Christianity Johnson on 16 Sep 2008 01:00 pm
Imagine that you are a Christian. In order to believe in an imaginary God, you need to perform remarkable feats of mental gymnastics. For example, you have to believe in a “God” for whom no evidence exists. You have to believe in “Prayer” even though every valid scientific study shows that prayer is a superstition. You have to support the “Bible” even though, in any common sense analysis, the Bible is repulsive. Et Cetera.
How do Christians manage to function with so much dissonance flowing through the brain? One way is through compartmentalization. Religious beliefs live in protected compartments in order to keep them from interacting with rational parts of the brain.
Here is a perfect example of how these compartments work. It is called the “God’s Plan” compartment. God’s Plan is well articulated by Christian mega-pastor Rick Warren in his bestselling book “The Purpose-Driven Life”. According to this page, Rick Warren says:
[God] planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says, “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!” [Psalm 139:16]
Rick also says:
God never does anything accidentally, and he never makes mistakes. He has a reason for everything he creates. Every plant and every animal was planned by God, and every person was designed with a purpose in mind.
In other words, God plans everything. If God plans the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death, and if God designed you with a purpose in mind, this means that free will pretty much goes out the window. Just think about it. If God plans the exact time of your birth, that means that God had to arrange for you mother and father to meet, marry (or not) and conceive you on a precise time table. And if God designed you, that means he pre-determined your DNA, meaning he picked your mother and father ahead of time. So, who will you marry? God has planned it. How many kids will you have? God chooses. When will they be born? According to God’s preordained and perfect timetable. These are all necessary requirements of God’s Plan.
The reason why God’s Plan has to live in a protected compartment is because it is absurd. If Rick Warren were right, we are all God’s puppets. It would be impossible to think about God’s Plan and Free Will simultaneously without the Christians’ brain seizing up. So the “God’s Plan compartment” keeps this concept locked away most of the time.
Here’s a perfect example of something that would conflict with the “God’s Plan compartment”:
The article says:
Now hundreds of Christians are attending courses designed to make them more successful in turning a first date into a long-term relationship.
Peter Spalton, known as the dating doctor, said that churchgoers tended to be more reserved and could benefit from tips on how to appear more attractive.
Lessons include how to greet someone, how to hold good eye contact and how to judge whether the other person wants to be kissed at the end of the evening.
Strangely, the article never mentions prayer for solving any of these problems. Christians need a course to learn how to date. Also strangely, the article never mentions God’s Plan.
Here’s the obvious question that any rational person would ask. If, according to Rick Warren (who really ought to know since he is a super-pastor), God has predetermined who we will marry, then why do we need to take a course to learn how to date? Why not sit back and let God’s Plan do its thing?
The answer is simple. “God’s Plan” lives in its little compartment. That compartment is isolated from the rest of the brain until it is needed. When signing up for the dating course, the “God’s Plan compartment” is de-activated. But then, once two Christians meet each other, the couple will coo on about how God MUST have planned for them to meet because they are so perfect for each other.
If you ask a Christian, “Why would you need to take a dating course if God has predetermined who you will marry?”, the Christian will say… Hmmm, who knows what a Christian would say? They probably activate another compartment. But let’s find out. If you are a Christian, what is your answer to this question?
If you are a Christian and you are tired of having all these strange, disjointed compartments in your brain, this web site can help you eliminate them: