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 ~

Friday, April 22, 2016

Measuring the success of this blog

As some readers will know, this blog has been running for over 2 years now. I've added nearly 100 posts including over 60 articles of my own. I've received a number of comments and emails from both Christadelphians and ex-Christadelphians, some even thanking me for my efforts.

But should I consider the blog a success? Let's explore a little further...

Since the blog was created, it has received over 35,000 views.

Granted, a number of those are no doubt my own, and probably the vast majority of them were not first-time visitors. Of the unique viewers, I would estimate that again the majority of them were non-believers, or at least non-Christadelphians. Having said that, I know for certain that the blog has reached many Christadelphians. Perhaps you are such a one.

But if I'm generous and imagine that even as many as half the total number of views were from Christadelphians, would that make the blog a success?

It probably all depends on how you measure it.

On the one hand, it would have reached a significant number of potential (de-)converts, but on the other hand it surely failed to deconvert almost all of them!

If my goal was merely to raise awareness and get people to think (something I've mentioned often), then my success rate would surely be much higher.

But the fact remains that the Christadelphian movement remains largely unaffected by this blog, if I'm honest.

If you are a Christadelphian, perhaps you may have scoffed at the amount of effort that has gone into this blog (and other blogs) by an ex-Christadelphian, and laughed at the miniscule dent it has made in the Christadelphian world.

Lamentably, I'd have to agree. Whatever hopes I had for the blog, it has failed to reach many Christadelphians, and of the Christadelphians it has reached, almost all of them remain unconvinced by the arguments I have put forward.

Why have so few Christadelphians deconverted?

It's tempting for me to want to blame the Christadelphians themselves. After all, I have put forward what I believe to be quite solid arguments, and yet so few Christadelphians have even tried to discuss them with me, let alone agree with me.

Or perhaps the blame should rest with me. Perhaps the reason few have converted is because I'm wrong, and therefore unconvincing to the vast majority of Christadelphians. Perhaps I've been wasting my time.

What do you think?

Do you think this blog has been a success?

Perhaps it's time to give up.


(drumroll please)

...maybe it's time to turn this entire article on its head and lead you, dear reader, to think more deeply about what I believe is a fundamental gaping hole in the Christadelphian belief system.

Yes, that's right.

Because if you are a Christadelphian, you almost certainly believe that:

1. A perfect, extremely powerful, all-knowing deity created all of us, and wrote a book, intending to save everyone who read it and believed its message. 

2. Your interpretation of this book is the only correct interpretation, and indeed that your particular set of core beliefs (or something very close to them) are essential for salvation.

Now, putting these two points together, and realising that only a tiny fraction of God's alleged creation actually hold these beliefs, let me ask the critical question.

Has God's book been a success?

Take a moment to think about that.

What are you saying about the god you believe in if the best he could do is save the relative few that make up the Christadelphian movement? Did he lack the capability to do better? Did he not see this result ahead of time? How do you account for this shortcoming?

Of course my Christadelphian readers will want to place all of the blame for God's apparent dismal failure to communicate, on the wider public. All 99.9999% of them! But were these same readers so ready to blame themselves for my failure to convert them? I highly doubt it.

With numbers like these, if this blog had influenced just 1 single person who eventually deconverted, my success rate would be about 3x better than a deity who only managed to convert ~60,000 people out of the 7+ billion people alive today.

Do I really think I could achieve a greater conversion rate than an all-powerful deity capable of creating a universe? er, no. I don't. Do you?

Let me be explicitly clear

The argument I am using here is not intended to disprove the existence of God. Nor is it intended to disprove the Bible.

This article simply offers what I believe to be a fairly solid argument that the Christadelphian belief system, as it is most commonly believed, is indefensible.

Specifically, the belief that one must believe what Christadelphians believe (or similar) in order to be saved, simply cannot be reconciled with the idea of an all-powerful, all-knowing deity having written a book with the express intent to convert humans to these beliefs.

Either you believe in a deity who is more capable than humans, in which case you need to explain why the results are so dismal, or you believe in a deity who is far less capable than some humans, in which case why would you trust it to save you?

For the sake of completeness, I will also mention a third option, which is that maybe God actually did not want to save 99.9999% of the population. Besides being in direct conflict with 1 Tim 2:4, it's also decidedly not what I would call "all-loving". If you do insist on going with this option, then perhaps I should just claim that I actually intended not to deconvert anyone* via this blog, and then I can call this blog an overwhelming success. Hooray!

* This does not mean I intended to deconvert people. My reason for creating this blog is given here.

By the way, even if you grant that all Christians will be saved (not the Christadelphian view, and specifically rejected in the DTBR), that still only lifts God's apparent success rate to about 30% or so, which is still an F grade by most grading systems.