I don’t have much to say about this week’s freak show. One wonders why Justin would bother with such a topic. After all, it does not forward any particular theological position. The Christian guest was espousing ideas that are well outside of mainstream orthodoxy. The atheist guest, well… Bless her heart.
I felt this same sense of weirdness from the show back when we had the guest that suffered from sleep paralysis and saw blue streaks running up her arm and was physically touched by the hand of Jesus. You know the one. The thing is, her experience did not lead her to becoming a Christian. If anything, her testimony harmed the Christian cause. So I was left wondering what the show was all about.
There have been a number of shows like that between then and now. And I finally think I understand why Justin is doing it. Orthodox Christianity and metaphysical claptrap seem like strange bedfellows coming from a person with my particular religious background. But taking a step back and reconsidering the situation, I have come to believe that they are not such strange bedfellows after all. Here is my theory:
Any shelter in a storm
From Justin’s perspective, Christianity is under siege like never before. There was a time when opponents of the faith knew their place and stayed in it. Now, they speak out boldly. They are making points that the average Christian is not equipped to counter.
Even the professional apologists aren’t doing too well against atheist arguments. The best apologists can hope to do is stop the bleeding. There is little hope for reversing the tide.
What Christians are being forced to do is band together with others that they normally would never endorse. They need alliances with likeminded people even if the similarities are not that strong. They need shelter from the atheist keyboard warrior onslaught. And any shelter in the storm will do.
Since the Christian faith is based on people believing in unsubstantiated metaphysical claims of supernatural intervention, people like Justin are willing to ally with other mystics regardless of religion. This is especially true with regard to pseudoscience. Any scientific backing for mystical claims helps the Christian cause because they can always add their religious spin on supernatural events.
The devil is in the details
I fully expect Justin to endorse mediums because it would show that supernatural powers exist. Also, it aligns with the biblical claim that the spirits of dead people live on, and can be contacted by the living. Necromancy was a real thing in the bible, and was a death penalty offense. The bible just looks stupid if necromancy is not real. Therefore, mediums aid, not harm Christian truth claims.
The way Christians deal with it is to say that the power is real, but that it comes from the devil. Mediums are consorting with evil spirits. This also explains the miracles done by people who are not Christians. It is better for them to confirm all miracle claims than to expose frauds. The same methods they use to expose false miracle claims could be used against them. So by accepting all miracle claims, they can just say that some are not from god.
Sathya Sai Baba raised people from the dead. And we have the testimonies of one or two who were raised. Yet Christians discount these miracles as meaningless while claiming the resurrection of Jesus is meaningful. They suggest that only the miracles from their god really count.
So it is that we have a Christian guest who believes that stars have consciousness, and rocks and piles of poop. He believes in spooky action from a distance. That’s fine with Justin because his worldview also depends on a belief that people are endowed with some magical inhabiting force that holds our consciousness apart from the body.
Christianity is a mess. This brand of wacky Christianity practically parodies itself.
Conclusion: Some other material
The anti-materialist stance of Christians seem to suggest that they can’t argue for god if classical material such as matter and energy are all there is. So they are in a desperate search for evidence of some other material, any other material. God and his dark materials can’t be found on this plain of existence. But Christians insist that it must be there.
If a dog seems to sense the presence of an owner, it must be evidence of some other material. If our human thoughts can travel to the realm of god via prayer, there must be a supernatural substrate. If dead people go on living in another realm, then humans are composed of some other material.
Christians are desperate to find it because they have to believe in it. Materialism is the death of Christianity. So it is easy to understand why some Christians happily embrace the pseudoscience of even supernaturalist crazies. And that suits me just fine. I am happy for the world to hear more Christians droning on about the spirit consciousness of stars and poop.