A conversation between myself and an acquaintance...
Punkerslut: Do you believe in the Bible?
Christian: Of course I do.
Punkerslut: But do you believe in slavery?
Christian: No, I don't. That's a silly question.
Punkerslut: There are various parts of the Bible which affirm slavery to be a just method, though. Exodus 21:20-21 justifies it.
Christian: Well, that was the Old Testament.
Punkerslut: Ephesians 6:5 of the New Testament also justifies it.
Christian: The slavery in the Bible was different than the slavery of the Bible.
Punkerslut: Why did the southerners use the Bible to justify it, then?
Christian: They didn't really understand the Bible. They interpreted it incorrectly.
Punkerslut: So, for the past two thousand years, nobody was a real Christian, because they didn't understand the Bible, and therefore couldn't believe it. But for the past few decades, it was only then that the Bible was really understood?
Christian: You don't have to understand the Bible to believe it.
Punkerslut: You don't?
Christian: No... You just have to believe it.
Punkerslut: When you don't understand something, it means that there are parts which you may think contradict each other, or possibly they don't properly fit together, or maybe you read or heard something when in fact the opposite is what is implied. For instance, if someone said, "My answer is yes and my answer is no," you may be confused, because you were given a contradictory answer -- but perhaps they meant a yes to one question and a no to another question. If someone said, "Because the knife was in Joe's locker, it means that Jacob was the murderer." You may not understand, until you find out that Jacob was the only one with access to Joe's locker, and Joe was out of town for weeks. If someone said, "There is one statement I hate more than anything: 'Slavery is right!'" and you walked in only while he said, "Slavery is right!" you may also be confused. In all of these instances, you didn't understand.
Christian: But you believed, and that's what counts with Christianity.
Punkerslut: Precisely. If someone said something that confused you, wouldn't you want to apply reason to it and try to understand?
Christian: Yes, of course.
Punkerslut: So, you agree then that Christianity can only thrive, and has only thrived, because people have placed less importance upon reasoning and logic, particularly in religious matters?
Christian: I didn't say that.
Punkerslut: You said that in Christianity, you need not understand and that must only believe. You said that every Christian up to 50 years ago didn't understand the Bible since slavery and prejudice have been prevalent until then. And you said that if you don't understand, attempting to comprehend is reasonable.
Punkerslut: Christians accepted what they didn't understand. Reason would ask them to investigate what they didn't understand, but they ignored reason, even insulted and criminalized it. As the Christians moved from the position of being eaten by lions to being the ones who tortured others, the only way that a person could become a Christian was by belief -- and belief in something so contradictory must be accompanied by an abhorrence of reason, correct?
Christian: You're twisting my words.
Punkerslut: No, I was actually quite simple and precise in showing you how I went from one step of my argument to the next.
Christian: Well, whatever... Even so, reason cannot save you, only Christ can.
Punkerslut: You're just restating your original opinion. What is the method by which we decipher truth from falsity? Reason. If reason indicted Christianity for hypocrisy and contradiction, it's not trying to save you, exactly, but tell you that Christianity cannot do that either. But then again, the idea that you need to be saved is also a Christian idea.
Christian: I don't believe that.
Punkerslut: What part?
Christian: All of it.
Punkerslut: Could you be more specific?
Christian: Everything you say.
Punkerslut: Yes, that part was clear when you said "all of it."