I realised that I didn’t believe any of it

Sent in by Jonathan S

It took me a long time to figure it out... but it finally happened. I’m 18, and I make absolutely no claim to being the most intelligent person alive, but I’m now an atheist. I refuse to say agnostic, as it is quite possible to be an agnostic theist as well.

I was born into a Christian family, and dedicated into Christianity (Pentecostal, if you find that relevant) by my parents. They raised me up in their beliefs as they swore to, and until 12 weeks ago, I had attended church every week, disregarding some holidays. I had my first communion at four years old, and was baptised at 12. I started to go to youth at 13, with probably now my most hated youth pastor. I’ll explain why later.

I started switching between churches, not particularly fitting into the perfectionist style that my parents’ church portrayed, and leaving eventually as a result. My life group, which I still attend at the moment (They aren’t threatening at all, and I’m good friends with a few people that go), strengthened my belief in God temporarily.

But my conversion to Atheism all started with a Christian youth conference called Planetshakers, in Sydney. It was an amazing time, and my parents put off our return trip home so that I could attend the last night with a few of my friends.

And my conversion is thanks to that decision.

I won’t go into monstrous detail (partly because it’s very personal, but also because it’s very long), but I had what I thought was a word of god that night. I followed it, and spent half the service meditating on that, as opposed to actually listening to the man up front. It really interested me afterwards, and really strengthened my belief in god. I vowed to actually follow up and actually partake in what every person should do before they really call themselves a Christian; analyse their own beliefs.

Once we arrived home from our trip, I spent weeks analysing the Bible, not what it taught me, but watching it for inconsistency with my own beliefs, and the actions of Christianity as a whole.

I soon realised that the Bible was quite far fetched. It taught great morals (which the church didn’t follow, but nevertheless), but the stories it tells are, in most cases, utterly ridiculous. This wasn’t what converted me, but it was what grabbed me and made me follow on to the next step.

It was then that I started reading up on atheism, and proof that god doesn’t exist. And whilst mostly subjective material, there as one article that I read that hit on one of my major concerns. I won’t go into a monologue, as you can find the article at
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/quentin_smith/atheism.html

It was right at that point that I realised that I didn’t believe any of it. I’d spent years of my life conforming to a world that I didn’t really believe in, though I admit I tried to.

I don’t go to church each week any more, my Sundays now being spent going to friend’s houses for a few hours, or going for a walk. My parents still haven’t found out about my conversion yet, and I’m hoping I have a few months to leave home before they find out (I’ll tell them myself once I leave home, my father and his family are anal about Christianity). My good friends know, and whilst many of them are Christian, I was surprised to find that many of them are willing to accept the conversion, although there were some that were totally hostile to the concept of atheism. Needless to say, we don’t keep in contact any more.

I’ve met some great friends in my absence from the religion too. We have more in common than just a shared belief, which leads to great communication, and interesting conversation, as they can talk about more things than just how god saved them from an eternal fire. Although I still have many of the morals that Christianity teaches... I feel no need to follow them where it seems wrong to do so.

I have just one question though. I don’t talk to people so that I can have deep theological discussion, yet I find 90% of the people who ask me this question then monologue about Jesus Christ and point out my eternal damnation and basically all the "die in a fire" propaganda that I've already refuted as scare tactics. It doesn't help their case that I've looked through every book and seen every DVD regarding converting unbelievers that they have fifty times already.

So I ask you, how do I tell people I’ve never met, when they inevitably ask me about my religious beliefs, that I’m atheist, whilst avoiding theological discussion?

113 comments:

eel_shepherd said...

"I'm an atheist --- that's it." - Katherine Hepburn

Never one to mince words, Ms. Hepburn.

One recommendation I have is to avoid volunteering the word atheism, or any of the hot-button words. My usual reply is "I'm non-religious." This provides an out for someone who really isn't seeking out a chance to get in your face about it. They can take it however they like. For instance, they can take it to mean that you just don't like the church-y type of life, if that's their pleasure. (Many of them probably don't much care for it themselves.) Or they can write you off as having a low level of awareness, sort of a spiritual autism, and take the line that you are missing the mental loops necessary to put together some kind of religious worldview.

If, in reply to your claim that you are non-religious, they ask You mean you're an atheist?, you can say, If you like to put it that way. Make them do the work; they're trying to make you do it, and, after all what right do they have for such presumption? You're not getting paid for it and you never signed up for the job. It's their job, not yours, to carry that ball; make them carry it every step of the way.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, I became an atheist at 18; I'm 53 and have never regretted the journey of freethought. The world is indeed an amazing place and I have found it is so much better to try and figure it all out on your own (with the help of others and science and philosophy) rather than rely on some mumbo-jumbo from an old book.

Jacstar said...

Hey Jonathan,
I'm from Australia too. The minute I started reading your post I recognised all the jargon of typical aussie pentecostal christianity!! Congratulations on getting out!! It took me till I was 29 to come to my senses! If you don't mind me asking, what church did you go to?
Jacstar

David Knapp said...

I don't understand. If you truly have a faith in atheism then just tell people unashamedly. When somebody wants to have a theological discussion just tell them no thanks. Of course here people are going to reply anyhow... I am guilty of that.

simplyecclesia.com

muttmutt said...

Im not hostile to atheists, if they arent hostile to me. Some atheists i can get along fine with, and others attack me. Im a Pagan btw. My experiences are much different. I can remember things, like seeing ghosts and other strange phenomena, so the agnostic Pagan is pretty much where im going to stay. I wish you luck with breaking the news to your parents, its even hard being a Pagan, because most of america is christian. Either way, me and atheists are in a similar predictament, because of america's claim to christian nationalism.

David Knapp said...

muttmutt you really should define what a Christian is because I am one of them and I know that most of the people in the USA are not Christian. One claiming to be Christian does not make one Christian.

boomSLANG said...

Jonathan...So I ask you, how do I tell people I’ve never met, when they inevitably ask me about my religious beliefs, that I’m atheist, whilst avoiding theological discussion?

First and foremost, your individuality comes first, especially where people you've "never met" are concerned. Be forthright, with not only them, but with everyone, and just tell yourself that those who mind your position don't matter, and those who matter, won't mind.

Jonathan...Although I still have many of the morals that Christianity teaches... I feel no need to follow them where it seems wrong to do so.

If you have determined that it "seems wrong" in certain cases to adhere to "Christian morals", then that should be all the evidence you need to realize that there is no totally objective, immovable, Universal "morality", as Christians would just love for you to believe. If biblegod's "Word" were intrinsically "good", then that would mean that he could one day instruct your parents to kill you(for non-belief), and it would be seen as the "moral" thing to do.

'Knapp...I don't understand. If you truly have a faith in atheism then just tell people unashamedly.

I don't understand, either. I reread the article, and nowhere do I see where the author said he had "a faith" in Atheism. In that case, I'm left to believe that you are simply projecting your own misinformed views on to him. If I'm wrong, then feel free to explain how much "faith" it takes you, as a Christian, to lack belief in "Allah", "Quetzacoatl", or any of the tens of thousands of other deities you don't believe in.

boomSLANG said...

'Knapp...muttmutt you really should define what a Christian is because I am one of them and I know that most of the people in the USA are not Christian.

Honestly, why ask her/him? It would make much more sense, not to mention, economize on time, to hear such a definition from a "True Christian", first-hand.

Nina said...

I find that if I say "a recovering catholic" they understand I have been there and done that. If they ask about faith, I say out loud, "faith in what?" But..........
I like the first post about being "non-religious," well said!
Make them do the work.
nina

SkyEyes said...

There are several approaches you can take when someone asks you about your religious orientation.

You can say "I'm an atheist" and wait for the bomb to drop. You've been there/done that already.

You can say "I'm a rationalist [or freethinker]"; sometimes that satisfies people.

You can say "And this is any of your business why, exactly?"

Or you can say, "I'm not superstitious." I've had the best luck with this one, simply because it causes the person to suddenly consider that religion is superstition - if only for a split second. If they dispute that, you can always (sweetly) ask them to list the substantive differences between religion and superstition. This is especially fun to do if you have time on your hands and you want to spend it seeing people squirm.

Brenda Nelson, A.A.#34
skyeyes nine at cox dot net

webmdave said...

The only criteria for defining a Christian is a profession of faith on the part of the "Christian."

That's why there are 1,300 denominations, all claiming to be the one "true" Christian church. There is no agreed upon definition.

Celera said...

I'm inclined to agree with eel -- if you want to defuse the conversation, it's probably best to describe yourself as "not religious." That suggests you won't be very interested in talking about religion. Saying you are an atheist will cause some Christians to see you as an enemy of their faith, and make it more likely for them to feel the need to convert you.

I'm surprised that this issue comes up with any great frequency, though. I don't find that new acquaintances are likely to ask about religion -- perhaps you are alluding to your former faith more than you realize. That's easy to do when you have spent years enmeshed in a certain culture.

Anonymous said...

jacstar, my latest church was Paradise Community Church, in Adelaide if you don't live over here ;)

As for why I'm not completely open about it at the moment. With my father being anal about his Christianity, and myself still unable to move out for possibly another 6 months, I find it quite unlikely that my father would allow a non-christian influence on his other Children. As far as I see it, I don't really have much of a choice at the moment.

As for the "faith in atheism", I would've thought it didn't take faith to not believe in something, just as it doesn't take skill to not play chess. This is why I never adhered to the phrase "faith in atheism"

Thanks eel_shepherd, that sounds like the way to go actually, and thanks to everyone else who's replied.

Jonathan Schutz

WhateverLolaWants said...

Jonathan, I like the playing chess analogy! Welcome here.

Ah, David Knapp, you're using the old "I'm a true Christian" and "most people who claim to be aren't" lines. We've heard it before. Many times. So tell us, since you are one, why don't YOU define it? Keep in mind that many people who call themselves Christians will disagree with your definition but be just as sure about their own. What makes you any different?

David Knapp said...

To boomSLANG: First I want to say to everyone that no matter what I say you will not believe or understand because you enjoy refuting everything... I suppose that is okay because we are human after-all but in the end it is futile. Let's be honest, to believe in something that we cannot really prove is to have a faith. When I say that I believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God I have faith that this is true. When somebody claims to be an atheists they have faith that they are right. Atheism is a religion whether you like it or not. The difference between you and I is that I have faith in the Lord of heaven and earth and you have a faith that He doesn't exist.

To everyone: I say that the God of the Bible is the only God. You want me to prove it? First prove to me that I am wrong. Prove to me that there is no God. It really looks like we are in the same boat.

To webmdave: I belong to a denomination but I recognize that people of other denominations are trying there best to follow Jesus. Who cares if there are 1300 denominations?? The point was never to follow the denomination, the point was to follow Jesus. I follow Jesus and if somebody from another denomination or no denomination is following Jesus then they are my brother and sister in Christ.

To whateverlolawants: A true Christian is a follower of Jesus. In an apprenticeship program the apprentice aims to become like his journeyman. In this life I seek to become like my teacher Jesus. Anybody else who does this regardless of there denomination is a follower of Jesus. If one follows Him then they are a Christian and if one does not follow Him they are not. It is as simple as that. People who say they are Christian but only say this because they attend church each Sunday, well... they are missing the point. Church is fine but if one does not follow Jesus then for them church is just a social club.

webmdave said...

Knapp, Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses follow Jesus. Are they your brothers and sisters? If not, why not?

What about Roman Catholics who believe salvation is connected with baptism. Are they your brothers and sisters?

What about those who deny the Trinity? Are they your brothers and sisters?

What about Universalists? They follow Jesus. Are they your brothers and sisters?

What about Christian Scientists? They follow Jesus too!

The point, Knapp, is that there has been overwhelming disagreement on every tenant of your "faith" since it's initial inception. Even James, the brother of Jesus, was in major disagreement with Paul over many points. Of course all we have is Paul's side of the argument in Galatians and since it was his version of Christianity that the Roman Catholic Church eventually ratified under Constantine, James and real Christianity were lost to history.

Oh well.

Next, prove to me that Allah is not the one true God! Prove to me that UFOs are not visiting this planet. Prove to me that Santa doesn't exist.

Proving a negative is not how it works. It is the one making positive claims who bears the burden of proof. All you have to do to prove your case is present some testable evidence. It shouldn't be that difficult if the things you believe in live anywhere outside your imagination.

I have an invisible tree in my yard which grants me the desires of my heart. Prove to me it doesn't exist.

eel_shepherd said...

David Knapp struggles with and against logic thus:
"...First I want to say to everyone that no matter what I say you will not believe or understand because you enjoy refuting everything..."

And what were they enjoying all those years of their Xtianity? Remember...? Ex-Christian? E.X-C.h.r.i.s.t.i.a.n? Look up and live; look wa-a-a-a-y-y-y up; like, at the title bar in the window: EXXXX-Christian....

"...When somebody claims to be an atheist they have faith that they are right..."

No. They have GROUNDS for thinking they are right. Faith = belief without grounds. Big difference, but, anyway, you don't see it; probably never will.

"...Atheism is a religion whether you like it or not..."

Alright! Problem solved! Then that makes you an atheist, since you don't subscribe to atheism! But wait... Something's not right there... Whatever, from now on, you hafta call yourself an atheist atheist, 'k? Makes you an atheist.

"...I say that the God of the Bible is the only God. You want me to prove it? First prove to me that I am wrong..."

No. You go first.

"...Prove to me that there is no God. It really looks like we are in the same boat..." [boat: a type of ark]

What may be asserted without evidence may equally be dismissed without evidence.

"...I follow Jesus..."

I follow Fred The Turtle. He's easier to keep up with. Full-immersion Fredism, but I suppose that goes without saying.

"...and if somebody from another denomination or no denomination is following Jesus then they are my brother and sister in Christ..."

Or, at least, your cousin in Christ.

There was other stuff in the post, but why bother. Same old same old. Each one of these robots thinks he's running the program for the first time, like the replicants in Blade Runner.

istillbelieve said...

So you don't believe in Jesus Christ any longer because there are some inconsistencies between the Bible and your own beliefs? I kinda stumbled here this morning in search of some creation/evolution audio debates and was really disheartened. You were at a youth revival, you weren't listening to the pastor but were off in your own thoughts meditating because that's what you felt God told you to do, upon that meditation you later studied the Bible in search of inconsistencies (i'm interested to know which inconsistencies led you away) and apparently upon these inconsistencies you decided Jesus Christ was not the Way. So basically "God" led you away from Jesus? Not possible. And you never said what the old youth pastor did to hurt you but people have to quit basing their thoughts of Jesus on what their "christian" peers do to or around them. Man God is good and His Word is truth. Christianity is NOT here to enslave people or control societies. There are so many biblical prophecies that are in the works right now in your daily news that it would rock your world to learn of. Read in Obadiah and learn of what Israel will do to the Palestinians (referred to as the "House of Esau" in Obadiah). See how God brought the Jews back to their land and how they've been protected even though they've been surrounded by their bitter enemies. This news is playing out every day, we all know there's an escalating situation there but did you know that God has told us what would happen there? I would love to tell you of many more things that are happening in our current society that is paving the way for "end time" events--and even for the appearance of anti-christ. Including even our current financial situation, look online about plans for a North American Union and an Amero currency where they will combine us with Canada and Mexico--which is more evidence of an attempt to regionalize the political/economic structures to then make it simple to globalize the world, which is an absolute necessity for the anti-christ to take power. Look into the facts about 9/11 being an inside job and how many unconstitutional powers have been given to the executive branch of our government--dictatorships are necessary for the anti-christ to take control because the power must already be centralized when he comes onto the scene. Read in Daniel about the 10 super nations represented by the 10horns, read how the smaller horn comes up and all power is given unto him--the beast. If this prophecy is developing then shouldn't we see the supernations forming?--we do see them in these "unions" that are being created. This is not a joke and now in our world history is not the time to be without God's grace. If anyone is truly interested in that topic just shoot me an email bkclarkva@aol.com. Just be respectful as I've tried to be. You want to be "free-thinkers"? Great, start by thinking clearly. God is real and His Word is coming to pass precisely the way it was written. Many would like to pass off their genuine experiences with God as just emotional experiences. They claim they were just caught up in the emotion or religious excitement. On what basis? Because they've never seen God? Well have you ever seen love? Do you believe in love? We don't have to understand everything about everything for it to be true. Your basic evolutionist on the street doesn't really have a great understanding of his faith and yet he believes in it and calls it science. Where's the proof of evolution? It's a theory, there is no smoking gun proof, it takes faith to believe in it. Alright sorry I never intended to go on like this and now that email address is available I could really be in trouble as I'm sure I'm outnumbered here. :) No worries, I love you guys, I really do--and I would give my life to display the love of Christ to all men. That doesn't make me a slave to Christianity, it makes me a man who knows that he knows that he knows that God is real, and that I can put my life in the hands of Christ. I have tried to make my case in complete humility, any anger that anyone felt swelling up within them is not directed at me but it is bitterness toward the things and the people of God. Satan and his demons hate God, just ask a satatist...most of them have seen and experienced demons. Satanists know that God is real. Alright friends, holler at me when you get a chance.

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

David Knutts said, The difference between you and I is that I have faith in the Lord of heaven and earth and you have a faith that He doesn't exist.

Yeah, right, that's why, every minute, of every day, we have to believe, with all our hearts, there is no such thing as Santa. We have to have an unwavering faith, that he will not come down our chimneys and deliver toys to us. The nonexistence of Santa and the belief that he doesn't exist, consumes us and the whole shtick has been a huge negative, in our lives. [sarcasm]

The only thing that is absurd, is you trying to make the case, atheism is a belief. You try to make this ridiculous comparison to associate atheism to your own beliefs. You are in essence trying to put atheism on the same playing field as theism and you want people to conclude they are equal, so as to justify your faith.

What you have is faith. Faith is believing in something that has no evidence, no logical proof or material evidence. Do you believe in leprechauns? Can they magically grant you wishes? Do you believe in leprechauns even though the evidence is largely conclusive that they do not exist? If you did believe in them, then you could only believe in them, on faith. But being a reasonably, educated person do you really go around living day to day practicing in a belief system that believes in the non-existence of leprechauns? NO, that's absurd. You just, simply DO NOT believe in leprechauns, because you see zero proof of them existing -- you don't have to have faith that they DON'T exist. And, in exactly the same way, we simply do not believe in your Bible-God -- It doesn't take belief or faith, there is just no evidence.

There is an INFINITE amount of conceivable things we can come up with that are non-existent: The list is only limited to the imagination. Do you have a belief in the non-existence of all those things that can be imagined? Take for example Allah, Zeus, Aphrodite, Thor, Mother Earth, Krishna , Brahma, or any of the 330,000 deities in the Hindu religion, alone -- are you going to honestly say you have a belief system in place that has to BELIEVE that all these deities are NON-EXISTENT? Or is it simply you don't have any knowledge or evidence of these deities existing?

The God's honest truth (pun intended) is you are just as atheistic in regards to those Gods. The same way you (think real hard why you dismiss those Gods without having a belief system in the non-existent) dismiss those Gods, is the same way we dismiss your God.

Honestly, Davey, you just lap up christian apologist drivel to fuel your own delusional beliefs, without really thinking.

--S.

Read this quote; study it; learn it, because it's about you.

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the spot of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call FAITH, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck.
-- Thomas Jefferson

sconnor said...

istillbelieve said,

So you don't believe in Jesus Christ any longer because there are some inconsistencies between the Bible and your own beliefs? I kinda stumbled here this morning in search of some creation/evolution audio debates...babble, babble, babble, yadda, yadda, yadda, gibberish, Bullshit, gibberish, blabber, bunk, claptrap, cuckoo, cuckoo, drivel, fudge, gabble, gobbledygook, hogwash, jabber, jabberwocky, jazz, bull puckey, mumbo jumbo, nonsense, piffle, prattle, rigmarole, rot, chatter, clatter, gab, cuckoo, cuckoo, gibber, prate, tattle, twaddle; double-talk, hocus-pocus, cuckoo, cuckoo, jive; gas, hot air, wind, babble, babble...most of them have seen and experienced demons. Satanists know that God is real. Alright friends, holler at me when you get a chance.

istillbelieve -- Somewhere near you, a cuckoo clock cuckoos, incessantly.
Put the cuckoo back in the cuckoo clock!

--S.

istillbelieve said...

sconnor thanks for commenting: that's what you heard but not what I wrote.

Attacking the messenger brings you no credibility. Don't look into any of the real life political/economic claims that I made, it won't change the fact that they are there and clearly point to the Bible's relevance in our society. Leave your frustration and insults at the door for some adult conversation.

sconnor said...

istillamadelusionalasshole said, Leave your frustration and insults at the door for some adult conversation.

You are only worthy of disrespect and mockery. Take your demented fuck-knob god and shove him up your ass, you delusional fuck-tard.

--S.

sconnor said...

Also, David Knutts,

here are some more of your brothers and sisters in christ. Christian rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army are conducting a civil war in the north of Uganda. Their goal is a christian theocracy whose laws are based on the Ten Commandments. They abduct, enslave and/or raped about 2,000 children a year.

I await your illogical rationalization.

--S.

istillbelieve said...

sconnor I'm very sorry I've upset you but I've said nothing to deserve your temper. Continue to waste your effort at insulting me if you'd like, your insecurities are on display. A christian follows Jesus in humility man. Those rebels aren't christians, there's no further explanation needed. They're sick twisted individuals with selfish goals.

webmdave said...

We've made blood shoot out of Knapp's eyes. Check it out: Bloodshot

Meranda said...

thats it ...scare tactics...
when I deconverted, I became more aware of the scare tactics.

I am also pentecostal.

What you do , is you dont tell them what you beleive. All the comebacks people list are good ones.

I would also HIGHTLY recommend reading:

Letter to a Christian Nation
by sam harris.

In it, Sam gives you advice on what to say in response to people who would give you monolouges on Jesus Christ and Hell. There is my favorite line " morality is based on human suffering, this is why we feel no moral obligation to rocks" ( approx).

Im sorry to say, but since you are new to atheism, you need some time to learn in a safe enviornment. Dont go around parading your athiesm. Its not just radical, it can be dangerous.

The other book is:

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

There is a chapter detailing the way humans evole and how being kind to each other helps the human race survive. It's inborne, not taught or else we would not be alive.

To watch:

Robert Beckford
Who Wrote The Bible?
http://youtube.com/watch?v=suseKsLEWKo

Richard Dawkins
The Root of All Evil
http://youtube.com/watch?v=oooitli1reg

sconnor said...

istillamadelusionalnutjob said, They're sick twisted individuals with selfish goals.

Which is exactly how your little christian club was born. Sick twisted individuals, with selfish goals are to blame for the the horrors of the Crusades and Inquisitions, that left rivers of blood in its wake -- the untold torture, suffering and mass killing, that spanned centuries.
"If you don't think the way we do and you don't become a Christian, then we will torture you and slaughter you".

istillamanignorantdumbfuck said, sconnor I'm very sorry I've upset you but I've said nothing to deserve your temper. Continue to waste your effort at insulting me if you'd like, your insecurities are on display.

Thanks for giving me permission to verbally spank you. I have sympathy for the mentally challenged and the mentally ill. I have sympathy for the sick and the addicted, but you, istillbelieve, choose to be a delusional, ignorant, brain-dead, deer in the headlight, dumb ass drone, completely worthy of my vulgar ridicule. I am very secure in my motives and ways and I can assure you I am not upset -- to the contrary, I am very calm. your loquacious bullshit is complete and utter nonsense and shines of a babbling, moronic, religious zealot wallowing in their own delusional bliss. You are a fuck-knob with, nothing but goo in your head.

Again, take your stupid-fuck superstitious, proselytizing and your imaginary, sadistic, cloud daddy, and, shove it up your shit-hole.

--S.

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

istillbelieve....Don't look into any of the real life political/economic claims that I made, it won't change the fact that they are there and clearly point to the Bible's relevance in our society. Leave your frustration and insults at the door for some adult conversation.

Likewise, leave your strawman arguments, bare-assertions, and hyper-sensitivity at the door.

So, the "Bible's relevance in our society"? Where? How? Who? Are you suggesting that Christians - that is, people who presumably get their "moral" code from the "Bible" - agree on what is "moral", and what isn't? If that's what you are suggesting, you live under a rock. Take ANY social issue of the day, and you'll find "Christians" falling on opposite sides of the "moral" fence, showing clearly, that there is no objective "morality" in the body of "Christ".

boomSLANG said...

istillbelieve...You want to be "free-thinkers"? Great, start by thinking clearly.

In other words, "if you don't agree with me, you are thinking unclearly."

Boy, you're off to a good start; a real "Mr. Diplomacy".

istillbelieve...God is real..

Prove it.

istillbelieve...... His Word is coming to pass precisely the way it was written

Consider this, your Highness:

If your biblegod's predictions are "coming to pass", and yet, one of those "predictions" was that there would be apostates(non-believers), then of course, non-believers are completely necessary is the fulfillment of said "Prophecy". Otherwise, it's a FAILED prophecy. Furthermore, to make such predictions, you'd need to be omniscient, and thus, if that is the case, then said "omniscient" being's free will is limited to make changes in the future, or else, it never knew the future to begin with. Duh? You cannot know that you will be granting "Mercy" at 12:00 noon on April the 10th, 3020, and then at that precise time decide to NOT do it, or obviously, you didn't "know" your decision to begin with. Think about it(if at all possible)

boomSLANG said...

Previously, the following exchange took place:

David Knapp: "muttmutt you really should define what a Christian is because I am one of them and I know that most of the people in the USA are not Christian."

To which I responded...

"Honestly, why ask her/him? It would make much more sense, not to mention, economize on time, to hear such a definition from a 'True Christian', first-hand."

To which, David Knapp's latest response, is...

First I want to say to everyone that no matter what I say you will not believe or understand because you enjoy refuting everything. I suppose that is okay because we are human after-all but in the end it is futile. Let's be honest, to believe in something that we cannot really prove is to have a faith. When I say that I believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God I have faith that this is true. When somebody claims to be an [atheist] they have faith that they are right. Atheism is a religion whether you like it or not. The difference between you and I is that I have faith in the Lord of heaven and earth and you have a faith that He doesn't exist.

'Knapp, you are seriously misinformed. Again, I will dismantle and exploit your ignorant and erroneous views - not because I "enjoy refuting everything" - but because if you feel it's your duty to pass-off and propagate your "faith" as Universal Truth, then in turn, it is MY duty to see to it that you can substantiate that claim.

Well, both interestingly, and amusingly, we have your own admission that you do not have any such substantiation. Here, again, are your words:

David Knapp: Let's be honest, to believe in something that we cannot really prove is to have a faith.[bold added]

To my understanding, we have your unequivocal admission that you do not have enough evidence, and/or, you don't have the type of evidence needed to substantiate your beliefs, which, also by your own admission, amounts to "faith".

Point-by-point, here we go......

You...First I want to say to everyone that no matter what I say you will not believe or understand because you enjoy refuting everything.

I "enjoying refuting everything". STRAWMAN argument. I "enjoy" no such thing.

You...I suppose that is okay because we are human after-all but in the end it is futile.

Irrelevant conclusion. What does being "human" have to do with my rejection of what you admittedly cannot show me to be true? I mean, likewise, you are "human", and yes, for a Muslim to get you to believe in "Allah" is likely "futile". So?

'Did you get that, 'Knapp??? SO WHAT???

Next, you say...Let's be honest, to believe in something that we cannot really prove is to have a faith.

Yes, thank you. We've covered this much, above......and also, about a bazillion times prior to this. You, the Theist, have "a faith". Yes, similar to Mormons; similar to Muslims; similar to myriad other "faiths" that oppose yours.

Again - and loosely assuming that you'll actually pay attention to anything that's being said to you - with "faith", ANYTHING conceivable then becomes "possible", because, AGAIN, "faith" doesn't require evidence.'Get it? Duh.

You...When I say that I believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God I have faith that this is true.

Assuming "God" exists, yes, we're perfectly aware of what you believe, and the reasons you believe it. That disclosure is totally redundant, unnecessary, and frankly, annoying. Notwithstanding, I believed it for 2/3rds of my life, for similar reasons. I CHANGED my mind. Get over it, or get evidence.

You...When somebody claims to be an [atheist] they have faith that they are right. Atheism is a religion whether you like it or not.

"Atheism" is NOT a "claim", you insipid &*%$#. Please stop getting your information from your own side. I simply don't believe that any "Gods" exist. I am not "claiming" that NO gods exist. 'Understand the difference?

Now, I do, however, claim that concepts that fail to align with logic do not/cannot exist. For example: "married bachelors" do not/cannot exist. Likewise, a being - ANY being - who is claimed to be both ALL-knowing, and ALL-powerful, cannot logically exist. That would include your biblegod. Mind you, I wasn't the one who gave your 'divine-babysitter-in-the-sky' its attributes. Either it did, or early Christians did. Thus, your problem should be with them; not me.

You...The difference between you and I is that I have faith in the Lord of heaven and earth and you have a faith that He doesn't exist.

No. The difference between belief and NO belief, is that the latter does not require evidence, nor "faith", nor anything involving religious devotion, whatsoever. If I'm wrong, then please oblige me on the following:

Please delineate, in clear terms, how you employ "faith", and/or "religion", in denying that "Muhammad" was the one True Prophet of "God". In fact, try to add up all the time you've spent lacking belief in "Islam", and I'll wager that over your lifetime it hasn't amounted to over 2 minutes.

That is a direct challenge. And remember, be HONEST. After all, bearing false witness is a "sin", which evidently makes your eyes bleed. BOO!

Astreja said...

istillbelieveincompletenonsense: "So you don't believe in Jesus Christ any longer because there are some inconsistencies between the Bible and your own beliefs?"

No, I don't believe in Jesus because I don't see anything of value coming from someone who might have existed nearly 2,000 years ago but (if he lived at all) is now dead, dead, dead.

Everything of social or personal value in the Gospel message was said far earlier and far, far better by sages from other philosophical traditions such as Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism and Jainism.

And the rest of the "message", such as substitutionary atonement and Original Sin and the eschatology of Revelation, is pure excrement that continues to poison lives worldwide.

"Man God is good and His Word is truth."

Prove that your god exists. While you're at it, you can also explain the alleged "good" in drowning the planet and ordering the genocide of the Amalekite people.

"Christianity is NOT here to enslave people or control societies."

Too. Fucking. Late. Christianity already did it, many times, to the pain and detriment of innumerable cultures. Christianity owes a huge debt to the people that it has dispossessed.

"I would love to tell you of many more things that are happening in our current society that is paving the way for "end time" events--"

You think the "end time" is a good thing?

You, sir or madam, are sick. Morally bankrupt, too. You are a mindless believer-drone unwilling or unable to challenge emerging situations that could endanger all life on earth because they might delay your precious Second Coming and deprive you of your comfy chair in Heaven.

Go away.

AtheistToothFairy said...

Meranda wrote:
Robert Beckford
Who Wrote The Bible?
http://youtube.com/watch?v=suseKsLEWKo


Meranda,

This documentary on "Who wrote the bible" was excellent !!

I'm not sure if our WM has posted this video before, but I sure think it should be; if it hasn't been already.

Anyone considering watching this video, be prepared with your popcorn and drink, as it's quite a long one.

ATF (Who wants to say THANKS to Meranda for that great find!!)

Anonymous said...

I was going to respond to "istillbelieve" as well, but I don't have time, and reading his posts as painful, as English class clearly hasn't taught him how to create paragraphs.

“First I want to say to everyone that no matter what I say you will not believe or understand because you enjoy refuting everything”

Enjoy refuting? No. Think about my beliefs? Yes.

“Let's be honest, to believe in something that we cannot really prove is to have a faith.”

I’m glad you pointed this out. The problem with the bible after realising you can’t prove it, is realising you can disprove it. The ideals of god are twisted, and for a god who desires people to follow him in love he sure seems to enjoy giving Satan reign over the earth... and leaving us to fend for ourselves with an irrational, illogical, contradictory book.

Irrational/Illogical: God went to so much effort to flood the earth by doing so many miracles just to keep the boat floating, just to get the animals inside, to create a totally ridiculous story that nobody can ever prove happened. Why didn’t he just do it the way he did it in 1919 and kill off twenty million people off with Spanish influenza for no foreseeable good purpose?

Contradictory: God tells us not to kill. He then proceeds to flood the world, and destroy all civilisation in the promised land. Not out of self defence, but out of spite. Irony?

“When I say that I believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God I have faith that this is true”

It is such a shame I don’t share your optimism.

“Atheism is a religion whether you like it or not.”

I’d like to know what you base your statement on. Atheism is a lack of belief in gods, it is not a belief that there are no gods.

“When somebody claims to be an [atheist] they have faith that they are right”

This is a blatant lie. When I claim to be an atheist, I have found inconsistencies in your religion that prove you *wrong* until you can justify those inconsistencies to a reasonable level.

“The difference between you and I is that I have faith in the Lord of heaven and earth and you have a faith that He doesn't exist.”

There is no proof to tell me that god exists, so how is it that I need faith to tell you that I’m atheist. I need no more faith to be an atheist than I need skill to not play chess.

Christians! Atheism isn’t a belief. It’s a *lack* of belief, nothing else. This is really something you need to get through your thick skulls.

Gene said...

To the original question: State your position if asked. I agree with David - if you believe something (even if your belief is not believing) then you should be willing to state your position honestly, AND willing to defend your thinking. That's the same advise for Christians, Muslims, pagans, whatever.

I can't let one comment go by though. . .
"for a god who desires people to follow him in love he sure seems to enjoy giving Satan reign over the earth." Sorry. that's naive thinking. I don't know how old you are or if you have your own children but we all do that: We care for and love our children but we release them into the world to do what they will - and there's a lot of bad stuff out there to hurt and destroy people. God's no different in that respect. It's about having the choice - to believe or not to believe.

There are somethings in the bible that cannot be proven one way or the other. Some things can be proven to be true and some things don't wash with what we know. All that proves is what we already know - human beings put pen to paper - it wasn't etched in stone by the finger of god. And some of the stories were (according to Jewish tradition) carried for thousands of years as oral history before being written down. Gee, I think that there might be some "mistakes" in there. call me crazy but hey. . we're only human.

S.H., When I was 18 I did what you're doing. Like muttmutt, I've experienced things that demand an explanation that cannot be given by simple science. In my case, I used those experiences (and there were several years of them) and returned to Christianity - but not the Christianity I was involved with before my "departure."

Everyone needs to make decisions in life and sometimes our way of thinking changes. If it doesn't change, it proves we are rigid, inflexible beings who do not know how to adapt and will pass the way of the dinosaurs. I tell lots of church groups that very thing. But it's true for all of us in all our thinking - Christian, non-Christian, atheist, pagan, seeker. We need to periodically re-evaluate ourselves and see if our thinking matches our actions. I dare say that most people in pews on Sunday morning don't do that. In fact you've given me a great title for my next blog on the subject.

Just keep re-accessing things over time and see where you end up. I did - for more than 50 years. And where I am now is not where I woudl have figured myself to be even 20 years ago.

Peace!

istillbelieve said...

Thanks sconnor, I needed that today. :) It amazes me how nasty people can be when they know they won't have to face those they disagree with in person. How bold you are sitting behind the keyboard sir. I hardly think you've "verbally spanked" anyone but again your insecurities are on display and you feel the need to claim that you have. So be it. Sir, you ARE very bitter and angry, any man who each day tries to think of why he shouldn't kill himself (christian or not) has issues with insecurity and anger. From everything you've written the reasons that stand out the most for your denial of God are: you can't grasp why a loving God allows suffering and tragedy & you attribute human mistakes to God. The crusades were not how Christianity originated, I agree, those guys were twisted as well. The original apostles were tortured and murdered for their faith, those were the Christians.

to the rest: I will agree with you all that atheism is not a faith. I think when Christians say that then they're assuming the atheist believes the theory of evolution. I guess they're not distinguishing the difference. Can we agree that atheists agree with the theory of evolution which is an unproven science and requires some level of faith to believe? We haven't agreed on much so far but maybe on that we can. :)

Boomslang: No I was not referring to morality. I was referring to current events and biblical prophecy. The fact that many "christians" don't know their Bible well enough for there to be clarity on morals in the body of Christ does not mean the Bible is not clear. It means these proclaimed "christians" don't know the Bible. Also, I did not intend to assert that if you did not agree with me that you weren't thinking clearly. I was just trying to tie current events to Bible prophecy and provide clarity in that regard--my apologies. Prove that there's a God with physical evidence? If I could do that would this site exist? We are talking about faith here. I tried to show prophetic biblical consistencies between the events of our day and the bible but you have rejected those. You've called them "strawman arguments" and "bare assertions" these terms mean the same thing. I argue that you are incorrect. I argue that there are world leaders pulling strings behind the scenes that are bringing about their one-world government. These events are occurring exactly how we should expect them to occur if in fact the "end times" prophecies are correct. Referring to your scenario you said "think about it (if at all possible)"--okay...it didn't take much thought. First, God is not in our realm of time, He's not restricted by time. Second, an omniscient being, (God) can certainly know that he will intervene on one's behalf. It doesn't mean He didn't know the future, it means He knew the future, and He knew He would be intervening, He's not changing anything He didn't already have planned.

astreja: I won't waste space/time giving you biblical answers concerning God's judgment that as an exchristian you probably already know. And again, "christianity" is not God, the things that PEOPLE do in the name of christianity often do not represent God (such as the crusades). Also, the fact that I would love to discuss something does not mean that I love to see that thing take place. The "end times" subject is not a joke and I do not take pleasure in considering the many horrible things that are to come. But if I can use facts from today and show in the Bible how these things must come to pass to fulfill prophecy then yes, I would LOVE to discuss. That makes me morally bankrupt? Why would a christian be excited about considering other christians being slaughtered for their faith. Remember, while I do believe there will be a "rapture" I know that it will only occur before the Tribulation period--which doesn't begin until the anti-christ signs the false peace covenant with Israel. There can certainly be persecution against christians up to that point. No, I take no pleasure in that, nor did I demonstrate any. Also which emerging situations are threatening all life on earth and are delaying Christ's return? Not sure where that came from or even what you're referring to...maybe I'll go away after you explain. :)

spakkeh: Let me have it! Everyone else has! Sorry for my lack of paragraphs; I'll forgive your comma use. Has a christian ever told you that God was not a God of judgment? If you create a planet you can do with it as you please. If the life on your planet doesn't do what you want, then feel free to send any calamity of your choosing to "persuade" your planet's life an opportunity to get right with you.

Astreja said...

Istillbelieve: "And again, 'christianity' is not God, the things that PEOPLE do in the name of christianity often do not represent God (such as the crusades)."

Until you prove that your god actually exists, the "Christianity is not God" argument is so much hand-waving. Your hypothetical god is represented on this earth only by people who profess belief.

The very fact that Christianity has caused grievous harm on this planet, coupled with the fact that your purported god did nothing to stop the abuses committed by believers, shows that Christianity is capable of inspiring people to act like vicious bastards. For that reason alone I will not be in the least bit sad to see it fade away into history.

"But if I can use facts from today and show in the Bible how these things must come to pass to fulfill prophecy..."

Are you familiar with the concept of a self-fulfilling prophesy? If people believe that something is due to happen, or must happen, they frequently participate in making it happen.

"Also which emerging situations are threatening all life on earth..."

Religious zealotry, wars being waged in the names of various imaginary gods.

Science education being hijacked by superstitious people, endangering our future by robbing future scientists of a proper education.

People shrugging when they hear of things like famines, genocides and global warming because they think the Rapture is going to happen Any Day Now.

In a more general sense... People with unverifiable beliefs hoping for a reward in Heaven and letting Earth go to hell in a handbasket because they don't think it's their "real" life. *shudder*

webmdave said...

Istill... wrote, "I think when Christians say that then they're assuming the atheist believes the theory of evolution. I guess they're not distinguishing the difference. Can we agree that atheists agree with the theory of evolution which is an unproven science and requires some level of faith to believe?"

Huh? I fail to grasp how the general acceptance or rejection of ANY scientific theories compares in any way to mystical beliefs that there are invisible, immaterial, magical entities floating around in the atmosphere.

Let's say that evolution is false. If evolution is false, that doesn't mean Christianity is true. And regardless of the relative merits of any of the myriad of scientific theories available, none threaten to keep human beings alive for all eternity in a horrific torture chamber.

If there were a sovereign God, and she did create the world, wouldn't that give her the right to do whatever she wanted with that world?

Yes.

Would she have the right to eternally torment and torture the people she created for not believing and obeying her specially created religion?

Yes.

Is torturing people ever considered a good thing to do?

No.

Is punishing people forever and ever and ever, for temporal crimes, without even the hint of a possibility of rehabilitation, parole, or time off for good behavior, a good example of justice?

No. It's a primitive, sick version of justice.

Is your version of "god" good?

No.

istillbelieve said...

astreja: There are/were misrepresentations of God in the world. Christianity is a belief, and beliefs do not murder people. People murder people. Is the gun or the murderer to blame for a killing? When there is no place in the Bible that calls Christians to act in that regard it is not fair to blame Christianity for people's misrepresentations of the religion. Did you forget that atheists have done evil things in the name of atheism? Ask Joseph Stalin. Was he a "good" atheist?People are to blame, greed is to blame. Call that "hand waving" or anything else you'd like in order to justify a dismissal. Also, your argument of a self fullfilling prophecy could hold water if Christians were in control of world events--Christians are not the ones pulling the strings. Concerning education: Do you know who writes the textbooks for public schools? It's not Christians, I don't see how Christians can be blamed for holding up scientific discovery when Christians aren't in charge. But again, we're back to blaming people. Besides, our gov't removed God and prayer from the schools in the 60's right? There's no acknowledgement of God in the schools, they simply treat Him as though He doesn't exist. You should be thrilled by that! Concerning "people" shrugging about the events you listed: I think that people of faith actually do a good job of attempting to support nations that experience calamity. I'm not sure what you expect "people" to do. What have you done? Concerning global warming: there are tens of thousands of scientists that are not going along with MAN-MADE global warming--and guess what...these scientists aren't all christians. Temperatures on the earth are cyclic. While I have no problem with taking good care of the Earth, there is no proof of MAN-MADE's existance; and the real agenda behind it is a push for a carbon tax. Should you and I be taxed on the basis of a theory? Google search global warming and carbon tax on the same search. MAN-MADE is a theory that appears to me to be even more accepted than the evolutionary theory--even among "christians". You seem to be compassionate at your choosing--Any defense for the tens of millions of innocent babies that are cut up and vacuumed out of their mother's wombs? Have those babies been dehumanized to the point that you're okay with that?

webmdave: Sir why are you arguing a point that I said I agreed with you on? If you read and retained what I wrote then you noticed that I said "I guess they're not distinguishing the difference" (between atheism/evolution). Again, my point was NOT that if evolution is false that God must be real; (that's an argument from personal incredulity, right?) it was that evolution requires faith and some christians confuse the atheist with the evolutionist...thus assuming the atheist has a faith in something. They are not distinguishing the difference. You asked, "Is torture ever considered a good thing to do?" Well...our government seems to think so. :) That might have been a cheap shot but it's true. Your definition of good is based on your opinion, because obviously many people think that torture is good. So, back to your female god, if she is the creator...then her opinion of what is good is the opinion that matters--it doesn't make her sick and primitive it makes you unable to accept her nature. My God does not think it is good that sinners must spend eternity in hell--that's why He sent Jesus...but hey, you know all about that already. So, I'm back to my theory that (besides PHYSICAL evidence) many atheists are rejecting God because they can't accept that a loving God would allow punishment--it's just too inconsistent with who He claims to be, (in your opinion), thus He is not real.

All: I kept seeing your promotions for "The God Delusion"--you guys are obsessed with this militant atheist! It took me only a few minutes to find atheists who are removing themselves from Dawkins, and of course there are countless rebuttles to his book that I'm sure none of you in your "free-thinking" quest for "truth" have taken the time to read. If there are people who have left the "Christian" faith SIMPLY BECAUSE OF THAT BOOK then I'm convinced that they were looking for an excuse to leave the faith anyway. When you read an honest critique of that book you may be less likely to promote.

SEO said...

Here is an interestibg video on the excessive punishment of hell.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=XaL7CkQaQpU&feature=related

-Couldn't get a link created....bah.

webmdave said...

webmdave: Sir why are you arguing a point that I said I agreed with you on?

I was taking issue with this: “Can we agree that atheists agree with the theory of evolution which is an unproven science and requires some level of faith to believe?”

No. It isn’t “unproven” and it takes no faith to study and attempt to understand the claims of science. It does, however, take a considerable amount of “faith” to believe in an invisible, unverifiable goddess with an extremely bad temper and a Bronze-Age definition of justice.

You see, Istill…, the point of your god’s justice is retributive punishment.

I still wrote, “So, back to your female god, if she is the creator...then her opinion of what is good is the opinion that matters--it doesn't make her sick and primitive it makes you unable to accept her nature.

So that means it is good to retributively punish lawbreakers with the most heinous torture imaginable. The death penalty is out, but everlasting horror is in! Praise the Lord!

No, Istill…, I cannot accept that a monster that would keep billions of human beings alive and torture them for all eternity for the heinous crime of not believing she exists.

We would expect that a god’s ways would not be our ways, but it is reasonable to expect that a god’s ways would at least be superior to our ways. Your god is a shallow, unimaginative, vindictive, petty, dictator when it comes to justice. It’s comprehension of right and wrong is underdeveloped and not fitting of a god.

Further, the whole idea of salvation is nothing more than a bribe with a threat. “Accept my great love-gift or I’ll make sure you suffer forever” isn’t the typical sales pitch one is accustomed to falling for. In fact, that kind of “gift” sounds more like something offered by a serial rapist: “Love me or I’ll slit your throat. It’s your free choice. If you bleed out, it won’t be anyone’s fault but your own.”

“Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is none more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory in itself, than this thing called Christianity. Too absurd for belief, too impossible to convince, and too inconsistent for practice, it renders the heart torpid, or produces only atheists and fanatics. As an engine of power, it serves the purpose of despotism; and as a means of wealth, the avarice of priests; but so far as respects the good of man in general, it leads to nothing here or hereafter.” – Thomas Paine, Chapter III of “The Age of Reason.

istillbelieve said...

webmdave: First, thank you for a real conversation that doesn't resort to insults. I don't know if you've recognized that but it's kind of rare...at least at this site. I agree that it takes no faith to STUDY science, but to believe in your heart that evolution is fact when it's not proven by science does require a level of faith. Evolution IS an unproven science...it's a theory right? It's taught as the most ACCEPTABLE explanation that science can give as to the origin of human life--but there is no such evidence that has proven it as fact. Science is limited to that which can be physically proven, right? Under that rule can science agree that "love" exists? I don't think it can--but you and I know that it does because we've experienced it. I'm not saying that because love exists, that God must exist, but I'm saying science by it's very nature can't recognize EVERYTHING that exists. Concerning eternal damnation: (i actually chuckled at your sarcastic "Praise the Lord!") I understand that you cannot accept the idea of eternal damnation. I do--that's been the basis of most atheists arguments and I fully understand where you're coming from. It's a tough pill to swallow, and one you've chosen not to. So be it, I'm not so arrogant to think I will change your mind. You have your perception of what a "god" should be, the God of the Bible does not fit and thus you've dismissed Him as God. I completely understand, you don't need to waste your time driving that point home. The quote from Paine may have philosophical value but it is his opinion. I am no atheist nor a fanatic, and most "christians" who claim Jesus as Lord certainly don't live their lives as though He is--as pointed out by someone above there's not even clarity among the body of Christ as to what is morally acceptable according to the Bible. How horrible is that!--but if I'm honest I have to say she/he was right. These people aren't fanatics, they don't even know their own religion. That's why many atheists are able to rip them to shreds...they don't even know what they claim to believe.

boomSLANG said...

istillbelieve is back, with...Boomslang: No I was not referring to morality. I was referring to current events and biblical prophecy.

Dear istillbelieve,

When/if time permits, feel free to share your expert perspective on failed biblical "Prophecies". Please tell me why I shouldn't expect True "perfection"; and True "omniscience"; and revelation of a "Divine" nature, to yield a 100% success rate. 'Listening.

In the mean time, here are just a few failed "Prophecies" for you to mull over:

Isaiah 17:1-2

"An oracle concerning Damascus. See, Damascus will cease to be a city, and will become a heap of ruins. Her towns will be deserted forever..."

Status: Failed.

Ezekiel 29:8-12

"thus says the Lord God..and the land of Egypt shall be a desolation and a waste...no foot of man shall pass through it and no foot of beast shall past through it; it shall be uninhabited for forty years. And I will make the city of Egypt a desolation in the midst of desolated countries; and her cities shall be desolated forty years... I will scatter Egyptian among the nations, and disperse them through the countries."

Status: Failed.

My next question pertains to the biblical "Prophecy" that there will be apostates in the "end times". The problem should be obvious, but in case it's not---skeptics, "back-sliders", nonbelievers, "apostates", etc., etc., are actually necessary in the fulfullment of said "Prophecy". 'See the problem?

You continue....The fact that many "christians" don't know their Bible well enough for there to be clarity on morals in the body of Christ does not mean the Bible is not clear. It means these proclaimed "christians" don't know the Bible.

Oh, goodness gracious! Okay, thanks-so-much for hammering my entire point on home!

I have a question for you:

What is the distinction/difference between a "proclaimed christian" and a "christian"? Notice that I ask the question, rhetorically. Why?.... because the answer is that there IS NOT one drop of f%cking difference; there IS NO distinction, whatsoever.

Listen closely, and tell me if you agree with this statement: No second or third party gets to determine if "istillbelieve" is a "True Christian", or not.

If the above is true, then by the same consideration, "istillbelieve" doesn't get to determine if other people are "True Christians", or not. You cannot have it both ways. In other words, putting quotes around the title "Christian", or trying to make a distinction by putting the word "proclaimed" ahead of the word Christian, is totally redundant, and frankly, just silly. It suggests that there are "false Christians"...i.e...Christians who don't believe they are "Christian". Again, silly.

The bible is claimed to be parable, poetic, metaphor, symbolic, and even literal in places. My point, again, is that due to the aforementioned, said book will never, in your wildest dreams, be understood precisely the same way by any two bible-believing denominations/sects. While true, Christians may agree on some "essentials"..i.e..Jesus saves!!"..and "God is love!!", etc..they will NEVER agree on "morality", and the reason for that, is simply because it boils down to what each person believes; NOT what the bible "says". For instance, if Shirley Phelps and her inbred "congregation"(family) wanted to start killing all non-christians tomorrow, she could justify it with the bible! (ref: Deuteronomy) If the KKK wanted to buy/sell/trade some "niggers"?..JUSTIFIED!

istillbelieve...Also, I did not intend to assert that if you did not agree with me that you weren't thinking clearly. I was just trying to tie current events to Bible prophecy and provide clarity in that regard---my apologies.

Apology accepted. Attempt at clarification? Failed.

istillbelieve...Prove that there's a God with physical evidence? If I could do that would this site exist? We are talking about faith here. I tried to show prophetic biblical consistencies between the events of our day and the bible but you have rejected those.

Yes, rejected. And guess what?...I am justified in rejecting them, because I see no consistancy, whatsoever, in the outcome. What I see, is a combination of the rewriting of history, and the shoe-horning of current events into past, extremely vague, extremely ambiguous, "holy text".

istillbelieve...You've called them "strawman arguments" and "bare assertions" these terms mean the same thing.

I don't necessarily agree, but either way, how does that help your position?

istillbelieve...I argue that you are incorrect.

Right, hence, "i-still-believe"? 'Got it. Of course, belief and reality are not mutually inclusive, but I'm sure you know that, right?

istillbelieve...I argue that there are world leaders pulling strings behind the scenes that are bringing about their one-world government. These events are occurring exactly how we should expect them to occur if in fact the "end times" prophecies are correct.

First and foremost, these "events" are occuring "exactly how we should expect them to occur", if there is no Divine "pie-in-the-sky" watching over its creation; if there is no "Perfect" being revealing "Perfect" answers to its "believers". Common sense, plus a review of history, is all one needs to "predict" that people will have problems with their enemies, and that mankind seeks to dominate others.

istillbelieve...Referring to your scenario you said "think about it (if at all possible)"--okay...it didn't take much thought. First, God is not in our realm of time, He's not restricted by time.

What "God"? And seriously, am I expected to be impressed when a person comes along and tries to define their respective deity in terms of what it doesn't do? Let's see how that works:

Dear istillbelieve,

Count Chocula DOES NOT care if you eat Frosted Flakes; he gives you free will to choose, because he DOES NOT hate the traitor!

Convinced?

istillbelieve continues...Second, an omniscient being, (God) can certainly know that he will intervene on one's behalf. It doesn't mean He didn't know the future, it means He knew the future, and He knew He would be intervening, He's not changing anything He didn't already have planned.

You are NOT listening.

Okay, once more:

If "God" knows it will intervene in someone's life, say, at 1:00 PM on June 9th, 4089. Then he KNOWS it. There is nothing to contemplate; there is nothing to deliberate on---the decision is made, based again, on "God's" alleged knowledge of all future events.

When that time comes to pass, if "God" changes its mind at the last second, for instance, if it comtemplates a situation and decides to let a child live, instead of "calling him/her home" as orginally planned, then logic says that "God" did NOT know the future to begin with. 'Get it?

Simultanious "omniscience"/"free will" is an impossible concept.

istillbelieve...Evolution IS an unproven science...it's a theory right?

This - I'm sorry - is pathetic. You are exploiting your own ignorance. If you find it an "insult", so be it--perhaps it'll drive you to learn about Evolution from credible sources, instead of apologetic websites and the like. Yes, Evolution is "only a theory"--just like electromagnetic theory is "only a theory"; just like Atomic Theory is "only a theory". FYI, the "theory" part is simply the explanation behind each thing.

Notwithstanding, did you know that "creation" is neither fact, nor theory? "GOD DID IT!!!" isn't a "theory"; it explains nothing.

boomSLANG said...

'Can't let these "gems" go.....

istillbelieve, to Astreja...Did you forget that atheists have done evil things in the name of atheism?

Not-to-shockingly, you have seriously misrepresented Atheism.

These people did what they did, not because of the non-belief in "God", but because they attempted to be "God", and by association, attempted to claim that they had a monopoly on objective morality, the same way Theists insist that their respective "gods" have the same.

istillbelieve, to Astreja: your argument of a self fullfilling prophecy could hold water if Christians were in control of world events--Christians are not the ones pulling the strings.

Right, biblegod is presumably "pulling the strings", and in that case, we are puppets, and our "free will" is an illusion.

Repeat: "omniscience" and "free will" are mutually incompatible.

webmdave said...

"Evolution IS an unproven science...it's a theory right?"

Wrong.

What I mean is, to say something is a "theory" is not to say it is just a guess that needs faith, or that it is "unproven." Take for instance, the "Theory of Gravity." You wouldn't suggest that it takes any faith to accept the reality of gravity even though it's only explained by a mere scientific theory, would you?

From Wikipedia: "In scientific usage, a theory does not mean an unsubstantiated guess or hunch, as it can in everyday speech. A theory is a logically self-consistent model or framework for describing the behavior of a related set of natural or social phenomena. It originates from or is supported by experimental evidence. In this sense, a theory is a systematic and formalized expression of all previous observations, and is predictive, logical, and testable."

The Theory of Evolution does not address the origin of life on Earth. Evolution is about the development, mutation, and proliferation of various species of life on Earth. An observation of Evolution would be that Apes and Humans share a remarkable 98% of the same DNA.

The beginning of life is covered under another discipline called Abiogenesis. Christians frequently confuse the two sciences, arguing from a foundation of misunderstanding, ignorance, and religious apologetic rhetoric.

There are many things science can't tell us about the universe yet, or may be ever. It is a really big universe. But just because we don't know all the answers doesn't mean there is any reason to think a magical deity who is ready to roast most of humanity in a horrific bottomless pit of torment actually exists.

As science as progressed, god has retreated. God was once thought responsible for lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes eruptions, plague, drought, pestilence, sickness, health, famine, plenty, pregnancy, bareness, etc. As we learn more about the natural world, the magical world of god fades into the myths of ancient men and women. Now god has retreated all the way back to the origin of life. Hope and pray we are never able to recreate the beginning of life in a lab. Your god will have to make another retreat.

Jim Arvo said...

istillbelieve said "...to believe in your heart that evolution is fact when it's not proven by science does require a level of faith."

You have a number of common misconceptions about what a "theory" is and what it means to accept it. I'll elaborate below.

istillbelieve: "Evolution IS an unproven science...it's a theory right?"

ALL science is "unproven", since ALL science is provisional. That is, any conclusion reached by science can be overturned or modified if new information casts doubt on it. The label "theory" has nothing at all to do with being "unproven". What it connotes is an explanation that fits the available facts, makes predictions, and has thus far survived all attempts at falsification.

istillbelieve: "It's taught as the most ACCEPTABLE explanation that science can give as to the origin of human life--but there is no such evidence that has proven it as fact."

No, it's the most factually supported explanation available to date. It has made thousands of detailed predictions that have been verified through genomics and biochemistry. That's the best any theory can do. So, it's one of the more robust ideas to emerge from science; it's not in any danger of being toppled any time soon.

istillbelieve: "Science is limited to that which can be physically proven, right?"

No. I hope you see how inappropriate the word "proven" is now. Let me offer a rephrasing of your statement: Science is limited to that which admits objective evidence. See the difference?

istillbelieve: "Under that rule can science agree that 'love' exists? I don't think it can..."

Science has explained much regarding our emotions--even very complicated emotions such as "love" (which has numerous varieties). If you study evolutionary psychology, you'll discover that human emotions are not nearly as mysterious as you seem to suggest.

istillbelieve: "...I'm saying science by it's very nature can't recognize EVERYTHING that exists."

If there is objective evidence for it, then yes, science can "recognize" it. If there is no evidence, science remains silent about it.

istillbelieve: "...that's [eternal damnation] been the basis of most atheists arguments..."

No, I think that's a very poor characterization. While I think the majority of atheists see eternal damnation as a crude and reprehensible man-made fiction, and it may have even been a catalyst to start one questioning whether Christianity is true, I'd wager that that idea has produced very few apostates by itself. I think it is far more common for people to reject Christianity after seeking substantive evidence for it and finding none.

istillbelieve: "You [webmdave] have your perception of what a 'god' should be, the God of the Bible does not fit and thus you've dismissed Him as God. I completely understand,..."

I don't wish to speak for webmdave, but I don't think you understand at all. Yes, the god of Christianity does appear to be depicted as an absurd monster to most of us here, but that alone does not undermine her existence. It all comes down to evidence, evidence, evidence. I've personally never seen a single shred of credible evidence for invisible beings of any kind--thus, I harbor no belief in them. Show me some evidence, then we can talk...

Astreja said...

Istillbelieve: "Christianity is a belief, and beliefs do not murder people. People murder people."

Tell that to My ancestors, who were forced to convert to Christianity at swordpoint. (And they were the lucky ones: Their communities' goðar and seiðkonur were tortured and/or burned alive in their homes.)

"When there is no place in the Bible that calls Christians to act in that regard..."

*ahem* There is a great deal of Biblical justification for the murder of different-believers (and their children, too). Lots and lots of it. It's all over the friggin' book, in both testaments! (Luke 19:27, for starters.)

"Did you forget that atheists have done evil things in the name of atheism? Ask Joseph Stalin. Was he a 'good' atheist?"

First of all... You have fallen prey to the tu quoque logical fallacy, otherwise known as "Ma! He hit me back first!!"

Secondly, Stalin did nothing "in the name of atheism." He did it in the name of his own cult-of-personality ideology, driven by a desire to make Russia the most powerful nation on Earth. Existence or non-existence of gods was, at best, a minor issue. I suspect that Stalin's early seminary training made him rather familiar with the potential power in religious totalitarianism, so when he came to power he scratched out "יהוה" and wrote in "Иосиф Сталин" in crayon.

I propose a new term, apotheosist, for folks who install themselves as gods.

"Also, your argument of a self fullfilling prophecy could hold water if Christians were in control of world events--Christians are not the ones pulling the strings."

Funny, the last time I heard, G.W. Bush claimed to be a Christian. He's certainly in the top ten pullers-of-strings. (Or are you going to dodge this one by playing the "No true Christian" card?)

"Concerning education: Do you know who writes the textbooks for public schools? It's not Christians."

I beg to differ. According to the 2000 American Religious Identification Survey, 76.5% of Americans claimed to be Christians. Based on that, it's reasonable to assume that a substantial number of textbook writers are, in fact, Christians. Do you have any evidence to the contrary?

"I don't see how Christians can be blamed for holding up scientific discovery when Christians aren't in charge."

Conservative Christian lobby groups are constantly interfering with school curricula and national policy. For starters, proponents of "intelligent design" are trying to get their hypothesis taught in science classes, despite the fact that it has no body of peer-reviewed research that would justify calling it a 'science'.

"There's no acknowledgement of God in the schools, they simply treat Him as though He doesn't exist."

As well it should be. The god of the Bible is a hypothetical and unproven entity... Not an appropriate subject for the public school system, especially when the same material is already being offered in churches.

"I'm not sure what you expect 'people' to do."

At a very minimum... Stop preaching about 'the end of days'.

"You seem to be compassionate at your choosing--Any defense for the tens of millions of innocent babies that are cut up and vacuumed out of their mother's wombs? Have those babies been dehumanized to the point that you're okay with that?"

Until a fetus has a nervous system and a brain capable of feeling pain, yes, I *am* okay with that. I, Myself, have never had an abortion but I support the right of women everywhere to make that choice.

It would also help things immeasurably if religious zealots stopped having hissy-fits every time someone says the phrase 'sex education'. Easy access to inexpensive and effective contraception, and a well-informed population, is a good way to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies (and, by extension, the number of abortions).

istillbelieve said...

Alrighty then…its obvious this is getting us nowhere. Honestly I’m losing interest in discussing this with you guys so if this is my last post it’s not because I don’t like you—I’m going to TRY to bow out and allow you all the “last word”.

Boomslang: Please paste your “failed” prophecies back to wherever you copied them from. There is ample commentary out there if you’d like biblical explanations. But then, you know that already and you’ve rejected them as unacceptable. So be it. You are really trying to construct traps that I won’t waste my time goofing off with. Something really simple real quick before I move on though…look up your “scripture” from Isaiah in a Bible and find that word “forever” for me. You, or the original author I should say, is making an inference—the same thing you ACCUSE “Christians” of doing.

Next boomslang, concerning your belief that I made YOUR point in arguing that “Christians” don’t know their Bible: Laughable. YOU are the one missing the point. Saying “I am a Christian” does not make one a Christian. You said that it does; you are wrong. A Christian is one who has repented of their sins, has made a confession of faith and believes in their heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross to bear their sins, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He is the ONLY way to heaven. You said that a third party cannot know a Christian from a proclaimed “Christian” and you threw in a masked expletive to REALLY drive home your point. The Bible says that we CAN judge “by their fruits”—by their lifestyle, by their priorities. God is not saying that I can impart final judgment on them which is reserved for HIM, but we can recognize their spiritual wellbeing and help them if they’re trying to know God, and dismiss them if they are “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. Is the American lifestyle the Christian lifestyle? NO. One of the other atheists threw a quote out about 75% of our nation being “Christian”. If that were really the case would we have homeless people, would some of our kids be going without meals, would Desperate Housewives and other T.V. and entertainment garbage that glorifies the opposite of Christian living be so tolerated and popular? Etc. etc. I agree that it is difficult for you and I to always know for sure whether one is a Christian, but again, one who says “I’m a Christian” is not automatically a Christian. And you’re right again when you say it’s an individual thing, it’s a matter of the heart. Just because one attends a Baptist church and claims a “Baptist” label doesn’t mean he believes and completely accepts the aforementioned criteria of what a biblical Christian is.

Concerning morality: The interpretation of parables and metaphors contained within the Bible does not affect one’s salvation. A Christian cannot use the OT to justify murdering someone—clearly God instructed us to obey the laws of the land (gov’t) unless those laws contend with His. There’s no such thing as a Christian in the OT.

Concerning your rejection: No argument here…I understand that you cannot see these things. They require faith and you admittedly have none. So be it.

Concerning end times prophecy: Your knowledge of this is so limited…the vagueness of your response clearly indicates you have no clue what you’re talking about. No, I would not like to take the time to explain something to you that you will undoubtedly reject because we both know can’t see it.

Concerning you going on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about God’s intervention: The key point YOU aren’t recognizing about MY faith is that God is not going to “change his mind”. I WAS listening, you sir are not grasping a key tenant of my faith. If God is not in the realm of time, then the “child’s” outcome was already decided by God before that human time actually arrived. His decision was made, the outcome was complete, He is not restricted by your idea of time. THERE IS NO CHANGING OF HIS MIND. Do YOU get it? Not do YOU accept it, but do you UNDERSTAND what I wrote?

Concerning Stalin and atheism: My statement was purposeful because that’s exactly what you have claimed against my faith. (and No I’m not saying atheism is a faith) You have attributed the atrocities of selfish murderers to Christianity because of a certain flag they waved or a cross they carried around. It’s garbage, and just as it’s not fair to blame atheism for Stalin’s atrocities it’s not fair to blame Christianity for the atrocities of men who carried the banner but whose “fruit” obviously is not what we see from a Christian.

What it comes back to over and over again is the FACT that it requires FAITH to “see”. You have none, and I can’t argue faith into you. I accept that.

Webmdave & Mr Arvo: Thank you guys for clearing me up on what I thought were just semantics. You actually taught me something and I appreciate that. However, , I spend a lot of time listening to creation/evolution debates. Basically, they all come to a stalemate because there is no earthly smoking gun evidence that either claim is absolutely positively correct. So we’re back again, do you have faith? No. Okay, so be it. If I must accept that Science (as you guys said) can’t “prove” anything but can only infer; then when I look at the Bible if I’m able to accept IT as truth, I’m without dilemma. That’s the simple difference between the faithful and the faithless. It’s funny; I feel sorry for you guys…and you feel sorry for me.  We’re all happy right where we are for the time being…

Astreja: I’ve covered your first point already, but there are some blatant contradictions in your claim. Especially using the Luke reference…you know that’s only one verse out of about a 20 verse PARABLE right? There are commentaries available to explain the scripture if you are really having trouble with it…or maybe you too are attempting to trap me. If a Christian is supposed to be killing non-Christians why don’t we see the disciples killing or defending themselves, or better yet our Lord who is everything we aspire to be should have been killing them. But no, THEY were the ones who were killed…further, if Christians are supposed to be killing non-christians and we don’t see that happening in our country then how can our country be made up of 75% of Christians.

I covered the atheist/Stalin argument in my address to boomslang—I agree, it’s not fair at all.

Concerning the Prez: Bush is an unrepentant adept of the Skull and Bones secret society of Yale Univ—he’s on record admitting to that. I will CERTAINLY play the “no-christian card”. He’s a great example of one who professes Christianity yet his “fruits” clearly point in the other direction. Bush is a puppet, read up on your political conspiracy.

Concerning “end times”: Quit discussing it? If I believe it, why will I stop talking about it? Especially when I can see things happening in society today that (clearly to me) must take place for it to be true—and I’m able to show (one who truly is searching) the legitimacy of prophecy. Is talking about “end of days” the reason we face the problems we face that you said threaten man’s survival? Will you stop talking about atheism when it’s clearly something you believe? I know you won’t look at the Bible, but just for the heck of it why don’t you look into world wide political conspiracy as I suggested. You want to start with something interesting?….the events surrounding 9/11/2001 should wet your appetite. It is the truth you’re after right?

Concerning abortion: A simple “No” to the first question and “Yes” to my second question would have sufficed. So you’re fine with the death of the baby (fetus) if it can’t feel itself dying...and late abortions or partial birth abortion?—that’s when the head has crowned and the doctor/killer stabs its brain with surgical scissors. Playing word games with human life is not cute or clever--but I'm morally bankrupt. Seems to me that abortion goes against the idea of human evolution…why are we killing off our own young by the millions? In my opinion it is the most disgusting practice that humans participate in. God help us.

Concerning sex-ed: It IS taught in schools. Not only do they learn the basics of human reproduction but they also “learn” that it’s “cool” for boys to hump like jack rabbits. The girls learn that it’s okay to give themselves to people of their choosing (with protection), of course they then realize how cheap they’ve become in the eyes of the boys they’d like to be with and actually lose any level of respect the boys had for them. Great plan, very healthy.

Guys I’m out, you probably won’t hear back from me but I’ll read your responses (if you respond) and again TRY to allow you the last word. It’s been real.

Jim Arvo said...

istillbelieve said "...they [creation/evolution debates] all come to a stalemate because there is no earthly smoking gun evidence that either claim is absolutely positively correct."

Well, in a very twisted sort of way, what you say is correct. Now, please consider this statement:

Every match-up between Bambi and Godzilla basically ends in a stalemate, since neither one can completely obliterate every molecule of the other.

I claim that my statement is also true to the same degree and for the same reason that yours is. You see, both statements presume a completely absurd metric for success ("absolute positive correctness" in your case, "obliterating every molecule" in mine), but according to that metric, one could indeed declare a "stalemate". See?

Now, here's the point. Both statements are wildly misleading as stated, for if we substitute any reasonable metric for success, they become patently false. Observe:

1) creation/evolution debates all come to a stalemate because neither one makes any verifiable predictions or has any objective supporting evidence.

1) Bambi and Godzilla will always tie because neither one is significantly bigger or stronger than the other.

See; both are blatantly ridiculous now.

istillbelieve continues "...So we’re back again, do you have faith? No."

No, not by a long shot. You are again assuming the unattainable and unrealistic goal of absolute certainty. If that's what you must have, at any cost, then I suppose your only choice is "faith", since reality will never deliver it. But please don't assume that everyone else must follow suit. I'm 100% comfortable with varying levels of certainty, all falling short of 100%.

istillbelieve added "If I must accept that Science (as you guys said) can’t “prove” anything but can only infer; then when I look at the Bible if I’m able to accept IT as truth, I’m without dilemma. That’s the simple difference between the faithful and the faithless."

Well, again I think what you just said is actually true in a twisted and misleading sort of way. In effect, what you are saying is that "faith" gives you the FEELING of "certainty", whether or not that feeling is justified. Yes, I agree with that. However, is that really the issue here? I'd like to think that what we're after is what is actually TRUE, not simply what makes us feel confident. But then maybe that really is the difference between the "faithful" (the latter) and the "faithless" (the former). If so, I proudly declare myself "faithless".

webmdave said...

"I spend a lot of time listening to creation/evolution debates. Basically, they all come to a stalemate because there is no earthly smoking gun evidence that either claim is absolutely positively correct."

I think it all boils down to what one believes more likely to be true. The question is, in light of how much of our world has been de-mystified by science in the past few centuries, is it just a tad more likely that the origin and development of biological life would be the result of natural processes, or is it more likely to assume that the origin and development of biological life the result of metaphyisical and magical processes?

I like Harry Potter as much as the next guy, but magic is just pretend.

istillbelieve said...

webmdave & Mr. Arvo: Thanks again for the conversation. You guys take care.

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

istillbelieve is back, yet once more, with....Boomslang: Please paste your “failed” prophecies back to wherever you copied them from. There is ample commentary out there if you’d like biblical explanations. But then, you know that already and you’ve rejected them as unacceptable. So be it.

Wrong. I don't reject "biblical explanations" simply because they are "biblical"; I reject them because, taken at face-value, I'm not convinced they are a foretelling of the future. The end.

You...You are really trying to construct traps that I won’t waste my time goofing off with.

Perhaps you feel they are "traps", because you cannot address them with sound, reasonable arguments. That's my first guess.

You...Something really simple real quick before I move on though…look up your “scripture” from Isaiah in a Bible and find that word “forever” for me. You, or the original author I should say, is making an inference—the same thing you ACCUSE “Christians” of doing.

I suppose your point, then, is that making an "inference" is perfectly acceptable, as long as it supports the Christian worldview.

You...Next boomslang, concerning your belief that I made YOUR point in arguing that “Christians” don’t know their Bible: Laughable.

Laugh until you piss yourself; the bible, like all religiously inspire literature, is purely subjective. THAT is my point, and yes, YOU helped make it. Thanks again.

You...YOU are the one missing the point. Saying “I am a Christian” does not make one a Christian. You said that it does; you are wrong.

No, I am not wrong. And if you insist to the contrary, then by your very own reasoning, any "Christian" who comes along who happens to disagree with your interpretation of scripture, can proclaim that "istillbelieve" believes incorrectly, and they will be right! You cannot have it both ways.(see below for more on this)

You...A Christian is one who has repented of their sins, has made a confession of faith and believes in their heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross to bear their sins, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He is the ONLY way to heaven.

Forgive me, but you've just described the essentials for Evangelical "Christianity". How about the Universalist Christian, who disbelieves in hell? Oh wait, let me guess...they aren't "True Christians", as defined by "istillbelieve". Um...are you getting this?

You...You said that a third party cannot know a Christian from a proclaimed “Christian” and you threw in a masked expletive to REALLY drive home your point. The Bible says that we CAN judge “by their fruits”—by their lifestyle, by their priorities. God is not saying that I can impart final judgment on them which is reserved for HIM, but we can recognize their spiritual wellbeing and help them if they’re trying to know God, and dismiss them if they are “wolves in sheep’s clothing”.

Fantastic. In that case, it only reaffirms the point that you have zero business insinuating that another person isn't a True Christian, until you hang out with that person for a month or two.... you know, to observe the "fruits" of their lifestyle.

You...Is the American lifestyle the Christian lifestyle? NO.

You mean, are they keeping slaves and throwing rocks at prostitutes? No. Correct.

You...One of the other atheists threw a quote out about 75% of our nation being “Christian”. If that were really the case would we have homeless people, would some of our kids be going without meals, would Desperate Housewives and other T.V. and entertainment garbage that glorifies the opposite of Christian living be so tolerated and popular?

Gee, I don't know... if it were really the case that "God" answered "prayers", would we have all those things you mentioned? The point I'm trying to make here, is that if your biblegod existed, it is behaving precisely as if it does not, as clearly seen by your pointing out of all the sad facts that you mentioned.

You...I agree that it is difficult for you and I to always know for sure whether one is a Christian, but again, one who says “I’m a Christian” is not automatically a Christian.

Speak for yourself. I don't believe in "Christ", and thus, if I see someone behaving ethically and showing respect towards other human beings, etc...it's simply because they have chosen to live as a kind person. Not because they are following the "bible", or that they have a "ghost" living inside their cardiovascular organs.

You...Concerning morality: The interpretation of parables and metaphors contained within the Bible does not affect one’s salvation. A Christian cannot use the OT to justify murdering someone—clearly God instructed us to obey the laws of the land (gov’t) unless those laws contend with His. There’s no such thing as a Christian in the OT.

Good, then since the Commandments(OT) weren't for "Christians" either, then we can toss them out too, right? Right.

Now, do you have a sudden compulsion to lie, murder, and steal, since those "Commandments" dont' apply to you, as a "True Christian"? Keep us posted.

You...Concerning your rejection: No argument here…I understand that you cannot see these things. They require faith and you admittedly have none. So be it.

Faith? But you are attempting to get me to see what you have to say as "evidence", are you not? You know, with the biblical "Prophecies", etc? "Faith" and "evidence" are mutually exclusive. Make up your mind, if you should come back.

istillbelieve(add spittle), said...Concerning you going on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about God’s intervention: The key point YOU aren’t recognizing about MY faith is that God is not going to “change his mind”. I WAS listening, you sir are not grasping a key tenant of my faith. If God is not in the realm of time, then the “child’s” outcome was already decided by God before that human time actually arrived. His decision was made, the outcome was complete, He is not restricted by your idea of time. THERE IS NO CHANGING OF HIS MIND. Do YOU get it? Not do YOU accept it, but do you UNDERSTAND what I wrote?

I'll attempt this once more: If, as you say, "the child’s outcome was already decided by God before that human time actually arrived", then fine. But don't you see the implications, though? If "God" decides everything IN ADVANCE, including all its own decisions, etc..then that future is solidified/immovable, "unchanging" as you say. Subsequently, this same being is powerless to exercise its free will to intervene in anything in the future. Thus, "God" is not "Omnipotent".

It's not my fault that you have a mutually incompatable definition of a "God". Take it up with the men who wrote the bible.

Bye.

istillbelieve said...

boomslang: Your points have been noted...thanks again man and good luck with your music.

Astreja said...

Istillbelieve: "Concerning 'end times': Quit discussing it?"

No... Stop teaching it to people as if it's true. It is just a story from an old book, but there are people on this planet who are actively trying to set up the conditions to make the Biblical prophesies come true. This is an exceedingly dangerous situation.

"Concerning abortion: A simple “No” to the first question and “Yes” to my second question would have sufficed."

It isn't that simple as 'Yes' or 'No'. Personally, I don't like the idea of late-term abortion, which is why I feel early-term abortions are preferable. No abortions at all would be even better, but that's extremely unrealistic.

"Seems to me that abortion goes against the idea of human evolution..."

Actually, no -- Spontaneous abortions (i.e., "miscarriages") are the way in which a woman's body rids itself of a non-viable fetus. This greatly increases the probability of a healthy live birth.

Elective abortion, a social phenomenon rather than a biological one, increases the probability that a child will be born to someone who is willing to raise it. Call them 'selfish' if you want, but I see no reason that someone who does not want a child should be forced to bear and nurture one.

"Concerning sex-ed: It IS taught in schools..."

In varying degrees of quality, including the nearly useless concept of "abstinence-only" birth control. We can thank religious conservatives for that little gem.

(snip long straw-man rant regarding alleged contents of sex-ed classes)

Like it or not, teenagers are going to have sex. They need information on contraception, STD's and, yes, the emotional and social aspects of sex. A good sex-ed program will cover all that material.

And North American culture could stand to loosen up a bit and not break into a cold sweat at the thought of teenagers experimenting with something that is part of being human.

istillbelieve said...

I just couldn't do it:

astreja: I think the abortion issue comes down to how valuable you consider human life to be. Some argue that the elderly and the disabled should be put to death--I mean, according to your explanation if someone doesn't want to care for the human then they should have the right to kill it. I don't think you believe that do you?

I also wanted to add to the others that the love of God is what draws men to repentence, not scientific evidence, and certainly not my attempts to defend the faith. Reading back through the posts last night I realized that I wasn't always addressing you guys (especially sconnor) in love...kind of snapping back when I felt I was snapped at. Forgive me, sconnor (although you see it was pointless) I did pray for you last night; I know you've been hurt by tragedy and I'm sorry I said the things I did. While I cannot convince anyone's mind that God is real; you will never be able to convince one who has experienced the true love of God that there is no God.

Is there ever even a consideration of "what if I'm wrong" for you guys? I mean yeah we're on the internet at times bickering and defending our points but our decision surrounding this subject (if the Bible is true) is an eternal one. ETERNAL! I'm sincerely interested if you all have considered the "what if".

If you haven't considered or refuse to consider that then what is the point in anything? What's the point in helping people of 3rd world countries...what's the point in going to work...what's the point of life...I kill you, you kill me, who cares...we all kill each other...in a million years none of it matters. Humanity was an accident. We're no more important than an extinct species of animal...we could blow ourselves all to shreds and none of it will have mattered. Why argue against war, who cares about inhumanity? I was an accident you were an accident...there's no value in accidents...we're not valuable. Our purpose is to just exist and die. Do you really think that the things that make you who you are is just your brain? You don't feel any inkling of an inner being? When your heart stops you will cease to exist and your life will only be remembered by that current generation?...you meant nothing? Everything is pointless? Maybe you will say "well we do things to make the earth a better place", SCREW THAT. Who cares? None of it matters, it was all an accident.

Oh, well you feel you owe it to people of lesser intellect than you to expose this religion?...yadda, yadda. Well why? What's the point? Who cares? You'll be dead soon and nobody cares what you thought, and even if they do care...they'll be dead soon too so it didn't matter. What's the point in passing down understanding...to help humanity and future generations...? Why? Screw them--they don't matter, they'll be dead eventually. We only have a few years on this earth, we need to enjoy this moment because when we die it will be as though we never were. Why love our kids, why take good care of them and teach them our ideals? They don't matter, what they believe isn't important, they'll be dead soon. Your life is about the here and now, there's no point in trying to teach someone the fallacies of their belief. Can you tell me, (if what you believe is true) what is the point in anything? What makes the human more valuable than the dog?--we're all just accidents. None of us matter. Humanity doesn't care what you think, you're dead, you're an accident and so are they.

For those you're able to convince....then what? They join your cause? Why? To teach someone else that their life is not valuable, that they're worthless too and soon they'll be gone. What's the point? Time is the only thing we have...when time is up for you and I it's nighty night forever; your life meant nothing. If your understanding is truth...why work to expose something that doesn't exist?--Time is all you've been given (well you haven't even been "given" time because that would require a "giver"), time is all you HAVE...and you're wasting it arguing that "insert fairy tale here" isn't real? Who really cares if atrocities are carried out in the name of religions? Those people didn't matter, they were going to die one way or another. Life is pointless, shall we just blow up the earth to save ourselves from our misery?

Please don't pull the "religion is your crutch" thing...if that were so these questions would still exist.

Jim Arvo said...

istillbelieve said "...the love of God is what draws men to repentence, not scientific evidence,..."

Are you deliberately confusing the issue? Has anyone here suggested that "scientific evidence" is a substitute for "love"? Come off it! First, let's drop the adjective "scientific"--it has no place in this discussion. Let's just talk about "evidence", plain and simple. If I told you that Krishna loves you, would you be moved? Would you be drawn to Him? No, of course not. But why not? Because (I presume) you think Krishna is a mythical being. And why is that? Because (I presume) you have never seen a trace of evidence to the contrary. If I'm wrong about any of that, please correct me.

Why is it so hard for believers to take a step back and see that we (non-believers) have *precisely* the same view of your god as you do of other gods (such as Krishna). Do you see yourself as insisting on "scientific evidence" in lieu of seeking His love? Please answer that question if you would--it's not asked rhetorically.

istillbelieve: "Is there ever even a consideration of 'what if I'm wrong' for you guys? ...I'm sincerely interested if you all have considered the 'what if'."

I'm going to answer that question with a question. If you answer my question honestly, you will have my answer. Do you ever wonder if you might be wrong about Islam? Do you fear going to Islamic hell for the blasphemy of your Christian beliefs? Again, please answer--this is NOT a rhetorical question.

istillbelieve: "What's the point in helping people of 3rd world countries...what's the point in going to work...what's the point of life...I kill you, you kill me, who cares...we all kill each other...in a million years none of it matters...."

For the life of me I cannot understand this absurd line of argument. Do you not love your family? Do they not love you? Would you do them harm if not for your god? Why is it that the love of your (mythical!) being is all-important, but that of real-live humans with whom you interact daily counts for (apparently) nothing? I will answer that for you. It's not that way at all! Your life has precisely the same richness and meaning as ours does, and for the very same reasons: social interaction being chief among them. I believe you are not only mistake about *our* motivations and "meaning" in life, but also about your own.

istillbelieve: "Oh, well you feel you owe it to people of lesser intellect than you to expose this religion?...yadda, yadda. Well why? What's the point? Who cares?"

First, I'll thank you to not project that arrogant stance onto me and others here. We have as much a right to express our opinions as you do. Agree? And by the way, weren't YOU the one who came HERE, to a site with a very clearly stated purpose? Has anyone here sought you out to try to indoctrinate you? No. You came here knowing full well that we disagree with you, and you could have learned about all the reasons why by reading the testimonies and discussions here. As for why we should care, in case you haven't noticed, Christianity is a major force in our society. Whether right or wrong, it influences public policy, discourse, and perception. I happen to think that humanity will ultimately benefit by shaking off the chains of superstition, and I will do my small part to help that happen.

istillbelieve: "For those you're able to convince....then what? They join your cause? Why? To teach someone else that their life is not valuable, that they're worthless too and soon they'll be gone...."

It is precisely because of this type of ghastly absurdity that religion is an impediment to society. It compels you to decry those who hold different views, and to do so by projecting repugnant beliefs onto them. That, in a nutshell, is the poison of religion. You are free to argue otherwise, and to attempt to demonstrate actual compassion and understanding through your actions; thus far you have not.

I have a challenge for you, "istillbelieve". The challenge is to see others for who they are, and to try to truly grasp what they are saying rather than painting them in the dismal light that your religion casts upon them.

boomSLANG said...

Dear istillbelieve,

I doubt you realize it, but roughly 90% of your latest post attacks a strawman. It is merely you, the religionist, attempting to project your own grossly misinformed and myopic views, in the way of caricature.

I'll attempt to address a few things, but after that, you and I are done....that is, unless you ask me, specifically, a direct question.

You said....astreja: I think the abortion issue comes down to how valuable you consider human life to be.

Fine. But before one can make that assessment, it "comes down" to where one draws the line between "human life", and potential "human life". Typically, religionists are the ones who like to blur the two. One Christian may argue that a zygote is a "potential life". Another may argue that condom usage prevents "potential life". Thus, where do you draw the line? If "potential human life" = "human life", then as absurd as it may sound to you, consider a couple who are merely contemplating bringing a child("human life") into existence, but who then decide that they could not afford to provide adequately for that child, and thus, opt against it. They, like the above examples, are essentially preventing a "potential life". But what you may not see, however, is that in process, they've actually put the "potential" child's life ahead of their own desires...i.e..an instance of family planning. In other words, "family planning" does value "human life".

So, it would be very benefical to discover, and agree on, an objective "line" between "life", and "potential life". With science, we could find such a "line". On the other hand, as long as religionists believe that "souls" are being injected into "embryos", and "zygotes", etc...there will never be an objective "line".

You...Some argue that the elderly and the disabled should be put to death

Source, please.

You....I mean, according to your explanation if someone doesn't want to care for the human then they should have the right to kill it. I don't think you believe that do you?

Um, no, of course I don't believe it; that is absurd. Again, that is your caricatured opinion of what it means to be "godless", simply because you cannot conceive of such a thing. You see, I am not "stuck" believing that where human existence is concerned, that quantity of life trumps quality. That's your hurdle; not mine.

You...I also wanted to add to the others that the love of God is what draws men to repentence..

I'm sorry, but evidently, I/we haven't gotten through to you that such talk of "repentence" and the like, is immaterial to us. Thus, not all "men" are drawn to any such thing(s).

You continue........and certainly not my attempts to defend the faith

But why defend "faith" in the first place? It's a contradictory statement, in concept. Why not simply state something to the effect, "Hi, my name is 'istillbelieve', and I have no objective evidence for my beliefs. I have faith."

?

You...you will never be able to convince one who has experienced the true love of God that there is no God.

I'm fairly certain that this has been established, early on. And of course, the name, "istillbelieve", is somewhat indicative that your religious convictions will not change. Notice, though, that you are the one who came here; no one came to find "istillbelieve" to change his religious convictions.

You...Is there ever even a consideration of "what if I'm wrong" for you guys?

You are employing the fallacious, and in my view, severely lacking argument, of "Pascal's Wager". Please research it. It essential says that one should believe "just in case". That, IMO, is a horrible reason to be a "believer", simply because of the myriad different religions. In other words......"what if" Atheism and Christianity are wrong?

You...I mean yeah we're on the internet at times bickering and defending our points but our decision surrounding this subject (if the Bible is true) is an eternal one. ETERNAL!

Yes, ETERNAL!....just think, an eternal existence in Jahannum!(Islamic Hell)

You...I'm sincerely interested if you all have considered the "what if".

Yes, I have. And guess what? If on the extremely off-chance the Christian biblegod exists, and thus, is "forced" to torture me against it's own will for using my brain, then LET. HIM. DO. IT.

You...If you haven't considered or refuse to consider that then what is the point in anything?

Okay, here again, we see the implication that life can only have "meaning", if it lasts forever. No offense, but this philosophy sickens me, because it is so blatantly fallacious, not-to-mention, superficial.

Okay, if merely "existing" is so inadequate, then what good is it to keep doing it for "eternity"? Presumably, you "know" and "experience" your biblegod right now, in this life, do you not? Okay, so why will it be so much "better" in a post-mortem "life"????

Here's another question: Did a person who died at age 105 automatically have a more meaningful life than someone who died at 55? Are you getting this? "Meaning" is NOT determined by longevity.

You...What's the point in helping people of 3rd world countries

Because they need help, now...and evidently, they aren't going to get their "prayers" answered anytime soon. That's why.

You...what's the point in going to work...

To pay the bills that sustain the existence that I, myself, determined has meaning.

You...what's the point of life...

Whatever you make it.

You...I kill you, you kill me, who cares

I care. This is the only life that I know I have for certain. Therefore, it's probably not a very good idea to come try to kill me.

You...we all kill each other...

Funny you should mention it---people are doing precisely that, right now, as we type. And let me stress something, it aint' in the name of "no God".

You...in a million years none of it matters.

Maybe not; but it matters this second.

You...Humanity was an accident.

If you "accidently" find $500, and no one claims it, does the money not have "value"?

You...We're no more important than an extinct species of animal...

Poor analogy; we're not extinct.

You...we could blow ourselves all to shreds and none of it will have mattered.

Allow me to make the obsevation that if that happens, it'll likely be over whose "faith" is the one "True Faith". Aside from that, it hasn't happened yet, so it matters now.

Actually, I'm bored of this line of questioning at this point. I'll therefore skip to something else. But not before I address two more things:

You said...When your heart stops you will cease to exist and your life will only be remembered by that current generation?...you meant nothing?

My maternal grandfather's life may mean "nothing" to you, because you didn't know him; he didn't influence your life, whatsoever. On the other hand, he influenced my life, and my memories of him are a small bit of "afterlife" that I consider better than him never having existed at all. Thus, my question is---who the $%#@ are you to tell me, what means what, to me?

You...Everything is pointless?

::sigh::

SAYS WHO???????? Here's who--- says "istillbelieve", if his religion is false, and he cannot exist forever.

Am I close??

istillbelieve...Maybe you will say "well we do things to make the earth a better place", SCREW THAT. Who cares? None of it matters, it was all an accident.

Do you realize how nihilistic your position is on this? You won't help your fellow man, if you cannot live forever? "SCREW THAT"? I'm sorry, but that is just sad.

You...Oh, well you feel you owe it to people of lesser intellect than you to expose this religion?...yadda, yadda. Well why? What's the point? Who cares?

Listen closely: [[[ I ]]] care, because people are killing each other over whose "faith" is the one True "Faith", thus, threatening MY livelihood.

[long paragraph of nihilistic rhetoric edited out, because of its redundancy/absurdity]

You continue...Who really cares if atrocities are carried out in the name of religions? Those people didn't matter, they were going to die one way or another. Life is pointless, shall we just blow up the earth to save ourselves from our misery?

Once again, I care, because this is the only life I know I'll ever have. Thus, that fact makes my life even more important - maybe not to you - but to me. If the religious want to duke/nuke it out, let them go to another fricking planet and do it.

You...Please don't pull the "religion is your crutch" thing...if that were so these questions would still exist.

I suppose that is an admission that the former is true, then. Notwithstanding, yes, as long anything conceivable can be accepted on "faith", these questions will exist.

istillbelieve said...

Mr Arvo: Some of your comments are silly too sir--I'm really just trying to be conversational--this thing where you make points and I make points is boring...and I do see you guys for exactly who you are, that's why I'm here.

Do you understand how crazy it is that you continue to respond to me? You're responding to a guy on the internet that you don't know and don't care about--and you're arguing with him about the existence of something that doesn't exist. Why are you wasting your time on me, do you think you will change my mind?

Sorry for misusing the word "scientific" again...but we did already agree that you are without faith. So your first 2 paragraphs have been established already.

My points are absurd to you for the same reason they are absurd to me! We are humans, we are not animals, we have reason, we have love, we have emotions, we are a special creation...nothing like any other being on this planet.

It's not an accident that you are here and your life has more value than you even understand.

istillbelieve said...

boomslang: How would you suggest ridding the world of religion?

boomSLANG said...

Dear Jim,

I can't help but be reminded of a young "Bill Gnade" when I read "istillbelieve's" posts. Remember that guy?

Best regards, boom'

boomSLANG said...

istillbelieve...boomslang: How would you suggest ridding the world of religion?

Challenging those who uphold it. Will superstition(which is a cornerstone of most religions) be abolished in our lifetime? No. Likewise, we won't likely cure cancer in our lifetimes, either. Should we therefore not try?(Rhetorically asked)

webmdave said...

Istill... wrote, "Who really cares if atrocities are carried out in the name of religions? Those people didn't matter, they were going to die one way or another. Life is pointless, shall we just blow up the earth to save ourselves from our misery?"

Actually, your religion is the one that states that all of life is pointless and meaningless. It is your religion that proclaims with gusto that the whole thing is going to be burned up at Armageddon.

One thing that struck me as odd while I was still a Christian was the teaching that all babies who died went straight to the bosom of Jesus (heaven). Should those babies grow up, they’d stand a good chance of going to hell, but if they died young enough, no hell for them.

Isn’t that a fascinating teaching?

If Christians really believed that heaven followed this life and there was a way to guarantee that his or her children would spend a blissful eternity in heaven… Well, I wonder that there are not more Christian parents who kill their children.

I still, you seem to think life has no meaning outside of a religious worldview. There are those who would agree with you, but there are many more that would disagree. My life has meaning to me. Most mentally healthy people, I think, find their individual lives valuable and meaningful. Even my pet cat seems to enjoy being alive. He won’t live forever, but that doesn’t stop him from enjoying every minute he has.

As Boom said, if life has no meaning on Earth, why would it have meaning in heaven? And how does “worshiping the god” bring more meaning to anything?

It is my opinion that the “meaning” discussion from Christians has more to do with feeling significant. If you think the Almighty has His hand on your shoulder, that makes a person feel pretty special. If a Christian dares to think that no one is there, it’s scary. Instead of being the bosom buddy of the Almighty, the Christian becomes just another brick in the wall of history.

I would like to win the lottery. I’ve always wished I was better looking. I wish I was smarter. Wishful thinking doesn’t make any of those wishes come true.

It just may be, Istill…, that there is no god and your religion false. It may be that the emotional feelings you’ve experienced are the same feelings experienced by the faithful in other religions. It could be that having powerful religious feelings is common to the human condition. But that doesn’t mean there really is a god anywhere. Personal ecstatic experiences provide no evidence of a god. All those things provide is evidence of a tendency on the part of the affected person toward having ecstatic experiences. You’ve convinced yourself you’ve experienced a god, but it is possible that you’ve deceived yourself. Wishfully thinking that there is a god and having the wish confirmed by a nice feeling doesn’t mean you’ve found the “truth.”

Personally, I’d love to be able to return to the happy delusion of thinking I'm a specially chosen vessel for GOD with a wonderful purpose for my life, but I eventually found out that Santa Claus is just a story book character. He doesn't really exist and although it hurt to find out that my faith in him was vain, fantasy is for kids. Reality is for adults.

Jim Arvo said...

istillbelieve: "Mr Arvo: Some of your comments are silly too sir..."

Without specifics that's not a very meaningful statement.

istillbelieve: "...and I do see you guys for exactly who you are, that's why I'm here."

But you continually misrepresent us by claiming that our lives must be pointless and that we do not value life, etc. I've seen little effort on your part to actually understand anybody's position. Am I wrong about that? If so, can you give a fair summary of where any one of us stands on the issue of the Christian god?

istillbelieve: "Do you understand how crazy it is that you continue to respond to me?... Why are you wasting your time on me, do you think you will change my mind?"

Why do you keep responding to *me*? We have conflicting views. This is a place to discuss them and debate them. I like to know what makes Christians cling to their beliefs. No, I will not change your mind, but I may change your understanding of a few things.

istillbelieve: "...we did already agree that you are without faith. So your first 2 paragraphs have been established already."

I do not believe in your god, that's correct. But my first two paragraphs were about YOU, not me. I asked you several questions. Are you declining to answer? If so, why? I'll happily answer any question you have as directly as I can.

istillbelieve: "My points are absurd to you..."

No, your CHARACTERIZATION of non-believers is absurd. Do you see the difference? You are claiming something about how we think and feel in the absence of a god concept. Your assertions are ridiculous. I have no problem with people expressing their own points of view, but I get a bit cross when they think they know what's going on in other people's heads, and even more so when they seem to be impervious to correction.

istillbelieve: "...we are not animals, we have reason, we have love, we have emotions, we are a special creation...nothing like any other being on this planet."

Nothing like any other being on this planet? Surely you're joking. Our hemoglobin is virtually identical with that of gorillas. Our DNA differs only slightly from that of chimps. Many animals (chimps, dolphins, elephants) show self-awareness, creativity, deep attachments, and reasoning. I can't imagine what you mean by "nothing like" other animals. By almost any metric there is a great deal of similarity. It is purely a conceit of religion that man is given a special place in the universe.

istillbelieve: "It's not an accident that you are here and your life has more value than you even understand."

First, you have absolutely no idea how much "value" I place on my life or anyone else's. Second, what straw man are you attacking here? Did I say or imply that life on Earth is an "accident"? That's an absurd misrepresentation of my position (and probably most everybody else's).

Are you legitimately interested in what anybody else here thinks? If so, why not *ask* instead of projecting shallow philosophies onto them?

If you deign to respond to me, I'd very much appreciate direct answers to my previous questions. Thanks.

istillbelieve said...

I'm all done.

Astreja said...

Istillbelieve: "If someone doesn't want to care for the human then they should have the right to kill it. I don't think you believe that do you?"

Elderly or handicapped people do not reside inside the body of some other person. In virtually all cases they also have advanced sentience and profound life experiences, and are deserving of protection and support.

A six-week-old fetus is still a couple of weeks away from developing the beginnings of a brain. It has no sentience and no autonomous life. Abortion at this stage causes considerably less suffering than setting out a mousetrap or barbecuing a steak.

Beyond this point, as the nervous system develops, things start to get problematic. As I said earlier, this isn't a simple yes/no question.

"Is there ever even a consideration of 'what if I'm wrong' for you guys?"

For Me, not any more. Even if the Bible were true, I have chosen to reject any and all gods who would create places of eternal punishment. I embrace the flames out of a deep and abiding respect for all other sentient beings who may have been sentenced to eternal torment. I cannot find it in Myself to love the hypothetical god described in the Bible, nor can I in good conscience accept the sacrifice of any other being on My behalf.

"Humanity was an accident."

No, we're not. Crack open an organic chemistry book.

"We're no more important than an extinct species of animal..."

In the context of the vastness of the universe, I would for the most part agree with this statement. All we currently have going for us is the fact that we are alive while other species are extinct. Humanity is one species among many. We are not the only sentient beings in the universe... Any one of My cats will cheerfully tell you otherwise, as will the squirrel I saw on the back fence half an hour ago.

"Our purpose is to just exist and die."

No, that isn't 'purpose'; that's the raw materials from which we build purpose.

"Do you really think that the things that make you who you are is just your brain?"

No; My experiences are what make Me what I am. My physical body is, however, part of those experiences.

"You don't feel any inkling of an inner being?"

Not really. "I" is, in My opinion, an illusionary entity, akin to a hologram. It goes away when I go to sleep, and comes back when consciousness returns.

"When your heart stops you will cease to exist and your life will only be remembered by that current generation?"

Or by future generations, if we leave an intellectual or artistic legacy such as a painting or a book or a piece of architecture. We survive only inasomuch as our ideas survive, and then we're gone.

But being remembered as a human is ultimately irrelevant and counterproductive. We live again as our ideas are rediscovered in other places and other times, and it doesn't really matter who or what rediscovers them.

And the constituent molecules of our bodies become parts of other entities... In fact, many of them have already done so. Some of the carbon from that sore right medial tricep muscle I got last week has already been converted to carbon dioxide, breathed out of My system, and nourished a blade of grass on the front lawn.

We are already immortal. We are star stuff. Widen your gaze beyond the "Me human, me special, me gonna live forever in Heaven" hubris and discover the beauty and grandeur of this universe.

stronger now said...

istillbelieve said:
"I'm all done."

But you haven't answered Jim's questions yet. Seems to me you never really started.

istillbelieve said...

stronger now: Do we owe each other anything? I've grown tired of this discussion. I'm all done. Thank you.

sconnor said...

istillbelievei'madickhead said, Thanks sconnor, I needed that today. :) It amazes me how nasty people can be when they know they won't have to face those they disagree with in person. How bold you are sitting behind the keyboard sir. I hardly think you've "verbally spanked" anyone but again your insecurities are on display and you feel the need to claim that you have. So be it. Sir, you ARE very bitter and angry, any man who each day tries to think of why he shouldn't kill himself (christian or not) has issues with insecurity and anger.

I can assure you I have no problem telling someone they are an ignorant, motherfucker, right to their face. I have no fear, you cock sucking, bitch. Remember I'm suicidal -- I have no fear of death, I welcome it. Please, leave a way for me to contact you, at my blog, and if by some remote possibility we are in close approximation, I would gladly tell you, face to face, what a dumb fuck-tard you are. You can also take your retarded, junior, psychological analysis, and shove it up your shit-hole, too. Who the fuck do you think you are vomiting up ignorant diagnosis'? Suicidal thoughts have nothing to do with insecurities or anger, you stupid-ass, motherfucker. Evidently, your delusions cross over into the mental medical profession, as well. You have no problem making ignorant statements on the psychology of suicide and apparently you just pull this shit out of your ass, just like you pull your religiosity out of your ass -- it's all baseless, bullshit. Fuck off, dick head.

isb also said, I've grown tired of this discussion. I'm all done. Thank you.

Typical christian, pussy, burying his head in the sand, putting on rose colored bible glasses, and building a bible-bunker, fort, with no windows, where he can hide and babble to himself -- "I STILL BELIEVE, I STILL BELIEVE, I STILL BELIEVE, I STILL BELIEVE".

--S.

istillbelieve said...

...okay big guy

boomSLANG said...

istill',

I would say that, " I'm finished ", encapsulates it better than, "I'm done". Nonetheless, we had your admission to the latter three posts ago. So..... anything else? 'Questions? Answers?

istillbelieve said...

...Any way you want to word it works for me boomslang.

No I have no further questions and I once again apologize to sconnor for the comments I made. I don't understand him or his life's challenges and it wasn't fair for me to conclude things of him. I admitted this earlier but he felt the need to drive it home--that's fine, I can take it. I wish there was something else I could say to demonstrate my apology--I was wrong, I'm sorry. He says he's not angry or insecure...well then I'm glad.

You're a smart guy and a skilled debater boomslang; while it's true we disagree on basically everything....I still respect you. You're "real" and that's all one can ask for.

Jim Arvo said...

Hi Boom,

Want to know the biggest difference between ISB and "Bill Gnade"? If we had started a discussion with the latter, it would still be going on a month from now (and, of course, he would still be arguing in circles and refusing to define his terms).

So ISB has no more questions (and obviously no answers either). I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The typical visiting Christian is astonishingly incurious about what anybody else thinks or why. This is not a coincidence--of that I am certain.

sconnor said...

To isb,

...and since you keep checking back, lying, that you are "all done", I just wanted to say, you can take your prayers and apologies and shove them in the same place. Or if you think prayers work so well, why don't you go down to your local PICU or Pediatric Intensive Burn Unit and pray over the children who are suffering, egregiously; pray to your god, that he magically heals them before your eyes -- or is your god too busy listening to your trite dumb-ass prayers for me, while other children suffer in sick and unimaginable ways?

...but, by all means, continue getting on your knees, and keep begging for forgiveness, from your friend Jesus -- he likes it when you are on your knees.

--S.

Prayers never bring anything... They may bring solace to the sap, the bigot, the ignorant, the aboriginal, and the lazy - but to the enlightened it is the same as asking Santa Claus to bring you something for Xmas
- W. C. Fields

The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation, and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be believed only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance called 'faith.'
-Robert G. Ingersoll

eel_shepherd said...

Every once in a while a thread comes along...

And this was/has been/still is one of those threads. A real eye-opener for me.

To put it squarely, I don't know anyone like, and never have known anyone like, istillbelieve. They just don't occur in my environment. The normal mechanics of dialogue seem to be beyond/foreign to them. i.e. Hearing a question, and then addressing the question, and using in the answer some of the same words and themes/concepts that appeared in the question. The idea of an "answer to a question" just seems like the _starting point_ in what they plan to make of the raw input material that was the question, like someone looking at a newly felled log and trying to envision what product they can make of it that looks and acts the least like wood.

I don't know if impressions count for much, but the whole time I was reading ISB's posts, the word that kept surfacing at the back of my mind was "impervious". Nothing goes in, and nothingness comes out.

istillbelieve said...

All: Allow me a fresh start if you will. I am no longer motivated to change your mind or make assumptions on your beliefs. If I begin to do either of those again then just call me out on it because it will have been unintentional.

Mr. Arvo: What makes me a Christian is that I believe the Bible and the claims that Jesus Christ made about himself--You're right, I don't know much about Krishna; but I don't think that he made the same claims that Jesus made. I am able to accept the Bible as truth and I am able to accept it's claims because of my own experiences and observations of things I can accept as evidence.

As you asked; to demonstrate that I've been listening, I'll try to summarize the reason you all don't believe in a "god": You guys don't believe in a "god" because you do not accept anything as evidence that there is the existence of a "god". In one sentence can that basically sum it all up or does that oversimplify?--Also, you guys DO value your lives very much (even more than I value mine you argue), because it is all that you are convinced that you have--it is all that you accept that you are gauranteed.

You asked if I ever wonder if I'm wrong about Islam?....No I do not wonder...So you don't wonder about the existence of any "god" either then right? I understand.

I understand that my prior actions did not demonstrate compassion or understanding, thus I understand your conclusion concerning the poison of religion:

Is it fair to say that some reject Christianity because of the hypocrisy of it's proclaimed believers? I still screw up, I know that...I've screwed up on this post. -- And it scares me (since I believe the Bible) that my actions could be the thing that deters someone from accepting Christ. It doesn't scare me because I think God will send me to hell for missing my opportunity to witness, (because I believe my acceptance or rejection of Christ determines where eternity is spent) but scared that my faults will result in another person rejecting Christ and them spending eternity in hell.

It is love/compassion that motivates me...even though I've done a HORRIBLE job of displaying it at times.

godsfavoritecolor said...

ISB, I’ve been following these posts and I think eel shepherd has a great idea about your being “impervious.” You should change your avatar to imstillimpervious.

Fresh start or not, you still don’t get it.

Jim Arvo said...

To istillbelieve (henceforth ISB):

First, I'm impressed. I'm quite happy to start over. Thank you for the polite tone of your most recent post, and especially for providing direct answers to my questions.

You said "...I don't know much about Krishna; but I don't think that he made the same claims that Jesus made."

I don't know that much about Krishna either, but let's suppose you are right--i.e. that he did not claim to be god, or the son of god, or divine. (I think this is incorrect, but I don't know for sure.) Would you agree with me, then, that as far as you know, there is no reason to believe him to be divine, or indeed anything more than a myth? In other words, the facts that you *do* know about him (i.e. that he is the center of a major religion, that millions of people claim him to be divine, that there are "holy books" written about him, etc.) are insufficient to suggest to you that he might actually be what he is claimed to be by Hindus. Is that a fair statement?

ISB said: "I am able to accept the Bible as truth and I am able to accept it's claims because of my own experiences and observations of things I can accept as evidence."

Okay.

ISB: "...You guys don't believe in a 'god' because you do not accept anything as evidence that there is the existence of a 'god'."

I'll give you a B+ on that, because it was pretty good. Let me offer a slight rephrasing, however, that is a bit clearer: "Many of us do not believe in a god simply because we've seen no evidence for such a being that we regard as being credible." The difference here may be subtle, so allow me to elaborate. Saying that "we do not accept anything as evidence" is ambiguous, as it might be interpreted as irrationally "refusing" to accept what would otherwise be regarded as sound evidence. That's not the case. It might also be interpreted as suggesting that there is no evidence whatsoever. That is also not the case. I think the mere existence of "believers" actually *is* evidence of god; however, it's so weak that it's effectively inconsequential (i.e. not credible). So, can you accept my rewording?

ISB: "You asked if I ever wonder if I'm wrong about Islam?....No I do not wonder...So you don't wonder about the existence of any "god" either then right?"

Again, very close. However, it would be incorrect to say that I do not wonder about "god" or religion. Of course I do. There are many unanswered questions in my mind, and even the things that are fairly settled I am willing to revisit if someone makes an interesting argument or presents some evidence. But what I do NOT do is *worry* that I will be sent to Christian Hell or Islamic Hell. In my view, those ideas are so clearly fictitious that they do not evoke the slightest concern in me. I am far less concerned about those scenarios than I am about being struck by lightning (which is a *real* possibility, albeit minute) or having an airplane crash on me. Are you of a similar mind with regard to Islamic Hell?

ISB: "Is it fair to say that some reject Christianity because of the hypocrisy of it's proclaimed believers?"

Some probably have, yes. But I urge you to recognize that hypocritical Christians or churches are *rarely* the entire reason for apostasy. In my experience they are usually nothing more than a catalyst--an observation that prompts one to look deeper. You will find many testimonies here from people who were mistreated by Christians, but did not leave the faith without first thoroughly investigating it and concluding that it had little if any factual support.

ISB: "...it scares me (since I believe the Bible) that my actions could be the thing that deters someone from accepting Christ. ....scared that my faults will result in another person rejecting Christ and them spending eternity in hell."

Do you see no incongruity in that? Would it seem just for god to punish someone for eternity because YOU failed somehow? I'm not simply trying to simply allay your concerns... I'm trying to point out the absurdity of the entire doctrine. If someone's "salvation" hung by such a tenuous thread that your actions determined the outcome, does that not say that some will spend eternity in anguish due to circumstances that were entirely outside their control? Why would a loving god do such a thing?

By the way, you seem to place a lot of stock in what Jesus supposedly said. I'm assuming that you regard the Bible as an accurate record of this man's actions and words. Is that correct? If so, why? Also, have you read the Book of Mormon, which purportedly contains a message that was conveyed directly from god via golden tablets?

istillbelieve said...

GFC: Thank you for repeating. To give credit where credit is due, I believe Mr. Arvo was the first to suggest such--and please, let's not tell each other what we "should" do/believe/accept; I'm now trying to play by the rules/culture of this forum so it would be appreciated if you would do the same.

godsfavoritecolor said...

Owwwww! You got me, ISB! But it only hurts when I laugh.

boomSLANG said...

Jim Arvo, to istillbelieve...I think the mere existence of "believers" actually *is* evidence of god; however, it's so weak that it's effectively inconsequential (i.e. not credible).

If I could add to this---I think if theists could actually show some unity concerning which gods exist, and which ones do not, that that would lend some credibility to their position.

If I could offer an analogy, why is it that people can study a driver's manual(of mere "mortal" inspiration), and come away with there being 99.999999% unity, if not 100% unity, on what the text actually says?

Take a "centerline", for instance. A "centerline" cannot physically prevent a head-on collision, so in a twisted regard, it's like a metaphysical "concept". Further, it takes a bit of "faith" to trust that "centerlines" do their job, in that all people interpret them the same, especially in instances where there's no line at all.

I find it very interesting that mere humans can author a book that conveys "concepts" such as a "line" in the road, and have unity on its interpretation, but where an allegedly "Divinely inspired" book is concerned, there is so much divisiveness.

istillbelieve said...

Mr Arvo,

Thank YOU (and the rest) for forgiving me:

You asked, "Would you agree with me, then, that as far as you know, there is no reason to believe him (Krishna) to be divine, or indeed anything more than a myth?

I answer: Yes I agree. I do not see any evidence for such a being that I regard as credible.

You asked: "Can you accept my rewording?"...(Many of us do not believe in a god simply because we've seen no evidence for such a being that we regard as being credible.")

I answer: Yes, the words "that we regard" make this an acceptable rephrasing to me.

You said: "There are many unanswered questions in my mind, and even the things that are fairly settled I am willing to revisit if someone makes an interesting argument or presents some evidence"

I understand this may not even be possible for you to answer as it seems an absurdity...but if you can...What could someone possibly submit to you as evidence to the existence of God? Can you imagine anything that you would regard as credible evidence--in your wildest dreams? I'll just throw this one out there....If there was a phenomena that resembled the Christian "caught up" (aka "rapture") would you consider that credible evidence?

You said: "In my experience they are usually nothing more than a catalyst--(referring to mistreatment by peers) an observation that prompts one to look deeper. You will find many testimonies here from people who were mistreated by Christians, but did not leave the faith without first thoroughly investigating it and concluding that it had little if any factual support."

I would argue that these were the "blind followers". I can't imagine what kind of "credible evidence" led them to the faith IF their faith was so shaky to go searching to refute it on the simple basis of being hurt by a peer.

You asked "If someone's "salvation" hung by such a tenuous thread that your actions determined the outcome, does that not say that some will spend eternity in anguish due to circumstances that were entirely outside their control? Why would a loving god do such a thing?

Well that's a really good question: Okay...your salvation DOES NOT depend on the actions of me or anyone else who misses an opportunity to show an "unbeliever" love. Your salvation, I believe, depends on YOUR decision to accept or deny Christ--That is within your control. My obedience/disobedience/idiocy is a separate issue between me and God. My misrepresentations...while they may turn one away, will not be the reason an unbeliever goes to hell.

You asked: "I'm assuming that you regard the Bible as an accurate record of this man's actions and words. Is that correct? If so, why? Also, have you read the Book of Mormon, which purportedly contains a message that was conveyed directly from god via golden tablets?

Yes I do, and I do so because I've accepted the Bible as truth. I haven't read the Book of Mormon.

istillbelieve said...

GFC: lol, sorry. I don't want to "get you", I just want to get along at this point... :)

I could always change it to "imnolongerimpervious"...but then again I like it the way it is.

istillbelieve said...

boom you said: "I find it very interesting that mere humans can author a book that conveys "concepts" such as a "line" in the road, and have unity on its interpretation, but where an allegedly "Divinely inspired" book is concerned, there is so much divisiveness"

That's a pretty solid point. The GOSPEL message is clear but admittedly the Bible also has a number of complexities. I don't know that we have to understand all of it the same way--again the gospel message, the message of love is very clear and is either accepted or rejected. As a Christian I believe that God has final judgment, but He's not judging if you were "good" or "bad", He's judging your acceptance/rejection of Christ. Did you or did you not take Him at His word...is our belief...This is why we believe a child can receive Christ. Although other teachings may be difficult to grasp and weigh, children CAN understand the "gospel message"? The Bible does say that it takes the "faith of a child" to believe God's Word....lol, I know you won't argue with that.

sconnor said...

isb said, I am able to accept the Bible as truth and I am able to accept it's claims because of my own experiences and observations of things I can accept as evidence.

Which means absolutely nothing.

Little Tommy said, I am able to accept Santa as truth and I am able to accept it's claims because of my own experiences and observations of things I can accept as evidences.

Your acceptance of the Bible is a delusion. Congratulations, you have fooled yourself.

In reference to your statement above: your acceptance of the Bible is exactly the same as the sincerely, believing, Muslim, with the Qur'an. The Muslim has the same reasons for being a Muslim that you have for being a Christian. They believe, through their own experiences and observations that the Qur'an is the final, literal word of god. Muslims believe the Qur'an is the perfect word of god, just as you fully, believe the Bible's account of itself. You believe Jesus was a prophet sent by god, while the Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last prophet god. You believe the miracles in the Bible, while the Muslims believe in miracles in the Qur'an. Muslims believe the archangel Gabriel came to Muhammad and recited the true word of god to him. The Qur'an tells us that if you do not believe in the Qur'an you will go to hell. The Qur'an tells us that Jesus was not god and if you believe otherwise, you will go to hell. If you are not a Muslim, you will go to hell. If you don't believe in Allah, you will go to hell.

How do you know that Islam isn't the one true religion and the only path to salvation?
How do you know that Allah isn't the one true god?
Can you prove Allah doesn't exist?

Well, it's easy for you to reject this religion out of hand for being patently, absurd. You know Muslims are making extraordinary claims that are not based in reality. You know they make extraordinary claims that are not credible and have no proof. Isn't it completely obvious that Muslims are fooling themselves? Isn't obvious that Muslims are so steeped in their religion that they have deluded themselves into believing nonsense? Don't they have to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that their religion is true?

What you have to understand is -- the way you view their Qur'an, Allah, and the religion of Islam is the same way devout Muslims view the Bible, the Christian God and the religion of Christianity. And this is how we, exchristians, view all religions.

Your "acceptance" of the Bible is not a virtue. You willfully segregate yourself from any real reasoning and pretend that the "evidences" you have are valid. You have nothing but an illusion.

--S.

sconnor said...

isb said, As a Christian I believe that God has final judgment, but He's not judging if you were "good" or "bad", He's judging your acceptance/rejection of Christ.

Again, A god who would judge someone on the concept of accepting or rejecting said Deity is obscene. Read and learn the quote below.

The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation, and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be believed only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance called 'faith.'
-Robert G. Ingersoll

Here are some questions about the importance of god's plan for salvation.

1. If god, so loved his earthly children, then why would he relay his, all so important messages and the Good News, in a book, using difficult or vague texts, parables, poems, songs, dream imagery, switching from literal to non-literal, that could so easily be misinterpreted, perverted or interpreted, so many different ways?

2. If it was so important for God to save his earthly children, from the eternal flames of hell, then why did he put his message into a book that couldn't possibly get to the masses?

3. If the Bible is so important, how come only 30% of the world’s population is Christian, while the other 70% of the world’s population is another, non-biblical, religion or the non-religious? And out of the 30% of Bible-believing, Christians, there are thousands of separate sects and denominations that have varying and vast ideas about the Bible and how one is supposedly saved, relegating God's message into lower, splintered percentages?

4. If your all-loving, god is using the Bible to get his, all important, message across and truly wanted to save us, you would think, an all-knowing, all-powerful god, could do a better job at delivering the crucial laws, commandments and messages to everyone, equally and clearly, and unequivocally, but most certainly, this is not the case -- why is that?

God's plan is seriously flawed and I would have to conclude the Bible and Christianity is a human construct, susceptible to fallibility and in your case gullibility and delusion, and there, really, is nothing gained from it, except an illusion of authority and the illusion of eternal life.

I await your thorough and twisted rationalizations... I mean, answers.

--S.

boomSLANG said...

istill'....The GOSPEL message is clear but admittedly the Bible also has a number of complexities.

Again, where is the evidence that leads you to believe that the "GOSPEL message is clear"??? Simply stating that YOU understand it, is hardly what I'm asking for. Again, there are thousands, perhaps millions, of good, bible-believing Christian Universalists, who believe that everyone is "saved"; no one will "perish".

istill'...I don't know that we have to understand all of it the same way--again the gospel message, the message of love is very clear and is either accepted or rejected.

Yes, and I disagree said "message is clear", for the reasons I just mentioned. And further, yes, I reject its message as I understand it, because I don't believe real "love" has conditions.

istill...As a Christian I believe that God has final judgment, but He's not judging if you were "good" or "bad", He's judging your acceptance/rejection of Christ.

This is something that I readily concede to, in a hypothetical situation where "Christianity" were actually true---e.g..."Laws" and "Commandments", etc., are entirely irrelevant; the only "sin" is nonbelief. Thus, in theory, there could be more "sinners" in "Heaven", than in "Hell". This, coupled with predestination(per omniscience) are just some of the contradictory absurdities that leave me to believe it's all BS.

istill...Did you or did you not take Him at His word

No, I did not, again, because I DON'T believe it's "His word". And frankly, "He" shouldn't be too shocked by that, since "He" knew I would not take "Him" at "His word" from the onset.

istill'...This is why we believe a child can receive Christ.

Children don't know anything of "Christ", that is, until they're indoctrinated(brainwashed) with the belief, and this is usually at a time when they're not mature enough to reason for themselves. Many, including myself, classify this as child-abuse.

istill'....Although other teachings may be difficult to grasp and weigh, children CAN understand the "gospel message"?

Sure, if you make them understand it.

istill'...The Bible does say that it takes the "faith of a child" to believe God's Word....lol, I know you won't argue with that

Essentially what it's saying, is that you need only be gulible and impressionable to believe it. Imagine that.

'Hope it's sinking in.

Jim Arvo said...

ISB: "I answer: Yes I agree. I do not see any evidence for such a being [Krishna] that I regard as credible."

Good. Then I trust you also understand that we regard your god in the very same way. In fact, if you wish to communicate with non-Christians in such a way that you will not be immediately tuned out, here is something you can do. First imagine someone saying the very same thing to you, but with all references to "Jesus" or "Christ" replaced with "Krishna". If you find yourself shaking your head or rolling your eyes, then chances are good that that's exactly the response (figuratively speaking) that you will get from us. Example: "Jesus will change your life if you invite him into your heart." Are you nodding in agreement? Wait. Try this: "Krishna will change your life if you invite him into your heart." Ooops. Sounds ridiculous to you now, doesn't it? They are equally ridiculous to us.

ISB: "What could someone possibly submit to you as evidence to the existence of God? Can you imagine anything that you would regard as credible evidence--in your wildest dreams?"

Of course! I'll give you some fairly wild ones first, then I'll give you one that is completely mundane.

1) Jesus/god could appear in front of me and answer some questions.

2) A golden tablet could appear floating in the middle of every capital building in the world, all at the same instant, all bearing the identical message, which is completely unambiguous yet expressed perfectly in every language of the world, urging peace and brotherhood.

3) On Christmas day each year, not a single child anywhere in the world dies of hunger, disease, or abuse.

4) All nuclear weapons instantly vanish.

5) All veterans who lost limbs could magically have them restored.

6) Just *ONE* person with a missing limb has it magically restored.

7) Prayer might be proven to be effective.

If any one of these things were to happen (and be well-documented, so that I have some confidence I am not being spoofed), then I would consider it to be credible evidence for something supernatural. But here is the mundane one I promised you, and you can even participate if you like.

At this moment (2:53 PM Pacific time, Thursday, June 12, 2008) I am picturing something in my head, and I invite god to communicate it to you (or to ANYONE else who would like to participate). All I ask is that you post a message here (or send me email) describing it. It will only take a few words.

Let me be clear. I have chosen an image such that if you were to get it right, I would be shaken to my very core, as I have not written it down or communicated it in any way to another person. It exists ONLY in my head. I would have absolutely no choice but to TOTALLY re-examine my beliefs and to very seriously consider that god may be real--if you got it right, that is. In fact, it's possible that I would become an instant believer (who knows). NOBODY would be affected but me, and I could not possibly profit from it in any way but by becoming a "believer".

Here is my question to you: Will you please ask god to tell you what it is, and then post it here? If not, why not?

ISB: "I can't imagine what kind of 'credible evidence' led them to the faith IF their faith was so shaky to go searching to refute it on the simple basis of being hurt by a peer."

You misunderstood me. Many believers look for SUPPORTING evidence the shore up their wavering faith. They want to KEEP their faith. Read some of the testimonies here or elsewhere on the web. What often happens is that they realize how tenuous the case is for Christianity, and that ultimately destroys their faith. Simply reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation generates a good number of apostates too.

ISB: "Yes I do [believe the Bible is an accurate record], and I do so because I've accepted the Bible as truth."

But.... why? What makes you think it's the "truth"?

ISB: "I haven't read the Book of Mormon."

Why not? It's purported to be the word of god, communicated verbatim to Joseph Smith. There are signed letters from actual witnesses reprinted in the front of each book. If it's an actual communication directly from god, that would be quite important, would it not? Aren't you even a little curious?

stronger now said...

" I am picturing something in my head, and I invite god to communicate it to you (or to ANYONE else who would like to participate)."

It's an anchovy!

eel_shepherd said...

Jim Arvo posted the following image-guessing challenge:
"...Here is my question to you: Will you please ask god to tell you what it [the date-and-time-specific image] is, and then post it here?

I love contests, so this is my entry:

Was it the picture of a value-sized terrestial eel greasing itself up with KY Jelly and wrigging through a train tunnel?

If so, you hafta convert to William's religion. If not, I will promise to hold that image in my own brain at least once more before the week is over.

AtheistToothFairy said...

Jim Arvo said:
"I have chosen an image such that if you were to get it right, I would be shaken to my very core, as I have not written it down or communicated it in any way to another person"

Jim,

I'm thinking you are picturing a whole bookcase full, of moth-eaten bibles?

ATF (Who will offer very dusty bibles, as his second guess)

Astreja said...

(sorts through the jumble of images in Her rather cluttered mind) A rose?

Jim Arvo said...

Here are the guesses so far:

1) An anchovy

2) A value-sized terrestial eel greasing itself up with KY Jelly and wrigging through a train tunnel

3) A whole bookcase full, of moth-eaten bibles

Damn! All of you are *so* close it's spooky.

Jim Arvo said...

Okay, make that FOUR guesses. You guys are goooood! But no cigar yet.

sconnor said...

Jim Arvo said:
"I have chosen an image such that if you were to get it right, I would be shaken to my very core, as I have not written it down or communicated it in any way to another person"


This is fun. I'll put my extra sensory powers into action and guess you are picturing this

--S.

Jim Arvo said...

Okay, sconnor, that was just a wild guess, right?

Bzzzzzzzzz! Still no cigar.

Come on, there must be *somebody* who can talk to the big guy and get this. Right?

AtheistToothFairy said...

Jim said:
"Bzzzzzzzzz! Still no cigar"

I know Jim, it's a Cuban CIGAR... that you lit up from the flames of hell?

ATF (Who wonders why not a single xtian can get the bible god to tell him/her Jim's big secret)

Steven Bently said...

Ok Jim, I presume you're heterosexual, so I'm guessing you're thinking about certain parts of the female anatomy. See ya in church on Sunday, bro. Jim

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

Like clock-work, the strategic analogies; the tough questions, etc., leave the Theist stymied, and ultimately, send them packin'.

Nonetheless, as always, we give benefit of doubt. That said, please join me in a moment of silence:

Dear One True God(whoever, whatever, or wherever you are),

Please use your magical, mystical powers, and teleport the object in Jim Arvo's mind - an object known uniquely to him - to any reliable representative of your choosing, this, so that they may enter that object here at this website, in an effort to, once and for all, end this age-old debate of your heavenly existence. And if you would, God, please notice[like I have to tell you this] that evidence for your existence does not suffer the faith of your followers one iota, as clearly seen by our recent guests, "M", "William", and "istillbelieve".

In Your Heavenly Name we pray, Amen.

Jim Arvo said...

Well put, Boomer. I think most of the regulars here have seen me pose this challenge many times. Not *one* visiting Christian has ever taken me up on it. Every response I've ever received (from Christians, that is) is one of the following:

1) Silence. (By far the most frequent.)

2) God can't be tested.

3) I'll let you know if/when god tells me.

Of the three, I think the last one is the most honest. I've only gotten that reply once, however. As for the "god can't be tested" excuse, it's funny that god seems to clam up only in these circumstances. At other times (according to many believers), god is all too happy to make his presence known, and nothing seems to be too small to warrant his supernatural intervention. (Okay, that's a bit of an over-simplification, but you get my point.)

But I've got to hand it to you guys... You've come up with some, er.... creative guesses!

boomSLANG said...

Day 2:

Dear One True God(whoever, whatever, or wherever you are),

Please, PLEASE, use your magical, mystical powers, and teleport the object in Jim Arvo's mind - an object known uniquely to him - to any reliable representative of your choosing, this, so that they may enter that object here at this website, in an effort to, once and for all, end this age-old debate of your heavenly existence. And if you would, God, please notice[like I have to tell you this] that evidence for your existence does not suffer the faith of your followers one iota, as clearly seen by our recent guests, "M", "William", and "istillbelieve".

In Your Heavenly Name we pray, Amen."

istillbelieve said...

Holy Moly! I'm gone a day or two and come back to find Boom praying! :)

I got caught up on the "knowledge" ("New Age" teaching) William has been sharing with you all...I now believe in aliens...or at least one alien (j/k William, I actually think you're sincere)--I did however come to a conclusion that I think you guys were trying to get through my head. That is...If I seem to you, the way William seems to me...then I KNOW I'm wasting my time talking with you guys. Thus, any Christian who comes on here with the intention of "teaching" you anything is completely arrogant--none of US can offer the kind of evidence you will accept.

Mr Arvo, may I be the 2nd to say that if God reveals your images to me that I'll certainly get back with you.

Until next time...so long.

AtheistToothFairy said...

istillbelieve said...

Holy Moly! I'm gone a day or two and come back to find Boom praying! :)

ISB,
Yes indeed, now and then we sometimes pray to the big-nothing in the sky, just to make sure the big-nothing didn't get replaced by a big-something, when we had our backs turned.

I got caught up on the "knowledge" ("New Age" teaching) William has been sharing with you all...I now believe in aliens...or at least one alien

Now why would you go and insult any possible alien life forms, in such a manner?
That wasn't very nice, was it.

I did however come to a conclusion that I think you guys were trying to get through my head

That is exactly right, but it seems we failed in the mission to reach your cognitive mind....bummer.

That is...If I seem to you, the way William seems to me...then I KNOW I'm wasting my time talking with you guys.

It's nothing personal ISB, but yes xtians (especially the fundie types) do indeed come off this way to us.

Thus, any Christian who comes on here with the intention of "teaching" you anything is completely arrogant--none of US can offer the kind of evidence you will accept.

Well I'm so glad that at least YOU have realized that xtians have no credible evidence for their god's existence. If you don't mind, could you spread that word around so they stop wasting our time by coming here to enlighten us with their own personal "faultless" evidence?

If you think about it ISB, if such biblegod evidence actually existed, then we wouldn't be here debating about your god's existence, anymore than we debate whether rain falls from the clouds or from the gods.

The best evidence ANY xtian has brought to the table here, is no better than the evidence we have for those aliens, bigfoot, green men on mars and remote-viewing.
It's never credible evidence, but that doesn't stop a believer from being sure about such things. They have the same level of faith in their odd beliefs, as you do for your bible god.

In all these cases (and so much more), there is nothing ever presented that is testable or repeatable.


ATF (Who thinks you MIGHT see the light one day; of reality that is)

webmdave said...

ISB wrote, "If I seem to you, the way William seems to me..."

Another thing to consider, ISB, is that William appears as absolutely convinced that his religion is "The Truth™," as you seem to be sure that your religion is "The Real Truth™."

To me, each of your truths are pretty bizarre, filled with invisible, immaterial creatures that are supposedly magically waging some sort of spiritual war over the eternal destinies of individual human beings, etc. Yet, you view his "truth" as screwed up and in error. That would mean that at least one of you must mistaken in your convictions. Or, it's just possible that both of you are misled.

The self-assured "True Christian™" always "knows in his or her heart" that his or her version of "truth" is the REAL TRUTH. That same Christian can never present any solid evidence supporting the assertion of "truth," but each and every one will personally guarantee that HE or SHE has the real truth.

I used to think similarly while I was a Christian. I had the truth. I realized that I could be mistaken on some points, but I was sincere in my walk and faithful, therefore I trusted in the promise Jesus had made that the Holy Spirit would lead me (along with all ture believers) into all truth.

Then a funny thing happened on the road to the heavenly gates. I began to honestly look outside my self-imposed, mental prison. I was only too aware that I was not the brightest bulb in the pack, and that it was the supreme height of self-deluded arrogance to assume I already had all the answers to life and the universe, when there were so many others who saw things differently. It was too easy to simply dismiss most of humanity for either not being "chosen" or deluded by Satan or rejecting the "truth" to live a life of sin or...

So, finally willing to admit that I might be the one who was off base in his thinking, I started looking past my heady bunker of Bibles and "approved" theological tomes into other kinds of philosophical and religious literature.

It's a big world out there, ISB, and Christianity is just one of many mystical, myth-filled religions. If you believe it is "the truth," then it is the truth, for you. And for William? His truth is "the truth" for him.

Personally, these days, I prefer reality to magical "truths" that seem to exist nowhere outside a person's imagination. I've had enough of grown adults who actually still believe in magic, and insist that others should join them in Never Never Land.

Jim Arvo said...

ISB said "...may I be the 2nd to say that if God reveals your images to me that I'll certainly get back with you."

Duly noted. I have now received *two* honest answers to my challenge (but still no guesses from Christians).

boomSLANG said...
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boomSLANG said...

istill'...Holy Moly! I'm gone a day or two and come back to find Boom praying!

Frankly, Istill', I would think you'd be way more astounded at the notion that "God", if such a being exists, would have to be begged and pleaded with, that is, to do something so relatively simple. To oblige us puny mortals on solving this age-old enigma, should be a cinch for any "God" worth its salt. This, especially when we consider how little effort it would actually take to do so, based on a few of the attributes of this alleged "God". Let's examine some of those attributes:

- "God" is "Omnipresent"

Remarks: "God" is already in our midst! Right here/right now!

- "God" is "Omniscient"

Remarks: "God" knew, a priori, that there would be skeptics, and She already knows what it would take to convince each individual skeptic. Further, "God" already knows that making its existence known, does not hurt the believer's "faith", nor tamper with "free will", one bit.

- "God" is "Omnipotent"

Remarks: "God" can do ANYTHING. The fact that our great, great, great Grandparents elluded "God" in the Garden, well, that was just a fluke; "God" was asking "where art thou?" for dramatic effect, I can only presume.

- "God" is "Omnibenevolent"

Remarks: Should all of "God's children" know for certain that their "Father" exists, could only be seen as a good(benevolent) thing. At the very least, it's better than some of "God's children" going through their entire life, never having known their "Father". And again, being sure of something's existence does not effect "free will" in accepting it. In fact, that's what most Theists believe, anyway---that nonbelievers are "angry at God". In other words, we used our "free will" to reject "God" because we're pissed-off at "God".

- God is "just".

Remarks: If "God" presumably makes regular appearances and engages in dialogue with certain people and not others, then this is clearly favoritism. This is hardly "just" when we consider how many people's "eternal souls" are presumably at stake.

istill'...If I seem to you, the way William seems to me...then I KNOW I'm wasting my time talking with you guys. Thus, any Christian who comes on here with the intention of "teaching" you anything is completely arrogant--none of US can offer the kind of evidence you will accept.[bold added]

Either way, "God" presumably can oblige us. For specifics, see the beginning of this post, and reread it if necessary.

Jim Arvo,

You might want to amend your 3 excuses concerning the mental picture experiment. The newest excuse - a first, as far as I'm concerned - is "God told me I don't need to prove its existence"[paraphrased, from a recent Christian guest]

Although, I guess it could technically fall under # 2..i.e.."God can't be tested."

Take care.

Jim Arvo said...

Hi Boom',

Yes, there are quite a few possible variations to excuse #2. Another one, which I have not yet heard but would be very amusing is:

"God told me what it is, but I'm not going to tell YOU because.... [fill in with some variation of 'God can't be tested']"

Anonymous said...

I find it rather sad that you base your faith upon the church and not upon what really should be taught. I 'm sorry that you were subject to a church that does not know the meaning of scripture even it hit them in the face.

One should not base their opinion of Christianity on the followers because were are all human just like you. But you should base your opinion on the one that these so called Christians are following. Jesus Christ.

God is Love and Love is Real.

webmdave said...

If one should not base one's opinion on Christianity on the followers, then what should one base one's opinion on?

As far as I recall, Peter, John, James and the others were all followers. The undead, zombie god-man of Christianity didn't write anything down before his early death. It was entirely up to followers to propgate the cult.

If you can't depend on the followers, then you can't trust the religion, becuase the religion has only one authentic, live, visible, material representative on this planet -- the followers.

boomSLANG said...

Christian guest...But you should base your opinion on the one that these so called Christians are following. Jesus Christ.

Without fail, we see the visiting Christian try to make a distinction between "True Christians", and "so called Christians", with the implication being that one person or group has the authority to determine whether another person or group believes "correctly".

Well, it is a fallacious distinction. ALL people who proclaim the Christian Faith are "True Christians", in that, if they we not "True Believers", they would then be "false believers", and the notion of a "false believer" implies that one knowingly believes falsely, which of course, is utterly absurd.

Once more, there is no objective method or process for determining "True Belief"; it is entirely subjective, just like all religious belief.

Christian guest...God is Love and Love is Real.

Excuse me, but "Love is Real" regardless of what any deity has to say on the matter. And this assumes that such beings even exist.

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