This is a guest post by Jon Darby. In his own words: Jon Darby is an atheist author who has been comparatively studying world religions—Biblical lore in particular—since 2004. He is ordained through Universal Life Church in Modesto, California and has received a degree in Biblical Studies from Victory Bible Institute in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He takes neither seriously.
In his spare time, Jon pursues his passion of blues guitar. He desperately hopes his eschatological beliefs are incorrect so that he may one day meet Stevie Ray Vaughan.
I remember hearing that many times while I was growing up, usually after I had done something incredibly stupid (which was not a few times). I could say I was sorry; I could say that I would never do it again. I said the words, but the actions didn’t match. Instead, my repeated antics belied the sincerity of my halfhearted apologies.
Later in life, I heard this adage as my mom consoled me through the heartaches of youth. How do you make sense of the disconnect between “She says she loves me” and “she’s nailing my friends“? When the words and the actions don’t match, watch the actions.
Moms are a wellspring of wisdom like that! 🙂
I thought of my mom’s old saying the other day as I was listening to a Christian apologist. Though I hadn’t ever thought about it this way previously, I’ve been approaching Christianity from that old standpoint of “When the words and the actions don’t match…”
Christians, however, seem to take the opposite approach:
I’m sure most Christians would probably agree with my mom’s saying in principle–just not when it comes to God. To reflect Christian thought, my mom’s adage would need to be appended with “But when we’re talking about God, we know the words are right no matter how we interpret the actions.”
When the words and the actions don’t match, the Christian presumes the validity of God’s word and reconciles the actions as best as possible.
I understand where Christians are coming from on this, but I just can’t make myself think that way. Personally, I can’t get past the idea that if the words and actions don’t match, maybe the words aren’t a good reflection of what God is. Or maybe… just maybe… he’s not ever really there at all.