Where’s The Harm?

So what does it matter if people believe in make-believe? It does no harm and might even do some good, right? I mean, if they want to believe in ghosts or horoscopes and that helps them make sense of life, then why not?

But with Christianity and other theistic religions it’s a different story. While they might provide their adherents with some coherence to their lives, they also equip them with a distorted and unhealthy view of other people. This is what compels local street preacher, Dale McAlpine, to pick up his megaphone and stand yelling at passers-bye in my local town centre. I took the picture above of him yesterday, when he invited me, like an evangelical Hannibal Lecter, to come closer. I declined.

Dale’s theme this time was, predictably, that evolution is a Satanic hoax, everyone is a wicked sinner and God requires a blood sacrifice for them to be saved. He no doubt had a swipe at LGBT folk too; he usually does. Dennis and I didn’t stop to listen to him but, along with everyone else, were lambasted with his ignorant BS as we passed. Such nasty stuff needs to be opposed and in the absence of my own megaphone, this is my way of doing it.

Those who believe planets millions of miles away control their lives don’t, as a rule, set themselves up on a soap box in the centre of town and threaten people with hell. Ultimately, though, there is no substantial difference between the baseless wishful thinking of astrology and Christianity. Today’s version of the faith owes its existence to Paul’s ‘revelation’ of an imaginary celestial being that sacrificed itself to restore our standing with an imaginary God. This makes as much sense as believing that the planets ‘in conjunction’ shape our destinies.

Would I, if it were in my power, ban the likes of Dale from spouting his ignorant, ugly version of Christianity? Probably not, as I’m a liberal at heart and cancel culture concerns me. I would, however, be pleased if he came to senses and of his own volition stopped spouting publicly his brand of theo-babble. I’d rather he spent his time tending to the sick, homeless, naked and imprisoned as his Saviour tells him to. I fear though that that kind of Christianity is too hard for the likes of Dale.

8 thoughts on “Where’s The Harm?

  1. I’m surprised he’s allowed to ”perform” in this manner.
    I would assert he is a public nuisance and local police should be obliged to ask him to move along.

    Where is this?

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  2. He gets away with it because the police have twice taken him into custody, in other towns in the area, only to have him sue them afterwards for unlawful arrest. He won on both occasions and was awarded £4000 and £7000 of public money. (https://www.christian.org.uk/case/dale-mcalpine/)
    I contacted him at the time on his now defunct blog and asked why, on both occasions, did he not instead ask for a second night in the cells; this, I suggested, is what Jesus says he should’ve done (as in going the extra mile, giving your coat when asked for your shirt etc). He said I didn’t understand Christianity, which isn’t about doing what Jesus said at all apparently.
    And so he continues.

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  3. There will always be nuts.I find them obnoxious and counter productive to real Christianity, as well. But that is not what most Christians are. Real Christians really are engaged deeply in tending to the sick and homeless, etc. In India where I lived for a time a few years ago, Christians were occupied in caring for the children of women trapped in the sex trades and tending to the children that no one wanted and who would have been simply allowed to die on the street. But they did these things because they believed something. They believed every person was made in God’s image and was valuable. They believed that God loved these kids. And they believed God would hold them accountable for treating people that way because they were accountable to love as God loves. .

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    • Real Christians, Don? How are you defining this? If ‘real’ Christians are those who actually do sell all they have and help the poor, then by definition ‘real’ Christians are those who help the poor! Let’s deal with Christians as a whole though, shall we? This includes all those who profess Jesus as their Lord. What percentage of those do as he commands: denying themselves, serving others sacrificially, going the extra mile, loving others as much as themselves, loving even their enemies, doing miracles greater than Jesus’ own etc etc? Not many, you’d have to concede. Even your own 62 year journey from ‘selfishness to selflessness’ is not what Jesus expects; he demands perfection at the point one becomes a disciple. He’s an impossible task master. Little wonder then that very, very few Christians are ‘real’.

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  4. I think Jesus defined “real Christians” for us. They are those who obey him.

    The selling of all you have was a command given to a particular man, though the principle of taking our hands off our possessions and being generous is general for all Christians.

    Yes, the percentage of those who do as he commands is smaller than those who profess to be Christians. But that is not the point and proves nothing.

    Yes, the Lord expects perfection but he gives grace. If he did not, no one including the disciples could be considered Christians. One of my favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 3: 17.

    we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

    WE ARE BEING TRANSFORMED.

    Paul says of his own journey:

    I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

    Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Phil. 3:10-12)

    The personal test of my faith is whether I am pressing on to be like him, not whether I have arrived. But as far as God is concerned. I am forgiven and received as a son no matter where I am on that journey.

    I find God not an impossible taskmaster at all, but a father who knows that a son grows up and is not perfect in the beginning.

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    • Hi, Don.
      I have recently been chatting with a self-proclaimed d Christian on another site and she insists that belief in the resurrection is not necessary to be a Christian. She sites the Sermon on the Mount and asserts that Jesus said nothing about believing in the Resurrection ( as depicted in the gospels).
      First time I’ve come across this.
      I’m interested how you, a Christian, would interpret this?

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      • The topic of the Sermon on the Mount focuses on other things, like living as a Christian.

        Theoretically, one could believe in Jesus as the Messiah and Savior without believing in the resurrection. But that would be ignoring a whole lot of the NT Testament and some key passages in the Old Testament. I myself think that the whole thing fits together and pulling pieces out would result in a lot of holes. It would be like pulling pieces out of a jigsaw puzzle and calling it finished while there were holies everywhere.

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      • The topic of the Sermon on the Mount focuses on other things, like living as a Christian.

        Theoretically, one could believe in Jesus as the Messiah and Savior without believing in the resurrection. But that would be ignoring a whole lot of the NT Testament and some key passages in the Old Testament. I myself think that the whole thing fits together and pulling pieces out would result in a lot of holes. It would be like pulling pieces out of a jigsaw puzzle and calling it finished while there were holies everywhere.

        Like

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