I started to research the history, and...

Sent in by The Bloviator

The Evangelicals Made Me Do It

I have, by way of introduction, been viewing this site for quite a while now, and am finally at a stage of willingness to commit to voicing my disbelief in the Christian life-scheme.

In all honesty, were it not for the well-intentioned efforts of the evangelical Christian community, I would never have reached the conclusion that Christianity is simply a house of cards, waiting for the merest breath of introspection and research to bring it down.

As background, I was raised a Catholic in the '60s, with the folk mass and "Kumbaya, my Lord" as watchwords. Although my grandparents were quite devout (grandpa walked to mass every single morning at 6am), my folks took a very liberal view of church. We attended once a week (beware the mortal sin of missing mass!!!) and all the usual holidays, but were otherwise uninvolved. When given the option at 14 years of age, I chose not to attend mass any further, though I never renounced my "faith".

Fast-forward to the late '70s and college. I ended up in a dormitory full of catholics in what was in every other regard a secular institution. We grouped together, talking loosely of god and spirit and other issues, attending mass from time to time, and basically keeping the flame burning (if ever so slightly).

Now on to 1990, the year I married my wife. She was raised in an atheist household ( pop vociferously anti-religion, mom a typical rebellious "preacher's kid"), but through a Young Life group became a born-again believer at age 14. She was very happy in a kind of loosey-goosey spirit-world way, believing little of the dogma and seeing signs and messages from god in everything -- I thought it was kinda cute. For years we were on-and-off attendees at everything from UCC to Presbyterian and even Episcopalian churches (but NEVER catholic -- too much for her born-again sensibilities). Basically, no big deal.

Now in the 21st century, we become parents. AND EVERYTHING CHANGED. Now she saw religion as very important for the kids for building moral character, etc. and, looking back on it, I agreed completely.

We joined a Baptist church on the recommendation of someone my wife knew and trusted. The place did seem full of the spirit of the Lord (or something, anyway), and we became avid attendees.

All of the above is by way of an explanation to both believers and non-believers alike: if you want to keep the boat from rocking, don't introduce the concept of hard dogma and biblical inerrancy. In no way did I want to walk out on my concept of "faith" and "god", but my new friends at church, with their hammers and nails and planks of dogma and inerrancy, built a coffin, assisted me in placing my faith inside said box, and then nailed the damned thing shut.

I wasn't raised on strict beliefs and therefore could accommodate just about anything I wanted into my spiritual belief system. I suppose that is another way of saying that I stuck my head in the sand, but I am now comfortable admitting as much. In a reaction to the views of some church members, I started to research the history of their particular calvinistic dogma. I was a history major in school, so this was actually a bit of fun for me. Funny thing about doing research -- you never know what you will find. As many of you had found, the more I examined the history of Christianity, the more it began to resemble an amalgam of older pagan rituals and rites. Well, said I, at least the Christ-bit is unique, so even if I reject the rest, I can hold onto Jesus being a seminal teacher of things divine. WRONG! Turns out that most everything attributed to the J-man was said before. The miracles? Well, I hadn't believed in that stuff for ages anyway, so what was left? Nothing. Abso-fucking-lutely nothing.

Meanwhile, as faith and belief unraveled, my wife has become closer to a true born-again than she ever was before. Yuk! I have tested the waters in terms of letting her in on my views, but it didn't go too well. Hope springs eternal, right? Time will tell, but one thing is "Truth", to borrow a phrase from my brothers and sisters in Christ: you can't ever go back.

Whether I believe in an afterlife or a true moral code or Universal Truth or any other thing is now irrelevant. What is, is. All I have is what I see here, today. And that is worth living for. Thanks for listening.

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41 comments:

Jamie said...

with their hammers and nails and planks of dogma and inerrancy, built a coffin, assisted me in placing my faith inside said box, and then nailed the damned thing shut.

Well said, it made me laugh out loud.

My story is a bit different, in that I WAS raised in a church that preached biblical inerrancy (SDA), and it was that literalist view of the bible that is the root of my deconversion.

What surprises me now is how many people from my religion look at me like I have two heads for ever trying to believe it in the first place. Some seemed to have kept their faith by thinking it no big deal to cherry pick (and it wouldn't have been a big deal if everyone hadn't been trying to pass it off as NOT cherry picking).

My wife still believes the inerrancy of the bible, though, and in some ways has dug her heals into the fundamentalist dirt. She seems to believe that it all has to be right or it's meaningless. She'd better be careful, since that is the kind of thinking that ultimately pushed me towards unbelief.

Anonymous said...

But you skip over why you opted out of the mass at 14.

What it looks like to me is that you had already made up your mind, and your "research" was undertaken with an already assumed conclusion.

stronger now said...

anonymous,

Why should we care what you think? I am sure plenty of people have fledgling doubts about their religion as children, and as children, don't have the tools needed to research it properly. It's amazing he escaped lifelong brainwashing at all.

Huey said...

Off topic: I am not as well informed as I occasionaly like to believe. What does Bloviator mean?

Anonymous said...

Huey - blo·vi·ate (blv-t)
intr.v. blo·vi·at·ed, blo·vi·at·ing, blo·vi·ates Slang
To discourse at length in a pompous or boastful manner: "the rural Babbitt who bloviates about 'progress' and 'growth'" George Rebeck .. lol.

Hey "Bloviator" - good breakdown of the stages in your life. I love reading stories and wish yours had been a bit more detailed! Anyways, I too have a very devout wife - although she always has been, and claims to evermore be. For us, the saving point was that we both find church to be a complete waste of time. We gave up on emotionalism and also on traditional mortuaries. So, although we still cannot agreed on doctrinal points, we still spend time "on our own" doing what interests us commonly. It can be contentious at times (when I am forced to family worldviews), but I am more and more shutting my much and simply cultivating a serentity from within. I think I need to act from a peaceful center and let the violence of Christianity demean itself for some time yet. Maybe my wife will "get it" someday - as I hope yours does.

O ya, when it comes to the kids - I just let them ask me what I believe, and let the in-laws do the religious forcefeeding. The only time I intervene is if it appears that my kids are hurting as a result of the indoctrination. Aside from that, I'm actually seeing one child become quite a freethinker, and the other one simply taking the path of least resistance. The other day I was listening the Alan Watts, and my one daughter said "Hey Dad - this is good .. leave it on!" :)

Rich said...

Thanks for your post, these personal histories are very enlightening. With respect to your wife, if you do nothing else, please get the children out of harms way. Somehow you must make her see that your children deserve the right to make up their own minds about religion. We roundly condemm adults who sexually prey on children because children are immature and cannot make informed choices. Religionists who prey on children must likeise be stopped.

Josh said...

Bloviator?

With the importance on the present, or now in your life? Does that lend itself to Hedonism? Just curious.

Bloviator said...

Thanks all for your comments so far. Even you, anonymous. Perhaps I did see through the BS at 14, but I rather doubt I had the clarity of mind at the time. My apologies for the lack of detail, but the appelation of Bloviator is more apt than I care to admit (at least in the general public), and I thought brevity would suffice. I have loads more junk from jesusland to flush out in future posts. And for future trolls who wish to save/condemn me, I will state here that I would love to believe a personal god-being would care enough about little-old-me to come off his throne and wash away my cares and worries (who wouldn't?), but there's that sticky problem of it all being a fantasy -- remember that wishing things doesn't make them so.

Dan said...

Nobody can defend the actions of religious groups who abuse others with crazy rules, etc.

However, let's be honest regarding Jesus. Much, if not most, of what Jesus taught HAD NOT been taught before He came.

The concept of "Love your neighbor as yourself", "turn the other cheek", and "it's better to give than receive" were new concepts on social relationships. Before this, history records the opposite behavior of humanity.

As well, to dismiss the miracles that Jesus performed (and that were witnessed by thousands and recorded in written testimony) is too cavalier even for other leaders of opposing religions.

What I'm saying is, you can lose faith in men and you've lost nothing; but to lose faith in Jesus himself is to lose everything.

Faith in a good life hereafter may not appeal to you if you are healthy, living in a decent country, and enjoying life financially. The message of Jesus and life after death is a joy for millions who live in horrible life circumstances. People who are tortured for their faith, others raped, still others very sick and coping with paralysis or other debilitating diseases. Millions live lives of poverty, despair and distress. To such Jesus came with a message of hope. And they believed.

So do I.

Thackerie said...

So, Dan (obviously not the same as Dano who makes such intelligent comments on these blogs) thinks much of what Jesus supposedly taught was something new that originated with him. You mean like that "Golden Rule" stuff?

Sorry, that one, which is expressed in dozens of religions and philosophies, preceded him by millenia, e.g.,:

"This is the sum of duty. Do not unto others that which would cause you pain if done to you." - Mahabharata 5:1517, from the Vedic tradition of India, circa 3000 BC

If you actually did research in anything other than christian apologetics, you'd also learn that very little, if anything, attributed to Jesus was original - not even the concept of hell, which, like most of other tenets of christianity, was actually "borrowed" from earlier pagan religions.

Josh said...

Thackerie,

I would argue that the sermon on the mount was very radical and original. "you have heard it said do not commit adultery... but I say to you that if you lust in you heart you have already committed adultery". There are many other "you have heard it said" passages in Matthew. 5-7. You are correct however that Jesus followed many others that came before him. There were also many false messiahs bringing a political deliverance so even the Jews themselves misunderstood the intention of the Christ's deliverance.

Thanks,

Josh


BTW, there is a great article by William Lane Craig on the historicity of the Gospel for those that like history.

william said...

Yuck... Two chrolls (the Christian variant of the average troll).

Clearly, the doctrine of "turn the other cheek" and its relatives had existed beforehand (pacifism, etc.). It was not anything new or original preached by Jesus in the "Sermon on the Mount". Just a basis for a religion, that's all. Also, adultery existed before Jesus came along. It's nothing new as well. Putting the exact same things in different words or extending it to thoughts is neither "very radical" nor "original".

Thanks,

William


BTW, there is a great book by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche on the morality and historicity of the Gospel called "Der Antichrist" for those who enjoy philosophy and the truth.

Josh said...

William,

I guess I phrased my point wrong. The teaching was not simply about adultery. Of course that existed long before the message of Jesus. However the teaching brought culpability not simply upon deed but upon character or intent also.

.:webmaster:. said...

Yes, Josh.

It's a good thing Jesus came along to improve on Moses. Moses only had God's rear end view of things. Jesus had the full frontal.

Thackerie said...

Thanks, but no thanks. I'll pass on that article by William Lane Craig. I can no longer bring myself to read anything by christian apologists. It seems to me that they always work backward, i.e., just twisting information to support their preconceived ideology. I prefer a less biased and more intellectually honest approach to history.

dano said...

Thackerie said... So, Dan (obviously not the same as Dano.....

No, I dano believe that if Bible Jesus was a real live historical person, and he really did say everything attributed to him, it doesn't make him a bad guy, just a little nuts.

Turn the other cheek, love your enemies, and if someone asks for your cloak, give him your coat also are all ideas that go against normal, healthy behavior, and if pursued to the ultimate end, will get you hurt, poor, and maybe killed. Mental institutions are full of religious nuts

Another thing is the "we all are born into sin" thing, which is pure unadulterated bullshit. We all do things that are wrong sometimes, but it ain't sin, because there is no such thing as sin. The idea of sin is just one of the hooks that the Cult of Christianity uses to pull you in and keep you in.

The Idea that Mary was somehow pure just because she was a virgin is whacko also.
Sex ain't dirty, or sinful, and the idea that it is, is another fucked up idea that the Bible perpetuates.

Sex is the center of male female relationships, has existed ever since we started to evolve into a thinking feeling species, it feels really, really, good because it has to, and is supposed to, and if it didn't we wouldn't be here.

If Jesus was a real person and was told that his mother was a virgin, and his father was God, he would naturally have been a little weird.

Anybody that had been deluded, to that extent, probably would have been an idealist of the first degree, so his coming up with a philosophy of life, that was fundamentally unworkable is no surprise.
Dan (71 year old agnostic)

huesnlight said...

Blo:

I can now see how it would have ended up if I married a bible thumper. It is because of her that I am now an atheist (in every sense), and I am happy that I had broken the relationship before it got really messy.

thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Fundies!

Fundie Christians, fundie atheists.

You can feel the hate dripping from most of the posts.

A pox on both your houses!

Anonymous said...

By the way huesnlight, you sound like a real disaster for women. I read your blog.

Thank God the "bible thumper" as you call your ex (gee, you must have really loved her you piece of slime) is free of you.

eel_shepherd said...

Yet another Anonymessiah wrote:
"Fundies!
Fundie Christians, fundie atheists.
You can feel the hate dripping from most of the posts.
A POX ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES!" [emphasis added]

Nothing hateful there...

I wonder if he/she/it is a fundie atheist with regard to Zeus, Thor, Krishna, etc.

Huey said...

Anonymous said:

"Huey - blo·vi·ate (blv-t)
intr.v. blo·vi·at·ed, blo·vi·at·ing, blo·vi·ates Slang
To discourse at length in a pompous or boastful manner: "the rural Babbitt who bloviates about 'progress' and 'growth'" George Rebeck .. lol."

Thanks! It never occured to me to look it up as I thought that it might some new modern word that I had yet to hear about (like "blog" for example).

william said...

Josh said, "I guess I phrased my point wrong."

Well, don't worry. I don't think the point has ever been "phrased" rightly.

The fact is, there has always been culpability for one's own thoughts, but typically one's scruples from these thoughts did not come from dogmatic teachings. They seemed to have come from one's own intuition (or conscience, if you like), rather. It's quite false to say that if it were not for Christianity and its teachings, one would not feel culpability for one's own thoughts. Having the ability to tell whether one's thoughts are "right" or "wrong" is due to a personal morality or perhaps one's intuition (as in conscience), rather than Christianity's teachings. If one would then erroneously and arrogantly state that "one does not have a conscience without Christianity's teachings", one would be completely off the mark regarding matters in morality, and present quite a biased view. Therefore, one should say that culpability for one's own thoughts and deeds are due to contradictions to personal morality or intuition (once again, in the sense of one's conscience), rather than Christianity and its teachings.

If anything, it would be correct to say that Jesus, whether imaginary or real, synthesized existing views into Judaism that were previously belonging to different cultures, rather than say that he was somehow completely revolutionary in his ideas and values, which were essentially copied from others.

I would have liked the anonymous person mentioning "fundie atheists" to explain what fundamentalist atheists actually are, and give me a list of the fundamental teachings that these atheists adhere to. My guess is that our friend "anonymous" has no idea what he is talking about. For example, if one were to ask to oneself "what are fundamentalist Christians?", one could easily find on the Internet where fundamentalism originated and at what time. For "fundamentalist atheists", this is hardly the case. Essentially, the phrase "fundamentalist atheist" is an oxymoron. No atheists would prescribe to the theory that the Bible is inerrant, or that the virgin birth occurred. It would be quite difficult to actually define what a "fundamentalist atheist" is, as atheists themselves have quite widely varying philosophies, and one at the very least would have to come up with a new term for such people, as "fundamentalist atheist" is nonsense in a semantic sense. Simply put, it is more pejorative than actual. Also, it would be difficult to actually call someone a "fundamentalist atheist" even if there was a valid definition, as one would not know the personal views of the atheist that one was addressing, unless one knew the atheist in question more intimately than from a few posts on this website.

Sorry about the length. I just felt that it was justified to address a few chrolls (calling back my stupid pun), as I was wont to answer them since I knew probably no one else would, and another Christian that at least didn't say I "misinterpreted" him, saying rather that it was phrased wrongly. Of course, it might not be the best thing to respond to a few people that will probably never return, or to say something that probably won't be read all too much, but at least the "evils of hedonism" that apparently the author of this testimony, myself, and all atheists that focus on the present contain (according to Josh at least, who deigned to speak to us, sinners as we are), has been purged from my system, if at least temporarily). I would like to know what dimension Josh exists in, since apparently the past and/or future exists at the same time as the present, as it seems that he thinks there is something more than the present. It is hard to live for something more than the present if nothing beyond the present actually exists (to elaborate, the "past" is simply "presents" that have occurred, and the future is "presents" that have yet to occur; it is difficult to see either the past or the future existing without the present to act in, but I will probably have to elaborate on this view if anyone actually responds). To wit, though, focusing on the present without a god is not necessarily hedonism, as Josh seems to imply in his first post (at least as Josh).

Perhaps something as corpulent as this can illicit a response from a chroll, or Josh, but who knows...

.:webmaster:. said...

William,

That was excellent. I'd sincerely like you to contact me by clicking here.

Thanks.

William said...

Perhaps I "bloviated" a bit too much. Maybe I should have "abbreviated"...

Anonymous said...

Well said, William! I concur with your view of past and future being time-sensitive references to any "present" moment, but I believe Josh was merely trying to paint me into a corner by implying a "live fast, party hard, die young" frame to what is actually the only thing any one of us have: here and now. I have found that the profundity of that notion has caused me to pull away from a basic hedonistic approach to life, contrary to the god-logic our dear christian bretheren subscribe to.

An interesting point regarding culpability of thought and christianity is this: were non-christians unable to differentiate between a moral good and evil, how would it be possible to convert the heathen? Without a moral compass would we not all be as content as the beasts of the field? One would think it true based on certain christian writings.

Some other nagging thoughts, which would perhaps be better left to another post, but what the hell?

I always despised the idea of missionary work in what most would see as "enemy territory" (muslim, hindu, etc.) Does anyone keep records of percentages of conversion from all the centuries of this? I gotta believe it redefines the meaning of 'pointless'.

As an ex-catholic, I often was ribbed about some of HMC's rituals, most of it coming from non-denominational evangelical types. however, there they are with hands in the air, speaking in what seemed to me like code (god put it ON my heart, I believed ON the lord, etc) and in every way being just as idiotic as we catholics ever were -- well, maybe not as bad as that. ;}

If the bible was inerrant, why do 1500 years go by before someone decides to yank the 'apocrypha' from it? What will be ripped away 1000 years from today?

Catholics are taught that works is what does it, but my evangelical friends say it is grace alone. Then why bother doing anything?

If god knows my heart, why the fuck do I need to pray?

I could go on forever (or as we used to say "forever AND ever" ;}

Bloviator

PS -- couldn't sign on my blogger account cuz it says I don't know my password. Odd, given I made it up yesterday!!

Josh said...

I am not sure what I penned about hedonism as it was deleted. However, I make it a point not to post anything that would resemble a personal attack or incite negative comments. I was only bringing up the subject because the next logical progression for myself would be Hedonism if I did not affirm God as creator and sustainer.

Bill you affirmed above that
“Having the ability to tell whether one's thoughts are "right" or "wrong" is due to a personal morality or perhaps one's intuition”

If these thoughts and deeds are simply “right or wrong” solely on one’s personal morality, how can said person be help accountable? Are we to appeal to institutional code? I assume that most of us would hold to some form of absolute ethic. (ie there are not many that would claim it is morally “right” to murder an innocent child, say 3 years old). Nevertheless, what is it about this act that makes it morally wrong? If I have no conscience, what would hold me accountable, assuming there is no law.

Thanks for the replies,

Josh

dano said...

Anonymous wrote:
"Fundies!
Fundie Christians, fundie atheists.
You can feel the hate dripping from most of the posts.
A pox on both your houses!
posted: June 28, 2007   "

Thanks Anonymous troll. You have reaffirmed the fact that once you have espoused the supposition that I am a Christian and therefore good and moral, and you are an atheist and therefore bad and immoral, YOU NEVER HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY.

Typical example of what getting sucked into a religious cult does to people. It systematically turns their brains OFF.
Dan (71 year old Agnostic)

.:webmaster:. said...

NOTE: To reset or recover your password, you must go to Blogger.Com.

The site administrators do not have access to Blogger passwords.

.:webmaster:. said...

Josh,

Your post on hedonism was not deleted. Don't remember it and can't find it? CLICK HERE!

dano said...

Josh wrote
"Nevertheless, what is it about this act that makes it morally wrong? If I have no conscience, what would hold me accountable, assuming there is no law."

Dan to Josh,
You have a whole lot of larnin to do concerning the origins of human morals and ethics. Many good articles have been written on this subject rat chere on Ex-Christian.

Maybe after you have read a little on the subject, some of your agonizing about how we are all going to be rapist and murderers, simply because we cant buy into the asinine mythology, and suppositions of your very screwed up religious handbook, will ease.
Dan (Agnostic)

Jim Arvo said...

Josh said "...the next logical progression for myself would be Hedonism if I did not affirm God as creator and sustainer."

If that is really so, Josh, then it's probably best that you retain your faith. However, I hope you don't think that this "logical progression" would apply to anybody else; it's completely ridiculous. Josh, can you not see how ethnocentric it is to say, in effect, "Only *my* beliefs produce moral behavior--all else leads to hedonism or nihilism"? You are simply projecting your own narrow viewpoint onto all others, and diminishing them in the process.

Josh continues "If these thoughts and deeds are simply “right or wrong” solely on one’s personal morality..."

What is the basis of this hypothetical? Why would you wish to assume that "right" and "wrong" depend solely on personal views? Are you claiming that without your particular god-concept we would be left with nothing but personal opinion and whim? That interpretation would certainly be consistent with the rest of your rhetoric.

I often address "queries" such as your very directly, but I'm going to take a slightly different approach this time. (By the way, I put the word "queries" in quotes because I strongly suspect that your questions are rhetorical--i.e. you are actually stating an opinion, not requesting clarification. But, no matter...)

I'd like to give you a little glimpse of how things look from this side of the fence. You needn't agree with what I'm going to say--I just want you to use your imagination to step into a different point of view momentarily. From where I stand, Josh, "questions" like yours are completely bewildering. Here I am, surrounded each day with dozens of wonderful ethical loving friends and colleagues, who don't give your god a second thought. Most are not even concerned enough about religion to label themselves atheists--no more than they would think of themselves as aunicornists. It's not even worth discussing such fanciful views to many of them. Now, here comes Josh (and believers like him), who claim that all morality springs from THEIR particular god-concept, which just happens to be the god-concept he/they were raised to believe in, which just happens to be the particular god-concept that is widely accepted in their society. Such a believer is so profoundly naive about any perspective other than his own that he simply cannot imagine how or why people would wish to be kind to one another without sharing his particular god-concept. Such a believer appears to be in a fog, only seeing what he/she wishes to see, pressing every observation into conformity with religious presuppositions, totally oblivious to the many people around him/her who are filled with compassion and enthusiasm, exude boundless love for their children, would sooner take a bullet than to tell a lie, and yet harbor no belief in fantastic invisible beings.

Josh, all I can do is to scratch my head and wonder aloud: What planet are you from? Why would you suppose that your particular god-concept had ANY bearing at all on how people are inclined to treat one another? Could it be that this is simply part of your religious indoctrination? Can you step outside of that mindset just long enough to acknowledge that there are many many people who do not share your views, yet exhibit every single moral precept that you deem important (save for worshiping an invisible undetectable being)? Rather than asking (rhetorically) how that could possibly be without your specific flavor of god, why not START from that observation of fact and then try to formulate a god-concept (if you must) that is compatible with what *is*. Or better yet, why not learn something about anthropology, or sociology, or even evolutionary psychology? There are abundant explanations for human behavior that are rooted in science, and all of it points to the fact that god-concepts spring (in part) from our highly social and MORAL behavior, not the other way around. If you are really interested in learning about why we behave as we do, set aside all the presuppositions about what must be true to validate your god and take a good objective look at what is--as best you can.

If you really must force everything into alignment with your particular religious views, then you will find a way to do it. But you will leave the rest of us wondering why you wouldn't rather live right here on planet Earth with your fellow humans who find every reason to exude compassion and honesty without invisible beings watching over them.

william said...

Josh,

You ask a valid question. "What is the basis for morality?" Many philosophers are still wondering what the actual basis for morality is, and still more wonder how it was made in the first place and what sustains it. Since the former would be answered by the latter, I shall answer the latter question for you, hopefully clarifying the former.

You say, "are we to appeal to institutional code?" as if the code is a thing in-and-of-itself, but, to the contrary, there would not be such a thing as "institutional code" without humanity, as I'm sure you would agree. To separate the societal element of justice from the institutional element would be folly, as such is an extension of the most widely-held views of the culture (id est, laws pertaining to Islamic customs in the Middle Eastern countries, defunct laws regarding heresy in the older European states). Simply stated, a society cannot be separated from its laws, as the laws are extensions of the society, to reiterate.

I think the others answered the questions that were asked by you, Josh, but I felt inclined to answer one myself as well. One cannot assume what would happen if there was no institutional law (which has existed since before Christianity, so it is clearly not something that Christianity has contributed to us), for one would then have to assume there was no society to maintain, enforce, or enact the laws in question, as the two are inseparable.

One last thing, you ask "what would hold me morally accountable for my actions?". In this statement, you assume that Christianity holds one accountable for one's actions (as I have already proved that conscience holds one accountable for one's own thoughts; people without an intuition to tell morality, or without conscience if you prefer, would not follow Christianity or its tenets in the first place, unless the said person was using the religion for another purpose, or was in the religion out of habit). I find the statement "Christianity holds one accountable for one's actions" rather untrue because let us say there is a man who is an insane murderer and he kills a child. When he is arrested and put on death row, according to what you had said, the man would be somehow morally accountable by Christianity for killing the child; however, let us say the man repents in jail. According to your own dogma, the man would go to heaven after he was put to death. I do not hold that Christianity would somehow make the man "morally accountable" for killing the child (or anyone morally accountable for anything, for that matter), finding the view absolutely untenable. Justice would not be served in the afterlife as you have suggested Christianity would do; rather, a gross injustice would have been committed, not only depriving the child of his "supernatural justice" in the afterlife, but a great irony would result as well, considering how many humanists considered moral would be down in Hell, according to Christianity, for doing nothing wrong other than disbelief in God (even according to Christianity's own morality, however small the sliver of morality may be in the Bible). I find this not only reprehensible, but completely contrary to any form of "justice" a person may have. I'm sure you would agree with the above, Josh (at least about the murderer not receiving any metaphysical justice since I think you are, at the very least, not extremely dull and would wish for justice on the said person).

There was a slight tinge of irony when you said, "I make it a point not to post anything that would resemble a personal attack or incite negative comments". The comment did in fact seem like it was a personal attack on the Bloviator, whether inadvertently or by design. I do believe, perhaps naively, that you are telling the truth when you seem to hint that it wasn't meant to be a personal attack, though there is most definitely a possibility for an erroneous assumption by myself in this case. Hedonism is simply following desires, which everyone does. It could be accurate to say everyone is a "hedonist" to some degree, whether one likes it or not. Hedonism seems a bit ad hominem at this point since it is accusing another of only following one's whims rather than anything more definite and concrete(assuming you mean hedonism as an actual personal philosophy, which is a joke).

At least there was a reply by you to my long response (which I doubted would come, considering the number of hit-and-run chrolls, though I did wonder who "Bill" was for a bit, until figuring out that my name was shortened). Hopefully this will make you analyze the views that you hold with a bit more of a critical eye, which is really all one could ask for in this case.

Spirula said...

Jim Arvo,

Once again, wonderfully constructed and written. Thanks.

Huey said...

William had many well thought out things to say about the phrase “fundamentalist atheist” and I wanted to add a small thought. It seems that Christians have a propensity to label us with descriptive terms that apply to them, as some sort of attempt to discredit us, terms such as fundamentalist, faith, belief, etc. One sees this when Christians claim that atheism is just as much or more an issue of “faith” than their own religion, or that it is just another “belief” system, etc. I must admit to having difficulty in understanding what they hope to accomplish. Are they trying to claim that we are no better than they are and are using such terms as a tool to that end? Are they so insecure with their belief system that they have to make us (atheists, agnostics, etc.) appear to be less than perfect (as if!) in order to make them feel good about themselves? Is this insecurity also the reason they became Christians in the first place? Or are there different reasons that I have not considered?

I know I am generalizing a group with these questions. I am just throwing these out for consideration, not to stereotype.

Spirula said...

Huey,

I always had the impression that Christians insist that atheism is a religion mainly because they are using the evolution=atheism=religion false equivalence in an attempt to get evolution out of the classroom, or at least that creationism should also get a fair shake because the state is allowing the teaching of "evolutionism=atheism".

Huey said...

Good point Spirula. But there are the other "epitaths". I was just reading on the Age Of Reason website, about "militant atheism". (http://pages.ca.inter.net/~oblio/AORForum12.htm) This is yet another term, normally applied to religious cults, being applied to us. This is like a 8 year child who falsely accuses another of the very thing he/she is guilty of, and not necessarily to evade retribution but for the fun of it.

Could this trend be be compared to said 8 year old? Do some do it for the fun of it while others, perhaps the lions share, are hoping to nullify culpability?

Spirula said...

Huey,

You never can be sure of the motives of the religious right and how that effects their "mis"use of terms. After all, based on her last book, Ann Coulter is in their camp. 'Nuff said.

pikd said...

http://jdstone.org/cr/index.html
http://whatjewsbelieve.org/
check out these links
The sermon on moount is not oirignal-one is phrases could link 2 others rabbi.
Read orthodox jew views on messiah concept.Do you knew strictest rule in jews states that they cant go to churches?
read dead sea scrolls.They are much earlier from the 1AD,and b4 pilate.

The yeshua in the talmud was delete but some dishonest translator ...

try to study other religion.try to talk to other religion ppl about their religion.then you will understand

pikd said...

i agree with dano that sex is not impure.
I supported that sex should not be liberated,but merely from health reasons

eel_shepherd said...

Jim Arvo wrote [to Josh]:
"...Why would you suppose that your particular god-concept had ANY bearing at all on how people are inclined to treat one another?..."

Yeah, there y'go. I sometimes think that when Xtians and nonbelievers look at each other, each one is looking at what he perceives to be a sociopath. Someone who is entirely rule-based in his/her conduct, owing to the absence of an inner moral compass.

I think that the second thing I read that caused a light to come on in my head, and stay on, was Hofstadter's "Scientific American" review of the Robert Axelrod computer-program tournament for the Prisoner's Dilemma game, which led to the book "The Evolution Of Cooperation". This was the first time that I got a feeling for the self-governing mechanism inherent in cellular automata. The programs in that tournament/simulation had but a single mandate --- to do as well for themselves as possible. And yet, it was the "nice" programs which ended up in the winners' circle, not the predatory ones which all tended to "undermine their base of support", as he puts it. Now, a person might counter, "Yes, but those programs were all written by humans," but that just adds another mile to the same journey, as those humans themselves wrote the programs with only one goal (that the program do as well for itself as possible), and after that, the programs did what they did, unfettered except by each other.

Hofstadter, in a later work, on a different topic, pointed out that though the ants are not well-disposed toward the anteater, the _ant-hill_ itself is quite content to receive visits from it.

Cooperation, and by extension morality, does not require religion; the religion is just a post hoc epiphenomenon, one which just confuses the matter at best, and leads to tragic excesses at worst.

Couple of side points. What is the difference between hedonism and epicurianism? Geez, never mind; I'm so lazy; why don't I just look it up, and maybe I'll post my findings farther down.

I think the _first_ thing I read that caused a light to come on in my head was "Gestalt Therapy Verbatim" by Frederick S. "Fritz" Perls; and the most recent one was "I Am That", by a guy with the unlikely sounding moniker of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

Dee said...

As usual, I am confused about something. There are many who research Chritianity diligently and decide that it is a religion based on faith only with no basis in fact. But, then there are others, after much research that come to the exact opposite conclusion. C.S. Lewis is one of many examples. Anthony Flew, the great atheist debater, converted to deism this past year if my local newspaper is correct. There are brilliant people on all sides of this issue who believe that they have researched things carefully and have become an atheist, Christian,( ) fill in with whatever. I am coming to the conclusion that whatever one chooses it is based on something else. Perhaps faith is a poor choice of word, and all of you may come up with a better one, but it is the evidence or the lack of evidence that each of us chooses to accept which puts us where we are.
Dee

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