Fantasy versus Reality

sent in by Angie

I was raised in a devout Catholic family. We went to Mass every Sunday, and said the Rosary every evening. I had doubts as early as nine or ten. This was about the age when I started to separate fantasy from reality. I started to realise that magic, dragons, fairy tales, Santa Claus, storks delivering babies, etc. were simply fantasy. I couldn't help but throw religion into the fantasy category.

Yet, I was confused because unlike dragons and fairy tales the adults around around me took religion very seriously. Like with Santa, I thought maybe everyone was pretending to believe for the sake of us kids. I actually asked my mother one day if God was make believe and got into trouble. Then I realised that, yes, God was real.

So, I continued go to Mass. I was involved in youth activities. I met my husband at a church singles event. Despite my good Catholic exterior, inside it all still seemed like fantasy but I kept this to myself.

My older brother, my only sibling. was a very devout Catholic. I really looked up to him. He was five years older than me and I thought he was so smart. He seriously considered becoming a priest but decided he really wanted to marry and have kids. When my brother was around, religion always came up as a topic of conversation. He believed that Christianity was the foundation of western civilization. Without God we would not have morality or the rule of law. I had thought to myself many times that if my brother believes in God and Jesus they have to be real. It's hard to explain but I thought it was all real and all made up at the same time.

My brother moved about 60 miles from home. He got married two years later to a nonCatholic (secular Jew), which was a huge shock to everyone. His wife got me a job close by, so I decided to move in with them for a couple of months until I got married. My first day at their house I noticed that there weren't any statues or religious icons around the house. I thought maybe my sister-in-law doesn't allow them.

My first Sunday I slept til noon. I was surprised that my brother didn't come and wake me for Mass and even more surprised to see him reading the paper in his pajamas in the living room. I asked him if he was going to Mass. He sheepishly said no because Christianity is complete baloney. Without even thinking, and much to my surprise, I replied "I'm glad you finally figured that out." It was the first time I admitted what I'd known all along. It's a fantasy.

I hate to say that my brother had to come to that conclusion before I finally admitted what I had known all along. But you're indoctrinated from such a young age it can be hard to admit to yourself that none of it is true. After I stopped going to church a friend of mine said everyone has doubts from time to time. It's normal. I told her yes, everyone does have doubts but only a few have the courage to take that next step and admit that the doubts have validity.

Anyway, I started doing a lot of reading after that, so now I know why the fantasy is so prevalent. My husband Luke submitted his testimony a couple of months ago. We have told my brother to submit his as well. Leaving our faith was hard at first, mainly because our parents were so upset, but today we are all happy to be exchristians.

"What really moves people to believe in God is not any intellectual argument at all. Most people believe in God because they have been taught from early infancy to do it, and that is the main reason. Then I think that the next most powerful reason is the wish for safety, a sort of feeling that there is a big brother who will look after you. That plays a very profound part in influencing people's desire for a belief in God." - Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell

88 comments:

Anonymous said...

Welcome welcome, Angie you are so correct. Religion is an infection of the brain, it is transmitted to the brain through hearing others sharing their silly beliefs and through reading the imaginative words written down on ancient clay tablets and presumed to be from a God. This disease is spreading like wildfire all across the globe, like a bad rumor, and it must be stopped very soon, this includes all infectionous religions, lies, and falsehoods associated with christianity and islam. It's all a mental fantasy invented to control masses of people and to relieve people from their money into the pockets of the deceiver.

Brando said...

Angie, that was beautiful...

I laughed out loud at the part when you said "im glad you finally figured that out..." to your older brother. If my older brother ever figures it out, I will probably be no less patronizing.

Dano said...

Angie,
I have a hunch that the need for a belief in a higher power, may be instinctual, or even suggest that it may even be a survival trait. Natural selection may have favored those who had a firm belief that the "Rock God or the (Fill in your favorite God---------------), was looking out for them.

I have come to the conclusion that we have a compulsion to trust or believe in "something"

The trick is to find something constructive to believe in. The Mysticism of popular religions tends to be destructive. It divides familles, and peoples, and instills fear unnecessarily into people. The feeble symbols of the devil, and hell, may scare some people into believing, but they make our lives depressing because the emphasis is on the next life, and as you and I know, it is impossible to know anything about that.

From what I've ascertained from the scant amount of reading that I've done lately, there are some pretty smart people working on the problem of what we should believe. I.E. Sam Harris, Dave 8, Jim Arvo, Madbunni, boomslang, anonymous, webmaster, and the whole cadre of posters on this site, plus an army of social scientists, and scholars. Robert Ingersoll made a pretty good stab at it a hundred years ago.

Rest assured that the absurdities of the bible ain't gonna get us into heaven, any more than the Muslim kid who blowing himself up.

If God is anything like us, he admires clear thinking and good living, and even though I am sure he doesn't fault some people for "worshiping" him, he probably would rather they use that time and effort doing something constructive.

I personally have started a new diet, and resolve to get down to a healthy weight.
Dano

MadBuni said...

Angie that was a wonderful post!

Your experience sounds much like mine. Although I was not raised catholic, I was raised in a pretty fanatical type fundamentalist religion and felt just like you, I always had doubts, but because all the adults in my life believed it, I was convinced it must be true, and if I doubted it, I got into trouble too.

I have been exchristian for many years, and have never been happier. I was a lot like your brother, I just eventually came to the conclusion that it was all just baloney. It is amazing that you can live your life without all of that rubbish and be content and satisfied without the burden religion puts upon you!

Welcome, and take care!

Jamie said...

hey Angie, my name is Jamie, i grew up in an atheist/agnostic home, taught religion was a place where people hid from guilt, taught that by my dad who i looked up to more then anyone, anyway, i just want to say i found Jesus through an irregular event that includes atleast 3 witnesses besides myself i know without a doubt God exists, being a professed atheist for awhile until i seen that there was more out there, my dads no longer atheist, i been praying for him, he even believes in the power of prayer now too....id better cut this short and just say if you curious about my story, just email me at jamiehoban@shaw.ca or anything

much love and happy new years

Jamie

Angie said...

Hi Jamie,

I'm sure you really believe you had an experience that caused you to believe. I know a guy who is convinced that he had a supernatural experience that convinced him that Islam is the truth. Needless to say I don't believe he did but I have no doubt he truly believes it.

I'm sorry that you found religion when you were lucky enough not to have been born into it. I'm sorry that your father now buys into your religious fantasies. I hope you both can find your way out again.

freedy said...

Dear Angie, thank you for your post
You have helped me thru the night. You and others like you are making a big difference in the lives of those who have been raped by the religions of this world.
Freedy

freedy said...

Angie, your comment on early age brainwashing is correct. The memories of the bible movies , now the "Passion of the Christ"are to blame.Also the con artist t.v.envangelists who prey upon those who are going thru a hard time contribute to the infection.
I am an ex minister who now recants the lies i told. thanks again for your input,..freedy

Anonymous said...

I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord because He saved me from my sin back on November 6, 1991. I have trusted Him with all my life and in all I am. He is my purpose in life and my strength. You can have this too if you stop playing church and receive Jesus in faith.

Anonymous said...

I believe that Jesus Christ isn't Lord because He didn't save all of the tsunami and hurricane victims who fervently and faithfully prayed to him in the past few thousand years. I used to trust him, but found out, he was just a mental image I projected in my mind. He has no purpose in my life, and no one else needs Jesus if he can't be relied upon to come through in a persons' time of need consistently.

Anonymous said...

We live in a sinfull, fallen world where day in and day out disasters happen. So, where was Jesus when the tsunami and hurricanes happened? He was and still is on His thrown being Lord to those who believe and jugding those who dont. Nowhere in the bible does God guarantee us physical security, but He does guarantee spiritual security to anyone who places there faith in Him- "All that the Father gives to me; and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out." John 6:37

Anonymous said...

When someone loses faith it is not because God or Jesus isn't real, it is because They have been so poorly represented throughout history. Yes, even in the Bible. I read the Bible regularly and I know full well that it is not the innerant word of God. It was not inspired by God. But there is truth within. God is real, Jesus is real. Unfortunately, the fundamentalists, with their insistence on a literal translation of the Bible are doing more harm than they know. Come on, who would want to believe in a God that condones gang rape (Gen. 19:8) or slavery? God is real, human beings have simply done a lousy job at interpreting. If anyone is interested in further reading on this subject is recommend "The Sins Of Scripture" By John Shelby Spong and also "Rescuing The Bible From Fundamentalism" by the same author.

Anonymous said...

You are correct, losing faith does not mean Jesus is not real. But another's interpretation of the bible should not be your concern- How you interpret the bible should be of your utmost concern, and whether you have true faith in Jesus. When you die, God will not say to you," I am sorry about all of the confusion down there regardind everyone's misinterpretation of the bible and how they misled you". God will say,"What did you believe about Jesus Christ"? So,in what or should I say," IN WHOM" do you believe is the question.

cdmon said...

anonymous said: "He saved me from my sin back on November 6, 1991."

Now let's get this straight... He saved you on 11-6-91. Or was this the day you did your "sinners prayer" ritual? Did HE save you on that day, or did he save you back in 33 a.d. Was he crucified again? Just curious...


anonymous said: "You can have this too if you stop playing church and receive Jesus in faith."

I think you've got the wrong group. Isn't this what you'd say to a person in a different xian denomination than yours?

Stop playing church? I don't see any one here doing anything that remotely resembles playing church, save you and a few other fundies who fly around here and buzz your ear long enough to annoy you, then when we swat at them they buzz off again.

Accepting the jeez, in faith. Perhaps you can call him up schedule a personal appearance for us. I'm sure if you could do this you'd change all of our minds in one fell swope. Problem is, he won't even make a personal appearance for you, his faithful servant.

Have you ever read the story of the emporers new clothes. I know it's a children's story, but it has such a profound moral to it.

Please read that story and tell me what the moral of that story is. Okay!!

"You can have this too..."
Umm that's alright you keep it okay!! And please wrap it up in some latex before you try using it on anyone else. We don't know where that thing has been.

That mind virus you have has been spreading. Luckily most of us here have been innoculated with a good dose of logic.

anonymous said: "So, where was Jesus when the tsunami and hurricanes happened? He was and still is on His thrown being Lord to those who believe and jugding those who dont."

I suppose he was asleep at the wheel considering how many of his own followers perished in those disasters, cause he couldn't cover his mouth when he coughed. Not accounting for the collateral damage.

Noooo.... he had quite a night watching Mel Gibson on his super wide screen and rocking out to theme music on his ultra high definition 77.7 surround sound system.

Him and yahweh was passing a bhang load of that sweeeeet calamus, that knocked them into the kingdom come and the holy ghost got couch lock and sent Micheal the Arch-angel out to KFC to cure their munchies.

JC told yahweh to stop bogarting that sweeeeet calamus. And in mid hog hit it happened. The smoke from that toke expanded in his lungs and he let out such a huge cough that it blew entire towns clean off the map! That's right!

anonymous said: "Nowhere in the bible does God guarantee us physical security"

That's for sure!!! I suppose I could debate that point using the bible but I have to admit I agree.
But if this is true, what good is he now? What we have to wait till we die before he does us any good?

What? No miracles anymore, or has he done burnt too many brain cells and only does disasters now? Lost his touch over the past 2000 years, has he?

Man, doesn't he do that water into wine thing anymore? I'd like to see that one. Especially since the first time he did it, he did so in a town that was named for that.....sweeeeet calamus.

*changes to psuedo-jamiacan/ american voice here*

Yah mon, dat tasty stinky stuff they was blowin' in da' second chapta' of axe what da' holy ghost gotta wiff of and set da' whole place on cloven tongues of fire, an' everyone got so high they started speakin' all kinds of cool jive.

What was dat NEW wine dim' cats was talkin' bout? Everyone knows dat' wine's no good till it ages.

Mmm Mmm Mmm... It was a new wine of a new kind. Didn't come in no 90 proof bottle neither. An' it wasn't stomped from no foot.

It grew on a strange vine neath a glorious grove of redwoods dat' was raisin' it's branches up to heaven in supplication unto the good lawd.

And what you tink' he did? Well, I'll tell what he did, he observed of it, he sniffed of it, he plucked of it, he rolled of it and he swung of it. Yes he did!

And clarity came to him, and he got one mean case of da' munchies too.

Me tinks dat' was da' time his man-servant's daughter came dancin' out da' house an' cause he promise if he kill all his enemies he could have da' first ting' dat' come out da' door. A tasty little morsel she was... And he was pleased...

Den' he tole' his prophets to make dim' an' oil of ineffable chrism. Usin' 6 pounds of that sweeeeet calamus and bout' six liters of some olive oil and bout' 11 other secret herbs and spices... (Where you think Col. Harlan Sanders got the idea?)

And he tole' his prophets to sanctify da' temples wit' it an' anoint da' kings, preists and all the prophets an' everyone else wit' dis' crazy stuff. And they did what he say, and da' smoke filled da' temples an they all begin seeing gawd. Dat's right! What a great holy ghost revival dat' was!!

Mmm Mmm Mmm, doze' WAS da' days.

Yah mon! Dat's my story an' I'm stickin' to it.

*changes back to regular voice here*

While you guys HASH that one over, I'm off to the fridge for that left over bucket of original recipe. Good night and happy new year to all, even all you fundies.

Cheers

cdmon said...

Sorry, I was on a roll. It happens!

cheers

SL said...

Angie... enjoyed your post, and though I can't relate to it personally, in that my lifestyle was brutally hedonistic and devoid of any belief system till only just last week, I still was moved. Many friends in my youth were Catholic, and it was perversely fun at times to witness the physical manifestations wrought by their emotional conflict. Why all the hand wringing and heavy sighing over a so-called life if God's really up there and in control? To someone in the 'formative' years this was a mixed message. The deal killer might've been something as innocuous as the no fish on Friday thing. Even at 12, I found this strange. It was years later, someone told me it was introduced to boost the economy of Med. seaports... Fancy that.


Thanks for sharing, I wish you well, and I'm glad my parents' lack of faith saved me from the turmoil you experienced. (You sound fine now, though.)

There's a lot to be said for parents who don't have a clue -- and then, freely admit it. It's troubling to see a parent without faith fake belief in something they truly don't believe. Supposedly this benefits the child. Hmm? Lying to your child while insisting they remain totally open and honest---

you betchya... What kid wouldn't want that deal?

Oh, hey, CDMON, you devote much time and space -- and I assume, effort, though maybe a prolonged rant has become as second nature to you as wiping your... brow. Just curious, is it habitual, or only a one time regurgitation and now we're free to move about the cabin again?

To regulars here, in that I'm new, second testimony I've read or commented on, Why so many anonymous... or mi... or people cloaked in secrecy. Can't they put in initials, just for the sake of order amongst the chaos of life?

Tonya said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

There are Christian people in the Catholic faith, and mainstream seems to accept Catholics as Christians because they believe in Jesus and the virgin birth etc. However there are a lot of reasons to believe that they are not Christian, like the praying to saints, requiring a priest to forgive your sins etc.

So please if you've been a catholic don't loose your faith over, just do some church history.

I think that probably the original beliefs of the Catholic church may have been ok, and I think that was Martin Luthers point that the church was getting off track and things needed to change.

People are infallable and if the devil can corrupt something unified and good...to distort the truth...he sure will, no matter if it's gradual and over time. He has plenty of times to build building blocks of lies.

Just another side point I want to throw out there....the word Bible means many books. The bible is a collection of 66 books (with out the extra history books Catholics throw in). My point is they are seperate books that were just combined into one for us to have them all. Each book is an account that fullfills and verifies something somewhere else. For you to believe Jesus and all His miracles were lies, you would have to excuse all the writings left behind that are proofs - some even first hand accounts of what really happened. That's your choice...why because God gave that to you...choice. One day we will all stand and give an account for every word and action we have ever did. If you choose not to believe in God, that's still a religion..just one without God. So by pulling people from one religion to another...you're still endocrinating people. Folks do you want to "choose" to be part of a religion "without" God? If you're in a religion that doesn't have God...who would you be fellowshipping with?...Doesn't take a genius to know the answer is the "Devil". He comes to steel, kill and destroy. He's the master manipulator. Don't be deceived.

GoneNsane said...

Doesn't take a genius to know the answer is the "Devil". He comes to steel, kill and destroy. He's the master manipulator. Don't be deceived.

Wow. It's seriously scary that people believe this. Anything they don't agree with must be from The Devil! I believe in The All, who is pure love, and Christians have told me that I am worshipping Satan, even though my All passes their own fruits of the spirit test and their God fails! ROFL!

Confused! said...

Tonya: "If you're in a religion that doesn't have God...who would you be fellowshipping with?...Doesn't take a genius to know the answer is the "Devil". He comes to steel, kill and destroy. He's the master manipulator. Don't be deceived."

Isaiah 45:7 - I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

If god is invisible, and can never be known with any evidence, how does one know if they are ever praying or worshipping god or satan. Well, unless they believe the old testament of the bible, that god is in charge of both good and evil acts.

I Chronicles 21:1 - AND Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

II Samuel 24:1 - AND again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved
David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

MadBuni said...

First of all, I think cdmon's "rant" was hilarious!! It just shows the absurdity of god and the holy babble!

As to anonymous II's posts, I thought that anyone who believes jesus christ was born of a virgin, died on the cross, rose from the dead and went back to heaven was termed "christian" christ- ian, meaning they believe in christ. To me that would certainly make catholics christians.

Anyway, my opinion is that the very belief in god has created much of the war, turmoil, and confusion of this world.

Confused mentioned the text in Isaiah where the "lord" admits to having created evil, yet christians continue to declare how loving god is.

How can anyone possibly believe the writings in those "books"? LOL

Happy new year everyone, and see you next year!

cdmon said...

sl said: "Oh, hey, CDMON, you devote much time and space -- and I assume, effort, though maybe a prolonged rant has become as second nature to you as wiping your... brow. Just curious, is it habitual, or only a one time regurgitation and now we're free to move about the cabin again?"

Hmmm, is it a habitual or a one time regurgutation?

Well did you read it elsewhere before? Was it live or was it memorex?


NO NO NO NO NO, if you must know, the style is derived from a mixture of hip symantics, a la the late, great Lord Richard Buckley and small pinch of Cheech and Chong thrown in just for flavor, and another pinch from an old tv show I think it was called "Fridays."

So if you can figure out just where I "regurgitated" this stuff from, however, feel free to post it. That would be an interesting challenge, should you decide to take it on.

Or by some kind of stretch of imagination could you accept that it is an habitual creative outlet or perhaps just a momentary thing that occurs from time to time only when I am inspired. You know, not unlike those anonymous guys who wrote that silly book we often mull over on this site. Either way, I suppose you'll just have to stay tuned and see what happens next, won't you?

And ah yes, you are free to move about the cabin. Just be careful of the turbulence or you might drop your nuts.

Cheers

cdmon said...

Thanx Buni

Be well, Happy New Year, and stay safe...

Cheers

cdmon said...

Anonymous said: "People are infallable and if the devil can corrupt something unified and good..."

People are infallible???? Is that from the bible? I've never read that!!

I must add that this is either a typographical error, [which, by the way, might disprove your theory] or if there were a truly a hypothetical devil, perhaps you could explain to me just how this hypothetical devil could corrupt someone who is infallible?

Cheers

Angie said...

Anonymous,

"There are Christian people in the Catholic faith, and mainstream seems to accept Catholics as Christians because they believe in Jesus and the virgin birth etc. However there are a lot of reasons to believe that they are not Christian, like the praying to saints, requiring a priest to forgive your sins etc."

Like I said in my post, I thought God and Jesus seemed more like fantasy not reality. Even if I had been raised in the one true faith, which I assume is yours (sarcasm), I would still have realised it wasn't real.

Dano,
"The Mysticism of popular religions tends to be destructive."

Here's an interesting article I found relating to the destructiveness of religion.
"On August 22, 2003, an autistic eight-year-old boy in Milwaukee was bound in sheets and held down by church members during a prayer service held to exorcise the evil spirits they blamed for his condition. An autopsy found extensive bruising on the back of the child’s neck and concluded that he died of asphyxiation. In the past ten years, there have been at least four other exorcism-related deaths in the United States alone, two of the victims children. Then there are several tragic cases like that of Texas mother Andrea Yates, who drowned three of her children in an effort to exorcise the devil from herself in 2001. More recently, a South African couple was arrested for keeping their fifteen-month-old daughter caged, unfed, and tied up because they believed the child was possessed."
http://www.livescience.com/
othernews/050830_emilyrose.html

god_NOT said...

>>>Anonymous said: "People are infallable and if the devil can corrupt something unified and good..."

>>>>cdmon said:People are infallible???? Is that from the bible? I've never read that!!


Doesn't that mean that if we are infallible we are ALL god? That would sure piss off some fundies who don't want to be affiliated with us "sinners"

>>>>cdmon said:I must add that this is either a typographical error, [which, by the way, might disprove your theory] or if there were a truly a hypothetical devil, perhaps you could explain to me just how this hypothetical devil could corrupt someone who is infallible?


Probably a typo...wait! It can't be! We are infallible and don't make mistakes!!...

Mike said...

It just amazes me how all you atheists can feel so superior in your enlightened open minds but you all still have to resort to belittling comments and petty insults toward people who do believe in God. That is how cowards behave because they are afraid of what they don't understand. Is that really how you expect to get the rest of the world to respect your beliefs? I just read an article about atheists being disrespected in the armed forces and I agreed with the author's point of view 100%. But if you cannot show the same respect for others' beliefs that you are demanding for your own then you can't really expect to get anything more than the same treatment.

cdmon said...

Mike said... "It just amazes me how all you atheists can feel so superior in your enlightened open minds but you all still have to resort to belittling comments and petty insults toward people who do believe in God."

Well Mike, I guess you told us didn't you?

Mike said: "That is how cowards behave because they are afraid of what they don't understand."

Cowards is it? Perhaps it is xians who don't understand us. If fact if it weren't for so many bigoted xians who come to us,(not us coming to them... i.e. WTF are they doing on a site that espouses non-xianity?) trying to change our beliefs, telling us if that were going to burn in hell, we wouldn't feel the impetous to challenge their beliefs, would we?

And how condescending of you to ASS-U-ME that we don't understand xianity. In case you haven't read the name of this site it is called ExChristian.net. That would imply that at least some of us were xians at one time. So I call your assumptions a silly thing.

Again perhaps it is their lack of understanding or unwillingness to recognize the inherant worth of anyone else's path other than their own that leads them to spout their dogma here. Now for being subject to our cynicism we are called cowards. Very cute...

If we were posting on a xian site then your arguement might be valid. Since we are not posting on their sites, and we are posting on a site where such discussions are the norm. This is the appropriate place to vent our frustrations about xianity. My suggestion would be to butt out.

At least most xians are given forum here, if we were on their sites we'd get censored or banned.

But I'm sure the WM could give you numerous examples of hatred being posted on this site by xians, and most of the time we are only defending our positions against those who wish nothing more to take ours positions away.

Now while your post may have been well meant, perhaps you should not jump to so many conclusions. And if I'm not mistaken calling people cowards puts you right down here with the rest of us, don't it?

Cheers

Mike said...

The point where all atheists, or excuse me, ex-christians, fall out of faith is when they can no longer stand the idiocy being spouted by the fundamentalists. I can't stand them either. The fundies are doing more damage to Christianity than atheists are. But if you don't believe them and you don't believe the Bible don't blame God, blame the ignorant, albeit well-meaning, fools who wrote the Bible. God didn't write the Bible and He is not guilty of half the crap that is written about Him.

But if you truly want to take a step further, try reading "The Sins of Scripture" by John Shelby Spong.

Jim Arvo said...

Mike,

Could you please extend us the courtesy of being specific in you allegations? If, on the other hand, you insist on denigrating all those who choose not to believe in supernatural entities, then perhaps you would like to explain how your position differs from bigotry.

Have a happy and enlightening new year.

cdmon said...

Okay, Mike now you say some we can both somewhat agree upon.

I totally agree that if there were a god, then what was written about him IS shear nonsense. And I agree 100% that fundies are doing more damage to xianity than atheists.

Now you see we have some common ground here. Feels better don't it?

Cheers

GoneNsane said...

It just amazes me how all you atheists can feel so superior in your enlightened open minds but you all still have to resort to belittling comments and petty insults toward people who do believe in God.

Funny, I am a theist and no one has ever belittled me here except Christians.

Dave8 said...

Mike: "The point where all atheists, or excuse me, ex-christians, fall out of faith is when they can no longer stand the idiocy being spouted by the fundamentalists."

Mike, do you believe in anything you can "absolutely" rely on "always", without "fail", and give me evidence for this "concept"...

I personally don't like anything that sets "absolute" limits, you make claim that fundamentalists are "different" than many of the "other" (I assume) mainstream christians... However, what gives a mainstream christian "truth", if they don't "accept" in some fashion, an "absolute"... If you are a trinitarian, then you have to expect that some are going to be skeptical for you to state that jesus is the way and the life, but he is the same god who inspired the writings of the bible...

If you are a non-trinitarian, you have a beter shot to separate jesus from the biblical scripture, but, then you have all of the other writings at CE which declare jesus as an aparition, mortal, etc., etc... and thus, you are left with trying to determine, historically based on "all" written documentation of that era, and the following hundreds of years, which are more "accurate" than others... and that leads to a gray area, where there is no "absolute" known...

I suppose what I am saying, is... if you don't believe in "absolutes", then you have a case against fundamentalists, but by accepting that principle, you leave abrahamic religions as I know them doctrinally... Everyone, learns of jesus, not in first hand revelation, but through the bible, and other people, and therefore, to say, its about jesus and not biblical scripture, is like saying... its about what people have told you, not about what you have actually experienced first hand...

There are many belief systems that don't believe in "absolutes", a democracy is a framework that allows for tolerance, and freedom to live, learn, and pursue happiness... Is it right to say that "democracy" is an "absolute" truth... Historically speaking, democracies have had their share of challenges, i.e., congress placing "god" in the pledge of allegiance for instance in 1954...

There must be compromise to live in peace, however, religions according to their doctrine are pretty explicit on "exclusivity"... If one doesn't want to have the stigma of fundamentalists hanging over their head, why then, do you or anyone else continue to "claim" the title, knowing the doctrinal bigotry... Why not, accept a more neutral tone... There are people who "research" the stories of jesus, and how they were morally applied in a metaphorical sense, but, still don't accept jesus as a deity, or even the savior of mankind... are these people "christian"... the description of "god", and "jesus" is so elusive that just calling someone "christian" has become "meaningless", amongst the numerous meanings...

I agree with you, that bigots can come in many forms and from many different views... however, there are the "single" individuals with their views, and then... there are "entire organizations" with "doctrine" supporting their bigotry... So, when you state that ex-tians, atheists, or anyone else are bigots, you need probably address them individually... unfortunately, for christians, "anyone" can take "all" of the biblical doctrine, and "all" of the religious dogma, and "anyone" associated with that information who accepts it based on "faith", and blind allegiance, and claim them to be "bigots", as... its in writings... if someone doesn't like the writing, they can escuse themselves from the title "christian"... its a choice... and, personally, I believe that everyone has the right to believe what they want, I fight for freedom of individuality... as much as religion fights back, with its doctrine of assimilation...

Mike said...

I'm not sure I called anyone a bigot but if I implied that it was not my intention,

Dave8, I have to say I agree with pretty much everything you said. Truth is not absolute. Fact is absolute; Truth is relative.

And when I said "all atheists" that was an over generalization on my part and I apologize. The point I was trying to make was that the fundamentalists in their insistance on interpreting the bible literally are perpetuating the ridiculous notion of the mythological god and that's when people stop believing.

I had a hard time with my faith for this very reason and I continued to study the bible and try to discern what the writers meant and how they perceived actual events which influenced their writings. And they did get it wrong quite often. After all, they believed the world was flat and those kinds of perceptions affected their understanding and therefore their writing.

Now, I do believe in God, I believe in Jesus. I do not believe in the virgin birth. When the book of Isaiah was translated into greek the word virgin was used in translation for woman. Also, if Jesus had been born of a virgin I think Paul might have mentioned something about it as would Mark but neither of them did because the tradition of the virgin birth was added much later.

Christianity went through at least 2 to 5 years before Paul wrote anything on the subject and then another 25 to 30 years of oral tradition before the first Gospel (Mark) was written.

The writers got much of it wrong. They meant well but they still got much of it wrong. But they didn't all just make it up. Something remarkable did happen regarding a man named Jesus and it is the Relative truth not the Factual doctrine should be addressed.

The bible is not the word of God, it is an interpretation, a perception of events. In order to begin to understand the bible it must be read using the frame of mind and understanding the level of intelligence of the people who wrote it.

Luke said...

Mike,

It seems to me that you are far along the path of questioning and you will probably eventually reject Christianity altogether. You have rejected the virgin birth and biblical inerrancy. I'm not sure if you're aware of the changes made by biblical scribes over the centuries. Check out the book "Misquoting Jesus."

Keep searching and I'm sure you will eventually see Christianity the way exbelievers see it.

I'm wondering do you believe in the story of Adam and Eve, original sin, six days of creation?

Mike said...

No, Adam and Eve, the six days and original sin are all mythological tales based on moral truths. And no, I will not stop believing in Jesus just because the bible writers and everyone since have gotten the interpretation wrong.

They were all writing about something real. Their perceptions of what they experienced were as naive as the era and the translators stretched these perceptions even further.

I don't blame God for the lies told about Him.

When I read something in the bible and I think it is not something that a loving god would do then I tend to think that that is a mis-representation, a common belief of the age for example.

For instance, I don't believe that Paul's condemnation of homosexuals is the Word of God. I do think, however, that Paul may very well have been homosexual and abhored himself because of it which is why he preached it as an abomination.

The bible offers alternatives other than the fundamentalist interpretation which is just nonsense. It's very exciting to see what comes of the bible when you read it, not as if the writers are all deliberately trying to dupe you (which makes no sense), but as if the writers were very simple people trying to describe and understand something far greater than themselves.

Dave8 said...

Mike, I see what you're saying, and pretty much agree on the context with which you state the bible was written..., Isaiah's prophesy for a child to be born as Emanuel, came to fruition in his lifetime, and historically speaking, that occurred ~600BCE, well before the time of jesus...

Regarding Jesus and God, as being a truth for you. I won't attempt to disuade you from your beliefs, if its your personal truth, that's cool. Everyone has a personal truth(s), based on opinion... I do like debating the finer points of peoples' opinions though, as it helps me in my refining of truth... There is only one absolute known at this time, and that is "change", knowledge gained over time, will "change" our perceptions...

There is no knowledge of jesus that was held by a majority view at the time he was to have lived, the gnostics believed he was just an "image", trying to make sense of how a "god" was able to "walk the earth"... the orthodox Jews believed he was just a mortal, and didn't even mention him in their Talmud until ~600CE, and when they did, they didn't portray him in a "good light"... Typically, the stronger the consensus among diverse groups of people regarding a "topic", the more confidence one can place in the inforamtion provided... There was little to no consensus, when a jesus was to have lived... hence, the reason Constantine I, elected Christianity as a state religion...

Regarding god, the concept can not be understood equally between two people... as god and any other object that resides (per definition only), in a metaphysically objective reality can not be shared between any two people... if you believe in a transcendent god, then god can never be known, and can never be defined... hence, "faith", is required based on "hope"...

If god represents hope of what can be, what do you hope for Mike, in this life, and in the afterlife... how does one determine "hope"..., if there can't be anything known in a transcendent metaphysical reality, then... isn't hope based on the needs and desires of what one perceives only in this physical reality...

I have many hopes, but they all reside in this natural reality, as I believe there is a limit to human thought and knowledge... I don't want to dig deep into research, but there are NASA projects, such as SETI, seeking to find higher intelligence, however, lets play with this... say we are seeking a higher intelligence called god... if we were to find a higher intelligence, would we be able to "understand" and "perceive" that higher level thought, or... would humanity be no more than mere pets, like the ones we own to the higher intelligence... If a higher intelligence exists, we will not be able to perceive it and understand it, as we are limited in our neurological abilities, physically... There of course, is the possibility that humanity "is" the higher intelligence in this universe, but... that would fly in the face of religion...

So, are we predisposed to being cosmological pets, wandering the spacial yard of the universe, if so, do we have the ability to make higher order truth based on our limited abilites... We would have to be presumptious enough, and have the audacity to believe we were gods, or the higher intelligence to say, with "confidence", that we "know" something of greater intelligence exists... For instance, a rat in a maze, does it think we as humans are the higher intelligence... what makes it any less than a rat to a higher intelligence...

Again, just throwing out some fodder for thought, even as limited as our thoughts can be... my hope, is to use my thought process, to live life in peace, and I am humble enough, to know, that my thoughts must refer to only the knowledge I have, which is all natural...



the slightest ability to say, they are living organisms, but with extremely limited

Luke said...

Mike,

The reason I ask about Adam and Eve is because Jesus was supposedly sent to suffer and die to atone for the original sin committed by Adam and Eve. If Adam and Eve are a myth then it was not necessary for God to send his son to die for that sin. What is your view on this?

Dave8 said...

Oh, and excuse the leftover sentence, it was more of an "afterthought" :-)

Bear said...

Hi Angie

Have you ever studied or heard that Roman Catholocism is just pagan religion dressed up as Christianity. If your only exposure to the faith is the RCC, no wonder your brother and you have rejected it. I was in this system once and I know from experience that it is dead. Ever heard of Dave Hunt? He sheds some light on it.

It has been said that RCism is the innoculation against the real thing.

The christian faith has Jesus (a real historical person), the Jewish nation and many other evidences to prove that it is not a fairy tale.

I was bought up a RC and I rejected it for 'the faith'. You have rejected RC now dont throw the baby out with it.

Regards

Bear

SL said...

Bear said: I was bought up a RC and I rejected it for 'the faith'. You have rejected RC now dont throw the baby out with it.

SL: Or you may've just reached an age where you developed a 'faith' that seems contrary to the one you were force fed...I don't know, cause I don't know you. So let me ask, is a Christian to ignore the first 1400 years of Church history?can, and should they dismiss it as being, 'the innoculation against the real thing.'

To Mike and Dave8 -- Thanks guys, thanks to you both, it's a most informative and entertaining line of conversation you've entered, refreshing in its civility, I look forward to its continuance. Peace

Bear said...

Hi Sl

In the first approx. 300 years of church history the christian church was persecuted by the state. When the emperor Constantine 'converted' to christianity it became the state religion. All the pagan statues and holidays were christianised. Peter replaced jupiter etc. Christmas replaced the solstace celebrations. Mary replaced Diana.

The pope replaced the emperor. His title is still the same today :"potifex maximus". Think about it. The vatican didn't exist until this time!!!! Enter the dark ages............

Hope this helps Bear

.:webmaster:. said...

"I don't blame God for the lies told about Him."

Mike, I agree.

In fact, it was the type of thinking you're expressing now that helped me finally leave Christianity altogether.

As I studied Christian history and realized how much Christian thought, theology, and belief had mutated and divided, resulting in a thousand different versions that condemned each other as heretical, misled or false, it finally occured to me: how many more mutations would occur in the future and how could I ever be sure that I had finally found the "real" thing?

What all this chaos really demonstrates is that there is no Holy Spirit leading men into all truth and Jesus is not building His church. Or, perhaps those verses were just the words of men too.

MadBuni said...

Happy New Year to everyone!!

There are some great comments here, and I am mulling them all over! Dave8, you are brilliant as ever.

I guess Mike got his shorts in a wad and sort of lost it there, but seemed to compose himself later on. I am having a hard time figuring out what he actually does believe, and would, as Jim Arvo said,like to know what that is! LOL

The word Atheist seems to frighten people. Dan Barker's definition of the term is one of the best I have heard. Here is what he had to say in chapter 17 of his book "Losing Faith in Faith":

"Atheists claim god is unproved, not disproved. In any argument, the burden of proof is on the one making the claim."

So I would say to Mike, as others have already said, christians come here and tend to blast us all the time and label everyone here with the dreaded atheist label (even though a lot of us here are not) because they have a fear of a word they often don't even understand. Most of the time, they are not very nice about it, even though they come to our support website uninvited. So yes, I would say we sometimes get defensive, and rightly so.

I guess it would be my hope that everyone could just accept that atheists are no different than anyone else in our morals and our dealings with others just because we don't accept the theory of an "intelligent designer" of the universe.

I recently got into a conversation with a very nice religious coworker I have known for over 6 years, and revealed my position as Atheist. She was pleasantly surprised and somewhat speechless because she said she would never have imagined that I was Atheist, because according to her, I behaved with the same ethics and morals she defined as christian. It still sadens me when something like that happens, (even though we were able to converse without malice toward each other), that christions cannot educate themselves, so continue to be judgemental about people who have different opinions. (btw,I am not saying you are christian Mike)

I simply do not have to believe in a god in order to live my life peacefully, morally, and happily, abiding by the laws of humanity and the land.

Cheers to you too cdmon, and to all!

MadBuni said...

I had to clear up a paragraph in my last post, I can't stand it when I don't make sense!!:)

I meant to say:
"I guess it would be my hope that people could just accept the fact that atheists are no different than anyone else regarding their morals, ethics, and love of life, even though they do not accept the theory of an "intelligent designer" of the universe."

carol said...

Happy New Year, all!

I totally agree, Madbuni. The term "athiest" has become synonamous(sorry, I am a terrible speller) with evil, satanism, etc. Thanks to the good pastors of the world.

Just a few weeks ago in my local paper some scumbag got convicted of child molesting or something equally dispicable and after the trail he was quoted as saying, to argue his alleged innocense, "I believe in gawd and I don't lie."

WTF! Just because he believed in the big sky fairy somehow made him good or better than those who don't? It was friggin unbelievabe, but unfortunatly the religious robots of the world think that way.

I wish xians would educate themselves, too, but if they did it would be the end of their fraudulent religion.

Regards, carol

Angie said...

Bear,

The original unified Christian faith was Roman Catholicism. Catholic means universal. All other faiths, Orthodox, Protestant, Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, are simply off shoots of Catholicism. An unhealthy seed cannot produce a healthy tree. If Catholicism is false everything that came from it is false. If Catholicism is pagan everything, including saviors born of virgins (a common theme in paganism), that comes from it is pagan. Truth can't come from lies, which is why there are hundreds of Christian denominations all claiming to be the one truth.

I will agree with you on one thing. Jesus was a real historical person. But just a person. Not a god. I wonder how Jesus, a devout Jew, would feel about a pagan belief system like Christianity becoming his legacy.

Jim Arvo said...

Wow, don't get me started on the use of the word "atheist". Suffice it to say for now that one of my missions in life is to help remove the stigma associated with that word (much as the political right has stigmatized the word "liberal"). I hope to see the day that atheists cannot be overtly disparaged in public. We are one of the few minorities left that can still be demonized with no (or little) public backlash. That must change.

Have you ever noticed how common it is for newspaper articles to refer to a non-believer as a "self-professed atheist"? Journalists in general do not see the subtle bigotry in that phrase; they would never use the phrase "self-professed Christian", would they? No, that doesn't sound politically correct.

Dave8 said...

Mike: "I don't blame God for the lies told about Him."

If thought is finite, based on the limitations of human cognition, then how per se, is anyone capable of transferring the concept of a god, to another person;

I could tell you I picture the color "blue" in my mind, but, the color blue I describe is totally limited by what I have been taught and my physical abilities to preceive the definitive characteristics of blue, i.e., I had to be told as a child my primary colors, by definition, but then, I had to somehow apply that definition to my life... if I were colorblind, then I could understand what someone says, when they say, the sky is blue, but I could never make the statement myself, as I have a "finite" capability of the sight sense... and more importantly, I could never "experience" what that person has described...

Thought, is the building of "sensual" intake... we each have different "sense" abilities, I am personally color-blind, however, if given a set of colors, I can determine the colors, by "relative" contrast... However, put me in a room totally colored one color, with no contrast, and I couldn't begin to tell you what the color was...

I mention this only to say... can anyone say, that they have "experienced" with their senses, "god"... as they require "contrast" in order to make that determination... "Contrast" between a transcendent metaphysical reality, and this physical reality...

I know this probably sounds like, no duh, but... truth, is strongest at the point of origin... In other words, right here, right now, what you are experiencing is far more truthful, than what you experienced five minutes ago... Lets take that to an extreme... If you have an experience right now, and someone were to ask you, "do you believe in that experience, with great confidence?" You may reply yes, within your physical sense limitations... however, if you were asked to describe in detail what happened ten years ago, on a certain event, call it your birthday, you may find that you have to recall a lot of tiny pieces of information to reconstruct that party, if you had one, and your "true" feelings at that party at some "specific moment"... The truest picture of your reality, is at this very second...

Once, we start going back on our own experiences, our "confidence" to pull up "exact" feelings, emotions, sensory extracts, etc., becomes less and less as we go back on the timeline, and the future is nothing more for you, than what happened when you started reading this reply, the first part is now in the past, and what you are reading at this very moment is more prevalent and clear than what you read earlier...

Our futures, become how we take the past information, and apply it in the here and now... Religions, in general push church attendance once a week, and some more than once... typically, not in an effort to "teach" their followers biblical history, but... to immerse the followers in their experience in the "here and now"... religion out of sight, is a religion out of mind... Of course, the question becomes... how is one defining their "experience" in the here and now, without a "true", with "high confidence" experience from the past... If god, is an experience, then why a "fleeting" experience... subject to the dimension of time, and only on sunday, etc... I suspect the experience one receives in a group setting, is the experience of familiar people, and not a god...

If one believes god is beyond our understanding, then experience placed in a book of writings, becomes, as you said, pertinent to the writers' knowledge, and ability to express an experience... a few thousand years ago... If you believe you have experienced a god's presence, then, how was that possible according to your doctrinal beliefs, whatever they may be... A Holy Ghost? Which was voted upon, during the First Council of Nicaea, ~325CE by the early Roman Church... Tertullian coined the term trinity, and apostatized himself after voting at that first council on the divine nature of jesus, and consequently fled from Roman persecution, to form his own religious beliefs and followers...

If we don't have that original experience, then how can a person state that another person can... to include clergy... the "contrast" doesn't exist for a mere few on this earth... its logically impossible... and physically via sensory perception indistinguishable from other moments we have in our lives based on natural experiences...

Some suggest that "god" is innately in us, via the Holy Ghost, and that was the litmus test for "experiencing" god, it became the Darwinianesque, missing link to fill in the gap between mortals and gods... Religions differ on this topic, and the trinity... It is, the case that religion must "provide" its followers with a method of "experiencing", "god"... Religions have opted to use intermediaries, such as Mary, Jesus (non-trinitarian view), etc., however, there is no direct link between us and them... therefore, religions have learned to rely on "faith"... as one can't experience a "unique" event in their lives and call it a "godly" experience... Again, if "god", is a constant absolute, then "god", doesn't come and go, god would "always" in any circumstance be available, equally to all that would need a "gods'" assistance...

If at this very moment, you have the strongest truth available to you, then... why not attempt to "experience" an all present "god", which is theoretically a Universal absolute truth... do you find yourself "thinking" about what the "experience" would feel like... if so, should you have to think? Wouldn't a god, give you an "experience" totally unique to your environment.. hence, the reason, talking bushes on fire were used to illustrate the "unique" experience of a god on a physical plance of existence...

Thought is an intricate subject, on many levels, but one only need to define the cognitive process, and come to a conclusion, regarding the finiteness of the universe, and the limitations of our physical senses to interpret and experience the universe...

I find it fascinating, that many religions, state that mankind hasn't evolved (non-evolution)... as this of course, would suggest that our physical "thought" processes are finite... to never climb or progress, i.e., understand the higher intelligence you speak of, we are in their eyes, the proverbial two legged rat scurrying around this universe... again, how would that religion seek to "make a connection" between mortals and gods... unless, we were gods, according to them... and... believe it or not, there are modern day religions, established, lets say, April 6, 1830, that make such a case...

In short, the Mormons believe we don't have to evolve, we live in a finite universe with finite thought, but... we start out as god children... and have the ability to maintain godhood once we pass into the afterlife... each religion, creates its theology and rests upon that doctrine... Some attempt to make a case, that they only accept a piece here, or a piece there of a religion, but the basic foundation, the spiritual linking via some "experience" for a mortal and a god... if that isn't established, then how is it possible to discern "guidance" from a SuperNatural entity, typically thought to be transcendent from this physical reality... All of the little rituals, and festivals, feasts, etc., are nothing more than cultural whitewash... one must look beyond that surface, to understand the real foundations of their beliefs, and the beliefs they were handed by others before them...

I was given my beliefs as a child, and later on, I asked my parents why they gave me those beliefs... and of course, they didn't have a good philosophical "answer"...

They were a little more... subtle, and stated that "church", was somehow "different" from religion... They stated, church was a good environment to bring family, because there were some common values acceptable to society, taught... I asked what those values were, and why they weren't capable of raising me on their own, with those "values"... Their response... The church, was already established, and they didn't have any more "answers" than that presented by religion...

This of course, was before the Internet, and all of the information we now have at our disposal... Religion and church in my childhood years, was nothing short of an established "baby-sitting" service... They had little to tell me, and teach me, regarding "truth", and although I liked the social atmosphere, felt... that church and religion should be solely (no-pun), directed towards the "attainment" or higher knowledge, of "god", and "jesus", using "all" of our gifts, to include "thought"...

It was not until later on, that I found out that religion, didn't have an answer to the "linkings" between, mortals and gods, and that there really couldn't be a "scientific" study, in the area of "metaphysical obejctive reality"... In short, the "god" that I yearned for, in all the years I attended church and religious worship, finally, was understood... I cound't possibly, "make a link", based on my physical sense limitations, based upon the "definition" of "god", per most all religions... God was separated from me, by religious doctrine and dogma... However, I began to think, which religion "doesn't" have doctrine and dogma... by definition, doctrine and dogma, is what established a religion, no matter Protestant or Catholic, etc...

I finally realized, if I wanted to continue to search for "god", or "truth" in general, I had to separate myself from doctrine and dogma, all of it... and search, on my own, as I was as "capable" as everyone "I" knew, to conduct a search, especially after learning of all of the failed philosophical and theological "links", that were presented... I then realized, after doing research, that the values I had been taught, were not the most "humanitarian" values to hold, as even though I wasn't a bigot, the doctrine surely was...

Once free, I started a search, and have yet to "experience" a "SuperNatural" event, in a consistent manner, that I can attribute to an "absolute", all present SuperNatural entity... I have had much joy, and peace however, and have learned what values are truly important to me and why... the more I establish my values, the further away from religion I found myself getting... One of my values, is that "life" valuable, and so is justice... The link some religions use, the bible, to establish a link between mortals and gods, was thus, discarded, as the god of the bible did not support the values I had accepted...

What I have now, is a search, and the values I continue to refine as I gain information... and the more I learn, and search, the further away from religion I get... Religions for many years, have known they don't have the answers, and is why, there isn't a true "bible" study, or theology "study", when attending services... they rely on "social" attachment, to keep their congregations full... In short, "faith" in religion, is "faith" in those who haven't been able to come up with a cogent answer to the questions posed over the past few thousand years...

What keeps religion going, and I don't want to get into detail, unless you care to... is because of the "us-them" mentality... our universe is built upon tension systems, in balance... As long as there is one extreme on one end of the spectrum, mankind is driven to provide a balance, by establishing an opposing view on the spectrum... We get Orthodox Judaism, and then we get Orthodox Christianity (RCC) as a response...

We get Baroque music theory, and then we get the Classical music theory as a response... we get scientific theory, and then we get alternative views of those studies... We get creationism, and then we get, evolutionism...

Mankind seems to relish, in individuality, and rebel against "extreme" ends of any spectrum... its the premise for "freedom"... One day, someone is a fundy, and as long as they receive opposing "tension", they are compelled to continue their stance, its psychologically natural... We all enter this reality, on different points of the belief spectrum, and as long as there is opposition, and tension we will rarely move... its when that tension is finally removed that we are capable of sliding up and down the spectrum freely to find truth...

If appears that you are no longer tied to any one point on the spectrum, and therefore, are free to find truth, by sliding up and down the spectrum to finally find a resting place... At first, I slid from one extreme of the spectrum, from belief to non-belief in a SuperNatural god, based on philsophy, science, history, etc., at this point, I have localized a small piece of the spectrum, I am still sliding slightly, but within a very narrow range and based on the truths I have finally established... If you have questions, or want to debate, it helps because you get the opposing view, and it allows you to refine your perspective via knowledge...

Dave8 said...

Happy New Year To All!!!!! May this year be a peaceful year, without the clashing of the extremists :-)

MadBuni said...

Hey Carol, good to hear from you! Hope you are doing ok. I enjoyed your and Jim Arvo's posts, and I do see the discrimination constantly in all sorts of media.

For a long time I refused to even admit to anyone that I was atheist for fear of the backlash. I think my daily visits and support from this site have helped me overcome some of that because I find I am no longer reluctant about voicing my opinion and don't much care what people think, so I am more open about it. It may also have something to do with getting older! LOL

It seems that the virus of the mind is everywhere. Last night we were just having a quiet new years eve dinner with friends and discussing the documentary "March of the Penguins" their mating habits and how they work together and suffer through the ordeal of hatching their young, etc. when someone just popped out and said something to the tune of: "how could anyone be so ignorant as to doubt the existence of a god when they see these miraculous things in nature. I of course was quick to answer, not being able to resist, and explained that he had just insulted me along with some of the most honored scholars, scientists, and writers of the world! Talk about being ignorant!! LOL

Bear, you said: "The original unified Christian faith was Roman Catholicism. Catholic means universal. All other faiths, Orthodox, Protestant, Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, are simply off shoots of Catholicism." I just read an article stating exactly this point.

Wonder how many christian religions would openly admit they are spinoffs of catholicism, or are even aware they are!

I have been off work for the holidays and have been printing out some writings in the archives, and ran across those of Robert Ingersoll. I did not know who he was until I began reading his writings, and I find him to be so interesting, it's hard to quit reading to get some work done! He wrote this stuff so long ago, but you would think it was done just yesterday!

cdmon said...

Regarding the backlash against Atheists, I have seen it way too often. Being on a path similar to Wiccan, I have personally been subject to this type of backlash too. Perhaps that is why we can stand together with Atheists and Agnostics so well. It is good to have others who understand exactly what we are going through.

Hmmm, small wonder we've developed a sharp cynicism towards those who try to oppress us...

I'm not sure if many here are aware of the term "Christo-Pagan." This is a group of people who are trying once again to mix their xian beliefs with Paganism. For me personally, the term is an oxymoron and a means of watering down the old beliefs.

Constantine did this once and as a result some of the worst bloodbaths in history began. And we are still dealing with the repercussions of this mixture to this day.

I am all for people having the freedom of following their own paths, but to me these people have broken in through the one tenet of Paganism which has IMHO become a weakness, namely tolerance.

While I'm all for tolerance, I see in this case how it has opened the flood gates to allowing xianity to have it's way with neo-paganism.

It allows people who were xian, and wanted to walk away from xianity (imagine that) but still not willing to give up that fear of hell and an afterlife, to add these aspects to their Pagan paths.

While Paganism has been enjoying a sharp increase in numbers and popularity, I perceive that there are xians who would infiltrate to divide and conquer. To some that might sound reaching, but I have seen it first hand in a local circle that I once belonged to.

Seems a hard path with those attacking from the outside and descension now coming from within.

When voicing an opinion on this matter within the Pagan community, it tends to open a can of worms and label those of us who wish to keep a sense of purity and integrity in our paths as being intolerant. Generally with those who are in fact xto-pagan.

I didn't leave xianity to be led back into it under the guise of Paganism.

Luckily I found a group of like minded individuals with whom I can practice my craft. And we do so happily.

And I sure wish there was a site like this when I left xianity about 20 years ago.

Cheers

Mike said...

Despite the New Year I went to bed a little early last night and I just noticed that my last post somehow didn't post. I can't remember everything I said though.

Madbuni, I apologize if I insulted or offended you or anyone else with my comments last night or on previous visits to this forum. I have spent some time at christian sites attempting to find a really good theological conversation but unfortunately all I seem to run into are fundies. I originally came here with some very prejudice beliefs about atheists and I think that was evident in some of my earlier posts.

What I have discovered, now that everyone has stopped being hostile (myself included), is that everyone here is very intelligent and I share almost everyone's opinions regarding the fundamentalist view of christianity which must, and I hope will, soon die.

BTW I am a christian. I am an episcopalian to be more specific and what I have found and come to love about the episcopal church is its open mindedness, although that may not be found in every church.

What I have found here is a forum where I can test my own theories and get some feed back. Ironically, I think I am of the same consensus with all of you here with the one exception being that I truly believe in God and Jesus and am dedicated to finding the truth beyond the superstition.

It is sometimes very difficult to break through all the myths and, quite frankly, the fundamentalists are no help. You folks here are, however, a big help for me in strengthening my faith in the Real God.

I hope you all will continue to welcome me at your site because I have really enjoyed our conversation. They have been most stimulating. In return I will respect everyone else's beliefs and I hope I won't offend anyone in the future.

Bear said...

Hi Angie

You Said: The original unified Christian faith was Roman Catholicism.

What I am saying is that Roman Catholicism didn't exist until after 300AD. This new organisation became the persecutor of any other religion or thought. They hid the Bible from the masses and tried to stamp out true believers. A 'double whammy'

YS: Catholic means universal. All other faiths, Orthodox, Protestant, Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, are simply off shoots of Catholicism.
An unhealthy seed cannot produce a healthy tree. If Catholicism is false everything that came from it is false. If Catholicism is pagan everything, including saviors born of virgins (a common theme in paganism), that comes from it is pagan. Truth can't come from lies, which is why there are hundreds of Christian denominations all claiming to be the one truth.

The RCC church is not the root. It claims succession from the root but is clearly not. It is so different from the root whilst retaining some resemblance to trick the masses.

Ken said...

Hi Mike, What we like here is open minded people, we do not care if you believe in a God or anything else. In fact if you want to believe in a God, thats fine, no harm will ever come to you from us, I assure you. What we do not like is people claiming to be a christian and condeming us for not believing as they do. However, most of us find it hard, if not impossible, to believe in a Bible God as described by human beings. We tend to think that a God that can create the whole universe in just six days, could also write his own book, not being divinely inspired, the word inspired leaves the door wide open for errors, misconceptions and imaginative exploitation, as you have already eloquently explained yourself. You will be welcomed here as long as you read with an open mind, and do not resent when people here with non-religious insight expose the ridiculous notions of the written word of men, and claim it to be from a God, in which you have shown that you are very capable of doing.

According to the Bible, one day God is in a good mood and loving everyone and the next day God is in a bad mood and ready to kill everyone in his sight, it just sounds too much like a man, not any reasonable God.

Genisis 6:6 And it repented the Lord that he created a man and a woman. How come it did not repent the Lord that he created Satan and allowed evil? So he killed everyone except Noah's family, now he suddenly trusts humans that he regretted making, with his inspired holy word, it does not add up. Then it took this brilliant God four thousands years before he came up with the visitation by Angels, Jesus salvation plan. What plan of salvation did this God allow for people before Jesus came along?

Then there is no mention of the word Hell in the OT, was Hell created with Heaven and Earth, or was Hell created by the bible writers? One has to dismiss all religious indoctrination instilled by preachers that one has allowed, before a person can percieve the bible as a piece of garbage that it really is. There is only one God and that is the Sun, it's not a God, it's a creator, all life on the Earth is a by-product of the Sun, the Sun is responsible for all life to have ever existed on Earth, and if the Sun dies, we do too. This is exactly how the Son of God got misconstrued into the fable of Jesus, the one who saves all, IMHO. You must also remember that the mentality, IQ, of the bible writers was probably that of a five year old at that time.

Mike said...

I hadn't had the chance to read all the posts until just now:

Dave8, I loved your analogy of the perception of colors! If I may say so, it really doesn't sound like you are atheist just anti-religious. And I can certainly see where that would come from.

I grew up in the roman catholic church, I later became an episcopalian because, as Robin Williams put it, it's catholic lite, all the ceremony none of the guilt. I have no animosity toward the RCC but I didn't like the fact that the RCC considers attending mass every sunday an obligation where as the episcopal church considers it a priviledge. I also never cared for being told what to believe and not being allowed to question doctrine.

My views and ideas about God and the universe fit very close to what you were saying. Very close. I also do not believe in a god that is a giant person in glowing robes with a long white flowing beard sitting on a throne in the clouds. I do not believe in the six day creation, that was put in the bible in order give authority to the sabbath day so that the early jews would have the right to do no work which worked to set them apart as a people from the gentiles.

I am very much involved in the martial arts, Seidokan and Tai Chi. In eastern philosophy the chi or ki is the energy that flows through absolutely everything. It can also be manipulated. I have seen some pretty remarkable demonstrations by some tai chi practitioners. This energy is what makes flowers grow, it is the energy of the interactions of atoms I believe. George Lucas called it "The Force" lol. It is the energy of the entire universe and it is real.

This is what I believe God to be.

I believe in evolution. But I think if God didn't exist I have a hard time believing that life would have evolved with such specificity.

Evolution is the survival of the species best adapted to its environment enabling it to survive in order to pass on its better traits. We use this concept all the time. Through "intelligent selection" we can breed a faster race horse. We develope corn crops that are hardier and can grow in harsher climates. Thanks to our abuse of antibiotics we have bred viruses that are now immune to all antibiotics.

My point here (and forgive me for rambling) is that none of these things would have happened withhout human intervention, without something deliberately guiding the evolution. I believe this is how God created the universe and all life within.

All that we can see and feel and understand and prove through science about life is under inteligent control. Without purposeful guidence there would be nothing but a cosmic soup.

God, in my understanding, is Chi personified.

Mike said...

Ken, good point:

I disagree with the sun god analogy though becuase, through technology we could survive without the sun. We are many years away from that but it is coming. But I do agree with you that the sun is a source of life and in that respect is part of the all powerful life force/energy of the universe i.e. God

MadBuni said...

Mike, thanks for your post, and you did not offend me, I was just letting you know the reasons we get defensive about things, and why we sometimes go off on people.

I read your posts after your first, and I think your intentions are respectful and honest, and that you understand atheists are not evil and immoral, but are just like you, seeking knowledge and a good life.

I personally come here because of the differing opinions and the wealth of knowledge this site affords. Cdmon said he wished this site had been around 20 years ago, and so do I. I have been exchristian for at least that long, and felt all alone for many years, not even admitting my feelings.

I labeled myself agnostic for lack of another term, and it has been pretty recent that I finally realised I was atheist because no matter what belief system I tried, I found I could not accept it, nothing was logical or made sense to me, so I came to the conclusion that if a god cannot be proven to me, I can't bring myself to have that leap of faith to believe in an unproven being. So, until god or space men come knocking on my door I am going to be the way I am! LOL

As Ken mentioned, we will not degrade or belittle anyone who comes here in peace regardless of what they believe, and I am sure if you visit here often, you will learn a lot, I sure have!

That being said, I am glad you explained your religion, and I am still rather confused about your belief in god, yet not having belief in the bible, it is contradictory to me, but I will try and learn more about it.

Thanks again, and take care,

kodibear1234 said...

I just thought I would comment here in support of Mike.

I am a Christian, but I often take issue with fundamentalism.

I try to blend both logic & faith in consideration of my "religious" views. Example: The original set of genetic markers infused into the "very first" bacterium from outside of time and space had encoding that allowed for self replication. Our scientists for just 50 years have recognized this incredible, technological miracle, called DNA which logically appears to be designed by a Master Designer (in my opinion).

I believe Yahweh or Jesus (take your pick) is the chosen name of the designer.

I believe the earth is millions and millions of years old (a blip in time to The Creator).

I believe Jesus did manifest phyically once to bring a peaceful solution to a divided world. A world which mutated from it's original intent.

God certainly knew it would mutate...

Isaiah 45:7 - I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. (I do all these things means, " I allowed all these things ")

I believe his SOLUTION from allowing this continual division was to literally manifest in the personage of Jesus Christ.

I choose to believe in Jesus' recorded words that lead to a peaceful lifestyle, but do not rely heavily on the Old Testament, (though I have found His prophetic birth was expected).

I find more allegory than flawlessly, factual stories, in the Old Testament though many stories are quite factual.

The points they try to make are the intent of the writters, not how they said them.

Example: Adam & Eve represent a point in ancient social mutation where men/women no longer trusted that God existed because of how bad things had gotten. Perhaps that is being repeated today. That choice was allowed and eventually divided men from experiencing God. (and rightfully so, God isn't going to force anyone to experience him if they chose not too.)

In the final analysis Jesus is God, but the Bible is man's attempt to record history ( and does so with all our human frailties and flaws.)

I also totally understand the atheistic view point having grown up in a atheist household, though my extended family members had faith in Jesus Christ.

Atheists certainly can have good morals, values, but, I did find that many family members who retained their atheism had no limits on their personal freedoms and literally fell into anarchy as their lives played out.

Alcoholism, excessive drug use, disease from smoking, etc. and those who felt "compelled to faith" as time went on generally had a healthier and happier lives.

That is simply how it all played out!

Logic deemed scientifically a belief in God (see my first statement), and socially the faithful in my family lived a better, more fruitful life,

So I chose FAITH.

Just not "fundamentalism" or fanaticism. I simply have sought the truth and am slowly finding that middle ground between science and faith.

Kodibear1234

Ken said...

Fairy tales believed by adults? I have one:
Billions of years ago, there was an explosion in space forming our universe. Earth was formed and it rained on the rocks for millions of years. Out of this primordial ooze, life emerged. The slime crawled onto land, but - realizing it had no lungs - crawled back for a few million years. Somehow, a girlfriend-slime emerged and - in the style of a prehistoric Bonnie and Clyde - they decided to make a break for land. Through heavy kissing, they resuscitate each other, evolved into humans, and lived happily ever after. Does someone have a better story of how the sexes and air-breathing mammals evolved?
I think all the origin stories sound like fairy tales. The important thing is to be a good person. For example, try taking this "goodness test" (Please answer honestly): Have you ever told a lie? (Yes/No) Have you ever stolen anything? (Yes/No) Have you ever lusted after a person? (i.e. adultery of the heart) (Yes/No) If you have answered "Yes" to these questions, you are a lying, thieving adulterer and you will have to face God on the judgment day. Call it a fairy tale, but you will be in serious, serious trouble and no amount of disbelief will save you from justly being sent to hell. I do not want to see anyone go to hell (especially me!), that is why I choose to accept Christ through faith. I know Him. He is my friend. That is no fairy tale (John 17.3 from the Bible).
I hope you will consider - once again before you face God on judgment day - to repent (i.e. choose to live God's way) so as to flee from the wrath that is to come. Hope to see you there!
Kennymaxx
Kennymaxx@sbcglobal.net

Angie said...

Bear,

You are partly correct. christianity formed as multiple sects that didn't agree with each other on much. Some sects believed Jesus was divine, some didn't.

The Council of Nicaea was formed to create a uniform ideology, which was the beginning of Roman Catholicism. The Council of Nicaea voted on whether Jesus was divine or not. Any sect that didn't accept this new unified set of doctrines was essentially wiped out. All the later Christian sects then came from Catholicism. So, I'm sorry. You can't say Catholicism is false and your brand of Christianity is true because it is based on the set of doctrines created by the Council of Nicaea.

Mike said...

Well gosh, Ken, how very impressed you must be with yourself having just passed judgement on people you have never even met. "Judge not lest ye be judged." Have you ever answered "yes" to that one?

The creation of the universe, i.e. the "big bang" theory and evolution, are the most awesome forces of power, so much so that they can hardly be comprehended fully. Don't you think God is that powerful?

Think about this; God said "Let their be light" and BANG!!!!! there was light.

What was a simple little suggestion on God's part, "let there be light" was such an incredible force that some scientists call it "the big bang". My God is that powerful, isn't yours? The universe exploded into near infinity and billions of years of evolution brought us to where we are today simply because my God made a suggestion. Why isn't your God that awesome?

Angie said...

Ken,

I assume you don't believe in evolution. How do you explain the mutation of viruses? How do you explain our ability to develop immunity to viruses and bacteria? How do you explain a bacteria's ability to become immune to antibiotics? This is all evolution, the ability to change and adapt to a changing environment.

I know some Christians explain this by saying they believe in microevolution but not macroevolution. But doesn't the existence of microevolution mean that macroevolution is plausible.

As for fairytales we see that evolution is real because we know a flu virus can change and mutate. We can observe this. But we can't know for certain that your friend Jesus is real because we have no way to observe him if he doesn't physically appear to us.

Oh, and you might want to brush up on your science.

Luke said...

Bear,

Let me give you a brief history of Christianity.

-Jesus lived, preached, and died
-Multiple Christian sects formed and about all they could agree on was they were followers of Jesus
-A few hundred years later they got together and said we're all Christians but we don't agree on much, so lets devise a unified set of doctrines. They did and became the official universal Roman church
-The eastern Christians didn't much like the western Christians. When the pope implemented celibacy they thought enough is enough. Let's break away and they did. They created the various eastern orthodox churches
-Hundreds of years later people like Luther, Calvin, Swedenborg, etc. had problems with Catholic doctrine. They thought to themselves this doesn't make sense, so I better fix it. They went to the Bible and created their own doctrines. Of course, others had problems with these new doctrines and so decided to fix them using the Bible as their source
-The Bible is not very reliable. Even Peter and Paul couldn't agree with each other. Paul thought that you could only be saved by faith. Good works were a cynical attempt to bribe God. Peter thought this was hogwash and said faith without works was useless. As a result, the number of new Christian sects, or splintering Christian sects, all proclaiming to have found the truth, has mushroomed. And this is where we now find ourselves today.

cdmon said...

Ken,

Now let's be totally honest with ourselves. How many times have YOU answered yes to any of your questions?

If you answered NO to any of those questions you are a bleeding hypocrite. And that means that you too are in serious trouble.

You say you have accepted the jeez by faith, but what if YOU are wrong? What does the bible say about believing a lie? Does your god lie? Well like it or not here are some answers from the bible.

1 Kings 22:23
Now, therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

2 Chronicles 18:22
Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets.

Jeremiah 4:10
Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people.

Jeremiah 20:7
O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived.

Ezekiel 14:9
And if a prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet.

2 Thessalonians 2:11
For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.

Now with this evidence from your own bible, it appears your own god does lie after all. So perhaps this whole thing is one huge lie being perpetrated on you. I could take it farther and hit on the theiving and adultery parts too, but this should suffice for now.

What if you picked the wrong god? Perhaps you will burn in the Islam hell...

According to your bible deceiving folks is certainly not out of his scope, is it? All good and all loving huh?

Now, knowing that your god is more than capable of lying... wouldn't your time be better spent doing something for your own betterment, say getting an education.

Cheers

Bear said...

Hi Angie and Anon

The council may have voted on whether Jesus was divine or not but the fact remains that the Bible says he is/was. The beliefs of the early Christians were based not only in the New Testament, but the Old Testament as well, providing a solid foundation. The Christian beliefs were in fact not entirely new. There were a few sects like the Gnostics and others that held to some unorthodox views, but the mainstream Christians were bound together by persecution and the hope of the scriptures. Remember the adage ‘United we stand’. I think history has spoken. The belief of a Christian is rooted in the Bible, not a dodgy church council, or what Rome or anyone else would tell us!

The person who presided over the council of Nicea was Constantine. He convened the council, set its agenda and gave the opening speech. Unfortunately, while heading the Christian church he continued to head the pagan priesthood as Pontifex maximus! History shows us that at this time worship of the saints replaced the cult of pagan gods, statues of Isis and Horus were renamed Mary and Jesus, Christmas replaced the Saturnalia festival and the traditions and customs of paganism joined the church!! This explains why a catholic mass looks so bizarre at times. This transformation was a devastating blow upon the church. Christ’s bride had been wedded to paganism! This institution went on to seek ‘temporal power’ and subdue kingdoms by force and manipulation, which is the opposite message of Christ. Imagine the lowly Jesus or Paul sitting on the throne in the Vatican palace, decked in the treasures of this world, demanding allegiance by the point of a sword. This form of ‘Christianity’ was obviously not present for the first 300 years as I said earlier.

Things to remember about Roman Catholicism:
They have deleted the second commandment from their catechism because it forbids statues.
They disobey the teaching of scripture that declares there is only one mediator between God and man.
They deny the priesthood of all believers.
The continue in vain repetitions(Rosaries etc), condemned in the Bible.
They believe Mary was sinless contrary to the Bible.
They believe in salvation through works and condemn assurance of salvation.
The believe it is not ‘finished’.
The list goes on and on and on…………………
Pope John Paul II believed all religions are praying to the same God!!! He allowed the Dali lama to perform Buddhist worship in one of his churches, an act the apostles would surely deem unthinkable! The catholic message does not bring the freedom to man that God wishes. It brings wealth and power to itself. It is in fact anti-christian.

The Bible is ‘reliable’ because it has been carefully preserved and copied like no other manuscript of its age. History shows this in people like the Masorites and in findings like the dead sea scrolls.

Regards

Bear said...

Hi Angie

You Said: But we can't know for certain that your friend Jesus is real because we have no way to observe him if he doesn't physically appear to us.

Angie, if Jesus did appear to you, how would you know if it was him anyway? It could be someone pretending to be him or you could have experienced some kind of unexplained phenomenon. That is why it is written with your heart you believe.

Also, your above statement means you don’t believe in just about every historical figure in history because they cannot ‘physically’ appear to us either. God wants to give you a new heart like he promised.

Regards

Dave8 said...

Bear, you may want to revisit the dead sea scrolls. The story of Abraham sent to sacrifice Isaac his son on a stone alter, is written in a different context. The dead sea scrolls, translated, reveal that god was tempted by satan, and was prided into putting Abraham to the test of faith.

How does a god, get suckered into a pride match with a demon, if the god is all powerful.

Anonymous said...

Dave8 wrote:

Bear, you may want to revisit the dead sea scrolls. The story of Abraham sent to sacrifice Isaac his son on a stone alter, is written in a different context. The dead sea scrolls, translated, reveal that god was tempted by satan, and was prided into putting Abraham to the test of faith.

How does a god, get suckered into a pride match with a demon, if the god is all powerful.


Well Dave, you are so right of course. The Bible is full of the God stuff that is easy to see is just silly human emotion. The God of the Bible falls into hate, and pettiness at the drop of a hat. Easy to see that the writers of the Bible were just projecting their own BS. Sad people believe this crap today!

onanite

Angie said...

Bear,

"The council may have voted on whether Jesus was divine or not but the fact remains that the Bible says he is/was."

Like I said there was a dispute relating to the divinity of Jesus. The fact is the early Christian sects argued over whether he was or not. If the Council had voted against divinity you would believe that Jesus was a prophet but you would not consider him a savior. The Council essentially determined how Jesus is viewed to this day.

You might want to read the book Misquoting Jesus. It goes into detail about the unreliability of the Bible. The book compares the version of the Bible we have today with the earliest manuscripts. The NT was modified over many centuries by scribes. For example, the story of the adultress and Jesus saying let he who is without sin cast the first stone did not appear in any early manuscripts. It was added hundreds of years later.

The author of Misquoting Jesus is Bart Ehrman. Ehrman was a fundamentalist Christian. He lost his faith when he realised that much of what is in the NT was altered over the centuries. I also recommend "Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament" by the same writer.

Angie said...

Bear,

"if Jesus did appear to you, how would you know if it was him anyway? It could be someone pretending to be him or you could have experienced some kind of unexplained phenomenon."

This doesn't change my point that Jesus cannot be physically observed the was the mutation of a virus can be observed. Now if Jesus appeared as a floating ghost in the middle of the night and said "I'm Jesus, the son of God. Sorry that all the contradictions in the New Testament got you confused. Bear's religion is the correct one" then I would have observed his existence. And, of course, I would become a believer again.

But a book written 2000 years ago is not evidence of Jesus' divinity. Just like the Koran is not evidence that Muhammad was a prophet. You accept the Bible as truth, but not the Koran. Why? I reject the reliability of the Bible the same way you reject the reliability of the Koran.

Mike said...

When fundamentalists, conservative christians or anyone for that matter, read the bible and either believe and profess it to be the Word of God absolutely literally or, renounce the bible all together for the same reason, they are doing a terrible injustice.

The bible is not the literal truth.

{And they shall say to the elders of his city, 'this son of ours is stubborn and rebelious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.' Then all the men of his city will stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil person from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.} Deut. 20:21

This is not the word of God!

But, now having said that how can I say that other "more acceptible" passages in the bible are the word of God? The only way to avoid hypocracy here is to stand on the roof tops and proclaim that the bible absolutely NOT the word God! (well I'm afraid of heights so I'll just type it onto the internet)

There is truth in the bible though. The writers were using the 'tools' they had available to them and the 'knowledge' and 'understanding' of the world in which they lived in order to try and explain something so awesome that words are, even to this day, completely insufficient to accurately describe.

I'd better get off my soap box now. The height is starting to give me a nose bleed.

Luke said...

Mike,

"There is truth in the bible though."

How can you possibly know which parts are true and which parts aren't? Isn't the Bible useless if you can't separate the truth from the fictions and deceptions?

Bobbruce said...

This is my first post, I just discovered this site.

My comment is mostly directed towards Bear and is an ammendment to something Angie stated.

Being new here, I will keep it short. It seems that you're argument is shared by many that hate the RCC (I grew up catholic, now atheist, but dealt with the bigotry for many years). You may believe that you don't follow what happened at the Council of Nicaea and that you choose not to believe int he direction Constatine took the church.

However, do not forget that the question of divinity and the like were not the only things at the discussion table. They also chose what books are contained within the very same bible you read with such relish today. Including choosing only 4 of the many "gospels" that existed, the ones specifically tailored to the direction they wanted the church to go. The very same book that contains your "truth" , is simply the "truth" as those men saw it. I won't even get into the translations for specific religions that have occured since then...

Thanks to all of you for providing such good discussion here on these forums, I look forward to posting and reading here in the future.

Bob

Bear said...

Hi Angie

You said “The If the Council had voted against divinity you would believe that Jesus was a prophet but you would not consider him a savior. The Council essentially determined how Jesus is viewed to this day.”

I think you are confused.
John the Baptist said Jesus would save his people from their sins; that sounds like a savior to me. The gospels declare that whoever believes in him shall not perish. Acts says there is salvation in no other (Jesus), no other name by which we are saved. His blood poured out for us etc. C’mon, you may call the bible a lie but you can’t say it doesn’t say Jesus is the Saviour! I think even your atheist friends would be with me on this one (do I hear an amen?).

As for the divinity of Jesus, that is just as easy to see: Hebrews 1:8: “But of the Son he says, your throne O God is forever”. John 1:1 “the word was God”. Revelation etc. Then there is the OT. Micah 5:2 etc.

No the council didn’t determine how Jesus is viewed today, it was the bible written hundreds of years earlier. I don’t believe your theory.

Bob

I dispute your statement that “They also chose what books are contained within the very same bible you read with such relish today”, because no early council ruled on what was canonical. In these councils, both sides quoted the New Testament, which had already been widely accepted. The council of Nicea in 325 even refers to ‘the canon’! It wasn’t until the Third Council of Carthage in AD 397 that we have the first conciliar decision on the canon. This is a bit late if without it Christians did not know what books to read!

Regards

Dave8 said...

Bear, its apparent you are attempting to justify your beliefs. That's fine, as long as you keep you beliefs to yourself, however, what you just stated shows so much inaccuracy I am compelled to post a reply.

First, there is a difference between the OT and the NT. Per the OT, the prophesies were never fulfilled. The Orthodox/Rabbinical Jews believed according to their bible that The Jewish God would bring the Jews into the New Kingdom by sending a mortal messiah to earth, who would do his will... This was written in the OT, 'long' before the NT was written. The Jews believed that their "savior", was to come and take down all of the "false" religions and believers who opposed the Jewish faith... They believed that they were the "chosen" people, the apple of gods' eye. In short, per the Old Testament (OT), the Jews never witnessed the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies, or you would currently be Jewish at this very moment, as part of the Old Testament prophesy was to bring all people to believe in "one" god, and destroy all others. At the time that prophesy was written, there was only one god according to the Jews, and that was the Jewish God... The Jews never received their "savior", unless you are going to state that you are Jewish, and all Jews are living in their New Kingdom... If you want to read about the unfilled OT prophesies, here's a link.

http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/jews-jesus/jews-jesus-index.html

Now, you assert that Jesus is a "savior", and its obvious he wasn't the Jewish Savior, and they were the Originators of the OT who "set" what saving was to be, based on prophesy.

Many christians, create an "end state" of their belief, which is in this day, and then attempt to work backwards in time to pick out information to support their belief. For example, many christians take the NT as "truth", and then attempt to force the OT passages, and historical information into the framework of the NT... It doesn't work, and not only does it not work, its dishonest if someone is in theory looking for accurateness of historical information. If a person wants to be honest, and search for truth, they must start at the beginning, or as far back as they can go, and learn culture, social beliefs, etc., and work forward in time... If you were to do that, you would never consider the NT as truth, as it was created under the premise that the OT prophesies were fulfilled.

Typically, christians claim Jesus to be a savior, by citing NT scripture, but if the OT wasn't fulfilled, its still in effect, and the NT is a fraud. The words "original sin" do not appear in the bible, and neither does the word "trinity", and therefore, even in that context, there is "no need" per the NT to have a need for a "savior"...

Personally, I don't consider Jesus a savior, because he didn't "save" the Jews, and, they are still waiting for the "first coming" of Their Messiah... And, of course, that makes the NT false, which is where you pulled your quotes from, as most christians do.

Regarding the NT scriptures, and how that canon was created. The NT was canonized "after" the First Council of Nicaea. The question becomes, why did only "certain" documents, letters, epistels, etc., make it into the canonized NT? I mean, there was all types of literature being distributed at the time Jesus was supposed to have lived, and beyond.

The gnostics had their documents, the ebionites, etc., etc. and why didn't their documents "make" the cut, and into the NT. Perhaps, its because the gnostics didn't believe Jesus was a demi-god, and neither did the Ebionites, and many other Christian sects... Here is a small list of Christians who were steadfast in their "faith", and persecuted for their beliefs...

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Early heresies
Disputes of doctrine began early on. The newly-organized church organized councils to sort matters out. Councils representing the entire church were called ecumenical councils. Some groups were rejected as heretics.

Simonianism

Nicolaitanism

Judaizers

Gnosticism (based on "secret wisdom" from Paul in Romans 16:25)

Marcionism (called the most dangerous threat ever faced)

Montanism (Tertullian,"Father of the Latin Church", was a convert)

Alogi

Mandaeanism

Monarchianism

Nestorianism (advanced by Nestorius, a patriarch of Constantinople)

Apollinarianism

Arianism (fourth century, advanced by Arius, a priest)

Although most writings of Arius were destroyed by the early Catholic Church and the Roman Emperor Constantine, we can infer from Athanasius' arguments against Arius some idea of the movement. Basically, Arius was a leader of Christians who had a very particular understanding of the early trinitarianism movement, reflecting the divine nature of Christ. Arius' hypothesis, to our knowledge, was that Jesus was created by God (as in, "There was a time when the Son was not"), and hence, was secondary to God. His primary proof text was John 17:3. Athanasius' position was that Jesus was and always had been divine, and had a divine nature along with the Father and the Holy Spirit."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Christianity#The_Earliest_Church

Bear, a "True" christian couldn't be found, before Jesus, during Jesus' lifetime (personally I think the demi-god Jesus was just a fictional character) or even "after" Jesus was said to have been crucified. Over three hundred years later, we get the First Council of Nicaea voting on the divinity of Jesus, with "less" information and eyewitness acounts, than when Jesus was said to have lived. The final vote was "not" unanimous, on his "divinity"...

If you don't believe the historical record. Then perhaps you can shed some light on how the Roman Church was able to "determine" which writings of their era were "not" inspired by god, and which ones were. I mean, does it make any sense for the Roman Church to publish a gnostic writing that describes Jesus as an illusion/image, as they believed... no... and that's why those writings didn't make it into the NT canon, they didn't support the vote of the First Council of Nicaea.

.:webmaster:. said...

Bear, you simply have to read other things besides the Buy-Bull to free yourself from ignorance. Click here.

Angie said...

Bear,

"John the Baptist said Jesus would save his people from their sins; that sounds like a savior to me. The gospels declare that whoever believes in him shall not perish. Acts says there is salvation in no other (Jesus), no other name by which we are saved. His blood poured out for us etc. C’mon, you may call the bible a lie but you can’t say it doesn’t say Jesus is the Saviour!"

Without using the Bible, prove to me that John the Baptist said Jesus would save people from their sins.

Here is the problem. You are using an act of faith to justify an act of faith. You claim that Jesus must be the savior because the Bible says so, but you have no way of knowing that the Bible is true.

I don't believe that the Bible is true, so I don't believe it's claim that Jesus was a savior. I don't believe the Koran is true, so I don't believe it's claim that Muhammad was a prophet.

Since, you cannot prove that the Bible is true you can't prove that any of it's claims are true. You may have faith that it is true but you must remember that faith is believing something that cannot be proven.

You have a right to your faith. I respect your right to believe in anything you want: fairies, little green men, ghosts impregnating virgins, etc. But respect is a two way street. You must respect my right to consider Christianity a myth. I don't post on Christian sites. What is your motivation for posting here?

Simon A. said...

I would just like to make a comment to some/all of the notations. I have to be honest, I haven't read everyone's thoughts or responses on this site, but I did read many. I only found this site because I was searching for "Walker between worlds" as I wanted to understand what this meant. I have to say I am fascinated by this.
As a person (whom I might add is of the older generation) I can truly understand why some believe or indeed disbelieve. I was brought up a catholic, but in my own way through childhood, always disputed the beliefs of this religion. However I had a wonderful grandmother, who was so enthralled by these beliefs, that I never doubted anything, and I believe this was simply because I loved my nan so much. My parents were also of the same ilke. As time went by I had many unpleasant things happen in my life, and so I decided there was no such thing as Jesus or God or indeed any entity to believe in, because if there was, surely "he/she" (and maybe black,white or brindle) would not have let these things happen.
However as time has gone on, all I can say is don't worry if there is a God or not, don't worry if there is Allah or not, in fact don't worry about any of these things.
Just worry about being a gentle, kind person to others, and above all believe in your own personal worth to you self and others.
Simon A.

JJ said...

Hey every one im christian my name is jj and I really disagree with what you guys are saying. My testimony is pretty weird but interest so feel free to prove me wrong. I was about 15 was doing alot drugs. one time i took 110 hyrdrocodones, 4 xanax, half abottle of niquil, and some muscle relaxers. it didnt know how to think. but my grandmother prayed over me and i woke up little fine.

Then a a little bit later i was braging about it and did 20 35mlg adderall, about 20-30 riddlen 10mlg plus the big and even bigger riddlen i got from my really really ADHD friend in 4 days.

I though i found God and knew how everything worked. i was fried. I tried to go to the mental hospital but ending up not going. couldnt feel thing but sorrow. Bugs were flying all around me.

now im Schizoaffective which is scizoprenia and bi-poler mixed.

i have hard time seperating the real from the not real. but with Gods sight Praise Jesus the savior and mediator between the 3 heavens with are in space and satan took 2 thirds of Gods angles witch became demons and then went the opposite of God which is drugs, killing, rape, and any other thing you would want to do. satan is trying to destroy us but telling these things are good. if you dont know how you got here who will for you. Christ knows how many hairs are on your head and knows what you are thinking feeling and hearing right now at this moment better than you do. satan does to but god gives you a choice to serve either him our sin. Its like this because Gods angles departed from him and followed another. So God made the world to test those who wouldnt betray him and no one is better nor worse than any other than to what you do him. The more you do for him the better your life will be but it aint perfect something wants to pull you away and it wants to kill you and wants you to kill and the same. we never die. our our souls will reside somewhere forever but Christ grants and body like his which never falls apart nor decays and there will be a new earth and heavens when God reclaims his own.
Hes real and loves us all more than any one does on this earth but if you dont want to the see the truth which HE not any one else speaks than your blind as me seeing things and hearing people say awfal things. please email me at jnic360@yahoo.com if you have any thing to say at all. God loves you dont live your hiding anymore i do every but try not to and for that God blesses me. please read the bible or something this world just think were gonna end up killing each other in the next 200 years. GOD BLESS and check out a ban called Demon hunter and Disciple their christian they can put this in a good perspective one i like to listen to.

Anonymous said...

I am an Ex-Christian who has a problem with some of the so called "modern day Atheists". Not that the people in here I am saying are Atheist but I have seen a lot about this since I have turned away from Christianity. A lot of people seem to be crying out to eliminate ALL religions. These same people it seems(granted I really really like the book "Letter To A Christian Nation" because Sam Harris hits the nail on the head about people forfeiting there ability to use common sense for the dogma of the church.) But the book FEELS so angry when I read it. It's almost like the very thing that people like him are accusing Christians of being(and rightly so) such as narrowminded, dogmatic about unproven beliefs, trying to impose their beliefs on other people, this other crowd of Atheist are just as guilty as the Christians are of the SAME behavior. This is why world peace isn't happening(telling me that if I was for instance a Hindu which I am not, or into Voodoo which also not, given that I wasn't harming anybody, they are basically wanting to push to have my GOD DAMN constitutional right of freedom of religion taken away even though I don't push my beliefs on anyone, so to hell with that. Fine, they are Atheist and seemingly pissed off at the church, well I am pissed at the Church too, but OH WELL, good for them, I'll live.) People can't agree to disagree. Maybe just the fact that I am fed up with all the bickering, whining, bitching, and so on makes me just as guilty. I don't know. They have about as much "evidence" to disprove the exhistence of god(dogmatic view, an absolute) as the Christians have "evidence" to prove the exhistince of god(dogmatic view, an absolute).....

anyway, enough about my bitching session(lol), just wanted to put that out there.

My story short and sweet:
I was raised going to the Baptist church and I know from an early age that ALL of my CORE beliefs about god were ALL based on FEAR. It took many years, Psychologists, Psychaiatrists, 12 step programs, so on and so forth to come to a conclusion that my "faith" in Christianity was merely fear in disguise. The really disturbing thing about addressing this to Christians is that a lot of them that admit that it IS based on fear, think that that is GOOD!!!(I put all caps on good with three exclamation points after that to show how powerful the churches brainwashing is over simple minded people, how disturbing this is). I started looking at Buddhist literature(which a lot of times at the core of it seems a lot of times somewhat Atheistic even though some of the Sutras talk about Hindu deities the Buddha seemed to mention them more to merely make a point about HIS teaching and not the Hindu teaching, and for that matter it seems more menat to be a philosophy than a religion, but it has been turned into one over the years), also Taoism, and Wicca. Do I think ANY of the three are absolutely right, nope. They are all conceptions for that which NO ONE fully understands nor for that matter can understand(anyone can bring all the scientific data and findings they want, all the psycho babble, anything and everything they want as "proof", but it can't be disproven or proven by any of it, either way they are all still conceptions.) So before anyone in here attacks me for thinking that I am promoting, soliciting, advertising, trying to convert, so on and so forth anyone to any of the three, I am not. That is just where I am in my life at this time as an Ex-Christian. That is all I am going to say......

Remove the constitutional right of freedom of religion, all the people that died in the revolutionary war, and any war truly defending all of the freedoms that give an Atheist the freedom to not believe in any god and a Christian the freedom to believe in only one god, will have died for nothing.

Remove freedom of speech, same thing.

If we remove those, the next natural step is removal of other aspects of the constitution that this conservative doesn't agree with, or that liberal doesn't agree with and eventually left with no constitution.

Goodbye Democracy and freedom, welcome facsist state......think about it.

Anonymous said...

One other thing(here I go again....:), JJ, I am an Alcoholic, have had the same behaviors you have, and have had the same beliefs that you have. I feel sympathy and sorrow for you that in all of the searching through all of the drugs, you still give into fear ruling you. The moment that ANY belief system says that "(bad thing, you name it) will happen after you die if you don't believe (this or that supposed Holy book), you will suffer for all eternity!!!" it creates fear in most human beings. The moment you give into that belief system, the people who designed it to manipulate and control suffering peoples minds have now gotten control of yours. One thing I know from first hand experience(also turning to Christianity after having too many benders on Alcohol, Pills, Drugs, staying out till 4 in the morning, suicidal thoughts and on and on), is that unless a person really does their self searching, freeing themselves from resentments, sometimes medication, arresting their delusions and destructive beliefs about themselves and the world around them, that recovery, sobriety, and sanity is even a possibility. I am not promoting the AA program or any other 12 step program here, but am pointing out that you yourself said:

"i have hard time seperating the real from the not real"

and the fact that you have other mental problems. How do you know that you are SO SURE that you aren't still living in a fantasy world?......

I know for a fact that Alcoholics and Addicts(most active ones and even some inactive ones would NEVER admit this and sometims due to delusions CAN'T be honest enough to admit this), seemingly their "natural" state is to be dominated by an outside force such as a drink or a drug. It is only natural for a lot of people with those problems to choose a belief system(at least at first) that strikes fear into the most fearless, and drops the most corageous to their KNEES....

Anonymous said...

I see that reading bits of these comments so many of you that are non-believers seem really angry at Christians for them simply making their own choice and deciding to have faith that there is one God who created us and that when we die, if we lived for him and obeyed his commandments ect, ect (I don’t want to go on but u know what I’m saying...) then we can live eternally.
Why is this such a problem? You say you’re annoyed that Christians state their believes as fact.. well yes they would because that’s what believing and having faith is all about, you yourself don’t have to get worked up because of this… people say to me for example that theirs a gay gene or my teachers in school teach me Darwin’s theory as if it was proven and a fact, doesn't mean I except that, I don’t stand up and abuse what they say! My point is that reading these comments there’s a general trend that the non believers are worked up, angry and taunt the other comments left by people who say they are Christians; the Christian comments seem calmer, non abusive and are simply discussing their believes. This is coming from a non biased point of view as well!
I know this is 2 be expected on a site like this, but I know that non Christains can be just as morally aware as Christinas... but no wonder some Christains thank God everyday for finding the truth, seeing how abusive and vile some of the non Christain poeple can be, jst like reading alot of these comments.

Jim Arvo said...

Anonymous,

A good deal of the venom and nearly all the arrogance comes from visiting Chrisitians. We are told, in no uncertain terms, what will happen to us when we die if we do not adopt the same beliefs as them. We are told that we have no morals, we are told that we are being selfish, blind, stupid, etc.

Now, if you are a Christian, and you believe all that stuff, then good for you. You can hold whatever beliefs you want. You can plaster them all over the internet if you wish. You can have Bible study meetings and affirm your beliefs to one another. You can pray to your deity 24 hours a day if you wish. Those are all choices that you can make, and nobody here in attempt to stand in your way.

However, when Christians come HERE and make ridiculous accusations, or fantastic assertions, they are challenged. If you say that god will do such and such, you had better demonstrate that those words have some meaning, and that there is some valid reason to suppose they are true. Yet not a single Christian posting here in the years that I've been visiting this site has EVER offered a one single cogent argument for the existence of said being, or offered one shred of credible evidence for anything supernatural. Still, I and others, will often politely ask them what kind of evidence they have. That's usually when the accusations fly. How dare we make demands of god, or doubt the being who created us! What we then hear is sophistry, excuses, fallacies, indignation, whimpering, moaning, complaining, accusations, condescension, pity,... everything but evidence and reason. That's what we get in return--almost every time. (I say "almost" because there have been a few thoughtful and polite Christians who exhibited none of these characteristics; but they are a very small minority.)

Now, anonymous, what can you offer by way of evidence for any supernatural being? I'm asking you politely. If you have none, your words will have absolutely no weight here. Do you see that?

Warnepiece said...

Anonymous,

Almost all the christians who come here don't come to dazzle us with their billiance, it's to baffle us with their bullshit.

That tends to make us a bit touchy when it happens almost EVERY SINGLE TIME!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12/31/2005 12:17 AM
I'm another Anonymous who was reading these statements:
So, where was Jesus when the tsunami and hurricanes happened? He was and still is on His thrown being Lord to those who believe and jugding those who dont.
Here's a little news for you to read that came out of the Tsunami:
The Christians wanted to celebrate Christmas day in the city, but the Muslems wouldn't let them, and told them to go to the hills to do their celebrating Christmas which they did! But while they were all up there in the hills, the Tsunami struck killing many many muslems and others! But no Christian were every lost or killed! Why? Then many of the Muslems asked each other this question: "Why is it so that their God spared all the Christians lives and our god didn't protect us at all?" This report is true!!!
So you had better think about this statement of Anonymous at least:
reading these statements:
So, where was Jesus when the tsunami and hurricanes happened? He was and still is on His thrown being Lord to those who believe and jugding those who dont.
I atleast believe what (Anonymous) she or he has said here!
I also have had some real things that could have ripped my arm from my body even killed me, But this real God of the Christian gave me tremendous strength and I didn't - I still have my arm fully in tact!!!
And guess what? He will soon return to take His true Believers of this earth and then pour out 7 years of judgment called in the Bible "The Great Tribulation"! I could tell you and others a lot of things that prove the existance of the Living God that happen to me, but there's not enough room here!
From downunder Australia...
Maranatha (The Lord is coming soon)

Astreja said...

Anonymous of 12:17 p.m., thank you for demonstrating the "Fantasy" part of the thread title.

.:webmaster:. said...

Anony of 12:17 AM:

Wow! Fantastic story! Amazing!

Do you have any documentation that any of us can look at to confirm the truth of your story, or is this just something that is being repeated in your church?

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