- If you believe like I do, then you're a real Christian, but...
- If you do something I don't approve of, you can't be a real Christian
Easy. Take a trip down to your local Christian bookshop - if you dare.
These businesses, which survive by catering to the Christian community, obviously stock what sells. They're the manna merchants, and in the spirit of "you are what you eat," it's not too difficult to pull down a profile after a bit of discrete browsing.
It's not a pretty picture. They're scary places by and large, intellectual deserts specialising in custom crafted mirages. Bible resources are dumbed-down, devotional and apologetic; creationist texts rub up against feel-good prosperity-gospel material. Shelves are lined with dishonest, decadent, fluffy literary confections designed to shore up the faltering faithful.
Quoting Bible verses isn't normally my thing, but it's hard not to connect with the words of Isaiah 30:10. To the seers they say, "See not," and to the prophets, "Do not prophesy the truth. Just tell us pleasant things; see illusions and prophesy deceits.
The trouble with bad manna is that it breeds worms and becomes foul (Ex. 17:20).
Sometimes Christian scholars give non-Christian critics a hard time for not being theologically literate enough. That may be the case, but it's a hard line to sell when most of the folk who sit in the pews know even less, and those who are supposedly supplying the resources for growth are dishing up junk food that's long past its use by date.