Skip to comments.‘Scientific’ Study Says People of Faith Are Stupid
Posted on 04/28/2012 8:52:00 AM PDT by CHRISTIAN DIARIST
In a study published yesterday in the journal Science, researchers from Canadas University of British Columbia posit that people who believe in God are not analytical thinkers.
Thats a disingenuous way of saying people of faith are stupid.
Religious belief is intuitive, explained Ara Norenzayan, co-author of the study, and analytical thinking can undermine intuitive thinking. So when people are encouraged to think analytically, it can block intuitive thinking.
In other words, when religious people analyze their beliefs, they become less devout. They go from stupid to smart, like Norenzayan and fellow co-author Will Gervais.
So how did the researchers test their hypothesis?
They recruited 650 or so Canucks and Yanks to participate in their study. They showed some participants images of artwork that supposedly encouraged analytical thinking like Rodins statue, The Thinker. Other participants were shown images that did not encourage such thinking.
After viewing the images, researchers measured participants religious beliefs through a series of questions. The participants who viewed the images promoting analytical thinking were more likely to experience a decrease in religious belief, the researchers claimed.
And that supposedly included devout believers.
Theres much more instability to religious belief than we recognize, said Norenzayan. Apparently so, if a person of faith can look at a few pictures and suddenly lose his or her religion.
As it turns out, there was less to the miraculous de-conversions than the researchers claimed in their study.
Their experiment didnt really turn devout believers into total atheists, Norenzayan fessed up. Yet, he maintained, if people routinely thought analytically, like scientific researchers do, there would be fewer people of faith.
The study by Norenzayan and Gervais is nothing more than junk science.
It is an insult to people of faith who are well-educated; who arrived at their religious beliefs by analytical thinking.
And it reflects poorly on the judgment of editors at the journal Science.
Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543)
Copernicus was the Polish astronomer who put forward the first mathematically based system of planets going around the sun. He attended various European universities, and became a Canon in the Catholic church in 1497. His new system was actually first presented in the Vatican gardens in 1533 before Pope Clement VII who approved, and urged Copernicus to publish it around this time. Copernicus was never under any threat of religious persecution - and was urged to publish both by Catholic Bishop Guise, Cardinal Schonberg, and the Protestant Professor George Rheticus. Copernicus referred sometimes to God in his works, and did not see his system as in conflict with the Bible.
Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1627)
Bacon was a philosopher who is known for establishing the scientific method of inquiry based on experimentation and inductive reasoning. In De Interpretatione Naturae Prooemium, Bacon established his goals as being the discovery of truth, service to his country, and service to the church. Although his work was based upon experimentation and reasoning, he rejected atheism as being the result of insufficient depth of philosophy, stating, “It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth mans mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion; for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate, and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity.” (Of Atheism)
Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)
Kepler was a brilliant mathematician and astronomer. He did early work on light, and established the laws of planetary motion about the sun. He also came close to reaching the Newtonian concept of universal gravity - well before Newton was born! His introduction of the idea of force in astronomy changed it radically in a modern direction. Kepler was an extremely sincere and pious Lutheran, whose works on astronomy contain writings about how space and the heavenly bodies represent the Trinity. Kepler suffered no persecution for his open avowal of the sun-centered system, and, indeed, was allowed as a Protestant to stay in Catholic Graz as a Professor (1595-1600) when other Protestants had been expelled!
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
Galileo is often remembered for his conflict with the Roman Catholic Church. His controversial work on the solar system was published in 1633. It had no proofs of a sun-centered system (Galileo’s telescope discoveries did not indicate a moving earth) and his one “proof” based upon the tides was invalid. It ignored the correct elliptical orbits of planets published twenty five years earlier by Kepler. Since his work finished by putting the Pope’s favorite argument in the mouth of the simpleton in the dialogue, the Pope (an old friend of Galileo’s) was very offended. After the “trial” and being forbidden to teach the sun-centered system, Galileo did his most useful theoretical work, which was on dynamics. Galileo expressly said that the Bible cannot err, and saw his system as an alternate interpretation of the biblical texts.
Rene Descartes (1596-1650)
Descartes was a French mathematician, scientist and philosopher who has been called the father of modern philosophy. His school studies made him dissatisfied with previous philosophy: He had a deep religious faith as a Roman Catholic, which he retained to his dying day, along with a resolute, passionate desire to discover the truth. At the age of 24 he had a dream, and felt the vocational call to seek to bring knowledge together in one system of thought. His system began by asking what could be known if all else were doubted - suggesting the famous “I think therefore I am”. Actually, it is often forgotten that the next step for Descartes was to establish the near certainty of the existence of God - for only if God both exists and would not want us to be deceived by our experiences - can we trust our senses and logical thought processes. God is, therefore, central to his whole philosophy. What he really wanted to see was that his philosophy be adopted as standard Roman Catholic teaching. Rene Descartes and Francis Bacon (1561-1626) are generally regarded as the key figures in the development of scientific methodology. Both had systems in which God was important, and both seem more devout than the average for their era.
Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
Pascal was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and theologian. In mathematics, he published a treatise on the subject of projective geometry and established the foundation for probability theory. Pascal invented a mechanical calculator, and established the principles of vacuums and the pressure of air. He was raised a Roman Catholic, but in 1654 had a religious vision of God, which turned the direction of his study from science to theology. Pascal began publishing a theological work, Lettres provinciales, in 1656. His most influential theological work, the Pensées (”Thoughts”), was a defense of Christianity, which was published after his death. The most famous concept from Pensées was Pascal’s Wager. Pascal’s last words were, “May God never abandon me.”
Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
In optics, mechanics, and mathematics, Newton was a figure of undisputed genius and innovation. In all his science (including chemistry) he saw mathematics and numbers as central. What is less well known is that he was devoutly religious and saw numbers as involved in understanding God’s plan for history from the Bible. He did a considerable work on biblical numerology, and, though aspects of his beliefs were not orthodox, he thought theology was very important. In his system of physics, God was essential to the nature and absoluteness of space. In Principia he stated, “The most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”
Robert Boyle (1791-1867)
One of the founders and key early members of the Royal Society, Boyle gave his name to “Boyle’s Law” for gases, and also wrote an important work on chemistry. Encyclopedia Britannica says of him: “By his will he endowed a series of Boyle lectures, or sermons, which still continue, ‘for proving the Christian religion against notorious infidels...’ As a devout Protestant, Boyle took a special interest in promoting the Christian religion abroad, giving money to translate and publish the New Testament into Irish and Turkish. In 1690 he developed his theological views in The Christian Virtuoso, which he wrote to show that the study of nature was a central religious duty.” Boyle wrote against atheists in his day (the notion that atheism is a modern invention is a myth), and was clearly much more devoutly Christian than the average in his era.
Michael Faraday (1791-1867)
Michael Faraday was the son of a blacksmith who became one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. His work on electricity and magnetism not only revolutionized physics, but led to much of our lifestyles today, which depends on them (including computers and telephone lines and, so, web sites). Faraday was a devoutly Christian member of the Sandemanians, which significantly influenced him and strongly affected the way in which he approached and interpreted nature. Originating from Presbyterians, the Sandemanians rejected the idea of state churches, and tried to go back to a New Testament type of Christianity.
Gregor Mendel (1822-1884)
Mendel was the first to lay the mathematical foundations of genetics, in what came to be called “Mendelianism”. He began his research in 1856 (three years before Darwin published his Origin of Species) in the garden of the Monastery in which he was a monk. Mendel was elected Abbot of his Monastery in 1868. His work remained comparatively unknown until the turn of the century, when a new generation of botanists began finding similar results and “rediscovered” him (though their ideas were not identical to his). An interesting point is that the 1860’s was notable for formation of the X-Club, which was dedicated to lessening religious influences and propagating an image of “conflict” between science and religion. One sympathizer was Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton, whose scientific interest was in genetics (a proponent of eugenics - selective breeding among humans to “improve” the stock). He was writing how the “priestly mind” was not conducive to science while, at around the same time, an Austrian monk was making the breakthrough in genetics. The rediscovery of the work of Mendel came too late to affect Galton’s contribution.
William Thomson Kelvin (1824-1907)
Kelvin was foremost among the small group of British scientists who helped to lay the foundations of modern physics. His work covered many areas of physics, and he was said to have more letters after his name than anyone else in the Commonwealth, since he received numerous honorary degrees from European Universities, which recognized the value of his work. He was a very committed Christian, who was certainly more religious than the average for his era. Interestingly, his fellow physicists George Gabriel Stokes (1819-1903) and James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) were also men of deep Christian commitment, in an era when many were nominal, apathetic, or anti-Christian. The Encyclopedia Britannica says “Maxwell is regarded by most modern physicists as the scientist of the 19th century who had the greatest influence on 20th century physics; he is ranked with Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein for the fundamental nature of his contributions.” Lord Kelvin was an Old Earth creationist, who estimated the Earth’s age to be somewhere between 20 million and 100 million years, with an upper limit at 500 million years based on cooling rates (a low estimate due to his lack of knowledge about radiogenic heating).
Max Planck (1858-1947)
Planck made many contributions to physics, but is best known for quantum theory, which revolutionized our understanding of the atomic and sub-atomic worlds. In his 1937 lecture “Religion and Naturwissenschaft,” Planck expressed the view that God is everywhere present, and held that “the holiness of the unintelligible Godhead is conveyed by the holiness of symbols.” Atheists, he thought, attach too much importance to what are merely symbols. Planck was a churchwarden from 1920 until his death, and believed in an almighty, all-knowing, beneficent God (though not necessarily a personal one). Both science and religion wage a “tireless battle against skepticism and dogmatism, against unbelief and superstition” with the goal “toward God!”
So I guess C. S. Lewis was stupid? I think not.
So the religious beliefs in Global warming, Evilution, Darwin, undermines their intuitive thinking!
Why didn’t your list include any scientists born in the 20th Century?
Self flattery by the ignorant and for the ignorant.
Gosh, I never realized that G. Washington, a person of faith, wsa not able to think analytically and outsmart those Brits. I guess that’s why we are still British colonies.
More agenda driven science. Amazing that the data matched their theory.
Pray for America
Select a random group of religious and non-religious thinkers. Then give them a quiz with moral questions requiring analysis for solution.
Ask for their solution to the moral problem. See which group has answers that work better, and which group can defend their answer better analytically.
Difficult to do? Perhaps. It might even require as much work as it does to make your answers come out the way you want regardless of the results. I mean, in these kinds of studies if 2 + 2 must equal '5', the, by Gaia, it WILL equal '5'
The opposite is true for Christians I know, and have read about. Nearly all Christians strive to be the best they can in every moral aspect of life. That includes knowledge. How many young Christians refuse to do their homework, or try their best on tests? How many slack off in their career fields? None of us are perfect, but perfection is a goal to strive for. Analytical thinking and intuition go hand-in-hand for Christians. And what we absolutely don’t know, we put in the hands of God. The non believers believe man has all the answers, and generally paint themselves in a corner.
Dinesh D’Souza examines this kind of nonsense in his book “What’s So Great About Christianity”. He does an excellent job of exploding the myth that believers are anti-science. In fact it is just the opposite. A very good book. I believe that C.S. Lewis also has a bit to say about fools such as these also.
The problem is that there's no reason to think, or at least to always think, that "analytical" thinking is superior to "intuitive" thinking.
After all, "analytical" thinking concluded that the Jews were a blight on the German body politic, and that the best way to deal with them was to industrially exterminate them.
Besides - anybody who wants to dismiss "intuitive" thinking needs to sit down and read a little about Albert Einstein.
The layman would be amazed at just how much scientific advancement has been the result of "intuitive" thinking. The only people who hold to a rigid equation of "science = vastly superior analytical thinking" are fetishists who themselves know little about science.
Ara Norenzayan is a social psychologist at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. His areas of research include evolutionary and cognitive approaches to religious thought and behavior, issues of cultural variability and universality in human psychology, and relations between culture and evolution. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Michigan in 1999. Prior to UBC, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre de Recherche en Épistemologie Appliquée (CREA), École Polytechnique, Paris, after which he served on the faculty of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. When not snowboarding or plotting his next travel, he is an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at UBC, and a Faculty Associate of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies.
Key words here are “Scientific study”. The Wisdom of God is so far above scientific knowledge, these people wouldn’t be able to see it if it slapped them in face.
(Absolute silence on what that implies for the Nobel prize selection process....)
Pride on parade.
Do you know where I could find that list?
Rate my professor...
Easy = talks down to students like they haven’t graduated high school; “helpful” = spends 10 mins answering a typical dumb question; “clear” = repeats himself ad nauseum. Defends his specialisation (evol. psych) without provocation. I love social psych but it’s a snorefest with him. Do NOT take if you’ve taken cultural. If not, I rec. Assanand.
Boring class. My perception of Ara was that he believed he was above the class. He would engage with the class but would already know the answer he was after: so, what is the point of engagement besides a simple manipulation?
Boring as hell. Major mark boost though. Took this course 2 years ago and half of his exam questions were basically off the CD-ROM questions. See if this is still true. People just brought laptops and watched downloaded movies and TV shows. Not sure why they were in class in first place because all you gotta do is memorize the CD-ROM questions.
****in’ biceps! a little too inspired by statistics.
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I hope the author doesn’t own a pistol, he might shoot himself.The author uses a scientifically unsound study to prove atheists like himself are better scientists.
The researchers general approach was to test volunteers in some cases, Canadian undergraduates, in others, as the paper explains, a nationwide (though nonrepresentative) sample of American adults recruited online. Both sets of volunteers constitute only a limited sample, as Gervais and Norenzayan acknowledge.
During the tests, volunteers were either engaged in a task that surreptitiously elicited analytical thinking, or were given a control task. They were then asked if they concurred with a series of statements about religion, such as I believe in God or I dont really spend much time thinking about my religious beliefs.
this study was not science, it was satire and contained absolutely no science, did not employ scientific methods, didn’t frame the question properly, and didn’t even design valid test - and this moron thinks he is analytical - lmao.
Actually, I have absolute faith in a creator because of quantum mechanics.
Is that "analytical" enough?
They showed some participants images of artwork that supposedly encouraged analytical thinking like Rodins statue, The Thinker.
Get a copy of 50 Nobel Laureates and Other Great Scientists Who Believe in God.
1 Corinthians 1:25
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom...
They discredited themselves way before that.
They have had the long knives out for creationists - even to the point of including verbiage in their “charter.”
Not saying that creationists are correct in a scientific way - I *am* saying that the much vaunted practitioners of the scientific method (with peer review, no less) can close their minds with the best of them.
I would have respected them much more if they had actually done some sort of scientific inquiry into the matter rather than dismissing it out of hand.
Change ‘people of faith are not thinking’ -— to ‘people of OTHER faiths are not thinking’, and I suspect the proposition will gain many more supporters. :-) This doesn’t mean, of course, that such persons can’t solve difficult mathematical problems, or do all kinds of things that require considerable intelligence, but really now, isn’t it the opinion of nearly all the persons here that people of other faiths believe all kinds of crazy stuff? (I would judge so from the posts I’ve seen in many threads, and it’s my opinion too.) There seems to be an area of intellectual blindness with respect to religion — called being non-analytical by the persons who did that silly experiment — in the OTHER guy’s beliefs, not in one’s own.
Take the 9-11 terrorists, for instance (from the point of view of probably everybody here). If I recall correctly, these weren’t illiterate peasants taken from some remote village somewhere. They may well have been intelligent and well educated in some respects, especially the leader. Where they went astray, though, was in their religious interpretation of the situation, the belief that they were doing what God wanted them to do, and that — though killed — they would be rewarded for it. I can’t help but draw the conclusion that they didn’t analyze the situation correctly.
“They recruited 650 or so Canucks and Yanks to participate in their study. They showed some participants images of artwork that supposedly encouraged analytical thinking like Rodins statue, The Thinker.”
So - if I am shown by a Muslim acadmeic psychologist, pictures of MadMo boinking Aisha I will believe pedop[hilia is an Allah inspired activity?
As usual, the PsychPerson confuses correlation with causality.
Papers like this one, by academics such as this author, are just one of the many reasons for the low public opinoin of the “soft sciences”.
Did a search on the title you provided and found a list with 27 Nobel scientists. Your claim was misleading.
Wasn’t basing it strictly on the book, but also on additional research.
I see. So, who are the 23+ other Nobel Prize winning scientists?
Send me your email address and I’ll give you a link to the list.
No thanks. I'm not interested in providing hits to your site or having my mail box spammed.
Wow..!! then that means that there is no religious people successful in life
I’m a genuine Christian. Not a spammer or a scammer. I’m sorry if you’ve had past bad experiences with persons pretending to be true believers.
I’m a genuine Christian. Not a spammer or a scammer. I’m sorry if you’ve had past bad experiences with persons pretending to be true believers.
I'm a Christian and I'm one of the most analytical people I have ever met. I know many other analytical Christians. I have studied the writings of many past and current Christian theologians and I can state that they are surely and thoroughly analytical in their writings and their conclusions.
With all of that said, every Christian I know realizes that we believe in some "crazy stuff" and that the world deems crazy. However, our analysis of the testimony by the witnesses in the bible, the testimony of those fellow Christians who have experienced the affect on our lives from the love of Christ and the power to change ourselves to be like Christ that only comes from the Holy Spirit provides us analytical types with sufficient evidence that the biblical claims are true. Further our personal experience that comes from reading scripture and prayer leads us to the analytical conclusion that Christ was born, Christ died on the cross for us and Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven.
We do realize that this conclusion based on analyzing the evidence presented leads to "crazy stuff" but that is the nature of using reason and analysis and applying it to the evidence in the nature of the testimony given by scripture as well as the testing of the scripture in our daily lives.
“The use of statistics overcame any flaws in the study.”
Mark? Mark Twain? Is that your ghost posting under PeterPrinciple’s name?
I was in a church meeting this a.m. It was a conflict resolution workshop actually. I would say that the average education in the room was somewhere between 1.5 and 2 degrees. Just my observation. Oh, mrs. jimfree is an elder in this church and holds a PhD along with her MS and BS. She didn’t attend and tilt the average higher.
Is it just me or is this either a joke or a dopey study design? I do some of my best analysis listening to Rush Limbaugh, watching the Three Stooges, or playing the soundtrack of A Mighty Wind. The statue thing sounds like something I would write for an April 1 article.
"Canucks and Yanks?" Nuff said and asked.
>”...only comes from the Holy Spirit...”<
I think that’s the key to what’s religious about your response. Mere analysis isn’t religious, though religion of course has to reason out many intermediate steps. My own view is that an analysis of the natural world itself reveals patterns, but a pattern isn’t necessarily worthy of worship. Clearly evil is deeply ingrained into nature itself (if you consider extreme cruelty and exploitation of one creature by another to be evil, and I do — and allowing human beings, innocent as well as guilty, to suffer horrifically throughout history and everywhere people have ever been). Along with the good there’s a mixture of evil that could just as well be the result of a malevolent deity (a Devil) as of a benevolent one (the God most believers worship)
In my opinion only experience — actual experience of something supernatural — can justify religion. By “experience” I mean what some persons believe happens during prayer and at other times in their lives, a mystical transcendence of their ordinary being. That experience gives them hope of a kind of salvation that rises about the natural world, and doesn’t depend on the ordinary analysis of cause and effect.
What they are experiencing may be an illusion, a mere emotion not really indicative of truth beyond the feeling itself. Skeptics can dismiss it as having no implications. They can’t really argue with it, though. You either have it and believe, or don’t have it and don’t.
Or Newton. It is said that when he was about 7 and living on his grandparents farm, would spend time just waiting the patterns formed by the light shafts in the barn. As he got older, and began to learn math, he began to work out theories about light and all this ended in his revolutionaries theories about light. Richard Feynman began tinkering with things as a lad, and became an inveterate problem solver. As he grew older, he often developed his own math to solve problems, and as an adult scientists, he note dhow some very, very brilliant physicists were dependent on formulae and because of this had a hard time getting at the heart of problems. The true scientist seesthing differently from the mere thinker.”
I agree with your writing but I must point out that the “religious” stuff like the Holy Spirit which gives a Christian the power to testify about Jesus Christ occurs after one weighs the evidence and comes to a conclusion.
Personal experience confirms what we know to be true but it should never direct what we know. Our knowledge about Christ and His Life and God is from the testimony contained in the scriptures. This testimony includes numerous prophecies from men who preceded Jesus Christ by hundreds of years, it includes specific names of people who followed Jesus, people who wanted him dead and people who had no particular interest.
The minimal level of evidence for a Hebrew was a requirement that no less than three people testify and they cannot included the person themselves. The scriptures were written in part to persuade Hebrews who would require such minimal level of evidence. The scriptures adhere to this and other methods of providing evidence while they tell the story.
If you check Acts you will see that after the crucifixion the 100 or so disciples were afraid and confused until they were convinced about who Jesus was when they met the risen Christ. The risen Christ proclaimed who he was and how he fulfilled the scriptures. They stayed in Jerusalem where the greatest danger was because they were told to wait. If they did not believe Christ rose from the dead, those men would have went home where they were safe. Recall that Peter was so terrified that he would not acknowledge he even knew Jesus and wanted to return to his old life.
Peter and the other 100 or so disciples did not leave because they were told to wait. They kept a low profile until the Holy Spirit came and empowered them. Peter was transformed from a fearful fisherman to an unabashed evangelical who preached the word to thousands during that hour the Holy Spirit came.
The progression for Peter was 1. Selected by Jesus, 2. Taught by Jesus, 3. Understanding about Jesus, 4. Denial , 5. Acceptance, 6. Transformed by the Holy Spirit. This is the general path for myself and for most Christians. The denial part is because when we learn what Jesus wants we learn that there is a high cost to ourselves to follow Him and we don’t yet know how the power of the Holy Spirit will transform us.
Your analysis risks the misunderstanding that the process is preceded by personal experience. If that were true us Christians would be going to card readers one week, having our hand read the next week and keeping our horoscopes up to date. These things would as you point out result in the same level of evidence because we would rationalize that these things were working.
The further problem with using personal experience is that it denies the teaching of the bible. The bible demonstrates over and over again that wisdom often is contrary to human reasoning and that culture often leads to error. The bible also demonstrates that humans do not want to know God, our nature is to be led by the God fad of the day. Further, the bible warns that the human heart is corrupt and it cannot be trusted to arrive at truth.
Yes, personal experience does confirm Christ in our lives but it should never be trusted as the basis for placing our faith.
Most Christians are brought up as Christians, and become one in name before they’re old enough to reason effectively. (This goes for the way persons of other religions acquire their religious beliefs too, of course.) Later they may began to question some things. If they have a strong commitment to their religion, though, they’ll tend to put those questions aside (or, in some cases, accept answers that they’d never even consider if they weren’t already committed).
If you’re satisfied with the Biblical “evidence”, judging it as if it were a legal argument, then fine. I have no desire to argue the details with persons who are satisfied with their faith (as long as their beliefs don’t seriously harm me or others). My own view, though, is that the Bible is full of contradictions from beginning to end, not just contradictions of fact but contradictions of doctrine and morality. There are good things in it, but also plenty of evil (judged by the principle of the Golden Rule).
You mention Acts. It happens that just within the last week I’ve been reading an interlinear Latin-English version to refresh my knowledge of Latin (I read Mark right before that). As much as the Bible has influenced my own outlook on the world, I can’t help being disgusted by some of the stuff I’m encountering. For instance — to mention something appropriate for this site — the communism. Though the Golden Rule applies well to ongoing societies, much of the New Testament morality seems designed for a world soon to end (not just the communism but the pacifism too).
I have no problem with Christians or others voluntarily joining together into communes (monasteries or convents, or sharing possessions as evangelists). As long as it doesn’t harm others, that’s none of my business. It won’t work on a compulsory societal scale, though, as the loss of millions of lives has shown. Also I believe it’s harmful to promote the idea that being willing to give up all your possessions is a fitting standard for measuring a person’s goodness (and I say this as a person who’s not at all rich).
I wonder about your reaction to the events described in Acts 4:34 and continuing into the next chapter: “...For as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the price of the things they sold, And laid it down before the feet of the apostles. And distribution was made to every one, according as he had need.” [A classic statement of idealized communism, and even idealized, it seems unfair to me. It doesn’t take into account merit or effort, and there’s no good way to judge “need” beyond the subsistence level.]
It goes on to tell about a man and his wife who sold their land, but tried to mislead the apostles about how much they received. They were contributing a great deal, but because they didn’t contribute all, and lied about it, they were both struck dead. Disgusting. Yes, they lied. Yes, they weren’t totally unselfish. But to kill people for something like that is the sort of thing I mean when I speak of parts of the Bible being evil. That kind of story doesn’t intimidate me. It makes me not want to give a shekel.
7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.
8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
Man in house: “Why surely...”
Benny (as Bonny) “I assure you I have a slight cold”
Woman in house: “the best scientific brain says that whiskey can not cure the common cold”
Benny (as Bonny) “Nor can the world's best scientific brain, now move your a__ . (to the man) Your daughter”.