June 25, 2010

The "No True Christians" Claim

Proud Atheists is an outstanding atheist blog that you should be reading (Update: this blog is no longer active following the death of its author). A recent post titled Dear Christians, “I Simply Do Not…” is a great atheist manifesto worth reading if you missed it. But what I actually want to talk about here is a comment left on a post rather than the post itself. Here is the full unedited comment:
Please do not lump all Christians in the "born again" group, as they are really not true Christians. If you are open minded yes I can tell you how to find out weather God is real or not ( you will find that God is real ). One of the things you will find is there is a man walking the planet at this time he is the Rebirth of Jesus Christ, you can tell who he is by saying the right prayers in his presence when the time is right he will come forward in the apocalipse, it’s really not what people think. We who are of the oldest Christian sect know better then the wantabees who think they know Christ and God. The other way requires praying also and is less hard on one’s soul. In the end anyone who wants can prove to themselves God is real just takes pray and a open mind and a little guidance (from the right people) to find God.
I'm not going to bother to mock the spelling or grammatical errors. I'm not going to suggest that it was written by a child. Instead, I direct your focus to the first two sentences. This is what I want to talk about.

We have all heard this "no true Christians" claim again and again. We've repeatedly pointed out that it is simply the "no true Scotsman" fallacy. It does not seem to matter how many times we point out the erroneous nature of the claim; Christians continue to make it. Many are uneducated, and others simply do not care about being reasonable.

The Christians who insist on making this claim are willing to distort reality in extreme ways to perpetuate the absurd myth that all Christians are good and that the moment a lifelong Christian commits a bad act, that person magically ceases to be a "real Christian." I think we need to recognize this for what it is and be ready to explain it again and again.

Pat Robertson is a real Christian. So is the Pope. The fact that these people have said or done things you might not like does not change the reality of their Christian status. The fact that they might believe in a somewhat different version of Christianity than you do does not change it either. Accept it or recognize that you are turning your backs on reality.

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