Former Jew for Jesus

sent in by Steve

I've read many of the books by Peter Gomes and John Shelby Spong. Their terrific books and writings have been very helpful in appreciating the good things about Christianity. I highly recommend their writings.

I love Jesus the man, the human, the carpenter's son, for his ethical teachings of compassion, forgiveness, love and living life abundantly. His teaching are like Filet Mignon!

I enjoy some hymns and occasionally meditations and quiet times within a church setting. I appreciate ministers who are wonderful communicators and orators who convey the gospel of peace and love. I'm more of a social, liberal gospel person --- caring and helping the least among us, those who are hurt, sick, lonely, sad, hungry, homeless and suffering.

And the other versions of Christianity are often an anathema to my decorum! (think Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Ralph Reed, Gary Bauer, Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker, charlatans, hypocrites and assorted kooks galore!, etc.) I can differentiate between the differences only because I spent a lot of time in various types of churches and with different Christian expressions/peoples. Scriptural literalism and rigidity within ALL religions, not just Christianity and Islam, are often scary, exclusive, dangerous and condemning --- and sadly, often hate-filled and tend to brainwash people.

I believe in "Golden Rule" spirituality, i.e. "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I believe in the Judaic (and universal) concept of 'Tikkun Olam:' individual and collective human participation in the healing, transforming, repairing of our broken, hurting, and often depraved world.

I consider myself a secular Jew whose Judaic identity is primarily cultural and intellectual, but not religious. I do not feel at home in a traditional congregation. I don't want to recite liturgy I don't believe. I don't know if I believe in God, which technically means I'm agnostic. I consider the Judeo-Christian Bible/Scriptures and Torah as metaphorical guides, life stories and myths, but not as literal and infallible. I step away from all religious dogmas, creeds and rigid absolutes. Now having explained my theology and cosmology, I believe in a free, independent and responsible search for truth and meaning. I celebrate the gift of reason, a free mind and the human heart's call to think -- to think for ourselves. I affirm humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit. Yes, I'm a 'doubting Thomas' and I tend to be a rational thinking person but I'm also open to life's mysteries and unexplained beauty.

I could also be wrong about what I believe or don't believe.

Thomas Jefferson said "reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error" and "it is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read." In short, deeds - not creeds.


Brooklyn
NY
How old were you when you became a christian? 30
How old were you when you ceased being a christian? 36
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Presbyterian, Baptist, Jew for Jesus
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Secular and agnostic
Why did you become a christian? Liked the concept of being "born again" (as in a fresh start, a new beginning, and feeling empty inside)
Why did you de-convert? Increased reading, knowledge, biblical interpretation and being befriended by non-fundamentalist types of people
email: srz0567 at yahoo dot com

48 comments:

Bob (Been There, Got the T-Shirt) said...

Hi Steve,

Welcome! If only our government, the world's religious leaders, and the faithful had taken a path such as the path that you have chosen... I think everyone would be better if they really tried to follow the teachings of Jesus. It is amazing to me how some "christians" can be so "unchristian-like". As Al Franken says: "But from what I understand, if you cut out all the passages in the Bible where Jesus talks about the poor, about helping out the least amongst us - if you cut out every one of those passages, you'd have the perfect container to smuggle Rush Limbaugh's drugs in."

It's good to have control over your mind. It is a rare kind of freedom when you can pull valuable pieces out of all sorts of literature (the bible is just literature, to me) and find parts that work for you, without getting trapped. Dr. Wayne Dyer is good at that: (http://www.drwaynedyer.com/home/index.cfm)

Good luck and thanks for your post.

Jim Lee said...

All I want to say here is that the New Testament Jesus is a myth.As a secular Jew who has an understanding of Christianity you should be well aware of that fact alone. Christianity is one great scam of giant magnitude

Chris L. said...

I have heard this idea that Jesus was a "scam" and actually never existed. Can anyone recommend some good books or literature that fully descibes the pro and con arguments in this regard?

georgespiggott said...

The realization that Jesus started purely as a myth has been around for perhaps a couple of centuries but current debate seems to have been kicked along by G A Wells, starting in the 1970s.

Most Christians (and even non-Christians!) assume the Gospels to be what tradition has claimed for them, i.e. the collected stories of Jesus' apostles and later disciples.

It is this assumption which has been recently crumbling under modern research.

Spong and the Jesus Seminar hold the view that there is an historical Jesus buried deep within the Christian documents, a person who has been subsequently deified and whose sayings have been re-edited for the purposes of the early church.

But look at the Gospels: strip away the certain legends e.g. Virgin birth, remove the "midrash" (quotes from the Jewish scriptures, updated for the Christian audience), assume that the Gospels reported Old Testament prophecies as being fulfilled because they had to! All that is left is a bit of Cynic philosophy...

Robert M Price's The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man is aptly titled and a good read. But it is Earl Doherty's The Jesus Puzzle which sets out most of the mythicist position to a point which I find virtually unassailable!

As an ex-Christian, I liked the recent film The God Who Was Not There, but regard it as a very cursory overview of the topic.

Jim Lee said...

The New Testament Jesus via the virgin birth is a myth, and that's a fact. I don't tell lies. Want evidence? I find it best to do your own research, but if your too lazy then purchase "The Bible Fraud" by Australian author Tony Bushby. This book has many references that you can check out for yourselves. More information here. www.thebiblefraud.com
I've read some of Sprongs book and he has done enough research to know enough to know that the virgin birth Jesus is a myth. Why Sprong remains a Christian I'll never know.

freedy said...

To Chris L...The Jesus Mysteries,
Was The "Original Jesus" A Pagan God?.... is an excellant book by
Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy. They have two other books and I have read them all. You will never
again doubt that jesus is just a recycled, pagan, mythological, ascending, and descending godman!
These guys have done their homework

benji said...

A good online overview of the Pagan origins of Christianity is on this site: http://home.earthlink.net/%7Epgwhacker/ChristianOrigins/
"Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth." Whoever the author is of this website should receive a medal. It is extremely well-organized and easy to understand. The conclusions are clear and the sources are all provided. The main drawback for me is that it is a work in progress so not all topics on the head page have been addressed. If I ever need a quick look-up on this topic, though, this is the first place I'll check.

Anonymous said...

Steve,
It is heartening to hear your story. A good jewish friend of mine was almost sucked in by evangelicals. After a few good conversations and me lending him my CD on the "New Testament" (by Bart Erhman) he was soon disabused of the notion that christianty might have some validity.

There is a big push by evangelicals to convert jews. Just last night as I sat watching TBN, a preacher was explaining how to surreptitiously draw jews toward christianity. He said that christians should start celebrating jewish holidays because it piques the curiosity of jews and in turn leads them to wonder about christianity. Is it not bad enough that the christians stole the jewsih scriptures and claimed that the jews didn't know how to interpret their own writing. Now they want to claim the jewish holidays as their own!

Worse yet the ultimate result of the evangelical's program, if successful, would be to effectively eliminate the jews and their culture by assimilation. This would be a great loss of scientific and intellectual energy to America and the world. In addition, jews (secular) have helped staunch the the encroachment of religion into the state via the courts. Without jewish invovlement I sure we would have much less caselaw to resist the tide of fundamentlist theocracy.

Glad to hear you're no longer part of the jesus cult.

SpaceMonk said...

I also have to thank a Jewish site for being the first to provide evidence that really got me questioning christianity.

http://www.geocities.com/Metzad/

Welcome Steve,
I love this line: "I could also be wrong about what I believe or don't believe."
It's the best way to approach such things.

Albert said...

Now if only Eliyahu Silver & Rabbi Yitschak Goldstein would bring their sharpened critical faculties and turn them loose on their holy book..........guess that would be too much to ask for.

Albert said...

Not to mention this gem of compassion and rationality..........http://www.geocities.com/Metzad/holocaust.htm

freedy said...

Steve I was involved with street & homeless ministries for 15 years.
I did this because of what jesus suppossibly said,.."feed the hungry,clothe the naked ,visit the sick & inprisoned etc."He goes on to say if you don't do some of these things you will go to hell!
I always marveled at how little attention christians paid to this.
The only thing I regret were the fear based doctrines I preached to them.I have found that only fundies are involved with helping the homeless/ down and outers.This is because of the scriptures of hell awaiting those who don't feed,visit,clothe,... & OH, DON'T FORGET THE DRINK OF WATER!!!

georgespiggott said...

Freedy says " I have found that only fundies are involved with helping the homeless/ down and outers."

All the fundies I know are too busy going to morning worship, evening worship, mid-week worship, bible study, men's and women's groups, prayer meetings etc etc etc to be of any earthly use to ANYONE!!!!!

SpaceMonk said...

Albert: "Now if only Eliyahu Silver & Rabbi Yitschak Goldstein would bring their sharpened critical faculties and turn them loose on their holy book..........guess that would be too much to ask for."

Well, I didn't become a Jew out of it, just an ex-christian.
I'm nobody's follower.

Albert said...

Intersting story here
http://www.dvorkin.com/yinotjew.htm

Jim Arvo said...

Anonymous, I think you win the prize for today. Not one thing you said made any sense at all. If you think all atheists are miserable, then you have your head stuck firmly in the sand. The majority of my friends, colleagues, and associates are atheists, and we're generally a happy, hard-working, and upstanding bunch of people. I'd offer to have you join us for a beer, but I don't drink alcohol (nor do many of my colleagues, for some reason).

You might also examine well-known atheists such as Dawkins, Dennet, Russell, Feynman, Einstein, Vidal, etc. etc. etc. There are thousands of well-known atheists that you would do well to emulate.

So, stop jousting with straw men, my friend.

carol said...

Wow, this is just another fool making things up as he goes along. Hey, asshole, who's autobiographies are you talking about, besides the one, single book on which you base all of your great insight? Bet it is a "xian" publication.

My partner, myself and family and friends that are not slaves to the mind fuck that is religion are extremely happy.

If there is such "joy" in death for you xians, why do most try so hard to stay alive? Why do they blubber at funerals? Why do they need "closure" when a tragic death happens? Liar.

There is no such thing as heaven or hell, so we have very little to worry about and don't have to spend our lives kissing the ass of our imaginary friend.

Regards, Carol

Jim Arvo said...

non-name Anonymous, responding to my previous post, said "Is that the best you can do?"

No, of course not, but it was more than sufficient to debunk your claim.

Anonymous: "I'm afraid your famous(though tiny in number)friends and fellow Atheists,whom you quote! are perfect examples of how very miserable a people those who despise God-Really Are."

You clearly have no idea what you're talking about. That bluff won't work.

Anonymous: "Their autobiographies prove it."

Have you actually read the autobiographies of the people I've mentioned? Please give em the titles and the years they were published. I've read some of them, and what you imply is simply not supported by them.

Anonymous: "What brave and wise people they turned out to be!..UNTIL JUST BEFORE THEIR DEATHS."

I'll wager you are simply echoing some rumor that you've been told. Let's see if you can substantiate your claim.

Anonymous: "But,sadly!When death was creeping closer and nearer to them.Didnt they turn out to be just like every other kind of atheist(that has gone to that dark abode,before them) Werent they shaking cowards?"

You seem to be making this up as you go. Maybe for sport. Either way, unless you have something to substantiate your wild claims, they are not worth the paper they're printed on.

Anonymous: "What sad individuals they turned out to be..."

What a sad individual you seem to be. Imagine, you paint amazing people like Feynman and Einstein as "sad individuals", simply because they did not adopt the same theological views as you. You look down your nose at Voltaire and Pauling and Hume and Carnegie and Asimov and Hemingway and Sagan, knowing nothing more about them than the fact that they reached a different theological conclusion than you. To me, that's sad.

Anonymous: "I dont need to remind you of the miserable lives they led!"

Oh, no, please do. Please do point to the historical documents that substantiate what you say. (This should be fun.)

Anonymous: "I see that you speak for all your atheist friends?"

No, I don't. Do you speak for all Christians?

Anonymous: "Would you know the inner secrets of your friends hearts?"

I know only what they profess. Same with you.

Anonymous: "Are you honestly expecting me to believe that you,and you alone knows every fear,and trouble in the minds of all your friends?"

Wow, that's a hoot. You got that from my words above?

Anonymous: "I have in my library a book titled 'Last Words of Saints and Sinners' (herbert Lockyer)Kregel Publications. Even though i know,that you wont be at all interested in the details of this book!"

Please explain how you "know" this. I'm actually quite interested. Would you please do me a favor and look up Darwin? What did Darwin say on his deathbed, according to Lockyer. I'm sure you will be quite happy to report that to us.

Anonymous: "While the Atheists were tormented souls!(and thats putting it mildly! i realise we dont want to upset in any way your fellow atheists on this site do we?)..."

Well, I guess that book puts the whole issue to rest, doesn't it? So, please do get back to me regarding Darwin. You might try looking up Feynman and Einstein too.

One other question for you. On that bookshelf of yours, are there any books that are critical of Christianity? If so, can you name a few for me?

Thanks! Be good now.

south2003 said...

Annoy,

Would you happen to have a rifle?

.:webmaster:. said...

Anony (annoying) trolling posts deleted.

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

Well, I'm not going to re-post any portion of Anonymous's reply, since the Webmaster chose to expunge it. So I will simply give a reply that will serve both as an answer to Anonymous (as she knows what she has asked previously), and as a general statement of my position.

First, While I feel that the people I mentioned before are outstanding in many ways, I mentioned them only to rebut the outlandish claim that atheists lead miserable lives. That claim is simply without merit. Furthermore, I do not necessarily agree with somebody's opinions simply because they too are an atheist. There are plenty of atheists I disagree with, even about matters of theology. As one example, I disagree with Dawkins (in part) on the teaching of creationism to children. I think that children should be taught about the prevailing beliefs of the society they are raised in; in the US, that would include Christianity. I do not believe, however, that they should be coerced into accepting it as anything more than a legend. If, at some point, they come to believe it as true, then so be it; it's ultimately their "choice." However, I would hope that they would also be given sufficient tools for critical thinking so that they will not accept such stories as true merely because others believe it, or because the *wish* it to be true, or because it is declared to be so in a book.

As for Thomas Paine, Anonymous made a claim about his deathbed confession; According to Anonymous, Paine gave a speech about wishing that "The Age of Reason" had never been published, apparently fearing that there might indeed be a god. (Is that a fair capsule summary, Anonymous?) Well, I have no idea whether there is a grain of truth to that or not, but I can say with virtual certainty that the story, as Anonymous has told it, is apocryphal. How do I know? Because I've read "The Age of Reason" for myself, and Paine leaves no doubt that he was an ardent believer in god; albeit, he was a Deist, not a Christian. It seems Anonymous's information on this, and probably for most of her other deathbed conversion stories, is dubious.

Anonymous wanted to know how I will face my final hour. In truth, I do not know. But I can assure her that I harbor no fear of death at all (*dying* I have some anxiety about, as there is always the possibility of prolonged pain, but there is nothing at all to fear in being *dead*). The 13-or-so billion years that the universe existed before my birth did not adversely affect me, so I have no reason to believe things will be any different once the matter that I am composed of ceases to function as a sentient being. Thus, I value the life that I have, without worrying unduly about what follows.

By the way, I don't really care what she or anyone else wishes to believe. What I do care about, however, is the bigotry that seems to issue from many ardent believers. I do not find it acceptable for a believer (or a non-believer) to make ugly accusations based solely on a person's theological position. I have no hard empirical data on this, but I am quite certain that the amount of vitriol flowing from believers toward non-believers is orders of magnitude greater than the reverse (even when adjusted for the relative population sizes). The posts by "Anonymous" are a typical example.

Jim Arvo said...

And your source for the Voltaire quote would be what, Anonymous? How many of these do you check for accuracy?

De let me know when you've looked up what it says about Darwin, okay?

Jim Arvo said...

A quick Google search turned up this deathbed quote, attributed to Voltaire:

"We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies it is the first law of nature."

Now, it would be interesting to see what evidence there is to support either of these (the one above, and the one quoted by Anonymous). By the way, based upon the stories of this ilk that I've actually chased down, the majority of them appear to be outright fabrications, and nearly all the rest are greatly embellished. Sounds a lot like religious dogma; the same cogs seem to be working.

Anonymous said...

jim avro

regarding Darwin!

Do you mean his brave and convincing statement of atheistic faith...."I am not the least afraid to die"?

Not very convincing really is it?

Still? I see no reply to my other quote? reagarding your fellow atheist.....THOMAS PAINE? he said that he would give worlds,(if he had them) that the "Age of Reason" had not been published"

Notice Paines claim that he believed in the devil? his QUOTE."If ever the devil has an agent, I have been that one."

I take it,that you lot dont believe in him...do you?

Anonymous said...

jim avro

Coming back to your edited version of VOLTAIRE's last words on his death bed!

1.The nurse who attended every last need of this famous god-hater.is on record to have said to TROCHIM(his doctor) "For all the wealth in Europe I would not see another INFIDEL die"

Clearly the nurse saw something in voltaires dying,that must have shaken her to the core?

Oh! the source of my quote?..From Voltaires doctor himself! who for your interest was sat at the side of his bed has he died.

His doctor said that Voltaire not only cried out.He cried out Desperately!

And this was from a man who once claimed that "My single hand shall destroy the edifice it took twelve Apostles to rear"

Again!..another of his boasts was "In twenty years Christianity will be no more"

Let me just say something not really about your individual reply here. "Some are asking what did i say to have one of my posts taken off this thread"?

For the life of me? i'd like to know what it was that i must have writen,that the mod's felt it needed to be deleted?

.:webmaster:. said...

Mr. Anonymous is basically copying quotes from a book entitled: "Last Words of Saints and Sinners" by Herbert Lockyer, published in 1969 by Kregel Publications - a Christian book publisher.

Who was Herbert Lockyer? HL's bio

From what I remember, the author of this book makes little attempt to document the accuracy of his material - much of it appears to be nebulous stories passed down from...?

Anyway, here's Robert Ingersol's refutation of the stories (stories long promulgated by religious zealots) about Thomas Paine and Voltaire: Click Here.

freeman said...

Can the Troll read?

Dear Anonymous,

Please follow the link and read carefully about Thomas Paine's last words.

http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/john_remsburg/six_historic_americans/chapter_1.html

All of the quotes you state are nothing but LIES by god fearing christins, go figure, out to discredit the atheist/deist movement during that critical period of ENLIGHTENMENT.

.:webmaster:. said...

VINDICATION OF THOMAS PAINE.

Mr. Hicks said: "I was with him every day during the latter
part of his last sickness."

"Did he express any regret in regard to writing the 'Age of
Reason,' as the published accounts say he did -- those accounts
that have the credit of emanating from his Catholic housekeeper?"

Mr. Hicks replied: "He did not in any way by word or action."

"Did he call on God or Jesus Christ, asking either of them to
forgive his sins, or did he curse them or either of them?"

Mr. Hicks answered: "He did not. He died as easy as any one I
ever saw die, and I have seen many die in my time."

William B. Barnes.

Subscribed and sworn to before me Oct. 27, 1877.

Warren Bigler, Notary Public.


This taken from here: Vindication of Thomas Paine

.:webmaster:. said...

More on Paine and his death: click here.

.:webmaster:. said...

As far as your question about deletions, Mr. Anony Troll - read the site purpose!

.:webmaster:. said...

More Death-Bed Quotes

Jim Arvo said...

Anonymous, is there something very complicated about selecting "other" when you post? Henceforth I'll dub you "Priscilla", simply to have a name to address you by. If you object, please select another name and I'll gladly address you by that.

Priscilla replied, regarding Darwin: "Do you mean his brave and convincing statement of atheistic faith....'I am not the least afraid to die'?"

No, of course not. Let me be perfectly clear. I am asking you what Lockyer says about Darwin's deathbed statement. That's what we've been discussing all along, right? I do not have a copy of Lockyer's book at my disposal, or I would look it up myself. Can you please comply with that simple request?

As for Voltaire, I asked for the source of the supposed deathbed statement. Here is what you said:

Priscilla: "Oh! the source of my quote?..From Voltaires doctor himself! who for your interest was sat at the side of his bed has he died."

Alright, that gets us an inch closer, but it does not address the spirit of my question, as it is still hearsay may times removed. What is the *original* source of the quote? Is there a document, written by this doctor, that has been authenticated? What was the doctor's name? How was this quote communicated?

Priscilla: "Still? I see no reply to my other quote? reagarding your fellow atheist.....THOMAS PAINE?"

I responded to that quite directly. To recap, your story is not the least bit credible since it is contrary to Paine's Deist position. He was *not* an atheist by any stretch of the imagination. Have you read "The Age of Reason"? I suspect not, or we would not be having this conversation.

Priscilla, you have not shown the least bit of diligence in researching any of these fantastic stories that you are passing on. You seem to think that if Lockyer wrote it in his book (which, it seems, derives from his sermons), then it simply must be true. Please take the time to read through some of the links that the webmaster has provided. They are quite telling. At the very least, they should alert you to the fact that there are differing opinions, and that you cannot take the word of a single author.

By the way, you have not responded to my question about other books that you have in your "library". Do you own, or have you read, any books that examine Christianity critically? If so, can you please name several of them?

Good day.

pault said...

webmaster

Regarding your statement about Paines witnesses at his death?

You quote some guy's name called warren bigler?

And you go on to quote him..

"Subscribed and sworn to me oct 27 1877"

Now! To have us believe in this statement,you need to prove to yourself that this chap was in the first place-trustworthy? Do you know he was?

Would you trust the life of your child on his word? and if not,why not?

Lets just suppose that this Bigler fella was one of those kind of fellas/witnesses who swore on their bibles all those years ago, that JOSEPH SMITH did SEE and did HANDLE with his own hands-those GOLDEN PLATES? Do you believe in this myth? and if not! why not?

Every MORMON must believe in the testimonies of those twelve original elders of the mormon church.And in their witness to the truth or otherwise of Joseph Smith!

Why should anyone believe in your claims about atheism/evolution?

Your opinions are has un-provable to us christians,as those first mormon elders claims were,to the non-believers in mormonism?

I am not a mormon or JW! by the way.

I'm what you would call these days a Puritan.

freeman said...

pault

Do you believe Paul to be trust worthy? Obviously you have staked your children's lives on his word.

Paul is the mastermind behind this hoax called christianity! He is no more believable to us as are the twelve elders and John Smith are to you! It's all bullshit! I feel sorry for you and your myopic vision of the world.

Dano said...

pault,
It looks like you are saying that the Mormons are full of crap with the golden tablet thing, but you are a Christian. In other words you believe one plagiarized pagan doctrine is false but your plagiarized pagan doctrine is truth?
Dan

Jim Arvo said...

Priscilla asked "Do you know he was?" with regard to Warren Bigler. That's a fair question! I guess you now feel the need to show some skepticism. That's good. Well, here's a start. Warren Bigler was an Indiana state official, according to this web site. According to this web site, he was born in Indiana, September 24, 1851. It goes on to say "Mr. Bigler is what is known as a practical idealist, energetic and forceful in getting things accomplished, and at the same time few men have a more intimate association with science and literature, and he could be properly classed among Indiana intelligentsia." He was apparently a trustee of the Presbyterian Church of Wabash, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and, I gather, a notary public, alive around the time of the articles that bear his name. Sounds like he we a well respected member of his community.

Now, does this actually prove anything? No. Someone could have fabricated the documents that bear his name, I suppose, as I've not examined the originals. However, if we were to place your evidence (by the way, what WAS your evidence?) along side the evidence to the contrary, and ask an impartial third party to decide which was more credible, what do you suppose would happen?

Can you produce anything even approaching the credibility of the (apparently) notarized documents that debunk your claim? How about Ingersoll's challenge? Have you any comment on that?

Jim Arvo said...

Oh, I almost forgot. Reminders for Priscilla....

* Have you looked up what Lockyer says about Darwin's dying words yet?

* Have you read any books that examine Christianity critically. If so, can you name a few?

Jim Arvo said...

Oh, I just noticed that the poster I've been calling "Priscilla" signed on as "pault". Good. Now we have a real handle for this poster. That should make things a bit easier. I'll use that handle henceforth.

pault said...

jim arvo

Priscilla!...Errrr...I mean Pault, here.

Regarding your understanding of Mr Warren Bigler.

Did you know these things about this chap before you found these websites.. just curious?

Regarding Darwins last words....I have quoted them somewhere else on this board previously?

I believe he said "I am not the least afraid to die"

I have various books/literature in my library(for and against) a "Belief in God"

You ask me about a chap called ingersoll? and something about a challenge he gave? I've no idea what you mean? sorry!

However! Can i say this!..I'm sure your familiar with that well know saying...

"Its not how you start,its how you finish"

To us christians this saying dosnt just talk about events like "The show must go".etc (as in the world of entertainment)or perhaps in the way we start a job of work.

We never quite get the knack of doing a job correctly..untill maybe we've been in that job for sometime... sometimes it takes us years.And sometimes there are things in our lives-that as hard as we try to do the job-we never know how to master it!

My point is simple! This truth stands ALSO in the life of every atheist!

An atheist could go through life claiming an unceasing hatred to the thought of there being a Creator....But funnily enough? The only time that his claims of a belief in God,or a claim that he believes that there is no God..Is at the end days of his life.

Eversince they became adult enough to form their beliefs etc.Many people have always claimed that they have always been an atheist!

People claim this all the time to me.But i susspect they have not really been atheists in the first place.

Anyway! that dosnt matter really...The thing that does matter is how does he behave at the FINISH his life? Will he continue holding onto his atheism? or right at the END! will he change his mind?(as i've said before)The only time that it will matter,will be during his final hours.Will he have a change of mind,or no?

Its how we behave at the finish our lifes work,that really matters.How each one of us started our life of unbelief dosnt matter!

Actually,we may have behaved terribly all our life.But that in itself wont damm us.

The only time that matters is when our time is running out.

How do we finish this journey in our life on earth?

The test as yet to come for the atheist.

As the song says."Its not how you start,its how you finish"

And history seems to show that the finish of your average atheist's life is not very encouraging!

It can be bad enough for the most humble God fearing person at their deaths.So just think the horrors the atheists must suffer when his life fades,and he sees those angels of death coming to meet him? it must be terrifying!

The Bible dosnt describe these scenes of hell,and the dammed for nothing!..Like some people seem to think.

Jim Arvo said...

It's a peculiarly Christian stance that one's entire life is like a game of musical chairs; what matters is where you are standing when the music stops, not the path you took. (I realize that not all Christians assert the equivalent of this, but many do.) As you put it, "It's how you finish." Now, I've much to say about that, and I'll get back to that in a moment. But first let me point out that you did not really address my question. I asked what it would prove if one or more of your deathbed stories were actually true. You replied, in effect, by stating why you feel it is important to accept god (specifically, the god of Abraham) in one's final hour, for, according to you, that's what really matters; it matters where you're standing when the music stops. In other words, your answer explained why YOU believe that one OUGHT to accept the same god that you worship before one dies. Clearly, others also believe this; yet others are fence sitters, at times thinking this is so, and at times doubting or disbelieving it. Still others reject it, or assert the same thing, but with respect to a different god. I've said nothing controversial so far, right?

Now, my question to you is this. Suppose someone decides, in their final hour, that they will profess belief in the same god that you believe in. How does this person's *belief* translate into a statement about what *is*. Belief does not equal reality. People believe all sorts of strange things, especially under duress, which is why one's cognitive state is relevant in a court of law. If ardent belief was sufficient to prove the truth of a proposition, we would all be obliged to accept alien abductions, astrology, and an entire pantheon of gods, as factual. Yet all of us (including you) remain skeptical of a huge number of claims, despite millions of people who ardently believe them, even to the point of martyrdom in some cases. Do you disagree with my statement?

So, my questions stands. What would it show if one or more of your deathbed stories were true? You've told me why you think someone OUGHT to embrace your religion. I'm asking what it proves if they do. See the difference?

Now, as for the musical chairs thing, I think it's a sad way to view life. To me, what matters is how one has lived, and how one has treated others, not which theology (if any) one has adopted. On this point I believe most atheists, Deists, Pagans, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. would agree with me. I understand that you do not see it this way. To you, there is an omnipotent invisible being who will extend to you a ticket to paradise after you die, on the condition that you BELIEVE in him when the music stops. Is that accurate?

Well, I've looked at this and similar claims extensively, and so have many others here. To us (most of us here), it's a completely baseless claim. There is nothing to substantiate it, save the fervent belief of others (which proves nothing), one particular holy book among countless others (which proves nothing), subjective feelings (which proves nothing), current gaps in our scientific understanding of the world (which proves nothing), etc. In addition to this complete lack of evidence (historical or otherwise), there is extensive evidence of your holy book and the entire edifice of Christianity being an elaborate myth, embellished over time, in exactly the same way as every other religion. (I'm sure you will agree with me about all the others--the only one we disagree on is Christianity, and its god.) I do not expect for you to take my word on any of this; I offer it only as an explanation of my position.

So, why don't I just adopt your particular set of beliefs, just to be on the safe side (i.e. Pascal's wager)? First, I have never seen a single shred of credible evidence that it is true. Second, I have seen massive amounts of evidence that it is the result of the same myth-making process that drives all other religions. Third, if I were to adopt a particular theology "just to be safe", there are MANY to choose from; for example, maybe I should choose Islam, or Hinduism. On what grounds would I choose yours?

Pault: "Regarding your understanding of Mr Warren Bigler... Did you know these things about this chap before you found these websites.. just curious?"

No. Is that relevant? Must a lawyer know all the witnesses prior to arguing a case?

Pault: "Regarding Darwins last words....I have quoted them somewhere else on this board previously? I believe he said 'I am not the least afraid to die'"

I will be very surprised if that is all Lockyer has to say on the subject. But I will check that out for myself at some point.

Pault: "I have various books/literature in my library(for and against) a 'Belief in God'"

But you did not mention any by title or author. I'd be curious to learn what you have read that presents the other side of the issue (i.e. from a non-believer's perspective).

Pault: "You ask me about a chap called ingersoll? and something about a challenge he gave? I've no idea what you mean? sorry!"

I guess you missed or did not fully read this link that the webmaster provided yesterday (2/8/06). Robert Ingersoll offered a reward of $1,000 in gold for anyone who could substantiate the rumored deathbed statements of Paine or Voltaire. This was a legitimate challenge, with meticulously fair rules spelled out in great detail. Read it when you have a chance.

Pault: "...And sometimes there are things in our lives-that as hard as we try to do the job-we never know how to master it!... My point is simple! This truth stands ALSO in the life of every atheist!"

Agreed.

Pault: "An atheist could go through life claiming an unceasing hatred to the thought of there being a Creator...."

Unceasing hatred? Is that how you picture atheists? Please tell me this. Do you believe in Zeus? (I will assume that you do not.) Do you go through life with hatred toward Zeus, or the thought of Zeus? (I will assume that you do not.) You are probably puzzled by people who believe in Zeus, or other such mythological entities, and think they are misguided, right? But it would be silly to suggest that you therefore *hate* Zeus, or the thought of Zeus, would it not? Well, now you know what it's like to be an atheist. You are an atheist with respect to Zeus; I am an atheist with respect to Zeus, Allah, the god of Abraham, etc. There is no difference.

Pault: "...But funnily enough? The only time that his claims of a belief in God,or a claim that he believes that there is no God..Is at the end days of his life."

Okay, I do not follow your reasoning on this at all. First, the majority of these deathbed stories are fabricated, so there isn't much there to begin with. But even if some are true (and I do not doubt that there *are* some that are true--I just don't know which ones), the most it can show is that somebody died BELIEVING in some supernatural entity. The fact that somebody believes something is about the weakest evidence there is. People believe lots of things; it doesn't mean they are true. And why should the last moment of life count more than the previous decades, when the person was (at least in some cases) in better health, and not under duress?

Pault: "And history seems to show that the finish of your average atheist's life is not very encouraging!"

No, history shows nothing of the kind. Have we made no progress in demonstrating this to you?

I find it very odd that you are so focused on these fanciful deathbed stories. If I were in your position, I should think that I would focus on the positive aspects of the deity I believed in, and the evidence for his existence, and not gloat over the misfortunes of others. You seem to take such delight in what you perceive as states of agony when suffered by your philosophical adversaries; those dreaded "atheists"! Am I wrong about this?

pault said...

jim arvo

Thanks for that link!..much appreciated.

I've never heard of that challenge?

The only challenge that i know of is some sort of challenge by a Mr Randi? He has put out some sort of challenge to someone?

The reason I centered on the event of our own deaths,was simply because it seems that its only on that subject christians can agree with the atheist on it literally happening.

I realise its impossible for someone like me,to prove to anyone that the person who trully believes in christ can experience certain benefits before their final hour.(There you go!I'm sounding more like a social security employee) by my talking about benefits.

I dont believe a person such as zeus was ever a real person.But christ of course was! However,you can believe in him or anyone.

Just dont expect me to though!

I dont quite understand what you mean by "if" a person believes? how can he know what/that he's really believed in the first place.

The "knowing" that you seem to talk about.Regarding the "If" you have rightly believed in christ?..I suppose comes down to the testimony of ones own heart!

There are many scriptures in the NT that talk of this very exprience!(Or should i say-Of that particular witness to ones own soul-that the believer in christ "Literally" and "Physically"...knows!

Once a person has been shown THAT assurance by God to our own hearts.(At our first believing in christ)

Then once he has known of that overwhelming presence of God to his soul.He will never! ever! again doubt that God exists!(thats why God confirms his love to in the first place!)at our first believing in christ

We see a brief glimpse of this doctrine in (ROMANS 8;9-16) Let me quote it and i'll give you some clarity!

QUOTE! "But ye are not in the flesh,but in the Spirit,if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ,he is none of his"(v 9)

If we study this one verse,we will see a brief glimpse of the Trinity!(I will come back to this sometime?)

In amongst the other few verses,we see the mention of how the Holy Spirit witnesses to the hearts of the christian...."But if the Spirit of Him that raised Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken(give Life to it)your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you"(v 11)

Where this 11th verse says "The Holy Spirit will QUICKEN your mortal body" ...it means That you will know Literally,and Physically that God is close-by!

This quickening of your body means you will never again have any more doubts that He exists.

Every Christian will know all about these few verses that i've just quoted in the book of Romans.

They speak personally of his own soul's experiences by God.When he was first born of God's Spirit.And its by his original assurance to his soul-that the christian knows he will be able to face his death whenever it should come.

I bet that all my talk about the souls "Conversion"(quickening) simply goes over the head of you all? I realise that your probably not bothered to listen to us christians going on about christians expirences.. etc.

south2003 said...

Pault said: "I dont believe a person such as zeus was ever a real person.But christ of course was! However,you can believe in him or anyone."

Apply the same principle to your Jesus stories, you are therefore an Atheist concerning Zeus. Welcome!

Pault said: "There are many scriptures in the NT that talk of this very exprience!" yada yada yada.

Paul with such a quick tongue was stomped out by Jim A. Hey, all that is left is for him (Pault) to do is preach!

Refus holy crap! Are we in chu(r)ch?

Frank said...

Actually Pault you're the one that is lost. We happen to NO LONGER believe or accept the bible and it's teachings. why? because the people that wrote the bible thought that the world was flat and that the Earth was the center of the universe, also they thought just like you, that the Heart was the center of all thought and emotions, they also thought that when they burned the dead bodies their soul rose (it was the smoke)in the Heavens where God and the Angels lived, we now know since the invention of the airplane that heaven and a god does not live in the clouds.

You're basing your beliefs upon the only thoughts that these cave dwellers could only imagine, over 2000 years ago.

Then you quote Romans, who was Romans? Some frikin god?

A god nor Jesus never wrote any part of the bible, can you prove they did? NO!

I'll 100% guarantee you a man wrote the bible and koran, it's proof within itself.

Theres not a god in the entire universe that would claim to have written or inspired such nonsence, otherwise this god would have signed his name to at least one of the chapters.

.:webmaster:. said...

Pault doesn't realize that he is nearly as much an atheist as any other atheist. The only difference between him and all other atheists is that typically an atheist rejects all of the thousands of gods invented by men whereas Pault rejects all but one.

When Pault comes to understand why he rejects all the other gods, then he will understand why the atheist rejects his one.

Oh and I seriously doubt Pault has read even one sentence from any of the links we've posted. A thirst for knowledge, regardless of perspective, is not considered a virtue, it's considered doubting - the worst sin of all.

Jim Arvo said...

Pault: "The only challenge that i know of is some sort of challenge by a Mr Randi? He has put out some sort of challenge to someone?"

The one you speak of, by James Randi, can be found HERE. Rani offers a million dollar prize to anyone who can provide objective "evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event." That would include faith healing, the effects of prayer, etc. In contrast with the challenges of Ingersoll and Randi, there is also a well-publicized challenge from Kent Hovind to provide evidence of evolution; HERE is the link. I find it very telling to compare the conditions of these challenges. In particular, Mr. Hovind imposes an absurd number of restrictions in the "fine print", and leaves many vague loopholes, as pointed out HERE.

Pault: "The reason I centered on the event of our own deaths,was simply because it seems that its only on that subject christians can agree with the atheist on it literally happening."

Come again? The *only* thing we can agree upon is that we eventually die? Am I misinterpreting your words?

Pault: "I realise its impossible for someone like me,to prove to anyone that the person who trully believes in christ can experience certain benefits before their final hour."

Why do you say that? I think it's quite clear that many people are comforted by the thought of an afterlife. But again, what one BELIEVES is not necessarily TRUE. As the benefits (i.e. comfort in one's final hour) stem from BELIEF alone, this cannot be construed as evidence for an afterlife. Similarly, many people are comforted by lucky charms (e.g. a rabbit's foot); I think you will agree that their "comfort" in no way supports the assertion that the charm actually works.

Pault: "I dont believe a person such as zeus was ever a real person.But christ of course was!"

First, you do realize that the historical evidence for the existence of Jesus is scant at best, right? Many scholars argue that the Jesus figure was purely legendary, like that of Hercules, and presumably Mithra, and dozens if not hundreds of others. In my opinion, it's impossible to say definitively one way or the other (although I lean toward "ahistoricity").

Second, even if we grant that Jesus existed, the really ENORMOUS hurdle is the next one; i.e. showing that this man was actually god incarnate. Here you must rely upon anonymous tracts that were written many decades after the alleged "death" of this deity. There is NO contemporaneous documentation that corroborates ANY of the fantastic stories related in the NT. Thus, you are in PRECISELY the same position as the believer in Zeus, even if your chief protagonist (Jesus) was a living breathing human being. You must still invoke "faith" to bridge that gap between man and deity.

Pault: "I dont quite understand what you mean by 'if' a person believes? how can he know what/that he's really believed in the first place."

I honestly don't know how to state it any more clearly that I did in my previous post. BELIEF does not equal TRUTH. People believe all sorts of nutty things--it doesn't mean they are true.

Pault: "Regarding the 'If' you have rightly believed in christ?..I suppose comes down to the testimony of ones own heart!"

Millions of people, the world over, believe in DIFFERENT deities than you, and just as fervently as you, yet you think they are wrong. What makes the testimony of YOUR heart correct, and theirs wrong? BELIEF does not equal TRUTH.

Pault: "There are many scriptures in the NT that talk of this very exprience!..."

Sure there are. The Bible says lots of things. Some very good things, some very wise things, some very foolish things, some very cruel things, some very outlandish things... It's all there, from talking animals, to stars affixed to a giant ball around the Earth, to ghastly slaughters commanded by god, to torturing of animals, cannibalism, scatological and pornographic nonsense, rape, slavery, infanticide, genocide, etc. etc. etc. If you are going to quote the Bible in defense of your claims, you had better first explain why it carries any authority whatsoever.

Pault: "Then once he has known of that overwhelming presence of God to his soul.He will never! ever! again doubt that God exists!"

Now it seems you have the burden of proof, since there are probably hundreds of people who have posted at this site alone, or who visit this site, who have at one point experienced the "presence of god" just as powerfully as you, yet were able to eventually see that those experiences were of their own making--not induced by some external invisible entity. The problem is, since these are subjective experiences, it comes down to your word against theirs. I believe the preponderance of the evidence is on their side, however.

Pault: "I bet that all my talk about the souls "Conversion"(quickening) simply goes over the head of you all?"

That's just a tad condescending, don't you think? There are many former pastors, preachers, and theologians here. Most of us are extremely familiar with the teachings of Christianity, many having earnestly lived it, felt it, and preached it for years or even decades. Do not assume that none of us have been where you are today.

ronnidonni said...

Wow, this is just another fool making things up as he goes along. Hey, asshole, who's autobiographies are you talking about, besides the one, single book on which you base all of your great insight? Bet it is a "xian" publication.

My partner, myself and family and friends that are not slaves to the mind fuck that is religion are extremely happy.

If there is such "joy" in death for you xians, why do most try so hard to stay alive? Why do they blubber at funerals? Why do they need "closure" when a tragic death happens? Liar.

There is no such thing as heaven or hell, so we have very little to worry about and don't have to spend our lives kissing the ass of our imaginary friend.

Regards, Carol



Wow! You sound really happy.
I'll pray for you, and all the rest of these pagans.
The truth is, someday you'll know you're wrong, but too late.

boomSLANG said...

In regards to what Carol said waaaaay back on February 7, 2006, Ronnidonni chimed in with:

Wow! You sound really happy. I'll pray for you, and all the rest of these pagans.
The truth is, someday you'll know you're wrong, but too late.


or....

"Wow! You sound really happy.
I'll pray for you, and all the rest of these pagans.
The truth is, someday you'll know you're wrong, but too late."


Dear Ronnidonni,

Above, are just a couple of different ways to reference/quote the words of another person. It makes keeping track of who's saying what, a lot easier. Also, you might want to pay attention to the date of the post. 'Make sense? Swell.

Moving on....

Ronnidonni said: Wow! You sound really happy.

Tell me, does one's emotional state-of-mind on any given issue have to meet some hidden criteria in order for one to post their opinion on a blog? If so, can you direct me to that criteria? Thanks.

Ronnidonni: I'll pray for you, and all the rest of these pagans.

Listen, on a daily basis, sometimes hourly, Christians pray to their biblegod to intervene in the lives of the regulars on this website. These "prayers" have been going on for days, weeks, months, and years. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but let me take this time to disclose the result of all of this Divine begging(i.e.."praying"):

zero; zip; nadda; zilch; N-O-T-H-I-N-G. 'STILL HERE.

That's right, your biblegod does NOTHING. Thus, we can conclude one of two things---either, a) Your invisible holiness blatantly ignores the requests of his devout followers, and thus, must not really care about this website and us "pagans", or b) your biblegod does not exist, which would explain, perfectly, why the invisible and the non-existent "look" exactly the same.

I'm going to run with "b".

Ronnidonni: The truth is, someday you'll know you're wrong, but too late.

How perfect. Threats. So, being threatened into believing something is a great reason to believe it?...is that your 'logic'? If that's the case, then you'd better get your little Christian ass down to your local library and get your nose in the Holy Qur'an, before it's "too late". Islamic hell is really hot!

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