27th March 2012

“The unprepossessing brand of exclusive evangelicalism followed in some parts of America (the 'I'm Saved, You're Not' approach to salvation) has never been far from the headlines this year and is also very effective in turning people away from religion.”

Gerard Baker

18 Responses to “27th March 2012”

  1. R J Says:

    my personal placard reads…….


  2. electra Says:

    Have ya’all seen Jesus Camp? Those are the people they’re talking about in this quote. They’ve got their bibles shoved so far up their asses they can’t imagine ever getting them back out. If you missed it, you can see it free – http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/jesus_camp

    Also, it’s almost Zombie Jesus season.

    Brains–you can’t eat just one, Jesus.
    – or-
    To partake in godly gains,
    let Jesus eat your brainz!

  3. Jeff Says:

    RJ, I think that my personal placard would read:


  4. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    “I’m saved” or “I have a personal reltionship with…” is superiority complex stuff.

    It is a primitive or childish ego trait that is common among people with petty insecurities.

    These are the kind of outlandish claims typically made by children. For instance “my toy is better than yours” followed by the inevitable “Nah uh” and then back and forth on “uh huh” “nah uh” over and over again.

    Yes it does turn people away, much in the very same way as the children doing the “nah uh” “uh huh” thing frustrates parents.

    These very people making these nonsensical claims would be just as quick to turn away from this kind of childish behavior were it between kids or on some “other than their religious” matter.

    Like if someone was claiming to have a personal relationship with Sasquatch these religio-deluded folks would be tuning the dude out in a heartbeat, but claim to have a relationship with a long dead Jewish malcontent that may or may not have ever existed and that is somehow different?

  5. poky Says:

    While the superiority of believers is obnoxious, the superiority of non-believers who believe that they are a “cut above” because they are able to rise above the fantasies of the “righteous” due to superior rationality, centeredness, or realism can be just as obnoxious. Looking down on believers as uninformed, unrefined, or childish can be rather hypocritical and obnoxious too.

  6. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Poky you have a point, just not a valid point. This isn’t “all things equal”.

    I have made no claim of “atheist superiority”, rather I have said the wild claim of a relationship with a deity is tied to a superiority complex of the claiment.

    I furthered the point by saying that these same people would abjectly reject an absurd claim were it about something non-religious (Sasquatch).

    What if a person was bragging to you about a personal relationship with Sasquatch? How would you view this? What if they were speaking in terms of them being better than you for having a personal relationship with Sasquatch?

    “the ‘I’m Saved, You’re Not’ approach to salvation” doesn’t make sense, that is what I’m saying.

  7. poky Says:

    I appreciate and acknowledge your thoughts. My question would be: If a person bragged about a personal relationship with Sasquatch, how does that belief affect my beliefs or me? ….and, if I do allow those Sasquatch beliefs to penetrate me in some way, it may say more about me than about the beliefs themselves.

    What I’m saying is that judging the beliefs of others as making no sense is the right of all thinkers, but demeaning those who believe differently sets up climates of contention and distance and are not productive for anyone.

  8. R J Says:

    POKY AT 2041

    your second paragraph is nicely put.

    sometimes difficult to pull off, but

    worthwhile, none the less .

    keep the ideas coming !!

  9. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Poky I may have to back track on my Sasquatch example: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/tv/la-et-bigfoot-pop-culture-pg,0,7540593.photogallery?track=icymi

    Just kidding!

    I was only speaking to what you seemed to have responded to. Maybe I was presuming too much to think you were speaking to me directly.

    As for what you are saying “how does that belief affect my beliefs or me”: It doesn’t. I wasn’t suggesting it did though. I was only speaking to today’s quote and the “I’m saved, You’re not approach”. I spoke to that approach.

    Demeaning those who believe differently for no other reason than the differing beliefs, I agree doesn’t make sense, but there is a legitimate space for disputing and/or discounting a belief that isn’t necessarily demeaning a person.

    We can talk about certain beliefs, say like the JFK conspiracy or alien abduction, or Sasquatch, the Illuminati, et cetera and not be insulting people simply for discounting their belief. Religious belief isn’t a sacred cow, it isn’t off limits to discussion, and it isn’t demening to discuss it.

    It is a natural defensive instinct to defend yourself and your beliefs, but that they are challenged isn’t necessariily the establishment of an insult.

  10. Xhim Says:

    I’m getting in on this a little late. The Jesus followers I’ve met on three continents don’t see “having a personal relationship with Jesus” or “being saved” as being superior. If they did, they would meet considerable ire from their co-religionists. I won’t say it never happens (it really is hard to claim than ANYTHING never happens!) or that some don’t inadvertantly come across this way. There was even a Christian youth song sung in the GRD (to the tune of Yellow Submarine) “Besser sind wir nicht, aber besser sind wir dran” (“We’re not better, but we’ve got it better”) to express explicitly that “being saved” does not express superiority, but does have benefits.
    As far as “I’m saved, you’re not” goes, there is unfortunately some judgmentalism – even though expressly forbidden by JC – out there. Not even fundies claim to be perfect! But it is only logical to conclude that is someone does not fit the job description, he’s not doing the job. So if someone for instance consistently behaves in a callous, unloving manner, it would be a reasonable (tho not absolute) conclusion that he is “not saved” since love is foundational to “having a personal relationship with JC” even more than correct doctrine.

  11. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Xhim nobody said they did. What was said was that in making the wild claim, as with any wild claim, a person is exhibiting the distinct sign of a psychologic superiority complex.

    It is all tied to the quote “(the ‘I’m Saved, You’re Not’ approach to salvation)”.

    When a person makes an incredible claim then looks down their nose at someone else having made the claim we arrive at “turning people away from religion”.

    Evangelicals do this all the f-ing time!

  12. Dan Says:

    Poky, et al.,

    Can’t we recognize that a person can be very intelligent in a number of areas, but on one topic be completely stupid?

    I’m sure that my wife would generously argue that this applies to me as well as anyone else! 🙂
    Of course that’s not to say that all blind spots to rationality are equal – some are more detrimental or embarrassing than others, of course. But I think everyone here recognizes that there can be and are some otherwise very intelligent believers. And, their intelligence otherwise doesn’t erase their areas of stupidity, it just modifies the severity of their embarrassment.

    Wouldn’t you agree?

  13. Xhim Says:

    Sorry, Sinjin, but superiority obviously depends on the nature of the claim. If you claim that you are less intelligent than a bedbug, the claim is wild, but nobody says you’ve got a psychologic superiority complex.

  14. poky Says:

    Yes, I agree that “intelligence” seems to be topic specific, but the problem seems to be in defining “intelligence.” I may regard my thinking as intelligent, but others may see my thinking quite differently, so who gets to judge what is intelligent and what is not–or what is rational and what is not–or what is stupid?

    Of course, we all see things from our perspectives and should have the freedom to hold our own beliefs based on those perspectives, while at the same time honoring that the perspectives of others may differ from our own.

    As Sinjin aptly stated,” There is a natural defensive instinct to defend yourself and your beliefs…” but I believe as thoughtful persons we must recognize that instinct and monitor it as we interact with others. Any defense of our beliefs must not back us into corners that makes us inflexible to change and growth.

  15. R J Says:


    how does all of this affect the use of the

    ”bronx cheer” ?????

  16. Xhim Says:

    Thanks, poky. One thing I appreciate about this exchange is to be the odd man out but still be treated with respect – even if most of you think my views are totally hogwash. To be able to disagree, even vehemently, and still treat each other as human beings is an important but fragile characteristic of rational man.

  17. Dan Says:

    How do we judge who is correct and who is not?

    Well, I could answer with a discussion of Plato’s Cave, and other allegories, as in the thread for March 9th’s qotd.

    Or I could just answer that one should look to the real world to see what is actually real. I’m sure that’s a shocking concept to most believers, to not take religious claims blindly on faith. But really, if you want to know whether you’re an idiot or not on a given topic, you have to stop and consider for a moment the possibility that your religion (or whatever) is wrong, and actually compare it with reality.

    But if your faith is strong, you’ll never consider the remote possibility that you’re wrong. And that, obviously, doesn’t lead very reliably to the correct answers!

  18. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Sometime it seems like whole conversations arise to address points not made?