Author Topic: What is a Christian?  (Read 2802 times)

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Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #29 on: March 07, 2013, 09:55:55 AM »
I can appreciate some of your concerns that many Christians do not agree on what is Christian because it's definately true.

But if you're one of those that says a Christian is anyone that says they're a Christian doesn't that make you 100% open to deception?

Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

Offline Dante

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #30 on: March 07, 2013, 10:24:08 AM »
But if you're one of those that says a Christian is anyone that says they're a Christian doesn't that make you 100% open to deception?

Well, it's either that, or call them a liar, no? People can label themselves however they see fit, for this purpose and others[1].  If you tell me you're xian, muslim, hindi, sikh...who am I to argue?

So what's your definition? How do YOU not get deceived?
 1. Obviously not all.
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

Offline jdawg70

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #31 on: March 07, 2013, 10:26:54 AM »
I can appreciate some of your concerns that many Christians do not agree on what is Christian because it's definately true.

But if you're one of those that says a Christian is anyone that says they're a Christian doesn't that make you 100% open to deception?

Yes, that definition would make some like me very susceptible to being deceived in believing someone is a Christian when they are in fact not.  Taking claims as true at face value without looking for objective evidence that supports said claim would lend to someone being susceptible to being deceived.

I've even heard of some people being deceived into believing that an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving entity that involves itself in human affairs actually exists.  Weird.
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #32 on: March 07, 2013, 10:46:18 AM »
I can appreciate some of your concerns that many Christians do not agree on what is Christian because it's definately true.

But if you're one of those that says a Christian is anyone that says they're a Christian doesn't that make you 100% open to deception?

I don't see how.  And in any event, in my own view -- as Dante said -- what exactly is the alternative to taking them at their word?  For my own part, I can report that I have often been told that I'm "not really an atheist", and I can also report that it's a highly insulting and infuriating thing to have said to me.  I would assume that for at least some Christians if not all of them, for them to be told that they're "not really Christians" would probably provoke a similarly visceral response.  Besides, it would be just plain rude.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #33 on: March 07, 2013, 11:54:09 AM »
Well I agree it can be hard to tell the difference between someone saying they're a Christian and someone that is actually trying to be Christlike and even those that are trying to be Christlike do not all agree on what is Christlike.  And I admit that alot of the Bible is open to subjectivity.   

Quote from: Dante
So what's your definition? How do YOU not get deceived?

Step one for me is seperating those that are doers of the word from those that are only hearers of the word.  If they are not doers of the word then there is really no evidence they truly believe what they say they believe.  Maybe what they say they believe is only what they want to believe and not what they truly believe.  Or maybe they just aren't fully convinced enough to put thought into action.  I think what they truly believe must be evidenced by action.  I think I can make that distinction without even addressing the specifics of what they believe.

What do you guys think of this?

And do you guys have any criteria at all that you can apply to seperate those that walk the walk from those that merely talk the talk?
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

Offline pianodwarf

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #34 on: March 07, 2013, 12:05:36 PM »
Well I agree it can be hard to tell the difference between someone saying they're a Christian and someone that is actually trying to be Christlike and even those that are trying to be Christlike do not all agree on what is Christlike.  And I admit that alot of the Bible is open to subjectivity.

There's even more to it than that, though.  I had a roommate once, for example, who was a serious bible-thumper, and he believed that being a Christian did not require one to make any attempt to be Christlike; all that was required in his view was to believe in Christ, no behaviors, actions, or deeds of any kind needed.

An excellent demonstration of this was the fact that he was in a serious relationship with a woman at the time, and they had started discussing marriage.  Some years before they had met, he had had a vasectomy, but he had never disclosed that to her, and as part of their marriage discussions, it came out that she wanted to have children (and she would not have been willing to adopt).  She also told him that she wanted to start trying right then, rather than waiting until after marriage.  So he stopped wearing the condoms that he had been using as part of his deception about having been fixed, and they started "trying to have a baby".  When some months went by and no pregnancy occurred, she started asking him to see a doctor to "find out what was wrong", and he told her "had a low sperm count".  She kept urging him to seek fertility treatment and couldn't understand why he was so reluctant to do so.

Our other roommate kept engaging him in long conversations, trying to make him see that he did not have the right to make this decision unilaterally for her, and he kept shrugging it off and saying that she simply didn't need to know.  In other words, it wasn't even that he was doing something wrong and was aware that what he was doing was wrong -- that would have been bad enough as it was -- it was that he was lying to this woman about being sterile and thought that there was nothing wrong with him doing so.

I personally can easily see how many Christians, upon hearing this story, would probably insist that he was not a Christian at all, and while I would definitely not be concerned to argue the point, I would also say, as I said in my previous post, that as an atheist, I wouldn't have had the right to say the same thing.

Quote
If they are not doers of the word then there is really no evidence they truly believe what they say they believe.

I'm inclined to agree, although I do wonder what my roommate would have said in response to that.

Quote
And do you guys have any criteria at all that you can apply to seperate those that walk the walk from those that merely talk the talk?

Not really, especially not inasmuch as nobody agrees on what "the walk" is, and some, such as my ex-roommate, would claim that there isn't a walk at all.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #35 on: March 07, 2013, 12:43:07 PM »
Quote from: pianodarf
I had a roommate once, for example........

So it would seem that my use of the word "Christian" is part of our difference.  I view Christians means Christlike.  But if not everyone has the same definition then I should pick a better term.

What does it mean to be Christlike?  Are there any rules you can apply?
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

Online One Above All

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #36 on: March 07, 2013, 12:44:16 PM »
So what would you call people who believe in Jesus but don't act like the Bible says they should? Atheists?
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Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #37 on: March 07, 2013, 12:51:32 PM »
I wouldn't call them atheists.  But some may lean toward agnostocism I think.
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #38 on: March 07, 2013, 12:57:37 PM »
I wouldn't call them atheists.  But some may lean toward agnostocism I think.

*sigh*
Agnosticism is not a middle-ground between theism and atheism; it is a modifier related to how certain a person is of their position. It's about knowledge; not belief.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #39 on: March 07, 2013, 01:14:04 PM »
My mistake.  Some lean toward deism I think.
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #40 on: March 07, 2013, 01:15:30 PM »
My mistake.  Some lean toward deism I think.

Deism is belief in a non-intervening deity. Doesn't make sense given the very common belief that YHWH answers prayers.
Keep trying. You'll get to the point when you'll agree with us, eventually.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #41 on: March 07, 2013, 01:26:21 PM »
I didn't say they were deists.  I said "some" I think "lean" that way.

They think they can do whatever they want and God will never intervene nor hold them accountable.  This is what their actions show they believe and this is a deist belief.

Some are apostates, some are counterfeit Christians, and some are just weak willed Christians.  Some are fence riders and some are just plain hypocrits and probably some are just outright liars.

But none of that makes them Christlike.

Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

Offline screwtape

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #42 on: March 07, 2013, 01:26:47 PM »
doesn't that make you 100% open to deception?

But that is a low risk deception, isn't it?  Kind of like accepting what people tell me they had for dinner at face value leaving me 100% open to deception.



What does it mean to be Christlike?  Are there any rules you can apply?

someone who is christlike is...
  • jewish
  • virgin
  • long haired
  • bearded
  • kinda hippy
  • perforated
  • dead
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Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #43 on: March 07, 2013, 01:46:15 PM »
Quote from: screwtape
But that is a low risk deception, isn't it?  Kind of like accepting what people tell me they had for dinner at face value leaving me 100% open to deception.

No I don't think so.  If someone deceives you into thinking they are Christian and then does evil things then this will affect how you treat others that say they are Christians.
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #44 on: March 07, 2013, 01:47:23 PM »
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline Dante

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #45 on: March 07, 2013, 01:56:35 PM »
<snip>
perforated
<snip>

What's that?

Full of holes[1]
 1. much like the book about his life
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

Offline screwtape

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #46 on: March 07, 2013, 03:57:44 PM »
No I don't think so.  If someone deceives you into thinking they are Christian and then does evil things then this will affect how you treat others that say they are Christians.

Still minimal risk to me.  Even to xians.  What you seem to be saying is xians don't do evil things.  I don't buy that.  By that standard, there are no xians.  As I see it now, there are plenty of xians who do evil things.  Loads and loads of them.  I do not think that affects how I treat any given random xian. Since almost everyone I work with, meet on the street, crash into in traffic is a xian, everyone gets treated the same.  I treat hindus, jews, buddhists, etc the same as I treat xians.  Poorly.

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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #47 on: March 07, 2013, 06:30:04 PM »
I was raised a JW and we were taught that we were the only Christians around. Everyone else was false, (esp. Catholics, for some reason still lost on me). No matter what a person said or did, they were not a Christian. Seems strange to me now.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

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Offline The Gawd

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #48 on: March 07, 2013, 07:16:20 PM »
I can appreciate some of your concerns that many Christians do not agree on what is Christian because it's definately true.

But if you're one of those that says a Christian is anyone that says they're a Christian doesn't that make you 100% open to deception?
No, it actually doesnt. What, you think Hindu's go around claiming theyre christian to deceive people? TBH most christians I know would claim you are not a christian, they teach that Yahweh's Witnesses are a cult, but I stick up for you guys, I tell them youre christian too. And Catholics, I stand up for them too... Youre all christian... if you say you are.

So it would seem that my use of the word "Christian" is part of our difference.  I view Christians means Christlike.  But if not everyone has the same definition then I should pick a better term.

What does it mean to be Christlike?  Are there any rules you can apply?

I see plenty egotistical, selfish, delusional, hot headed, irresponsible, narcissistic rabble rousers  running around. But thats only if you actually use what they use in the bible. If you use the fake version of Jesus thats not represented in the bible then there are no christians.


Offline shnozzola

Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #49 on: March 07, 2013, 08:26:43 PM »
These definitions never really matter.  A god doesn't matter.   What matters is how you treat atheists, or judges, or aborigines, or hindus, or witches, or celebrities, or heroin dealers, or children, or soldiers, or the beautiful, or the guilty, or old folks, or christians, or native americans, or slaves, or janitors, or zulus, or inmates, or astronauts, or prostitutes, or presidents, or muslims, or runway models, or nazis, or popes, or the irish, or buddhists, or the innocent, or cannibals, or firemen, or your horrible people, or dancers, or any of us, or any of them, or me.



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« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 09:06:32 PM by shnozzola »
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #50 on: March 08, 2013, 05:34:17 AM »
I can appreciate some of your concerns that many Christians do not agree on what is Christian because it's definately true.

But if you're one of those that says a Christian is anyone that says they're a Christian doesn't that make you 100% open to deception?

Possibly.  But it doesn't really matter to me precisely because the term is meaningless.  Given that self-described Christians differ in the traits they require for the term "Christian", when someone tells me they are a Christian I mentally note it and - if I have the interest - may then try to find out what the term actually means for them.  I can then think of them as a "Christian Type 142" or whatever, and try to interact with them on that basis. 

The problem is that - because there is no agreement, and because there are differeing interpretations - I have no criteria for assuming that one description is more valid than another.  Jst's definition is "doers not sayers", while Pianodwarf gave a differing definition from another believer.  What basis do I have to accept one definition over another?

I can see your point about how one self-professed Christian who does "bad stuff" might make me think less of the next person who claims to be a Christian - but that would only be the case if I assumed that everyone in a particular category are the same.  I don't shun all Londoners because someone once barged into me on the tube, why would I automatically classify all Christians as the same?  About the only way I DO treat them the same is with a sinking heart as I realise that - once again - I will have to wade through treacle to find out what "Christian" #143 actually believes.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline Tonus

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #51 on: March 08, 2013, 05:43:29 AM »
Even the term "Christ-like" as a definition leaves a lot of room for interpretation.  How does each person describe Christ?  And what of the person who defines Christ-like as "being perfect?"  Now there aren't any Christians.  And how do we define "evil" or "wrong?"  Is lying evil?  Is losing your temper wrong?  Do either of those disqualify a person as a Christian?  And if not, where is the line at which an act isn't evil/wrong enough to count?

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #52 on: March 08, 2013, 07:25:59 AM »
Even the term "Christ-like" as a definition leaves a lot of room for interpretation. 

Quite.  Someone who emulates Christ could spend most of their time in downmarket pubs with the lower ends of society, and rightly claim to be Christ-like in their actions.

Christ was also dead-set against recycling:  "no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles".  Maybe that's just against re-use, but he certainly preached that washing out and re-using old containers was a bad idea.   ;)
« Last Edit: March 08, 2013, 07:28:22 AM by Anfauglir »
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Fiji

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #53 on: March 08, 2013, 07:35:05 AM »
Christ was also dead-set against recycling:  "no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles".  Maybe that's just against re-use, but he certainly preached that washing out and re-using old containers was a bad idea.   ;)

Holy crap! Good thing the Whisky industry wasn't around in Jesus' day ... he'd have thrown SUCH a tantrum.[1]
 1. And by doing so, he'd technically have been worshipping the Welsh-Celtic god Twntrwn. Good thing he didn't, right. Wait, that's that? http://bible.cc/john/2-15.htm oh he DID ... not due to the whisky though
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Offline Tero

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #54 on: March 08, 2013, 07:58:19 AM »
Something about giving the shirt off your back and cutting off your hand after you masturbate. I haven't met one yet.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #55 on: March 08, 2013, 09:15:29 AM »
Something about giving the shirt off your back and cutting off your hand after you masturbate. I haven't met one yet.

You wouldn't.  They don't like meeting new people.  Can't shake hands, you see.

 :P
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline hickdive

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #56 on: March 08, 2013, 09:34:54 AM »
For my purposes, a christian is someone who says they're a christian.

All other considerations with regard to their flavour of belief have no bearing on how I deal with them.

Stupidity, unlike intelligence, has no limits.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: What is a Christian?
« Reply #57 on: March 08, 2013, 04:04:26 PM »
The only criteria we can possibly agree on is that anyone is a Christian who says that they are.

Otherwise you get into problems with all these different Christian groups drawing tight little lines around themselves. Either everyone who defines themselves as such is a Christian --and there are lots of different varieties. Or only one tiny group has it right, like the Amish or Jews for Jesus or the Ethiopian Coptics, and Christianity is suddenly no longer the largest religious faith in the world!
 
It was a surprise to me to discover, when I had finally raised my head up out of the JW immersion that had been my life from birth, that other people did not think that JW's were Christians. I was shocked to learn that most people thought that the JW's were a weird marginal cult with practices and beliefs way out of the mainstream.

We knew that other people practiced other religions; we saw that they celebrated Christmas, had birthday parties, went around in costume at Halloween and we didn't do any of that. But since most everyone we associated with were JW's, we had the mistaken idea that there were more of us around than there really were. 

I imagine it would be like growing up Orthodox Jewish in New York and then going to college in Montana. Or growing up Mormon in Utah and then going to college in New York, like my office mate did. (We have shared some pretty funny mutual apostate experiences.)
 
And lot of people in the US have used, "Christian" as a generic term to meaning "nice, decent and law-abiding". If someone asked if you were Christian, you used to say, "Well, of course!" And nobody got into any doctrinal discussions about the nature of Jesus or commandments or heaven and hell.

So, the nice, decent Muslims, Jews, Hindus, atheists and Sikhs in your neighborhood were basically honorary "Christians" until something like 9/11 happened that polarized people and made them choose sides.

I think that is part of the problem with people arguing about whether the US is a "Christian nation" or not. For some, giving up that idea means that the US is not nice, decent or law-abiding. I don't think most "Christian" Americans--who rarely go to church, have never read the bible, and only say prayers over food at Thanksgiving-- think much deeper about their supposed religious faith than that.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.