What kind of Christian are you? I am not implying that you are good or bad because, as a Christian, you are always good, right? Instead, what I am asking is, are you a Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Catholic, Pentecostal or Jehovah’s Witness? Or, are you something else, like some kind of generic Christian?
In asking what kind of Christian you are, do not consider yourself left out in case you are Jewish or Muslim. As a Jew, I could easily ask if you are Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed or Reconstructionist, but I could also ask if you are Hassidic, Heredi or a Jew for Jesus. As a Muslim, I could ask if you are Sunni, Shiite, Wahhabi or Sufi. If you do not participate in any of the above religions, not only are you a special case, you are also the best example of the issue of the kind of Christian someone may be. More to the point, if you aren’t a Christian, why not?
According to a an email received at WWGHA, the author states “too many Christians compromise from their original beliefs to make room to fit God inside other thought patterns, but that was never His original intention, so don’t base your view of Christianity off of those guys” yet the author of the email doesn’t elaborate on what he means, and worse, he ventures into a few other ideas while failing to flesh out his first statement. Based on my years of being an atheist on the internet and dealing with Christians visiting an atheist forum, I am going to make a small assumption — whatever brand of Christianity he follows, it’s the original version. What kind of Christian is he? It doesn’t matter. Whatever kind of Christian you are, that is the kind of Christian that everyone should be. How can this be?
Many years ago a member of the WWGHA forum who went by the handle “DTE” wrote about a syndrome that believers have which he coined SPAG for “self-projection as god”, and you can read about it Rational Wiki. The crux of SPAG is that the believer conforms his religious beliefs to his ideas of how he thinks things should be, thereby projecting himself onto his religion and sculpting the religion to his liking. SPAGging, to turn the acronym into a gerund, has occurred in every religion in history. Each time you branch off from a religion, you are engaging in SPAGging. Whatever issue of ideology or theology caused you to leave one branch of a religion and enter another, you have just SPAGged your god. You have molded him into your image of him rather than molding yourself into his image for you.
The author of that same email tell us to check out a quote in the bible, but he doesn’t tell us which version of the bible he is using. He references Matthew 12:39. To see a simple example of SPAGging in action, just check out the different versions of this passage:
King James: “But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas”
New International Version: “He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah”
New American Standard Bible: “But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet”
New Revised Standard Edition: “But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah”
Amplified Bible: “But He replied to them, An evil and adulterous generation (a generation morally unfaithful to God) seeks and demands a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah”
If you read the above passages closely you will notice differences in how the original meanings are being conveyed. While I applaud some translators for trying to update words that more closely match modern usage, I think there is a difference between the words seeketh, ask, crave, and seek and demand. Imagine that a translation of the bible includes a demand for god to provide a sign. Since when do followers, who are supposed to fear their gods, demand things from these gods? Are gods in a position to acquiesce to demands?
Beware of the text on which you base your religious beliefs. You likely SPAGged that text when you shopped for a church.