Double Deconversion

Sent in by "RubySera"

I posted an eximony some time ago because I felt I had to explain about my background. I feel it was riven with anger, frustration, and confusion. I think my thoughts are more organized now so I will post another one.

Mine was a double deconversion. One was deconversion from cultural religion, and the other was deconversion from theological religion. The first was more traumatic. I had never fully bought into the second. What I had bought into, and trusted fully and completely, was the belief that the church had the answer. My mother, other women of her generation, and the ministers all said at the time of my (believer's) baptism that as teenagers we could not understand it all but that as we got older we would get deeper insight.

When I was crowded out of the church at forty-odd years of age, I "knew in my bones" that the highest authority on earth--the OOM bishops, preachers, and deacons who claimed to stand before the body of believers in Christ's stead--did not have The Answers. Something snapped inside of me that day. I knew then that never ever again would I have such complete confidence in and respect for authority as I had all my life for those men in black clerical collars.

I stopped believing in the wrathful orthodox Christian god long ago. At least twenty years ago. I replaced that god with a mystical, force of the universe kind of God. I stopped believing in Jesus at least that long ago. But I didn't know it; didn't dare say it even to myself.

It must have been about the year 1989 when things came to a head. Of all times and places, it happened in a church service on a Good Friday morning when the congregation was singing plaintive songs about Jesus crucifixion. I was in my early thirties. All my life I had wanted to know HOW Jesus' death paid for our sins. Everybody refused to answer that question--I wasn't even allowed to ask it.

All anyone ever gave in answer to the question was Bible verses. I had read the Bible and found no answers. As the congregation was singing that song, I found myself rebelling and telling Jesus I have no pity for his execution because the whole thing was his fault. He didn't have to do it. He chose to do it so there!

So desperate did I feel that I had to either find an answer or throw Christianity out the window. The latter was not an option. I was emotionally in no condition to leave the only social universe I had ever known. Doing so would have meant dealing with extreme ostracism and persecution from my family and everyone else I knew.

For several days I meditated day and night. An answer began to formulate inside my mind. In later years I learned that what I had come up with was the Christus Victor theory. It came to me out of my own psyche, or from the Holy Spirit, as I believed at the time. I had nothing but the Bible to go by.

That allowed me to live with Christianity for quite a few more years. However, I was desperately unhappy on many levels because the community had by unanimous unspoken consent relegated me to the no-so-bright category and refused to allow me any fulfilling work. It was "God's will" and I was admonished to submit to it.

By about December 1997 I was desperate enough to challenge (in my own secret heart of hearts) the possibility of breaking with tradition and getting university training for a career that I would find fulfilling and satisfying. That was the first time in my life that I dared so much as to contemplate open disobedience.

I got accepted into the university, did well, and made lots of friends, but told everyone not to tell my people about it. After fourteen months of studying in secret (from my people) I decided to "come out." That was in Aug. 1999. The church had not provided any solution to my desperation, and when they found that I was finding my own they disapproved so strongly that, for my own emotional well-being I had to leave.

I spent about 48 hours (from Fri. evening to early Sunday morning) in deep mediation and prayer. I took time to sleep but sleep was not easy to come by. About 5:00 Sunday morning I had a "break-through." I knew what I would do. At eight o'clock I called a neighbor whose church I wanted to try. It was a modern Mennonite church.

Today I know it was a fundamentalist church of the purest kind. I lasted about a year and a half there--until I was formally accepted as a member. I tried a few more modern Mennonite churches. I kept clashing with leadership everywhere I went and eventually I just stopped going to church.

All the preachers and adult Sunday School teachers raised issues for discussion, or made promises, or addressed issues, that set me off. I demanded answers to my questions. I challenged their professions and promises for answers. They seemed very sincere about their faith and I did not understand why they refused to answer.

After spending some time on this site I realize their professions and promises were empty and that this is why they attacked me and sent me to see a counselor rather than just answer my questions. After suffering through several really severe clashes I got "church shy." I tried a number of other churches but always got scared after one or two visits.

I would plan to go to church but when Sunday morning rolled round I had no energy to go. I felt guilty for not going. There were people who insisted one had to go to church for real worship and fellowship. "It's different being with a whole congregation than just worshiping in solitude," they said.

After a few years of this I concluded that they are are. It is different. It's debilitating. Worship or meditation in solitude was soul-nurturing and valuable. It brought me peace. Many and many a time did I leave church feeling totally upset even though I had gone in feeling good and positive.

Always there was this fear in the back of my mind. I had moved to the city and it was through church that I found places to live and people to help me move. I felt I HAD to be part of a church simply for the basics of life. I missed community. Then unexpectedly I had to move.

It was a severe test of faith but I soon found a place to stay and in the last minute people showed up to help me move. I had not been to church in a long time. Finding out that it was possible to find a place to live and people to help me move even when not part of a church was quite an eye-opener for me. Maybe I did not have to belong to a church for the basics of life.

I still craved community. I still tried to twist my brain to convince myself that I was a Christian. But I was afraid of social or any informal get-together where I might meet people. Too many serious personality clashes because I was so desperate for answers and deep conversation.

I found myself siding with anyone and everyone who opposed Christianity. I did not know what it meant. I explored a few other religions--mostly other Christian denominations, but I also took a serious look at paganism. Talked with people, did some reading. It wasn't exactly right for me.

Then I found this site. It is a community that resembles the Christian community except for content of belief. This is where I found the strength to stand up for my beliefs and to feel comfortable with calling myself an ex-Christian, or not a Christian.

It feels honest. It feels liberating. It feels like what Jesus said life should be. Surrender, self-denial, taking up the cross for the sake of truth. Peace that passeth understanding. The entire bit. But without have to strain to believe in God. I think that more or less completes my deconversion from theological religion.

I don't anticipate fully adapting to modern culture where material culture is concerned. I did leave physically leave that community successfully, but there will probably be life-long scars.

Ontario
Canada
Converted: Born into church
Deconverted: age 50
Past labels: Old Order Mennonite, modern Mennonite
Present Labels: agnostic, secular humanist
Reason for accepting believer's baptism at age 17: social acceptance
Why did you de-convert?: I was tired living a lie.
email: srbowm at hotmail dot com

55 comments:

Evelyn said...

Thanks for posting an additional xtimony, Ruby Sera! Well-written!

I know nothing about the Mennonites but I do know about fundy xians, being an ex-fundy myself, so I have a slight insight into what you've been through. Congratulations on escaping that mind-set. Isn't freedom wonderful?

Elder Norm said...

Ruby,
Sorry to hear of your pain and problems. I know some of what you speak. And for the most part, I think you are pretty much right on.

But, I fear that with the seeming need to polarize, yes or no, right or left, god or no god, that we all miss the obvious.

No, not pushing religion. :-) But some of us think there is another direction. And, unfortunately, religion cannot go there because of their all or nothing need for blind faith.

Again, congrats for getting out. :-)

Elder Norm

RubySera said...

Evelyn, yes freedom is so wonderful. There are even unexpected pleasant side-effects. For example, it gives me more confidence to face the world when I know who I am and what I believe.

Elder Norm, I looked at your website. Thank you for not pushing religion. I don't have what it takes to research God on the level you are doing it. At this point I am content not knowing how the universe came into being and whether or not God exists.

Bentley, I don't know how your post is related to my eximony. I do make references to Jesus. If you want my view on Jesus see my thread "When I stopped gambling with eternity...an open email to Mark."

R. Hoeppner said...

Jesus loves me,
this I know--

and He loves you too!

He told me to tell you.

He woke me up this morning so I would pray for you RubySera and know that your answers are in Him.

.:webmaster:. said...

R.H.:

You're joking right?

That's funny.

RubySera said...

Webmaster, it is indeed funny! Just why would Jesus answer YOUR prayer, RH, when he never answered MY prayer? Just so you know, I prayed that prayer for forty years. I seriously doubt that you have ever prayed harder and longer and more earnestly than I prayed that prayer. And it was not answered. Just so you know, I got no promptings of the Spirit, no intuitive hunches, or mysterious feelings, that anyone was praying for me this morning. Sorry to disappoint you, but you could have had a few more winks of sleep this morning for all the good your prayer did.

Nvrgoingbk said...

R.H. Indeed, why WOULD he answer your prayers and not those of a woman praying vigilantly beside her dying child's bed or those of a little girl being raped and killed? Use your time for making a better place instead of praying to an invisible bearded God to do it for you

Anonymous said...

RubySera,

I’m sorry you can’t see that your prayers were heard. Consider this—perhaps the prompting I received to come to this website and tell you ‘Jesus loves you’ was an answer to your prayer or someone else's prayer who may be praying for you.
It’s a shame that "tolerant free thinkers" have no tolerance in their closed minds to criticize the message 'Jesus loves you and I’m praying for you.'
God promised Abram as a young man that He would make him a father of nations. He didn’t even father Ishmael, his first offspring until he was 84 and Isaac at age 100. But God did answer his prayers as we can see today.
And God answers all of my prayers. Sometimes the results are immediate, sometimes He requires us to wait patiently and sometimes He says no. God’s delays are not His denials. Sometimes we expect Him to answer our prayers the way we order Him to. Sometimes His denials are because He has our best interest at heart. For example, Let's say a big business deal that will determine future profits required me to catch a plane to LA. What if I had a flat tire and missed the flight, even though I sincerely prayed that God would help get me to the airport on time. Can you imagine my frustration to learn that the plane already departed? I'd missed my flight and it would be hours before I could get another. Now imagine how I'd feel watching the TV in the lounge and see smoke pouring out of the WTC. That was flight 11, the one I'd missed! That actually happened to a man. I've heard him give his testimony.
God is not a cosmic genie who grants us everything we want just because we want it. What He will grant us is a relationship with Him. I'm really not here to offend you. I'm simply here to affirm to you (and all the other critics that responed to my post)that Jesus Christ loves you; more than you know. You've made several statements showing your bewilderment at understanding the Bible. If I can be of help, allow me. I would like to address the science behind it. Actually the Bible is quite amazing. I would like to show you.
R. H.

boomSLANG said...

R.H. I’m sorry you can’t see that your prayers were heard.

Sorry?...You shouldn't feel sorry for someone who has escaped a cult and it's non-sensical rituals---rituals such as "prayer". Actually, you should congratulate them. "Prayer" has no more effect on reality than a lucky rabbit's foot.

R.H. Consider this—perhaps the prompting I received to come to this website and tell you ‘Jesus loves you’ was an answer to your prayer or someone else's prayer who may be praying for you.

Yes, "perhaps"---as well as any of the other following uncertainties: "could be"; "maybe"; "ya never know!"; "there's a chance!"; "might be". All of which leave plenty of room for doubt, except of course, to the "faithfull". Nonetheless, the slightest result(if there is one) is always indirect. Why?

Attention all fundies--- Christians have been on their knees "begging" their Divine Jesus to reveal the "Truth" to us non-believers for centuries, yet, nothing....zip, zero, nadda, zilch. If your Jesus would reveal himself to us--the same way he allegedly revealed himself to HUNDREDS of people 2000 yrs ago--- then I'm sure most, if not all of us, would reconvert. However, until then, we doubt the existance of your Jesus the same way YOU doubt the existance of 2,000 or so, other "Gods". Live with it, and get over yourselves.

R.H. It’s a shame that "tolerant free thinkers" have no tolerance in their closed minds to criticize the message 'Jesus loves you and I’m praying for you.'

It's a shame that tolerant Christians have no tolerance in their closed minds to criticize the message 'Muhammad loves you and I am praying for you'.

R.H. And God answers all of my prayers.

Wrong--no one answers any such thing, because no such personal "being" exists. The problem is that you attribute the slightest
"result" as a "success", no matter how indirect, and that's because that's the way you want to see it. There is zero scientific evidence that "prayer" is anything more than wishful thinking. NONE.

R.H Let's say a big business deal that will determine future profits required me to catch a plane to LA. What if I had a flat tire and missed the flight, even though I sincerely prayed that God would help get me to the airport on time. Can you imagine my frustration to learn that the plane already departed? I'd missed my flight and it would be hours before I could get another. Now imagine how I'd feel watching the TV in the lounge and see smoke pouring out of the WTC. That was flight 11, the one I'd missed! That actually happened to a man. I've heard him give his testimony.

I'm sorry, but you are an idiot if you believe that this analogy is proof that "prayer" works. Firstly, do you know how many people got flat tires on the day in question? TENS of THOUSANDS. Secondly, by that hypothesis, God would let hundreds of "God fearing faithful Christians" smoulder to death in the Trade Center flames--many of which, who pray every day for God's "blessings"---only to "affirm" the prayer of one man. Why don't you THINK about what you are saying for change.

If I can be of help, allow me. I would like to address the science behind it. Actually the Bible is quite amazing. I would like to show you.

If you can be of "help"? YOU need the help.

Jim Arvo said...

RH said "Consider this—perhaps the prompting I received to come to this website and tell you ‘Jesus loves you’ was an answer to your prayer or someone else's prayer who may be praying for you."

Sure, I'll grant you that that is possible. It might be that an invisible being somehow altered your brain chemistry or otherwise caused just the right neurons to fire in your brain, or manipulated circumstances in such a way that it caused you to sit down at your computer, come to this site, and type the words 'Jesus loves you'. It's possible that this all-knowing being somehow believes that this is the best way for her to convince us of her presence. Yes, I suppose that's within the realm of possibility.

Another possibility is that your behavior is a very common side effect of the cult that you are a member of. A cult that teaches its memebers that they alone worship the *correct* invisble deity, and they alone have the correct interpretation of the Bible. It teaches its member that they should condescend to 'spread the word' that they alone are destined for eternal bliss while those outside the cult are destined for eternal torture. Finally, it teaches them to simply accept this message uncritically, and to be deeply suspicious of anybody and anything that contradicts their beliefs.

Of the two scenarios, I find the latter infinitely more plausible. We see it all time. We talk to these perveyors of "tuth" evey day here, and I'm often astonished to find out just how little they know about anything outside the confines of their cult. They parrot various sound bites (of which 'Jesus loves you' is but one) and somehow believe that their 'witnessing' will convince us that their particular invisible being is in fact real, whereas all the others throughout history have been just imaginary. So, of the two scenarios, one presupposes the most fantastic entity imaginable (for which there appears to be no credible evidence), while the other posits nothing but mundane human nature in the grips of yet another cult. Of the two, the second is indeed infinitely more likely.

RH: "It’s a shame that 'tolerant free thinkers' have no tolerance in their closed minds to criticize the message 'Jesus loves you and I’m praying for you.'"

Suppose I came to your personal web site (if you have one), and wrote "God is a myth. I hope you can escape from that cult." Then another person wrote "God is a myth....". Then another, then another, then another. Suppose this happened several times a day for many years. Would you warmly accept that message each time, being the kind and open-minded person that you are? Or would it get to be very annoying? Would you not tire of the same tedious mantra being echoed again and again and again? Would you not suggest to the posters that repetition does not equate to truth, and that their behavior might be more appropriate elsewhere? Do you see the analogy? Please answer honestly.

As for having a closed mind, would you care to take a little survey? Here are a few questions that I'd appreciate honest answers to.

1) Do you admit the possibility (however remote) that your god is a myth?

2) Can you please list a few books you've read that are critical of Christianity?

3) Can you please give me your definition of "atheist"?

4) Can you list a few of the major reasons that non-Christians cite for rejecting Christianity?

RH: "And God answers all of my prayers. Sometimes the results are immediate, sometimes He requires us to wait patiently and sometimes He says no."

So how can you differentiate that scenario from a god who does not exist? Sometimes things happen in your favor immediately, sometimes you need to wait, and sometimes things don't go your way. Sounds like the vicissitudes of life to me.

RH: "...That was flight 11, the one I'd missed! That actually happened to a man. I've heard him give his testimony."

I'll take your word on that, since it sounds plausible and I have no way to verify it. Is it your claim that god saved this man from death? How about the standby passengers that made it on, or those who checked in just before the gate closed? Did he send them to their deaths? No doubt there were some young children on that flight. Why did he not save them? In fact, thousands of people died that day. Are you telling me that god wanted them to die? How about the ones who plunged to their deaths from the windows of the WTC inferno. Was that all god's plan? You see, in my opinion, your claim that god went out of his way to save that man is highly presumptuous, and it's the height of arrogance on the part of the man. It implies that he was somehow more deserving to live than all the others; even the children. Why can he not just feel fortunate that circumstances were such that he missed the flight?

RH: "...I'm simply here to affirm to you...that Jesus Christ loves you; more than you know."

And how, exactly, are you "affirming" that? By stating that it is your belief? Is there some reason we should take you at your word, and reject similar "affirmations" by Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists? In other words, is there some way we can differentiate between what you say and what an indoctrinated cult member would say?

RH: "You've made several statements showing your bewilderment at understanding the Bible. If I can be of help, allow me. I would like to address the science behind it. Actually the Bible is quite amazing. I would like to show you."

I find that rather condescending. On what basis to you claim to have more expertise than others here? I suspect you simply *assume* we are wrong or ignorant because we disagree with you. If that's not the case, then I'd be curious to hear your side. By the way, before you attempt to enlighten us with "science", please tell us a little about your background in the sciences. You see, we get quite a few posters claiming to be "sicentists" here, yet they are more often than not completely ignorant of science, having learned essentially all they "know" about the subject from creationist tracts and the like. So, I'm sure you'll understand that I'm merely trying to weed out that sort of thing to save us all a little time. (You should know that if you try to bluff your way through "scientific" explanations here, you WILL be called on it.)

Good day.


(This is a slightly corrected/edited version of my previous post, which I intend to delete as soon as I am able to do so.)

King Spirula said...

"I would like to address the science behind it. Actually the Bible is quite amazing."

I would like to address the science behind it, which shows the Bible to be a collection of antiquated writings pooled together for political and religious reasons, having numerous cases of dubious authorship,and containing many self-contradictions. Actually that anyone would believe in the the Bible is quite amazing and evidence of the gullibility of humans when they choose to be willfully ignorant.

Now it's fixed.

Really, thanks RH. It's all cleared up for us now. We all appreciate the condescendingly ignorant rants of some blow hard fundy. Especially one that doesn't bother to research the commenters here and understand how much they know about the bible, christians, theology or how they ended up labeling themselves as "EX-CHRISTIANS".

"Tolerant free thinker."
WTF? You mean like Conservative Christians? Cause, you know, when I hear "tolerant free thinker", I think "Conservative Christian". Asshole

south2003 said...

Let’s analyze what RH said and what was found on www.snopes.com

R.H:
Let's say a big business deal that will determine future profits required me to catch a plane to LA. What if I had a flat tire and missed the flight, even though I sincerely prayed that God would help get me to the airport on time. Can you imagine my frustration to learn that the plane already departed? I'd missed my flight and it would be hours before I could get another. Now imagine how I'd feel watching the TV in the lounge and see smoke pouring out of the WTC. That was flight 11, the one I'd missed! That actually happened to a man. I've heard him give his testimony.

Snopes.com:
David Miller* [*not his real name], a pious observant Jew was at Logan Airport getting ready to board United Flight 175. He was going to LA on an important business trip and had to make this flight. A lot depended on it. He boarded the plane, watched the doors close, and sat down.

The person (David Miller) is supposedly a Jew but the of course the Christians fib this to fit their agenda. Put a little in; take a little out……there! Of course what supposedly saved David’s ass was his tefillin.

RH, you are the biggest fraud and lying like a rug fundie. I am (not) surprise at how low you guys would go, by any means necessary, crawl on your stomachs like snakes just to get your numbers up in your cult….and the how much lower can you crawl using such a tragedy in the hopes of getting converts. Now F*% off!

Anyhow, the rest of you guys can read it here: http://www.snopes.com/rumors/tefillin.asp.

Anonymous said...

R Hoeppner - Are you ROLAND Hoeppner of Penticton? Steve W

Anonymous said...

R Hoeppner - Are you ROLAND Hoeppner of Penticton? Steve W

freeman said...

My poor mother has been praying for me for almost 25 years! A very devout catholic, and yes christian, person. God has failed her time and time again. I will never believe in ANY mythology again. It makes her happy, so I tend to not rock the boat. But I do feel sorry for her and the insane amount of time she waste praying to a diety who will not answer her prayers!

RH: "And God answers all of my prayers. Sometimes the results are immediate, sometimes He requires us to wait patiently and sometimes He says no."

My Magic Eight Ball gives me more answers than your god could ever give you!

freeman said...

South2003,

Good to see you back in the ring! Click on my name and then click on my e-mail. Give me a holler.

Anonymous said...

Very inciteful comments. I can actually decipher a molecule of sincerity from some of you, though that would may a stretch. Here's a challenge: All you would have to do to prove Christianity to be false is to produce the dead body of Jesus Christ. That sounds simple enough, since, as one said--"once you're dead, you're dead!" By all accounts, the Romans and Jews did all they could to secure the tomb. By all accounts the disciples all ran away and hid when it came to being identified with the crucified Christ. They probably feared the same fate. By all accounts Jesus was dead when He was removed from the cross, blood and water coming out from a spear wound is proof of death. So what happened to His body?
On the matter of being brainwashed by the religious establishment--that's very funny since evolution has been taught to students to the exclusion of religion (restriction applies only to Christianity) in the public school systems. One can study Islam, Tribal Religions etc. but don't thank Jesus Christ at a graduation ceremony. That's a no no! (but you may speak that name as an expletive without fear of censorship). So I reject that argument. If there is any brain washing its the fairy tale for adults: Evolution.
south2003:
As to the story of the guy with a flat tire...Have I specified whether he was Jewish or Christian? At any rate I did place some ambiguity to the story which I believe was a 911 television special about heroes and miracles on 9/11. God answers prayers of people who trust in Him. Not every miracle or heroic act is relegated to conservative christians, that's just silly. Quit spinning! Even atheists have miracles--don't you? What is it? Random luck? In your case it could be, however there were many miracles that day. So many in fact that it was unusual. Conspiracy theorists went wild with the topic because of the conspicuousness of the events. The towers usually held a work force of up to 50,000 people. Flight 77 that hit the pentagon was only half full, and hit in the section of the Pentagon that was least populated (as it was undergoing a remodel). I only used that particular example to illustrate a point; that God may show his intervention by not answering a prayer. That's the context of which I spake. I think (there's even a CW song about thanking God for unanswered prayers). Same point.
Now as to the science in the Bible. The Bible said in Genesis that the stars are without number, like the sands of the seashores. When that was written, those words were heresy. It wasn't until Galileo thousands of years later that this truth began to be uncovered. Circumcision (God's covenant with Abraham) was not to be done until the eighth day after birth. Today we know that vitamin K is essential for blood to clot. Vitamin K doesn't form in the human body until between the fifth and seventh day.
The prophet Isaiah declared that the earth was circular. One of the oldest books in the Bible (Job)
says that he (God) suspends the earth on nothing. A totally foreign concept to men in the day that was written, never the less it's true. Many former critics of the Bible said that Isaiah had been written after Christ and that's why there were so many references to Him in it. Then in 1947 at a place called Qumron the dead sea scrolls were found pre- dating Christ. In it a complete Hebrew scroll of Isaiah was found and is on display in Israel today. Remarkably it supports the accuracy of the book of Isaiah that we 'fundies' have in our King James Bibles. A nuclear blast in a future war is described by Peter, the Jewish temple will be rebuilt and Israel will once again impliment animal sacrifice and much more. I'll bet you didn't know that Jesus said when he'd return it would be daytime and night time, seedtime and harvest all at the same time. Think about it. It couldn't be if the earth were not orbiting the way we know it is. There is much more. A coming Islamic war, whose nations are mentioned by name allied with Russia. Some of the so called contradictions are in themselves proof that the Bible is true. The water cycle is mentioned, a passage says that two witnesses will lie dead in Jerusalem during the tribulation and the whole world will watch--Impossible until satellite communication. The Bible talks about absolute financial control of every persons buying and selling by a mark in the right hand or forehead--Impossible before the computer age. It talks about a nation whose symbol is the eagle and sets it's nest among the stars. Could that be the ISS? There's even a very scientific reason for the virgin birth. I could go on but it's 11:43 pm and I've got a busy day tomorrow morning.
Jesus said, "But a time is coming, and it is already here! Even now the true worshipers are being led by the Spirit to worship the Father according to the truth. These are the ones the Father is seeking to worship him."

God bless you in your quest for truth.

RH

Astreja said...

RH: "Here's a challenge: All you would have to do to prove Christianity to be false is to produce the dead body of Jesus Christ."

And compare it to what, exactly?? You don't happen to have a sample of your god's DNA, do you? Just so we can prove that the skeleton is Yahweh's kid and not some random dead man from the greater Jerusalem area.

Because, if we did in fact produce the body, I suspect that you'd just turn around and say "That can't possibly be Jesus, because Jesus rose from the dead."

freeman said...

RH: "Here's a challenge: All you would have to do to prove Christianity to be false is to produce the dead body of Jesus Christ."

There is no body because he is just as imaginary as you sky daddy. Jesus was a metaphor. A story that Paul took and ran with creating a new religion from nothing more than a few jewish tales.

Jim Arvo said...

RH: "I can actually decipher a molecule of sincerity from some of you, though that would may a stretch."

I think that statement says more about you than it does us. I have explained to you as directly as I could why I do not buy your reasoning, and I have asked you some very simple and direct questions. If you feel something I (or anyone else) said is somehow unfair, why not respond to it explicitly rather than casting aspersions about insincerity?

RH: "Here's a challenge: All you would have to do to prove Christianity to be false is to produce the dead body of Jesus Christ."

You can't be serious. First, I have legitimate doubts that such a man ever existed. Second, if an itinerate preacher by the name of Jesus did exist some 2000 years ago, there would be nothing left of his body. Shall we set about trying to disprove the resurrection of other slain god-man saviors by trying to locate their bodies?

RH: "By all accounts, the Romans and Jews did all they could to secure the tomb. By all accounts the disciples all ran away and hid when it came to being identified with the crucified Christ."

The phrase "by all accounts" is very telling. Which "accounts" would those be? The gospels, right? Have you any extra-Biblical accounts of these things? Have you any documentation from the first century?

RH: "By all accounts Jesus was dead when He was removed from the cross, blood and water coming out from a spear wound is proof of death. So what happened to His body?"

"By all accounts" again. Which accounts? The accounts of anonymous authors "reporting" second-hand information (at best) a minimum of 40 years after the supposed event. Have you something better than that? Have you some means of separating fact from midrashic invention, which permeated hagiographic writings in that period?

RH: "If there is any brain washing its the fairy tale for adults: Evolution."

Okay, now I have a much clearer picture of where you're coming from. Let me contrast a scientific theory with religious dogma. A scientific theory must be *testable*, the data supporting it must be available for all to examine, the experiments supporting it must be repeatable, the conclusions must be drawn in a transparent manner that is open to rebuttal from ANYONE who can make a cogent argument or produce evidence to the contrary. Finally, a scientific theory is ALWAYS assumed to be provisional, as new data may disprove a theory or uncover past mistakes. Absolutely none of these attributes apply to theology.

By the way, can you please list a few of the books that you've read on the theory of evolution?

RH: "Even atheists have miracles--don't you? What is it? Random luck?"

If by "miracle" you mean the suspension of physical laws by a supernatural being for the purpose of intervening in human affairs, then that's a silly question. As an atheist I have absolutely no reason to believe in such things. Is it always random luck? No, of course not. People survive plane crashes and automobile accidents party because of good engineering and lessons learned from past tragedies. There are also unforeseen or uncontrollable events that (sometimes) "conspire" to save a person--which you can call "luck".

RH: "...God may show his intervention by not answering a prayer..."

Again, that's a dodge. It allows you to ignore all the cases in which help was not forthcoming from your god. If you are claiming that you can see a pattern of god's intervention that is a statistically significant deviation from "random" events, then that ought to be easily borne out by careful statistical analysis, which remove bias of the observer. Please point me to such an analysis if you know of any.

RH: "The Bible said in Genesis that the stars are without number, like the sands of the seashores."

But that statement is patently false in the case of sand, and probably false with regard to stars. "Without number" means infinite. Neither the stars nor the grains of sand are infinite in number. Moreover, by a back-of-the-envelope calculation, it seems to me that there are orders of magnitude *more* grains of sand than there are (known) stars. So, right there it seems that you are trying to squeeze more significance out of that vague statement than there is to be had. It's a far cry from a "scientific" statement.

RH: "Circumcision (God's covenant with Abraham) was not to be done until the eighth day after birth. Today we know that vitamin K is essential for blood to clot. Vitamin K doesn't form in the human body until between the fifth and seventh day."

It's true that today we understand the *mechanism*, but it's foolish to suggest that people would not have observed increased mortality, infection, etc., if the ritual was performed too early. You attribute "scientific" knowledge when a much simpler explanation suffices.

RH: "Many former critics of the Bible said that Isaiah had been written after Christ and that's why there were so many references to Him in it."

Please point to ONE unequivocal reference to Jesus in Isaiah. The "references" of which you speak (such as 7:14) are purely midrashic invention; i.e. extracting hitherto "hidden meaning" from older texts by yanking passages out of context, or claiming that there are dual meanings. If we allow ourselves the same freedom with Moby Dick, we could extract many a fulfilled prophecy.

RH: "A nuclear blast in a future war is described by Peter,..."

You mean what you INTERPRET to be a nuclear blast. All of your examples are cherry-picked phrases that you can put a modern gloss on and claim that they were somehow anachronistic bits of "scientific knowledge" or knowledge of things to come. Even if I were to grant you your interpretations (which would be granting you far too much IMO), you are still guilty of simply ignoring all the other outlandish nonsense that permeates the Bible. The stars are NOT affixed to a "firmament" that separates the waters. Feeding two types of bark to an animal does not cause it to have striped offspring, etc.

Do I understand that you are declining to take my little survey? Please tell me why. Do you feel my questions are somehow unfair? I'll gladly answer similar questions from you, fully and honestly. How about it?

Anonymous said...

"Circumcision (God's covenant with Abraham) was not to be done until the eighth day after birth. Today we know that vitamin K is essential for blood to clot. Vitamin K doesn't form in the human body until between the fifth and seventh day."

You can keep your child molesting god! Ecchh!! You're a freak. Glad your stupid pervert god isn't real! Fucking sick bastard!!

Anonymous said...

"The deluded wanks at God Said, Man Said claim that god knew all the benefits of circumcision long before science revealed them us. However, what they fail to acknowledge is the fact that god’s poor “design” of the male penis would then have be the ultimate cause of the necessity of the circumcision procedure. So, why the hell did god give men a foreskin in the first place? Believers claim that god is omniscient, so he must have known he was creating something he’d command us to undo. If you believe that god created man, then you must also believe that he gave men a foreskin intentionally. But doing so and then commanding its removal would be like Toyota manufacturing its cars with an intentional defect that prevents each one from starting, and then telling its customers to fix it themselves (without explain why).



So much for god’s perfection and omniscience.



From their website: “One last fact to remember is that God commanded the male child to be circumcised on the eighth day. Why the eighth day? On the eighth day of the human life span, vitamin K, which causes blood to clot, reaches it's peak...the very day God commanded circumcision to be performed.”



Ah, yes. The appearance of vitamin K! The almighty certainly has timed the correction of his poor design quite precisely!



God Said Nonsense, Godless Bastard Said Bullshit! Top"

http://www.godlessbastard.com/GotLogic.html

south2003 said...

RH: south2003:
As to the story of the guy with a flat tire...Have I specified whether he was Jewish or Christian?

Hey fundie fabulos, what I did was to show the correlation between both stories. The difference was one was a Christian story and the other Jewish. Get it?

RH: At any rate I did place some ambiguity to the story which I believe was a 911 television special about heroes and miracles on 9/11.

“Did place some ambiguity” but at any rate you thought we would fell in deep up to our knees……sobbing with repentance!.............Laughing my F*k ASS OFF!

RH: God answers prayers of people who trust in Him.

So does Zeus. Have you tried her.

RH: Even atheists have miracles--don't you?

Nope. Sorry to bust your bubble. I have no need for a dose of your delusions. I get off my ass and make it happen. No gods there, never have, never will. If that’s the case then the other 8,000+ deities owes me big time.

RH: What is it? Random luck? In your case it could be, however there were many miracles that day.

For those who did die, what happened? Was that random? It sure wasn’t (bad)luck. I tell you what happened: A group people had their nuts but missed the screw, believed, they were doing a service for ALLAH.

Way to go god aka Allah!! The gods saved a few and roasted the rest (3,000+). god aka Allah loves the stench of burned flesh. Sweet!

I’m bored

Jim Arvo said...

RH, I'm not going to keep harping on this, but since you do seem to be coming back here from time to time, I'll again list for you the questions that I would like direct and honest answers to. This list includes my original four, plus a fifth that I asked in a subsequent post. If you choose not to answer, can you please extend me courtesy of offering a brief explanation? They're just question, after all, and you can answer any way you like. Here is my "survey":

1) Do you admit the possibility (however remote) that your god is a myth?

2) Can you please list a few books you've read that are critical of Christianity?

3) Can you please give me your definition of "atheist"?

4) Can you list a few of the major reasons that non-Christians cite for rejecting Christianity?

5) Can you please list a few of the you've read on the theory of evolution?

Let me emphasize that in your answer to #4 I am *not* requesting reasons that you actually agree with; I'm simply asking for YOUR summary of what we and others have said are our reasons for rejecting Christianity. I hope you'll agree with me that understanding what the other side is saying is a necessary precursor to any meaningful exchange.

Thanks, and I look forward to your reply.

south2003 said...

R Hoeppner - Are you ROLAND Hoeppner of Penticton? Steve W

http://www.pentictonalliance.org/contact.htm

Well?

R. Hoeppner said...

To South:
No, I'm not Roland.

RE: Circumcision. #1) Circumcision was given to Abraham as a covenant. (Genesis 17:11, 12) It was at that time Abraham was instructed to wait until the 8th day before circumcising the newborn. There was no such experimenting with infant mortality rates (as assumed by one here) to determine whether or not to wait until the eighth day so that premise is false.
#2- (unrelated to the Jewish covenant) is that circumcision has been shown to help reduce the risk to some diseases, including HIV.

#3. To Mr. Arvo,
Q: Do you admit the possibility (however remote) that your god is a myth?
A: No. I originally had that perspective but since my encounter with Christ in 1964 I've had many experiences that I cannot deny of His hand in my life. You can read some of my testimony on my blog if you want.
Q: Define atheist
A: Check my blog

TO Boomslang;
God doesn't answer my prayers because I claim to be a Christian or am good. God responds to faith. Jesus said that God is looking for those who will worship Him in spirit and truth.
We all go through life, all have mountains to climb, all face crisis whether we are believers or not. Finally we all die. There's no great insight in that. An atheist world view and a Christian world view look at the same exact facts but come to very different conclusions.
When I walk through the forest and smell the pines and hear the wind whisper through the branches, I see the finger prints of a wonderful God and I can't help but praise Him. That's my world view. I see design in a leaf that is more complex than a nuclear power plant. The similarity of the design of an atom and the planets of a solar system tell me there is one designer.
Have you ever studied a monarch butterfly? It starts out as an ugly caterpillar with a voracious appetite whose mouth devours plants as it clumsily and slowly crawls about. Then somehow it knows to spin a cocoon around itself where its body completely dissolves into a liquid gelatinous mass. Then after time it emerges a butterfly. It has no mouth. It's eating habits have totally changed and almost immediately it begins a flight to a distant land where it's never been, and without benefit of map it arrives in one little butterfly community in Mexico. Then it starts it's cycle again.
The atheist says its random process that accomplished all this. I say it's God! Same facts, different world view. If I have a book, that proves to me there's an author. When I see design that proves to me there's a designer. Speaking of which I need to get to bed. Talk to you all later!
Oh I still say this little bit of insomnia may have a purpose to get me to pray for someone or just talk to you here.

.:webmaster:. said...

The atheist says its random process that accomplished all this. I say it's God! Same facts, different world view.

Actually, the atheist says it is a natural process that accomplished all this. "Random" is a word only used by fundamentalist religious believers that reject that the universe is a natural phenomenon. Religious people want to believe the universe is infused with magic.

If I have a book, that proves to me there's an author. When I see design that proves to me there's a designer.

Of course it does. A book is written by a human. We know that. A book doesn't occur naturally. It has to be created by an author, and a printer, and a whole lot of people are involved in producing a book. We can watch the entire process from writing to mass distribution. We can see it all. We KNOW that books are made by people.

Now, is the way the sand is arranged on the beach random or designed? By what you've said above, I'd have to say you believe that all of nature is designed and nothing is random. Tornadoes, hurricanes, tidal waves -- each of these natural forces are designed and achieve their designed purpose.

Creationists, like yourself, always like to attribute life, for instance , to a deified designer, but death, disease, starvation, birth defects, mutations, etc. -- for some reason these things are usually not credited to a designer.

Either this designer designed everything to behave just exactly as it does behave, or HE is not really control. If HE designed us to rebel against HIM and give HIM an excuse to torture those rebels for all eternity in horrific agony and pain, then HIS WILL is being carried out. HE either designed the universe to produce children destined for HELL or not. Either the design is working correctly, or it's not. And if the design is not working properly, then the designer is flawed.

Of course, the entire design mentality begs the question of who designed the designer.

If the universe and all it contains is too complicated to simply naturally exist, then a "designer" of the universe would likely be more complicated than the universe IT designed. If complexity is what determines the need for a designer, then that doesn't answer who or what designed the designer. If we say that the designer simply exists, and was never designed, then it is just as reasonable to say that the universe was not designed, and just naturally exists.

You can't have it both ways. You can't argue on behalf of a complex undesigned god that simply exists for no known reason and then say it's impossible to have a self-existent universe.

What is more likely? That we just don't have all the information on how the universe behaves, or that there is a magical big eye in the middle of the universe, waiting to see how many of the creatures on a tiny planet called Earth will come to believe the right version of the correct religion so he can either reward them with an apartment in a big square city in the sky, or can sadistically punish them for all eternity?

Think about it.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Mr. Hoeppner,

"#2- (unrelated to the Jewish covenant) is that circumcision has been shown to help reduce the risk to some diseases, including HIV."

A healthy side-effect of religious doctrine, to be sure. However, to my mind this poses a problem for creationism and casts doubt on God's alleged good intentions.

Assuming the design hypothesis, the blueprint appears flawed. If having a foreskin increases the chance of contracting disease from intercourse, then why include it in the first place? You might respond so that God could have his covenant later (i.e., progressive revelation). Indeed, that seems the only answer. Yet what does this say about His love for his children?

Circumcision doesn't appear until Gen. 17:10 with Abraham. If we assume that the biblical timeline is accurate - following the "Patriarchal-Age" method using either the Masoretic or Septuagint texts - we have up to 10,000 years between Adam and Abraham, and up to 2,000 years between Noah and Abraham. Generations upon generations of men exposed (in a manner of speaking) to increased danger of disease following God's command to be fruitful and multiply whilst God waits for Abraham in order to teach hygiene.

If I want to teach my child good hygiene, I don't wait until after there has been ample risk of exposure to disease. I do it from the beginning. God has other purposes in mind, and is not worthy of the title, "father."

In Re: Jim Arvo's questions...

You still haven't answered #2, #4, & #5. Can we simply assume from your silence that you haven't read any books critical of your faith or supporting evolution, and that you really don't understand the positions of those who reject your faith?

"The atheist says its random process that accomplished all this...If I have a book, that proves to me there's an author. When I see design that proves to me there's a designer."

To be precise, it is random gene mutation and migration along with non-random natural selection. In other words, the appearance of design today is anything but random. However, the non-random nature of selection is not to be construed as 'directed.'

This article sums it up nicely.

Anonymous said...

>>RE: Circumcision. #1) Circumcision was given to Abraham as a covenant. (Genesis 17:11, 12

And you know this as fact? Because of an old, dusty, book? I'm sorry - If God exists, he's not a child molester! Sorry!

>>It was at that time Abraham was instructed to wait until the 8th day before circumcising the newborn. There was no such experimenting with infant mortality rates (as assumed by one here) to determine whether or not to wait until the eighth day so that premise is false.

And you have empirical evidence to support this assumption, of course? Besides - why would God choose a barbaric ritual that has been in existance waaaay before the time Abraham supposedly lived as a Devine
Covenant? That's just ludicrous. I guess God just likes dinks, eh?

>>#2- (unrelated to the Jewish covenant) is that circumcision has been shown to help reduce the risk to some diseases, including HIV.

Yeah, yeah. Even though NOT ONE medical authority on earth supports the procedure, you want to believe a third-world study from Uganda. Yikes. Go do your research.

>>#3. To Mr. Arvo,
Q: Do you admit the possibility (however remote) that your god is a myth?
A: No. I originally had that perspective but since my encounter with Christ in 1964 I've had many experiences that I cannot deny of His hand in my life. You can read some of my testimony on my blog if you want.

I want you to relate your experience with Christ. Did you touch him? Was He short/tall? Did he shave that day? Boy, oh boy!

Ah, whatever. Believe what you want to believe. It affects no one to any serious degree anyway. Just stay away from children. And their private parts, you sick-o. Happy delusions.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Anony,

"Even though NOT ONE medical authority on earth supports the procedure, you want to believe a third-world study from Uganda. Yikes."

Actually, this is incorrect. The benefits of circumcision are rather well-documented. As for one medical authority, a simple Google search turns up several, including the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota (one of the more prestigious in the U.S.). See this article which weighs the pros and cons.

So, in spite of the fact that I disagree with him on most of the points he's made thus far, it appears Mr. Hoeppner did do his homework on this one.

Daniel; R.N. South Okanagan Health Unit said...

I'm sorry - I don't want to skew this topic so far off topic, but I do respectfully disagree. First, the Mayo Clinic is not a medial authority; I have read all their claims, and, unfortunately, circumcision is still a 'cure waiting for a disease'. There is not a single 'pro' on their site that really holds any water in the greater medical community (to which I belong). Today, the rates of incidence for this procedure are dropping dramatically as it is quickly falling out of favor. People are becoming more educated and are no longer buying into the false information that has been perpetuating this unnecessary procedure. I really do not want to cause a rift in our discussion - I agree with everything you have have to say about Chrustianity here on this forum, but honestly, there are no valid reasons whatsoever to continue this sort of thing, and the statistics are a reflection of this.

My apologies for skewing this topic; I realize this issue does not belong here and I will not post about it again.

Anonymous said...

http://www.cirp.org/

Whoops - my 'first draft' got through by mistake. Dang!! Sorry...

I'm sorry - I don't want to skew this topic so far off topic, but I do respectfully disagree. First, the Mayo Clinic (as prestigious as they appear) has not honestly kept up with modern information concerning this; I have read all their claims, and, unfortunately, circumcision is still a 'cure waiting for a disease'. Really, there is not a single 'pro' on their site that really holds any water within the greater medical community (to which I belong). The Circumcision Policy Statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics concluded "behavioral factors appear to be far more important risk factors in the acquisition of HIV infection than circumcision status." Furthermore, a Rwandan study found partner circumcision to be a risk factor for HIV-1 infection for pregnant women, and then another Tanzanian study found an increased prevalence of HIV in circumcised men and that there was no protective effect for circumcision!

I don't know; studies can be exagerated and twisted. It just depends on the motives behind them. One study I found has shown that circumcising females reduces spread of AIDS by over 30%. That's a large number, should we start routinely chopping off clits too? These results don't really change my opinion on circumcision or AIDS. It is an issue with education and behavior, not anatomy. Circumcise a generation of African men and you'll see, these guys will think they're invincible and will go around sleeping with as many women as they want, continuing the spread of HIV. In reality, I think the best study is right here in North America, where the largest aids crisis exists right alongside the 'largely circumcised civilized western world'. Besides, there are better ways of preventing aids other that hacking off part of your body. Condoms, not sleeping around, and providing more sex education are the BEST ways...

Today, in the 'civilized (yet still religiously retarded) world', the rates of incidence for this procedure are dropping dramatically as it is quickly falling out of favor. People are becoming more educated and are no longer buying into the false information that has been perpetuating this unnecessary procedure...

Anyway, I really do not want to cause a rift in our discussion - I agree with everything you have have to say about Chrustianity here on this forum, but honestly, there are no valid reasons whatsoever to continue this sort of thing, and the statistics are a reflection of this. Besides - I liken child circ to child indoctrination. One permanently alters the body; the other fucks the mind up! ;-)

My apologies for skewing this topic; I realize this issue does not belong here and I will not post about it again. Again, please accept my apologies.

D.

Alan said...

Circumcision of an infant is a medically unnecessary procedure performed on someone who is incapable of giving informed consent, and is therefore unethical. That it continues to be done is a yet another testament to religious stupidity, and I thought the "intelligent designer" knew what he was doing, so why the need to alter the design?

Anonymous said...

RE: Benefits of Circumcision
I've found this site helpful.
http://sciencenews.org/articles/20051029/fob1.asp

Wes said...

Amen, Alan! A-FUCKIN' Men! I think I would have shot my parents if they pulled that shit on me. -Wes.

Wes said...

Fuck. Why not terminate the damn kid right after birth? THEN you will spare him from ever getting ANYTHING. The Christians would like that, too - because then not only would you be sparing him a life of 'supposed illnesses', but he'd go straight to heaven! That's fucked up thinking. Sorry. That's like removing breast tissue from young girls before they have the chance to develop breast cancer.. .and that step of 'preventative maintenance' would yield a waaay higher chance of being effective! Anyone want to slice their daughters apart? Anyone? Disgusting, primitive thinking. Yeesh! -Wes.

J. C. Samuelson said...

D,

Having someone who works in the medical field comment on something as specific as this is a rare treat, and I really appreciate your input.

You cited the Circumcision Policy Statement, so I went ahead and read it. Basically, it seems the AAP takes a neutral stance on the procedure, mentioning both the potential benefits and drawbacks as factors for consideration. In other words, it seems that the AAP is not prepared to denounce or endorse the practice.

With regard to the studies that indicated a reduced liklihood of contracting AIDS for circumcised men, I don't think anyone (even Mr. Hoeppner) was suggesting that this would be an adequate substitute for either condom use or other abstinence/monogamy. I know I certainly wasn't. I agree wholeheartedly that behavior is the determining factor.

As far as ethics are concerned, I respectfully disagree with Alan. If we take that position (lack of informed consent on the part of one incapable of giving it), then all surgeries of all kinds are unethical when the patient him/herself is unable to give it. That includes surgeries that have gained wide acceptance in the medical community as being beneficial. Somewhere along the line, responsible persons other than the patient need to be able to answer for him/her should that individual be unable to give consent. In this case, that responsible party is the parent.

Anyway, I've helped take us further off-topic than intended, so I also apologize.

RubySera said...

J. C. Samuelson said:

In Re: Jim Arvo's questions...

You still haven't answered #2, #4, & #5. Can we simply assume from your silence that you haven't read any books critical of your faith or supporting evolution, and that you really don't understand the positions of those who reject your faith?

************

I think that is a safe assumption. It is probably also safe to assume that RH et al did not read my story and just jumped in with assumptions. Nobody on earth has ever prayed longer, more earnestly, and believed more fervently than I. The suggestions to the opposite are just so much crap.

However, answered/unanswered prayer is hard to prove. What has been proved in this discussion is that RH et al is just plain wrong about things easily proved such as the statements of medical authorities on a specific surgical procedure on infant males. A person who states outright falsehood about such easily proven items is probably not worth anyone's time of day when it comes to things that really matter.

RubySera said...

J. C. Samuelson said:

In Re: Jim Arvo's questions...

You still haven't answered #2, #4, & #5. Can we simply assume from your silence that you haven't read any books critical of your faith or supporting evolution, and that you really don't understand the positions of those who reject your faith?

************

I think that is a safe assumption. It is probably also safe to assume that RH et al did not read my story and just jumped in with assumptions. Nobody on earth has ever prayed longer, more earnestly, and believed more fervently than I. The suggestions to the opposite are just so much crap.

However, answered/unanswered prayer is hard to prove. What has been proved in this discussion is that RH et al is just plain wrong about things easily proved such as the statements of medical authorities on a specific surgical procedure on infant males. A person who states outright falsehood about such easily proven items is probably not worth anyone's time of day when it comes to things that really matter.

Alan said...

JC

I'm just saying its unethical to perform a medically unnecessary procedure on someone without their consent. The benefits are dubious and it does have an impact on the person's life.

Anyway my apologies for going off-topic, thanks RubySera for sharing your story.

Jim Arvo said...

To Anonymous/RH:

Thank you for addressing two of my questions to you.

Your reply to my question #1, as to whether you admit the possibility that your god is mythical, was that you have no doubt whatsoever in the existence of your god. This means that you cannot envision any circumstances at all under which you might have reached an erroneous conclusion, even supernatural ones such as a demon misleading you. (Do you agree?) This means that if you are wrong, then you will have no way to ever correct your error as you are not open to re-examining your evidence. This is precisely how people become locked into cults. Their capacity to question their beliefs is bypassed (if they ever had such a capacity to begin with), so they can never perceive the web of deception that they are caught in. In my opinion, any belief that cannot be questioned relentlessly is worse than worthless--it's a recipe for permanent delusion.

Your reply to my question #3, asking for your definition of an atheist, was to refer me to your blog. I've scanned all the posts here looking for the link but have not found it--perhaps I just missed it. Can you please direct me to it?

Finally, as J. C. Samuelson pointed out, you have yet to address my questions #2, #4, and #5. And as RubySera pointed out, you seem to be playing fast & loose with "facts", even those that are fairly straightforward to check. So, I'm not hopeful that you've actually researched your theological position to any meaningful degree. If I'm wrong about that, then you have an open invitation to set me straight. In fact, addressing my other questions would be a fine way to do that.

By the way, I'd be happy to answer similar questions from you.

RubySera said...

Jim Arvo, you are so logical, so honest, and so fair. RH would have to actually THINK to respond to your post. I'm sure you won't be surprised if you never hear back from RH but you are being a good example and shining light. My guess is the Christians in your part of the world run when they see you coming--they wouldn't want to risk being subjected to one of your incisive questions and observations. We sure need your kind on "our" side.

Jim Arvo said...

Thanks for the kind words, RubySera. As for Christians in my part of the world, that includes most of my family (siblings, cousins, nieces, etc.)! I'm happy to report that we have a very healthy relationship despite out theological differences. They don't run, but they do *think*, and that's all I ask really.

I find that it's very difficult to get most Christian visitors to answer very straightforward questions. (Some do, but the majority ignore most if not all of my questions.) But what I find to be even more disturbing is how absolutely incurious most of them are. They rarely have any questions for us, aside from fatuous ones such as "What if you're wrong?", or "Why are you so bitter?", or "How can something as complex as an eye evolve?" Actually, the last one would be a perfectly legitimate question if it were not rhetorical; i.e. they only "ask" it because they think they already know the answer.

To me, steadfastly holding a position based on little or no evidence while being completely incurious about opposing views is something very close to insanity. I'd like to some day understand how people can put themselves in such a position. I guess that's one reason I keep coming back here; there is a never-ending stream of such people to observe here. They intrigue me.

.:webmaster:. said...

Jim Arvo, you are so logical, so honest, and so fair.

That is an understatement, to be sure.

But what I find to be even more disturbing is how absolutely incurious most of them are.

This was something that disturbed me when I was still a Christian. I couldn't understand how someone who "loved the Lord so much" wasn't interested in learning anything beyond surface theology and shallow apologetics.

In retrospect, I suppose had I possessed a less curious mind, I would never have ever left the faith.

Perhaps the story about the Tree of Knowledge has more meaning than believers realize. But I guess the question will never come up.

R. Hoeppner said...

Jim Arvo said: If you choose not to answer, can you please extend me courtesy of offering a brief explanation? They're just question, after all, and you can answer any way you like.
2) Can you please list a few books you've read that are critical of Christianity?
4) Can you list a few of the major reasons that non-Christians cite for rejecting Christianity?
5) Can you please list a few of the you've read on the theory of evolution?
11/01/06

#2. I’m constantly reading material critical of faith in the Christian God and doctrines surrounding the faith. Throughout school and college I was continually bombarded with evolution taught as fact. The mere mention of the possibility of an Intelligent Designer was tantamount to declaring insanity-just as it is on this blog. So what on earth would a guy who has faith in God be talking to a bunch of atheists?
#4. Because I happened onto a name I once knew. He was an associate pastor of an a church, a talented musician and composer of Christian music, converted to Christ a little before I was, baptized in the Holy Spirit spoke in tongues and knew people that I knew (as we were both in S. Cal at that time). He is now is a dogmatic atheist, repudiating his faith. My heart pains for him and so I’ve contacted him, seeking answers to my question as how this happened. He was gracious enough to talk to me but perhaps my zeal to win him back took a toll. He hasn’t spoken for a while. So I woke up one night concerned about how many others there were in this state and if they found inadequacies in their faith when I’ve found mine quite sufficient. Shortly thereafter I looked up this blog. Right off the top I read Ruby Sera’s ‘testimony.’ She was simply disappointed with Christians who didn’t measure up. The theological reasons followed, not that she was a theological major.
I felt that perhaps I could extend a hand of love to her and pray for her. I had no idea that would cause such a firestorm. To me it seemed a simple and direct approach to someone who needed encouragement, but of course it was made a mockery; it certainly wasn’t intended to be so.
I’ve been curious yes, webmaster, CURIOS to see what atheism could possibly offer that Christ didn’t. I’ve since sought out many atheist blogs and not surprisingly I’ve discovered that very few atheist bloggers really know much about the Bible aside from the common presuppositions parroted over and over again. I also do find are an abundance of people like Wes whose intellectual acuity is summed up in his one syllable expletives. The short answer to #4 is I’m learning a few of the major reasons that non-Christians cite for rejecting Christianity?
5). Most recently: Darwin’s Leap of Faith Ankerberg/Weldon; Buried Alive Jack Cuozzo. [Most of the material I cover isn’t related to evolution]. Like the one I’m reading now is The Power In You by Wally Amos.

.:webmaster:. said...

A paraphrased, shorter version:

JA: 2) Can you please list a few books you've read that are critical of Christianity?

RH: I can't name one title of one book.

JA: 4) Can you list a few of the major reasons that non-Christians cite for rejecting Christianity?

RH: I can't name one specific thing.

JA: 5) Can you please list a few of the books you've read on the theory of evolution?

RH: One, but it wasn't written by a scientist, it was written by a pop-tele-apologist-talk-show-host.

RH: I've been curious...

WM: Perhaps you are mystified as to why people reject your religion, but genuine curiosity has not been demonstrated in the answers you provided to JA's questions.

Jim Arvo said...

Hello RH. Once again, I thank you for taking the time to reply to my questions. Unfortunately, I must concur with the Webmaster's summary above. As you did not list a single specific book you're read that is critical of Christianity, I'm going to assume that you have some vague notion that such books exist, and have possibly read brief summaries of such arguments as presented by theists of various stripes, but that you remain largely ignorant of such literature. Again, if my assumption is untrue, all you need to do is correct me. For your convenience I'll list a few worthwhile books off the top of my head. I'll even give you the Amazon links so you can add them to your "wish list". Okay? You should also check out the reaing list on this very web site. Here we go...

Gospel Fictions, by Randel Helms

The Jesus Puzzle, by Earl Doherty

The End of Faith, by Sam Harris

Breaking the Spell, by Daniel Dennet

Arguing for Atheism, Rob Le Poidevin

Belief and Make-Believe, by G. A. Wells

The Vanquished Gods, by Richard Schlagel

Deconstructing Jesus, by Robert Price

You said "The mere mention of the possibility of an Intelligent Designer was tantamount to declaring insanity-just as it is on this blog." But that's absolutely false. Even many of the regulars here have an affinity for ID. In any case, arguments are only "insanity" if they are offered with no evidence whatsoever and/or out of complete ignorance.

You ask "So what on earth would a guy who has faith in God be talking to a bunch of atheists?"

Maybe to find out what they actually think and why? (That must sound like such a radical suggestion.)

With regard to a former pastor you once knew, you said "My heart pains for him and so I’ve contacted him, seeking answers to my question as how this happened. He was gracious enough to talk to me but perhaps my zeal to win him back took a toll." To me this is very sad, but not for the reason you think it's sad. It sounds to me that you had a wonderful opportunity to learn about a new perspective from someone you could relate to, but judging by the things you've said here, and by the former pastor's reaction, I'd say your top priority was to evangelize rather than listen and learn. Am I wrong about that?

Concerning RubySera, you said "She was simply disappointed with Christians who didn’t measure up. The theological reasons followed, not that she was a theological major." So does one need to be a "theology major" to ask questions and expect cogent answers? Do you dismiss her insights because you perceive her background to be somehow lacking? Perhaps you would like to address her questions rather than dismiss them?

You went on to say "I felt that perhaps I could extend a hand of love to her and pray for her. I had no idea that would cause such a firestorm." Firestorm? You came here with an agenda, right? You want to win back souls do you not? Suppose I were to visit your blog (if you have one) and start pointing out how weak the historical evidence is for Christianity, and how much of it has been adapted from older religions, etc. Furthermore, let's suppose I showed not the slightest curiosity about what you believe or why. Would I be received warmly, or would you perhaps confront me, or even scrub my posts? Please tell me that you see the analogy.

You added "To me it seemed a simple and direct approach to someone who needed encouragement,..." Now, how did you reach the conclusion that she needed "encouragement" to return to Christianity? Is her position not clear? Does it immediately follow that someone who disagrees with you needs "encouragement" to see things as you do? Isn't that a bit condescending?

I find the following statement quite revealing: "I’ve been curious yes, webmaster, CURIOS to see what atheism could possibly offer that Christ didn’t." What that says to me is that you cannot even contemplate the position of an atheist. You cannot allow yourself to even doubt the divinity let alone the existence of Jesus long enough to hear what the other side is saying. If that's the case, then please just admit it. You are entitled to believe what you like. But you should realize that you are in no position to judge anyone else's beliefs until you can open your mind enough to first comprehend them.

You then insinuated that atheists often know little about the Bible. I posit that the regulars here have a much better understanding of the Bible than your typical believer. I wager you will never allow yourself to explore that possibility, however, as the implications are much too troubling for you. Better to dismiss it out of hand and spare yourself all the cognitive dissonance.

You said "I’m learning a few of the major reasons that non-Christians cite for rejecting Christianity." Great. Can you name any yet?

As for the book you mentioned on "evolution", let me just say that you can do MUCH better than that. It seems you only wish to hear a pre-sanitized mockery of science, not the actual science itself. That's really too bad. Let me give you a gentle nudge in the right direction. Please take some time to read the articles posted at the following site:

Questioning: An Examination of Christian Belief, by Merle Hertzler

If you read nothing else that I've pointed you to, please spend some time at this web site. It's written in a very respectful manner, and it gently walks you through many arguments. It might also nudge you to ask some questions of your own. Good luck.

Jax said...

R. Hoeppner: "My heart pains for him and so I’ve contacted him, seeking answers to my question as how this happened."

RH, if you are truly trying to be honest in your words, I will provide what I honestly believe you mean, whether you are willing to accept it or not.

1-You felt loss when your friend no longer supported your "belief".

2-Your identity is apparently (whether you realize it or not) grounded tightly to your belief system.

3-Your friend's rejection of your belief, was perceived by you, as a rejection of you as a person.

4-You were emotionally hurt.
*Note: Hurt, not for what your friend decided was best for his life, but hurt, because you believe that rejection of your belief is a rejection of you.

5-This hurt caused a cognitive dissonance.

6-You had to mentally weigh, the possibilities; 1) Your belief & self-identity "inter-twined" are based on false premises, or 2) Your friend is obviously under some false belief and is being misled.

7-You chose to be pragmatic, so, you chose option two, and justified it by saying, that your friend must obviously be undergoing the same cognitive dissonance now, and therefore it must be hurting him.

8-Thus this places you in a position, to believe you don't have a problem, and that you are really, really, really, just trying to save your friend from his obvious torment.

9-You reinforce this idea, yet, you still have this nagging idea somewhere in the back of your brain, that you may be wrong... the longer you go, the more pronounced this "little" doubt becomes.

10-You strategically think about how you can continue to stay in "denial", or "doubt", while not blowing your own cover... So, as your doubt becomes more pronounced, and jeopardizes your identity, you nudge forward down the path in life, not because you "want" to, but because your curiosity isn't giving you an escape.

11-Now here, you have to find a coping mechanism, whatever that is for you. You know, that something that wil take your mind off of your friend.

12-Oh, darn, it doesn't work, but you get a flicker of hope, when you approach your friend and he still accepts you, as "You".

13-He attempts to begin his friendship where he thought you left off. However, as he talks with you he begins to see you see him the same as you used to, and your approach with him hasn't changed.

14-He probably isn't able to articulate the details of what is happening, but, intuitively... he knows you are there more for "you" than your friendship.

15-He begins pulling away, of course, you are still trying to reinforce your belief, and the cognitive dissonance is now a little more pronounced, and takes a little more energy for you to keep in at bay.

16-But, again, instead of accepting the problem is "you/perceived identity", or your belief, you chalk it up to how you "approached", your friend i.e., zeal, etc. Still, reinforcing your belief, because its still tied to your identity.

Now, RH, if you are being honest, then... take what has been said as an honest return.

You ask for books, etc., etc., but that is not what you are really searching for, in my humble opinion. You are searching for security, in the form of some key to unlock your friend, whom you believe must obviously have some latent issue in his life. Mind if I just pose a few alternative solutions, that would work if you were truly looking to mend your friendship, and not out of some insecure need? Thanks.

1-Accept your "friend" for "who" he is, not "what" (belief) he is.

2-Accept your "friend" unconditionally, and "not" as you would want him to be, even if it makes you feel a little "uncomfortable".

3-Don't challenge your friends' right to seek his own path in life, because his "curiosity" is just as important as yours, and he deserves, just like "you", to walk down that path that beckons him forward.

4-If you can't respect his autonomy to search for peace in his life, because you can't overcome your insecurity, then, you will have to figure out some compromise, perhaps, that will mean you are going to have to engage some "real" research with sincerity... not as a key to unlock your friend, who you believe/perceive has problems... but to satisfy your curiosity when it "truly" becomes genuine.

Like the WM stated, what you have presented to this point, doesn't look like the "right" amount of energy/curiosity one would harness if they were searching for the truth, freely. Freely, meaning, you allow the truth take you where it leads, not to where "you" want to force it to go, so you feel secure.

I considered just giving you what you were asking for, but... all the information you need to fix your problems, you can find in your mirror, a library, and just plain honesty with yourself.

Trust yourself, to do what most people have already done on this site... allow yourself to follow the truth, no matter "where" it leads you.

Dave8 said...

And, the truth will set you free.

R. Hoeppner said...

Jax,
Thanks for your smorgasbord of possibilities for me to choose from regarding my dealing with my friends de-conversion. I regard him as fallen brother though I may or may not have ever personally met him. He looks familiar but a lot can change in 40 years.
My heartfelt pain for him and my continued prayers for him are not to confirm anything in me or grant me a personal reward.
Rather my concern for him is akin to the concern I would have for anyone sleeping in a house that was on fire...I would do my utmost, as I hope you would, to alert those inside to the danger. IMHO I believe there is a far greater danger to my fallen brother than a burning house, though he doesn't see the risk.
There is no earthly benefit to me whatever if I should succeed other than the joy that my efforts have succeeded in rescuing.
If I fail, at least I did something which probably won't diminish my sadness.
J. Arvo: Sorry you agree with the webmasters summary and the words he so freely put in my mouth.
It's been many years since I attended college and actually read books that countered Christian beliefs, but I am quite familiar with Price (whose perpetuation of Higher Criticism keeps on going eventhough time and again it's been shown to be a straw man). And isn't it interesting that a "Christian" Theologan would be at the forefront of the battle to disprove everything that the Bible says? Rather like cutting off one's nose to spite his face don't you think? It's nothing new or revolutionary; Clarence Darrow and the ACLU empolyed many of Price's ilk at the Scopes trial. I've addressed some of this on my blog.
I've read many articles recently like the ones suggested, and listened to endless debates by hero's of secular humanism.

Jim Arvo said: "If you are claiming that you can see a pattern of god's intervention that is a statistically significant deviation from "random" events, then that ought to be easily borne out by careful statistical analysis, which remove bias of the observer. Please point me to such an analysis if you know of any."

RESPONSE: Here's what you asked for: Peter Stoner and Robert Newman wrote a book entitled "Science Speaks" wherein they took eight of the Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Christ and they calculated the odds of just those eight particular prophecies being fulfilled by one man in history as virtually astronomical. On my blog I list, not just eight but over three hundred Old Testament predictions that Christ fulfilled.

Jim Arvo, you also gave me an extensive list of reading material to look at. You may be waiting for a while to get my comments on that but I will check out at least one. I do a lot of traveling and it may take me a while to get back here so I'm letting you know in advance so you (all) won't keep on making so many rediculous assumptions about why I haven't answered. Hopefully I can continue this thread with you.

J. C. Samuelson: Were you the one who corrected me on another blog regarding the Leakeys discovering Lucy? I still maintain that it wasn't the Leakeys but Johansen. Also Lucy was named from the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" they were singing around the campfire that night.

Best Regards
R. Hoeppner

R. Hoeppner said...

please pardon the miss spelling. I'm re-learning that there is virtue in proof reading.

Jim Arvo said...

RH: "...my concern for him is akin to the concern I would have for anyone sleeping in a house that was on fire...I would do my utmost, as I hope you would, to alert those inside to the danger."

I hear such analogies all the time, and I find it quite interesting. In the case of a fire, there is a huge amount of empirical evidence that they are destructive and dangerous. Many people have died of smoke inhalation, for example. Moreover, a house that is on fire exhibits readily observable signs, such as billowing black smoke. Virtually any competent adult who has lived in a modern society will recognize the signs and the dangers, and would (hopefully) act to save people from the imminent danger.

In the case of religion the situation is quite different. You must have "faith" in things "unseen"--i.e. you must make a leap to accept the dogma that there is danger. Not only do you not have readily observable empirical evidence to support your claim, but many competent and educated adults flatly *reject* your claim as absurd. Moreover, there are conflicting claims from different religions, each citing the same types of "evidence" (e.g. scripture, revelation, tradition, etc.). For example, accepting Jesus as your savior is the WRONG thing to do if Allah is the one true god, as that will be seen as blasphemy against him. In that scenario you would actually be dragging the person into the inferno with you.

RH: "IMHO I believe there is a far greater danger to my fallen brother than a burning house, though he doesn't see the risk."

Can you admit the possibility that the risk you perceive is imaginary? It's not that your "fallen brother" does not "see" the risk; rather, he disagrees with you. He (presumably) agrees with us that the risk you perceive is illusory; a result of a man-made belief system that has no more credibility than dozens of others that we all reject as absurd.

RH: "...I am quite familiar with Price (whose perpetuation of Higher Criticism keeps on going eventhough time and again it's been shown to be a straw man)."

I'm sure there are those who will call higher criticism a "straw man." But if you are suggesting that all or even most scholars do, then you are sadly mistaken. At any rate, what matters is not how many scholars line up on each side, but how well-founded their arguments are. Do you reject the analysis and reasoning that points to Markan priority, for example? That can be considered an outcome of higher criticism. If you reject it I'd be curious to know why.

RH: "And isn't it interesting that a 'Christian' Theologan would be at the forefront of the battle to disprove everything that the Bible says? Rather like cutting off one's nose to spite his face don't you think?"

I find that comment to be very interesting. You see Price as somehow acting irrationally because he ultimately rejected a belief you strongly endorse. Could it be that Price was being honest with himself? Could it be that his studies revealed just how weak the historical evidence is that supports Christianity? If you rule out these alternative explanations, I would like to know why. Do you think Price has been lying about his experiences? Why would he do that?

I asked, in effect, whether there is any statistical evidence to support the claim that god has intervened in human affairs. RH replied "Here's what you asked for: Peter Stoner and Robert Newman wrote a book entitled 'Science Speaks' wherein they took eight of the Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Christ and they calculated the odds of just those eight particular prophecies being fulfilled by one man in history as virtually astronomical..."

I am not familiar with that particular book, although I am thoroughly familiar with that line of reasoning as articulated by many apologists. I obviously cannot say whether Stoner and Newman commit the same errors as the others, but I would be quite surprised if they did not. Namely:

1) The "prophecies" that are enumerated fail to meet reasonable criteria that would lend them credibility. In particular, the vast majority of the so-called prophecies are probably nothing more than midrashic interpolation on the part of the evangelists. That is, they "reconstructed" events of the past by mining verses from the OT and interpreting them as messianic prophecies. This was a widespread practice at the time. This is most evident in that the majority of the verses are not prophecies at all in their original context, and others, while prophetic, were not messianic, or were long since "fulfilled" (or not). How does one measure the probability of an evangelist engaging in midrash?

2) There is no extra-Biblical corroboration that any of the so-called messianic prophecies where actually fulfilled.

3) No mention is made of the bona fide messianic prophecies that were NOT fulfilled.

4) Ignoring all of the above, the probabilities that are assigned are quite arbitrary and do not account for the wide range of possible interpretations that could be given a verse, or to the many verses that could have been interpreted as prophetic, including those what would have disconfirmed Jesus as the messiah.

So, I have yet to see a credible argument that the prophecies amount to anything at all. In fact, I strongly suspect that given the same latitude to yank verses out of context, to interpret them metaphorically, and to retroactively invent a history for a person long dead (or possibly even fictional), one could show that Homer's Odyssey contains numerous prophecies proving that Nietzsche was in fact the Messiah. Or, perhaps a better analogy would be with William Tell, a fictional character whose life history was fabricated long after his supposed death.

RH: "Jim Arvo, you also gave me an extensive list of reading material to look at..."

Actually, it was a very short reading list. I simply wrote down the first ones that came to mind that were still in print. I'm glad to hear that you intend to read at least one. Take your time.

Jax said...

RH: "Thanks for your smorgasbord of possibilities for me to choose from regarding my dealing with my friends de-conversion. I regard him as fallen brother though I may or may not have ever personally met him. He looks familiar but a lot can change in 40 years."

So, you suggest you can identify a familiar face, but may or may not have ever met him. How do you become familiar with someone you have not met, either today, or 40 years from now? This person seems to be a lot like you, and your "ideal" of you. Do you find that coincidental? I do.

RH: "My heartfelt pain for him and my continued prayers for him are not to confirm anything in me or grant me a personal reward."

Really? What is the origin of that heartfelt "pain" you speak of. You can't possibly "know" this person's life and belief system, or level of intrinsic peace. You can "barely" recognize him, and it has been 40 years, right.

RH: "Rather my concern for him is akin to the concern I would have for anyone sleeping in a house that was on fire...I would do my utmost, as I hope you would, to alert those inside to the danger."

"7-You chose to be pragmatic, so, you chose option two, and justified it by saying, that your friend must obviously be undergoing the same cognitive dissonance now, and therefore it must be hurting him.

8-Thus this places you in a position, to believe you don't have a problem, and that you are really, really, really, just trying to save your friend from his obvious torment."

RH: "IMHO I believe there is a far greater danger to my fallen brother than a burning house, though he doesn't see the risk."

I see a tight correlation between your "faith", in some impending "danger", and your need to "spread" the news. In other words, if you "don't" reinforce your faith in danger, it would lose its potency over time.

RH: "There is no earthly benefit to me whatever if I should succeed other than the joy that my efforts have succeeded in rescuing."

The "joy" of your efforts, is an intrinsic reward. Each time you feel someone else buys into your belief, it reinforces your "identity/belief". You receive "reinforcement", by self-suggestion, a most hypnotic process. It's akin to self-affirmation.

Consider the "fire" to be your natural mind rejecting what it is being willed to accept, and your self-affirmation to be the "water" or as you suggest, "joy", that calms the flames.

RH: "If I fail, at least I did something which probably won't diminish my sadness."

Actually, you're right, as long as you continue to continue with self-affirmation, you can't possibly fail, you will continue to push down your natural brain's attempt to realign you to reality. Here's some additional advice... the nagging you are having, will only increase over time.

You will get to a point that it will be so overwhelming, you will no longer be able to use self-affirmation, you will have to slip into direct denial. It's okay, you'll just have blind spots due to your rejection of specific parts of reality.

Denial: "8. Psychology. an unconscious defense mechanism used to reduce anxiety by denying thoughts, feelings, or facts that are consciously intolerable."

Affirmation: "Confirmation or ratification of the truth or validity of a prior judgment, decision, etc."

The "self" part, is where you personally validate your claims.

If you don't form a self-identity based on information that reflects the reality you live in, your brain will continue to push you to conform. It's your choice. You can compromise like many other religious, and flip from hard-line believer to agnostic, it's the peferred compromise that allows one to still receieve the social identity while not having to expend so much energy to keep their brain blind to reality.

Identity: "1. the state or fact of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions:"

Your identity is supposed to change, with more knowledge. As knowledge increases, the greater the potential for one's identity to shift.

Identity: "5. the sense of self, providing sameness and continuity in personality over time and sometimes disturbed in mental illnesses, as schizophrenia."

Those who feel their identity slip, because of new knowledge, will either force themselves into denial, or... if disturbed can manifest in symptoms such as mental illness or schizophrenia.

It's okay, my personal belief is that a person can "think" themselves straight with enough information and knowledge. That is, as long as they are not biologically/neurologically impaired/limited. That requires a little more effort, and a lot more additional help from professionals.

Anonymous said...

On Nov. 26, RH said:

Right off the top I read Ruby Sera’s ‘testimony.’ She was simply disappointed with Christians who didn’t measure up. The theological reasons followed, not that she was a theological major.
********

1. You misspell my name.
2. You mislabel my eximony.
3. You assume I was “merely disappointed” in Christianity.

I am out-raged at the despicable beast—namely Christianity--that has mauled and trampled me. However, in my more lucid moments I realize how futile it is to smash not only windows but xistian noses and faces as well. On top of that, some Christians are worthy of the name.

4. You somehow discount my “theological reasons” because I am not a “theological major.”

What we call it here in a mainstream school in Canada is Master of Theological Studies. Perhaps that is the equivalent of your religion’s theological major, perhaps not. I don’t care. I know it qualifies me for further studies in top universities such as Yale and Harvard. What I value even more is the intellectual discipline and training it has given me. However, please understand that my “theological reasons” are easy questions for a child. The fundamental question burned itself into my brain the very first time I heard the story as a child. The problem is that no Christian will answer it. Anyone who attempts to answer it inevitably has left Christianity or is on the way out. Look it up: What changed when Jesus died? I think it’s on this forum.

I would think perhaps I failed to explain myself in my eximony except that the people who attempted to speak for me in my absence hit the nail on the head. I guess it’s your inability to comprehend people of a different opinion from yourself that makes you say such weird things about me and my story. RH, I am sure you in your dim-wittedness and self-righteousness *drove* your friend away. No person in his or her right mind could tolerate your type of Christianity. Except perhaps others of equally deficient brains.

RH said:

Rather my concern for him is akin to the concern I would have for anyone sleeping in a house that was on fire...I would do my utmost, as I hope you would, to alert those inside to the danger.
*******************
I am doing what I can to alert you of the danger but I have little hope that you will heed. Your kind hear only others of their own kind.

RubySera Martin said...

Just checked back to this thread. I see I posted as Anonymous on Nov. 30, 2006. That was me, RubySera, writing. Hopefully this one will post under my name for future readers who may wander this way. I see in the other posts on this thread I omitted "Martin." I don't always sign in the same way.

Archived Testimonial Pageviews this week: