Stronger now

Sent in by Stronger Now

These are the things that I was told were the most important:

1. Faith in Jesus.

2. Family bonds.

That's it.

It was drilled into me from birth. You always take care of family because they'll take care of you. You never ever stray from faith in the almighty god. He is watching out for you even when family isn't.

And I believed it.

Even when I was molested by my older brother.

I was eight. He was pushed into doing it by an even older cousin. And I still believed it. I couldn't tell on them. They were family. I couldn't betray them anymore than I could question why god let it happen. So I started to believe it was my fault. After all I could have yelled NO! and stopped them. That's the way I thought of it and the guilt was incredible. I read the bible and went to church and learned all about forgiveness. So that's what I felt I really needed to do. So I did. But the memory and unwarranted guilt never went away.

At fourteen I decided to kill myself. It was that bad for me. I almost pulled that trigger but... who would find me? I had a younger sister and if she saw such a thing...well she was family and I had to look out for her. Also, I wasn't sure god would forgive me. I acted like I had forgotten the abuse so My brother and I could live peacefully in the same house. And it was working. All I had to do was really forget and life could be so sweet again. I prayed my ass off trying to get help from god to forget. It didn't work of course, but I tried.

From the out side I seemed almost normal. After years of hiding in plain sight I could be easily forgotten by almost everyone that wasn't in my family. It was almost as good as death. But hormones did get the better of me and I had to mimic some social skills so I could get laid. I was sure god would forgive me of that.

And It worked! I had girlfriends and was having a great time from an outsiders perspective, but of course the reality was when any of the girls would try to get too close to me emotionally I had to get gone. They weren't family.

Then I met somebody who seemed to understand me without a lot of uncomfortable questions. I fell in love with her hard and fast. She felt the same so we got married. She was now family. I felt god had blessed me for my forgiveness and loyalty.

Then she started seeing that I wasn't quite right. I was never myself in a group and wanted no socializing outside of family surroundings. I was still going to church and still prayed for "forgetfulness," but it wasn't working. I also prayed for "peace in my heart" and that "calm of Christ". That wasn't working either. Why? Oh yea, I wasn't to question god.

So as my mind slipped further into a downward spiral of guilt, despair, and confusion, I my wife couldn't help but notice I was acting insane. I couldn't hide it any longer and she was at the right place at the wrong time and saw me for the nut I had turned myself into. I had to explain to her why I was nuts. I had to choose to either betray my brother or her. I chose to betray my brother. I was sure god would forgive me.

She agreed to help me find a therapist. I needed one. She also agreed to keep my secret to herself. And I slowly got hold of my mind again.

Then she told someone. It was my brothers wife. So I wondered if I had chosen correctly. Things eventually got hashed out and things got much better, for a while. Then My brother and his wife started to not want anything to do with my wife. How could this be? Wasn't she family? I felt like I was caught in the middle of a war and neither side could see how it made me feel. All through this I prayed to god for guidance.
"Lord God Show me what you want of me. Give me strength and show your loving guidance to my wife and brother and his wife. Heal our broken family Please. And let your peace be in us all."


It took a year of almost constant prayer before I almost lost my mind again. But this time I heard a still small voice. It spoke to me. It said "FUCK IT!" and it was me.

I had enough shit for one life and I can't take it another second. If Jesus and god the father were real they were going to show me now cause I'm tired of this waiting for them to do their shit. Last chance Big Daddy!

Guess what? nothing happened. Well, that answers that!

I figured that if they weren't real then I was going to have to do it on my own. So I stopped talking to my brother and moved hundreds of miles away with my wife and kids and so they wouldn't feel uncomfortable seeing each other at the grocery store.

Things are better for me now that I started to forgive myself for buying into the lies of xtanity and family. I have my family and I chose them. I still don't like to socialize and I suppose I never will. I'm okay with that. I'll probably never speak to my brother again, and I'm okay with that. My mom and sisters will miss us and I'll miss them, and I'm okay with that. I can finally start to be okay.

I'm stronger now, and that's the point.

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230 comments:

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paul said...

Wow Stronger Now,

I feel practically speechless, almost intrusive by responding. Still, you put your story out there, and I think that's a good thing.

It's no small wonder that you don't wish to socialize. You never had the opportunity to learn what that is or the benefits of socializing growing up. You were isolated by the crime committed against you. Your beliefs about family and "forgiveness" isolated you further. You have been alone most of your life. You had to deal with a deep wound as a child, ill equiped to do so.

I am glad you are sharing your story, your life, with us. Please do not give up doing that. That may be hard at times. We live in a world of hurt and it is all to easy for some to not value openness about such things because there is so much of it around. Still, I think it is part of getting better and as you do, maybe you can help others in similar situations because you can relate.
paul

Aspentroll said...

I am a 73 year old male and have never really been subjected to religious beliefs. My father died when I was nine years old and my mother attempted to bring me up as she thought best in those days. All her attempts at getting me exposed to religion went awry. First Sunday school, I was more or less evicted from the class because I asked to many pertinent questions. Then I had to sit in the church itself by her side while the preacher rambled on about the most uninteresting stuff. I guess she could see my discontent and gave up on me, which allowed me to run freely on Sundays.
I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that I have always had a serious concern about what to believe. I have never been able to accept what I was hearing about God, heaven and hell etc.
So, now, with my access to the internet I have found that there are millions more out there that
have the had the same problem with religion that I have. I have found this very encouraging and now I don't feel alone in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to add #3,....Don't forget to tithe and give big offerings!$$$$$$$$$$$$-freedy

ComputerGuyCJ said...

Congratulations on becoming stronger! I'm sorry you suffered so much through life, but it is good to see that you've been able to move on!

Anonymous said...

Hang in there, life is never fair. You seem to have a good head on your shoulders, keep it up. It's not where you've been that matters, it's where you are.
Your Pal,
Farris

stronger now said...

Thanks all.

I left out some details like the christianschool that I attended until I was eleven or so. And some other stuff that explaines the thought patterns that screwed me up so. I also have to apologize for the poor spelling(some people get agitated reading it). After twenty some odd years of trying to forget a thing I guess I inadvertantly trained my brain to flush away certain usefull things.

Anyway I hope my story helps someone else in some small way.

Lance said...

Thanks for sharing.

Your realization that god was not going to do anything was a great one; the one that saved you from real insanity.

What I don't understand is that many honest christians I know agree with me that god will not act in these situations, or as I add, in any situations for that matter. They quote the apostle Paul as saying that he had sins that god would not deliver him from, and thus they don't expect god to deliver them from their situations today. So why do they hang on for so long, still believing and trusting in a god that does nothing? That is my question.

All I can figure is that christianity has turned into a religion that does not have an active or powerful god, but is a religion that can do nothing better than to explain why god doesn't do anything. But they can't seem to see that there is no difference between the god they say is active, but does nothing, and no god at all.

Hang in there on the recovery. It's a bumpy ride.

Nvrgoingbk said...

Stronger Now,

Thank you for sharing your story. I am a 33-year-old female. I was molested by older brother as well. It began when I was nine and ended four years later when I finally told my school guidance counselor, who in turn told the resource officer, who in turn called HRS. That's when shit hit the fan with my family. My mother had us all sit down after dinner and have a little "talk". She asked my brother, he denied it, and that was that. I too, was expected to forget it. My mother would beat me many times over the next year and ask me how I could lie about my brother that way. I didn't have the problem that you did with being antisocial, but I overcompensated by compulsively lying to make friends. No one at school really liked me despite the fact that I was an attractive child. I had no friends, and I dreaded going home after school.

Like you, when I became a Christian, a loving relationship with God and his son eluded me. Despite all my efforts to hear from him and to feel his presence, silence was my only reward. I began to do some intense research and the result was inevitable: The Christian God and the Bible was a LIE. So where did that leave me?

My husband was horribly raped by his father when he was a teenager and he was a Christian too. We tried to help eachother heal, but we always felt God telling us that we loved eachother more than we loved him so what did we do? We broke up. NOTHING is to come before God, right? But after two and a half months, God's presence never became any more tangible to either of us and so we both in our own way walked away from the dogma of "faith" and found eachother again. Now, I have a constant companion. Now, that we've both stopped depending on a nonexistent God, we are beginning to hear the sweet sound of peace in our minds.

Now, we laugh more, cry less and have stopped blaming ourselves for what our abusers did and for not believing in a God who was as elusive as the tooth fairy.

Lance said:
"All I can figure is that christianity has turned into a religion that does not have an active or powerful god, but is a religion that can do nothing better than to explain why god doesn't do anything. But they can't seem to see that there is no difference between the god they say is active, but does nothing, and no god at all."

Fucking exactly!

stronger now said...

nvrgoingbk said

"Now, that we've both stopped depending on a nonexistent God, we are beginning to hear the sweet sound of peace in our minds."

Thanks for shareing.

Why is it that christians can't seem to realize that some people are happier in their nonbelief?

Anonymous said...

Because they're not happy in their belief system,....at least alot of them are not.I wasn't!-freedy

Rod said...

I have been struggling with christianity for years and stories like these help me to realize that i'm not alone. I too, have prayed to the christian God on countless occassions with little to no answer. Desperately crying out to the Lord at times its like he doesnt give a crap about what i'm feeling. Thanks for sharing your story as it is inspiring me to also leave the faith based on things I just can't believe. I'm so confused right now....

Joe said...

Rod,

It is true that God doesn't give a crap, but it's not just you. He doesn't give a crap about anybody, because he doesn't exist. I'm glad you're getting your head out of the nonsense the church used to delude and confuse you. It will all become clearer.

Stronger Now, Nvrgoingbk, I wish you strength and patience in working through your hurts and your recovery.

RubySera Martin said...

I don't have much to add except thanks everyone for sharing. What I lived with was a different sort of abuse but probably just as devastating. Stories like the ones shared here help me realize that I am not the only human with memories the likes of which no human should have.

Lance said...

Rod,
What is confusing you? I can make some guesses; probably something to do with how the church teaches people not to trust their own logic and reason.

You said something about leaving the faith that is based on things you can't believe. But those in the church say you must believe god's word and you can't trust yourself.

We say trust yourself and the logic and reason you have. If there is a god, s/he gave that logic and reason to you and probably expects you to use it.

Check out Thomas Paine's "The Age of Reason." That is some great stuff.

Also, tell us you story, or if you already have, let me know where your testimony is on this web site.

Regards,
Lance

Agnostic said...

So there is no God because your cousin talked your brother into molesting you as a child. Makes sense, really.

boomSLANG said...

So there IS a "God" because, because......well, because, why? Oh wait, you're an "agnostic"....my bad.

stronger now said...

No agnostic, there isn't a biblical god because he didn't help me when I really needed him to. He didn't answer my prayers. He didn't do anything because he doesn't exist.

Poltergoost said...

<<< Why is it that christians can't seem to realize that some people are happier in their nonbelief? >>

Because Christians are taught that outside of Jesus, there is no such thing as true happiness. That's how a cult brainwashes people.

The very thought that there are people out there who are happy without Jesus in their lives just absolutely kills christians. They would rather see us unahappy because it would prove their false beliefs that nobody is happy without Jesus.

Christians claim that we're really not happy, and that we're fooling ourselves, putting on an act, and satan has deceived us, but it's the other way around.

They are mad and pissed off because we found happiness outside of Jesus, and they can't.

I am making a lot more progress with my life, ever since I turned my back on christianity.

Back when I was a "Bible Beater", and was in church all the time, I relied on God instead of my own ability and logic, and as a result I had no success in my life whatsoever.

Then I told God to go screw himself, and I walked away from the church. It's taken awhile, but I was finally able to start taking charge of my life again, and that's when I started making progress again.

Every success I have ever had in my life was due to my own effort, and abilities. Not God.

The anger that I have today is due to the fact that I wasted so much of my time and life serving a mythical god and listening to other fanatics. It got me nowhere, and I pretty much wasted my life fooling with Christianity.

No matter what any christian says to me, or what scripture they quote, I will not return to the christian faith.

If God wants me back, then he will have to make himself real, and prove that he is real, and that he is fair and just. He will have to do the right thing. No amount of scriputer or no sermon is going to bring me back.

So all christians who read this, might as well shut the fuck up. Tell your so called God if he even exists, to do the right thing if he wants some of us back.

I guarantee he will not do the right thing, because there is no such thing as a personal loving God.

I'm sure that a lot of christians would tell me, "You don't tell God what to do".

That answer would just prove even more that God doesn't give a shit about me or anyone else.

Poltergoost said...

<<< They would rather see us unahappy because it would prove their false beliefs "ARE WRONG" that nobody is happy without Jesus. >>>

I had to make a correction to my last post. I meant to say the words, "ARE WRONG".

I need to start proofreading my posts.........LOL!

Astreja said...

Bravo, Poltergoost! (Or 'brava', as the case may be.)

To succeed under one's own power is a delight and a thrill. It's especially poignant when the success comes after a failure, or after challenging painful and deeply rooted fear.

Personally, I'd rather struggle for every last inch of ground than trust in some invisible being to sort everything out for me when it finally gets around to it (or not).

philip said...

stronger now-

i appreciate your story. one of my room mates expressed that losing religion was a very tough thing for him as well, he's basically come to the same conclusion. He laughs, is happy, seems to treat people well and is progressing in his life.

general-

it's nice to see encouragement coming from other people as well. I am sorry that God, or christianity doesn't line things up for you. I'm a christian myself, but come from a similar background. I was molested at a young age too. I am trying to learn how to forgive as well, and my girlfriend is having an even harder time. I propose a thought. What kind of being would it take to create everything we see, think , feel, taste, smell? I think it was bertrand russell who said in response to (what will you say to God if he does exist?) that "you didn't give me enough evidence." although, if he did create everything...then he actually gave enough evidence. Think of it this way, God gave you just enough evidence to believe his existence, and just enough evidence to not believe...if he prooved it to you...you would have no choice but to 'serve God' but you do have a choice.

but what can I give God? the answer to that is simple. nothing. If God exists, and he created everything then there is nothing you can give him. that is, except your love. The same way that you can't force your children to return your love...God cannot force you to love him, or "prove" his existence. It would cease to be a choice. God is asking me for my love and trust.

I freely choose to love and trust in God. I can't rest in my own power...I can't even do 50 pushups in a row!!! I have no power.
if I skip a meal...i feel weak. some people say that humans are strong...but i disagree. try going three days without eating, drinking water, try to stop breathing, thinking, feeling. trying to not do these things might only intensify the need to do these things. "but that's biology", that's true, and God is the author of Biology, and physics, and reason, and emotion, justice, wrath, desire, love, anger, wrath, hate, vengence etc. do you ever feel these things? if you answered yes, then you might just be made in the image of God.

i'm not bashing you. i'm bashing the rationale. the same way that if respond to me with reason, you won't be reasoning with me, but reasoning with my reason....at least i think so. any thoughts?-philip

philip said...

i'm really not here to argue. i'm here to better understand...at least I feel that I am here to better understand. -philip

.:webmaster:. said...

"if he prooved it to you...you would have no choice but to 'serve God' but you do have a choice."

Cute sentiment that I'm sure you heard in some sermon, but it has flaws. Supposedly Adam and Eve didn't have any choice but to believe in God: HE kept taking little strolls in the garden with them.

The mythological Devil and his fallen angels have no choice but to believe in GOD as well. They don't like him, but they used to live with him in heaven, right?

And why does your god need barely evolved simians to worship "serve HIM?" Would you like to have a crowd of microscopic amoeba worshiping and serving you? And if some of those amoeba didn't believe in you, would you keep them alive forever in a sadistic prison where they'd be tortured unceasingly?

That analogy is apt. If your GOD is all Christianity claims, there is absolutely nothing we can do to harm this Almighty God of yours. The whole idea of HIM being so pissed off by being ignored that he would dish out eternal retribution is... well, that's quite a shallow god. The whole idea reminds me of a mean little kid frying ants with a magnifying glass -- just plain cruel.

stronger now said...

philip said...
"...if he did create everything...then he actually gave enough evidence. Think of it this way, God gave you just enough evidence to believe his existence, and just enough evidence to not believe..."

If.

If the bible is true, then god answers prayers.
If the bible is right about god then he will give us our needs if we ask it of him.
If the god of the bible existed then he would have helped me, some how, some way.
If he would have done the smallest thing to ease my pain I would still believe in him.
If he gave a rats ass about me he would have done something to keep me near him.

Phillip, He gave me nothing. He created nothing. He can't do anything. By not sticking to his "word" he gave me more than enough evidence for his non-existance.

And tell me, where in the bible does god worry over proving his existence? One guy got a burning bush that talked to him. Another guy got a talking ass. Others got angels. Others got disembodied hands writing on walls. Others got to hear his voice and see visions. I could go on.

All I needed was a little comfort. Was I asking too much of him?

Not according to the bible.

Jim Arvo said...

philip said "...if he [god] did create everything...then he actually gave enough evidence..."

Let's see if I follow your reasoning here. You phrase it as an "if-then": if god did such-and-so, then something-or-other. I think I agree with you. But your logic can also be applied in other contexts: perhaps more than you anticipated. For example, would you agree with this:

If Zeus created the universe, then he has provided ample evidence that he is god.

Now, please note that this is a conditional statement (an if-then), exactly as your statement was. In other words, assuming the premise to be true, would you not also be inclined to accept the conclusion? Here's another one:

If my pet turtle, Fred, created the universe, then he has provided ample evidence that he is god.

Agree? If so, then we can get straight to the interesting part: What evidence exists that god/Zeus/Fred created the universe? For the sake of pushing this discussion along, I'll start by positing that there is as much evidence for Fred creating the universe as there is for Yahweh creating the universe; in fact, probably a bit more, as Fred clearly exists. What say you?

stronger now said...

Thanks jim arvo.

It reminds me of a story about a turtle who "on his shell holds the earth". To quote stephen king.

So I suspect fred is more than he seems.

All bow to fred!

alanh said...

philip wrote:

Think of it this way, God gave you just enough evidence to believe his existence, and just enough evidence to not believe...if he prooved it to you...you would have no choice but to 'serve God' but you do have a choice.

Philip, according to Christianity its not a choice, its a test. If you serve god you "pass" and go to heaven, if you don't serve god you "fail" and go to hell. Its an attempt to divide the human race into winners and losers. A real choice would mean having several good options without a threat hanging over your head.

philip said...

i think i get it.

so. if I take a test? do I not have a choice to pass it? Believing in God wasn't an issue with adam and eve...according to the text anyway. it was obedience that caused problems. why obedience? does any of you that have kids desire for them to obey you? Are there consequences to thier disobedience that they don't know about? for example; touching a hot stove, you would say don't touch it...and if they still touch it, they get burned.

the text doesn't answer why God loves creation, does it really matter? but maybe it has something to do with our likeness. as I mentioned before. we feel all the same emotions that God feels. That is called a likeness. He also designed humans to stand up on two feet. I'm not sure if any other mammal has a balancing device in thier ear like ours. i think that almost all mammals in a resting position will go to four limbs. or balance with a tail, or rest on a tail. Maybe he loves us because we remind him of HIM. someone typed an interesting thing about God being cruel...and....are humans not cruel? selfish? angry? Love, caring, patience, compassion, self-control all seem to be taught emotions. Try having a child and just expect it to love you naturally. A loving child wouldn't wake you up crying, throw up on your shoulder, cry when it's hungry...a loving child would understand that you will give them food when it is time, and that you need your sleep so crying isn't a good thing. I'd say most children are pretty selfish. why do you think children cry when they are born? because birth is painful. try shoving yourself through a flexable opening that is half the size of your head and see how happy you come out.

okay, so zeus created the universe...I believe there are people who worship zeus, but are there writings that people claimed that zeus wrote or inspired? I'm not saying there aren't, i'm just asking.

The reason I use the word if, is to engage thought. but i'll put it more straightforward if you like.

God of the bible exists. He created the universe. He asks for obedience. (you either obey, or you don't, again...choice) that being said, God has been merciful to all of us. It's kind of a catch 22 if you will though. Because if God just starts destroying people with storms, earthquakes, plagues, lightning bolts and what not...people would say, a loving God wouldn't do this, therefore I don't believe in God. Or if he just lets people kill children, rape men and women, bomb each other, steal from each other, make fun of each other...then people would say a loving God would deliver his people from themselves, therefore there is no God.

May I also present to you that american christianity is so far wrong that God can't even heal people here. although he still allows minds to learn and create medicine for our ailments. I'll point out a thing that Luke? said in the text. Jesus went to his hometown to preach and could only heal a few sick people and he was amazed at thier lack of faith.

pssh...some all powerful God!!! couldn't even heal his own neighbors!!! but it is because of a lack of faith. forget that one said two angels and the other said three, all accounts said the tomb was empty.

Stronger Now, God is not done with you yet. Maybe God wanted you to forget about all the rules and just trust him...I think he's saying, dude, get rid of this religion...it will make you miserable. He did answer your prayer, you are stronger now, you are getting through it, God is still involved, using people that hate him to encourage and build you up.

do you know how much more fun it is to watch creation when you know that God created it? why an ant, will walk in several different directions within the same square foot...but no! a perfect God would make an ant walk in a straight path, because then it's less energy or something dumb like that. do I need to point out that God cursed man, woman, and creation in genesis? The world is not perfect, it was at one time...but then it was cursed, and why was it cursed? because adam decided he wanted to make his own choices....and then he blamed it on the woman. I'm sure she felt loved at that time, you know, being blamed for causing him to disobey.

i'll close with this. If you can't believe the first sentence in the bible..."in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" believing the rest is gonna be like trying to convince yourself that you don't exist.

your friend-philip sorry if I didn't answer all the critiques...i'm trying.

alanh said...

Philip

You're not quite getting it - did you ever choose to fail a test? If you were presented with two doors, and you knew heaven was behind door number one and hell was behind door number two, would you choose door number two? Choice is deciding whether you want to buy the blue car or the red one. This Christian "choice" is like saying if you buy the blue car you will be happy and live forever, or if you buy the red car you will be tortured for eternity, now which one do you want?

stronger now said...

philip said...
"i think i get it....
...Because if God just starts destroying people with storms, earthquakes, plagues, lightning bolts and what not...people would say, a loving God wouldn't do this, therefore I don't believe in God. Or if he just lets people kill children, rape men and women, bomb each other, steal from each other, make fun of each other...then people would say a loving God would deliver his people from themselves, therefore there is no God....
..He also designed humans to stand up on two feet. I'm not sure if any other mammal has a balancing device in thier ear like ours....
...He did answer your prayer, you are stronger now, you are getting through it, God is still involved,..."


No you don't get it. You don't see anything you don't want to see. According to the bible your god destroyed the whole earth whith a flood, save for a few things on a big boat. So To say he doesn't do these kind of things is a lie. And people kill, rape, and bomb each other every day on earth and your imaginary friend does nothing to stop it.

As far as designing humans to stand on two feet, well, birds have done that since before they evolved into birds.

He never answered my prayer. I got stronger because I had to. The alternative was institutionalization. It was me, me, me, all me.
Your god, according to the bible, only has our best interests in mind (i.e., he wants us to be closer to him) So please, tell me, how could it be in my best interest to go to hell,Since that's where I'm headed according to the bible.

I want credible evidence of your gods existance. Otherwise, how am I supposed to beleive you.

Remember, there is just as much or more evidence for fred the turtle being the creator as your god.

stronger now said...

All hail Fred.

Fred (the turtle) said...

Greetings my children. It's about time you recognized me as the true creator of the universe. I'm happy to see that you're finally past all this Yahweh and Allah foolishness. Now please make me a nice offering of flies. That's why I created you, you know--I made some of you to catch flies, and I made others of you to simply attract them. Does it all make sense now? Good...

clair said...

Yes, indeed, all hail Fred. Hey, I am married to the Stronger Now guy. He certainly exists, and he sure has a voice, and he weighs about 220 pounds, and is a nice man. But it is not too late to put him in an institution. C

stronger now said...

Clair has a point. She also has a nice rack.

philip said...

hmmm...you have a point about the test...obviously I should chose to pass it...although, the answer being obvious doesn't prove that it is not a choice. God made it so easy. "just believe that there is nothing you can do to impress me, except for believing that I paid it all" of course we're not discussing that even. we're discussing the existence of yahweh.

I should also point out that God is not worried about proving his existence. He just is. I AM, is what he called himself many times. an interesting word because it has no past or future, but infinately existing. or as jesus put it. I was, and is, and is to come.

remember that I don't claim that my arguments are without flaw. Let's bring this up. Why (in an argument) do both parties point out the weak points in a persons logic and do not give praise to the logical and good points? we latch onto the weak and try to rip the other persons to shreds. both of our arguments are going to have flaws...we're human. The bible over the years may have changed. Hitler's writings may have changed, aristotle, darwin, plato, alexander the great, c.s. lewis, brad pitt, abe lincoln, george washington. but let's look a bit deeper...where are the bible's consistencies? you might say there are none...but I disagree. here's a few off the top of my head. people always fear God in scripture, God resists the proud at heart, God gives grace to the humble, repentance is talked about continuously, justice is always demanded.

I should point out that God doesn't need simians to serve him, he wants us to. why? because he made us in his image. why? because he's God and can do whatever he wants to do.

Also, the living God does not send you to an everlasting hell. After a long life of telling God that you don't love him, need him, or want him...he grants your request. he honors your choice, and will pull his spirit away from you. apart from God, there is no life. there is no light and there is only fear.

Have you ever walked down a dark alley and felt a knot in your stomach? That is hell, a complete lack of security, complete fear, and utter loneliness. Hell, most likely will not be a place where you see other people's spirits burning for eternity...it's a place of absolute darkness and loneliness. you will run for days screaming that someone answer you, but you can't hear them, see them or touch them. and why is it a place like that? because my whole life I spend saying...no God, it's me me me me, i cause my mind to think, my lungs to breathe, my heart to beat, my tongue to taste, my eyes to see, ears to hear...the thing is...that you don't do any of those things. they just happen.

So God says "i get the picture" it's you. I love you so much, that I'll honor your choice and it can just be you you you...

let's backtrack a bit about the murders and natural disasters. I never said those things weren't happening. the truth is that those things happen and people use it as an excuse to not believe in God. but the God of the bible says that these things DO happen...which is why you need me.

Did you know that there are christians around the world that are being healed from diseases? why is it not happening in america? because there is no faith here. the gospel has no power here because people don't believe it to be true. they just want to build thier 6 million dollar buildings and wear "christian" jewelry, and be "good" people, and use thier religion as an excuse to ignore or hate other people....but here's the beauty of it my friends. God will judge them too! He's gonna judge all of us. I'm going to be judged for the way I handle every person i talk to, type to, think about and so on.

you know that less than 2% of american christians share thier faith with other people on a regular basis? if they REALLY believed that they were saved from eternal seperation from God, don't you think they would be telling everyone they know!!!???

i'm sure there are translation errors, and factual mishaps in the text...but the heart of scripture is SO consistent. This was a book that was written by a supposed 40 different authors, over a span of 1100 years! and the same thing rings true...sinners need God. it says it again and again.

maybe the people on this board aren't sinners, good job!!! I know I am. so I need god, and if you are like me, then you do too. but you're not like me. i'm stupid, weak, ugly....something like that. I am so happy though. I've never been happier in my whole life. but I thank the living God for that...because it's nothing that I did.

your friend, philip

.:webmaster:. said...

Philip,

You've made some striking statements about your God's thought processes and motivations.

Do you have any idea why you think you know what your God is thinking? I mean, do you two have tea on Thursdays? Does he babysit your kids? Did the two of you used to date?

Think about it, and try to explain why you think that an ancient tribal deity exists who after several thousand years of screwing around with Hebrews ejaculated himself into a human woman so he could be a god-man, physically die for a couple of days and then rocket back to sit beside his father who is really him.

You can forgo quoting your holy book as the reason you believe these weird myths. Why?

Well, here's why:

1) I know God exists and that Jesus is also God because the Bible tells me so.

2) I know the Bible is true because the God in the Bible says so.


That's called circular reasoning. You can quote the Bible, but then you must be prepared to show why the Bible should be acknowledged as authoritative and true. If you say it is because God says the Bible is authoritative and true, then you have to show how you know there is a god and that that god is your god. And then you're back to square one.

Frankly, I don't think you have any answers for that line of questioning outside of "I just believe it, and I don't know why I believe it other than I 'feel' it is true."

stronger now said...

Philip,

You are succesfully performing mental masterbation. Until you tell me why I should believe the bible, there is nothing more you need to say. I have stated my case and stand by it. Until you give me credible evidence that your god even exists, I feel there is no point in conversing with you. In other words: You're not listening to a damn thing I say so why should I listen to you anymore?

philip said...

you're right. I should probably convert to atheism. no religion at all. although...atheism is a religion in itself. because no matter what happens, I use what I call reason to say there is no God. I might even be able to reason away nature, science, and feelings.

Okay, so I stand on the Bible which claims to stand on truth. all truth comes from God.

I want to be an atheist...but there isn't any ground to stand on. because I can even believe that the ground doesn't exist although I'm walking on it constantly. So can I stand on truth? what is truth? should I ask aristotle? nietzche?(spelling?) bertrand russell? sam harris? dawkins? darwin? cupit? hawking? where do I go? I'll stop saying christianity is true if you tell me where to go. I've been to these people and there is no answer for emotions like, sorrow, laughter, happiness, anger, jealousy, love, hope, compassion. anyone can talk about how and why the world was created, but what about your emotions. The fact that you're sad doesn't prove anything...feeling is the proof...but proof of what?

what can I stand on as an atheist that won't come under scrutiny just as christianity does. are you saying that there is no truth? are you challenging the law of non-contradiction? are you talking about a one ended stick? how about an eastern philosophy of (both/and) both atheism and christianity. they are both true! why can't that have the day? I'll tell you why, because the law of non-contradiction is that which best reflects reality. How do we know truth?

I'll say that I'm wrong if you will tell me how you are right. explain why i would cry, why i have close friends, why i love, hate, why i seek, why i would laugh, why i feel pain...and I'm not talking about the physical pain of someone striking you...but the pain that makes you feel like there is some sort of cancer inside you eating you from the inside out.

I don't want to believe that I'm accountable to God. so help me.

but you cannot say, just believe that God doesn't exist...because that is just as circular as "just believe he does"

and you can't point out contradictions in the bible, because as far as this conversation goes, the bible doesn't exist.

I'm not just trying to catch you in your words like you're doing to me...if I could give up my accountability, I would.

your friend,
philip

stronger now said...

No need to get pissy with me philip. You're the one coming on here making wild claims about god being real. I asked you for evidence.

So put up or shut up.

dano said...

Philip,
I can say with certainty that I know as much about God as you, nothing.

I can say that I know as much about God as the Pope, nothing.

I can say that I know as much about God as any man or woman living, or who has ever lived, nothing.

Philip,
No one knows what God is, or even if there is one!! NO ONE!!
Dan

.

dano said...

CASE CLOSED!!
Dan

Jim Arvo said...

Philip,

It's really stunning what happens when you ask a religionist to provide some credible evidence for the invisible pantheon of beings they embrace (e.g. god, angels, demons, etc.). Often they flail wildly at everything else, trying to knock down all OTHER positions. That's precisely what you are doing, Philip, and with the same predictable comical results--i.e. a legion of ridiculous straw men.

What evidence do you have for any invisible conscious entity, Philip? Can you address that directly? If you cannot, is there ANY REASON AT ALL that we should simply take your word for it? Are those not painfully clear and reasonable questions?

philip said...

i'm sorry if I come across pissy. I'm really not. I'm enjoying the debate. I didn't actually look for a place to bash people. I was looking for some information on sheepherding. because Jesus(according to many writings) talked about sheep alot. I typed in the words "sheep fold" because quite a few christian songs talk about the fold of God. In my search I saw a segment that said "leaving the fold" or something to that effect. so I clicked on it and came here. I read a few testimonies and just found it so interesting...because this is the way I've felt, except in a different manner. The power of God has left the modern church. The reason I responded to your testimony was because I related to you (stronger now) in a way that I haven't related to someone online before.(this isn't a pickup line, i promise)so I started a discussion. no regrets. I feel I have a better understanding of where you're coming from. you're stronger now.

i'll get to my evidence in just a few. I'm almost literally a brand new christian. I was raised in a christian home and walked away from my "belief". I would drink on occasion, smoke some pot, make fun of people, sleep with women, think that I was God's gift to women, hate men for the way they treated thier girlfriends and become jealous. I would curse america for all thier fancy churches, slogans, consumerism, rules, laws, politicians...you name it...i hated it. i don't do those things anymore...well, the last part I do...but it's a healthy hate, because i'm doing what i can to make a difference (which isn't much) I was miserable. i would still smile, but I was such a fake...I hated everyone and everything except things like, the music I made, the shirts i bought, the way i looked...i mean c'mon. i worshipped myself. now i don't. that's not a miracle...i mean, it is to me...but anyone could have looked at my psychology and told me i was an idiot.

I love people now, I laugh everday, I'm broke, but out of debt, my car and home have no a/c, but there is a smile on my face. and it's only because of Jesus.

I can't prove this.

because of my new faith, I don't have any wild stories that make God manifest. I'll share one story though. A very good friend of mine is a missionary in brazil, and he was at a meeting with some people one night. He met a woman who was scrunched down in the corner shaking while smoking a cigarette, he came up to her and said "hello sister, are you okay?" she kinda glared at him and said she was fine. he could see that she was upset, so he said "what's wrong?" she shook as she put the cigarrette to her mouth for another puff, and he asked her "would you like to quit smoking?" she said yes, and he said "can I pray for you?" she said yes. so he said to me. "so I cast out the spirit of nicotine, and she started lightly jerking, and this black muck puked out of her mouth onto the floor.....and she stared at the floor, then looked at me and said IT'S GONE! and we started dancing together and praising God"

please bare in mind. i'm not expecting this to convert you. I have lunch with this gentleman every thursday and he is an absolute joy to be around. He believes with a passion in the God of the bible and I believe his story. The old me would have kept asking him for more stories, more proof, more signs...but my proof is inside.

what have you got? instead of proving me wrong, prove you right.
basically what you are saying is "i am not a christian", and i would say "what are you" and you would say "i'm an atheist" maybe. and I would say "so you don't believe in God" and you might say "right", so what do you believe?...well, i surely don't believe in God and here's why.

take a stab at this. i say 2+2=5...and you say, that's wrong because it's not right. and I say "then what's the answer?" and you say "prove that it's 5!" because i'm convinced it's not 5.

you've convinced me that God was never there. you've proved that the bible is mythology. now answer my question. why do I laugh, cry, hate, love? I understand HOW these things happen. answer the WHY please. pretty please with a cherry on top.

your friend,philip

philip said...

jim, thank you for your question. they are painfully clear.

I keep trying to keep these posts to a shorter reply. it's not working though.

stronger now said...

Philip said...

"basically what you are saying is "i am not a christian", and i would say "what are you" and you would say "i'm an atheist" maybe. and I would say "so you don't believe in God" and you might say "right", so what do you believe?...well, i surely don't believe in God and here's why."

There's no credible evidence for him. That's why.

boomSLANG said...

Philip's hypothetical dialogue:

"basically what you are saying is "i am not a christian", and i would say "what are you" and you would say "i'm an atheist" maybe. and I would say "so you don't believe in God" and you might say "right", so what do you believe?...well, i surely don't believe in God and here's why."

OR, since Philip is generalizing and assuming that ALL ex-Christians are "Athiests", we can put his question into it's proper context:

Basically, what you ex-Christians are saying is, "I am no longer a Christian", and then I[Philip] would say, "What are you, then?" and you [might] say, "I'm an Atheist". Then I[Philip] would say, "so you don't believe in Christ?", and you would say, "right". Then I[Philip] would ask, "So, what do you believe?"...and you [might] answer, "Well, I surely don't believe in Christ, and here's why:

For the same reason(s) that you don't believe in Allah, Muhammad, Amon-Ra, Odin, Buddha, and a ten-mile long list of other known deities.

Furthermore, the fact that a "belief" in "Christ" has transformed lives, says nothing about whether that belief has a referant in reality---as throughout history, people have been claiming that those "other" deities have transformed lives, just the same.

Philip, to the best of my knowledge, no one here is saying that "belief" cannot work as a placebo.

(provided we don't know the "pill" is "sugar")

Jim Arvo said...

Philip: "...take a stab at this. i say 2+2=5...and you say, that's wrong because it's not right. and I say 'then what's the answer?' and you say 'prove that it's 5!' because i'm convinced it's not 5."

That analogy is not at all apt. I am simply astonished that this is always so very difficult for believers to grasp. Here is an apt analogy for you, Philip; I hope you don't mind my putting words in your mouth, as I feel that they are very reasonable words. If you don't like them, please feel free to supply your own.

Me: "There are little green men living on Pluto."

You: "How do you know?"

Me: "My Ouija board told me. Do you now believe that there are little green men living on Pluto?"

You: "No, sorry, that's silly. I don't share your belief because it seems to be based on nothing rational."

Me: "Are you saying that you KNOW FOR SURE that there are not little green men on Pluto?"

You: "No, not at all. I've simply got no more reason to believe in them than I do in leprechauns or Big Foot."

Does this dialog make sense to you? Have I put any words in your mouth that are unreasonable? Do you see the analogy with religion? It's a DIRECT analogy. You say there is a god. I ask how you know. You say faith, scripture, unexplained events, changes your life, etc. I say, sorry but I don't see those as being evidence for invisible conscious entities, so I don't share your belief.

Do you see?

Philip: "...why do I laugh, cry, hate, love?"

These are emotional responses, so I'll interpret your question as "How did we come to have emotions if not via god?" The (partial) answer that is provided by science, and corroborated by science, is that emotions provided a distinct advantage to our species; for example, empathy assists in creating cooperative groups, and love is essential in forming family bonds which, in turn, assist in mating and child rearing. So, the short answer is, we have emotions because they increased our ability to survive and procreate. I'll gladly go into much greater detail if you wish.

The explanation that you appear to prefer, on the other hand, makes no sense to me. Presumably, you believe that our emotions were instilled in us by god. Is that a fair statement? If so, then you are "explaining" one phenomenon by stipulating an infinitely more fantastic one. What could be more fantastic than an all-knowing all-powerful invisible being who "conceptualized" all the mechanisms we have in our brains. In my opinion, the "god did it" explanation is nothing more than a "homunculus"--i.e. another version of the absurd idea that our brains function by virtue of little "people" who live in our heads. It's the ultimate passing of the buck--if you can't explain something, attribute it to a "black box" that already possesses all the desired properties and call it a day.

Jim Arvo said...

By the way, Wikipedia has an excellent article on the homunculus. The word is used in several distinct ways. The one I was referring to above is described in the section called The homunculus argument or fallacy in the philosophy of mind.

To state my position more succinctly, I assert that "Intelligent Design" and its variants is nothing more than a homunculus argument, only somewhat more fantastic as the proposed "creator" is actually a super-duper-homunculus possessing super-duper powers. Thus, it's specious.

dano said...

Jim.
Do you ever get a feeling that you have debated Philip before under a different name?

His M.O. sure looks like some of the other disciples we have seen before.

Philip. Can you define what you mean by the word God?

Philip!
Out of all the articles and posts on this website that that explain the science that has been done on how individuals were naturally selected, for emotions, empathy, love and morals, in general, during the last four billion years or so, can you name at least one that you have read?

Do you understand the term "Natural Selection"?
Dan

philip said...

i freely accept your critique of some of my logic. I'm pretty sure I agree with the illustration about the martians. although, you did reword one of my questions and changed it from a why to a how. how we came to develop emotions is a mute point. You said that empathy helps promote cooperative groups...but you're immediately assuming that a group should cooperate. I would agree, that a group works best in cooperation i.e. a kingdom divided amongst itself cannot stand. but aren't you implying there is a law to stand by for cooperation? am I cooperating with you in this conversation?

can I reiterate that an ideas absurdity doesn't actually make it not true, or true mind you.

dano- i promise that I've only used this post name. If you would like to end this conversation; please let me know and I will stop posting.

you asked. what do i mean by God. that is a GREAT question. and challenging. Ravi Zacharias talked about a question that he was asked in college about God. the question was "God is perfect, explain" he said that God is the only being that the very reason of his existence is within himself. How's that for circular reasoning? God, to me, is the God of the Bible. creator of the universe, Lord and King of all the earth, apart from God, there is no truth.

That does not mean that the Bible is the only source of truth. I'll present a reason for minor contradictions in the bible. because it involves real people. so let's take God out of the picture. maybe if we do that; we can finally have harmony. but you don't just have to look at religious groups to find contradictions. as humans we constantly contradict ourselves in order to evolve into the next generation, because I might not believe in stealing, but I'll backstab my way up the corporate ladder. some would say "that's just business"; but something being business doesn't justify the action. for example: you can be a hit man as a business, but you're still a murderer.

there are millions of book published about the how. the bible claims to be the WHY. Why are we like this?

I'm pretty sure I understand what natural selection is, but what is natural about it? can you prove that nature exists? are you saying that there is a natural order to things? if you can prove that nature exists, how do you know you're right? maybe your brain hasn't fully evolved yet, but you would be fully convinced that it has, even if it hasn't.

How something came to be is interesting at best. but why it came to be is so much deeper. keep searching. i'm not trying to debunk science and say it's wrong, I think it's great, but it doesn't answer why. the bible does, and the rest is just details.

i've only read a few of the articles on this site. i mainly went to read the testimonials. as i get more time, i will read more stuff.

thanks, your friend, philip

Jim Arvo said...

Dano asked "Do you ever get a feeling that you have debated Philip before under a different name?"

Honestly, Dano, they pretty much all start to sound alike after a while (at least to me). Not one of them seems to appreciate the difference between "proof" and "evidence", not one of them has a reasonable notion of what an atheist is, not one of them understands the difference between religion and science, and not one of them honestly accepts the burden of proof. (Actually, I'm being a bit melodramatic here--there have been exceptions to all of the above, rare though they are.) It's pretty much the same crap, over and over again.

Jim Arvo said...

Philip said "...how we came to develop emotions is a mute point. You said that empathy helps promote cooperative groups...but you're immediately assuming that a group should cooperate."

You mean a "moot" point. No, I have assumed absolutely nothing normative (i.e. "should"). Our ancestors who exhibited a marginally greater capacity for empathy likely had a marginally greater survival/procreation rate. It helped our species survive. There is no "should" anywhere in that picture.

Philip: "...aren't you implying there is a law to stand by for cooperation?"

No. Do you understand the notion of natural selection?

Philip: "...am I cooperating with you in this conversation?"

I don't know, are you? How is that relevant?

Philip: "can I reiterate that an ideas [idea's] absurdity doesn't actually make it not true, or true mind you."

Reiterating that obvious point is hardly necessary. When I call something absurd I am stating that it is strongly counter to mundane things I/we generally all accept as being so. It's a statement that I do not accept an argument/assertion as it stands, and that it would require extensive re-wording and/or evidential support in order for me to reconsider it. As that's quite a mouth full, I prefer to stick to the simple declaration of something being "absurd". Fair enough?

Philip: "...can you prove that nature exists? ...if you can prove that nature exists, how do you know you're right? maybe your brain hasn't fully evolved yet, but you would be fully convinced that it has, even if it hasn't."

Philip, I honestly can't make much sense of what you just asked/speculated. Since you directed the question at Dano anyway, I'll step back and watch him handle it. (You're welcome, Dano :-)

Philip: "How something came to be is interesting at best. but why it came to be is so much deeper."

You're assuming that "Why" questions are even meaningful. You're assuming that there is something "deep" to them. Why do you make that assumption?

Here is a wonderful quote by Richard Dawkins that pertains to this very issue:

"At its most naive, this appeasement policy [of conceding to religion its own magisterium] partitions the intellectual territory into 'how questions' (science) and 'why questions' (religion). What are 'why questions,' and why should we feel entitled to think they deserve an answer? There may be some deep questions about the cosmos that are forever beyond science. The mistake is to think that they are therefore not beyond religion, too."

The full article can be found here.

stronger now said...

Philip,

You come here and read my testimony and ask me to prove that you're wrong about what you believe. You can't prove me wrong and you can't offer any credible evidence for you're beliefs.

I haven't tried to "convert" you to atheism. I only shared a part of my life that pointed me towards the unbelief (of the biblical god) that I have now. So what more do you want of me? What other agenda do you have other than trying to make me believe as you do, even though you haven't provided a good reason for anyone to believe it?

If you want me to believe in the bible god again, then give me credible evidence. If you want something else then state what else that something is. But please stop talking in circles.

dano said...

dano- i promise that I've only used this post name. If you would like to end this conversation; please let me know and I will stop posting......

Dan answers: The above offer to stop posting when someone like me makes a few down to earth remarks about you and your way of thinking, is pretty standard here on ex-Christian.

Very few do go away, because you are here for reasons that only a professional doctor of the mind could answer adequately, but I would guess that it has something to do with needing to be recognized, and feeling like you have worth. The same reasons by the way that I get something out of attempting to answer your, very difficult to follow, reasoning, in your posts. I would love to be the one to unshackle your mind from the most insidious cult of all time.

Only the webmaster can stop you from posting here. I can't and wouldn't if I could, because "You Christians" are what reinforces on a daily basis, my certainty that Christianity is one of the most damaging cults ever devised, and you make me feel so grateful that the creator of the universe has allowed me to be free of it.

I call the creator of the universe "Nature" sometimes. I call the creator of the universe "It", most of the time, but I would never call the creator of the universe "Bible God," like you did below, because "Bible God," is far too INADEQUATE to be considered an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent creator of everything.

Philip said,
"God, to me, is the God of the Bible. creator of the universe, Lord and King of all the earth, apart from God, there is no truth."


Philip said,
"I'm pretty sure I understand what natural selection is, but what is natural about it? can you prove that nature exists? are you saying that there is a natural order to things? if you can prove that nature exists, how do you know you're right? maybe your brain hasn't fully evolved yet, but you would be fully convinced that it has, even if it hasn't."

Dan responds to above: My first impression, because of your incapacity to keep coherent thoughts flowing, and not going off on a completely incoherent tangent, is that you are getting high on something and then coming to the computer to talk to us.

Naturel selection is what a whole school of scientists call the process by which life adapts to an environment and changes, by favoring mutations that are the best at procreating, and surviving.

Our intelligence became a very powerful "Survival characteristic," because it allowed us to think our way out of situations that otherwise could have made us extinct.

It is obvious that my brain isn't fully evolved yet. I would hope that man will survive as a species, and not make himself extinct, and keep evolving, but I will have to admit that I'm not very optimistic.

I mean that seventeen hundred years after the Romans pieced together a very poorly written handbook for a religion, that the Emperor Constantine ordered and needed to solidify his control over the empire, a book that has been added to, subtracted from, changed and argued about what would be included and what wouldn't for these seventeen centuries, still has the power to capture and enslave peoples minds. Christianity is an insidiously damaging mind virus.

The problem is that your God and Prophet, and the Muslim God and prophet, may jointly make our world uninhabitable. Belief and faith in mystical, magical beings is making the world a very dangerous place.

In short Philip I can say, what fear of imaginary entities would never allow you to say. YOUR BIBLE IS A POORLY WRITTEN PIECE OF TRASH!

So as long as Bible God is your best definition of "God," you will be like a baby trying to form his first sentence, which may explain why you have so much trouble with clarity of thought.
Dan

dano said...

By the way Philip, I am 71 and recovering from a near death experience, that happened about six weeks ago, including a mini stroke and a seizure, during which I somehow ended up with a very large and painful hematoma in my leg.

All of which I am well on the way to recovery from, but it left me with a little "clarity of thought" problem myself.

But with the help of the creator of the Universe and a lot of hard work on my part, I am getting stronger every day
Dan

dano said...

Stronger now,
As you are well aware of now, that Christians can be the most unchristian people on the face of the earth, it feels so good to be free of the virus.

I would be tempted to move to Sweden, the country that my grandfather immigrated from, if it weren't for my wife, who is one of those people who "couldn't care less," about religion, one way or another.

Her way of dealing with it, is to just not think about it, or talk about it. She is much more interested in what's happening on the reality shows, than whether Jesus was the son of God.

If I were single and looking for a wife though, I definitely would join an Atheist organization and look for someone who thinks like I do.

I consider theology, to be central to everything that's going on in the world today, and it would be nice to have a spouse whom I could discuss it with.
Dan (agnostic)

philip said...

hey guys. sorry it took so long to get back on. I've looked forward to seeing what sort of things are being discussed. I find myself seeking alot. That's why I'm here. You're right about my thinking, it's way out in left field. I barely graduated high school and dropped out of college to play music. I'm generally too lazy to play music well, so I've ended up sorta bagging that too...although I do teach beginning drums and guitar. I'm interested in theology or atheism, I don't mean to make claims about what atheists assume or that everyone on here is an atheist. I am honest. Everyone on here is helping to strip away some of the details that have been lumped onto christianity over the millenia. This is what I ask myself. Why so much fuss over one man? or according to dawkins he might say "what is the fuss over this man" was he fictitional completely? Was there a person named Jesus that did even half of the things that the gospels claim he did? It's pretty easy to see why people over the years would push christianity on people for power. but it's also easy to see that when that was done, there was always a complete forsaking of the teachings of Jesus; which meant that it wasn't actually christian. Jesus said that I'll know you by your fruit.

all that being said. I think I've said some really rude and assuming things in this forum, and for that I apologize. The reason I am a christian is because of MY fear of eternity. It's so hard to just throw away everything you've been taught from a young age. Is this all there is though? Perhaps you find yourself asking the same questions. It's so hard for me to see the world in motion and think "there isn't some reason i'm here"...and I probably need to worry less about answering that question for everyone else and answer it just for me right?

so I have trouble reconciling the idea that there would be no creator. could be a weakness for me. and at the same time, my faith in a creator feels weak...because I'd rather there not be one. then I could do anything I wanted. but even that I don't want, because I've done that before and it's only bought continuous small loads of heartache.

There is something special about the person of Jesus of Nazareth.(from a sermon in the 20's)
"He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never went to college. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself...all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life."

Do you think you're the first to not believe? You won't be the last either. Jesus's life is the only proof that we may have have of God's existence. There seems to be no lukewarm on this subject. You either love and trust in Jesus's teachings or you despise him for his followers. Because honestly, if Christ's followers were good people...what problem would you have? If I saw someone praying for a homeless man after buying him lunch, and then helping said man get employment...would I complain? or would I say "don't help the homeless! it's thier own fault" when maybe all they need is just one more chance.

Dano: great to hear about your recovery. My friend Bob has been recovering very rapidly from accute pacreantitis. His body was shutting down on Christmas eve 2006, and just last week he flew down to brazil to stay for a month. So, God is always working...many times we just don't know how.

we'll talk soon. i feel the debate is over, but you can continue to raise questions if you'd like.

your friend,philip

philip said...

would someone show me the place to stand. would you take me by the hand. to answer the questions i shouldn't know. to make my heart drop deep below. my words are all useless and covered in blood, my own life the reason that i cannot love. my passion and hope wrapped deep in a lie. an arrow that pierces my very eye. a drought of the spirit, yet the rain still falls. my proof is my reason, my reason my proof. where is my logic and my true stance. Why can I sing and how should I dance? who will answer these questions of mine. was it the one who invented time. How do I study the logic of lies, creeping with maggots and lurking with flies. Can I believe any books that were penned? neitzche or plato or my own from within? because these words are so terribly defined, what's the point in discussion your opinion and mine. am i a believer of anything at all, or am i just looking for where i won't fall.

this website is great by the way.

your friend,philip

.:webmaster:. said...

Philip,

If you lived in the Middle East, all the talk would be about Muhammad.

If you lived in Ancient Athens, it'd be Athena.

Christianity has cruelly dominated the Western world for centuries. Millions of people are programmed from birth that an invisible, undead, god-man wants to live in their pulmonary organs. I mean, they are trained to talk to an invisible friend from their bedsides as children! And unlike the Santa myth, few ever realize its highly likely that it's all made up.

I remember when I found out Santa was a myth. I was disappointed, big time. I WANTED to believe in Santa.

When I finally abandoned Christianity a few years ago, I WANTED to believe in Jesus. But wanting to believe in something and the actual reality of that something is not necessarily the same thing.

stronger now said...

philip, you can't even prove that jesus lived. So to say his life is proof of god is as good as me stating that unicorns are proof that leprichans exist. Think harder.

Jim Arvo said...

Philip, that was very poetic. (But do keep your day job.)

Jim Arvo said...

Philip, I just read the post above your "poem", and I'd like to commend you for what seems to be a very honest post. Thanks for that.

My only comment is that you appear to believe all of the current orthodoxy concerning Jesus. If you start to examine where that orthodoxy came from, you will discover that nothing is so clear-cut. In my opinion (based on years of study) it's doubtful that there even was such a man (although it's possible). Legends and myths are very powerful. They spring from and speak to our fears and desires. That does not make them true.

This is a *huge* topic. We can get into it more if you like.

philip said...

well said Jim and webmaster and stronger now. I definately can't PROVE that Jesus existed. I don't have the resources. I can't even Prove what happened in my dreams last night. I don't want to latch onto orthodoxy. Orthodoxy tends to not help. Orthodoxy is kind of like power. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

and don't worry, my day job is fully intact. my career as a poet is still in the infant stages.

So the same way that I can't prove that Jesus did exist, it would be impossible to prove that he didn't. There are so many writings, as I'm finding more and more that claim all these proofs to his non-existence. But what are they basing thier information on? It seems that many people base this fact on contradictions in the scriptures. But true christianity doesn't kill people, it is hate that kills people. some people use christianity to feed thier hate for others, but the Christian message does not in itself breed hate. It breeds compassion for others. Although this is where our opinion differs. I was raised in a home that loves Jesus (if that is possible) and I can tell you absolutely that I am Loved by my parents. I walked away from the church mentality and church life and basically threw it on the ground. My mom didn't scold me, she loved me even more. she prayed for me. "God, use the things in his life to bring him back to you" This in itself is not proof, it's just what happened.

It is not my goal to change anyone, my goal is that I would Love everyone. That being said, my attitude on these postings has been an attitude of change, and for that I again apologize for.

any replies? i look forward to it.

your friend,philip add me on ze myspace if you like that crap. www.myspace.com/olgravy i feel like i'm 14.

.:webmaster:. said...

Philip,

Would you still "love everyone" even if some people disagree with your religion or honestly think your God is nonexistent and your religion bunk?

If your answer is yes, then you are more compassionate than your God, who has promised to unmercifully roast forever those who disbelieve in HIM.

Luke 12:46: The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

And if you "love" unbelievers, then you are in opposition to Paul, the true founder of Christianity.

2 Corinthians 6:14: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Jim Arvo said...

Paul,

Al this talk of "proof" is a red herring. Nobody can *prove* anything in history (much less ancient history). The question is where the evidence points, and how strongly.

You said "There are so many writings, as I'm finding more and more that claim all these proofs to his non-existence. But what are they basing thier information on? It seems that many people base this fact on contradictions in the scriptures."

"Can you give me one example of an argument that purportes to *prove* that Jesus was not a historical figure?"

No, of course not! That's ridiculous. The question is where the EVIDENCE points. I've researched this quite a bit, and I can't think of a single (reputable) scholar who would make such a categorical claim. That seems quite reckless to me. Among those who do doubt the historicity of Jesus (e.g. Doherty and Price), none that I'm aware of think the contradictions in scripture are the key. That too is silly. So, I'm guessing that you really don't know why some scholars doubt the historical existence of Jesus. Let's start with this: How do you explain the almost total silence of Paul on any historical aspect of Jesus? He does not quote Jesus, nor make any reference to his birth, his ministry, his miracles, or the circumstances of his death. Does this not strike you as odd? Also, there were early Jesus sects that believed in a purely spiritual Jesus. As another hint, look at how early apologists defended Christianity. Justin Martyr, for example, claimed that Christianity was, in effect, no sillier than other contemporary religions, and it's claims were no more fantastic. Given that the savior figures of numerous other religions lived in a spiritual realm, it's rather interesting that nobody thought to distinguish Christianity from all the others by saying "But OUR guy is/was a real human being, right here on Earth!". Not one. Not a single one. Why is that, do you suppose? There are other clues buried in scripture, but that should suffice for now.

Jim Arvo said...

Ooops. The sentence that begins "Can you give me one example..." should not have been in quotes. That was a question from me.

stronger now said...

philip,

True christianity does breed hate.

In luke 14:26 jesus himself is reported to have stated that "If anyone does not hate his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and yes even his own life, he cannot be my disciple."

That's a lot of hate.

I bring this up not to debate the bible but to show you that your idea of what "true christianity" is does not coincide with what jesus actually taught. It is your own personal philosophy(spelling?) that you are espousing(?) and nothing more.

stronger now said...

"...coincide with what jesus actually taught."

I meant to say "what jesus was repoted to have actually taught."

philip said...

okay, fair enough.

And in the "old" testament, God said that if someone pleads with you or asks you to serve other Gods, that you should kill them.

Is it possible that Jesus is saying that in comparison to your devotion to me, others would say "that man hates even his own life"? I don't have all the answers to your questions, I won't pretend to...although maybe I have pretended to up until now.

Our creator has done things for a reason. Why is that? It's not so much that I believe that we are sentenced to damnation, but we see "God's" people and say to ourselves, The creator of this universe couldn't love something so dispicable and void of knowledge. So we say "God, I want nothing to do with you" "I trust in the security of my own power and strength" and God simply honors that request.

Am I wrong? Maybe I am pushing my own philosophical ideas on it. I pushing my own idea into in fact wrong? Will the fundamentalists kill me because of my heresy? Will God not accept me? At what point should God draw a line between Good and Evil? How would you do it?

more later, this is all i had time for today.
your friend,philip

stronger now said...

Philip asks...


"Is it possible that Jesus is saying that in comparison to your devotion to me, others would say "that man hates even his own life"? "


Just because something is possible does not make it probable. I would think that a god-man would speak a little more clearly than that. Don't you?

I did not turn from god because of how others acted. I turned from god because of his inaction due to non-existance.

"Will the fundamentalists kill me because of my heresy?"

Possibly. They have done it before.

"At what point should God draw a line between Good and Evil? How would you do it?"

I draw the line based on the best of my abilities to achieve the more desirable outcome for everyone involved with my decision. And if it harm none, I do as I will.

philip said...

well said:

what is harm? is it emotional harm that you do not want to cause or is it physiological harm?

i think by now you know that I'm your friend. so just philip will suffice.

philip

stronger now said...

Philip,

When I say harm I mean both physical and emotional. It is an ideal that I strive towards. It is not how I am. It is sometimes neccesary to decide the lesser of the two, but it depends on the situation.

philip said...

i agree with that completely. So I'll ask myself this. How do I know that I've harmed someone emotionally unless they tell me. It seems that is what this website is pointing out. "Look at the Harm Christianity has caused!" right?

and I think that is a good and fair argument. I shouldn't close my eyes to the harm that I cause. I should face it with humility and apologize. I'm not sure if I've harmed you in our talks, but I'm open to the idea that I have.

I can't merely say that someone is wrong just because they are a hypocrite. I don't truly know the situation. And furthermore; some might say "what is wrong with hypocrosy?" My roommate and I had a great discussion about what is wrong with hypocrosy? what do you think?

this doesn't just apply to religion. Why do we value consistency so much? any ideas? I value consistency in my life alot. I think that involves honestly asking myself and letting others ask challenging questions of me.

philip

philip said...

actually I should clarify something also. I think it does depend on the situation. A weighing of sorts.

We'll say "harm is inevitable"

but what is more harmful in this situation? the persons physical harm or emotional harm? I think we find ourselves in that situation everyday!

stronger now said...

Philip,

Hypocracy is a form of dishonesty. I think that dishonesty is wrong in most cases. Again it depends on the situation. As for wich is worse physical or emotional harm, again, that depends on the situation. Usually physical harm is automatically accompanied by emotional harm, so I tend to think emotional harm is the less severe. However I can think of several instances in my life when I would rather have gotten a beating than been subjected to the types of cruelty that emotional verbal abuse caused. I cannot know for certain in all circumstances which harm is the better to avoid, So I do the best I can. To that end, empathy plays a major role.

philip said...

you see. we agree on many things! Yay!

I have to admit, it's not as fun when we're not abusing each other and calling each other wrong with our typing.

I'll add to your statement and see if you agree with me. A true hypocrite would actually see themself as an honest person. For instance; i say lying is wrong. but then you catch me in a lie and say "i thought you said lying is wrong" and I would say, well, that wasn't a lie, or I'd justify it and say would you rather me hurt thier feelings?

Can you give me an example of something that you think is wrong?

I believe that we should not murder. I believe that because I also believe that we are all "children" of a creator. This means that I am against abortion, terrorism and retaliation.

Would you give me an example of something that you believe to be wrong or right?

philip

.:webmaster:. said...

Philip,

If your God commanded you to kill every man, woman and child in a village, would that killing be right or wrong?

In other words, is murder wrong because your god commands it, or is killing wrong, and that's why your god commands it?

If your god commanded you to kill your neighbor, would you kill him? If not, why not? God commanded many people to be killed throughout the Old Testament, and if his order wasn't obeyed completely, he became quite upset.

If you lost your faith and abandoned your religion today, would you go out and start killing people? Is the ONLY reason you don't kill people because of your religion?

Think about it! Honestly think about it! Is the ONLY reason you don't kill humans is because you think your god wouldn't like it?

stronger now said...

Philip,

I think that many things are wrong. In fact, I think that being dishonest with yourself is wrong. I think the webmaster makes a strong case against the need for a god to tell us what is right or wrong. Thinking for yourself is a good thing. Again, I might not do what is right all the time, even by my own standards, but that just makes me human. I do the best I can.

Buddy Ferris said...

For Jim Arvo

I just stumbled across your last week's post regarding the almost total silence of Paul on any historical aspect of Jesus? He does not quote Jesus, nor make any reference to his birth, his ministry, his miracles, or the circumstances of his death. Does this not strike you as odd?

Didn't anyone call you on that one?

Paul quotes Jesus in first Corinthians regarding the institution of the Lord's supper. In fact, he claims to have received it directly from the Lord.

As for the paucity of Jesus' words elsewhere in Paul's writings, remember Paul wasn't there to hear any of the sermons. He enters the picture after the resurrection.

On the circumstances of His death, Paul mentions His death on the cross twice in 1st Corinthians, three times in Galatians, seven more.
Paul attributes His death to the Jews in 1st Thessalonians.

Your source may be a bit off base.

Buddy

Buddy Ferris said...

More for Jim,

Your reference to Justin Martyr's comments is out of context. His statement that Christianity was no more fantastic than the popular religions fits into the question of why his contemporaries were opposed to one and not all.

On the early church belief in a living, real Jesus, you wrote of an argument missing in the records of the early apologists, "But OUR guy is/was a real human being, right here on Earth!". Not one. Not a single one." Your implication that the early apologists did not believe in a living, walking Jesus won't hold up. Every apologist's central premise was and is the life, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Each spoke and wrote on the subject.

Again, perhaps your source has misled you.

Buddy

.:webmaster:. said...

Buddy, you make all these general comments, but you never once support anything with references or backup. And more importantly, you are a liar. You said you had evidence that your god actually exists, but you just can't seem to bring yourself to present it. You'd rather blather on from a presuppositional god-believer stance, which is completely worthless, and is getting tediously annoying. Please bring out your evidence so we can all fall on our knees and worship her. Why play around? Why not just cut to the chase.

Or better yet, why not be transparent and admit that you are here to evangelize and that you have NO EVIDENCE for your god.

You are earing your way into the book of troll. Congratulations.

Yuck.

John Doe said...

"Didn't anyone call you on that one?"

Nobody bothered calling him on it because the poor guy is so lost and confused you'd be better off talking to a wall.

I do pity this poor Jim, he thinks he's got it all figured out. He's mister morality and one of the little kingpins of this web site. If you ask him or nearly any of them tough questions, you'll be labeled "troll" or annoying "fundie", their favorite copout to real questions. If you annoy them a little more with tough questions, they'll take the "high road" and actually delete your posts. I've seen them do it to a few people already. Don't expect integrity from the people that run this site, they'll doctor a thread if they wish it.

The sadest part of this site is that it's public and they do actualy "help" people to completely deny God's existence. Considering how much they already know about the bible and their deliberate refusal, I would be recommending Matthew 7:6 except that they cause too much suffering.

Raising children in such a godless world is one of my greatest fears. I'm certain that the suffering such sites causes our Lord is unimaginable to us, our only options are to pray and occasionaly, by God's grace, try to post a little reason.

.:webmaster:. said...

John Doe = Buddy Ferris?

John, I raised my kids to be die-in-the-wool Christians from their births. Then I lost my faith when the kids were just entering their teens. Now they are in college.

Get this: They don't do drugs, they don't smoke, they don't drink, they don't screw around, they are socially active, generous and giving people. And they are at the top of their respective classes.

How your kids turn out has nothing to do with religion; it has everything to do with having loving, attentive parents.

It's generally like this: nice, well adjusted people generally have fairly nice, well adjusted kids.

Stupid people generally have stupid kids.

John, you mentioned "real questions."

Uh huh, so what was the real question that your alter ego asked? You didn't, as far as I know, phrase a question anywhere. He was preaching, making statements, and providing ZERO documentation.

Buddy (John?), you are disingenuous. You obviously have a clear command of English, yet you purposely misinterpret words when it suits you.

Let's go back to the statement at hand: "I just stumbled across your last week's post regarding the almost total silence of Paul on any historical aspect of Jesus? He does not quote Jesus, nor make any reference to his birth, his ministry, his miracles, or the circumstances of his death. Does this not strike you as odd?"

To which you added,"Paul quotes Jesus in first Corinthians regarding the institution of the Lord's supper. In fact, he claims to have received it directly from the Lord."

IN A VISION, BUDDY! IN A DREAM!

As you know, Paul NEVER met Jesus. He is not quoting Jesus, he is lying. If I came to you and said Jesus appeared to me in a vision and told me to institute some ceremony, would you believe me? Why not? However, if you were a superstitious primitive, would you believe me? You might.

Then you said, "On the circumstances of His death, Paul mentions His death on the cross twice in 1st Corinthians, three times in Galatians, seven more.
Paul attributes His death to the Jews in 1st Thessalonians."


John, (er, Buddy) what are the references for all these statements? Hmm? Surely you don't expect anyone to just take your word for it, do you?

Here is a quick search of the word "cross" which apparently is what you did in writing your comment. CLICK HERE.

Notice that not one of the actual circumstances regarding Jesus death is mentioned. Nothing about Roman guards, stones, angles, three last words... nothing about the CIRCUMSTANCES surrounding the story.

And John, {Buddy?) you are bearing false witness. Rude, obnoxious, lying trolls like yourself may get deleted if you persist in adding nothing but false, lying accusations. Comments are never edited. They are what they are. But no one has to put up with verbal abuse from liars such as you.

Read the site disclaimer. This ain't your site. There are a million Christian sites, spewing their religious propaganda all over the Internet. If you can't handle seeing an opposing viewpoint out there once in a while, then I pity you.

Hey Buddy! Is that the kind of behavior your religion encourages: lying and intolerance of opposing viewpoints?

Just wondered.

I hope the two of you (one of you?) have a tremendous weekend.

.:webmaster:. said...

Oh, and John, I realize I forgot to add something about my kids: THEY ARE ATHEISTS NOW.

Scary? Just love your kids and they'll fine. Act like a jerk (the way you act here) and they'll be just like.

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Webmaster,
Sorry to have provoked your ire. My offering was intended as legitimate counterpoint.

Jim's developing argument for a non-flesh Jesus seemed weak to me as did his reference.

On offering evidence, I'm somewhat wary of putting up targets for others to shoot; the atmosphere is a bit hostile, occasionally irrational. Just hoping to understand, hopefully without making enemies.

Buddy (not John Doe)

philip said...

yeah, we should think for ourselves.

webmaster: How did we get on the subject of my God being wrong again?

Can you truly build a good argument on someone else being wrong?

Maybe you don't worship a god, except for maybe the God of Reason. You build your life around that God, everything that is not "reasonable" to you is discarded. God is reasonable to me, even the God of the bible. I've read a few things on this website that are articles and opinions and nothing so far has reasoned the God of the bible out of my head. I'm not afraid to read more. Give it to me. I haven't had time to read the more recent posts. I'll read those later! I gotta go to work. bye!

your friend,philip

Buddy Ferris said...

For John Doe,

I don't agree with your characterization of Jim's posts. I've generally appreciated his thoughtful comments.

If I did share some of your opinion points, I would probably state them differently. It's easy to make enemies out of acquaintances. It's a bit more noble to engage them respectfully.

Buddy

boomSLANG said...

Concerning "John Doe",

In Buddy Ferris' defense(like I would do that?), I figured "John Doe" was not he.

On the other hand, regarding this hypothetical "flesh Jesus" character---even if such a "flesh and blood" mortal existed a few thousand years ago, he is most assuredly deceased now. I promise.

If the premise is that said "Jesus", AKA "Christ", exists in the "form" of an intangible immaterial "ghost"--and this is the premise--then I would like to "know"(yes, I'm STILL waiting) how ANY Christian "knows" this as fact(????????)

If we stick to traditional definitions of descriptive words like "invisible"; like "spirit"; like "ghost"; like "soul"; like "immaterial"; like "intangible"; like meta-physical"; like "supernatural", then it should stand to reason that said "entity" cannot be detected with the physical senses. If what I've said thus far is UNreasonable, then, once more, I would like to know how.

If, on the other hand, what I've said herein is reasonable; and if we don't convolute the issue by interjecting make-shift "custom" definitions, then I would like to use MY physical senses to examine the same "evidence" that the Theist has "examined", in determining that the "entity" known as "Jesus" still "exists" in this alleged "spiritual" form.

And noooo, this is not a "trap"; and noooo, this is not "bait"---it is HONEST inquiry on a presumably very serious matter....considering that the one(s) making the fantastic claim(s) offer, as Universal 'Truth', the "belief" that their paricular "God", in FACT, does exist---and especially that said "God" is fully prepared to perpetually torture me in the case that I doubt "His" existance.

And by-the-way, I wonder---has any Theist ever stopped to think that after post, upon post, upon post, upon post, upon post, upon post of Theists claiming that "Jesus is REAL!" and "just wait and see!"(implying "hell")---this offering, with ZERO evidence to substantiate ANY of it... well, other than personal testimony and sh*t-loads of scripture, that said posts just might contribute to a "hostile" environment? If you haven't thought of this?.... I ask that you would at this time. Thanks.

Sincerely.

stronger now said...

Philip,

It isn't reasonable to expect someone else to believe in your god without giving them some good evidence. It is logical and resonable to determine that a person is unresonable when they insist that they know god is real and insist they have evidence and insist that their evidence should be credible even when it is shown that it isn't. To claim that a magical, mysterious, omnipotent, being is watching everything that you and I do, say, and even think is a fantastical statement that should(reasonably) be backed up with some good evidence.

Yes, I think a person can build a good argument on someone being wrong. Does that seem unreasonable to you? But please philip, I don't mean to attack you I'm just trying to help you see where your thinking is getting off the tracks a bit.

boomSLANG said...

Philip: Maybe you don't worship a god, except for maybe the God of Reason. You build your life around that God, everything that is not "reasonable" to you is discarded.

If using "reason" is likened to worshipping a "God", then you, Philip, extol the "God of Reason" when you "discard" COUNTLESS deities besides your own. If you'd pit your "God" against the same criteria that you use to deny those "other gods"?.... you'd likely be Atheist. In fact, you're only one step away as it is.

Bye now.

John Doe said...

For Buddy,

If a person completely denies the existence of God, would you not define that person as lost or even confused? Try to remember that we are all lost and confused until God starts to lead our lives. As a Christian, there's no bending on this point and I can honestly say that I was lost and confused for most of my life. In this context, when I used the word lost, I don't mean in the way of salvation, I mean in the way of being distant from knowing the truth about themselves. In this sense, Jim is most certainly lost. No Christian has the right to decide if a person is saved or not, this is the form of judging (or condemnation) that Jesus did not want us to pursue.

Am I right to state it so bluntly? Let's just say I've been listening to what he has to say and his total denial of any deity is so complete and long lasting (most of his life) that I choose not to baby him with tender words. I'm not insulting him, I'm just stating the facts. If a person is going to completely deny the existence of their creator, without keeping the possibility open for it being possible, they are incredibly arrogant and should be informed as such. I have much more respect for someone that calls themselves agnostic, at least they still have enough humility in them to acknowledge that the possibility is not closed.

As Christians we most certainly must always endeavor to evangelize with love for God, but we must also remember that we should also speak up with honesty for God in faith, when required. You serve these people no purpose by coddling them when they show such a complete disregard for the gift from God. They have heard the good news and have chosen to personally reject the love of Christ. Hope is certainly not lost to them and at this stage, I suspect that only prayers and sacrifices will ever allow God to grace them with a conversion. I feel quite certain that is the only reason I can love Jesus today, someone must have prayed for me (in fact, I know who they are, they told me so).


For the web master,

You describe your children with such perfection, let me remind you that this simply is not possible. I'm sure you can identify in your personal life issues or problems that have arisen caused by a family member's selfishness. I don't believe that you or anyone in your family love or are loved is any way that even approaches perfection. Can you honestly admit that at the dinner table you've never seen hateful, angered words uttered in description of any particular group? Can you honestly say that you or anyone in your family carries no ongoing resentment for anyone on this earth? Can you honestly say that you or anyone in your family have not stumbled in some way to impurity? Whatever the individual's worldly weekness, everyone has one. Be it money, greed, power, pride, impurity, etc.... we all have weeknesses or vices and there's only One that make a man free.

dano said...

philip wrote:
"Maybe you don't worship a god, except for maybe the God of Reason. You build your life around that God, everything that is not "reasonable" to you is discarded. God is reasonable to me, even the God of the bible. I've read a few things on this website that are articles and opinions and nothing so far has reasoned the God of the bible out of my head. I'm not afraid to read more."

Kinda makes you wonder what else that reasonable people find unreasonable that philip finds reasonable, huh?

Genocide? Slavery ?

 399,933 Killed by God+ 2,017,956 Killed by Gods followers= 2,417,889 + ? people killed by God and his followers under his orders PLUS an unknown amount which probably number into the millions, including the whole world at the time of Noah, and over 60 whole cities!

This really doesn't get into God's character defects, but it is symptomatic of them.
Dan, agnostic

stronger now said...

"They have heard the good news and have chosen to personally reject the love of Christ."

Well john doe, one cannot reject what never was. Do you reject the love of the flying spaghetti monster? Have you heard the good news of HIS noodley care?

"If a person is going to completely deny the existence of their creator, without keeping the possibility open for it being possible, they are incredibly arrogant and should be informed as such."


Are you open to the possibility that you are worshiping the wrong god? Hmm? Are you open to the possibility that there is no god? Hmmm? If you are not then you're the one displaying arrogance.


Remember to take that plank out of your eye before you ask someone else to remove the mote from theirs.

.:webmaster:. said...

John Doe:

Who said anything about my family being perfect? What the hell is perfect? Please define perfect!

You implied that bringing up children without being a Christian family is a terrifying experience, filled with forboding, evil, THE DEVIL!!!

Bullshit. My kids and I and my wife are all quite close. We are all atheists, the kids are going places, and my wife and I have been happily married for 22 years.

You, John, are naive. It IS possible to have a balanced, happy life without your mythology.

And hate stares at the dinner table? That honestly never happens in my house. Sorry to disillusion you.

Buddy Ferris said...

For John Doe;

Dear John,

You asked if you were right to state it so bluntly. I think perhaps not. Consider Mt.5.22b


Buddy

John Doe said...

For Buddy,

Nowhere did I call him a fool. You think that I’m calling a person foolish or that I’m abusing him by saying that he’s lost and confused? Quite frankly, I think we’re all foolish most of the time. I prefer to choose complete honesty to the absolute best of my ability in all aspects of my life. When someone says that there is no proof of God, therefore there is no God, and therefore I’m an atheist…..my faith tells me that this is a grave sin that should be noted. It’s arrogance to a very high degree. I mean, think about it, this person has been fighting tooth-and-nail for many years bringing “arguments” for people to help them choose a completed denial of God’s existence. What if someone took your son away from you and these people started telling him that you’re a wicked person. They made up lies of all sorts about your character and completely tainted or destroyed your son’s image of you? This is what these people are doing with our Jesus that we love! They’re taking his children and leading them away with lies.

If you look at the Web Master’s response, you’ll see a typical response that completely ignores the substance of my post and he injects whatever he wishes to twist the actual premise.

He says “You implied that bringing up children without being a Christian family is a terrifying experience, filled with forboding, evil, THE DEVIL!!!”.

Can you tell me where I implied this?

Here’s what I had said: “Raising children in such a godless world is one of my greatest fears. I'm certain that the suffering such sites causes our Lord is unimaginable to us, our only options are to pray and occasionally, by God's grace, try to post a little reason.”

Now, do you see what I mean by they’re lost and confused? There’s all too often nothing truthful about what they say or respond. It’s all about the manipulation of the truth to either attempt to taint it or mislead others. They are masters at this art and this is what I was referring to as one of my greatest fears. We have a God of love that is always ready to be merciful and loving to us and they taint this truth so easily with their words. Do you see my fear? Why wouldn’t I want my children to love their creator? It’s fearful that sites like this actually have the ability to lead people astray and as I said, cause nothing but suffering to our Lord.

Again, see this response from the Web Master: “And hate stares at the dinner table? That honestly never happens in my house. Sorry to disillusion you.”

This was his response to my asking: “Can you honestly admit that at the dinner table you've never seen hateful, angered words uttered in description of any particular group?”

What was I asking? I was asking if he could objectively examine the general behavior of his family with regards to any common and recurrent hateful or angered remarks towards specific societal groups. If this isn’t one of his family’s weakness, then I stand corrected to be surmising to its possibility by my question. If he heard and understood my question properly, he would see that I was only attempting to see if he’s able to scrutinize the moral fabric of his family with objectivity. Instead of acknowledging the question, he twists it into “hate stares at dinner”? I was certainly not talking about family love or lack thereof.

The facts are that without God everyone has something hidden in the closet, even the Web Master’s balanced and happy family. This is what Jesus wanted us to acknowledge about ourselves so that with his help, we can really grow.

Anyway Buddy, I know that your intentions are good, I just hope and pray that you don’t let their manipulative ways lead you astray. Probably won’t be back for a while since I have a long list of house stuff that needs to get done. Take care.

Sincerely in Christ,
John Doe

Astreja said...

John Doe: "Nowhere did I call him a fool. You think that I’m calling a person foolish or that I’m abusing him by saying that he’s lost and confused?

Yes. I, personally, consider it to be an abusive, slanderous and presumptuous statement. You, sir, are not in any position to determine who is "lost"; you are making an unsupported assertion solely on the basis of religious bias.

When someone says that there is no proof of God, therefore there is no God, and therefore I’m an atheist…..my faith tells me that this is a grave sin that should be noted.

IMO, "sin" is imaginary. There is indeed bad behaviour, arrogance, and self-deception in many matters, but none of it is capable of injuring any truly omnipotent being that may happen to be out there.

What if someone took your son away from you and these people started telling him that you’re a wicked person... This is what these people are doing with our Jesus that we love!

Hey, if you don't like it, go read some other website. We are here to recover from the bad experiences that we have had with Christianity. Read the EX-timonies to see the pain that so many of us endured as our faith in your beloved Jesus dwindled and finally died altogether.

Now, do you see what I mean by they’re lost and confused? There’s all too often nothing truthful about what they say or respond.

Fuck you, John Doe. You just called us liars. May you, too, lose every vestige of your faith... Only then will you be in a position to understand what we have endured.

Jim Arvo said...

John Doe said "I'm certain that the suffering such sites causes our Lord is unimaginable to us, our only options are to pray and occasionally, by God's grace, try to post a little reason."

John, I've not chimed in on this discussion yet as I've been quite busy. Quickly scanning through some of the things you've posted here, I'm absolutely appalled. But let's keep this simple. You said that you are "certain" that sites such as this cause your "lord" to suffer, and implied that you are prepared to post something that might be described as "reason". Well, here's an invitation to do so. Show me some reason, JD. Please don't put words into my mouth, or project nonsensical positions onto me--I want to hear your reasoning as to why you think your "lord" is an objectively real being. None of your other comments regarding religious precepts are the least bit meaningful without the objective existence of your chosen deity, right? So let's keep this very direct and very simple: What evidence can you offer for the existence of your deity?

I look forward to your carefully reasoned reply.

Jim Arvo said...

Buddy Ferris said "Paul quotes Jesus in first Corinthians regarding the institution of the Lord's supper. In fact, he claims to have received it directly from the Lord."

Yes, you are quite correct. I should have elaborated that first point more by saying that Paul does not quote Jesus in numerous contexts in which it would have made a great deal of sense for him to do so and, in fact, barely quotes him at all. As for the other omission by Paul, they are quite categorical. He mentions nothing of a virgin birth, nor the itinerant ministry of Jesus, nor his raising of the dead, nor turning water into wine, nor even his sermon on the mount. Indeed, Paul never unequivocally places Jesus on Earth at a specific time in history. The "historical" events associated with Jesus make there first appearance in the gospel attributed to Mark.

Buddy Ferris continued "As for the paucity of Jesus' words elsewhere in Paul's writings, remember Paul wasn't there to hear any of the sermons. He enters the picture after the resurrection."

Correct, Paul nowhere states that he heard anything directly from the mouth of a living (human) Jesus. Paul continually makes reference to "receiving" information from the (presumably spiritual) Jesus. However, Paul never distinguishes his knowledge of Jesus from that of others who (presumably) had actually sat at his feet and heard the sermons for themselves. Surely Paul would have had a great interest in what Jesus had to say while walking the Earth as a human, no? Surely Paul had access to those who heard his very words, no? Why no mention of any of this?

Buddy: "On the circumstances of His death, Paul mentions His death on the cross twice in 1st Corinthians, three times in Galatians, seven more. Paul attributes His death to the Jews in 1st Thessalonians."

Paul obviously believed that Jesus was crucified, yes. That's not what I meant by the "circumstances" of his death. Paul mentions nothing about a trial, nor Pontius Pilate, nor the betrayal by Judas, nor Calvary, nor a tomb (empty or otherwise), etc. Paul's words are no more specific than the accounts of numerous god-men that predate Jesus, such as Mithra, Osiris, and Krishna. As for Thessalonians, the passage that places the blame on the Jews is quite likely a late interpolation (based on the context of the passage and anachronisms within in).

Buddy: "Your reference to Justin Martyr's comments is out of context. His statement that Christianity was no more fantastic than the popular religions fits into the question of why his contemporaries were opposed to one and not all."

You seem to miss the point. Why argue that Jesus was, in effect, like all the others if in fact there was an ENORMOUS difference: namely that Jesus was an actual HUMAN while the others lived in a spiritual realm. If Justin Martyr thought that attributing these things to a human made the story more believable, why would he not appeal to that fact? If, on the other hand, this element made his belief more fantastic, how could he have failed to defend that point of his theology? Did he hope that nobody would notice? In other words, regardless of whether this difference hurt or helped his case, it's inexplicable that he would simply let this factor go without mention. But this also leaves the question of other apologists. Why is there no discussion in any surviving works from the early church fathers about this radical difference between Christianity and numerous older religions? It's a very significant difference, wouldn't you agree?

Buddy: "Your implication that the early apologists did not believe in a living, walking Jesus won't hold up. Every apologist's central premise was and is the life, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Each spoke and wrote on the subject."

No, that is patently false. There were many early Jesus sects: some believed in a divine Jesus, some a purely human Jesus, and some (e.g. the Gnostics) a purely spiritual Jesus. It's naive to assert that Christians reached unanimity on much of anything until Constantine.

Perhaps your sources have mislead you?

Jim Arvo said...

John Doe said "Nobody bothered calling him [apparently me, Jim] on it because the poor guy is so lost and confused you'd be better off talking to a wall.... I do pity this poor Jim, he thinks he's got it all figured out."

John, that's really offensive. You do not know a thing about me, save for a few posts on this web site. If you've got an issue with anything I've written, then please do show some integrity and address me directly. I'll be glad to discuss any issue with you point-by-point. Thanks in advance.

Jim Arvo said...

One more thing...

John Does said "When someone says that there is no proof of God, therefore there is no God, and therefore I’m an atheist..."

So as to avoid attacking straw men, let's try to be very specific. Can you please state who you think said this, and perhaps accompany it with a direct quote? If, by chance, you are suggesting that this is my position, then you have badly distorted my words and intent. Please do clarify the (supposed) source, so we can get this straightened out.

stronger now said...

John doe said:"Probably won’t be back for a while..."

Good.

dano lite said...

dano lite says,
I'm a fool for Christ. I have demonstrated to y'all that it makes me happy to be ignorant. I like belonging to the Christian cult, because they answer all of the questions that I have about heaven and hell.

Jim Arvo, please don't pull that willful ignorance thingy on me. I know all of your tricks.

No matter how much logic and reasoning you throw into the mix, I refuse to grow up. I like having the same six year old mentality and emotionality that I've always had. All of my friends think the same way that I do.

Two billion people believe in some form of Christianity, so why don't all of you agnostics, atheists, and otherwise phony free thinkers just get right and get God!

Sorry about the alias, but I see they are all the rage around here now.
dano lite

Buddy Ferris said...

For Jim Arvo,

Thanks for clarifying the details, Jim.

I can see how you reached your conclusions; I'll offer a different view here.

Surely Paul would have had a great interest in what Jesus had to say while walking the Earth as a human, no? Surely Paul had access to those who heard his very words, no? Why no mention of any of this?

I agree; Paul would have had great interest in the events prior to his encounter on the road to Damascus. It does make me curious about the meeting between Paul and the first apostles in Jerusalem. From the record, it looks like Paul was out there preaching for awhile before he met the men who had been with Jesus during his last years. Then, Paul is out there for another 30+ years, preaching and writing.

It might be worth noting the 'seen and heard' references available. Peter and John, in their defense before the Sanhedrin, said rather pointedly, "...we cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard." Later, Paul is charged with the same task. Paul's personal observation (seen and heard) doesn't include the time before the resurrection. The various 'testimony' references in the bible are 'seen and heard' narratives, offered in the cultural format of 'witnessed events'. Perhaps our consideration of Paul's works should note this source limitation.

You're correct regarding the various peripheral sects and branched theologies. My overly broad generalization was intended to describe the sweep of centrist apologetics. I'll certainly concede your pre-Constantine observation regarding unity of thought/belief.

That clarified, are we really laboring over whether Jesus actually existed as a (human) person in history, or are we just noting the various branching inquiries?

Buddy

.:webmaster:. said...

To John Doe:

You said, "Raising children in such a godless world is one of my greatest fears."

Well, if I over interpretted your post, please forgive me. I apologize.

What, exactly then, does that sentence mean? When I read that, I received the message I wrote.

You seem completely blind to how arrogant, superior, self-righteous, you come off in your writing. I have no idea what you are like as a person, but if your writing reflects your true personality, you are strikingly full of self-righteous presupposition.

Again, define perfection, and then tell me if your family fits YOUR definition of whatever perfection supposedly is. And if your family does not fit into YOUR definition of perfection, then what is the point of your god? Are you saying your god makes your life perfect?

I'm sorry, Buddy. I really do not follow your train of thought in all this. Even when I was a Christian, I wouldn't have pointed my finger in people's faces and told them their lives sucked, or attempt to get them to confess that their lives are somehow inadequate in any way whatsoever. What is the point of that approach to peddling your religion?

The warped way you are thinking about all this, the obvious tone of anger in your writing, the frustration and self-righteous indignation at your brother-in-arms on this page: All these things are evidence of a very unhappy and frustrated person.

Isn't bondage to illogical religion grand?

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Webmaster,

Again, I'm not John Doe. I am interested in your thoughts, but I wouldn't want to confuse them by leaving the mis-attribution unaddressed.

Those things to which I adhere are generally missing from the John Doe posts.

Buddy

Jim Arvo said...

Buddy said "That clarified, are we really laboring over whether Jesus actually existed as a (human) person in history, or are we just noting the various branching inquiries?"

I am expressing several of the reasons to doubt the existence of Jesus as a historical figure. I find that most Christians think the historical evidence for Jesus is a slam dunk; usually because they have never examined that evidence with anything approaching a critical eye and simply accept the orthodox view. In my opinion the evidence is surprisingly weak, and note that there is even some indirect positive evidence (i.e. more than simply arguments from silence) that Jesus was a mythological character living in a spiritual realm, like the parade of pagan savior god-men that preceded him. Do I know for sure? No, of course not. I only bring it up to tempter the dogmatic views that are so often vehemently expressed by visiting Christians, not to mention the disparaging remarks often leveled at those who dare to doubt the historical existence of Jesus.

Along those same lines, I'll point out that there is virtually no credible evidence for any of the apostles; all the details, once again, come from the Gospels and late epistles. If you place the gospels and epistles in chronological order, and remove all of the known interpolations (e.g. the ending of Mark, portions of John), it's quite clear that the lives and deeds of both Jesus and the disciples become significantly more detailed and include more and closer parallels with the OT as time goes on. This is a common pattern of mythological embellishment and the very hallmark of midrash, which was perhaps the primary method of acquiring historical information used by the ancient Jews (i.e. it was literally thought that god "speaks" to man through scripture, continually revealing new information through dual meanings). Once again, it's entirely possible that one or more "disciples" actually existed as historical figures; I just don't see much in the way of credible evidence for them, which greatly weakens their value as "witnesses" to anything.

dano said...

Jim,
Midrash!
I watched an hour long special a couple of weeks ago and the went into how the Jewish scribes, when confronted by something conflicting or something that didn't jibe with other parts of history, simply just made something up, believing that whatever they made up was inspired by God. I seems that this was a common practice back then.
Dan , Agnostic

dano said...

pardon the typos I'm trying to I/m and write at the same time.
Dan

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Jim,

On the historicity of Jesus, I'm aware that there are such lines of thought. Are you suggesting that you hold to one of them personally?

There are a multitude of opinions; perhaps you'll agree that not all are of equal merit in their supporting rationale.

Buddy

stronger now said...

Personally? I thought personal views would be held in derision to those of faith.

Ah!

What "personal" view do ye hold, buddy?

Jim Arvo said...

Buddy,

I have no idea what you mean by "holding to one of them personally". I have not adopted any pre-packaged theory, if that's what you mean, nor do I "hold to" anything out of a personal desire to reach one conclusion over another. I find the historicity of Jesus to be a fascinating topic, and one that I am as close to neutral on as any topic I can think of concerning Christianity. (Note carefully that I am *not* claiming to be neutral on the topic.) That is, it would have very little consequence to me if a historical Jesus were either demonstrated or refuted. Clearly an historical Jesus does not in itself validate any of the legendary elements that came later--it would simply point to a human progenitor of the mythical Jesus.

As for some theories having more support than others, that strikes me as a very strange question. Clearly there are myriad ideas concerning Jesus, and of course some are better supported than others. Wouldn't it be odd if that were not the case? In my view, the theories that presuppose a historical Jesus are poorly supported for the reasons I mentioned above, and because of the pervasive silence of 1st century historians concerning Jesus. I have yet to see a compelling case for the existence of a historical Jesus, so it strikes me as odd when I see that point glossed over. But, I will point this out again (as Christians are very often eager to misconstrue my position) that there may well have been a historical figure behind the myth. If I had to guess, I'd say there was not, but I wouldn't place a lot of money on that bet. I am therefore open to any new scholarship that may shed light on this issue. I do not expect that this issue will ever be decided with anything approaching certainty, however, so I am resigned to never having a firm opinion one way or the other.

John Doe said...

Web M. said: “Again, define perfection, and then tell me if your family fits YOUR definition of whatever perfection supposedly is. And if your family does not fit into YOUR definition of perfection, then what is the point of your god? Are you saying your god makes your life perfect?”

I never once claimed perfection in myself or anyone in my family. This is exactly the point, we, our family, endeavor to acknowledge our imperfections before God and work to grow under his will. When someone speaks so highly of his family, as you did, my first inclination is to see if you have the humility to acknowledge yours and your family’s short-comings. That was the purpose of my questions. There is no other way to God except through humility.

Web M. said: “tone of anger in your writing, the frustration and self-righteous indignation” and “All these things are evidence of a very unhappy and frustrated person.”

Where? What anger? To be completely honest I’ve been quite calm and at peace each time I wrote my responses. I’ve been blessed with a very peaceful and loving family, so sorry, nothing unhappy or frustrated coming from me.

Buddy said: “Those things to which I adhere are generally missing from the John Doe posts.”.

Diplomacy has no place in the face of such abject refusal of God’s offering. I will address these hardcore atheists (ie. those that keep this site alive) with the same directness that I would have liked to receive when I was lost. If spending their time at this site isn’t ever going to wake them up, then I believe that it’s courtesy to call it like it is. They are lost and they are confused and if they want true wisdom they should repent, from the heart.

Would I speak this bluntly with my atheist or agnostic friends, actually no, I don’t….but they’re not trying to convince other Christians to turn away from God either.

Jesus didn’t come to us as a diplomat; he came to us to testify to the truth. I think that we should all try to be like him and call a truth, a truth and call a lie, a lie….nothing in between.

For Jim,
“What evidence can you offer for the existence of your deity?”

You mean…despite the mounds of evidence that come crashing into a believer’s path, once he’s acknowledged his sin before God?

Off the top of my head, how about:
- After over 2000 years, there still has not been one moral teacher that even comes close to Jesus.
- The historicity of Paul’s books, the 4 Gospels and various secular sources, confirm that people were being martyred just a few years after Jesus’ death & resurrection. These are the first Christians and their lives spanned the years of Jesus’ ministry. People simply don’t willingly die for something that is a known lie.

Nothing could ever be said that could make you a believer. It starts in a man’s heart. That’s the way God wanted it, so that’s the way it is.

.:webmaster:. said...

To John Doe:

Okay, then it is not anger, but it is certainly condescension.

Your arrogance is only equaled by your ignorance.

I was a die-hard Christian for 30 freaking years. My family is much happier and healthier since I abandoned the fantasy of mythology commonly referred to as the cult of Christianity.

And to Buddy. I apologize for the mis-attribution. Isn't it interesting that Christians, all led by the magical power of the omniscient Holy Ghost (BOO) congratulate each other on being brothers and sisters in GAWD, yet can't agree on such basic human courtesies.

Again, my sincere apology for having a mental slip and considering the two of you of one mind in Christ.

boomSLANG said...

Doe- Nothing could ever be said that could make you a believer.

Bravo!---at least you've learned that much. I'm impressed.

And in concordance with what you said---just like nothing could ever be "said" to make John Doe or Joe-Blow-fundy a believer in Osiris; just like nothing could ever be "said" to make John Doe or Joe-Blow-fundy a believer in Muhammad; just like nothing could ever be "said" to make John Doe or Joe-Blow-fundy a believer in the boogie-man.

No, you would need this little thing---this minor little detail we call E-V-I-D-E-N-C-E.

Before you go there---the "gospels" are NOT evidence, handsome. These renditions are the gospels according to Matthew, & Co. Just like the Book of Mormon is the "gospel truth" according to Joseph Smith Sr; just like the Holy Qur'an is the "gospel truth" according to Muhammad; just like Dianetics is the "gospel truth" according to L. Ron Hubbard. 'Follow?

Doe blathered: we, our family, endeavor to acknowledge our imperfections before God and work to grow under his will.

Neither a "family", nor any individual, need to believe in flying invisible magical beings to "acknowledge" that they are "imperfect". Nor does one need to believe in such beings in order to "grow", mentally, and/or emotionally. What a silly presuppostion that is.

And it get's better......

Doe: Diplomacy has no place in the face of such abject refusal of God’s offering. I will address these hardcore atheists (ie. those that keep this site alive) with the same directness that I would have liked to receive when I was lost.

Oh, okay, so not only do you NOT have any objective evidence for your belief; but you intend to stick around and NOT be diplomatic? Nice. You seem very bright. And this is how you intend on convincing us to reconvert, is it? Great, so I can see you'll be very helpful---about as helpful as a bicycle to a mullet.

And anyway, doesn't your "omniscient"/"omnipotent"/"all-loving" biblegod's plan to have all of us "lost" non-believers incinerated have the non-diplomacy end covered? Hmmm...yeah, I think so...I don't think your "God" needs a mortal's "help" in convincing us---certainly not, if the ol'boy can't do it himself. And "He" apparently cannot.

Doe: You mean…despite the mounds of evidence that come crashing into a believer’s path, once he’s acknowledged his sin before God?

Once he's acknowledged his sin before God..?..?..?..? No, I think what you mean to say is, "all the evidence that comes crashing down" AFTER YOU ALREADY ACCEPT THE BELIEF as true. Gosh, funny how that works, isn't it? Once you accept Jesus into your left ventrical, everything falls neatly into place; everything makes "perfect sense".

Doe: Jesus didn’t come to us as a diplomat;

Sold!

... he came to us to testify to the truth. I think that we should all try to be like him and call a truth, a truth and call a lie, a lie….nothing in between.

Is a domestic ass that speaks Hebrew a "lie"?...or a "truth"? How about a talking snake? Lie?..truth?

We should stone rebellious teens?

a) lie

b) truth

A whale's bellie is good place for a weekend get-away?

a) lie

b) truth

Hammers can swim?

a) lie

b) truth

Throw rocks at prostitutes?

a) lie

b) truth

Kill people who work on Sunday?

a) lie

b) truth

A "firmament" holds up the sky("water")?

a) lie

b) truth

No one's seen the face of God and lived?

a) lie

b) truth

Looking forward to your answers.

Doe: People simply don’t willingly die for something that is a known lie.

With the key word being "KNOWN". Duh?

Jim Arvo said...

John Doe said "Diplomacy has no place in the face of such abject refusal of God’s offering."

I see you're on a mission. That's too bad, as there is no place for proselytizing here. It's extremely annoying, and we've likely heard every argument you have to offer. But, I'll agree with you on one thing; diplomacy alone is as useless as outright threats (which we also receive in abundance from Christians). If you do not have reason on your side, then you have no hope of persuading anybody who has decided to think things through rather than being swayed by emotional pleas.

John Doe: "I will address these hardcore atheists (ie. those that keep this site alive) with the same directness that I would have liked to receive when I was lost..."

Then I think it only fair to return the favor, wouldn't you agree? Let's all be very direct then. Jolly good idea.

John Doe: "They are lost and they are confused..."

Okay, let's start with the directness. You claim that we are "lost" and "confused", yet you show not a trace of understanding our position (as evidenced by your simplistic characterizations of what we believe). You continually hurl ad hominem attacks, which you have no basis for, and offer nothing substantive to back any of your assertions. You therefore come across as appallingly ignorant, even when it comes to your own religion. I do hope that was direct enough for you.

John Doe: "You mean…despite the mounds of evidence that come crashing into a believer’s path, once he’s acknowledged his sin before God?"

I would not call that evidence; I would call it confirmation bias. Religionists often place belief before evidence, which is precisely backwards in my opinion, and in the opinion of most here. It's an invitation to get stuck in a baseless belief system, which, by all appearances, is precisely where you are at. And, by the way, it's where many of the regulars here were at before they decided to educate themselves. (Still being direct...)

John Doe: "After over 2000 years, there still has not been one moral teacher that even comes close to Jesus."

In large part, the ethos of Jesus was not unique to Christianity. Similar belief systems existed long before the Jesus myth. Both Buddhism and Confuscism emphasized compassion for others and helping those in need (yet they were far more cognizant of vexing trade-offs than the simplistic moral injunctions of Christianity). The golden rule had antecedents in numerous cultures that long predate Christianity. But, even if we suppose that Christianity was somehow unique in its moral code, and superior to all the rest, that alone would lend no credibility to the fantastic claims of supernatural entities. One does not need belief in supernatural entities to feel compassion for others and to act accordingly.

John Doe: "The historicity of Paul’s books, the 4 Gospels and various secular sources, confirm that people were being martyred just a few years after Jesus’ death & resurrection."

I'll assume that you have not been paying attention to the rest of the discussion here and in other threads. You are assuming that the Gospels are historical, when there is very little to suggest that they are. They are replete with midrashic interpolation (not to mention forgery), and are written in the genre of hagiography, not history. They are anonymously-authored books whose authors clearly borrowed heavily from and redacted other accounts (e.g. "Luke" and "Matthew" from "Mark" and probably "Q"), and they fit the very ancient "hero" motif almost perfectly. There is absolutely no corroboration for any of the miraculous events reported in the Bible, and the vast majority of historians of the first century apparently never even heard of Jesus. (Those precious few comments that Christians like to point to from Josephus, Suetonius, Tacitus, etc. are all dubious for various reasons.) As for the martyrdom of the apostles, I'd like to hear what sources you have in mind. Have you a shred of evidence for any of the apostles let alone their martyrdom outside of the Gospels and the late epistles? If not, your belief in the apostles rests upon essentially the same "faith" as your belief in a savior god-man. It's all part of the same package, not independent corroboration.

John Doe: "These are the first Christians and their lives spanned the years of Jesus’ ministry."

That is the orthodox view. There is almost nothing to support it except for "faith" in the anonymously-authored Bible stories. Invented witnesses lend no credibility to what they "witness".

John Doe: "People simply don’t willingly die for something that is a known lie."

I wish I had a nickel for every time a Christian parroted that line. First, that is absolutely true; people do not die for something that they KNOW to be a lie. But people die all the time for what they incorrectly BELIEVE to be true. The 9/11 martyrs make that abundantly clear. But, even that observation lends too much credibility to your claim, as there is essentially nothing to corroborate the typical Christian claims of martyrdom in the first place.

John Doe: "Nothing could ever be said that could make you a believer."

You are not privy to my mental states, so any conjecture on your part is completely unfounded (and not relevant in any case).

John Doe: "It starts in a man’s heart. That’s the way God wanted it, so that’s the way it is."

I see no credible evidence for the existence of your god. As all statements about what your god thinks, feels, or wishes are contingent upon such a being, they are worthless until you offer some compelling evidence for her existence. Thus far what you have offered is based exclusively on an ancient text that is filled with absurdities. Why do you believe the stories that are contained in that book as opposed to numerous other self-proclaimed holy books? Have you read the Book or Mormon? The evidence for Joseph Smith's revelation far outstrips anything that traditional Christians have to offer, yet most people are sanguine about rejecting the Mormon stories as absurd. Why should we accept the stories contained in the Bible with virtually no corroborating evidence?

Roger Rabbit said...

JD: "Off the top of my head, how about: - After over 2000 years, there still has not been one moral teacher that even comes close to Jesus."

Well, except for The Mother Mary, and all the Saints, or... are you not Catholic? Jesus smashed tables and went on a tirade inside the temples, he bargained with the life of a woman - zero chivalry and cowardice, he cursed at a fig tree - morals???

You believe he was the most moral, because you have likely not read anything of Buddha, and the thousands of years of law and moral codes that preceded christianity.

You suggest that Jesus is the most moral, because you have adopted a rose colored view of his actions, and will defend them to the end because it is all that you know, and that which gives you comfort - but, it's not the more objective truth, as Jesus did "nothing" unique in the way of morality that had not already been done previously to his time.

JD: "- The historicity of Paul’s books, the 4 Gospels and various secular sources, confirm that people were being martyred just a few years after Jesus’ death & resurrection. These are the first Christians and their lives spanned the years of Jesus’ ministry. People simply don’t willingly die for something that is a known lie."

Perhaps you need to ask all the Germans that followed Hitler, if they willingly died for a "lie", or do you accept the moral veracity of a Supreme Race as something noteworthy to die for?

JD: "Nothing could ever be said that could make you a believer."

Words are pretty shallow, seems like they can be made to say anything... if you have something "more" than mere words, then you have infinite potential to change the minds of many. It is not a failure of the many who seek wisdom through observation of their environment, it is the failure of the few who believe "words" are more important than all else. In the beginning was the "word", and... it hasn't changed much from that point forward - has it...

JD: "It starts in a man’s heart. That’s the way God wanted it, so that’s the way it is."

To move from "words" to knowing the "True" intent of "God", makes you appear more like God, than the word "God" itself... I suppose if "God" is in your "heart", then you speak for "God", right? And, so does everyone else, according to their level of knowledge... Can we further suggest that not all people have the same level of knowledge, and can only paint their reality with the knowledge they hold, therefore, God is represented much differently by some than others?

Interestingly... if a person's mental brush is used to dip into their bucket of knowledge in order to paint reality, and they only have one color - scooby-doo, is it surprising that all questions, answers, comments, etc., all become scooby-doo colored when they are done painting?

JD, the Jews had a very different view of Jesus than you presume to have, yet, their doctrine is more current than the christian version. Even the Jewish Tanakh, is known by christians as their King James Old Testament. The Jews suggest Yeshua/Jesus was hung by rope on a tree, because he was a despicable enticer to the laws of their God. Check out, the Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin, Folio 43a if you want to hear what "other" literature was suggesting about your Jesus.

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Webmaster,
Thanks for leaving me out of the foolishness. And yes, it is interesting (sad, actually) how many who claim to be Christians and claim to be led by the spirit of God can behave like such buffoons.

We might profitably pursue when such things began. It was quite early, of course, humans being as they are. The why of it isn't particularly relevant, but the major change points are revealing.

Buddy

dano said...

John Doe,
I hope no one in your family is reading this because you have just been dismantled. Your whole philosophy of life destroyed, by people who are more learned than you, peopled who are more knowledgeable about your religion than you, but more importantly, by people who think better than you.

If I were to judge critical thinking skills, compared to the several people who responded to your last post on a scale of one to ten, I would have to give all of them elevens, and you about a two, but I will withhold even that until you demonstrate that you have actually read and comprehended anything that others have written on this website.
Dan, Agnostic

John Doe said...

Web M. said.: “Isn't it interesting that Christians…[…]...can't agree on such basic human courtesies.”

In the face of the most important thing for every human being and, factoring in the godless purpose of this site, I see no reason why a true believer would consider it courteous to play down the importance of God’s offer of reconciliation.

At the age of 7, little Jacinta who received a vision of hell said:
"I'm thinking of hell and of the poor sinners who go there," Jacinta said. "Oh, Lucia, how sorry I am for all those souls. The people burning there like coals, I wonder—well why doesn't our Lady show hell to those people who sin? If they could see it, wouldn't they stop? Lucia, why didn't you ask our Lady to show hell to them?"

"I didn't think of it," Lucia said, simply and sadly. She remained still, watching Jacinta, whose tears were flowing freely. She watched while her little cousin, moved with remorse, fell to her knees, repeating between her unfeigned sobs, the precise words of the prayer taught by the Lady:

"O my Jesus, forgive us and deliver us from the fire of hell. Take all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need."

Dano said...

John Doe has "Unblinded" written all over him!
Dan,Agnostic

dano said...

You know how Unblinded always digresses back to one of the Catholic miracle sightings?

Well, the story above is cut and pasted from "Our Lady OF Fatima"
Dan

philip said...

i will reply soon. i don't have the time though.

you're right. i'm only one step away from being an atheist. all i have to do is deny that God exists.

sincerely, philip

Jim Arvo said...

Philip said "you're right. i'm only one step away from being an atheist. all i have to do is deny that God exists."

Is that your idea of atheism? Tell me, do you "deny" the existence of Zeus, Osiris, Attis, Mithra, and Krishna, or do you simply acknowledge that you've no reason to suppose they exist? Honestly, if you can't grasp this simple distinction, all further discussion is futile.

To John Doe:

I have several quick questions for you. If you don't mind, I ask that you provide very brief answers these before replying to anything else I've written:

1) Where do you stand on Catholicism? For example, do you accept the Pope's authority?

2) Can you list some modern-day "miracles" that have been recorded by witnesses?

3) Are you capable of examining your own presuppositions regarding religion?

4) How would you find your way out of Christianity if it were indeed a false religion?

(Most of the regulars here will understand why I ask these questions, and why I insist that they be answered first, before engaging in any further discussion with "John Doe".)

John Doe said...

1) Catholic and yes, by definition, I accept the Pope's authority on issues of faith and morals?

2) I just referenced Fatima.

3) For me, as I was once agnostic, the more I learned, the more I turn away from sin, the more my faith grew and by God's grace, my faith will grow even more.

Are you capable of examining your own presuppositions regarding atheism?

4) A supernatural event that is supported with sound evidence and that bears the fruits of a God of love. Patient, loving, humble people should be tied to the event with no continued, personally beneficial attachment to the event's worldly impact.

How would you find your way out of atheism if it were indeed true that God exists?


If "unblinded" believes in the Fatima miracles, then we are birds of the same feather.

boomSLANG said...

Marc & Co. How would you find your way out of atheism if it were indeed true that God exists?

Simple. I'll find my way out of Atheism when I witness an alleged "miracle", and/or have an alleged "vision", first-hand... OR, when a god, any god, "reveals" him/her/itself to me, personally---the SAME WAY a "god" allegedly revealed itself to the alleged five-hundred, and to the "12".

BTW, this didn't "hurt" anyone's "faith", so please don't play that card, k?

Again, to be thorough in my answer---neither second-hand testimony, nor "revelation", will be considered credible enough evidence on matters presumably as important as "life's purpose"---especially where claims of the "supernatural" are concerned.

Okay, so some little girls had a dream? WOW! Little kid's testimonies are very reliable, aren't they? Especially considering that they all have "invisible" friends, "talking" stuffed animals, "monsters" in their closets, and "tummy-aches" when they don't want to do something. Yeah, sure.

Jim Arvo said...

1) Catholic. Check.

2) Fatima. Check.

3) A non-answer. No hint of knowing what a presupposition is, or what it means to examine one. Check.

4) Another non-answer. The hypothetical was ignored. Check.

Hello Marc, aka UnBlinded, aka Yogi Bear. You are still attempting to deceive. I find your dishonesty not to mention your credulity absolutely repulsive. We are tired of your vacuous comments and your bigotry, yet you insist on foisting it on us time and again. Scram. You are a total waste of time.

Philip said...

speaking of tummy aches. i have one right now. Jim. I was unfair and quick i will confess. Even on my way to work God showed the problem to me. To "deny" something is a negative...I can't deny something that is not there!!! but the term atheist is a negative too. So...what should I call you? Is that a fair question? Let's try to stop using "what ifs" in this conversation. God exists in my mind. He is there in anger. wrath. jealousy. love. patience. power. This is not me trying to convince you to change. This is me, stating where I am. Is that not good enough for you? I don't agree with your belief, but I accept your position. As best as I can see where you stand. Can you help me understand more?

Did you know that there are "forces" of nature? There was even a band named after a few of them. Earth wind and FIRE!!! BAM! What a trifecta. Have you ever wondered where the wind came from? Sometimes I just stand outside and let it blow. It's awesome! Have you ever become hipnotized by fire? We don't call fire a miracle...but a force right? it's "nature". well. prove it? I know God created nature, and nature is awesome, and humans are killing it with our awesome minds right? This whole recycle thing, are you as excited about it as I am? The waters are rising! (can you sense the sarcasm)

We look at the world around us and it is neverending. We find new species every year. or don't we? I wouldn't want to be pressumptuous. And anything we can't explain...we just tend to say "nature is crazy!" i'm paraphrasing though. I can explain how rain is evaporated and then maybe how it travels to another place in a lightly colored mist and then falls on another place. but why? that takes FAITH!!! it's just nature. it's not important. but it IS important. God shows his people things through historical and physical truths. Solomon's writings show this. There is a time to gather stones, a time to scatter, a time to live, a time to die, a time to work, a time to rest, a time to laugh, a time to cry. All these things have value. Well, they have value to me.

Now you might know a little more about what makes me tick. I want to ask the same of you. Maybe part of what makes you tick is proving that christianity is wrong. you are encouraged when you bring someone else down, or up...whatever we would like to call it. maybe seeing your children everyday is the reason you press on. maybe your parents, your friends, your dog, your cat, lizard, mowing your grass. What do you like to do?

I'm genuinly interested.
your friend,philip

Philip said...

awe man! now i gotta have my email up here and everything. this is bogus...i should start a blog page!!!

philip

Philip said...

stronger now: I think I'm catching what you're saying. Although playing catch has never been a strong suit for me. I once got a bloody from a baseball to the face. All of you folks have provided some good thinking grounds. I hope we'll be honest with ourselves when we are on a slippery slope as it were.

You know my biggest weakness? I'm scared. I'm scared of death and life. I'm scared of the dark. the unknown. I'm scared of pain. When someone says "let me punch you during this game of hackeysack" i say "no thanks!" it's just not me. I don't like pain. Do you know why many of us "believers" don't want to read anti-christian things? because we're afraid we're wrong!!! It's also equally as frightening to be right! I don't really want to be right about it. and if I'm wrong? what do I face? a different God? a plethra of Gods? nothing?

Isolation versus Insulation. The reason I come back here is that I believe it to be good for me. That doesn't mean it is easy.

So why don't Christians just kill themselves? I mean. We've got forgiveness of sins and everlasting joy and peace with God. I'm holding my ticket...let's just get on the train!!!

Maybe for the Jihadist. the ultimate sacrifice is to die. but for me. it is the ultimate sacrifice to live.
Paul shared that sentiment. For to die is gain, and to live is christ.

i apologize for the length.
your friend,philip

boomSLANG said...

Boy, I see a lot of appeal to emotion, logical fallacy, and hypotheticals in there. Notwithstanding, is there a point in there? If there is, whAT is it?

Jim Arvo said...

Philip, I wear the label "atheist" as I feel that is an apt and succinct description of my position, albeit there is no word in the English language that seems to engender such profound confusion in religionists. I am an A-THEIST, a person WITHOUT THEISM, without THEISTIC BELIEFS; I harbor no BELIEF in gods of goddesses. I also harbor no BELIEF in Big Foot or Nessy or leprechauns, and for PRECISELY the same reason. I harbor no belief in these entities for the very simple reason that I have never in my life seen anything I consider to be credible evidence for them. Never. Not once.

If you consider atheism to be "negative" then you must also think of yourself as being equally negative, for you have the VERY SAME stance with respect to Osiris, Krishna, Attis, Adonis, Zeus, Mithra, and hundreds of other gods. Let me state that again, even more plainly: YOU HAVE THE SAME ATTITUDE TOWARD THOSE OTHER GODS AS I DO TOWARD YAHWEH. So the next time you are tempted to assert ANYTHING about atheism, first see if you would be comfortable applying it to yourself regarding Zeus or Krishna. If it's appropriate, and you're comfortable with it, chances are it's not too far off. If it sounds silly, offensive, or presumptuous when applied to you, chances are you're being silly, offensive, or presumptuous by directing toward others. Does that make sense to you?

Here's a test. Do you think of yourself as willfully rejecting Zeus despite overwhelming evidence of his existence? Probably not, right? Do you consider yourself to be too prideful to submit to Krishna? That would be another "no", right? How about this: Would you think of yourself as a non-believer in Mithra because you've never seen a scrap of evidence that he is anything more than a mythical being? That would be reasonable, would it not? There. Now take a guess which of these would be reasonable to apply to those who do not share your belief in Yahweh. Go ahead... give it a go. It's very easy if you first try it out on yourself.

Before moving on, is there anything you think is unclear or unfair in my examples? Would you like me to give you more examples involving other gods? I can generate dozens of them for you if you think it would help to clear up any lingering confusion you might have. Please do speak up. If not, then I'll assume you now grasp the painfully simple concept of atheism (at least by my definition, and that of many others here).

Philip: "This is not me trying to convince you to change. This is me, stating where I am. Is that not good enough for you?"

Good enough for what? You are welcome to believe whatever you want to believe, Philip!? Go ahead and fill your house with alters to Krishna or Buddha of Jesus if you like. I have no problem with that. However, if for some reason you wish for others to share your beliefs, then you will need to present some evidence. Again, that's very simple and reasonable, is it not? Why does this need to be so very complicated?

Philip: "Have you ever become hipnotized by fire? We don't call fire a miracle...but a force right? it's 'nature'. well. prove it?"

First, fire is not a "force", it's an exothermic chemical reaction. But I quite literally have no idea what it would mean to "prove" that fire is "nature". I suspect you are laboring under some naive notions about what a scientific explanation consists in. It is NOT a process by which we stick labels on things and then "prove" that things are what we call them. It's a process of discerning patterns and then predicting hitherto unobserved patterns. That's all. Calling something a "force" in itself has zero explanatory power. It's just a label.

Philip: "I know God created nature, and nature is awesome, and humans are killing it with our awesome minds right? This whole recycle thing, are you as excited about it as I am? The waters are rising! (can you sense the sarcasm)"

Sorry, I have no idea what you're talking about. I put bins filled with cardboard and plastic out by the curb once a week. Does that excite you?

Philip: "And anything we can't explain...we just tend to say 'nature is crazy!' i'm paraphrasing though."

Who are you paraphrasing? Here's what *I* say when I can't explain something. Ready? Here we go. I say "I can't explain that". Or, sometimes I say, "I don't know". One thing I try very hard NOT to do is to CONCLUDE something from the fact that I do not know. Not knowing is NOT KNOWING; nothing more. It is not a shorthand for "Therefore god must have done it."

Philip: "I can explain how rain is evaporated and then maybe how it travels to another place in a lightly colored mist and then falls on another place. but why? that takes FAITH!!!..."

Philip, I'm not even going to try to respond to your poetic waxing. You are stringing together nice-sounding phrases that you clearly don't intend to be taken literally, so I think quibbling over your interpretations would be pointless.

Philip: "Maybe part of what makes you tick is proving that christianity is wrong. you are encouraged when you bring someone else down, or up...whatever we would like to call it."

You are reading short posts on the internet by people you have never met. Do you think gives you any clue as to what makes me or anybody else here "tick"? Do you think it reasonable or charitable to suppose that I am "encouraged" by bringing people "down"? Philip, what on earth are you thinking? You, as a Christian, assert some things about supernatural entities, and I, as an atheist, say "sorry, I don't believe that". You have opinions, and I have opinions. Those opinions happen to be very different in the domain of religion. If you want me/us to share your opinions then you are being extraordinarily naive unless you have something rather spectacular to back them up. If, on the other hand, all you want is our blessing to believe what you like, consider it granted (not that it's ours to grant). Does that help?

dano said...

Philip,
When you have been convinced that magical beings are what they are, "Mythology," and are able to simply say "I don't know," It will be a LATERAL move, not "up," or "Down."

You will just move more securely into the real world. You will be amazed by how much easier it is to think, when you don't have to explain everything to an imaginary being,

The wind blows on all of us equally Philip, no matter that you embrace a religion that has an old man up in the sky, that has this weird fixation with the Jews.

I think you would call him a racist, right?
Dan, Agnostic

UnBlinded said...

Jim said: “I find your dishonesty not to mention your credulity absolutely repulsive.”

I find your attempts to deter people from the one true God also repulsive.

There is nothing dishonest about someone posting anonymously. Did you think that Yogi Bear was the person’s real name? Did you think that John Doe was the person’s real name? No, of course not, they are clearly “names” that should help the reader acknowledge the poster’s desire for anonymity.

My name is Marc and Yogi Bear and John Doe…..we are feathers from the same bird. ;)

And by the way, I did answer your questions; you just don’t like the answers. I pray that God strikes you hard with a chastisement that is from the hand of man, for if His hand releases His justice on any of us, we would not survive. A chastisement that is hard enough to knock some sense and humility into your life. Personally, I intend to thank God for all eternity for the chastisement that led me to his love and mercy. Why wouldn’t I pray for God to give you and many others, the same gift He gave me? I’m certainly no better than any of you…

Blessings,
Marc

stronger now said...

To marc/unblinded/yogibear/johndoe,

Do you realize that you have just hoped that someone would beat jim arvo until he accepted your religion?
How would you like it if a muslim beat you until you accepted his beliefs? Your faith is no better than theirs. Your religion is no better if your god has to threaten and beat people to accept him/it.

stronger now said...

Philip,

I'm sorry to hear you live in fear. Fear of pain, fear of death, fear of being wrong. I am no longer living in fear, at least, I'm not as fearful of those things as I used to be. Pain (emotional and physical) is inevitable. It is a good indicator of reality. I don't like it but I don't fear it. Death is also inevitable, it is real, and is also a reminder of what is real. I do not fear it anymore than I feared it when I wanted to end my life. I like living and so try to avoid death now. Fear of being wrong is reality and is something that can be lessened once you realize you just have to do the best you can to be correct in thought. If you realize that you are going to be wrong sometimes, and try to avoid being wrong as often as possible, you start to develop the thinking skills necessary to living a more honest, fearless life.

boomSLANG said...

I'm sorry to hear you live in fear. Fear of pain, fear of death, fear of being wrong

This is precisely why our resident fundamentalist troll "Marc"/"Unblinded"/"John Doe"/"Yogi Bear" clings to his belief, and why he keeps coming back. He's looking for affirmation from those of us who threaten his precious superstitious "security blanket" the most. Hanging out with his own kind doesn't quite give him the security that it used to.

We know how slow-witted sheep can be, right? Right, if one sheep walks off a cliff, the rest will blindly follow, that's how utterly stupid those animals are....yet, Marc is now doubting if he should follow, or not. That's the first indicator that he's not so sure that what he believes is true.

Jim Arvo said...

Marc,

You are dishonest because you intentionally deceive and you blatantly plagiarize. You know that you are not welcome here, so you hide under a series of ridiculous names. Only through deception can you continue to plaster your views where they are not wanted. I would never resort to such tactics to spread my beliefs, yet you apparently think dishonesty is just fine in the service of yours. Interesting, no?

I know you think you answered my last two questions--that's precisely why I asked them. One of the attributes that will always give you away is your complete inability to answer questions that require self-examination. You simply cannot or will not do it. I'm not a psychologist, but I would not be surprised to learn that you suffer from a borderline personality disorder. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, I'd hazard a narcissistic personality disorder judging by the criteria listed here, but that's nothing more than a layman's guess. In any case, it's quite striking, whatever it is. It may also be part of the reason you cannot deign to allow others theological opinions that differ from your own (although, to be fair, you share this trait with a great many religionists, so it needn't indicate a disorder).

In any case, Marc, we've established long ago that there is no point in engaging you in these discussions. You completely ignore what we say to you and merely assert your beliefs again and again ad nauseam. This site does not exist for the pleasure of evangelists any more than AA meetings exist for the purpose of soliciting alcohol.

May reason gently nudge you back into the light one day.

Astreja said...

Marc, how would you like it if I said something like:

"I pray to Urd, Verdandi and Skuld that your life goes terribly wrong and utterly destroys your faith."

Not a pretty picture, is it?

Apologize.

Now.

(pauses with Her finger on speed-dial to the Norns' residence)

dano said...

I wonder what, exactly, Unblinded "HAS" done for Jesus?

It's scary just to think about it. I hope he isn't one of those computer nerds who can figure out who we are!!

I'm praying for you Jim!
Dan, Agnostic

stronger now said...

Dano,

I don't giva shit if marc figured out who I was. He's about as threatening to me as a cloudy day. The only reason I don't give my real name is to help protect my mom from a heartbreaking truth, and not from fear of some religious nutter on a god fueled hissy fit.

dano said...

stronger now,
I was just being sarcastic. I'm sure that "Unblindedyogimarccatholic" is aware of how hopelessly he is inculcated into his cult,

I guess I am being cruel, but then I think about all of the cruelty that the Catholic Church has foisted upon mankind in the last fifteen hundred years, give or take five hundred years or so.

I see pictures in my mind of people stretched on the rack till their arms and legs come out of their sockets, and every kind of torture that the Popes men could imagine.

People screaming in pain while the priests ask them to admit that they are heretics, so they can get to the business of burning them alive at the stake.

When I am reminded of all the violence in the world because people aren't smart enough to realize that if there really is an intelligent force out there that made us, it must be appalled at how our species is killing each other, over whether "My version of God and prophet is better than your version of God and prophet, or when we die and go to heaven, are we met by 72 virgins or 72 angels"
Dan, Agnostic

Buddy Ferris said...

For Jim Arvo,

Your commentary on the lack of reasonable evidence for the existence of Jesus raises questions, I'm sure you're aware. The 'Jesus as Myth' school of thought has been around for awhile and been generally dismissed by secular scholars as lacking objectivity and application of historical methods.

If you're inclined to accept the popular works on the subject, you might as well accept von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods. As has been the case with our subject, von Daniken's work was generally found to be based on pseudo-scientific evidence and faulty premises.

I doubt you accept the latter; I'm inclined to believe that you've endorsed the former without adequate reason other than philosophical preference.

Buddy

stronger now said...

Sorry dano, didn't catch the sarcasm.

Buddy Ferris said...

Dano,
Your observations regarding history's atrocities are valid, of course. Attributing the torture you describe to the (Roman) Catholic church is accurate, if I presume correctly that you're referring to the four inquisitions.

Is the Catholic church of that time representative of Christianity? Or is it a political institution and generally disconnected from anything Christian?

Those things done in the name of 'Christendom', as were some of the Crusades, are difficult to connect to a Christian source. They're more accurately described as what they were. The inquisitions were attempts to coerce uniform belief and squelch heresy (people who don't believe like us). The Crusades began with a request for the Byzantine Empire for help against Islamic expansion. Hardly grounds for criticism of him whose name they usurped.

Buddy

dano said...

BUDDY FERRIS
Mind viruses like Christianity and Islam are not going to ever disappear from the face of the earth, but I am of the opinion though, that global warming will cause catastrophic changes in the status quo of how international power, and food and water is distributed.

I would guess that several billion humans will die as a result, and although the poor and the uneducated will be the most affected, If man comes out on the other side, there still will be billions more thanking God, for his mercy in sparing them.
Dan, Agnostic

Brian said...

Nice change-of-subject dodge.

...if there really is an intelligent force out there that made us, it must be appalled at how our species is killing each other, over whether... etc. I agree. But you still dodged.

Buddy

dano said...

Brian wrote:
"Nice change-of-subject dodge.
...if there really is an intelligent force out there that made us, it must be appalled at how our species is killing each other, over whether... etc. I agree. But you still dodged.
Buddy"

What is a "change of subject dodge"? Who are you talking to? Who are you, Buddy, Brian??
Dan, Agnostic

Astreja said...

Marc, you had your chance to act like a decent human being. As usual, you blew it and blew it badly.

What if I told you that God exists but that He’s decided to offer you a chastisement to reveal the truth to you?

First and foremost, Marc, you have proven yourself to be a liar. Your words have been rendered worthless by your own past behaviour on this site. Once someone lies to Me, they are unworthy of My trust and will not be given a second chance.

Secondly, if your god wants to speak to Me it can fucking well do so in person. I do not accept the word of human intermediaries in such matters.

Thirdly, you have a lot of nerve, pissing all over the suffering of humanity by calling it "chastisement". If your god deliberately inflicts suffering upon anyone, for any reason whatsoever, it is not worthy of worship.

Finally, your behaviour is not exactly a positive advertisement for your religion. Your apologetics and prayers clearly reveal you as a manipulative, narcissistic and outright abusive individual.

It is obvious that you don't want to understand us. You want to drag us kicking and screaming into your cult, and you are not above using insults and lies to do so. You have been brainwashed right out of humanity.

May all your prayers backfire, and may a thousand people deconvert from Christianity every time you open your mouth.

Including the members of your own family. May they be freed from you, and from your religion, at the earliest possible opportunity.

Jim Arvo said...

Buddy, your comments indicate to me that you actually know very little about current mythicist theories. Yes, it's true that the notion of Jesus being purely mythical has been around for at least 100 years, and has never taken center stage among Biblical scholars (for reasons that should be obvious). However, to suggest that it is dying out is preposterous, and to me indicates that you do not know what you're talking about.

There is absolutely no comparison with von Daniken's ideas. Von Daniken's case rests upon numerous oddities, such as roadways that are reminiscent of "landing strips" when seen from the air, and rock formations that look as though they might have been formed from the blast of a rocket. These are fanciful ideas that all have mundane alternative explanations. In contrast, the ideas that I've mentioned to you are all pitted directly against the principal competing hypotheses: i.e. that there was a historical figure behind the Jesus myth. The question one must always ask is this: Which hypothesis best fits the data? I've pointed out glaring anomalies that have caused Biblical scholars great consternation and bewilderment for centuries, yet admit trivial explanations under the mythicist theory. This is one reason the idea of a mythical Jesus is not likely to go away any time soon; for those who are not a priori wedded to the idea that Jesus was historical, there is great explanatory power in the hypothesis that he was not.

Buddy: "I'm inclined to believe that you've endorsed the former without adequate reason other than philosophical preference."

That's completely unfounded and actually quite a rude. First, I've never once suggested that I "endorsed" anybody's theory--in fact I explicitly stated otherwise. Second, I've consistently provided summaries of the major points rather than appeals to various scholars. Third, I've explicitly stated that this particular issue has minimal impact for me, and that I therefore have little vested interest in one outcome over another. So you have absolutely no warrant to suggest that I am following an outmoded theory due to some predisposition. In fact, given the numerous explicit counter-indications to your charge, I think it would be appropriate for you to offer an apology for that remark.

By the way, it's virtually inevitable that when I enter into a discussion of this nature with a Christian, the latter will completely mischaracterize my position, no matter how many times I clearly spell it out. It appears that you have done so as well. Maybe you prefer to dismiss my arguments by lumping me in with the likes of von Daniken rather than to address them squarely.

I'll close with a challenge to you; one that I've often issued. Pick one element of the Jesus story--anything at all--such as his birth, his ministry, his crucifixion, his resurrection, etc., and give me some credible historical evidence for it. For example, point to a written record by a KNOWN reliable author that does not show significant signs of forgery or interpolation, is not hearsay, and corroborates something claimed in the gospels. Let's see how much evidence you can marshal for the historicity of Jesus.

Jim Arvo said...

Marc,

You are not worth engaging in discussion as your opinions are not worth a nickel. To this day you cannot bring yourself to accurately characterize any position but your own--not even on the smallest points--which makes your reasoning untethered nonsense. This goes well beyond anything I've ever seen, so I do think you have some kind of emotional or cognitive problem. As you seem to be indelibly narcissistic, I'd say you at least picked the right religion. (On second thought, maybe Solipsism would suit you better. Not that it matters.)

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Jim,

As always, thorough and precise. Thanks for that. I'll gladly apologize for the affront. On re-reading my post, you're right; it's rude. Mea culpa. No offense intended; I can't help but respect a position honestly held.

The von Daniken comment was a bit tacky, I'll admit. My intent was to point out that neither secular nor biblical scholars give credence to the myth hypothesis, current works included*, for the reasons stated.

On the evidentiary challenge, I'm told that there is more evidence (manuscript, external reference, historical research) for the existence of Jesus than for the existence of Julius Caesar. Would it serve us well to retrace the documentary science applied to such cases. It's a dusty trail and boring, and as you say, you have little vested interested in the outcome.

I was, obviously, probing your claim of objectivity, and not intentionally characterizing your position beyond the obvious atheistic bias.

Hope your 4th was pleasant. Six days shalt thou labor, but a holiday by the pool now and then... priceless.

Buddy

Buddy Ferris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stronger now said...

Unblinded/marc/johndoe/?

I know what you meant, so stop trying to change your own words to mean something they don't.
You were hopeing(praying to your imaginary friend)
that he(your imaginary friend) would chastize(SPANK)
jim with the "hand of man".(use someone who is real to do the spanking)

I think you're full of shit.

you said:
"With the way all of you talked in the past about knowing G. K. Chesterton’s literature..."

I never talked about knowing his liturature in the past. You just lied you lier. Now your god hates you and will rightfully throw you in hell where you deserve to go.

So run along now and play with yourself. There is no need for you to post anything else and no need to respond to me or anyone else.

.:webmaster:. said...

Marc is brain-fevered CHRISTIAN troll. His posts will be deleted on sight, so please don't bother addressing him.

.:webmaster:. said...

BF, or Brian, or whomever said:

"Is the Catholic church of that time representative of Christianity? Or is it a political institution and generally disconnected from anything Christian?

Those things done in the name of 'Christendom', as were some of the Crusades, are difficult to connect to a Christian source. They're more accurately described as what they were. The inquisitions were attempts to coerce uniform belief and squelch heresy (people who don't believe like us). The Crusades began with a request for the Byzantine Empire for help against Islamic expansion. Hardly grounds for criticism of him whose name they usurped."


Bud, the oft repeated apologetic you just used is can be boiled down to, "Yes, those terrible things happened, but they weren't real Christians." Admittedly, I was quite fond of that one myself, when I was still tremendously ignorant.

How about this: How about we let those crusaders speak for themselves and see if they viewed what they were doing as a usurpation of the Name? Hmm? After that you can brush off their commitment to righteousness and their zeal for Christ with shallow dismissal? Okay?


Letters from the Crusades of 11th Century


Letter from the East to Master of Hospitalers (1187)

Gerold, Patriarch of Jerusalem
Letter to all the Faithfull - (1229)


Then, when you've superimposed your 20th Century version of Christianity onto them, proclaiming your version as the only true version, then we can discuss the Protestant Inquisition, and you can explain how none of the reformers were "True Christians™" either.

Then, once you've whisked that all that aside with a polite sniff, we can get down to the meat of the matter, namely, the evidence that a flying, un-dead, zombie who is really a god is magically alive and well in your pulmonary organ and who has lovingly ordained that upon the death of my mortal shell and eternity of everlasting horrific torment for the singular crime of thinking Christianity is bullshit.

freeman said...

Buddy,
"On the evidentiary challenge, I'm told that there is more evidence (manuscript, external reference, historical research) for the existence of Jesus than for the existence of Julius Caesar."

I have considered myself a deist (at best) for the last 25 years. In the last ~10 years, I have applied my scientific reasoning to learning about, what I still thought was a man, Jesus. When critical thinking was used, I could only come to one conclusion, Jesus was no more than a parable just like the ones that are attributed to him. His existence went up in smoke. As in, the fable of christianity is nothing but smoke and mirrors, an illusion.

Jim Arvo said...

Buddy,

First and foremost, thank you for the unequivocal Mea culpa. I appreciate that, and I appreciate your amiable conduct in general. It's refreshing to talk to a Christian who can hold a respectful conversation, and who apparently knows something about the Bible.

Now, your latest post also contained several statements concerning the historicity of Jesus that jumped out at me. One of them I found to be quite puzzling, but then the other completely cleared it up; in fact, it was something of an epiphany. Here are the two statements, in the order that you made them:

1) "...neither secular nor biblical scholars give credence to the myth hypothesis,..."

2) "...I'm told that there is more evidence (manuscript, external reference, historical research) for the existence of Jesus than for the existence of Julius Caesar."

I put these two statements of yours in bold, rather than my customary italics, because they are succinct and go to the heart of the issue. Together, they mandate a wholesale change in the nature of our exchanges on this topic.

The first of your two statements is categorical and sweeping. My jaw would have only been slightly slack if you had confined your statement to conservative Biblical scholars; however, you clearly intended to include scholars of any sort (which, by the way, could be argued to include numerous regulars at this site). This left my jaw in my lap. I couldn't understand how it was that you had failed to take note of Robert Price, as one very prominent example.

The second of your two statements could not have been a more apt denouement for the mystery. In that one sentence you made it perfectly clear that you have never critically examined the historical evidence for Jesus for yourself, nor read anything by someone who has. Please, let's pause for a moment, and agree that this is so. I state this somewhat categorically, as I simply cannot imagine how your statement could be compatible with the alternatives.

I'll elaborate a bit on that last point. You see, it's a common "urban legend" that the cumulative evidence for the existence of Jesus, or even for his resurrection, is formidable, and is comparable to, or even superior to, the evidence for other well-attested historical persons--Julius Caesar being the most commonly-cited example. By your own admission, this is not something you have verified; you are simply relating what you have heard. This particular urban legend (of which there are many variants) is tenacious, and is propagated even by many secularists. It is stated categorically by numerous Christians, frequently deployed as the silver bullet that will end all debate concerning the historicity of Jesus (or even his resurrection!). However, reality is quite different from the legend; there is a gulf the size of New Jersey between the historical evidence of Jesus and that of Julius Caesar.

I'm not going to defend that last statement at present because I think you need to do some homework before we continue this discussion. Although I've started from square one with several visitors here, I'm not inclined to go through that exercise again with you at the moment. In any case, some of my prior comments to you could serve that role. So, I kindly request that you put some diligence into discovering for yourself what the historical evidence of Jesus consists in. We routinely discuss the likes of Josephus, Suetonius, Pliny the younger, Tacitus, the Talmud, etc. around here, so I tend to assume that most people are at least somewhat conversant with the available evidence. Since this does not appear to be the case with you, I suggest you do some Google searches and start reading. Read what scholars on both sides of the debate have to say. Let's see where you are on this in about a month of earnest study. Until then, let's suspend this current topic of discussion. Agreed?

(I'd rather you search for sources on your own, but I will toss out several links that I urge you to consider: Historicity of Jesus, which contains numerous links and articles on the topic, such as Why I Don't Buy the Resurrection Story by the historian Richard Carrier. Best of luck.)

Philip said...

boomslang.

you haven't seen the half of it. emotion, logical fallacies, and hypotheticals that is.

What do you base your logic on, that you would call my logic a fallacy?
are you saying that I cannot appeal to emotion, so that any argument that appeals to emotion is discarded?
Hypotheticals are not wrong. People, I think, use hypotheticals to better illustrate a point that they would like to make.

someone else:
no one has ever asked me to profess allegiance to zeus, or baal, or allah...so I have not looked into any evidence for or against.(maybe i'm missing something)

There was so much sarcasm in my last post and I feel that you might have missed it.

Jim-you make an important statement about in your life never seeing evidence that is credible. What makes it credible? What demands do you have of people debunking christianity? I understand that you want evidence for a belief? you want "credible" evidence. how "credible" does it have to be? We'll say that the manuscripts have been changed. the writers were all drunk. God was a racist. How do you know these things? Are those ideas based on credible evidence?

your friend,philip

Jim Arvo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Arvo said...

Philip asked "What makes it [evidence] credible?"

That's a fair question (essentially about epistemology), and it deserves a thoughtful answer. What I intend by "credible evidence" is evidence that 1) avoids common fallacies, 2) does not produce nonsense in other contexts, and 3) rises above the level of unsubstantiated hearsay. While all of these criteria actually overlap substantially, I find it useful to list them and discuss them separately. I'll explain each of these in turn.

1) Avoids common fallacies: Informal fallacies, such as affirming the consequent, appeal to ignorance, appeal to authority, ad hominem attack, etc. are all well known, having been studied essentially since the time of Aristotle. They are easily shown to be worthless (or nearly worthless) devices for reasoning, as they frequently lead to nonsense. Any "evidence" that is based upon such a fallacy fails to be credible. Example: "The complexity of life shows that is had to be designed." This is fallacious at many levels, but is essentially an argument from ignorance: the proponent is actually asserting that they cannot imagine how life could have come about except through "design". While this may say something about the proponent's imagination, in itself it says nothing about life (unless, of course, the argument is very substantially elaborated in other directions).

2) Does not produce nonsense in other contexts: Perhaps the most fundamental test of any piece of evidence is whether the same pattern applied in a different context produces conclusions that are contradictory or known to be false outright (and how frequently this is the case). For example, the vast majority of Christian apologetics has direct analogues in numerous other religions: appeal to "holy books", divine revelation, tradition, ardent belief, emotional appeals, answered prayers, etc. As these very same mechanisms are used to "prove" the claims of contradictory religions, they clearly lead to nonsense almost all the time (if not all the time). Therefore, in isolation, these types of "evidence" are extremely dubious.

3) Rises above unsubstantiated hearsay: Some forms of evidence are so weak that I do not consider them to be useful in isolation. For example, having heard something somewhere, or ardently believing something, are actually both positive forms of evidence, but they are so unreliable that they are scarcely worth considering. Therefore, I tend to ignore them in most contexts.

There is also a fourth criterion: That the form of evidence has proven successful in other contexts. I deliberately left this off because it's perhaps the trickiest one to justify, and it needn't always apply. I'll discuss this one elsewhere if need be.

Philip: "What demands do you have of people debunking christianity?"

Precisely the same demands I make of anybody who makes a claim. I want to know WHY they think the claim is true (e.g. WHY is passage X thought to be an interpolation?), what alternative explanations there might be, what corroboration exists, what counter-evidence exists, and what opponents have to say. Everybody makes errors, and everybody has biases, independent of their philosophical or theological positions. Some are clearly better at mitigating these errors and biases than others, but nobody can avoid them altogether. Hence, I question all positions, not just those of religionists.

Philip: "...how "credible" does it have to be? We'll say that the manuscripts have been changed. the writers were all drunk. God was a racist. How do you know these things?"

I don't *know* ANY of those things. I don't consider ANY conclusion to be beyond doubt. I'm willing to go back and revisit anything that I believe to be the case, particularly if some new evidence or clever argument comes to light (and even in the absence of such).

Philip: "Are those ideas based on credible evidence?"

Some are and some are not. Of course it will depend on the particular conclusion and its supporting argument, won't it? Let's take one fairly easy example. The theory of Markan priority (i.e. that assertion that the gospel attributed to "Mark" was written first) is now fairly well established. I consider that conclusion to be based on very substantial and diverse evidence, so I am apt to assume it as a premise in further arguments. Nonetheless, I definitely consider what opponents have to say on the matter. Nothing is beyond question.

Here's another easy example. The theory that the author of "Luke" was actually the traveling companion of Paul is, in my opinion, very poorly supported. That is, I do not consider the commonly-cited evidence for this conclusion to be credible (e.g. use of the word "we", and a vocabulary that is commensurate with a doctor of the time, etc.). While I do consider the oft-cited evidence to be valid, along with the fact that many people fervently believe that the author was Paul's companion, none of it rises to the level of "credible" because, for one thing, there are multiple plausible alternative explanations.

Finally, I'll point out that any discussion of evidence is inherently "recursive" in that both premises and the criteria for credibility themselves must rest upon further evidence. There is therefore always a danger of infinite regress; this can only be avoided, it seems, by appealing to a mutually-supporting network of evidence, which is extremely difficult to pin down and justify formally. I'd be tempted to throw it all out were it not for the practical need for SOME criteria. In other words, the only thing worse than having such a theory of epistemology is NOT having one.

I hope that helps.

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Jim,

Thanks for the gentlemanly corrections to my argument and the links for further inquiry. You'll never be accused of being unreasonable. Or perhaps you will, but thanks anyway.

A month will likely do nicely. We're off to Africa next week; connectivity is sketchy there. Back in August.

Buddy

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear webmaster,
Having reviewed your referenced letters from the Crusades, I don't find compelling evidence contrary to my former stance. I agree that many of those involved were quite sincere in believing that God wanted then to slaughter the godless, defend the holy birthplace; sincerely killing people, destroying towns perhaps, and praying sincerely for success in doing so. Sincere and ill counseled, specifically by church leadership. The pope says, and the bishop says..., therfore....

The crusades remain political instruments of power, wielded for gain, and lacking any flavor of Christianity found in the early church.

The inquisitions fare similarly. Though affiliated with the church, it's a disjointed stretch to suggest that the behavior is supported by anything Jesus might have encouraged.

Forgive me for referencing the bible, but this wasn't a problem unknown early on. See what Paul said about this in Romans 10:1-3.

Enthusiastic, zealous, sincere, ignorant, and just plain wrong. Paul elsewhere says the same of himself as a former persecutor (inquisitor equivalent) of believers.

Blah, blah, blah. Yea, I know. Bible thumpers. It does point out that sincerity and enthusiasm coupled with personal selfishness and ignorance will cause problems, regardless of the venue.

The genocides of history (the Crusades don't qualify) may generally be said to follow similar development and execution phases. Sincerity, enthusiasm, zeal, bad thinking, ignorance, and a grab for power. No?

If we're too far off-topic for the thread, let me know. Thanks,

Buddy

Jim Arvo said...

Buddy said "You'll never be accused of being unreasonable."

Ha ha! Okay, back to reality now... :-)

Have a good trip.

.:webmaster:. said...

Buddy,

Now that you've finally admitted to being a life-long Christian, and that you believe you've had encounters with angels, now I have a better point of reference for where you are coming from. Had you been open from the beginning, this entire conversation would have been much easier on everyone.

Anyway, I'm going to surprise you. I agree with you that the people writing those letters were sincere and believed they were serving their god to the utmost of their power, even risking death for HIS service, and that they were misled by their religion to do so.

However, do you think the so-called teachings of Jesus prohibit going to war and killing men, women, and children? The Old Testament is filled with many commands to attack and kill peaceful people in possession of the "holy land."

Further, Christians killed Christians in the American Revolution. Christians killed Christians in the American Civil War. Christians killed Christians during WWII as well. Most Germans subscribed to the Lutheran faith. You can argue for a "just war" if you like, but in the examples I just gave, surely one side was just and one unjust, so what about the Christians on the wrong side? Were they simply "not true Christians?" If the cause they were fighting for was unjust, were they sinning by obeying the government and fighting for what was portrayed to them as a just cause? In WWII we dropped the Atomic Bomb on cities, not military targets. We bombed German cities that were not strictly military targets. Christians filled the ranks of the US Military. All soldiers were issued a New Testament in WWII. I entered the military at the end of Vietnam and received a New Testament!

Before Emperor Constantine had his supposed vision of "Under this sign conquer," Christianity was fractured into many different competing sects. Some thought Jesus was spirit only. Some thought Jesus only a man who had the spirit put on him in life and removed at his death. The variations in the beliefs were prolifierat, there was no New Testament, and most of Constantine's soldiers were following of the various Christian sects. The pagan religions had lost their strength, and his army was divided into arguing and uncooperative pockets of men who adhered to various versions of Christianity.

Now, when I say "versions" of Christianity, I don't mean orthodox denominations. I mean what today would be called heresies. One or another form of Gnosticism competed equally with the various forms of what you would consider somewhat more traditional Christianity.

So, Constantine commanded that Christianity get its act together and called the Council of Nicea. The emperor demanded that the Church leaders get together and decide by vote which version of Christianity would be the ONE TRUE VERSION. He wanted to unite his army and his people under one flag. It was about political control, and it was the year 325.

Those men in Nicea argued and fought about what books to put into the New Testament. "The Shepherd of Hermes" was a huge favorite with the early Church fathers and with many at the council. Others hated the Revelation, believing it to be a spurious, apocryphal book.

Basically, about 1,800 pastors got together and, duked it out, and by majority vote decided what "True Christianity™" would be for future generations, and chose the books for the New Testament that supported their position. It was a majority vote!

And, that's when the Emperor of Rome gained control over Christianity.

Religion has ever been used as a way to unite and offer some measure of control of the populations in a country. This is an ancient tactic.

Now, you are convinced that the evil Catholic Church was simply a political force and that those who followed her teachings were misled. In other words, although they believed with all their hearts they were serving the Lord, they weren't really Christians at all. Yet, from the time of Constantine until the reformers over 1,000 years later, the only Christianity for most of the western world was Catholic Christianity.

Jesus said, "I will build my Church!" Yet, he apparently let his church be hijacked for 1,000 years.

Catholics, however, are not the only Christians guilty of atrocities. I'll end by giving you a few more links for your investigation.

How many people have been killed by Christians?

The Protestant Inquisition

I'll list more links, if you like.

The bottom line is this: You believe you have the correct version of Christianity because that's what you've been told. You have been taught to cherry pick and dwell on certain verses in the Bible and ignore others. Jesus supposedly taught many things, and not all those things were loving and sweet. And in Revelation He has quite a temper and a sword.

Anyway, enjoy Africa. Are you going over there with Benny Hinn?

Buddy Ferris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Webmaster,

Thanks for the tongue-in-cheek reply. You remain free to presume understanding as to why I might do or believe anything. I've only been asked by one person, and I've only begun to answer.

Yes, I'm a Christian; I thought that was known. I've made no effort to hide the fact.

My Africa trip is business with the Coast Guard one of the smaller countries. Probably too small a place for Benny Hinn.

Buddy

dano said...

Webmaster,
Dave, I really liked your "Brief History Of Christianity" As usual, your penchant for not being verbose, while always getting to the heart of your subject, and stating it clearly, made it a delightful and informative, start for my day.

Of course My lack of admonitory advice, that I shouldn't believe anything subversive of the "Faith," gives me a big advantage, over some, who must remain "like a child," and "Just believe."

I think that a course should be taught in elementary schools, that explains how Christianity, became the only approved, government sponsored, religion in the western world for so many centuries, and all of the evil perpetrated by it, in order to remain so.

Well, at least it ought to be mandatory teaching somewhere for children, so that so many people wont grow up and waste their lives, being involved in something so patently foolish as the accepted dogma of the of the Christian faith.
Dan, Agnostic

Dave8 said...

Romans 10:4 - "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

"Christ is the end of the law." Yet Jesus said (Mt.5:17-19) that the law will be binding "till heaven and earth pass."

I suppose Jesus and Paul need to huddle on the matter, it seems the salvation warranty may not be legally binding, all other offers and disclaimers void where prohibited.

.:webmaster:. said...

Buddy,

Nothing in my post to you was tongue-in-cheek.

And you side stepped the bulk of my comment, but that's a typical pattern of magical thinkers.

It was not apparent at the beginning that you were a life-long Christian and that you believed you'd had encounters with magical, dancing shadow creatures from another dimension. Sorry if I didn't pick up any of that from your previous posts.

Since you are an admitted life-long Christian, it is logical to assume someone told you what to believe and how you should believe it. Surely you didn't just believe in your religion without someone telling you about it, did you?

Buddy, if you had been born in Iran , you'd be Islamic. It's really quite simple.

Dave8 said...

Buddy: "My Africa trip is business with the Coast Guard one of the smaller countries. Probably too small a place for Benny Hinn."

Interesting, well, keep a watch on Djibouti (ji-boo'te or ja-booty or your-booty), especially since you're 50+ years old "and" a christian. Perhaps, God armor is called for on this trip, got your Platinum God Card ready for check-out, you need a shield, sword, and helmet :-)

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Dave8,

Parallel conversations create interestingly overlapping thoughts.

More, my work (I'm with a small engineering team) tentatively includes Djibouti and Pakistan next year. I keep pushing for Ghana, as my almost brother has family and connections there; no luck so far. If I were to be angelically escorted, would they have to be Muslim angels?

Buddy

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Webmaster,

Your history is accurate enough, even if I take mild exception to it being called the history of Christianity.

Let me not polarize the discussion by saying you and I, as though we were adversaries. I'll use 'we' as we modern thinkers, or some such.


For instance, we're comfortable pointing to significant historical events and stringing them together based on common elements; we then presume we've grasped the whole. In the religious wars, we see the church, large and imposing, politically corrupt, exercising control over nations to unjust ends. We conclude, therefore, that the church is immoral and an unworthy social institution. We're justified in our conclusion by the events spread across the centuries.

It's a sound conclusion, at least in part. Those observed and described events are abhorrent to a person of conscience. But is it a complete grasp?

I'm reminded of a period when the Jews were quite corrupt. The prophet's observations were like ours. It's all bad, they're all liars, all murderers; just look at their history. The reply he received was regarding a continuing remnant who were none of those things. Elijah, if memory serves.

We look at the events of church-related history and say the same. All bad, all wicked, all murderers. Are we correct in our analysis and conclusion? Almost. Yet we do ourselves a disservice to over-simplify based on the events with the most media attention.

Can a power player mis-direct a group of intelligent, sincere, right-thinking folks? Can a warped ideology corrupt sound thinking for a generation, a century? Can sound teaching be mis-applied? It seems so.

Generalizing what was done under the banner of the church is perhaps too broad a brush. It ascribes the student's behavior to the teacher he abandoned. Post hoc, ergo...,

Having said that, I agree with you. Like the history ascribed to the church, all of humanity's history is punctuated with greed, lies, and murder, both small and large scale. It isn't limited to religious affiliations.

Have a great day; hope you're in the mountains. A muggy haze has settled in for the summer here on the Chesapeake.

Buddy

.:webmaster:. said...

Study the progress of theology and the many permutations it has gone through. Don't like the RCs? Fine, just study Protestant theology. "Sound doctrine" has changed and changed and changed and changed over the years. The form Christianity has taken in this day and age barely resembles the Christianity of 400 years ago. The beliefs are different. The form of worship is different. Nearly all Christians living today would find it very difficult to conform to the Christianity of 1607.

So, we the living dismiss the past as irrelevant. Christianity was corrupted back then. It was off center. It was in error on some points. It was... something.

But we, today, living in 2007, have the "Real Truth™." Those people were wrong, but WE are right. Right? We (we meaning "we Christians") today have a much clearer understanding of what our religion is all about, while those poor ignorant bastards from history ... well, they must not have been saved, or something.

Yet, all through history, the living Christ is leading, guiding and building HIS church, and the gates of HELL itself will not, can not, and did not prevail against it. Hell apparently infected, perverted, took control of, twisted, (list your own descriptive words) and polluted the church for 10 long centuries (or more when you consider the Protestant atrocities and modern Christianity's abandonment of Protestant theology) , but that's not prevailing against the church, because the "True Church™," the one comprised of Buddy Ferris, the remnant of "True Believers™," are still here.

Buddy, every Christian in history believes he or she is a true Christian. That's the point with the letters from the Crusades, which you missed. They ALL believe they are obeying GOD. You, Buddy, are no different from them. You are convinced that you have the "TRUTH," but do you? If many thousands believed just like you, and yet were wrong, even with a magical ghost out there leading them into all truth, can it be possible that you to have been misled?

Could it be possible?

dano said...

buddy,
Forgive my intrusion. I am aware that you are involved with others, who possess superior schooling, and reasoning skills than mine, not to mention patience, but people like you, draw attention to themselves, here on Ex Christian for their tenacity for staying within the boundaries, of what could be called a reasonable discourse.

You say you are a true Christian. Do you believe that God had a son with Mary the virgin?

If you do believe that Jesus was a special and only son of God, whose purpose here on earth was to be murdered on the cross as a sacrifice by proxy, so that his father could forgive the rest of us for our sinful natures, why in your estimation did God need that?

Now before you ignore me, and get on with your debate about supernatural visitations let me tell you why I'm asking this question.

I am always interested in whether those who stay around this website as long as you have, can actually face, head on, with no bullshit, or obfuscation, questions about the absurdly illogical, and irrational, Christian dogma, such as mine above.

We have had hard core Christians on this site before who possessed tremendous debating skills, but were unable to face the real inconsistencies, and just plain old stupid irrational stuff that we are asked to believe about Christianity.

If you have any idea as to why God would need to create a half mortal being, and have him sacrificed to himself, I would like to know. Why does the whole idea seem so Pagan to me?

I have many more questions to ask someone who professes to have been a Christian as long as you have.

Please help me, a heretic, and apostate, by using your exceptional thinking abilities to answer my first difficult question.
Dan, Agnostic

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Dan,

Welcome. You're questions are welcome also, though I hope you don't expect too much. I'm up to my butt in alligators here and may not make it out of the swamp.

I haven't claimed to be a true Christian, I hope. I am a believer, old and scarred; just plain Christian will do.

You questions take us beyond evidence, into the realm of opinion and theology. You're welcome to my opinion then, for what it's worth.

Your central interest seems to be the ransom. One pays the price for another. Why did God do it that way? I don't have a clue. Did it need to be done? Yes, I think so. Does it appear pagan? Perhaps; maybe it depends on how it's described.

Is this the right issue, Dano?

Long concluding thought, then:
As a father, I long ago discovered that my daughter owned my heart. She can call me anytime, night or day, and ask for anything I have. She's never abused that privilege. Her requests are genuine, she's always grateful, and she loves me truly. She's never asked selfishly nor taken me for granted. Being in her presence or hearing her voice is a joy-filled event. She calls to tell me about her job, her day, her questions. She can interrupt me any time any where; no matter what, I'll take her call. If she were to become entangled with the law, I'd stand with her. If she needed me to, I'd pay her costs and penalties. Would I lay down my life for her? Without a second thought, without regret, I'd give my life so she could live.

How is it that the circumstance of our lives in real time and space compare to to my daughter and me? Is there an actual law to which we are subject and from which we cannot be rescued without the debt we owe being paid? Must the ransom be paid; may not even God circumvent that law?

I believe that is pretty much the case as it stands.

You can restate what I've said here in less noble terms; you can speak casually about one laying down his life for another whom he loves; many do, and perhaps are somewhat lessened for having done so.

Buddy
No answers here, just opinion.

dano said...

Buddy Ferris wrote:
"Dear Dan
.......Your central interest seems to be the ransom. One pays the price for another. Why did God do it that way? I don't have a clue. Did it need to be done? Yes, I think so. Does it appear pagan? Perhaps; maybe it depends on how it's described.
Is there an actual law to which we are subject and from which we cannot be rescued without the debt we owe being paid? Must the ransom be paid; may not even God circumvent that law?......."

DAN:
I feel that the tone and content of you answer is genuine, and it puts you squarely in the same place as me on the question. I DON'T KNOW THE ANSWER EITHER.

The difference between you and I is, that I don't feel that I need to be ransomed, because I don't believe in inherited sin, which leads me into my second question.

Don't you think that holding me responsible for mankind knowing about evil, is a little off the mark?

Don't you think that when God set Adam and eve up in the garden and told them to not eat of the fruit, knowing full well that they would, and somehow making me responsible, is grossly unfair?

Don't you think that an omnipotent God would have a better way of fixing us, than creating a super one of us, and having him murdered?

I guess what I am saying is I don't believe in sin. I believe the people who wrote the bible just needed another word for mistakes that men make and somehow turned them into rebellion against God, because these priests and rabbis made their living by controlling what God said and how he felt about us.

To summarize, you have been taught all of your life that man is a filthy dirty sinful creature that only God can clean up, and I, not having been exposed to that teaching, simply believe that generally we do the best we can, but some times make mistakes.

I don't need any ransoming, and I wouldn't give my daughter anything that I have unless she
dourly, and seriously needed it, and there was no way for her to work for it on her own, and I am older and more worn out than you!
Dan

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Dave8,
We share the same precepts on many things, I notice. My daughter doesn't abuse my generosity and love because she learned personal responsibility and self reliance early on. Still, I'd drive across the country to give her a hand if she needed it, if only for the joy of participating in her life and labor. She'd let me do it and enjoy it with me. She teaches school on a pitiful salary considering here degrees. She spends her meager funds buying supplies for her inner-city kids. It's a joy to me to subsidize those purchases from time to time.

I don't know that you have to subscribe to the concept of sin, particularly. If you're truly content that a best-effort is all that's required, I wouldn't attempt to dissuade you.

Perhaps I've been taught that man is a dirty, sinful creature. That isn't how I would describe the circumstance, and hopefully that stuff doesn't show up in my conversations.

Your response does suggest a question, though. If there are no wrong choices, is every choice therefore right. Or neutral, without moral content?

The Adam and Eve circumstance is simplistically described perhaps to illustrate what we all know. We individually and knowingly agree to standards of right and wrong, and then we deliberately violate our own agreement. I suspect you can see the evidence of that in your own behavior as well as your children's. There is a large difference between mistakes (Momma, I broke the lamp accidentally), and deliberately violating a known and approved moral standard (Mom, I stole money out of your purse.) Mistakes happen, choices are made deliberately.

Is there usefulness in the distinction?

Buddy
OK, I'm at work goofing off; but I'm waiting for a software build, so it's moderately acceptable under my ethical standard.

dano said...

Buddy,
You addressed me as Dave8 above. Dave8 is the really smart guy over on the other thread.

I think you are saying that because I don't believe in "Sin" that I don't know right from wrong.

I have a distinct advantage over you on the subject of how morality evolved in us, right along with all our other complex characteristics in the process of us becoming the smartest primates on the planet.

I have been privy to many discussions here on ex Christian in which some very smart people have attempted to explain to many Christians that our morality didn't originate with the advent of Christianity.

You are the exceptional Christian who seems to have retained some pretty good thinking skills, so you probably already know the basics.

You do dance around difficult questions though, leaving me unsatisfied with your answers.

This is typical of every Christian that lingers on this website, and is at the heart of why I initiated this exchange with you.

I am always in search for a Christian who can say, "Yes, I agree, that is bullshit, plain and simple. I don't know the answer to your questions"

Example, your, from above post:
"The Adam and Eve circumstance is simplistically described perhaps to illustrate what we all know. We individually and knowingly agree to standards of right and wrong, and then we deliberately violate our own agreement. I suspect you can see the evidence of that in your own behavior as well as your children's. There is a large difference between mistakes (Momma, I broke the lamp accidentally), and deliberately violating a known and approved moral standard (Mom, I stole money out of your purse.) Mistakes happen, choices are made deliberately,"... does nothing to explain how we are all sinners, and why we need to be RANSOMED.
Dan

boomSLANG said...

Buddy Ferris: Mistakes happen, choices are made deliberately.

Hypotheticals:

1) My sister has an abusive husband. She just had an altercation with her drunken husband, and in the process, he knocked out a few more of her teeth. She comes to my house to get away from him. Ten minutes later, her husband shows up at my door: "Where's that b*tch at?..is she in there hiding???" Me: "No, I haven't seen her. Beat it."

I just told a bold-faced lie--I was "deliberately" deceptive...i.e..a "sin".

2) Standing in line at bank, a masked gunman comes in and demands all the money from one of the tellers. He inadvertently sets his gun on the counter. Quickly, I "steal" it and turn it on him, while we wait for the police.

I "deliberately" stole property that wasn't mine. To steal is a "sin".

3) I'm a fire fighter. I'm on call. It's Sunday morning, and there's a fire down town in a retirement center. I go put the fire out, saving serveral lives.

I "deliberately" picked a job that might require me to work Sundays. To work on the Sabbath is a "sin".

I'm on a international flight. I come out of the bathroom to discover a man standing there with a plastic explosive. The plane hits turbulance and knocks the highjacker off balance, so I take a bottle and smash him in the side of the temple as hard as I possible can(with intent to kill)

He dies. I "deliberately" killed him. "Thou shalt not kill." Killing is a "sin".

Now, I just provided several hypothetical instances where alleged "immoral" acts are completely ethical in certain situations. This illustrates that there is, in NO way, a "Divinely inspired" objective/universal "wrong" and "right".

Furthermore, the people arguing that there IS this "Divine" objective "morality", can't seem to agree on just what it is, thus, it's all very subjective, thus, proving that all religious belief is subjective---that there IS no "sin".

Further still, to hold an entire future race of people responsible for what one or two alleged people "deliberately" did a few thousand years ago, is slighty unjust, don't you think? I thought biblegod was "just"...?

Comments?

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Dano,
My error on the name. You know how old people are; call the kid by the dog's name, etc. My apologies; I'll try to do better.

I think you are saying that because I don't believe in "Sin" that I don't know right from wrong.

No, no! I was actually trying to establish that you DO know right from wrong; that in some measure, we all do; obviously I did a poor job of explaining.

I think that we do, each of us, have an established moral standard which we have accepted and approved for our own use. We don't necessarily agree among ourselves as to what should be on the list, but each of us has a list. Having put our stamp of approval on the list, we start breaking our own rules, one after the other. Regularly.

You can ignore the old testament commandments along with the new testament instruction for the moment. The ethical dilemma in which we each find ourselves is that we do exactly what we know that we should not do.

Without using the S word, what should we call that dilemma? Does it need any resolution?

Buddy

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Boomslang,

I'll grant your literary intent with the hypotheticals, and say that none really qualifies as immoral. Perhaps you're seeing the law as though Christians offered it as an adequate standard.

Thou shalt not murder. Does that suggest you should not defend your household or your children?

Each of your examples need to be viewed in real life.

A physically abusive husband needs to be physically restrained or in jail. The wife needs folks to protect her from him. It's the right thing to do.

We continue to write new laws to close loopholes because the law as it's written is never complete enough. The law often points in the right direction, but it's never adequate to make people behave.

As for being held responsible for what a couple of kids did back when, I don't think the bible says that. It does say you're responsible for your own life and choices.

Buddy
Please tell me the sister story was made up. That stuff really gets under my skin. It bothers me so badly that I put one adulterous, lying, abusive fellow in my will. When I die, the lawyers will invite him to the reading of the will where he will publicly be told he's a jerk and he isn't getting a penny. I'm gonna repent of that attitude as soon as it stops being so funny.

Dave8 said...

Buddy: "Your response does suggest a question, though. If there are no wrong choices, is every choice therefore right. Or neutral, without moral content?"

Morality? Isn't it all meaning based? If so, meaning must depend on the foundations of knowledge. If so, knowledge is constrained by biological limits.

One can only perceive themselves to be as moral or immoral as their knowledge allows...

Implication; you can only be as moral as you are able to understand reality... Perhaps, that is why I have a passion to ensure there is a concrete understanding, through education, of reality in terms of logical, non-conflicted knowledge. Oh, and I have problems with institutions that presume to teach their belief protocol on the foundations of a broken and contradictory set of epistemological axioms.

On morality... a person's knowledge limits their ability to assign meaning to reality and events. Morality only works or is only understood, when one is "consciously aware" of the event, and applies knowledge to the event... knowledge, based on experience, values, etc.

Let’s demonstrate in concept...

Do you believe that the litmus test for voting for a politician should be "age" based, or knowledge based... I mean, to vote, is to understand (knowledge required) and to advocate for a candidate without contradiction between one's reasoned values and their candidate selection's values (if possible)...

If the "reason" to vote, is to put a person in office that aligns with one's values, then "no", a person without knowledge cannot logically make a sound decision in the voting process - yet, it happens. It that "responsible" or "negligent", since a politician can affect the life and death of a countries' citizens?

Knowledge is the source for understanding, and one must accept that understanding is required to reason a stance of morality or immorality. Knowledge, is the source for all "understanding" in Existence, without it, morality is not a developed concept - we act instinctively and reflexively.

Buddy: "The Adam and Eve circumstance is simplistically described perhaps to illustrate what we all know."

And... what is it that we "all" know, Buddy? All knowledge or concepts of knowing are "not" of the same caliber, many can quite obviously be confused about their reality, yet, suggest they "know" or are "aware" of something. Knowledge corresponds to truth, and truth corresponds to the ability of an individual to assign identity to reality, without conflict.

We don't place the insane, hopefully, in prison for committing what society deems immoral atrocities... we tend to place them in an institution, because until they can become "reasonably" stable, they can not be expected to behave according to good moral "judgment" (which requires knowledge).

There are many, many, diverse ways to interpret and link the substance contained within, and contextually around, the Garden of Eden story. That said, and in-line with this morality theme... to "know" the difference between "good" and "evil" (as you may define it), requires... "knowledge".

The more simplistic "view", as you suggest, is that "knowledge"/fruit was partaken of, and gnosis of good and evil was instantly understood... An, apt answer to an inquiring child's question; how do we "know" good from evil?

Buddy: "We individually and knowingly agree to standards of right and wrong, and then we deliberately violate our own agreement."

In reality, we don't violate anything. We change our actions to meet our changing values that would be considered normal in most cases. However, for those values that we like to assess as moral axioms and unequivocally absolute, change and our relative position to our environmental variables places us in a constant state of judgment calls.

The question becomes; do you hold a moral absolute, or not. If you suggest that the value of "life", is a moral absolute that you value, then, yes, you may find yourself in a position that requires you to bend the rules... For instance; sometimes the sacrifice of the few to save the many may appear to violate one's moral axiom, but not if the moral axiom was defined properly in context with a collective of humanity as opposed to the individual themselves. When someone suggests they value "life", they need to define their terms, and how expansive this value can be extended... is that "all" life, to include plants, animals, humans, bacteria, etc., or is it the value of one's own life at all cost, is there a gray area, overlaps, etc., that make the value more tangible and applicable in one's life.

If properly defined, one may "never" actually have to contradict their values, which are based on knowledge, which gives rise to meaning in one's life. I suppose it would be beneficial to have a logical and non-conflicted view of knowledge based reality.

In the most extreme sense, one can just suggest that knowledge isn't necessary as a moral standard, and just work from a position of total instinct - would you believe that to be wrong? Why?

Buddy: "I suspect you can see the evidence of that in your own behavior as well as your children's."

I don't currently have a child, perhaps in the future I'll have that opportunity once again... As my behavior goes, I am pretty well grounded on why I take certain actions and why I don't. I do accept moral axioms and I do consider them a bedrock in my life, as to value life, is to value myself, in non-contradictory terms.

Buddy: "There is a large difference between mistakes (Momma, I broke the lamp accidentally), and deliberately violating a known and approved moral standard (Mom, I stole money out of your purse.)"

There are societal laws, and then there are personal truths one must live with. The best one can hope to do, is bring a common understanding of knowledge to society, so that, laws reflect non-contradictory statutes, and judgment by peers is more stable.

Now, there appears to be a conflict between the epistemological foundations of religious groups and others who are more of the naturalist type philosophy. It is the difference in jurisprudence and scholarly legal circles, between natural law (Aristotelian common law) vs. spiritual law (pick a brand of religious dogma).

Buddy: "Mistakes happen, choices are made deliberately."

A "mistake" is a conflict between intentions and actions; showing a lack of one's control or ability to reason. Thus, it would be irresponsible to allow someone to vote, if they were not capable of demonstrating the ability to maintain physical control and ability to reason, right.
(Manslaughter)

Choices, made deliberately... can as well, be made without the ability to maintain physical control of their being, and with the inability to reason.
(Manslaughter, with a strategy leaning towards an "insanity" plea)

Whether someone chooses or doesn't choose to elicit a particular effect, if they are not in control of their ability to reason, based on knowledge, and physically able to act in accordance (non-conflict) with that knowledge, then a distinction between choice and mistake is an abstraction... both states may render the exact same effect theoretically - manslaughter.

However, when reasoned action, based on sound knowledge, is acted upon in accordance with intent (disciplined choice and associated action) - murder.

Buddy: "Is there usefulness in the distinction?"

I don't know, perhaps there is something to be said, for defining one's terms, in order to understand the implications of one's own actions. It would still appear that critical thinking skills and solid reasoning, based on knowledge, is fundamentally how we understand all that we seem to be discussing... perhaps, we should endeavor to sort our knowledge out in order to live in harmony or... non-conflicted mental reality.

Society appears, well, at least suggests by its laws (when not totally conflicted), that we should be held accountable according to our ability to physically act in concert with our reason, and how an "act" aligns with societal values.

The "act" gets us to trial... the trial, determines our level of culpability for an act, based on the test of reason and physical ability. Or, so went what I learned while interning at a circuit courthouse.

Do you have an experience you would like to share on the topic... I'm all ears/eyes.

Dave8

dano said...

Buddy,
How about this one.
You are an engineer so I presume that you are not one of those "Christian Lites", who says with a straight face, (Evolution is just a theory, it hasn't been proven, they never found the missing link, you may have come from a monkey but I didn't)

Being an engineer you are aware of how much of today's science relies on our knowledge of how "natural selection" works, so if I ask you "do you believe that we evolved over the last four billion years from simple one celled animals to the exceedingly complex species called "thinking man?" you will naturally say yes, but probably put in the disclaimer that God was in charge of it all the way, right?

Given the fact that so much of who we are, and how we got here, has been explained, so much better by science, than the pathetic attempt of the bronze age bible writers, how can I believe that it was inspire by an omniscient God?

You would want to give the creator of the universe more credit than that, right?

All we can do is mumble something about how the stories of the garden of Eden, and Noah's Arc, and Jonah and the whale were not meant to be taken literally.

I contend, that if we must use the bible as a reference for Christianity, that no thinking person can possibly call themselves a Christian.

Would that pretty well describe you? It certainly does me.
Dan, Agnostic

boomSLANG said...

Buddy Ferris: Perhaps you're seeing the law as though Christians offered it as an adequate standard

Buddy, I think you might've missed my point---the "standard" is to avoid causing unjustified/unnecessary harm to others. You cannot really say that this is a "Christian standard", because there are many instances where in the bible such unnecessary harm is fully condoned. Now, the reason that many Christians say that such instances are "justified", is because they presume that their biblegod's "Word" is intrinsically "right", or "good". Clearly, 'NOT the case. We should "stone" prostitutes and rebellious teens? Can you rationalize this? I'd be interested to hear how, if so.

Buddy Ferris: Thou shalt not murder. Does that suggest you should not defend your household or your children?

You mean, defend it/them with "murder"? No, it doesn't. Does it "suggest" we should defend our property or family with murder, if necessary? No.

And anyway, why are we left to decifer what these "Commandments" mean by what they "suggest"? If the driver's manual says: Don't drink and drive. Does that "suggest" that we can drink an itsy bitsy amount, and still be legal? No, so to be clear on what IS acceptable, there's a specified blood/alcohol level set into place. See the difference? The driver's manuel is man-inspired law that is specific; the "Commandments" are "Divinely-inspired" law that is open to interpreting what the laws do, and do not, "suggest"....as you just did above.

Buddy Ferris: Each of your examples need to be viewed in real life.

Huh? I don't understand---each of my examples are perfectly feasible "real-life" situations that have probably happened at one time, or another.

Buddy Ferris: A physically abusive husband needs to be physically restrained or in jail. The wife needs folks to protect her from him. It's the right thing to do.

Right, "protect her from him"....even if that requires lying, stealing, or murdering in doing so.....ALL of which are "sins". Am I not being clear enough, or something?

Buddy Ferris: We continue to write new laws to close loopholes because the law as it's written is never complete enough.[bold added]

Precisely. Yet, I've always understood "God's Word" to be UNchanging. This is what "True Christians" claim on many an occasion. However, it seems that this notion would be quite absurd, if we apply what you just said above, about the law never being complete enough.

And since what you just said above is completely true, then either "God's Word" is clearly changing, and/or, needs to change, and therefore, neither "God", nor his Word", are perfect....OR, the bible's laws weren't inspired by any "God" at all, but instead, ancient man and what he thought was "right" and "wrong" at the time. I'm going with the latter.

Buddy Ferris: The law often points in the right direction, but it's never adequate to make people behave.

What "law" is it that "points in the right direction"? If you mean the Holy Bible, then to throw rocks at rebellious teenagers is to "behave"; to keep slaves is to "behave"; to kill those who lead you away from your belief is to "behave". Wow, this is weird.

Buddy Ferris: As for being held responsible for what a couple of kids did back when, I don't think the bible says that. It does say you're responsible for your own life and choices.

Adam and Eve were "kids"? Nonetheless, the bible says that the fall of man is attributed to our great-grandparents, Adam and Eve. You know, Genesis?..the Garden, the snake, and all? You have a different interpretation? 'Shocked. Let's hear it.

Buddy Ferris: Please tell me the sister story was made up.

It was "made up" in the sense that it doesn't apply to me, personally, but not "made up" in the sense that such stories likely happen daily.

Buddy Ferris: I put one adulterous, lying, abusive fellow in my will. When I die, the lawyers will invite him to the reading of the will where he will publicly be told he's a jerk and he isn't getting a penny. I'm gonna repent of that attitude as soon as it stops being so funny.

Oh please...don't repent--it's a clever idea, and you're only human. Enjoy yourself, damn it.

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Dano,

I appreciate your summary description of your views, and can certainly understand them. I'm not sure it fits me well.

Let me offer you an off the wall question. Suppose you were a first century fellow, literate, reasonable, clear thinking. Now suppose you were shown a movie, a documentary with full narrative of the second world war. How might you describe that which you'd seen to your friends?

Now further, how might that description read by someone from the 21st century.

I expect a rationalist would provide critical commentary on the messenger's imagination and mental abstraction, and categorize the account as myth.

Give it a try; it's a revealing exercise. Not intended to prove anything other than our bias.

Buddy

Christian Lite! I hadn't heard that before. How wonderfully descriptive.

Dave8 said...

What if I saw a bunch of animated images with words that had no real meaning, due to the obvious language barrier between time frames?

A "mystery"? How would I honestly describe the experience? A "mystery", and according to the language accepted at the time.

If I were not able to reproduce the "effect", then that experience would get no new name other than "unexplained event". If however, I showed others, and they agreed that the animated images rated a new word, then... we'd collectively create one... and one, that we would collectively understand, when referenced at a later time.

What would "you" call it Buddy? If someone sitting next to you suggested that the movie was a real documentary of a future event... how would you support your conclusion that they either speak the truth or not?

If "I" told you I was God, what would make you decide one way or the other, that there is truth to my claim? That's a great exercise for you, let's see how you deal with it.

Dave8

dano said...

Buddy,
So then, you really don't understand why God would need to have anybody sacrificed to himself, to appease himself for the things that the creatures that he created have done wrong. (The ransom) Much less have someone murdered that he calls his only son, and I said that I don't get it either.

Now after my last post and your reply, I assume that you don't like people asking you what you believe, because you just blew off my whole post, and asked me a question about a hypothetical scenario, that is totally irrelevant. To answer your question, this is what would happen.

By the time I had brought out all of my video equipment and set it up there would be no one to watch, because first century people seeing these things would think I was from another world, and probably a God, or a devil and they would either kill me on the spot or run like hell.

To ask how someone from the 21st century would react is silly. Those who didn't fall asleep would get up and leave right in the middle of the showing, because they have all seen it a hundred times already.

I wont be asking you anymore questions, because you have made it obvious to me that you don't have the critical thinking skills left to even understand them.

But that's OK Buddy. You would never be able to keep calling yourself a Christian for all these years if you had ever committed the "SIN" of questioning your faith, and you have turned out to be a typical 60 year old Christian who doesn't really know what he believes, and is happy with you faith, just like you think you are supposed to be.

In a way I envy you, with your Christian friends, and all of the prestige that you a 60 year old, rock solid, Christian must have, but I wouldn't trade places with you if you were a billionaire, because to be able to see the world as it really is priceless.

You might try to ransom your brain from your cult, sometime between now and when you cross over to the other side, but with over population, and pollution, and global warming, and a bunch of other stuff threatening to wipe us all out, whether or not there is one less believer in pagan mythology, seems so unimportant.
Dan, Agnostic

J. C. Samuelson said...

Buddy,

I expect a rationalist would provide critical commentary on the messenger's imagination and mental abstraction, and categorize the account as myth.

Well, to begin with, your hypothetical requires some sort of supernatural agency. By that I mean that in order to bring it about, something that breaks the laws of physics would be necessary. A video delivery system in the first-century would be such a strikingly obvious anachronism that a rationalist could do naught but concede that something very strange had happened. Impossible, in fact, according to the laws of physics as we understand them. To my mind, this reduces the effectiveness of your attempted illustration. But to play along a bit further...

Depending on the level of detail given by the author, the rationalist might be similarly confronted with some undeniably strange evidence. If, for example, the writer were to use the same proper names as those in the video and/or provide specific dates, and the document itself was unequivocally shown to have no interpolations (perhaps if we had in our possession the autographs, or we found some other corroborative evidence, such as earlier fragments containing important elements of the story), the rationalist might be forced to concede that somehow the writer had access to knowledge he could not possibly have come by through normal means. Put another way, whatever mythic elements might be part of the author's account would necessarily be mitigated by the account's specificity and subsequent historicity.

The long and short of it is that I disagree with you that a rationalist would naturally assume the conclusion you suggest simply because of language.

Not intended to prove anything other than our bias.

That we all have bias is undeniable. It's been my experience, however, that some of us are more easily persuaded to grant allowances to bias than others. For example, many supernaturalists give greater credence to biased personal accounts while being more dismissive of statistical probabilities and hard data. In my opinion, this is a liability. This is, of course, in itself a bias in favor of statistics and/or data on my part. However, if it were repeatedly demonstrated that, say, 75%+ of all personal accounts proved reliable I would be willing to reevaluate my position, i.e., modify my bias to be far less skeptical of them.

The same cannot be said for most of the supernaturalists I've encountered. This is perhaps a generalization but more often than not, when confronted with reliable data that contradicts his position the supernaturalist will continue to prefer his own sources or judgment. This includes when it is shown that his preferred sources are themselves unreliable, whether due to bias on the part of the source itself or the quality and quantity of the evidence weighted against it. To be sure, we have all been guilty of confirmation bias (which is what I've just briefly described), but supernaturalists seem more willing to ignore they have it.

Being open-minded is a virtue, but you don't want to be so open-minded your brain falls out. :)

Cheers!

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Dano,

Obviously, I framed the subject inadequately. No slight intended. I was responding to your comment on thinking persons and the Bible, and perhaps went too far afield.

Your comment: So then, you really don't understand ... (The ransom) .... suggests the subject is still open. I thought perhaps you had tired of it since you declined my question and moved on.

Feel free to pick up the thought and run with it, if you like. The question on the table is Without using the S word, what should we call that dilemma? Does it need any resolution?

Buddy

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear J.C.,

I appreciate your even-handed description of our circumstance. I lean toward statistics, personally. My undergrad work left me with a penchant for charts and tables. I was established in that way of thinking well into my 40's when I notice a few things for myself under circumstances that left no room for alternate interpretations.

As I've said elsewhere, I'm irritated by showy performers; I consider the breed to be ill mannered and lacking credibility. What I cannot discount among all the events of the last decades those few events I personally observed and examined. It's a tough place for a pragmatic fellow like me.

On a lighter note, did no one see the allusion implied in the WW2 movie being played in the 1st century?

For the record then, consider the Genesis narrative. If the writer were actually shown in some fashion the several billion years beginning with the bang and continuing up to his present, how might he write it? And how might we view what was written today?

Buddy

boomSLANG said...

J.C. Samuelson: "For example, many supernaturalists give greater credence to biased personal accounts while being more dismissive of statistical probabilities and hard data. In my opinion, this is a liability. This is, of course, in itself a bias in favor of statistics and/or data on my part. However, if it were repeatedly demonstrated that, say, 75%+ of all personal accounts proved reliable I would be willing to reevaluate my position, i.e., modify my bias to be far less skeptical of them."

Excellent point, J.C.

When it comes to denying Jesus and his angelic entourage, I'm not biased.....for I equally deny ALL gods and their respective angels. Furthermore, I would argue that it is the Christian; the one who, with the exception of Yahweh and & Co., denies ALL the same gods and angels that I do, for the same reasons that I do, who is "biased".

Peace.

dano said...

Buddy Ferris wrote:
....."For the record then, consider the Genesis narrative. If the writer were actually shown in some fashion the several billion years beginning with the bang and continuing up to his present, how might he write it? And how might we view what was written today?......"

Dan answers:
Well, we would hope that he wouldn't say that God made heaven and earth in 6 days and on the seventh day he rested. They probably would have figured out natural selection long before Darwin did, and two billion people wouldn't be running around with all the totally asinine notions from the bible, and all of the conflicting bullshit therein, screwing up their lives.

Intelligent people today would understand it immediately, and slow folk would do what they always do, they would just ignore it and go on with their lives.
Dan, Agnostic

boomSLANG said...

B. Ferris: For the record then, consider the Genesis narrative. If the writer were actually shown in some fashion the several billion years beginning with the bang and continuing up to his present, how might he write it?

If the writer were *inspired* by, and taking dictation from, a "perfect" being, why.....why he'd write it perfectly, by george.

And just what IS the function of a "firmament"? Any clue? Anyone?

freethinker05 said...

boomSLANG, "Firmament"= A big clear bowl over a "flat earth" to keep people from getting to gawd, or to keep them from falling off the earth?.....Peace, Roger

dano said...

Buddy,
Consider this:
An omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God performs miracles by conveying through a second party that he is aware of the melancholy of a poor farm woman who has nothing but a duck to eat, but seems totally oblivious to the millions of starving and diseased babies, the millions more of oppressed, and tortured, mothers who must live their short lives in horrible conditions, where they are being raped and treated as disposable animals, because their religion says its OK, because they are nothing but property, and the millions more of people who are born deformed, and mentally retarded, and...............

I somehow don't think you will consider this!

What I think you will do is continue to play "YOUR" game of Teflon Buddy!
Dan, Agnostic

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Dano,

Of course such things are on my mind, and I wish I had a short and persuasive answer for you. Apart from the impersonal masses whom I haven't met, and the little help we send through relief and support organizations, I have similar questions from having spent time at the bedside of a dying child. I don't have enough of an answer to take the pain away.

You might note the duck lady's complaint. She seems to have felt that she had been abandoned. The answer didn't change her circumstance; it did assure her that she hadn't been out of God's awareness. The plight of those who suffer, especially those who do so under unjust rule is a separate discussion we might pick up.

The only point of the lady's illustration... not a sparrow falls....

Buddy

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Boomslang,

Do you suggest that an inspired narrative must be written in the language of every subsequent age?

firmament: Middle English, no modern usage, described variously the heavens, the sky, an expanse, a support structure.

I prefer a modern translation; our language changes over time.

Buddy

.:webmaster:. said...

Buddy,

Your imaginative speculations on why the Bible stories are so poorly done are entertaining, but frankly, are doing your position more harm than good. What you are saying is that the rambling narratives in the Bible are incomprehensible because the people writing the very words of God didn't have any effective way to communicate what was being fed into their heads.

Therefore, we can only guess as to what they were thinking, or what the text means, or if any of it matters.

But, that might help explain how there's a "NEW THING" vomiting out of the pulpit every time you turn around. With thinking like yours, Buddy, the Bible can be made to say anything, once a new APOSTLE comes along to magically unveil some new revelation.

Watch out for the cool-aid. It's killer. QUACK!

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