Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.
~ Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791 ~

Monday, February 20, 2017

Christadelphians and the meaning of life

Last year I wrote a series of articles about finding meaning in life without God. I found it to be a very interesting topic to explore, and quite personal too. But until recently I had not spent much time thinking about how Christadelphians find meaning in life with God. It's one of those things that is often just assumed or taken for granted. Now obviously I cannot speak for other Christadelphians and I have no empirical data from which to draw any conclusions about them, but I can talk about what I found meaningful back when I was a Christadelphian, and perhaps some others will be able to relate to that.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Christadelphian Reality Distortion

The alternate, distorted reality that is Christadelphianism includes several defence mechanisms that appear to be quite effective at keeping people from looking too far outside the religion, if they look outside it at all. Many of these mechanisms are perpetuated both indirectly through culture and directly through Sunday School indoctrination and regular reinforcement.

When I talk about reality distortion, I am specifically referring to ways in which Christadelphians inherit or acquire a view of the world that not only differs from what modern societies consider "normal", but also directly contradicts our best understanding of reality. While this distorted worldview evidently does not prevent Christadelphians from functioning within society, and there is nothing stopping anyone from believing whatever they want, I consider it somewhat harmful and even potentially malicious when children are indoctrinated with these distortions and taught that it is in fact the rest of society (all 7 billion of them) that have lost their way.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Leaving the Christadelphians

Growing up as a Christadelphian can feel normal enough. We may have been seen as a bit "different" at school or university, but going to church is still generally respected and people rarely ask too many questions about it. That, too, is kind of still normal enough. It was sometimes difficult coming up with interesting answers to, "So what did you do on the weekend?", but we survived. The camps were fun (well, the free time was anyway). We had large organised events for young people, and regular opportunities to meet new people and have a good chat over supper.

For the most part, this was our life. But there was something else. Life as a Christadelphian was really all about one thing, and one thing only. Getting into the kingdom. That's all that mattered, and the Christadelphian community had created a framework and ecosystem spanning almost every part of life, all geared towards that goal. From Sunday School, to youth group events, to baptism instruction, to ecclesial duties, to outings, to teaching, to getting married, to preaching, and even to funerals, they had it all covered. Everything we needed in order to keep us on the straight and narrow path was catered for, complete with both positive and negative feedback mechanisms to encourage and enforce certain patterns of behaviour. There was also sometimes that positive community spirit of helping each other along the often difficult path, that "narrow way that leads to life". We were the lucky ones to have been born into the one true religion. Christadelphian life wasn't easy, but God would surely reward our struggles by granting us eternal life when Jesus returned.

And it almost made sense. Almost.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Was Jesus perfect?

There is a danger in elevating a single person or book above all others. We become blinded to the flaws, and become persuaded through our bias. We can all recognise this danger when it comes to almost every other area of life (and especially other religions), and yet the Bible is still often held as a book never to be questioned. The irony screams pretty loud here.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Does DNA require God?

I recently had the misfortune of arguing with a creationist who insisted that DNA is (or contains) information, and that information requires an intelligent creator (God, of course). This appears to be the latest angle creationists pursue in order to cling to some form of perceived relevance in today's scientific world.

First, let me just point out that it's interesting and perhaps encouraging to see that certain other long-debunked arguments for creationism are now advanced less often than before. Progress of a kind. Creationism will be with us for a while yet though, because it is almost never purely the result of careful examination of the evidence. These people typically became creationists as children, and then invented (or learned) creative ways of defending that belief as adults. Meanwhile, it is estimated that over 99% of those who have studied the evidence most carefully, accept evolution.