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Excerpts from Doctrine Impossible


Why all scripture-based religion is idolatrous:

“[More] than half the people in the world are affiliated with religions that are idolatrous in the broad sense of imputing divine properties to a revered physical object—a book… Members of the Abrahamic religions do not worship their sacred books, but they do impute the godly properties of inerrancy and infallibility to these objects. And if belief in God rests upon the assumption that a sacred book is infallible, then primary faith is in the book while faith in God is dependent on, determined by, and therefore secondary to faith in the book.”  (From the chapter, About Idolatry)


Why the Bible cannot be the word of God:

“[The] premise of scriptural inerrancy implies that God once presented Man with material of total trustworthiness… [But the material] had to be passed along a vast human conduit over an unknowable time-frame preceding the earliest extant written version of each book. And at every point along that line, the material was subject to accidental or deliberate tampering by fallible and sinful human beings… The notion that God’s word remained uncorrupted despite all that human handling is no more plausible than the notion that a liter of pure water flushed down a toilet will remain pristine as it goes through the sewers and arrives at the wastewater treatment plant.”  (From the chapter, The Impossibility of Infallibility)

Why Christianity’s own classic argument to prove that God exists actually proves that the character called “God” in the Bible is not God:

“Anselm's ontological argument defines God as the ultimate greatness, such that nothing greater can be conceived… And yet Bible-God’s record is marred by mistakes, regrets, thwarted plans, and serious anger-management issues. Because we can readily conceive of something greater—a being who possesses all of his powers but none of his failings—we must conclude that Bible-God is not God ... [He] is not the ultimate greatness, which means he does not fulfill the definition of God...”  (from the chapter, God and the Bible-Character Called “God”)

Why Christian doctrine on sin rests on a self-contradictory assumption about Adam and Eve (A&E):

“A&E must have been created sinful or in some other sense flawed, else they would have obeyed God; and yet they cannot have been created sinful or otherwise flawed, for then God would be implicated in their disobedience. Doctrinal Christianity has painted itself into a corner from which it can say nothing meaningful about A&E. If their disobedience had no cause, it has no significance because it reflects nothing about their character. If their disobedience was the result of corruption or weakness in the face of temptation, it has significance because it reflects their character flaws—their created state, antecedent to their disobedience.”  (From the chapter, The Self-Contradiction)

Why a foundational Protestant doctrine implies that proselytizing is useless:

“If God decides who will be saved because people are too depraved even to seek salvation on their own, proselytizing is as absurd as a farm-worker telling the apples growing on a tree that the Head Farmer will soon be along to pick certain apples, leaving the rest to rot on the branch. The apples can do nothing to get picked or avoid getting picked; they are as helpless as the sinners chosen by God to be saved or left dead in sin and damned.”  (From the chapter, John Calvin and Predestination)

Why religious leaders will not denounce the fervor that gives rise to violent fanaticism:

“Although fervor and fanaticism reflect the same mindset, criticizing fervor along with violent fanaticism could lead to rational scrutiny of religious claims… which could threaten the perceived authority of sacred scripture… which could raise doubts about religious doctrine… which could undermine the entire edifice of the religion. Instinctively fearing that dire endpoint, religious leaders instinctively refrain from any hint of concern about fervor...”  From the chapter, Religious Fervor and Fanatical Violence)

Doctrine Impossible (3rd Edition)
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