Oh, yawn. Back here, some folks still don't get it, so let me give you some homework to drive the point home.
One of the issues in the current religion dust-up on this blog involves what is called the "No True Scotsman" Fallacy, explained here. When applied to Christianity, numerous Christians try to disassociate themselves from mean-spirited, hateful other Christians as follows:
A: Some Christians are really nasty people. Like Fred down the block. Man, for someone who's always talking about how devout he is, he's a total asshole.
B: Well, that's not fair. You can't blame religion for that because true Christians are all gentle, compassionate people. So if someone is mean and nasty, then they're not a true Christian.
See how that works? You never have to defend your religious beliefs because you define the problem away. Christians are never assholes simply because you define the membership of the set "Christians" to exclude such folks, regardless of what they think. Problem solved.
Well, apparently, this well-known fallacy didn't go down well with at least one commenter, who referred us to this alleged rebuttal which, hilariously, tries to negate the NTS Fallacy by committing (you guessed it) the very same NTS Fallacy:
... So when one says that Adolf Hitler is no true Christian, one is not committing the NTS fallacy. “Christian” is a label referring to religious and philosophical beliefs being held by the believer. Since Hitler’s actions, words, and expressed philosophies and professed beliefs are outside of, and in many cases contrary to, the belief set of Christianity, it is (barring a deathbed conversion for which there is no evidence whatsoever) valid to say that Hitler was not a Christian.
See there? A piece promising to refute the NTS Fallacy tries to do it by committing the very same logical blunder. Hitler might say he was a Christian but since he didn't act like a true Christian, then he wasn't.
(Many Christians are fond of the converse argument as well:
A: Atheists are all immoral.
B: Well, I'm not sure about that. I know some atheists who are wonderful, charitable folks.
A: Well, then they're not true atheists.
You get the idea. But that's not the point of this piece. Onward.)
For the most part, it's pointless to argue with folks who are arguing the NTS Fallacy while simultaneously claiming that they're doing no such thing. Instead, the trick is to turn the argument back on them.
If these folks claim the ability to tell "true" Christians from "false" ones, then they should be able to explain how the rest of us can do it, too. So, in the spirit of an earlier challenge, I'd like the religiously devout to propose a "false Christian" detector.
Given the number of people who claim to be Christian but who generally creep their Christian brethren right out, I think it's incumbent on the devout to supply a clear and unambiguous definition of a "true" Christian. That way, when someone claims to be Christian, I can whip out my handy-dandy true Christian detector and see if they're legit.
The detector should be objective and entirely deterministic. And once it's been provided, we can test it on a number of prominent assho ... uh, Christians. Once we have our detector, we can see what it thinks of, say, Rev. Jerry Falwell. Or Pat Robertson. Or George W. Bush. Or Stephen Harper. How about Calgary's Bishop Fred Henry? True Christian or not? Pastor Fred Phelps? Raving dingbat Elsie Wayne? The hate-filled homophobes at DefendMarriage.ca? Pete Rempel? Kate McMillan? Lying sack of crap Bill Strong? Man, the list is endless, isn't it?
So, who's going to step up to the plate with the "true Christian" detector? After all, if some of you are upset about your religion being tarred by the actions of "false Christian" loons acting like complete dickheads, then it's your responsibility to help the rest of us tell the loons from the non-loons.
So ... we're all listening. The lines are open.