Does God Have Facial Hair?

mp-godI’m going to respond to Dan Fincke’s article over on Camels Without Hammers because, while I think he’s put a lot of good thought into the concept, I don’t think that the concept accurately represents the reality.  Dan seems to think that most Christians don’t really see their God as a bearded man in the sky, he seems to think that most are more sophisticated than that.  I don’t.

I don’t think most Christians, and this works just as well with virtually any other religion, have given a single thought to what their gods actually are.  They simply accept whatever the popular notion is and buy into it whether it makes sense or not.  We see that with the silly story where FOX news correspondents think Jesus was white.  Why?  Because that’s what all the pictures that came out of Europe in the Middle Ages showed.  Such a belief is ridiculous, Jesus, if he existed at all, was a Middle Eastern man of Arabic origins.  He didn’t come from Europe, he wasn’t of an Anglo-Saxon background, he was not some guy with white skin and blue eyes, there’s no rational reason to think any of that is so.  European artists simply drew what they knew and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now certainly, you might find some better educated theists who would look at you funny at the thought of a bearded man sitting on a cloud, but I don’t find many of those educated theists in my day-to-day world.  Maybe Dan does, he runs in university circles, but for the general man on the street Christian, I don’t think you’d find many who have even considered what God actually looks like.  That’s because the image of a  bearded God has been around in the Christian psyche for so long, the image immediately springs to mind for the majority of Christians.  There’s a reason for that though, because the image of God has changed dramatically over time and for those Christians who really don’t spend much time between the covers of their Bibles, who only know what’s most commonly preached from the pulpit, they’re just more familiar with the ancient view.  God walks with Adam and Eve, God directly communicates with humanity, God created man in his image, even though it’s more clearly that man created God in ours.  It’s really only been in relatively recent history that academic theologians realized that their whole view of God was absurd and likely to be discovered for the fraud that it is by anyone who looks at it. Therefore, they revised their views of God, changing him from an interactive deity that directly deals with man to an invisible force that doesn’t demonstrably intervene in human history.  Everything that’s changed in the redefinition of God has been damage control.  They knew it was stupid and they just moved the goalposts to make it seem less absurd to the outside world.

devilAnd while the educated, intellectual Christian might recognize this, they are a very minuscule percentage of self-identified Christians overall. Dan argues that Christians know that the Devil isn’t real.  I disagree.  He thinks that most Christians recognize that hell is an absence of God.  I don’t think that most Christians have given their theology any critical thought at all.  The Devil has always been presented as a red guy with horns and a pitchfork and if you asked a random Christian on the street to tell you about the Devil, that’s probably what you’ll get in response.  The same Christian you find on Twitter or Facebook or on a debate forum is not the same guy that Dan is talking about, the guy who gets up and debates theology on a stage in front of an audience.  There’s a hell of a lot more ignorant Christians out there than the well-informed variety.  We need to recognize that fact.

I’d really like to think that there are more intelligent Christians, people who rationally evaluate their beliefs, look for evidence, think about the problems with their theology, etc.  Unfortunately, they don’t really exist, outside of a small handful of professional apologists whose true goal is to keep making money off of the faithful.  They might still buy into the mythology, we know that people are acutely able to compartmentalize their beliefs, but on some level, I’m convinced, they have to know where their paycheck comes from, that’s why they continue to dance around on stages, using absurd arguments to support even more absurd beliefs.

Most Christians are far too gullible to know any better.

21 thoughts on “Does God Have Facial Hair?

  1. You may be right concerning the various suppositions and speculations you offer about what the typical Christian thinks about the appearance and nature of their God. But I am wondering when you are going to stop speculating about such things and actually offer up the results of studies or surveys you have conducted yourself or that others have conducted. There is a body of sociological research on religion out there for you to examine. You even offer here some potential studies that could be done, like questioning a group of Christians in the street. But then you provide your speculation about what the results of such surveys would be without actually conducting the survey. You are very fond of telling us what you think christians believe without offering us any research about what they actually do think. Again, they may well think and believe all or most of what you think they do. But without the presentation of any research data, it is also possible that some or all of your offered "I think" speculations are wholly or partially wrong.

  2. I think you allowed yourself to be snookered. Are you not aware that Dan's post wast satire. The hint that this is the case is in the last sentence in the post when he writes, "Right, Christians? That's what you really believe, right?" He confirms that it is satire in the comment thread when he writes in response to Kayjulia, "The post is satire." This comment is the 20th comment down in the thread, only four comments after your comment Cephus.

  3. What Christians belief, what the average might think… it doesn't matter.
    The Bible says what it says. Either you believe it or you don't.

    Even for an atheist, don't you see evil as a force in the world?

    1. Evil isn't a force, people can perform evil actions, but that;'s the fault and responsibility of the people. Nothing is making them do evil things but themselves.

      1. That was three weeks ago and a system glitch. There are three comments on that profile, I wouldn't stoop to your tactics of parallel profiles.

          1. Yes and you seem to have plenty of both.

            67 weeks ago @ KOMO – Seattle, WA – Ind. teen pleads guilt… · 0 replies · +2 points
            I normally agree with what you say but not this time. I went to party when I was 18 many, many years ago. I pulled up in the driveway grabbed a beer out of my cooler and walked up to the house. As I got close to the house cops came out of the house. I told them I was not old enough to drink and the cop grabbed me "wall stunned" and took me to jail. I was charged with disorderly conduct, contributing, possession of marijuana. The pot was in the house, the underage kids were in the house and I was never "disorderly" , and I had never been in the house but since I was the oldest I got charged. I took it to a jury trial where the cops said I threw the pot in the house down the hallway the bag of pot then turned right and landed in the bathroom. Good thing I was lucky enough to hire a "criminal defense layer" to sort out all the lies the cops told. I was found "Not Guilty"

          2. I was found not guilty by our justice system not sure why you even posted this except to try and damage my reputation

          3. Sounds like a bunch of excuses to me, you just mentioned what you think of excuses.

            Don't blame me if you're a whiner that doesn't practice what he preaches.

          4. See your last comment "Where?" count up seven from that and find a quote I used of yours. It's one long rambling excuse.

          5. Why? It was spot on.
            I explained something that happened, and not an excuse.

            If you call that an excuse then I'll point out you make even larger excuses and in a long whining rambling rant.

  4. What Christians believe, what the average person thinks… does it matter?
    Christianity isn't a democracy that takes a vote to set policy. The Bible does.

    And even as an atheist, don't you see evil as an active force in the world?

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