A confession -- I want to believe

By HeIsSailing

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil – John 3:19 (KJV)

I was a Christian for most of my life of 43 years. I fell away for one simple reason: I finally found the claims of Christianity to be unbelievable. I no longer believe in presupposing that the Bible is inerrant and divinely inspired so that I can wrap my worldview around it. I do not trust the Christian Church, run by mortal and fallible men just like me, to know my path to eternal salvation. Like the noble Bereans, I had to investigate the Scriptures for myself, and read them without the filter of Church Creeds to interpret them. And the Scriptures, while more fascinating than any Creed could make them, do not in any way hold as an infallible belief system.

But I want to believe. It is so much easier to fit into society when we all have common beliefs. It is easier for people to relate to each other when we all have our shared beliefs to bond us together. It is not easy going against the stream of common or popular thought. Most people take their belief in Christianity for granted and never think it out. Maybe they do this because of a lack of care, lack of concern, or because of the fear of doubt. Maybe it is because they trust that their church has the correct path to heaven. Maybe it is because they were born into their religion, and their religion gives them a cultural heritage that they see no reason to question. Yes, most Christians take their beliefs as axiomatic. It must be true because… well… because! I dared to step out and challenge those assumptions. And I have found that is all Christianity is – baseless assumptions. Our churches are not the body of Christ run by the power of the Holy Spirit, but politically driven institutions run by human beings no better than you or me.

But I want to believe. I want to believe in the same thing my wife and my wife’s family believes. It would be so much easier to go with the flow. I would not feel so uncomfortable refusing to receive the bread and wine that my friends depend on for their salvation. I would not feel like I am standing out, or that everyone probably looks on me as a sinner, when I refuse the elements. But my conscience tells me otherwise. How can I not get upset when I am accused of having an illegitimate marriage because I have left the Faith? But I can no longer take the knowledge of the salvation via the death of Jesus Christ for granted. What is the evidence that it actually happened? I am not asking for proof, but when the existing evidence is non-existent, unclear, contradictory, or just flat out fabricated, then something is wrong. Belief without evidence is called Faith. Belief despite contradictory evidence is called Delusion. I cannot continue believing in falsehoods and willingly accept a self-delusion while maintaining any integrity.

But I want to believe. The Gospel story is a beautiful story, and the fabric of it is very plausible to me. If God exists, I expect him to be transcendent, perfectly holy and separate from us. I fully understand the ancient writers when they say we are sinful and imperfect beings next to a perfect Divinity! It makes sense to me that a holy God cannot accept us as imperfect as we are because it is against his nature. God cannot accept our sinful nature any more than water can mix with oil. So he sent a part of himself, The Christ named Jesus, to suffer and die to provide whatever mysterious mechanism that is required for us to join him in paradise. As Daniel Dennett has said, religions, including Christianity, are brilliantly designed. I want to believe this beautiful idea, and I am not the only one. From the Phoenix, to Osiris, to Mithras, to Adonis, and even Gandalf and Aslan, the age-old dying and rising hero motif has been popular throughout history, and for good reason! It is very appealing to the mystically minded, and I admit, very compelling and even hypnotic to me. But Jesus, as a mythical god figure, fits right into that motif, just like the rest of mythology. All the other ancient Mediterranean gods are now viewed as myths, but I had always assumed that Jesus was different from the others. Why should Jesus be held to a different standard from the other mystery religions that abounded during that time? I am challenging those assumptions.

But I want to believe. I want to believe that there is hope for us here on earth, comfort for the sick and needy, help for the helpless and love for the unloved. I want to believe in assurance for abundant life here on earth, and everlasting life in the hereafter. I want to believe that I will spend all eternity with my wife, the woman that I love. I want to believe there is hope in the future, there is relief when I get older, and there is confidence of my eternity. This is lovely and wonderful to believe – but I had always neglected to consider the other side of the Gospel story. I neglected the belief in everlasting torment for the wicked unbeliever, the belief that Jesus is the exclusive path to salvation with no other option available, and the belief that the way of salvation is narrow and few will make it. I neglected the belief in a demanding and sometimes brutal god who will punish the unfaithful on earth with disasters and illnesses, and test the believing with similar disasters and illnesses. I neglected the belief of the faithlessness of man, that we can loose our salvation merely for lack of faith in Jesus. I neglected the unanswered prayers with excuses of not being in God’s will, or being chastised by God because of a faithless and sinful life. I just conveniently swept then under the rug, and continued with my happy Christian beliefs as if whistling in the dark.

But even as an unbeliever, I still want to believe. What it boils down to is this. I want to believe the beautiful, lovely and hopeful aspects of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to believe in universal salvation, a loving heavenly father, and hope for eternal life. I do not want to believe in eternal punishment for my loved ones, even if Scripture tells me that is their ultimate fate as unbelievers. I tried to excuse God who seemingly ignores us when we need him the most. And I know that I was not the only Christian who wanted to believe in this selective way. In fact I am willing to bet that most Christians choose not to believe the unsavory aspects of the Gospel, despite what their Bibles and churches tell them. The gospel contains both sides, both the good and the bad, and I was taught that if I wanted to be a serious Christian, I have to accept that. God is who he is, and no amount of believing what I wish to be true would change his nature. I could not claim to know the mind of God and invent my own religion of only peace and light.

That is the dilemma. Do I continue to be a Christian who pretends all is well, or do I follow my convictions and leave what I know is not true? I figure if there is a God, he knows my heart and knows I do not believe. So why pretend? It seems honesty is more noble then putting up a front of piety.

So as a Christian, I was forced to fully accept and believe everything in the Bible as literal truth. Now, as an ex-Christian, I fully reject the belief of the Gospel of the atonement of Jesus Christ.

But I want to believe. Despite what John 3:19 claims, I am grieved to lose my beliefs. I feel like I had been hoodwinked for most of my 43 years on Earth. It is sad, and somewhat painful to put my entire belief system up for critique and find it entirely lacking in any credibility. But I must, not because I love darkness, but because I must be true and honest to myself, and to my family, friends and loved ones. And in that sense, I really do want to believe.

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32 comments:

Minister D said...

I read your testimony yesterday on that agnosticatheism site and I found it interesting. I struggle with my faith at times but I still believe in Christ. I question my faith plenty of times but I honestly dont know where i'd be without christ in my life. Most people here say that people like me are lost, stupid, robots, brainwashed or whatever but I dont feel that way and continue in my christianity because of my love for christ. Some of us in the faith dont need complete evidence and all the piece of the puzzle together for our faith in christ.

I'm one of those christians that dont try to put down others and act all holier than thou (i'm sick of those people as well). The battle between staying in the faith and not can be a difficult struggle but I can't stop believing what is true in my heart

I feel what you are saying in your testimony and i'm not here asking you to come back to the christian side and be one of us again. Just continue being a blessing to others, know who you are as a man, and grow in the path you choose.

God Bless,
Minister D

Joe said...

HeIsSailing,

I believe that you will find that the community of people who have been honest with themselves is larger than it may appear to you. The challenge in perceiving that larger community is that, unlike the organized hyper-orthodox communities of the church that you are emerging from, this community exists without organizing structures or marketing arms.

In my own emergence from the church, I have found a diverse set of supportive friends among agnostics, pagans, atheists and a whole range of people who don't fit neatly into any of the broadly understood categories.

These are people who are ethical, hard working, intelligent, thoughtful and thought provoking, loving and supportive, empathetic and patient. I would not trade them for any of the bible study or small group ministries that defined my former social circles. In my new circle of friends, I can express anything I feel and expect to be met with acceptance.

It's very good.

Hellbound Alleee said...

I have to disagree with the notion that it is somehow easier in a society where we all share the same beliefs. This is basically because it is impossible. Sure we could all be christians. But society has already "all been christian." The results have been no less than atrocious. This is because of the basic anti-individual and anti-life values (read, irrational values) of christianity. When a culture raises itself above all other, anyone within the culture who deviates slightly is either re-absorbed, banished, or punished.

Irrational values eat themselves. Irrational values are upheld only at the cost of one's own integrity.

Bill said...

Oh how I wanted so bad to believe in my life, but I never even made it to the point of being a Christian. All my life I tried so hard to find the God that was so wonderful and filled his flock with so much hope and joy, but my skeptical subconscious would never allow me the pleasure. I faked it really hard to fit in with the masses, but I never felt the love. Coming to this site makes me realize my inner bullshit detector was right all along.

At 44 my life has had it's ups and downs but for the most part if a safe fell on my head tomorrow, I would have lived a complete life filled with love and many great pleasures.

I so much wish God and eternal life were a reality not for necessesarily for myself, but for the many who were totally fucked in this life. The person who never walked, the kid who died of cancer, or the deformed individual who never knew love. How I wish these people received paradise in the end, but unfortunately they personify the fact that life ain't fair and there is no loving God.

Minister D said,

“I honestly don’t know where I would be without Christ in my life.

I say this with I due respect, but what actually happens in your life that you attribute to Christ what wouldn’t happen without this belief? Tell me if you will, what you feel is a sign that he is with you. Back in my days at Alcoholic Anonymous many would say "I couldn't do it alone so I put my problems in God’s hands" and he worked wonders. It was only their minds that were working wonders. I always took full credit for my sobriety. The strange irony lies with the fact that some of these folks who gave God all the credit for kicking their alcohol habit, went back to drinking.


xrayman

Carl K said...

Hels,

When I finally and fully left my religious beliefs, I felt a sense of relief, of freedom, of empowerment at not having to pay heed to that malarky any longer. You have not yet reached the point that you can put it all behind you.

My path to that point was easier than yours, to be sure. I was not active in any religious community, and I lived in a secular region. Plus I was raised a Christian who took the Bible as mostly mythology that illuminated how we should live our lives, but not particularly a literal history. So I could simply look at the way the world is, and understand why a God really made no more sense than a Zeus or a Santa Claus, for that matter.

Not that my abandonment of faith was altogether without entanglements -- my wife, still a Catholic, was horrified, for example, and came relatively slowly to understand that I am the same caring, ethical person she married, maybe even a better one -- but I would not compare them to the resistance you face.

The real reason I abandoned faith is that I came to understand it is just another variety of magical thinking, of thinking that wishing it so can make it so, whether by prayer or chanting magic words or some power of positive thinking. And I realized that if anyone could do this, they would have such a significant evolutionary advantage that everyone would have this power. And yet no one does.

I have found that abandoning the magical thinking makes a whole lot of things clearer.

I would suggest that while you complete your journey to where the religious stuff is all behind you, don't get too excited about it. Gradually separate your beliefs about religion from your existence as a person. Participate in the rituals of the people you live with, it won't hurt you, although you might feel a bit foolish. I know I did, but it beat getting into heated discussions that only disrupted human relationships. Ask embarrassing questions about religion. After a while, people will stop trying to involve you in such discussions.

And be assured that you will almost surely arrive at the point of leaving it all behind. Because you have seen the God that isn't there, and that won't go away.

Cheers.

freedy said...

I told one of my son's just the other day to find a purpose for his life,then he would not fall back into the lies of man made religion.

We then talked about how many fundies we knew that seemed to have no other vision,but to further the cause of christ.How freakin sad!Their lives are a constant struggle to "stay in the faith",....What a fake way to live.

In other words,"GET A LIFE!"Let's quit living our short lives through ancient fictional gobbledygoop!

--peace,freedy

Epicurienne said...

Don't feel bad because you want to believe. A lot of us want to believe. In times of pain, belief can be comforting. It's also really hard to feel like a freak - like you're the only one, and you stand out.

However, I think that once you've "seen the man behind the curtain," so to speak, you can't really go back and believe again. That's been the case for me - even though I've had trouble and pain since deconverting from Christianity, I've never been able to go back to it. I guess I deal with pain in other ways now. And as for fitting in with others - I've been lucky enough to live in places with a diverse enough population so that I could find other non-Christians (or at least Christians of the less hardcore variety) to hang out with. And I've been lucky in that my family doesn't expect anything from me in the way of Christianity. I know that there are many here on this board whose whole family and social circle are hardcore Christians, and I think you guys deserve a lot of credit for standing up in the face of that.

I also think that many of the millions who "believe" and call themselves "Christians" have not deeply investigated Christianity the way a lot of posters here have. For many of us (including myself) doing a rigorous investigation of Christianity was what led us to deconvert.

Keep coming back. ExChristians.net should be a place where we can talk about the kind of feelings that you're dealing with.

Auntie Fundie said...

Why not choose Deism?

HeIsSailing said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. I wish I could reply to you individually, but supper is waiting for me.

Quickly though, let me just address as generically as I can some of your comments.

*No, I have no desire to become a Christian again. I do desire help for the helpless and hope for the hopeless, as does everyone. I desire a universal Messiah that does not exist in Christianity, much less anywhere else. I understand now that such beliefs and wishful thinking are mere fantasy. Fantasy is sometimes very powerful for the mystically minded such as myself.

I have a Catholic wife. We have had many conversations about my leaving Christianity, and I had to clear up some misconceptions that she had about why I do not believe anymore. I assured her that I did not marry her for her beliefs. I am as honest as I can be with her about this very sensetive, but pervasive area of our lives. Don't worry - we are fine together. Our marraige is stronger than ever.

I have old Christian friends who know only Christians. They have no other friends, and have no acquaintance with anyone else. I think this is very unhealthy.

I once considered deism, but I don't know what that buys me. If there is a god in the most generic sense of a creator, I don't know what to do with that information. What does this god want of me? How do I interact with this god? Got me, your guess is as good as mine.

Nah, deism is not for me. It is too much like groping in the dark trying to find my way. I prefer to stay pragmatic about my life.

Jamie G. said...

HeIs,
I absolutely loved this post. I hope you don't mind but I reposted it as a bulletin on MySpace, properly cited, of course. You said a lot of things I think many of my fundy friends need to hear, at least those that have been approaching me with questions, because you put it a lot better than I can. Thanks.

Scottnogod said...

While I can completely understand the sentiment being expressed here. At the end of the day how could any human really want christianity to be true. Think about. Think of over 80% of all humans that have ever lived. Think of all those close to you that are not christians. Now think of the worst pain you have ever experienced. Now times it by a thousand. Think of the people jumping out of the windows at the world trade center jumping out of the windows because it is better than the pain of burning alive. Now think of those billions of people not christians, people at work, family, friends burning at every part of their bodies in absolute agony. Think of being in that pain for 1 second, 10seconds, 1 min, 1 day, a week, a year image it never ever ending after a 100 billion years you time of agony is still only beginning because the is never no end. Sorry but how could anyone for a second wish that to be true and claim to be a good person. How could anyone want to believe in a God like that, HOW COULD SOMEONE WORSHIP SUCH A GOD. Christianity is a hidious hidious belief system ... period.

HeIsSailing said...

Jamie G sez:
"You said a lot of things I think many of my fundy friends need to hear"

Wow, thank you for the compliments Jamie, but really I think that this sentiment is pervasive amongst those who have recently left Christianity. I am pleased that you find it useful, and by all means copy and paste away!

I just hope that any Christians who read it will learn from it also. I want Christians to understnad that we did not leave the Faith because we longed for a life of sin, because we are mad at God or hate God, or because we have willingly decided in our sinfulness not to have faith, or have hardened hearts. Christians, I understand, this is what I claimed of any apostates myself, but it is just not so. I know this is what you are taught, and I know this is what the Bible teaches, but that is the furthest thing from the truth.

*******************************
scottnogod sez:
"At the end of the day how could any human really want christianity to be true. "

Yeah, I understand what you are trying to say. There is a large portion of Christianity who frankly pretends that the bad parts of the Christianity are not there. Sure, there are hellfire and brimstone preachers out there, but by and large I think most Christians are like me. They keep a nominal faith in the lovely aspects of Christianity, hoping that Jesus is a universal savior after all despite what Matthew and Revelation claim, and ignoring anything ugly in Scripture.

When you think about Christianity too much, and start to break it down into its components and look carefully, the whole system crumbles. You can easily see how it is based on the thoughts and philosophies of a much ruder and brutal time. So in that sense, I am with you, scottnogod

Neocognitron said...

Hello again, webmaster!

It has been a while since we spoke and I hope all is well with you. I doubt you have forgotten me, but for other readers I remind you that I am a devout believer who occasionally responds to posts in an attempt to correct misconceptions about Christians and Christianity. You are one of the few who appears to be honestly evaluating faith and what it means. And speak truthfully about Christianity as you understand it; reasoning out your positions in a respectful manner. I am thankful for the opportunity to read and am honored to respond to such open confessions. May peace be with you!

I no longer believe in presupposing that the Bible is inerrant and divinely inspired so that I can wrap my worldview around it.
One of the most difficult notions non-believers have about faith is that the Bible is the inspired word of God, but written by men. The question about divine inspiration comes not from the truths present within it but from the errors and even lies surrounding the truth. I will attempt to explain this. However, you should let this knowledge inspire your faith rather than to diminish it since it is yet another example of God’s love for us. Let me begin.

The divine, untwisted word of God is set in the hearts of men to know that truth, justice, kindness, love, compassion, charity and similar attributes are worthy and most noble characteristics to espouse. These characteristics make up the image of God spoken of throughout the bible, and it is the voice of God which people are listening to when they pursue such characteristics. And God does not over-ride this freewill when we write about His attributes just as He does not over-ride our freewill when we make other day-to-day decisions. Thus, people who attempt to use God’s ways such as charity and kindness for selfish purposes, or view these attributes as weaknesses, are free to make such decisions despite the truth. After Jesus’ death and resurrection many wrote about his life and teachings. Many of the stories were true but many were lies, some written by the Romans to discourage uprisings, some written by non-believers to take advantage of the situation, and some by the Jews to discourage people from following Christ’s teachings. It wasn’t until Constantine that the Christian church had the authority and resources necessary to comb through the many lies and misconceptions to find the truth. And they have done so admirably. Still, some false stories may have made it into the bible. Thus, it is necessary to first pay attention to what God is telling you in your heart before reading anything – the bible, newspaper, or newsgroup postings. You can discern God’s teachings if you listen to what your heart tells you is right, good and perfect. So if you ever again pickup your bible, I pray you would listen to your heart as you read and not to simply read the words.

But I want to believe. It is so much easier to fit into society when we all have common beliefs. It is easier for people to relate to each other when we all have our shared beliefs to bond us together. It is not easy going against the stream of common or popular thought.
Having common beliefs most certainly contributes to a society that is predictable. But it is not always the most desirable situation. Most riots and public unrest are the result of people guided by one or two common beliefs, the emotions of which are quickly elevated to the point of unreasoned action and dissipate almost as quickly. These people allow a small number of poor ideas to devolve their actions.

Some governments believe their ideas are somehow worthy to be promoted by force and create societies that fail to advance, fail to cooperate, and subjugate members of their populations to various humiliations and detestable acts. This is evident in societies of the Middle East and Africa, and even in the society proposed to be governed by the Muslim faith’s Sharia Law. These societies have a serious disrespect for the laws of foreign nations, women, opposing opinions, and alternate beliefs. They use force to enforce ethics and morality which is a truly impossible thing to.

It is honorable to live ethically because it is the right thing to do, but societies that force their people to be ethical unwillingly will more often receive lip-service rather than sincerity. God knows this and that is why truly moral nations will not enforce religion or ethical practices upon their populations. Many have tried and all have failed. The founders of the United States found a balance to this puzzle. They granted each state sovereignty over its own people, with the federal government responsible only for national defense and foreign negotiations. They also established freedoms for individuals which the nation must not encroach upon. However, our Federal government is assuming powers reserved for the states and is thus moving toward enforcing a single common-belief type architecture. This does not bode well for those with new and better ideas since only one opinion matters in such as society – that of the federal government’s. In a states-rights society each member state can have a different educational system, have differing opinions concerning abortion, guns, marriage and fuel standards. If, for example, one state’s school systems is successful it will produce successful graduates and can be used as a model for neighboring states. However, in a one-view government (where the federal government makes all final decisions) there are no other education models to follow so changes become prohibitively expensive, are untested, and political hurdles significant. But God proposes an model even better than the states-rights model. He encourages all individuals to model their lives around a few crucial ideas: love your neighbors, be kind, be generous, be humble, be truthful, be patient, etc. He asks (but does not order) us to live our whole lives trying to exemplify these principles, and reminds us to be tolerant of others and their views. He tells us we should defend others when they are being wronged and to live as leaders in showing others how they should live, but as servants that we might learn humility. Therefore, I tell you that it is nice to have common beliefs with others but only God’s ways are perfect and worthy to be followed. And only by following God as individuals can we succeed together.

Our churches are not the body of Christ run by the power of the Holy Spirit, but politically driven institutions run by human beings no better than you or me.
Welcome to the world of men! If a person, a family, a home, a church, a community, or a nation follow the words and the will of the Holy Spirit (Wisdom) then it is the Holy Spirit that leads them. But it is most evident that many do not follow God even if they claim to, or wear the cloth and carry religious symbols. So why then would you hold their false teachings or inappropriate behaviors against God? Why not hold these false prophets accountable for their actions. You know the scriptures and recognize the face of God to be that of peace, love, hope, forgiveness, etc. Why then do you not hold those that teach anything else to be accountable for degrading the name of God? Is God encouraging these people to ignore His teachings or to speak and act inappropriately? No. There are about 300 different Christian denominations in the world, many of which bear little resemblance to the biblical church. It is the teachers of false and tortured ideas that should be held accountable; but of course, in a gentle and merciful manner.

It makes sense to me that a holy God cannot accept us as imperfect as we are because it is against his nature. God cannot accept our sinful nature any more than water can mix with oil. So he sent a part of himself, The Christ named Jesus, to suffer and die to provide whatever mysterious mechanism that is required for us to join him in paradise.
Webmaster, you are a most talented and poetic writer and I hope my responses come across half as well written as yours. However, I would like to clarify the subject about which you so eloquently speak. You say that “God cannot accept us as imperfect as we are…” Well, that is only partially true. God accepts us as we are but we carry with us sin which we must first remove before stepping into His house. It is like traveling for several days and arriving at the destination covered in filth and grime. The hostess of the house cannot possibly accept a welcoming hug until we have bathed, but we will not bathe until we acknowledge how filthy we are. It is the hostess who provides the facilities for bathing and it is us who must courteously acknowledge our condition, go and bathe. So it is with God. We must first acknowledge that we are dirty and humble ourselves to wash in the sacrifice He has made for us.

But I want to believe. I want to believe that there is hope for us here on earth, comfort for the sick and needy, help for the helpless and love for the unloved. I want to believe in assurance for abundant life here on earth, and everlasting life in the hereafter. I want to believe that I will spend all eternity with my wife, the woman that I love. … I want to believe … I want to believe … I want to believe …
The decision of faith is yours and yours alone. There is no power on this Earth that can take that decision away from you, or make it for you. Many have chosen faith in the theory of evolution and that is enough for them. But I, like most believers, say it is not. Scientists have proven the existence of particles far smaller than protons, neutrons and electrons, called quarks. These objects have no dimensions but exist at predictable points and influence other quarks. Quarks are the basic components of all matter and for all intents and purposes are actually energies since they have no mass. Therefore, matter may well and truly never have existed before these energies aligned themselves. It is implausible enough to believe that our universe and all of life sprang randomly from acids in a primordial ooze; but add to that the implausibility that energies randomly combined to make the basic components of all matter and it becomes completely unacceptable, even illogical.

For quark energies to align themselves in the astronomically complex manner that produced the first amino acids and produced life is unthinkable without some divine guidance. I have no faith that mere chance allowed these quarks to behave so beautifully as to create our world. Rather, I believe it is the energy of an omnipresent being which guides these quarks. A being so omnipresent that it would have no problem doing whatever it wants with us. And such a being may very well take delight in the order and perfection of things as God is claimed to do.

So again, the choice to believe is yours alone. Please make a decision. You can believe in the statistical improbability of chance guiding quarks to produce amino acids which in turn produced our beautiful world, or you can believe that a far deeper series of events have taken place. But before you decide, let me remind you of what Jesus said. Jesus said before leaving the disciples that “In my Father’s House there are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you. I go there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). Again, scientists have discovered that our universe is expanding, and at a rate far greater than they anticipated. What is even more unusual is that the holes in space, areas devoid of matter, are expanding like balloons, compressing galaxies together as they grow. The analogy scientists used was that these void areas are like holes expanding within Swiss cheese, pushing clusters of galaxies closer together to make room for the void. Astronomers have been baffled at this behavior, but I contest that it is God’s hands at work preparing His kingdom. I may be wrong about this, but it is plausible. Either way it strengthens my faith to have possible evidence that God is keeping His word. I pray you would also accept His gifts and call on Him.

I am grieved to lose my beliefs. I feel like I had been hoodwinked for most of my 43 years on Earth. It is sad, and somewhat painful to put my entire belief system up for critique and find it entirely lacking in any credibility. But I must, not because I love darkness, but because I must be true and honest to myself, and to my family, friends and loved ones. And in that sense, I really do want to believe.
Webmaster, you provide ample evidence that you are unsure about things, but you show no evidence that you have been “hoodwinked” as you claim.

You state that “churches are not the body of Christ run by the power of the Holy Spirit” yet you recognize that many institutions do not follow God’s word. So why don’t you be one who does? Why not show those who claim they know God’s word what it really means, and choose to believe.

You acknowledge that “it is so much easier to fit into society when we all have common beliefs,” but you claim to have been “hoodwinked” and give up common beliefs you recognize as providing “hope ..., comfort for the sick and needy, help for the helpless and love for the unloved.” Have these activities somehow lost merit because others do not follow God’s ways? If it is now less honorable to live in service to others then what has made it so? I contest that these ways are no less meritorious, and they should be pursued whether or not you choose to accept that God promotes such things.

Ultimately, you must decide whether to believe in God, or in chance, or to sit on the fence balancing between the choices. You show evidence that you understand how beautiful God is, so go. Be a part of His kingdom. Help your neighbors see God through you. Love your wife with every bone in your body. Forgive those who offend you, and accept the peace God offers. Whatever you choose, I pray that God would never turn away from you; that he would continue calling you to a new home.


May you find your path easy and companions along the way!

.:webmaster:. said...

Neo,

You're a heretic.

Please read THIS.

.:webmaster:. said...

"I have no faith that mere chance allowed these quarks to behave so beautifully as to create our world." and therefore the Bible is true, ax heads float, bushes talk, chariots fly, and an un-dead, zombie god-man wants me to be his bride and if I refuse, he's going to torture me forever...

I don't know how everything began, and neither do you. Even if you happen to be correct, and a super-extra-dimensional intelligence is behind everything, you still don't know how it happened. How did this super-duper-thing-a-ma-bob actually perform his little trick? And where does this invisible, immaterial, imaginary, thing come from? I mean, it wasn't an accident was it? And if you insist that your deity JUST IS, well, then I respond with the universe JUST IS.

I think it easier to accept that the universe just exists than a blood-thirsty tribal deity invented in the Bronze Age is out there stoking up eternal flames for the unbelievers. In fact, the whole idea is retarded.

I don't believe in a god. So what? I also don't believe in Zeus either. I don't even believe in Allah. I don't believe we can exceed the speed of light. I don't believe... lots of things. I might be mistaken in some of my beliefs or unbeliefs. Is that really a good reason to roast someone forever?

Your religion is insane.

boomSLANG said...

In his closing arguments, down towards the end of his turid mile-long apologetic blather, Neo-fundy states:

"Ultimately, you must decide whether to believe in God, or in chance, or to sit on the fence balancing between the[two] choices."

Okay, let's have a look at this. But first, the fact(s) concerning the singularity.

Whether one "believes" that a "God" is responsible for the Universe's existance, or not---the fact of the matter is, nobody was "there", so nobody---NO BODY---has ascertained this "KNOWLEDGE". In other words, nobody "knows".

That said, if one doesn't believe that a "God" is responsible for the Universe, then the implication[per Neo-fundy] is that the other "choice" is the Universe came into existance by "chance". Fair enough(even though that is a distortion of the "whole story" of abiogenesis).

Moving on---it is further implied[again, per Neo-fundy] that it is unfathomable that something as marvelously complex as the Universe, came into existance by "chance". Therefore, he concludes that there "must be" a "creator"/Designer" as the "cause".

Now, even though a third-grader can likely see the problem with this, thus far.... I'll continue to sum it up.

He[Neo-fundy] is arguing that the Universe CANNOT be self-existing or self-caused. He is arguing that "all this" could NOT have happened by "chance". However, the logical fallacy arises in his "explanation" that a "God" is the "cause", because this leaves the SAME TWO CHOICES for "God":

Either, 1) Since complex things cannot be self-existing or self-caused, God "MUST" have a "cause", i.e.. a "Designer"... or 2) God exists by "chance". And I probably needn't point this out, but per Neo-fundy's own reasoning, "God" most certainly CANNOT exist be "chance". Choice "1" is the ONLY option, according to Neo-fundy's very own logic.

In conclusion, until Neo-fundy and his fellow theists can reason-out this blantant circular logical fallacy, whatever apologetics they pile on their alleged foundation---including Neo-fundy's most recent apologetic tripe---is meaningless, because they HAVE NO foundation.

Neocognitron said...

Webmaster,

Wow! What a change of heart you appear to have had. You wrote so eloquently about wanting to believe then emphatically state that you do not believe in your very next post. So what are people who read your writings supposed to learn? That you lie? That you are not sincere? Do you really love your wife as you claim or was that simply poetic license? I pray it was true. Do you really want to bring “hope [to those] on earth, comfort for the sick and needy, help for the helpless and love for the unloved?” If you do then you have a very odd way of showing it. If you really believe in these things then start here, on this newsgroup. Be kind to others whether you believe in their gods or not. Be truthful always. Show grace and humility in your words and speak with a soft tongue. Try to embody that which you claim the church does not.

I really believe you are missing out on wonderful blessings, but I also accept and even respect your right to make your own bad decisions.

May you always appreciate the beauty of community, the blessings in your life and find love for those around you!


boomSLANG,

Good day to you, boomSLANG! What is your proposal about abiogenesis? It would appear that you believe a different evolution theory might somehow prove that God does not exist. What is your point? It is still faith in chance. On a similar note, how can one “[distort] the "whole story" of abiogenesis” when there is no story? Abiogenesis is a theory with no proof. It has no facts that tell a story. It is entirely fictional until science can show reason it is more than that.

However, the words of God are true and proven, and do have a story to tell. It has been shown many times that communities thrive when its people are trustworthy, that neighborhoods are more pleasant when neighbors care for each other and that the poor receive relief when they receive charity. It has been proven that love binds people together, that discipline is important to the upbringing of children, and kindness is rewarded more often than hate. These are the bible’s teachings. Yes, parts of the story are yet to be proven but that is also part of its beauty. Hope. You can choose that God exists, or that all of creation is chance or you can sit on the fence between the choices. The choice is yours. I choose to have hope. I choose to see beauty that non-believers seldom see. I pray that some day you will choose the same. If not, then may your journey be a peaceful one.

May you always walk in true wisdom!

.:webmaster:. said...

Neo,

I'm not the author of this piece. HeIsSailing is.

If you can't comprehend something so obvious...

Well, I'll let you fill in the blanks.

boomSLANG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
boomSLANG said...

Neo-fundy: What is your proposal about abiogenesis? It would appear that you believe a different evolution theory might somehow prove that God does not exist.

Firstly, it's science's proposal---and that is, one of a naturalistic working hypothesis concerning the orgins of life. Moreover, this hypothesis doesn't set out to "prove God doesn't exist", nor did I raise the issue to "prove God doesn't exist". Because, again--for possibly the bazillionth time-- science cannot "PROVE" that a "God" does not exist, anymore than you can "prove" that invisible green men don't exist. Concerning claims for a supernatural deity, it's all about evidence, and you have none. So that leaves you with "Faith".

Nonetheless, once someone, anyone--scientist, to layman--can provide testable/falsifiable objective evidence for the "supernatural", or metaphysical, e.g...a " god", then maybe a better hypothesis will replace abiogenesis. Until then?...I doubt the notion that an invisibe flying man-ghost who swooped down from the cosmos a few thousand years ago, and who then made humanoid Caucasian prototypes out of dirt, will replace it.

BTW, I believe it is your implication/presupposition that "life on Earth" is the reason that the rest of the universe exists in the first place, yes?? Yes, I think so, and I further believe that you are implying/"saying" that neither "life on Earth", nor the Universe, could've happened by "chance". In fact, in a very "parrot-like" fashion, you merely repeat, practically verbatim, this very same position in your most recent post:

From Neo's latest post: "You can choose that God exists, or that all of creation is chance or you can sit on the fence between the choices."

Of course, this leads me straight back to what I said before, and until you can acknowledge/explain the circularity of the problem, I'll just repeat myself, too:

Either, 1) "God" has "Designer", since all other complex things "MUST" have a "Designer", or 2) "God" came into existance by "chance".

If you argue that "God" is self-existing or self-caused?....fine----then I argue the same of the universe.

So?..who designed "God"? Please, tell me in concise language---where did "God" come from?(Thanks in advance)

___________________________________

Neo-fundy: However, the words of God are true and proven, and do have a story to tell.

Umm, because it "tells a story"?.... thAT makes it "true"? LMAO! Okay, so Joseph Smith's "story" makes Mormonism "true"! Remember?..the "Golden Plates"? Moroni? It's official, then! The Book of Mormon "proves" that Mormonism is "true". Praise Joe Sr !

Neo-fundy: It has been shown many times that communities thrive when its people are trustworthy, that neighborhoods are more pleasant when neighbors care for each other and that the poor receive relief when they receive charity. It has been proven that love binds people together, that discipline is important to the upbringing of children, and kindness is rewarded more often than hate. These are the bible’s teachings.[bold added]

Right?..and your point is whAT? Neo', you can take a cross-section of practically any culture/society you'd like, and find that all of those above mentioned dynamics are present, and in some cases, even being "taught" from sources other than the "Holy Bible". So, you don't need a "Christ-belief", or even a "God"-belief, to realize those attributes/principles, and apply them in one's life. That's an extremely WEAK argument for "Jesus". 'Got anything better?

Neo-fundy: I choose to have hope. I choose to see beauty that non-believers seldom see.

Firstly, I can have "hope" too.... only, I can do it without evoking superstition. Secondly, if you pretend to "know" what I do and don't see?...then you're even more of an arrogant pr*ck than I first suspected.

Astreja said...

I am a non-believer in Neocognitron's god-concept.

I see beauty around me constantly.

Agreed, boomSLANG. The "arrogant pr*ck" shoe fits Neo rather well. To paraphrase something I snarled at another poster recently, who do these people think they are, telling *us* what *we* think and feel?

dano said...

Neocognitron's failure to understand that the original post was authored By HeIsSailing, and his confusion, exhibited in his hasty attempt to say something demeaning to webmaster, is a perfect example of what cults can do to your mind.

Neo has demonstrated that "blinders on" thinking around here many times before with his long dissertations, loaded with obfuscation.

It usually manifest itself in his refusal to carry any line of thought to it logical conclusion, and then breaking out the Jesus talk.

When a cult has you to the extent that it has Neo, you will never see the trees for the forest.
Dan

stronger now said...

Neo, you said we are to listen to our hearts while reading the bible to ascertain what the tuth in the bible really is. I've done that and found that the truth is I can have whatever my heart truly desires and god will always agree with me. Always.
If someone wants two wives, god won't have a problem with it. If someone feels uncomfortable having a neighbor who is openly homosexual and wants to kill him, then it is gods will.

You're projecting the image of god that you desire, a lovey dovey teddybear kind of god. And if you read what is actually in the bible you can see that this is a false image indeed. By using your method of reading the bible, one can dismiss the negative attributes of the bible god as human error. But one can dismiss the whole of the bible for the same reason.
It is a lie to say god is this, or god thinks that, when it is you all along.

Neocognitron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neocognitron said...

boomSLANG,

Concerning claims for a supernatural deity, it's all about evidence, and you have none. So that leaves you with "Faith".
I agree. There is no empirical evidence that God exists. And, true, if He does not exist then this fact cannot be proven. So, why are so many, such as yourself, so hostile to the promotion of God and His ways if He does not exist? Why not take up the banner against terrorism, African genocide, conservatism, or the promotion of peace, love and charity? I claim that this is evidence that God does exist, because it shows truth in His words that people will hate believers for their faith. Also, it is not atheistic or anti-theistic institutions that successfully promote ethics and ethical lifestyles en-masse. It is religious institutions of all faiths. Read the mass of posts on this discussion board. People here are not promoting love and understanding as the bible does. The whole site promotes hate. Why is this? If you claim that un-belief is somehow superior to faith then explain how. If it is not superior then why fight against those who believe? And why fight so vehemently? There are hundreds of thousands of churches that prove believers promote responsible living. What are you promoting? You do not speak with love in your heart. You are arrogant and degrading in both your tone and language. Is this the kind of world you desire? One in which people are abusive and caustic? No, thank you! Our world is more beautiful than that, and I wish to add to that beauty by living as one who cares for others and lives to serve as God asks.

Be at peace, always!

----------------------------

webmaster,

Please accept my apologies for misinterpreting your post as your own words. I did not realize you were quoting someone. I am disappointed to do so, though, since I can no longer compliment you on your eloquent speech, or your logic and sense of balanced writing. Nonetheless, I wish you well.

Neo

----------------------------

stronger now,

Welcome!

The voice which speaks to your heart, if you will listen, is not your own. It is soft spoken and helps you discern right from wrong, if you let it. You claim that by listening to this voice I am “projecting the image of god that [I] desire.” I can understand your confusion. This voice, however, is not of my design nor of my control. It is that within each of us that sees kindness and recognizes it as good, that which sees love and separates it from hate, and that encourages us to do what is perfect. When I pass by a beautiful woman it is that voice that reminds me that I can be controlled by lusts or I can take control. Those who do not listen are easily swayed by sinful desires. They do not fight to take control over their emotions and so are unaware that they are in bondage to sin. It is very clear proof that God’s word is true, but the evidence is given only to true believers. The voice inside reminds the believer when they have fallen from the path of righteousness. It calls to those who seek God.

However, this voice can be silenced, at least for a while. Those who refuse to listen hear their own thoughts above all else. They convince themselves that they do what they want and are free to do as they please. But if they would control their minds they would learn the truth. For example, if two ladies are arguing and one raises her voice the typical reaction of the other is to raise her own. If the second lady were truly in control she would not be prone to do so, but would live in the moment and be aware of each choice before it is made. Yes, she could choose to raise her voice, but at what point in allowing herself to move in that direction is she considered to have lost control? No, it is better that she never move in that direction that she might know that she is in control. The voice inside of us teaches us to live in this balanced way, but each of us must open our hearts and listen.

Thank you for your responses to my comments. May your life always prosper!

rickyusvi said...

I Hear ya! I was 42 when i discarded "The Answer." It was around the time of Hurricane Katrina, and as i saw the footage of the dead bodies floating around, i was thinking to myself, "There is no heaven. All those people are fucked!" And then i thought back to the tsunami of 2004...

But i had realized and accepted years earlier that what i want is irrelevant to objective truth. This would be true regardless of my beliefs. Hence, i had to swallow hard and accept the unpleasant aspects of my faith, such as eternal damnation and the pathological neurosis over sex.

But hints of disturbing truths in the opposite direction had begun to appear. A priest had emphasized "resurrection or the body" as if he sensed that his audience had become skeptical about it. I suddenly realized that i was skeptical about one of the basic tenets of the Apostle's creed! Then, as if to confirm my skepticism, i read about the "baryon number" imbalance in physics. In a nutshell, unless physicists can explain away how the universe contains more matter than antimatter, our would-be immortal bodies are doomed.

And then there was Carl Sagan's avowal, as he faced his own death, that the afterlife is "wishful thinking." Ouch! Was i ready for that consideration? Did it matter whether or not i ready? (No, and no.)

So i "traded wishes" in a way. In exchange for unburdening myself of hell and arcane sexual rules, i had to give up heaven. Universalism would have been the best of both worlds, but alas, we don't get to vote on reality. I had to go with the evidence--or lack thereof.

But what had i given up? Apocalyptic disasters such as the tsumami had always been a challenge to my faith. How could a good god allow such tragedy, caused not by sin, but by plate tectonics? (Belief in heaven, oddly, never helped.) The problem vanishes with atheism or Deism. While the tragedy is not diminished, the existential anguish certainly is. This does not imply callousness; we make far more progress by accepting the world as it is than by wasting mental anguish on an absentee god that we want to be with us.

I did feel hoodwinked, but that, too, cannot be wished away. I recall desperately wanting to believe, yet being unable to coax out the words of the Nicene Creed during church services. (One of my first lessons about my nascent atheism: even without a god watching, and plenty of real churchgoers to witness my silence, my conscience wouldn't let me fake it.) But no longer. While i miss the fellowship of religion (in a culture with no ready alternative), i do not miss the beliefs.

rickyusvi said...

Neocognitron wrote: "However, you should let this knowledge inspire your faith rather than to diminish it..."

Wait... you seem to have a basic misunderstanding. You see, we don't have any faith.

Neocognitron wrote: "The divine, untwisted word of God is set in the hearts of men to know that truth, justice, kindness, love, compassion, charity and similar attributes are worthy and most noble characteristics to espouse. These characteristics make up the image of God spoken of throughout the bible, ..."

Whoa! Do you read the same Bible that i did???

Neocognitron wrote: "... Thus, it is necessary to first pay attention to what God is telling you in your heart before reading anything – the bible, newspaper, or newsgroup postings. You can discern God’s teachings if you listen to what your heart tells you is right, good and perfect. So if you ever again pickup your bible, I pray you would listen to your heart as you read and not to simply read the words."

That's exactly what i tried to do for many years. But i never could figure out how to distinguish God's will from my own, or even be sure that God was speaking to me at all.

Neocognitron wrote: "It is honorable to live ethically because it is the right thing to do, but societies that force their people to be ethical unwillingly will more often receive lip-service rather than sincerity. God knows this and that is why truly moral nations will not enforce religion or ethical practices upon their populations. Many have tried and all have failed."

Hence, the spectacular success of secular governments, since the USA first tried that experiment in 1789. Keep speading the word to your fellow Xians that only by keeping government and religion separate, can we all, Xian and non-Xian, remain free.

Neocognitron wrote: "Many have chosen faith in the theory of evolution and that is enough for them."

Anyone who has faith in evolution doesn't truly understand science.

Neocognitron wrote: "Scientists have proven the existence of particles far smaller than protons, neutrons and electrons, called quarks. These objects have no dimensions but exist at predictable points and influence other quarks. Quarks are the basic components of all matter and for all intents and purposes are actually energies since they have no mass. Therefore, matter may well and truly never have existed before these energies aligned themselves."

Quarks do not exist at predictable points. Only their probabilities are predictable. As far as their not having mass, i don't know that that's true. Protons and neutrons are each made of 3 quarks, so that seems to imply that quarks have mass as well... except that quarks don't exist in isolation, so the proposition may not even make sense. I try not to ASSume that i know anything about particle physics.

Neocognitron wrote: "It is implausible enough to believe that our universe and all of life sprang randomly from acids in a primordial ooze; ..."

You seem to be conflating your theories. The universe as we know it predated the primordial ooze by about 9 billion years.

Neocognitron wrote: "...but add to that the implausibility that energies randomly combined to make the basic components of all matter and it becomes completely unacceptable, even illogical."

That's we have scientific theories, to explain how these things happen. Quarks and all other particles behave according to natural laws. They are not completely random.

The big bang theory predicted a nucleosynthesis of basic atoms in certain proportions. Examination of the amounts of hydrogen and helium in deep space has confirmed that prediction. This is hardly random.

Neocognitron wrote: "For quark energies to align themselves in the astronomically complex manner that produced the first amino acids and produced life is unthinkable without some divine guidance. I have no faith that mere chance allowed these quarks to behave so beautifully as to create our world. Rather, I believe it is the energy of an omnipresent being which guides these quarks."

And if you knew what you should about science, you'd know that the theories say no such thing. Nearly all matter was created as hydrogen and helium (and trace amounts of lithium) within the first few minutes of the big bang. Over the next few billion years, stars converted these primordial atoms into increasingly heavier elements, according to well understood laws of astrophysics. By the time there was any question of life, quarks as individuals were long out of the picture.

Biochemists have known since the 1950s that amino acids will spontaneously assemble, given the right conditions. We thus know that no divine intervention had been necessary to that point. They have since been pleasantly surprised that the violence that accompanies planet-building is conducive to building complex assemblies of amino acids. This is all within the laws of nature. From there, of the incomprehensible volumes of well-governed interactions between these simple molecules, a self-replicating combination would need to arise only once. We do not yet know what the odds were, but when you discard the creationists' spurious shouts of "random" and "chance," the odds shorten considerably. With the number of molecules involved, the constrained actions (laws of chemistry), and the vast eons of time available, it is not inconceivable that the odds may approach certainty!

Now, only your God remains unaddressed. Sorry, we're not going to let you exempt your god from all the constraints that we deal with. That's just too easy. Richard Dawkins reminds us of the insight that Darwin's mechanism bequeathed to us: simple things can spontaneously build themselves, in fine increments, into complex things, given a racheting mechanism and enough time. Life, the universe, and everything, while vanishingly improbable from chance, are entirely feasible from natural laws. What is exceedingly improbable is that your god is here, with the intelligence to construct a human body, with no explanation as to how that god came to be (or pre-exists) in the first place.

Neocognitron wrote: "Please make a decision. You can believe in the statistical improbability of chance guiding quarks to produce amino acids which in turn produced our beautiful world, or you can believe that a far deeper series of events have taken place."

We do believe that a far deeper series of events has taken place--just not your series of events. We will not constrain ourselves to your limited menu.

Neocognitron wrote: "What is even more unusual is that the holes in space, areas devoid of matter, are expanding like balloons, compressing galaxies together as they grow. The analogy scientists used was that these void areas are like holes expanding within Swiss cheese, pushing clusters of galaxies closer together to make room for the void."

Did you get this piece of work from the same apologetic where you got your quark ramblings?

Neocognitron wrote: "Webmaster, you provide ample evidence that you are unsure about things, but you show no evidence that you have been “hoodwinked” as you claim."

My Ganesh! It does seem true that you all can read something, and yet the glaringly obvious will fly right by you. I've been wondering how creationists can, for example, quote Darwin that the eye could not have evolved, when the source context of the quotation says the exact opposite.

.:webmaster:. said...

Neo,

I'm not "quoting" anyone with this article. Various authors contribute to this site. This article was contributed. It clearly states right below the title that it is By HeIsSailing.

Again, if such a simple observation regarding authorship of an article is beyond your abilities, and your response to having that error pointed out is a lightly veiled sarcastic quip, then why would you suppose anyone would place authoritative confidence in anything you had to say?

As to the rest of your sentiments toward me: You'll get over your disappointment. And I, frankly, am even more enlarged by the absence of your appreciation.

Sincerely.

dano said...

Neo,
A little different talking to people who can still think, rather than those who have turned their brains off, and handed them over to some hick preacher, eh Neo?
Dan

stronger now said...

Neo, your reply does nothing to dissolve the problems that you created. It begs the question, Who am I listening to in my head, is it god or me? To divine the answer to that by looking in the bible, a person could devine any thought as god speaking to them. Thereby rendering the whole process useless.

But thank you for your eloquent reply. Not only was it rendered in authentic christian jibberish, It expressed an ideal quite often heard in this day and age.

rickyusvi said...

Neocognitron wrote: "So, why are so many, such as yourself, so hostile to the promotion of God and His ways if He does not exist?"

Because people who promote God and His ways do exist. And see below about the "hostility."

Neocognitron wrote: "Why not take up the banner against terrorism, African genocide, conservatism, or the promotion of peace, love and charity?"

We do (with the possible exception of conservatism). We just don't necessarily "announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men" (Matthew 6:2).

Neocognitron wrote: "I claim that this is evidence that God does exist, because it shows truth in His words that people will hate believers for their faith."

Man, that is so circular, the pixels on my monitor are starting to bend.

Neocognitron wrote: "Also, it is not atheistic or anti-theistic institutions that successfully promote ethics and ethical lifestyles en-masse. It is religious institutions of all faiths."

Do you have any data to back up that claim? The playing field is not level, and the Christian majority is biased. Most atheistic institutions are support and advocacy groups, to help atheists cope with a culture that fears and loathes them. Religious institutions have not allowed us to function long enough to build the kind of social infrastructure that religions have. Think about that--religions have held us back from doing the things that religions accuse us of not doing; and until fairly recently, they did so by torture and murder. Nowadays, they do it with slander, misrepresentation, and fear mongering. So much for religious ethics.

Nevertheless, humanist organizations do promote a system of ethics, based not on the arbitrary demands of an inscrutable, megalomaniacal god, but on what's best for people. This is the "evil" that anti-secularists are fighting! They are so locked up in their dogma of total depravity that an ethical system designed for the good of humanity is considered evil. With that kind of outlook, you're guaranteed not to see any good come out of non-religious institutions.

As for anti-theistic institutions... well, there are no such things.

Neocognitron wrote: "Read the mass of posts on this discussion board. People here are not promoting love and understanding as the bible does. The whole site promotes hate."

Hate? Hate??? Where??? We disagree with you. We criticize your beliefs and your writings. That is not hate. (Do you regard your criticisms of us as "hate"?) I swear, some of you religious people are soooo thin-skinned.

Neocognitron wrote: "You do not speak with love in your heart. You are arrogant and degrading in both your tone and language."

Other people have pointed out the gross irony in your accusations of arrogance. And as i mentioned, your Christian dogma may bias your view of us. I see Christians do this to atheists all the time--seeing hate, anger, rudeness, and intolerance where none exist. You're chasing after ghosts.

Neocognitron wrote: "Is this the kind of world you desire? One in which people are abusive and caustic? No, thank you!"

There is another factor that affects specifically Christians and Muslims. The only time you've ever encountered atheists is when they're in the presence of an evangelical Christian. When you preach to atheists, they tend to become abusive and caustic. We are not like that all the time.

boomSLANG said...

Boom', to Neo': "Concerning claims for a supernatural deity, it's all about evidence, and you have none. So that leaves you with 'Faith'."

Neo'-fundy responds: I agree. There is no empirical evidence that God exists.

Okay, so then I'm wondering on what grounds you can unceasingly assert such statements as the following:

(from one day ago): the words of God are true and proven, and do have a story to tell.[bold added]

So? That's as useless as me saying, "True, there's no empirical evidence for Santa....but the words of Santa are true and proven, and do have a story to tell.....it's called, T'was the Night Before Christmas'."

So I don't understand why you keep making such claims for your biblegod, unless, if it's solely to be annoyingly provocative, in which case, I ask you to please shut it. If you admittedly cannot proffer empirical evidence that a "God" exists, and that said god is the biblical "Jesus/Yahweh/ghost", then you most certainly cannot point to some-'thing'(in this case, the bible), and say that it provides "proof", or is "proof".

Do you think you could possibly put your reasoning cap on long enough to see the contradiction in your statements? We'd all appreciate it, I'm sure.

Neo'-fundy: So, why are so many, such as yourself, so hostile to the promotion of God and His ways if He does not exist?

Here's the short list, in no particular order:

1) Because of people just like yourself---people who cannot substantiate their "beliefs" in any way, shape, or form---but on the other hand, feel that their unsubstantiated "beliefs"
NEED "promotion".

2) Because of the explicit threats of bodily harm to the non-believer from the fundamentalist theists; because the implicit threats of bodily harm from moderate to liberal theists.

3) Because religion propagates ignorance, causes division, and impedes the progress of humankind.

4) Because the vast majority of religious people who behave ethically are too weak and/or brainwashed to know that they'd behave EXACTLY the same, were they not religious.

5) Because indoctrinating a child with religious dogma before they're old enough to reason for themselves is child abuse.

Again, 'the short list.

Neo'-findy: Why not take up the banner against terrorism, African genocide, conservatism, or the promotion of peace, love and charity?

I think you worded your question wrong, you might want to examine it.

Neo' continues: I claim that this is evidence that God does exist, because it shows truth in His words that people will hate believers for their faith

According to you, there is no "evidence" that "God exists". You have "Faith", only.....remember? And speaking of---I don't "hate believers" for their "Faith"...I hate "Faith" for it's believers. Yes, HATE, Neo'. I HATE the fact that the "Faithful" fly planes into buildings, picket funerals of dead soldiers, hate blacks, hate gays, stop stem cell research, promote ignorance...and again, the list goes on and on.

Neo'-fundy: Also, it is not atheistic or anti-theistic institutions that successfully promote ethics and ethical lifestyles en-masse. It is religious institutions of all faiths.

People of "all faiths", eh? Well, WTF does THAT tell you, Neo'? It should tell you that it's no particular "FAITH", or "religion", that has a monopoly on "ethics", but PEOPLE in general...and yes, this includes NON-theists.

Neo', you DISBELIEVE in Osiris, Isis, Neptune, and Allah....and yet, I'm guessing you manage to behave ethically in society, right? Well, I DISBELIEVE in Osiris, Isis, Neptune, Allah, and Yahweh....and yet, I somehow manage to behave ethically in society, too. How is that?

Neo' shoots himself in the other foot: There are hundreds of thousands of churches that prove believers promote responsible living.

And? Again, what does that say?..since not all of those churches are Christian? It says that the common denominator is NOT a belief in any particular deity.

Neo': What are you promoting? You do not speak with love in your heart. You are arrogant and degrading in both your tone and language.

Yup, and I told you why, and towards what, herein. Review if you must.

Notwithstanding, Neo', I don't adhere to any doctrine that claims absolute answers to life's greatest questions. You do. I don't believe the universe would be pointless if I didn't exist. You do. I don't believe that every other living organism will die, yet, I will live forever("provided" I'm a "good boy") You do. Who's arrogant?

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