Why I’m A Good Christian

Ricky Gervais wrote an incendiary article for the Wall Street Journal a few months ago, titled “Why I’m an Atheist”. Perhaps you saw it? It was around Christmas. It got the dander up of many Christians who seem to always take offense whenever someone says they are not a Christian, and don’t believe in god, giving well thought out and articulate reasons why, as if they were insulted in some way.

Then, at the end of the the Golden Globe Awards soiree’, he could be heard , as the credits rolled, intoning “Thank God he made me an atheist”. Oh, the wailing and gnashing of teeth could be heard in churches nationwide.

Now he’s written a little Easter season message (or spring message, is you’d like) titled “Why I’m A Good Christian“. He compares his personal morality with that supposedly set forth in the Ten Commandments, and finds that he actually abides by all them, but unsurprisingly, most Christians don’t.

Of course, a certain amount of interpretation and analysis is necessary to get the Ten Commandments to mean what he says they mean, but I have to agree with his interpretation, over that of others, because his makes a lot of sense. As a matter of fact, when I go down that list, I’d have to say that I meet all 10 criteria for being a Good Christian too. Maybe George Carlin had it right when he was able to boil them down to two commandments?

At the very least, it shows that anyone can be a good Christian if he interprets the Bible any way he wants to.

(And if that picture is what Gervais looks like these days, he’s really serious about getting buff.)

24 thoughts on “Why I’m A Good Christian

  1. I forgot what politician it was, but there was a great segment years ago, I think when Colbert was still on the Daily Show, when he asked the politician who was pushing to have the commandments placed in front of a courthouse what they were. He got stuck after 2.

    It is very silly, and most don’t think about it (despite what Tommykey claims).

  2. “…but unsurprisingly, most Christians don’t.”

    what actually IS unsurprising is the continued stating of opinion as fact on this blog.

    • Ok, easy one – most of the US armed forces are Christians. The US armed forces kill people and/or facilitate the killing of people. “Thou Shalt Not Kill” is one of the 10 commandments.

      Of course most Christians are not in the US armed forces, but that’s just one of many examples. Hell, you could say any Christian engaging in capitalism is engaging in or encouraging coveting, no? We could go on, but the point is when things are obvious, like grass is green and (unfortunately) American Idol is a popular show, you don’t have to provided a page of citations.

      • Let’s not forget that most of the murderers, thieves and rapists (who don’t actually violate the 10C by raping, unless they covet their victim beforehand, and the victim happens to be their neighbor’s wife) in prison are professed Christians.

        In all fairness, most didn’t start singing the praises of Jesus until after they got there, but they were probably all raised Christian

      • “when things are obvious, like grass is green and (unfortunately) American Idol is a popular show, you don’t have to provided a page of citations.”

        LOL!

        wow, i must have egg on my face, huh? how did i miss the obvious? sure, sure, now that you’ve pointed out, you can’t not see it. you’re right – no proof needed when it’s obvious. especially when in comes to claims made by atheists on this blog it seems.

        • Right, I humor you by quickly showing why such a comment wasn’t mere opinion and you simply insist that it still is. Well it’s ridiculous antics like this, cl jason, where you get egg on your face. It’s solely by your own doing.

          Cook up any new fallacious arguments since that last time when you ran away? How’s it going trying to argue the supernatural into existence? It must be hard, which is why I assume you’ve found it easier to try and make little snipes instead, just like your doppleganger did last week only nobody would humor him. Perhaps if he left such comments under a different name. Who knows?

          • wow. this just gets better.

            “…I humor you by quickly showing why such a comment wasn’t mere opinion…”

            you did!? can you please point that out for me because i’m just not seeing it anywhere – unless you’re referring to your example of christian military personnel. let me see if i have this straight – most active military are christians (i guess i’ll just take your word on that, its probably one of those obvious facts you seem to like), all military personnel have either personally killed or personally participated in the act of killing, and the commandment (obviously) has the one and only meaning that one person should not kill another under any set of circumstances – no exceptions. therefore, given all of those absolute and certainly in no way mistaken or misguided facts, most christians do not follow the commandments. you’re putting me on, right? wait, you must be putting me on because this is the first sentence of your very next paragraph:

            “Of course most Christians are not in the US armed forces…”

            so you noticed, huh? nothing slips by you, philly.

            but you said you showed me so it must be true. maybe its just me missing the obvious again.

    • what actually IS unsurprising is the continued stating of opinion as fact on this blog.

      Thanks, Rudy. Your comments are always so incisive.

    • Here’s another one: Jesus said divorce = adultery (forbidden by one of the 10 commandments). Yet many Xians are divorced. In fact, the divorce rate in the South – where Christianity is especially strong -is higher than elsewhere.

      But then again, some Xians don’t believe the 10 commandments are important anyway. http://www.bethelministries.com/ten_commandments.htm

  3. To be fair to Jesus, he broke down all Jewish law to two commandments: loving God and loving your fellow humans.

    George Carlin’s more entertaining though, and he doesn’t include anything about God, which seems an improvement.

      • Look at Mark 12:28-31. Though he actually goes one better in Matthew 7:12, breaking it all down to one rule (and leaving God out!):
        “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
        —-
        I’m not saying Jesus was consistent. I’m sure he contradicts himself somewhere (ditto George Carlin), but he’s certainly recorded as saying it in the Bible.

        • All the so-called Jesus did there was take the Golden Rule, which already existed in other cultures, probably the Jewish one of the time also, and repeat it.

          I think the Golden Rule is a wonderful commandment, but I wouldn’t give Jesus credit for it.

          Bookmarking your blog, Garic, to go back and check it out. Thanks for commenting!

          • I think the Golden Rule is a wonderful commandment, but I wouldn’t give Jesus credit for it.

            Confucius certainly had him beat quite a few centuries.

  4. I should stress that I’m certainly not claiming Jesus invented the Golden Rule, only that he is recorded as recognising that it summed up Jewish law, and I think he deserves a little credit for that. Even if he’s not the only one to have realised that, and even if he was inconsistent, and is probably is an amalgam of real and imagined characters anyway…

    In other news, I don’t think George Carlin should be credited with discovering that infidelity and dishonesty are bad things.

    Thanks for bookmarking my blog! I’ve taken a long vacation while settling into a new job and city. I hope to be back on track soon…

  5. First, not only did the NGR (NGR = negative Golden Rule, PGR = positive Golden Rule) exist pre-Christianity, but it existed in Judaism as well (ie – Philo, Hillel, et al). Christians make a fuss over Jesus’ PGR, but it’s exactly that which I find hurts, not helps their moral code for it ignores human empathy.
    “Do not impose on others what you do not desire others to impose upon you.” – K’ung-Fu-Tzu.
    If ONLY Christians had THAT as their moral compass, eh? Instead they have:
    “Do unto others what YOU would want done onto YOU.”
    What’s wrong with that? It assumes others like what you like, that what’s good for you MUST be good for others. Clearly that’s not always the case. This, I believe, is at the root of the Christian disconnect with the rest of society. They impose because they think it’s for the best, and since it’s for the best, then it’s not an imposition. If you object, you’re then evil or in the grips of evil.

    Also, the Babylonians had words similar to what the Jesus character says – “Do not return evil to your adversary; Requite with kindness the one who does evil to you, Maintain justice for your enemy, Be friendly to your enemy.”

  6. I really used to think that the only source of morality in the world was Christianity. Like I thought that before Moses, people didn’t know it wasn’t cool to kill people. So I used to argue that it didn’t matter if any law was religious or not because all the laws are religious, because all morality is religious.

    So I guess I can understand where that mindset comes from, except that I haven’t thought that since I was about 15. I don’t get how grown adults can maintain that belief. The only reason I believed it was because I was an arrogant, brainless little twit.

  7. Like I thought that before Moses, people didn’t know it wasn’t cool to kill people.

    Apparently God didn’t know it wasn’t cool to kill people either before issuing the 10 Commandments.

  8. I have to admit I’m a little confused. Comments here seem to imply that I’m claiming at least one of the following:

    1) That Jesus invented the Golden Rule;
    2) That Jesus deserves credit for inventing (some version of) the Golden Rule;
    3) That Jesus invented the best version of the Golden Rule;
    4) That Jesus invented any version of the Golden Rule;
    5) That Jesus actually lived according to (some version of) the Golden Rule;
    6) That many Christians live according to (some version of) the Golden Rule;
    7) That giving someone credit for someone implies they thought of it first;
    8) That no one summed up Jewish law in terms of (some version of) the Golden Rule before Jesus did;
    9) That Jesus existed.

    I claim none of these things. But perhaps I’m misinterpreting people’s comments, and none of you think I claim any of these things either. Apologies if so.

    • Can’t speak for anyone else, but since this is my blog, I’ll speak for me.

      The written word doesn’t parse as well as the spoken word, for some reason. You’d think it would, but the common embellishments to one-on-one communication are absent (inflection, body language, intonation, etc). So don’t worry. If someone wants to call you on the carpet for something, they will. I have a few guests whose comments get the third degree for a good reason – they are suspect from the get go. Newcomers not so much.

      Most likely, what you said simply sparked another comment. Some comments are not direct refutations of the previous ones, just another riff on a similar theme.

      I took your comment, and built on it. I didn’t disagree with you. I just went a little further and pointed out that the type of atheist I am has a hard time crediting a mythical person with anything. As far as I’m concerned, Jesus is a fictional character. If you go back and read through this blog (4 years worth) you’d know that. I don’t fault you for not doing it, though.

      In the vernacular, don’t get your tits in a wringer about it. It all comes out in the wash. I’ve looked at your blog. I can’t imagine you claimed any of those things from 1 through 9 . 8)

    • Your blog seemed interesting but I found the intense contrast stressful on the eyes, so I didn’t stay too long.

  9. I’m confused as to how the fact that variants of the GR existed pre-Jesus amounts to anything substantial. Truth is truth whenever and wherever it’s stated. That other sages seemed to stumble upon this truth is a testimony in its favor, if you ask me.

    jason,

    Isn’t it hilarious that they still think I’m you?

    what actually IS unsurprising is the continued stating of opinion as fact on this blog.

    Yup.

    PhillyChief,

    Hell, you could say any Christian engaging in capitalism is engaging in or encouraging coveting, no?

    Sure, if you want to walk with open arms towards illogic.

    Right, I humor you by quickly showing why such a comment wasn’t mere opinion and you simply insist that it still is. [to jason]

    It’s my opinion that such a comment isn’t opinion!! Classic.

    Uh, problem is, you didn’t “quickly show” anything other than your own willingness to embrace illogic and irrelevancy [because jason’s comments last week are irrelevant here]. Yeah, Christians running capitalist businesses promote coveting. Genius! Pure genius! I guess logic doesn’t matter when you just wanna preach atheism, eh?

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