Unquestioning Christian to Semi-Agnostic

sent in by CJ

My first experiances of religion came from my childhood going to Church. When I was young, going to Church was something you just did, I used to think probably it was just a place to go on Sundays and listen to stories and sing songs; A place where you dressed up and went, I didn't understand about God, Jesus or Christianity until I was older.

I went to Sunday school and read the Presbyterian Chetichism and the King James Bible, I done all the colouring in stuff, bible stories and picture books, I enjoyed it as a kid and thought little of it.

When I was 7 or 8 I was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy, which is a muscle wasting desease that causes disability, I remember the day I had to go and get the test done, because of the pain, they had to remove muscle tissue which wasn't pleasant. I don't remember a great deal of the affects of MD in the early days, but gradually I needed the use of a Wheelchair, which I am now totally dependant on.

Being disabled wasn't something that I thought much of when I was around 10 or 12, it was just a fact of my life. I still went to church and I joined a boys group in my Church, which I enjoyed, it was a uniformed Presbyterian version of Sunday School and the Scouts.

The people in my Church where kind and good people, they did do the old "Does he take sugar" thing, they sort of baby-talked me in a way, not that they meant it or thought of doing it to embarrase me. I had doubts about God when I was around 15 or 16, the usual "If God's good why am I disabled etc.etc", but I had the idea that the good people I knew who where Christians obviously must be good because of God, and everything happens for a reason, right?

As I began to question God and his purpose for me, I began to look more at why if God is kind, why then would he allow disability, disease and conflict. I read the bible, and searched for certain things to help me believe. I felt bad for questioning God, as I felt he was testing me, and I had failed. For the first time in my life I heard about revelations and the end of the world, and fear of Hell kept me from turning my back on God I began to pray for enlightenment, I asked God to show me a personal sign of his existance just so I could have proof beyond doubt.

All the people at Church, including my minister, I thought had unshakable faith; they just knew and never questioned that made me feel weak and unworthy. I was worried about my soul and sinful behaviour, I found it difficult to think straight and for me it was easier to stop going to church, mostly because of my feelings of frustration towards God. I had arguments with my parents at first, but they accepted it, it was partly because they where what in Northern Ireland are called "Cultural Protestants", that they allowed me the choice ie they weren't fundamentalists.

After praying alot, I found no answers to questions, I couldn't ask anyone else my doubts especially my minister or other people at my church, who seemed to have no trouble believing, they accepted my not going to church as they thought it was for reasons of my disabillity.

I am now 20 and haven't been to Church since I was 14/15, I respect people who have faith, although I don't like fundamentalists or evangelism. I am unsure of Gods existance and am still open to his presence, although I don't hold out on that. I have little understanding of theology or science, but I understand basic evolution, and this has given me more to ponder as to gods existance. I have given some thought to the idea of the universe as my God, and nature as the wonder of creation, not that I believe some man with a white beard created it, but that the universe and nature created itself.

I still have trouble with belief and whether or not God exists, I worry about my decision not to follow God, just in case I am wrong. I still have not lost my religion, but am still struggling with the ideas of theology and the whole hell and end-of-the-world concept, which bothers me. If anyone has any info which could help me understand more about exercising myself from these ghosts, i'd appreciate it, someone with more education could perhaps help me break with the back-of-the-book christian baggage of fear and damnation.

Country: Northern Ireland
Became a Christian: From Childhood
Ceased being a Christian: Around 15
Labels before: Presbyterian, Ulster-Protestant, Unionist
Labels now: Semi-Agnostic
Why I joined: Always went to church, tradition/culture, society
Why I left: Began questioning Gods existance
Email Address: cjp2004 at hotmail dot com

49 comments:

tmn1_00 said...

Dear Cj,
My name is Tierra nichols i live in cleveland ohio I am 25 years old
I was on the internet looking up some facts about muscle dystrophy
because my cousins 6 month old child has been diagnoised with the disease.
Also I was looking for some testimonies from Christian belivers who
have the disease who are living fulfilled lives and what is funny i came
across yours.

CJ I felt really led to write in response to your letter. I am not
an expert on faith or anything but I do have a few basic truths and
understanding of God that I want to share with you. I know that God has
given us free will freedom of choice freedom to believe in him or not.I
call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set
before youl ife and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose
life . . .” (Deuteronomy 30:19). And what choosing life means
choose God and he'll give you life accept his Son Jesus and you will have
everlasting life and you shall not perish.

CJ God is truly a mystery and sometimes its hard to understand why he
allows crippling circumstances, death of the innocent, and I can go on
but these things are not produced or encouraged by God. It is the
fall of mankind, mankind's wrong choices are the cause for most suffering.
This can go all the way back to Adam and Eve their disobedience to God
change the whole state of the world and our relationship with God. God
gave them two trees one the tree of life the other the tree that gave
knowledge on the downfalls of life that would open the doors to pain
suffering distance from God. God warned them not to taste of that tree of
knowledge he commanded them to make the right choice. That they can
eat from the tree of life which produced peace and harmony with God and a
abundant life. But he did not force them to make the right decision.
And that's what our God does he won't force you to love him he won't use
his power to make you serve him, unlike man. Scripture allows us
to understand the Character of God
“For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man
looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord
looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

It let's us see by making the right decisions and choosing him that
even through the suffering and trials of life that we can still have
life and that he would give it us comfort and peace and love. The only way
you can experience this love CJ is by accepting Jesus Christ take the
Gift that God has offered to us. To redeem us to put us back in right
standing with God.

By reading your article it sounds like you never accepted Jesus you
just always went to church. Church and having relationship with God and
accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord are to separate experiences CJ.
Religion doesn't get you to heaven even doing what you believe is living a
"good life" won't help you understand God or get you into heaven. It's
faith do you have faith CJ? Do you know what I mean when I say faith.
Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift,
but as an obligation.However, to the man who does not work but trusts God
who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness
(romans 4:4.)

The promise that God made through Jesus Christ was that we would have
the gift of being able to Go to Heaven because of our faith in Jesus
not by laws or religion. Because of Jesus suffering for our sins we
have access to God's promises of LIFE.
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and
confidence.(ephesians 3:12) We can ask God for anything and not feel
ashamed because we cussed the day before, or smoked a cigarette, or lied
to someone. The sins that we do daily have been forgiven by Jesus he
died for us when we were still sinners. We can be free from our guilty
conscience because of this sacrifice Jesus made for us. We can ask God
for anything in Faith. It's because of faith that we ask God to bless us
and he will bless us not because we feel guilty or sacrificed a meal
he'll bless you because you believe that he will give you what you asked
for without doubhting him.

CJ God wants to love you and he wants to give you every desire of
your heart that benefits your life you just have to believe. I know its
hard to put your trust in something that is not visible but we don't see
wind, but we know its their by the ruffling of the leaves that's how
God is Cj we can't see him but we know he's their by the way the earth
postioned. Or the beauty of nature how trees can be perfectly aligned to
each other. How those who are disabled defy the odds of society or
people's expectations on how they should be ;living. His evidence is their
CJ its just a matter of faith. Also from reading it sounds like your
ready for God to come into your life so your a perfect canidate. I don't
know if this helped but the bible says Faith comes by hearing so I took
advantage of you being able to hear truth. I will be praying for you
CJ.

and if you were encouraged or believe anything I shared with you
today then would you say this prayer right now wherever you are. Oh yeah I
know how you hate evangelism. But what you asked for was understanding
of God am I right? Will you asked to be evangelized to :) by wanting a
response to your letter.

Love tierra you can email me if you want to have further discussion
or any questions

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten
son that who shall ever believe in him shall not perish but have
everlasting life.

Jim Arvo said...

tmn1_00 said "...I do have a few basic truths and understanding of God that I want to share with you..."

Please allow me to jump in and offer a suggestion. Your statement would be far more defensible if you simply asserted that they are "beliefs" rather than "truths and understanding". The latter connotes (to most of us here, anyway) that you have compelling evidence to support your beliefs. From what you're written thus far, that would not apprear be the case.

tmn: "I know that God has..."

Permit me to jump in again. You do realize that most of us here do not believe your god exists, right? That is immediately apparent to most visitors, even casual ones. Given that fact, does it make sense for you to assert to us what god does or feels or thinks? Let me put it this way. Do you believe in leprechauns? (I'll assume not.) Well, suppose I started telling you how they dress, what they eat, and how they feel. Would that go any distance toward convincing you that they're real? Probably not, right? Would you think it was a bit odd for me to be making such assertions about magical beings that likely do not even exist? Probably you would, right? Do you see the analogy?

So, if you're following me, please feel free to tell us why you think Yahweh exists, and why the Bible is his "word". Let's save all the talk about what he likes or dislikes, thinks or doesn't think, etc. until later. Okay?

Oh, one last bit of advice. Don't put hard returns at the end of your sentences. Let your text editor and/or the comment window do that for you. Otherwise, you get something that's rather hard to read (as your post is).

brazer said...

That's a good point about "knowing" things. I suppose it could be asked, "How do we know that we really know anything that we think we know?" I guess it could be easily said that we don't know. How do we know that we are not in a holographic test lab on an alien space ship, being studied on our every move and thought? Well, of course, we don't know that it's not true, but common sense tells us that it's not. What is common sense? Where does it come from? Why is it that we somehow sense something about what we see all around us, what we feel inside, and what we have taken in all our lives through multitudes of circumstances?

So now, why does the Christian feel that they "know" something that appears to be simply a belief to those who don't "know" the same thing? Would the idea of a leprechaun have the ability to appeal to your common sense? Surely not! In fact, the longer you live and the more you observe the world around you, the more laughable this idea becomes. Common sense ultimately works against this absurd notion.

After reading hundreds of Christian testimonies, I can safely say that many Christians who claim that they "know" that what they believe is true have once thoroughly doubted the Bible and even the existence of God. As an analogy, I could say that once your common sense has been set against the idea of leprechauns, nothing is going to convince you that they exist later on in life. Every observation you make should confirm that they don't exist, making it literally impossible for you to believe in them. In fact, the only thing that could ever convince you that they exist would be ongoing and compelling observation of circumstances in favor of leprechauns existing. Yet this never happens, and that is why no sane person believes in leprechauns.

So it is safe to say that no atheist would ever believe in God unless they observed something compelling. The observation may be something they witness, feel, or sense. Moreover, it is unlikely that an atheist could be convinced because of one thing. Rather, it is more likely that they have been observing things over time in order to end up believing in the rationality of the impossible. Ultimately, "foolish faith" somehow overcomes firmly established "common sense." It is replaced with a new understanding of common sense at that. In a natural world, this is quite unnatural. It would be the same as millions of people firmly believing in leprechauns, even being willing to give up everything for the sake of the these imaginary characters. Perhaps a few crazies might venture down this path, but I doubt that someone like this was ever sane and logical in the first place. Yet for thousands of years millions of sane and logical people have turned away from unbelief to believing in a God that they cannot see or hear, even giving their lives to defend this faith.

Clearly faith in Jesus or faith in God is not the same as faith in mystical characters. Some unseen force must be at work to convert people who have resisted belief in this supposed nonsense over to believing in it. I personally have been raised with the Bible and going to church, have thoroughly doubted what I had been taught due to “common sense,” and have been turned completely around to faith in Jesus and in the unseen spiritual forces driving the world around us. If there was ever anyone who was too logical to believe in the impossible, it was me. I do not give into anything easily, and I like to do everything myself. Even the obvious I will not accept until I have tested it and proven it on my own. Yet God has broken me despite myself. I know that I am not crazy and that I have come to believe in the words of the Bible against all doubts that I once had. The Bible is like a puzzle that does not make complete sense unless you put it together correctly. However, when it is put together correctly, there are no missing pieces and no extra pieces. Everything fits just right, and it is clear that there is no other way to put it together. Furthermore, it was not I who put it together as I would not even have known where to start.

Tierra is right. The only thing that grants true faith and understanding is opening up your heart to Jesus Christ and making him your Lord. It is only natural for a human living by human ways to resist this, but when you have tried everything else to fill a void or to gain knowledge of the things of life and you fail to find what you were looking for, don’t forget to try this too. You will not be disappointed.

AtheistToothFairy said...

brazer wrote:
The Bible is like a puzzle that does not make complete sense unless you put it together correctly. However, when it is put together correctly, there are no missing pieces and no extra pieces. Everything fits just right, and it is clear that there is no other way to put it together
----

Once again, we have here yet another xtian who has discovered the remarkable hidden truth of how to put the bible jigsaw puzzle together, so it will make perfect sense.

I wish someone would put brazer in contact with the dozens of other xtians who have come here making this very same claim.
Then we all could find out if they all see the SAME 'puzzle picture' or not.

Oh silly me, of course brazer alone, has discovered the true puzzle, so only brazer holds the key to this ancient mystery. He must feel very special that god has chosen to reveal this to him.

I know that I am not crazy and that I have come to believe in the words of the Bible against all doubts that I once had

Let me ask you this brazer.
If someone believed in those leprechauns you speak of, and assured you that they were "not crazy", would you find that assurance from them to be a valid reason to believe they were sane?
So why should we take your word that you are sane in your belief of this jesus?

Seeing as how you now have all the answers brazer, can you start by talking with your jesus and asking him to provide evidence that he ever walked our earth 2000 years ago.
I'm quite sure he could point you to the hidden historical evidence that is sorely missing on this matter, RIGHT?


ATF (Who just can't wait to hear how our latest bible expert has solved the hundreds of bible errrrrr problems, that so far, no other xtian apologist has been able to do)

boomSLANG said...

Brazer...However, when [the bible] is put together correctly, there are no missing pieces and no extra pieces.

Oh?..is that so? Okay, well, what about that pile of trimmings on the floor?..you know, from having to shave the pieces in order for them to interlock with ease?... where as, "unaltered", they don't fit together at all? In case you're wondering, that's my analogy for "compartmentalizing". Yoo hoo?..talking snakes?..swimming hammers?...firey chariots soaring through the clouds? Hello?...camping out in whale's digestive tract?...zombies?..unicorns..giants? Hell, if you're going to believe in those things, then "leprechauns" don't sound too far-fetched, do they?(asked rhetorically)

Brazer...The only thing that grants true faith and understanding is opening up your heart to Jesus Christ and making him your Lord.

To my estimation, this is circular double-talk.

Firstly, what exactly, is "true faith"?[emphasis added] "Faith" is nothing more than a form of agnosticism...i.e..lack of knowledge, or, the inability to know with certainty. After all, if you had certain knowledge of something, you wouldn't need "faith".

Secondly, "opening up your heart"? Okay, to my mind, that's simply metaphorical jabber for accepting something as true, when your brain tells you it isn't. I'm sorry, but that's very dangerous.

Lastly - and per your above statement - one apparently has to "open their heart" to "Jesus"..i.e.. accept Christianity as "truth", first, and then you'll "understand it". Pardon me, but don't you see the implied circularity taking place? In other words, I have a suspicion that you'll also tell us that one cannot "make Jesus" their "Lord", until they, first, "understand" Christianity. Is that about right?

'Care to take another stab at it?

Brazer said...

Brazer... "Furthermore, it was not I who put it together as I would not even have known where to start."

You seem to have missed this part in quoting me.

I suppose it is safe to say that God is the one who makes the Bible clear. I did not make it clear for myself.

All I know is this: I had gotten away from church and away from the majority of believing in God or the Bible. I was high on drugs one day and decided to try to read the Bible because I was having a panic attack and I was losing my mind. I opened up the Bible and BAM!!, there it was. Just kidding, I couldn't even understand a word of it. If you had asked me at the time, it was repeating itself over and over again. Perhaps within ten minutes, my mom had come home, and I tried to explain to her what had happened without admitting to being high (and I was still quite high). I just ended up crying and probably needed to be committed because I was seriously losing it. So she must have been a little taken back by my behavior, but she started praying over me. In fact she wasn't even speaking English. I never believed in tongues, but whether I wanted to believe in it or not, some kind of power started to come over me. I felt a battle raging within me and by the time she was done, peace had come over me. Could this have been a release from demon possession? I don't know, but it felt like something major had happened. What more is that she calmly said, "Try reading the Bible now," when she had finished, as if she knew what the result was going to be. So I opened up the Bible, and for the first time it made perfect sense. It even seemed to come alive as I was reading it. I read the whole Bible that summer, mostly because I couldn't put it down. It seemed as though God was speaking to me as I read, and this was what I meant by completing the puzzle. The message was clear from every scripture: God IS, He is greater than we will ever know, and He is full of love. It's as if He was revealing a part of His glory to me. This is the meaning of the Bible—God’s glory and His love for mankind. All the stories, all the praises to God, and the life of Jesus Christ were intended to reveal this. This is what I saw that summer, and I was never the same, but I did not make a full commitment to God or to Jesus at that time. I would say that I accepted Jesus as the Messiah, but that I did not fully "open my heart to him," as I have previously used the term. I guess I was afraid to make an eternal decision at that time.

After all this (and more), I did not fully "open up my heart" to Jesus, until recently. I did not really even know what that meant, because it is surely not believing in something that my brain tells me is false. By all means, my brain was convinced that God was quite real by this point. There have been other very inexplicable events in my life. No, "opening up your heart" is surrendering everything you cling to and letting Jesus have control of things, even being willing to die. This is difficult, and perhaps nearly impossible, because you do not want to surrender your plans, goals, desires, dreams, life, everything really. Perhaps that is why God brings people to the bottom to save them. When they have nothing left to cling to, they are much more willing to give it up (not to be too obvious). I should also note that surrendering to Jesus is a continual process; there are always more things to surrender and new things come up where it is easy to want to control the outcome in order to have it your way.

Regarding circular reasoning in accepting Jesus to have true faith, I suppose I should clarify that I mean true faith in the impossible things that go on spiritually. The leap of faith is in believing that Jesus is really who he said he was and accepting him. The rest of my faith is given by God. This is more or less the faith in the unseen and unheard. For example, when you feel that God is telling you something and you know He is, but you are not sure how you know because His words are not tangible by conventional means.

And yes, you kind of have to accept Jesus first to gain true understanding and solid faith in impossible things. If we did not have to place this initial trust, then we could never be justified by faith. God made Moses step on the Red Sea first before He parted the waters. Moses could have died if he was wrong to trust God, but he did it anyway.

For facts and history, I do not specialize in any of this. Yet there are some who do. I know because I'm sure at one point or another I have questioned the Bible in every way that you have. Remember, I also had my doubts before the above described events. I even have doubts now on bad days, since getting saved doesn't actually get rid of the sinful mind. It actually causes the spirit to overpower the flesh, which you will find written all over the New Testament. So basically, when my spirit is weakened, my mind is still there waiting to have its own way. That is the constant battle of the Christian, but the struggle ends with the death of the body. You will find much about this in the New Testament as well.

Getting back to my point, for scientific facts try a website called www.icr.org. You will find that this website is extremely technical and the claims on it are very difficult for secular scientists to contest. You will also find a world of holes regarding the theory of evolution, which are detailed over thousands of technical articles. Finally, you will quickly find that atheism is also a matter of faith and is in itself a religion requiring belief in the unexplained and unknown.

Historically, you probably will not find absolute confirmation that Jesus walked the earth other than various Christian and secular sources claiming that he did, although secular sources make indirect reference to Jesus' existence. The physical evidence will obviously not be there because he did not rule a country or anything. There aren't any artifacts to find confirming him. But seriously, asserting that Jesus never walked the earth is just preposterous. Don't you think the Jews would have been the first to point this out. Yet the very fact that they never made this claim back in that day shows that they simply couldn't make this claim. They would lose all credibility with the people of that time, who knew that he had existed. Instead they made all sorts of other claims to downplay everything that he did and said, which also bears testimony that he was leaving a mark on the people he encountered--They talked about him and the things he did. The Romans followed the same pattern. They made references to Jesus in some of the artifacts (documents) that have been found from that time, but they never went as far as to doubt he ever existed. Again, I'm sure they would have loved to have said this, but the people of the time knew better. It would never fly.

Bloomsang… “Yoo hoo?..talking snakes?..swimming hammers?...firey chariots soaring through the clouds? Hello?...camping out in whale's digestive tract?...zombies?..unicorns..giants? Hell, if you're going to believe in those things, then "leprechauns" don't sound too far-fetched, do they?(asked rhetorically)”

Well, for starters, you falsely added unicorns and zombies to strengthen your argument. As far as camping out in a whale’s stomach, this is physically possible, although highly unadvised. The giants spoken of (the Nephilim) are not the larger than life giants of the fairy tales, but rather genetic giants no different from the ones reported by the Israelite scouts living across the Jordan River as recorded in Numbers. What’s more is Moses writes Numbers as a historical recording for all the Israelites to see at that time. What credibility would he have with the people if they could plainly see that he was making things up that they could easily verify or discredit. “Talking snakes” is more like a single talking serpent, and who knows if this was a verbal conversation or something unspoken on a mental level. How can we say that a spiritual being like Satan could not have used this serpent for deceit. What do we really know about the spiritual world and possible dimensions beyond the ones that we know and experience every day. We know very little to nothing about these things, and it is unwise to say that they don’t exist out of a lack of knowledge. Haven’t you ever experienced a situation that is beyond explaining? I assure you that such situations have happened to many people. As far as the capabilities of God Himself, what kind of God would He be if He lacked the ability to make metal float (not swim), or to make fiery chariots appear to people. For all we know, these fiery chariots were actually there spiritually.

I’m sure Jesus was being literal when he said: “I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.” (Matthew 3:9) and, ‘“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”’ (Matthew 19:26) For some reason, people forget that secular scientists claim that the universe exists from nothing, and will also admit that this can’t be explained by any known scientific principle. So then, the explanation, if it even could be discovered, would be a principle that we have never known of, observed, or understood before. I doubt that you will find an atheist who will laugh at the absurdity of this claim, yet it is quite absurd when judging with human logic. So much has never been revealed to any man, and yet we doubt by way of assumed wisdom? We are all fools and should be still before God, Who no man has ever comprehended.

Finally, do I consider myself a Christian? I certainly do not in the traditional sense. I am only a Christian because I believe in Jesus as the Messiah. The church did not bring me to believe in him. Rather, I was led by circumstances.

Brazer said...

May I ask why you guys even care about what I'm saying here anyway? I'm really not trying to be "right." I am only hoping to simply convey that sincere Christians don't just believe because they haven't thought it through enough. Perhaps they have thought it through too much, like I did before I realized how little I knew in all my supposed "wisdom."

Also, I should apologize for not answering boomslang's question from above. No, you do not have to understand Christianity to accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. You do not have to understand anything. All you need to do is put forth some trust and ask him to be your Lord. Of course, you would not do that unless you believed he had the ability to be your Lord and was in fact God in the flesh.

Brazer said...

Cj,

I sent this to your e-mail, but it is apparently no longer in service. I have these scriptures for you in response to your questions about Hell:

From the Old Testament:

"Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?" (Ezekiel 18:23)

"For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!" (Ezekiel 18:32)

"Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?'" (Ezekiel 33:11)

From the New Testament:

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:1-8)

"'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.'" (John 3:16-17)

..And regarding judgement:

"The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness." (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." (Romans 1:18-20)

-----------

So I hope this helps you see that God is surely just, but we bring judgement upon ourselves. He has given us provision in Jesus Christ, since we are unclean and deserving of condemnation, for such is the penalty for sin. He told Adam and Eve that before they sinned, but he did not cast us away with no hope at all. We can either choose to accept or recieve His one and only provision, but He would rather we accept it. He also will not take away our free will and force us to accept Jesus, because Jesus must be recieved in faith in order for us to be justified before God.

stronger now said...

Brazier:"So I hope this helps you see that God is surely just, but we bring judgement upon ourselves."

I cannot speak for Cj, however, I cannot just let this slide. The bible god is NOT "just". Eternal torment for disbelief caused by lack of credible evidence is not what any rational person could ever call justice. It is cruel, mean, and stupid.

How can your god expect us humans to accept it, out of the thousands of other gods that humans could accept, without giving us any evidence that would distinguish it as being real as opposed to those others who appear to be just as real? Moldy books do little good in that regard, as many many other gods have their stories written down in various ways as well. What else do you have?

Save the scripture for after you give us some credible evidence to believe that it is "god breathed". Untill then, your book of myths is of little value in a discussion concerning reality.

As any reasoning person understands, the stories of the biblegod ordering the killing of babies is anything but "just". Or do you simply overlook those. How is it "just" to create something that you already know will be in hell forever before you create it, because you will never give it any credible evidence of yourself and what you desire of it? That's what the biblegod does and that is why no one should worship such an evil thing.

" He told Adam and Eve that before they sinned, but he did not cast us away with no hope at all. We can either choose to accept or recieve His one and only provision..."

Tell that to the native americans that NEVER heard of your biblegod or Jeebus before Cristopher Columbus and such. Or did your god forget about making them? Or how about all the people that lived before Jeebus?

Just? I think not.

"...Jesus must be recieved in faith in order for us to be justified before God."

Then that would make all the men that supposedly followed Jeebus unable to be "justified before god". They were given all kinds of miracles and spent time with him and seen him raised from the dead and all manner of evidence to convince them to worship him without the need for blind faith. If that is not screwing with their freewill then neither is the evidence for his existence that I and many other nonbelievers ask for.

So your god has made it difficult for a reasonable person to decide wheather or not he exists, and intends to put people in hell for doubting. Not only that, but he also made itself unable to be verified as being any more real than any other god, and intends eternal torment for those unlucky enough to believe in one of those others. Even more, he created people knowing he would put them in hell before he made them, and intended to set things up in such a way as to make sure that they would indeed burn forever for not being able to change his plan for them.


Your god is a jerk.

Brazer said...

stronger now,

I suppose you could be right about needing God to show you something, but don't be like the Pharisees and demand some miraculous sign that will prove everything once and for all: “Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, ‘Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.’ He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:38-40) God probably does reveal Himself to many people in many ways all the time. Perhaps He has done the same to you and it wasn’t enough. Why don’t you pray that He truly reveals Himself in your life instead of asking for an irrefutable miracle or dismissing Him altogether? Why don’t you try asking Jesus to do so if he is really the Son of God? I’ve read many testimonies of people who have done exactly this and have not been disappointed. If you don’t even do this, then you are clearly not interested in God at all, so why would He bother with you if you predetermine to shut Him out?

Even if God gave you this “super miracle” you wanted, would it do any good? Only you know that, but Jesus did say: “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’” (John 15:22-25)

Regarding the apostles, yes, they had a slight advantage, but God still saves those who do not have first hand witness: “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” (John 20:29) So people still believe in Jesus without seeing. Why is that? Perhaps they see something just as convincing?

I have heard stories of God revealing Himself to cultures without the presence of any outside influences. Even if he did not, who is really responsible for this? There are two things to consider here. First, it was not the Christians who stopped the message from reaching the ends of the world. The people of the earth hated the original Christians and persecuted and killed them. When the Catholics came to be, were they even real Christians? What is meant by the prophecy in Daniel: “Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them.” (Daniel 11:33-34) Who are these many insincere people? If the church was anything like the original apostles, they would have kept preaching the gospel until they reached the ends of the earth, and they would not do anything to those who did not listen to them. They would simply walk away as Jesus told them to do: “And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.” (Mark 6:11) Second, who knows if God had sent someone to preach the gospel to some cultures if they would even receive it? Well, God knows. What is meant by this: “Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.” (Acts 16:6-7) Yet when the time was right God clearly did send someone there, “The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings.” (Acts 16:19)

As for those who came before Jesus, many of the Israelites were justified by their faith in what was to come. They believed the prophets and in the holiness of God’s commands. Abraham was justified when he trusted God, who asked him to sacrifice his son. Hence the children of Abraham are the children of faith. Also, Jesus went to the place of the dead when he was crucified. I imagine that those on the side of truth would hear his voice even in death and would come to life to be with Jesus at that point. Of course, even though this makes complete sense, I cannot say for sure what goes on in the spiritual places. Then again, neither can you, and you still assume things about what you know nothing about. You could assume either way, but you choose to believe God is unjust.

Finally, did you not read the scripture I quoted above? Are you sure God has not already revealed His existence: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:18-20) In fact, what can explain our existence besides the man made theory of evolution, except evolution requires things with scientifically impossible odds to have occurred. The existence of the constants of the universe, the production of proteins useful for the formation of organic material, and the random mutations that would be needed to create what is here now would all require things to have happened by coincidences that have odds beyond understanding. Then multiply these odds by each other and what do you get? Complete foolishness. Wow, we are some lucky people, huh? There are better odds for each person in the world to win the mega lottery in alphabetical order one day after another for the next six billion days. So we call this wisdom, and we deny the impossibility of the world around us being the work of God. Are you so sure God has not revealed Himself to you, or is it more like He has not done it in the way in which you demand from Him?

Brazer said...

What is Hell anyway but eternal separation from God? Isn't that really what you are asking for? If you really were looking to know God, I am sure that He would reveal Himself to you. If you keep seeking, you will surely find Him (rather, He will find you).

Now just humor me here, and let's assume that Jesus really is the way, the truth, and the life, and that to know him is to know God. So then, if you do not want to know Jesus, then you do not want to know God. Instead, you want God to be someone other than what Jesus was and to say things other than what Jesus said.

stronger now said...

Brazier:"I suppose you could be right about needing God to show you something, but don't be like the Pharisees and demand some miraculous sign..."

If you don't like the fact that you are more gullible than I, then YOU are the one that needs to change. And didn't I mention the worthlessness of quoteing scripture here? You don't listen very well do you?

" God probably does reveal Himself to many people in many ways all the time. Perhaps He has..."

Probably...perhaps...

Don't you know the god you claim to know? If you can't be sure of something then don't just make it up as you go along. Next you'll be telling me about your imaginary views that prop up your beliefs.***

"Why don’t you pray that He truly reveals Himself in your life..."

Hey! Why didn't I think of THAT!
Oh, wait. I did. Are you unable to grasp the EX-christian concept?

"So people still believe in Jesus without seeing. Why is that?"

Lack of critical thinking skills. Lack of education. Fear. Peer pressure. Brainwashing. That's just for starters.

"I have heard stories of God revealing Himself to cultures without the presence of any outside influences."

I've heard stories of UFO's and Bigfoot. So what. There are all kinds of man made stories that supposedly are real accounts of things no one should believe. Just because someone tells you something doesn't mean it's true.

"Even if he did not, who is really responsible for this? There are two things to consider here. First, it was not the Christians who stopped the message from reaching the ends of the world."

It would be your god that is responsible for it. It was him what started this mess in the first place, knowing he wouldn't give the majority a fair shake. You're trying to place the blame on people who hade no idea that the native americans even existed, just so you won't have to face the fact that your god is a jerk.

"Second, who knows if God had sent someone to preach the gospel to some cultures if they would even receive it? Well, God knows."

And how do you know that god knows? You are saying that there is no need to preach the gospel where it cannot be preached. Yes? Are you saying that you know that god knows this? So you're a mind reader by proxy?

"I imagine that those on the side of truth would hear his voice even in death and would come to life to be with Jesus at that point."

See here***

I'll bet you imagine all sorts of things. That isn't a good reason to believe any of what you imagine is real. Nor is it a good reason to believe that the biblical claims of magical supernatural hooey are real either.

"Of course, even though this makes complete sense, I cannot say for sure what goes on in the spiritual places. Then again, neither can you, and you still assume things about what you know nothing about."

No, it doesn't make sense at all. If it did you could say that your belief is logical. It is not because it makes no sense to believe in something without credible evidence for it.You assume that "spiritual places" exist, I do not. You assume that there is a god and that god is the one described in the bible. You are the one assuming things that you don't know anything about. If you did know anything about them you wouldn't have to make up stuff up to protect your assumptions. Try and keep that plank out of your eye next time, M'Kay!

"You could assume either way, but you choose to believe God is unjust."

I don't choose to believe your god is unjust. I am going by what the bible says about his nature. It is clear to any reasonable unbrainwashed person that he is a jerk. I read the bible and have no need to assume anything about what kind of deity the god described there is. It is very clear. He is sadistic, petty and cruel.

"In fact, what can explain our existence besides the man made theory of evolution..."

Any other creator god. People have been making them up before they made up the Hebrew god. How about the Flying Spaghetti Monster? How about another natural yet unknown cause? How about, as unlikely as it seems, evolution DID work out. The point is even if evolution ISN'T the explanation for our existence there is no reason to assume that an unnatural disembodied superfantastical magical conciousness, that has no cause, exists.

"...except evolution requires things with scientifically impossible odds to have occurred."

No. Not true. A lie in fact. There is a difference between what is impossible and what is IMPROBABLE! Actually the difference is fairly easy to explain. If something has odds of occuring then it has a possibility of occuring. Not an IMpossibility.

"The existence of the constants of the universe, the production of proteins useful for the formation of organic material, and the random mutations that would be needed to create what is here now would all require things to have happened by coincidences that have odds beyond understanding."

Don't you mean it is beyond YOUR understanding? And since YOU cannot understand something it must mean that a deity, that you don't really understand, exists. Right? However, just because humans have yet to figure all things out about the everything doesn't give anyone a license to use whatever thay wish to explain the things that we have yet to explain. One could use anything to explaine our existence using that criteria. Why do you assume that if a deity exists it is, be default, the one you worship?

"If you really were looking to know God, I am sure that He would reveal Himself to you. If you keep seeking, you will surely find Him "

Ex-christian. Do you remember the name of this website? I'm right freakin here! If your god was all that you think he is(as in even existing) he knows he let me down and should be ashamed of himself, and his supposed son. They are a team of incompetent morons that make false claims and back them up with threats and perpetual stupidity.

"Now just humor me here, and let's assume that Jesus really is the way, the truth, and the life, and that to know him is to know God. So then, if you do not want to know Jesus, then you do not want to know God."

O.k.I'll play along. But Then YOU have to humor me. Tit for tat. Deal?


O.k. (for the sake of this hypothetical) Jesus is the son of god and that means that god who is jesus is in no way worried that his message will be poorly interpreted and conveluted by humans and therefore he is not at all concerned for those that he knew would doubt. We know this because:
1. He never bothered to write down anything himself while he was here.(why was that?)

2. He relied on his own failed creation to relay his message to the future, knowing they would screw it up.(and if your god is so perfect why do his creations fail him so much?)


4. He confused even the people he hung around with and contradicted his own self.(assuming that the scriptures are really accurate as to what he said.)

So, yes, I expect better from any being that would claim to be a deity incarnate.

My turn. And for this you have to assume nothing. What is the best way to determine the validity of a claim? Isn't it through investigating the evidence in a logical reasoned way?

I try to assume as little as possible about what I don't know. Can you say the same? Haven't you already assumed that I didn't try and seek out god and ask him to reveal himself to me? Yes you did. You seem to assume a lot about me even though you seem to know nothing about me.

You assume the bible is the word of god or "god breathed". I told you before you need to bring evidence for this in order to have it carry any more weight than the wizard of Oz does. You must have ignored this because you continue to do it as if it meant anything in a real way. Please if you wish to continue to blather on about how scripture says this and the bible says that, you must explain how you know it is what you think it is.

If you don't do this in your next post I'll expect you to not use scriptural references to prop up your beliefs. M'kay.

boomSLANG said...

Heavens-to-betsy!...what a mess! Okay, for now I'll keep things short, while I attempt to weed through, what is mostly, assertion fallacies and gross assumptions:

What is Hell anyway but eternal separation from God?

What is "Hell" anyway, but an eternal separation from "God", you ask? Okay, well, until you provide evidence that such things as "God" and "Hell" even exist, "Hell" is a non-existent mythological "purgatory". How's that?

Isn't [separation from God} really what you are asking for?

No. First and foremost what **I'm "asking for", is undeniable, tangible evidence that "God" exists. Specifically, the same type of tangible evidence that the "Twelve" and the almost 500 other eye-witnesses were allegedly granted---that of course being, for "God" to actually appear. I won't accept this alleged "God's" existence on "faith", and there no reason I should have to. After all, he was making appearances right and left only a few thousand years ago, and that apparently didn't hurt anyone's "faith" back then.

If you really were looking to know God, I am sure that He would reveal Himself to you.

I WAS "looking to know God". And to be honest, I couldn't give a shit less if you believe me, or not.

If you keep seeking, you will surely find Him (rather, He will find you).

That's interesting. "God" is the one who's presumably "omnipresent", yet, there's always some complication, and/or excuse, for why he cannot make his existence known, and strangely, that's always someone elses fault. 'Funny how that works.

Now just humor me here, and let's assume that Jesus really is the way, the truth, and the life, and that to know him is to know God.

Ironically, until you provide something other than bare assertions as "evidence" that said "God" exists, it seems that this is exactly what you are doing anyway..i.e.."ASSuming".

So then, if you do not want to know Jesus, then you do not want to know God.

We've already been over this. Let's review for your benefit. See here**, above.

Instead, you want God to be someone other than what Jesus was and to say things other than what Jesus said.

Bzzzzt! Wrong once more. We don't "want God" to do any such thing(s). Review here**, for what I "want".

Best regards.

Brazer said...

Well, it looks like there are some who don't believe a word of what Jesus said, so I'm not sure if there is anything to say about that. You read the words in the Bible, and you say "this in not wisdom, this is all lies." I read it and see wisdom and truth, and I have reasons for this, including powerful experiences. Stronger now, I'm sure you have your reasons too. Just remember that human logic is faulty, just like all of our mathematics are based on the assumption that there is an exact point in space, while no such thing exists. So I respect your choice, and that will have to be the end of it.

Then there are people like boomslang who are looking for soemthing but have never found it. You won't find irrefutable evidence, becuase once that is provided it will already be too late. I guess what I'm saying is that if there is a God out there to be found, surely you will find Him if you seek. This is what you want, right?... to know the truth of who God is? Perhaps he is testing your determination before revealing Himself to you? So in many ways, my heart goes out to you, because I am giving you the benefit of the doubt that what you are saying is true. Not that you believe that I am praying to the right God, but I will still pray for you that God reveals Himself to you. If He doesn't, then nothing was lost by me praying about it.

I guess I should also say that if God isn't there, then our lives are futile, these conversations are meaningless, there is no such thing as choice, and life is really pretty depressing. We are just a number waiting to be forgotten forever.

I deeply feel that none of the above is true, but I guess thats just faith. Even if the whole world has no faith, I will take mine to my death. If I am wrong then it really doesn't matter that I wasted my life away believing in something, because nothing that happens means anything without God to hold it together. I also don't have a choice, since choice does not exist if there is no God.

stronger now said...

(I messed up and forgot to put 3 into my last post. oh well)

"I guess I should also say that if God isn't there, then our lives are futile, these conversations are meaningless, there is no such thing as choice, and life is really pretty depressing"

Why should you say such a silly thing? I have choice because god doesn't exist. If god exists we as humans have no choice other than to go along with a predestined fate because god willed it before we even were. If you cannot see any meaning or fun in living this life without a god to grovel to, then please keep groveling. But don't expect us to do the same.

"I'm saying is that if there is a God out there to be found, surely you will find Him if you seek."

I already covered this in my last post. I, as well as many of the other ex-christians, did just that. Some people have looked honestly with every means afforded them and have still come up empty handed. (Honestly I think it's starting to turn into something like the monty python dead parrot sketch)

"Even if the whole world has no faith, I will take mine to my death. If I am wrong then it really doesn't matter that I wasted my life away believing in something, because nothing that happens means anything without God to hold it together."

What if you're wrong and you find out that you have been worshipping the WRONG god? It'd suck to be you then wouldn't it. Especially if that deity decides to reward those that honestly seek the truth and don't fall for the false claims of a false religion. That would mean I would be in that deities good graces and you'd be the one to suffer. How do you like the shoe being on the other foot now? See when you start playing the "what if" game you have the chance to lose out as well.

And let me say again. What choice does belief in a made up god give you? You only get to be the slave to someones imaginary friend. And that makes him your imaginary friend. woo-hoo.

Brazer said...

No, there is no such thing as choice without supernatural creation. If the physical world is everything, then your actions are the result of chemical processes in your brain. You have no control over what you do; the chemicals determine that. If you believe you do have a choice, then you believe that there is an unknown dimension of existence superseding this one (a.k.a. a God)

As it is, most people do exactly what they feel like, and you can look around you and see what a lovely world this has created.

What do you really know about other peoples thoughts anyway? Are you telling me that they asked Jesus to be Lord of their life and nothing happened? The Bible says to speak with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and you will be saved. However, it doesn’t sound like the people on this website believe in much of anything. I don’t see how you could possibly meet the requirement of “believing in your heart” when all you do is doubt.

My "imaginary friend" has always been there for me. I'd rather my trust be in the hands of the loving God I know, than in the hands of another one who I have not known. Since the attribute of love is already part of the God I know, then I’d be afraid to find out what this other god is like.

boomSLANG said...

OuCh! Good rebuttal, Stronger'.

Brazer said...

By the way, you'll have the god you seek soon enough:

"The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness." (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

boomSLANG said...

Brazer....No, there is no such thing as choice without supernatural creation.

Good grief...what a non-sensical smattering of bullshit. In fact, it's to the contrary---if God is "Sovereign", and "God" knows the future, blah, blah, blah....then certainly, THAT creates a situation that presents us with "no choice". Ironic?

Brazer...If the physical world is everything, then your actions are the result of chemical processes in your brain. You have no control over what you do; the chemicals determine that.

No, I'm sorry, this is false. You erroneously conclude that because the human brain functions by means of chemical processes, that human beings - beings who possess a brain - have no will; have no "choice". WRONG.

Brazer...If you believe you do have a choice, then you believe that there is an unknown dimension of existence superseding this one (a.k.a. a God)

Oh shit, leave it to a Christian to tell us what we "believe". Notwithstanding, are you now saying that this "dimension" is "unknown"??? Gee, that's funny, you sure do claim to know an awful lot about the "UNKNOWN", don't you?

Astreja said...

Brazer: "What do you really know about other peoples thoughts anyway? Are you telling me that they asked Jesus to be Lord of their life and nothing happened?"

Actually, that's how this site came to be. Read the Ex-timonies. There are hundreds of them. I suggest that you start with the Webmaster's own story.

As for the free will conundrum, it's quite possible that we *are* biochemical machinery reacting to stimuli and thinking that we have choices.

But what of it? How does the introduction of an overseer-being such as the god of the Bible equate to 'choice' in a deterministic universe? What if the god of the Bible is also driven by some automatic process and also has only the illusion of free will?

And what if cause and effect are not in a fixed 1:1 relationship at all, but work on chaos-driven fuzzy logic? (In other words, what if the future is in such a state of flux that it cannot be predicted nor controlled?)

Regardless, if the illusion of choice provides us with personal satisfaction, I have no problem with this. From a practical point of view, it is functional and satisfying.

(And what have we told you about quoting scripture here? I, personally, find Thessalonians considerably less believable and useful than The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.)

stronger now said...

"Are you telling me that they asked Jesus to be Lord of their life and nothing happened? "

Hold up there pal! I never said that and you know it. But now that you mention it, Yes. I was responding to your saying that:

"...if there is a God out there to be found, surely you will find Him if you seek."

If you SEEK. This says nothing about asking him to be "lord of your life".

Are you changing what you said now? Moving the goalposts?

Furthermore, if one doesn't know if jeebus is even what you claim he is why should they start asking for such a thing? Then if it didn't work you, or some other christian, could say that it's because they didn't have enough faith. Please.

"I don’t see how you could possibly meet the requirement of “believing in your heart” when all you do is doubt."

It's as if your claiming that the best way to seek the truth is to assume something is true BEFORE looking into it. I'm sure other religions rely on this same method as well and have great success with it.

"The Bible says..."

See, there you go again. I told you before that if you expect the bible to be taken with any seriousness at all you need to explain why it is what you think it is. You have not done this and yet continue to use it as if it were anything more that a book of myths of ancient people.

"My "imaginary friend" has always been there for me."

As all imaginary friends are for the people who imagine them.

"I'd rather my trust be in the hands of the loving God I know, than in the hands of another one who I have not known."

It seems to me that you don't know your god very well at all. He has been proven untrustworthy and not only for me. You seem to still have a problem grasping the EX-christian thing.

" Since the attribute of love is already part of the God I know..."

No it isn't. Telling someone to love you or be tortured forever isn't love. It never was and never will be.

"...then I’d be afraid to find out what this other god is like."

Fear? Fear. It usually does keep people from asking questions and expecting real answers.

Brazer said...

"In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't."

-Blaise Pascal-

stronger now said...

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."

-Benjamin Franklin-

Brazer said...

astreja,

I never thought I would say this, but your response shows that atheists (at least that’s the position you appear to take) are much easier for Christians to talk to than agnostics. At least you use reason to explain why you have reasoned what you are saying, if that makes any sense. Not that talking to you means I am trying to convince you of anything, but at least you make sense. You are coming from a rational standpoint as opposed to an anger based one. There in lies a level of communication.

Choice is quite the mystery. Could it be an illusion in any case, or does its very nature defy our ability to understand it? Even our thinking we understand it could be an illusion. So I won't pretend to know anything more about it than that.

My only point with quoting the Thessalonians verse is to show that what some agnostics think they need to see is exactly what the verse says will come to be. I imagine an agnostic would jump for joy if someone came around doing the things spoken of that verse.

boomslang,

You pretty much misinterpret everything I write, so there in really no point in talking to you. Please give it a little more thought, and you will easily see that if the physical world is all that there is, it cannot be affected by anything but physical processes. It will happen exactly as the atomic processes determine. Choice would then be an illusion. What else could affect a strictly physical world except for a physical process? Belief in consciousness if belief in something spiritual. This is common sense, but you seem to have become blind to even the common sense that you profess.

stronger now,

Saying that I would be afraid to know this other god was sarcasm. I don’t know how you missed that, but I have already determined that there is not another God. If you had taken the time to read my other posts, you would see that I have already come from a position of doubting. I have been through my questioning phase. Although I sought to know the truth about possible alternatives, I found only darkness, speaking figuratively as it appears that I must clarify with you. In the end, I chose to believe that Jesus really was who he said he was. This is hardly brainwashing. Brainwashing is being taught in school and from most of the people all around you that the Bible is all lies, or that God does not exist. If you even dare to believe in the God of the Bible, especially to believe in Jesus, you will be persecuted, insulted, or rejected by others. Sometimes you will even experience all three. So there is really no good reason for me to want to believe in Jesus; it would be easier by far to doubt. I only believe in him because I have become convinced that he really is the Messiah, even if it’s not socially favorable take that position. Nothing will change that, and logic has already failed to offer me convincing arguments. Possibly quite the opposite of you, I find human logic to be quite the deception, having far too many holes in it to equate to Truth.

Brazer said...

astreja,

I forgot to ask about this, and I am quite curious. When you asked Jesus to be Lord of your life, did you believe that he was who he said he was and able to carry out this request? Did you really believe that you were a sinner and that Jesus could take that sin away by what he did on the cross? That would be the definition of believing in Jesus. As it is written all over the Bible and as I have stated before, God requires faith for us to be justified. If he proved himself to us so that we would believe without needing faith, then we could never be justified.

However, as I have made the analogy about Moses stepping on the Red Sea before it parted; if you lay down that trust in a leap of faith, then God will make Himself quite clear to you. Many people dislike this because they do not want to offer any trust up front. Many people also go ahead and trust because they feel that they have nothing left to lose anyway.

boomSLANG said...

Brazer...boomslang,

You pretty much misinterpret everything I write..


When you say "pretty much misinterpret everything".... tell me, how shall I "interpret" that? Does said statement mean that I've not understood one single thing that you've said?....OR is it more likely that you don't have solid rebuttals that stand up logically to each and every point I make, so instead, you claim that I "misinterpret everything"? Hmmm...I'll wager it's the latter scenario.

Brazer...so there in really no point in talking to you.[because you "misinterpret everything"]

I guess we'll see if there is a "point", or not, won't we?...depending on if you respond to this. Either way, I'll be right here pointing out the flaws in your 'logic', and you'll be right there reading it. That's all the satisfaction I need.

Brazer...Please give it a little more thought, and you will easily see that if the physical world is all that there is, it cannot be affected by anything but physical processes.

Ironically, you cannot even see that you only confirm my position.

But let's review. Previously, you said: "If the physical world is everything, then your actions are the result of chemical processes in your brain. You have no control over what you do; the chemicals determine that."

If I take said statment at face-value, then again, it appears that you are claiming a false dichotomy...i.e.. that "freewill" is mutally exclusive with the natural, physical processes of the human brain. Again, this is entirely false, and quite ridicuous. Conscious decision-making is reliant/dependent on a physically healthy brain. In fact, the part of the human brain that gives us the ability to "deliberate"..i.e..weigh the choices, and then "decide", can be isolated. To illustrate further: I can decide for myself if I want mustard on my burger, or not. Just because this is the result of "chemical processes", does not mean I didn't have choice, or that I didn't decide. On the other hand, ask a patient in the late stages of Alzheimer's disease if he or she wants mustard on their burger, and they cannot decide. They might even tell you something irrelevant, like, "Go fuck yourself".(it happens)

What I'm getting at, is if the decision-making process was dependent upon a supernatural, metaphysical "self"..or as you likely call it, a "soul", then said "soul" would NOT be affected one bit by a diseased physcial brain. That is a blatant contradiction to your premise. But then again, I'm sure I've probably "misinterpreted" your original statement, yes?

Brazer...It will happen exactly as the atomic processes determine.

Relevance?

Brazer...Choice would then be an illusion.

You and I obviously have different opinions as to what "illusion" means.

Brazer...What else could affect a strictly physical world except for a physical process?

Good point. Okay, now---how does that statement substantiate a metaphysical world? You've done nothing to show such a realm exists, except to merely assert it does---using faulty logic, no less(which I disected, above)

Brazer...Belief in consciousness [is] belief in something spiritual.

"Consciousness" exists, whether one believes it does, or not. "Something spiritual" remains a belief, and nothing but. In fact, I'll wager you cannot even give me a coherent definition of "spirit"....and I don't mean a "description"--I mean tell me what a "spirit" IS....what IS a "spirit"?

Brazer...This is common sense, but you seem to have become blind to even the common sense that you profess.

Hello, Pot?...I'd like you to meet Kettle.

Brazer said...

Wrong again boomslang. Dig a little deeper in your thought process. Thoughts and decisions can only be the result of the physical world if they happen in the brain. The brain was formed by physical processes. The choices presented to the brain are a result of physical processes, since nothing would have come into the world around you unless by some physical process. There is no room for free thought. You brian will make the most logical choice laid before it based on what has come to be by a series of events caused by nothing more than random physical processes. Nothing can change the course of the subatomic interactions reacting to one another that guide the outcome of all things. Hence, there is no choice with this scenario. That would require you to do something different than what the subatomic interactions have laid out to happen. That would mean that you are controlling them, and they aren't controlling you.

Face it, you are a biological robot if there is no Creator. There's no way around it. You are in denial because you want to claim that there is no God while maintaining the luxury of free will. Sorry, you can't have your cake and eat it too in this case. You get supernatural or natural. Pick one.

Brazer said...

I am very interested in understanding what convinces an agnostic that they have discovered all that the God of the Bible has to offer, and it comes up lacking. I came across this story today during an internet search, designed to help shed some light on the subject for me. It is written by an ex-Christian named Evan D:
“Whoever you are, this guide is for you. You are either outraged by the fact that I have fallen away from Jesus and are anxious to argue with me or you are another freethinker curious about why a man would leave his faith. For either audience, my goal is to weaken your faith through my apathetic testimony.
First I would like to start out with some credibility so that there will be nobody reading this that can argue that I never really was a Christian and that God predestined me to be an unbeliever. At the very young age of four years old, I accepted Christ into my life at our county fair. Some elderly Christian Fundamentalists were showing a movie about Jesus in a trailer and I accepted Jesus shortly after watching it. I grew up going to church every week for my whole life and was very active through out the entirety of my membership. At about age seven, I was baptized by my pastor in my own swimming pool and began taking communion in the church at about that time.
Entering into high school, I was not a very strong Christian, but still believed in God. Through out high school I was very involved with the church youth group even though I still managed to get into some worldly trouble at times. Around my senior year of high school, I began having my first religious experiences and had a major change of heart. I considered this to be my spiritual rebirth and began living as I thought a mature Christian ought to behave.
I made profession of faith at my parents new church, joined the choir, became a student leader with my youth group, and attended various mission trips. My best friend and I wanted to dive more into God’s word so started our own Bible study hoping to lead those around us closer to God. By the end of senior year I was a changed person and ready to continue living my life for God.
In the fall of 2000, I started college and joined Intervarsity Christian Fellowship; I maintained active membership with the organization for four years and attended church weekly. My sophomore year I lead an inductive bible study and a group investigating God (GIG) for non-believers. I was passionate about both evangelism and apologetics and educated myself on the tough questions by reading books by CS Lewis and Josh McDowell. My junior year, I was elected to the Vision Team for Intervarsity and was in charge of directing relational evangelism for our chapter. I held the position for a year and a half and then joined up with the worship team as the rhythm guitarist. During my time with Intervarsity, I witnessed the conversion of three of my closer friends as they came to a closer relationship with Christ.
During my summers off from college, I worked at a Christian day camp to teach latch-key kids around Chicago about Jesus. In 2003, I was given charge over an entire day camp of about 40 3rd and 4th graders. During my summers alone, I prayed with over 50 children for their salvation and guaranteed them a place in the heavenly kingdom.
I was a Christian for 18 years of my life and I believe that my dedication of service toward the Christian cause can be taken as evidence of the faith that was present in my life. On November 28, 2004 I wrote in my prayer journal for the last time “I became an agnostic tonight.” While I was somewhat unsure about denying my love for Christ and basically my entire identity for 18 years, I have never looked back.
Christianity is a disease of the psyche; for 18 years I tormented myself with the belief that I was an evil person, unworthy of the eternal gift of life that God offered me. When I messed up, I was emotionally smitten by the knowledge that I had rebelled against the God I claimed to love. Christianity forbade me to love myself in the same manner that I loved others and I became a depressed, lonely mess. Religion became and addiction for me. My sexuality was repressed to a point where I hid my desires and masturbated in secret so that nobody would ever find out that I was a sexual being. I hid my pornography addiction from fellow Christians because I was afraid they would question my faith not realizing that many Christians masturbate with Jesus.
Agnosticism has liberated me from the abuse that I have put myself through for so many years as a Christian. Although I no longer have an eternal purpose, I at least know that I can live a happy life without the never-ending shame cycles. I have rid myself of abusive relationships instead of turning the other cheek to every person who does me wrong and have begun to learn how to say no to coercive individuals. Last year I began therapy for many of my psychological problems; I have come to the conclusion that my entire religious experience was a delusion of grandeur of a schizoaffective mind. Because of Apathetic Agnosticism, I no longer need to lead a life that is harmful to me and can concentrate on my emotional rather than my spiritual health.”

Evan D… “When I messed up, I was emotionally smitten by the knowledge that I had rebelled against the God I claimed to love. Christianity forbade me to love myself in the same manner that I loved others and I became a depressed, lonely mess. Religion became and addiction for me. My sexuality was repressed to a point where I hid my desires and masturbated in secret so that nobody would ever find out that I was a sexual being. I hid my pornography addiction from fellow Christians because I was afraid they would question my faith not realizing that many Christians masturbate with Jesus.”

Ok, this guy claims that he was a Christian through and through, but has missed the whole point of being redeemed and forgiven by Christ’s blood. “Emotionally smitten?” Why? Didn’t Christ die to take away the guilt of your sins? Mistakes are bound to happen, but they are already forgiven. Christianity forbidding him to love himself and leading to depression? This insanity isn’t even biblical. The Bible clearly states that you should love others as much as yourself, not more. This command is given because humans are naturally selfish. It’s designed to prevent others from getting depressed, not to make you depressed. Suppressing your sexuality? Yeah, I suppose if you are attracted to little boys or to goats, it will suppress your sexuality. If you are married, which is the only boundary God placed on us, then there’s no reason you couldn’t have sex every ten minutes if you wanted to. In fact, if you are having sex with someone that you love and have a strong bond with, you get the physical, emotional, and mental benefits of sex…the ultimate stimulation. It would seem like God just knows exactly what works best, so that’s why he set things up that way.

If you ask me, it just looks like Evan was going through all the motions and didn’t have any clue as to why. I would get pretty sick of that too.

Evan D… “Around my senior year of high school, I began having my first religious experiences and had a major change of heart. I considered this to be my spiritual rebirth and began living as I thought a mature Christian ought to behave.”

Just because you consider it to be something doesn’t make it that. Religious experiences and a change of heart do not define spiritual rebirth.

Evan D…”I was a Christian for 18 years of my life and I believe that my dedication of service toward the Christian cause can be taken as evidence of the faith that was present in my life.”

At least he believes it, so that’s a start. Who are you trying to convince here? Dedication and service mean nothing if your heart isn’t behind it, and service to God is not defined by a resume of deeds. Please define “Christian cause.” Paul says that if you do not do something out of love, it does not count for anything. The only motive driving Evan to “serve” should have been love for God and other people, not some “cause.”

I hope Evan wasn’t serious about weakening my faith with this because my faith has only gotten stronger after reading it.

This guy claims that he was merely schizophrenic. He sure was if he thought that he was ever a sincere Christian based on this story.

Astreja said...

Brazer: "Astreja, I forgot to ask about this, and I am quite curious. When you asked Jesus to be Lord of your life..."

I am somewhat unusual among Ex-C members in that I never accepted the Jesus stories as true. I first read the Bible at about age six, and from the first moment it was a storybook rather than "The Truth".

Furthermore, although I had an opportunity at age 20 to recite the Sinner's Prayer I refused to do that as well. It felt terribly, terribly wrong to Me, as I simply did not believe the words of the prayer. I still don't, thirty years later.

"Did you believe that he was who he said he was..."

No. If Jesus existed at all, I think he bore very little resemblance to the portrayal in the Gospels.

"Did you really believe that you were a sinner and that Jesus could take that sin away by what he did on the cross"

No. Definitely not. I do not believe in sin, because it seems ludicrous to Me that a god could ever be injured by the behaviour of a mortal.

I also consider substitutionary atonement to be disgusting and immoral, and useless for taking away something that does not actually exist.

I prefer to be fully responsible for My own bad behaviour and make appropriate reparations rather than ask for forgiveness and, in effect, declaring spiritual bankruptcy.

"if you lay down that trust in a leap of faith, then God will make Himself quite clear to you."

Possible, but I somewhat doubt it. When I did start to experience religious sentiments, it was in a polytheistic setting. Far, far more likely that someone like Ninkasi or Thor or Artemis or Saraswati will choose to make Themselves clear to Me.

AtheistToothFairy said...

brazer wrote:
Some unseen force must be at work to convert people who have resisted belief in this supposed nonsense over to believing in it.

Brazer,
I am most curious how you've reached this conclusion.

People can change and do, about many things in life, all without some unseen force driving that change.
I think it's fairly obvious that your own 'resistance' to god had been more emotional than intellectual, and thus, didn't require any cognitive hurdles to overcome, in order for you to change your 'feelings' on the matter.

How many have made a well informed decision about the xtian god being a myth using logic and evidence, do you suppose later had a change of heart from this so called "unseen force"?

Now, I'm not talking talking about a person that suddenly found god while in an altered state of mind, nor am I speaking of an elderly person who suddenly develops a huge fear of death or a person who gets desperate for some-thing to grab hold of when faced with a serious illness etc..

Using your manner of thinking here, one could also suppose that those who become Muslims or Buddhist, must also have had some "unseen force" at work to change their minds, because such folks exist as surely as those who you cite that converted to your xtian religion.

So, are you going to tell me that your god doesn't mind converting some folks to non-xtian religions as well?

I think your assertion here is totally baseless.

>If there was ever anyone who was too logical to believe in the impossible, it was me

While that's a nice thing to assert to us, how would we measure your ability to be logical?
See, to US, it's clearly not logical to believe in your god, so either you're not as logical as you claim, or your former logical self was traded for some emotional god satisfaction.

>I had gotten away from church and away from the majority of believing in God or the Bible. I was high on drugs one day.......If you had asked me at the time, it was repeating itself over and over again

I always found it quite interesting that the population of the more emotional xtian sects (e.g. Pentecostals) of my younger days, were always made up of former drug users, alcoholics, the abused, former criminals, and those who grew up in broken homes etc..

What does that tell you about your former of life of taking get-high drugs and finding god, hmmm?


>Could this have been a release from demon possession?

In a word, NO.

While many who are having some heavy emotional trauma going on in their lives, finally reach a 'breaking point' where they become stable, this is not from the removal of some 'demon'.
If that were the case, we would have plenty of examples to show that a person changed dramatically in the time it takes to cast out such a demon.
How many of the mentally ill were ever cured by some exorcism?

I do think it's funny how not so long ago in history, many of the mental illnesses were attributed to demon possessions. Don't even ask me about the types of 'cures' that were once used on such folks.

>You will also find a world of holes regarding the theory of evolution, which are detailed over thousands of technical articles. Finally, you will quickly find that atheism is also a matter of faith and is in itself a religion requiring belief in the unexplained and unknown.

Well then Brazer, you have the chance now to be a real hero.
All you need to do is to cull together all those flaws in evolution and show them to the deluded scientists that greatly support evolution; worldwide I might add.
Unlike you xtians, scientists actually don't mind being challenged in their conclusions.

Of course Brazer, I'm SURE all those holes you speak of fall into two categories.
1. Twisted information or just outright lies.
2. "Holes" that are still quoted all over the internet, but are not only old concerns, but have been long ago shown to be ridiculous.

If evolution was filled with all these holes you speak about, it wouldn't be winning hands-down in the courts. Your creationist buddies always end up with their tails between their legs when they try and challenge real scientists.

So good luck in your misguided belief of evolution.
Keep reading those apologist websites, as they surely know more about evolution than the circle of conspiring secular scientists, who's ultimate sole purpose 'must be' to find a way to prove we no longer need your god around.

.....And to think, I once thought long ago, that evolution was "just a 'theory".


>Historically, you probably will not find absolute confirmation that Jesus walked the earth other than various Christian and secular sources claiming that he did, although secular sources make indirect reference to Jesus' existence.

And you don't find this great lack of history about Jesus, to be very BIZZARE Brazer???

As far as those indirect references go; they are no better proof of his existence than we have for the popular urban legends that propagate the internet these days.
If a STORY is told enough times, it not only starts to get believed by many, but can easily make it into some historical records that might be found down the road in time.
For an historian to write about folks who believe in some guy named jesus, only means that they BELIEVE in him, but does not at all prove he actually existed, right?
e.g. If I write a book that is found hundreds of years from now, that talks about folks today believing in UFO and Aliens, does that mean those things must have existed in our time?


>The physical evidence will obviously not be there because he did not rule a country or anything. There aren't any artifacts to find confirming him. But seriously, asserting that Jesus never walked the earth is just preposterous. Don't you think the Jews would have been the first to point this out

You dismiss any physical evidence, but I claim that if the jesus you claim existed back then, we would have some physical evidence of that today.
Heck, we have plenty of artifacts from those ancient days still with us.

I'm quite sure if jesus had bothered to write down his thoughts, they would have been saved for posterity by his devoted followers, so I guess he didn't write anything down for some reason.
We have sculptures and paintings of other famous characters of ancient times, yet because no xtian back when jesus lived bothered to do either of those things, we have no idea today what your jesus looked like.
You would think god/jesus would have elected at least one person to paint his likeness or make a 'bust' of him.

I also think after your jesus floated up to heaven, that any item that once belonged to him, would have become part of a shrine in his honor.
Seems no one cared enough to save such personal things of jesus, nor is there any talk about a shrine once having existed; which totally goes against human nature when it comes to our hero's.

>Yet the very fact that they never made this claim back in that day shows that they simply couldn't make this claim.

The myth of your jesus SLOWLY took on life of it's own and did so, far longer after his supposed existence than you have been told by your xtian leaders.
If jesus was nothing more than a slowly built upon, urban legend, then how would the jews prove he never existed, as by the time he reached such popularity, it would have been long past when he was claimed to have lived.

Not to mention, if jesus was such a miracle man in his day, why didn't the jews also see that obvious fact about him?
How does one deny such a miracle worker who lives amongst the very folks that would later deny he was who he said he was?
That alone would be enough to convince me that he couldn't have been real, but I need not live with just that one fact, as there is PLENTY to show where the myth of jesus came from and why he never could have existed.

>For some reason, people forget that secular scientists claim that the universe exists from nothing, and will also admit that this can’t be explained by any known scientific principle.

Just because we don't yet have those answers, doesn't mean we get to make up a story to fill that gap.
Worse, filling that gap with something even more extraordinary (god), only makes the problem more complex to solve.
While scientist are curious to find things out, they don't go around making up stories to fill those gaps in the meantime.
Ah, but it seems that xtians can't stand the idea of not knowing where everything came from, so therefore god-did-it but for some strange reason it makes perfect sense for them to then believe that their all powerful god just always existed.
Funny, then why couldn't matter/energy always have existed, hmm.

> We are all fools and should be still before God, Who no man has ever comprehended.

YOU only FEEL like we are all fools, because you demand answers that aren't known yet.
For the rest of us, we accept things as-is and when that unknown knowledge comes to be known, then it's a wonderful thing. In the meanwhile, those of us who your god considers 'fools' will continue to explore our universe in the quest for knowledge, but will never make up mystical tales to take the place of scientific knowledge.

Your god sir is a mere myth and while your emotions aren't ready to deny that god, your brain has no means to confirm such a tale of old.

I only wish you could see the obvious illogical stance you hold, as your belief system is just screwed up beyond repair. You have zero evidence to hold that god belief, your god never presents himself for inspection and xtians have more excuses why their god hides from us than Microsoft has for it's Windows errors.

Good luck in your Matrix type world and I do hope when you awaken from it, that you haven't wasted too much of your life away, as many of us here have from your brainwashing religion.


ATF (Who sometimes wishes he had the hammer of the god Thor, to knock some common sense into these xtian believers)

stronger now said...

"...I have already determined that there is not another God."

Really? And by what method did you use to determine that?

"I only believe in him because I have become convinced that he really is the Messiah..."

What convinced you? What evidence did you see that you dtermined that the bible was not just myths? What method did you use to make such a determination.

"Nothing will change that, and logic has already failed to offer me convincing arguments. Possibly quite the opposite of you, I find human logic to be quite the deception, having far too many holes in it to equate to Truth."

Great. Logic has nothing to do with your decision making processes. But you qualified it with the word human. So what other logic could you be using? Gods logic? So you decided there was a god and he was the one described in the bible NOT with your mind but with.....what? The mind of god? So god made the decisions for you and you really didn't decide anything?

Please explain this as I am failing to see how YOU decided with YOUR mind that god exists and is the one described in the bible, without the use of YOUR own mind. Are you saying that god took controll of your logical thought proccesses and made up your mind for you because your human mind couldn't be trusted to do such a thing?

Seems odd.

Brazer said...

stronger now,

If I told you some wonderful event that made you totally believe that Jesus is the Messiah, would that even mean anything to you?

Aside from God telling me my hidden thoughts through other people relaying a message...thoughts that I did not tell anyone; aside from feeling moving and powerful forces within me, that I've experienced only with someone praying over me; aside from a multitude of remarkable coincidences in response to prayer, some being nearly impossible coincidences; aside from a deep and unexplainable feeling within me that God is really there, somewhere close; well, aside from all this, I really have no hard, scientific, compelling evidence. Still, it would be easier for me to explain all the scientific and circumstantial doubts thrown at me by others, supposed Bible errors, and apparent lack of God's intervention in society, than for me to explain the things I have mentioned above.

I am, or least was once, open to using rationality to discover the deeper meaning of all things. However, when rationality does not serve well in explaining some of my experiences that transcend natural possibility, it comes up lacking. So that made it easy for me to venture into the possibility of the supernatural, or rather, a world of undiscovered ways that we as humans have not understood. If I were to put the teachings of the Bible aside and attempt to explain what I have spoken of by any possible supernatural occurrences, I’m sure I could come up with many different explanations. So then, the thing that really points to Jesus for me in this is that the things that I have experienced have come about through, and only through, my experiences with professed Jesus believing Christians. So I hope you can see that common sense does in fact come into play in my beliefs.


atheisttoothfairy,

I’d love to get into with you about evolution, except that the argument of evolution vs. creation uses plenty of scientific backing on both sides. There are also major theological issues backing both sides. This is why both arguments still exist, and why many Americans are divided on the issue. Again, here is the matter of choice. You can easily support a choice to believe one or the other, but which side is Truth? Here is where faith comes in, and here is where the issues of evolution, creation, heaven, hell, death, life, God, a god, space, time, choice, fate, eternity, past, present, future, and the meaning of life will always come to an end. I agree with agnostics on at least one thing: the cold hard evidence seems to be sorely lacking for explaining many of the important issues we would like to have definite answers to. I add this though: there are other kinds of “evidence” available for finding the meaning of things. Also, at least there will come a day when everyone will know the answers to most of these things. That is, the day when we have all passed from this earth and we can see for ourselves what is there (or, for the atheist, just be dead and in unconscious darkness).

.:webmaster:. said...

Brazier,

This may be hard for you to fathom, but I too have had extraordinary experiences that I once attributed to God's hand on my life. I "felt" the presence of GOD, and knew beyond a shadow of doubt that HE was real and lived in my heart. I enthusiastically continued in that belief system for about 30 years.

I no longer believe any of that nonsense, obviously. I now realize that my "belief" allowed me to interpret all sorts of things as supernatural when in reality my interpretations were the result of my own presuppositions coupled with an active imagination. When you really, truly "believe" something is real, it becomes real – to you.

Regardless of all that, I now wonder why the supreme being of the entire universe (if such a creature exists) would be so concerned about my opinion of whether or not HE exists. I mean, if I have false beliefs in my cranium why does that matter so much to HIM? Is a lack of belief something HE finds insulting to the point of horrific wrath? If so, why? If you don’t believe I exist, it wouldn’t particularly bother me. In fact, I couldn’t care less. But this deity of yours seems animate on the belief thing. It’s odd to me that the mental firings in a person’s frontal lobes would be so all important to a god.

It seems apparent to me that Christianity is just a mind game. Have the correct thoughts and opinions about the one true god in your head, and you are rewarded with everlasting bliss. Possess the incorrect thoughts or opinions about the one true god in your brain, and you are tortured mercilessly for all eternity.

Of course you have to die before any of this happens. As along as you are breathing air, you’re just fine, regardless of your god belief.

Does any that make a lick of sense?

No, of course it doesn't. Religion is irrational at best and insane at worst.

boomSLANG said...

Previously, Brazer suggested......so[boomslang] there in really no point in talking to you.[because you "misinterpret everything"]

To which I responded: "I guess we'll see if there is a 'point', or not, won't we?...depending on if you respond to this."

Tell me, Christian/"Brazer", why do you keep responding if there "is no point" in doing so? This only hurts your credibility; you are obviously not a "man" of your word, then?(asked rhetorically)

Moving on...

Brazer...Wrong again boomslang.

Good grief..what the f%ck is this? I asked some pointed "yes" or "no" questions, and what do I get? I get, "wrong again, boomslang". Aaarg.

To me, this is a clear indicator, that you, Christian/"Brazer", have zero interest in having a sincere dialogue. I would argue that it is your religious conviction - otherwise known as a religious "meme" - that is responsible for your inability to entertain points of view other than your own.

Brazer...Dig a little deeper in your thought process.

Yeah, thanks, 'got it..... I did just that, Christian....and FYI, I came up with a different conclusion than you. Here it is: I've determined that Christianity, and it's "supernatural" claims, are utter bullshit---similar to how you've likely determined the same about "Muhammad", "Joseph Smith", "Shazam", "Amom Ra", and their supernatural "claims".

Notwithstanding, if I were to ask you a very direct question, do you think that you could answer it, directly and thoroughly?....that is, without strawman arguments, or hasty irrelevant generalizations?

Loosely assuming "yes", here is that question:

If you dismiss the supernatural claims of all other religions but your own, please enlighten us as to on what grounds you do it. Example: Do you simply dismiss them "out-of-hand"? Or do you use logic of some sort? If the latter, please disclose to us what type of logic/methodology you use to substantiate, with absolute certainty, that the supernatural claims of Christianity are true, and all other religious claims of the supernatural, false, or lies. Listening.

Brazer...Thoughts and decisions can only be the result of the physical world if they happen in the brain.

Yes!

Brazer...The brain was formed by physical processes.

YES, YES!..precisely!

Brazer...The choices presented to the brain are a result of physical processes, since nothing would have come into the world around you unless by some physical process.

Well paint me red and call me the f%cking DEVIL! YES!!.. by jove, you're finally getting it!

Brazer..There is no room for free thoug[BZZZZZZZT!!!!!]

I'm sorry, Brazer, we have to send you home---the above is non sequitur; you've failed to prove your premise. Again, you falsely conclude that because "choice" is the result of "physical", natural processes in our "physical", natural brains, that there is subsequently no "choice" involved. What you are essentially doing, is you are seeking to confirm the notion that some 'unseen' metaphyscial 'force' from beyond the grave..i.e..a "God", grants us "freewill"/"freethought", when in fact, that is not only false, but it actually proves to the contrary..i.e..that it's YOU who ultimately has no "free thought"/"freewill", if your decisions are of a "Divine", or metaphysical source. I must tell you, the blatant inconsistencies in your argument are utterly appalling.

Law of Identity, 101: Existence exists; consciousness exists. So - and for possibly the 3rd or 4th time in this discussion - "thought", or "consciousness", is dependent upon a healthy, functioning, physical brain.

Brazer...You brian[brain] will make the most logical choice laid before it...

HALT! Do you see what you just said?!?!?! You said, **"Your brain will make the most logical choice.."[bold added]

You've just contradicted yourself, rather blatantly. You've been insistant that there is NO CHOICE in the physical realm, yet, now you say there IS "choice". If you'd kindly make up your mind, it would definitely be easier to have a discussion. Thanks in advance.

Brazer......based on what has come to be by a series of events caused by nothing more than random physical processes.

Irrelevant, per your own statements. See here**, above.

Brazer...Nothing can change the course of the subatomic interactions reacting to one another that guide the outcome of all things.

Inadmissible/irrelevant, see here**, above.

Brazer...Hence, there is no choice with this scenario.

Inadmissible/irrelevant, see here**, above.

Brazer...That would require you to do something different than what the subatomic interactions have laid out to happen. That would mean that you are controlling them, and they aren't controlling you.[bold added]

LMAO! Yes!.. aND?...if "we" are in "control", then we are in control", yes?

But hold that thought(if that's possible) and humor me for a second: Supposing we weren't in control of our own thoughts---then who, or what, IS in control? Who?..."Jesus"? H.R. Puff-n-Stuff? wHO???

('Careful now, don't shoot a hole in your other foot)

= )

Brazer said...

The Great Oxy-Moron:

I see many ex-Christians claiming that they have experienced the supposed sensation of the Holy Spirit, but that it was not real and felt no different from being drunk. Yet I have never experienced this kind of Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit sensation I know of is controllable and accompanied by a strong sense of peace. It quiets the mind while keeping your ability to process and understand things very keen and sharp. This is not at all like being drunk or high, which is more or less uncontrollable and cannot be turned off until its affects have played out their course. These highs result in a more primitive state of bliss, relying heavily on alteration of your emotions, brain functions, or physical sensations. There is actually a “Christian” high like this called the Toronto Blessing, which is a movement that has been rejected by every church except for the one it started at. Oddly enough, it has been reported that those who take part in this high also exhibit many of the characteristics of the demon possessed people spoken of in the Bible. I assert that those who experience the Holy Spirit that easily likens to being drunk are also taking part in this “Blessing.”

Furthermore, an ex-Christian is an oxy-moron. By definition of Christianity, you would have cast aside all doubts and believed wholeheartedly that Jesus is the Messiah. No one would have coerced you or else it would not be wholehearted. You would have weighed your doubts already and decided whether to believe or reject Jesus. To then doubt later on means that you never cast aside all doubts, but that you left yourself open to doubting as if you had been somehow tricked by someone else or even by yourself. Moreover, it would be impossible to give your faith wholeheartedly if you had not taken into consideration the possibility of coercion or the potential for future doubts should there be anything else to discover. Ex-Christians are a sham, claiming to have once made full commitment, an eternal choice, when they clearly have held something back.

Brazer said...

boomslang,

In purely natural world, “you” are not in control. There is no such thing as “you” the individual, because everything that forms “you” is purely one big chemical reaction that you have no control over. Since you clearly recognize that “you” do exist with your own will and consciousness, you are then sentient, and you should be the first to admit what a big load of crap the naturalistic (atheist) viewpoint is.

boomSLANG said...

i.e.....blah, blah, blah

Dear "True Christian":

"If you dismiss the supernatural claims of all other religions but your own, please enlighten us as to on what grounds you do it. Example: Do you simply dismiss them 'out-of-hand'? Or do you use logic of some sort? If the latter, please disclose to us what type of logic/methodology you use to substantiate, with absolute certainty, that the supernatural claims of Christianity are true, and all other religious claims of the supernatural, false, or lies. Listening."

Brazer said...

If you have any further qulams about this, take it up with an expert like Richard Dawkins, who I hardly agree with. At least he has dedicated his whole life to the cause of atheism, and he would be much better at explaining his doctrine about our "lack of free will" as well as the other stipulations that a naturalistic world implies.

.:webmaster:. said...

Brazier,

I didn't ever feel drunk from the Holy Spirit. My experiences mirror your description of authentic "True" experiential Christianity. I realize this contradicts your Christian indoctrination. None-the-less, you cannot refute my experience any more than I can refute yours. My relationship with Jesus Christ was dynamically real to me for decades. I knew it was real, and I knew I would never, ever, fall away. Such a thing was impossible! I was convinced.

If I had remained a Christian, you'd be calling me brother, based at least in part on my confessional description of my experiences. Since I've left Christianity, however, you brush my experiences aside, dismissing thirty devoted years of my life as meaningless.

That's just a bit rude of you, wouldn't you agree? Care to apologize?

Now, since you will only acknowledge my experience so long as my interpretation of it mirrors yours, why should anyone here bother addressing you at all? You appear completely closed-minded to any position other than your own. You seem representative of the very worst result of a mind-control cult. You are (apparently) without the ability to think beyond your indoctrination! How terribly sad for you.

"By definition of Christianity, you would have cast aside all doubts and believed wholeheartedly that Jesus is the Messiah."

But that's exactly what I did do, Brazier. Have you even bothered to read my testimonial? Not that my testimonial is all that special when compared to anyone elses, but since this website began because of that one testimonial, it might serve you well to read it. In order to effectively argue any position, you must actually know your opposition's position. I know your position. But it appears that you are willfully ignorant of all positions except your own.

The fallacy you are guilty of employing in your argument here is called the "No True Scotsman" fallacy. You might want to read up on it so you can abandon it. It's silly.

Jim Arvo said...

Brazer,

You make "doubt" sound like a bad thing! How is it bad to revisit your decisions from time to time and to consider new information? If you are right about your position, it will continue to hold up--or at least it should. If you are wrong, then it gives you an opportunity to escape an erroneous belief.

In my opinion, no belief system that actively discourages doubt is worthy of belief.

As for ex-Christians, I'm afraid you'll need to close your eyes to the obvious facts in order to maintain that they do not exist. Many here have been ardent believers for significant portions of their lives. Contrary to your claim, it is possible to fully believe something, and then discard the belief as a result of new insights or understanding. To deny this process is to cling to a naive model of human cognition. You too could decide one day that your current beliefs are unfounded, despite what you claim now. Whether you will or not is entirely up to you, and the information you expose yourself to.

I hope you'll take the opportunity to confirm the existence of former Christians rather than simply wishing them into non-existence based on your theology and/or your (somewhat naive) concept of how beliefs are maintained by the human mind.

Best wishes.

boomSLANG said...

Christian/"Brazer"...In purely natural world, “you” are not in control. There is no such thing as “you”...

When previously, "Brazer" said: "[Your brain] will make the most logical choice...."

What's that?...whose brain did you say??? MY brain? How can MY "brain" be "mine", and your "brain" be "yours", if there is "no such thing" as me, or "you"? Care to make sense of it, Einstein?

Christian/"Brazzer"...... you should be the first to admit what a big load of crap the naturalistic (atheist) viewpoint is

The Atheism is a load of crap argument for the existence of God:

1) Atheists are proponents of naturalism.

2) Naturalism cannot be all there is; that would mean that I'll die someday.

3) Therefore, Atheism is a load of crap.

4) Therefore, God exists.

Brazer said...

Are you really listening? I already admitted that there can be no absolute certainty in Jesus apart from faith. I have enough certainty just justify my faith and enough uncertaintly about other claims to keep me from venturing away from faith in Jesus. I guess I could liken my certainty about knowing that Jupiter is really there to that of knowing that God is really there. Until I see it plain as day with my own eyes and touch it with my own hands, how do I really know FOR SURE that it is there? The only "knowing" that I have is my trust in my related observations and in the fact that it would be very difficult to have devised such a convincing system of lies about Jupiter and to have pulled the wool over the eyes of so many people. What if you could go to where Jupiter was supposed to be and found it to be missing? Would you then even be able to believe that the chair that you sit in is really real? Are you real? Is your life real, or is it all a dream? Is it possible? Well yes, because you certainly can't rule it out. The end result of this is pure insanity and chaos. Don't be ignorant to the fact that, on faith, you take many of the things of life to be true, or real.

boomSLANG said...

Jupiter

Disclaimer: The above evidence is being offered unconditionally, unlike some religious beliefs that threaten bodily harm for non-believers, and/or, skeptics.

Shalom!

Jim Arvo said...

Brazer said "In purely natural world, 'you' are not in control. There is no such thing as 'you' the individual, because everything that forms 'you' is purely one big chemical reaction that you have no control over."

I beg to differ. You are committing the fallacy of composition here. That is, you are asserting that since elementary particles (or molecules, or chemicals, etc.) do not possess a given property, then anything composed of them also fails to have this property. By such reasoning, water cannot be wet, since neither hydrogen nor oxygen are, and a clock cannot indicate the time of day, since it's individual atoms cannot.

"You" are the myriad connections in your brain that hold previous experiences and react to new stimuli. That assembly makes "choices" by heuristically comparing alternatives. If you think a choice is something more than this, then please tell me what "you" have in mind (that is, if your molecules can express it). I should point out that such "choices" can also be intrinsically nondeterministic in that they may hinge on quantum mechanical events, at least in some cases.

You are not going to accept what I just said. I suspect your retort will be that "randomness" does not confer "free will" to all those subatomic particles that are whizzing about. If so, I will simply ask you to explain what you mean by "free will"; does it mean that if you were to find yourself in the identical situation twice, that you might respond differently the second time? Surely you must mean more than that, right? But what?

Brazer also said "Since you clearly recognize that 'you' do exist with your own will and consciousness, you are then sentient, and you should be the first to admit what a big load of crap the naturalistic (atheist) viewpoint is."

Oh, we're quite a way from that, I'm afraid. We're still at the level of word games and emotional appeals. Let's see if we can get beyond that, okay? With some work, we may be able to pinpoint the prodigious pile of guano.

Brazer said...

webmaster,

Who indoctrinated me? Myself?...another oxy-moron. I have only recently attended church by choice more than about once a year. I went seven or eight years without going at all. This was actually the time of my greatest turn around of faith.

As you have requested, I apologize for offending you, as was not my intention. If you had ever truly made Jesus your Lord, then you would still be my brother. Perhaps you still are? I've read many testimonies of "spiritual adultery" (different from blasphemy of the Holy Spirit) and these people coming back to Jesus later on. In fact, I have my own story.

I'm hardly closed minded. It's more like I've been down your path and did not like what I've found. I, like you, can recall a time of spiritual "walking in the Spirit" followed by a time of extreme doubt and failure to get past scientific issues. I too, questioned a bit "too" much if you will, and would really like someone to have given me some convincing evidence not to turn away in my faith completely. Well, I found none for a very long time, and I became increasingly skeptical of whether I had just fabricated everything in my mind.

At one point I considered myself too far gone to believe again. Even if God was real, I considered myself to have committed blasphemy of the Holy Spirit in that case. So I thought: "I'm either going to hell or I'll just die into eternal unconscious darkness." Either way, life is really pointless and terrible. Despite myself, through a long series of painful circumstances, I believe God led me to cry out to Him once more. This time He responded to me with a written prophecy given through another Christian that I am still at a loss to explain.

I was going through a horrible and depressing break-up at the time. I was talking (or crying) to this Christian about the relationship itself, not my feelings, and especially not my spiritual feelings (nobody on this earth knew those; I was afraid to even speak of them). In fact, I had successfully convinced this person that I was still a strongly believing Christian (hardly the case). One message that I received through this person was: “It may seem like I have left you, but I am here for you. I will see you through this.” Another two were: “I love you very much, you will find your way,” and “You are forgiven.” What, what is this? I said to myself, “How do you know that I have been feeling that God has left me? How do you know that I was desperately seeking the possibility of forgiveness from God, a possibility that I felt no longer entitled to? I had fooled you hadn’t I?” This pierced right through me like a razor sharp arrow. Could it be that God had not forgotten me, that He was offering forgiveness to me after turning away from Him? Surely God would have recognized my sin and never say such things to me. Surely he knew of my hidden sins. Since he made no mention of these, the message could not be from God, or so I thought. Then it happened. This person on the other line of the phone muttered something that no one knew about me, one of those secret sins that I had not let get exposed. It was a simple phrase, and yet it was a direct reference to the nature of my sin. So wait a second, just as I am telling myself that God would see this long lasting sin in my heart if the message was from Him, it gets exposed and spoken of? What’s more is at this point I am understanding that God sees all of me, and is still willing to forgive me, even deliver me from a mess that I had created myself. I had paid Him little to no attention for years and certainly no devotion. Why is he doing this? Yet He WAS doing it.

Perhaps I still would not have believed all this, because I would have found some way to explain it all away, had not other statements given to me at that time come to pass. These were things about the outcome of my depressing situation and things about the restoration of my spirit. There is only one thing that has not happened yet, and it won’t happen until the end of my life.

So to the unyielding agnostic, I say give me something more convincing than this and the previous miracles I have talked of in other posts, and then I will level with you. Give me the same feelings of redemption and peace that this God, real or perceived, has caused me to experience. Give me the same kind of unconditional love. It feels real to me, and I have found peace in my existence. Show me the way to achieve all these things, real or perceived, without the God of the Bible, and I will hear you out. Keep offering me hopelessness and unsatisfying doubts, and you can keep it for yourself. What do you have to offer me?

To the doubting, fallen Christian, I say God must still love you if He still loves me after turning away. Don’t count yourself out yet. You may yet find yourself surprised and grateful. You may yet find yourself believing in what seems impossible.

God Bless,
from Mike B.

Jim Arvo said...

Brazer,

I'm curious about those "written prophecies" that came to you via another Christian. Did you ask the other Christian where they came from? Did they just materialize? Did god dictate the message to him/her, and then he/she wrote them down? Did god trick him/her into thinking the messages where entirely *their* idea?

.:webmaster:. said...

Brazer,

I too would like to know your response to Jim's question.

And I have a few comments, observations, etc., of my own.

"Who indoctrinated me? Myself?."

Yes, by way of your upbringing in a god-believing culture, your reading of the Bible and other religious books, listening to television and radio programs, the plethora of witnessing Christians, churches on every corner... The list goes on. Everyone in a western country has mountains of exposure to Christianity from birth. And god-belief is nearly always presented as good, the norm, obvious and so on. Atheism, on the other hand, is nearly always denigrated.

So, in a way you indoctrinated yourself, but in other ways your mind was well trained to think like a god-believer before you could put together a decent paragraph.

"I, like you, can recall a time of spiritual "walking in the Spirit" followed by a time of extreme doubt and failure to get past scientific issues."

I never had a time of extreme doubt and failure to get past scientific issues. Perhaps you haven't read my testimonial yet? Well, it is long and boring. Let me encapsulate: I left Christianity after seriously studying the history of Christianity and the evolution of theological thought. The flavor of Christianity you seem be enamored with is a modern invention. Psychic prophecies and words of knowledge such as you describe was castigated as witchcraft for centuries. Your enthusiastic prophetess would have been imprisoned or burned at the stake for her presumption to present herself as speaking on behalf of GOD.

Regardless of past generation's interpretation of these things as demoniacally inspired psychic antics, I propose a different interpretation. Perhaps your great acting job was more transparent than you suppose. That's certainly one possibility. She saw through your lie and in an emotionally charged outburst of charismatic excitement, penned the missive.

Now, if you are correct, and GOD HIMSELF spoke through her and to you, then what are we to do with your letter? Should it be annexed to the Bible? Certainly the written word of GOD must be preserved, and preached. Right? If this letter of yours contains the actual words of GOD, then you have a supernatural document there. You might want to consider having it sent to the Vatican so it can be properly archived with the Pope's own divinely inspired proclamations.

So-called letters from GOD present quite a conundrum, wouldn't you agree?

The most heart-wrenching comment you made was this: "Either way, life is really pointless and terrible."

This is a terrible outlook on life. Life is not pointless nor terrible. The smile of child, the laughter of a baby, the love a spouse, a beautiful sunset, a cloudless starry sky, the smell of a garden in summer, the taste of a freshly baked brownie... The list of wonderful things in this life is endless. That you see no value in any of the blessings in life is revealing as to why you crave death and another life. If your outlook on reality is really that negative, then it is easy to understand why you would choose embrace religious fantasy.

You go on to speak of various feelings you believe have been handed to you by your god. Well, this might be a good apologetic if it were not for the fact that competing gods give these same benefits. To understand what I'm talking about, please listen to or read this article I prepared some months ago: Conversion, Spiritual Epiphanies and Mystical Experiences .

Finally, you used the term "unconditional love." As far as I can tell, unconditional love is not one of GOD's attributes. Unconditional means no conditions, correct? Yet your god demands conversion to take place in order to receive HIS love. If a person does not convert to Christianity, then that person reaps unconditional wrath -- forever. In fact, winning god's love is difficult at best, and apparently even people who sincerely convert can fall away and risk eternal damnation! Yet, eternal damnation is handed out freely to nearly everyone on the planet without a second thought! Non-Christians are not threatened with annihilation. They are threatened with horrific torment for ever and ever and ever and ever. And what is the crime? Living a few short decades without a god belief, or with the wrong god-belief, or for not maintaining the right god-belief until death.

Again, we are back to having the correct pattern of synapses firing in our brains to win god's love. This is the gospel. This is the good news: That God is going to really make you miserable without chance of parole, reformation or mercy, for all eternity, unless you get the right god-belief in your head before your body stops living.

Unconditional love? Not quite.

May the peace of rational thought one day lighten your path and deliver you from the darkness of superstition.

Astreja said...

Brazer: "So to the unyielding agnostic... What do you have to offer me?"

Mindfulness meditation. Compatible with the non-supernatural elements of Christianity, and a useful stress-relief tool as well. Joseph Goldstein has a very good book on the subject.

boomSLANG said...

Webmaster, to Christian/"Brazer":

"That you see no value in any of the blessings in life is revealing as to why you crave death and another life. If your outlook on reality is really that negative, then it is easy to understand why you would choose embrace religious fantasy."

Bingo. Thank you.

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