. It’s better that way.”

    I never got an answer to that one. Hence, well, look at me now.

  • The very fact it is written by a pastor it reflective of the fact that there are many Christians who are committed to challenging the herd mentality.

  • Luther Weeks

    I bring you tidings of Great Joy: There is no God forsaken place! Since there is no God to forsake anything.

  • Vic

    Location of birth is the number one indicator of religious affiliation. I occasionally ask Christians what, after their long spiritual journey, made them settle on Christianity. I never get an answer.

  • jake

    For me, my entire childhood was spent in an ignorant state of obedience to my parents when it came to going to church and learning about the bible through the church. That being said, this comic is spot on for me. My childhood was spent never second guessing whether god existed or not, it was simply understood. I never looked past the walls around me to anyone who was unlike myself and because of this completely fell short of the compassion the Jesus of the bible actually taught.

    As for Vic, my spiritual journey is merely just beginning really (I’m only eighteen) but as I stated earlier I am obviously a product of my environment and thus gravitate toward christianity, not as a religion mind you (I haven’t been to church in about a year in a half) but rather as a lifestyle. I have studied other religions and Buddhism is also one that sparks my interest, but as for your question, “What made you settle on Christianity?” I suppose it would be the idea of selflessness. Jesus, in scripture was entirely selfless even giving his life for people that he had never met and while Christianity is very idealistic in it’s strictest form I find within myself a great desire to follow this lifestyle to the end. Faith that Jesus was god incarnate basically just follows after.

  • Ashley

    it may be to some but it is so true. its more acceptable and easy to be a christian. But what if they lived in someother part of the world?

  • Secular Humanist

    You don’t need God to be good.

  • If only they were as docile as the cartoon suggests. Unfortunately some of them have started to wake up and have begun thrashing around grasping at straws. You know like when a dog wakes up from a nightmare and they start looking for the objects from their imagination in the real world and panic when they’re not there anymore?

    I have two of these kinds of Christian “on the go” via email right now—both flinging the usual nonsense around as quickly as they can cut and paste it from some Christian apologetics web site which tries to appear credible by printing ad hominem on physicists and biologists, as if an individual scientists personality is intrinsic to the axiom of their work.

  • Luther Weeks

    “You don’t need God to be good.”

    Yup, there is no God to be good. So we don’t have to worry about God being bad either.

  • absent sway

    To Leanstrum:
    Wow, that conversation with your mother sounds so familiar!

    About the comic, I’d like to add my two cents that it’s not surprising that a Christian wrote it; they are often so hard on themselves and each other, and it is necessary to the faith in the sense that there is such an emphasis on the prevalence of sin and the challenge of living righteous lives. The comic emphasizes a sense of relief at convenient belief but recognizing that tendency in oneself produces a deep sense of shame. It’s true that one can get away without thinking hard about one’s beliefs, but usually not for long and the people who take their beliefs most seriously must often struggle with them tremendously.

  • Magnifico Giganticus

    I’d have to say it is offensive. Not because I think it is but because someone will almost certainly find it so. Which is as much of an answer as I can give regarding accuracy. Tautologically speaking, it is accurate but only for those it accurately depicts. So, like, yeah sorta.

  • Oddly, I’ve heard preachers make this argument to convince people to be born-again (that you happen to be Christian probably only be coincidence of birth in a certain part of the world, so you haven’t really chosen your religion).

  • “What about those poor people in other countries who are unlucky enough to be born into the wrong religion?”, I asked.

    She would reply, “Well, it’s our duty to minister to as many of them as possible.”

    “But what about the ones we can’t reach?”

    “It’s not their fault they haven’t heard the good news, so they’ll be judged by the content of their soul”

    Leanstrum, I was always told that those who never heard of Jesus would have the opportunity, after they die, to hear the gospel and accept or reject it. Still seems a little unfair to me.
    The opposite of the cartoon was true for me, as I wasn’t raised Christian and I ended up much more conservative than my family. It gave me a greater sense of ownership of my faith, and I’ll still say that my relationship with God with so good that I don’t regret it.

  • Twin-Skies

    That cartoon made me remember this old joke from a Jesuit back in highschool:

    “What’s the difference between a holy man, and a zealot? The holy man has a sense of humor.”

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