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1/29/2006                                                                                       View Comments

A Challenge to any Christains reading this

by Mike

This is a challenge to any christians reading this. Lots of you think that the ex-christians on this site are either running from God or have given up because they want to be 'in the world' in order to sin. You just can't get your heads round the fact that the Bible is full of holes, and that we haven't 'chosen' to disbelieve. Instead we disbelieve because once you read the Bible you realise that it is full of holes. I have three types of problems with the Bible, and I challenge the Christians to explain them, without resorting to personal attacks such as "If you were a real christian, you wouldn't need to ask these questions".

Problem 1: There are many, many passages that clearly contradict each other. E.g. how many men were healed in the region of the Genesarenes, where the pigs hurtled down the bank into the water? How many angels were present at the empty tomb? Was the stone rolled away before anyone came to the tomb or while some were present? There are literally dozens and dozens of examples of these contradictions, and many are listed on other testimony pages. You would have thought that the Word of God, your response to which is supposed to dictate your destination for all eternity, would be clear, consise and consistent. However, it is none of the above. How the hell are we meant to be condemned to hell, when the only book we are supposed to be guided by is so contradictory?

2. There are passages containing promises that clearly do not work. In Isaiah 53 it says "by his stripes we are healed". But of course we aren't. In the new testament we read that if two or three agree in prayer, the prayer will be answered, and if we have faith as small as a mustard seed, we can literally move mountains with prayer. Of course, this is also rubbish, (and please don't try and tell me 'mountain' just means 'large problem').

3. Finally there are those passages that are clearly undefendable, as they contradict what the Bible says elsewhere about God being loving. I submit two examples for you: 1. In Exodus, when Moses and Aaron are demanding the release of the Israelites from Egyptian captivity, God's final plague kills all the firstborn, including innocent children and babies. Imagine George Bush and Tony Blair telling the world that, in order to speed up the Iraq way, the allied air forces would bomb the schools and orphanages instead of the command bunkers and ammo dumps. That would be a war crime and yet here is the God of love doing just that. If God can do all things, he could have struck down each pharoh that said 'no' to Moses' demand, just like God did with Ananias and Saphyra in Acts 5. Eventually, one of the replacement pharohs would have wised up and said yes. God didn't do that and instead killed innocent babies and kids. Great one. The second example is the book of Job. God and Satan are involved in what we in industry call a 'pissing contest' for bragging rights. As a consequence, Job loses his health, his livelihood and all his children. His three friends try to console him, with such wisdom as 'you obviously are guilty of sin because bad things happen when you sin' and 'you must not have had enough faith. (You obviously haven't been to enough church services, revival meetings etc)'. Job dismisses all of this BS. God eventually turns up and answers Job's questions of 'why did this all happen' with this gem: "I'm big and powerful, look at all the big things I created. I could snuff you out in an instance, I'm that powerful. Don't talk to me like that". God THREATENS Job. After all he's put Job through, (don't forget, God TOLD Satan to aflict Job), all God has to say is 'I'm big, don't f**k with me". That's God's message to the bereaved and the hurting who want to know 'why'. Nice one, God!

So, there we are. Let's see how the Christains answer the above. Let them tell us how they can believe in the god as portrayed in the Bible. I'm waiting.

141 comments:

SpaceMonk said...

Yes, this does need to be pointed out.
I for one am not one of those who left christianity because of bad treatment by people in my church.

I dumped it because it's theology is screwed up.
It's primitive and confused.

Yes, I originally left my congregation because I dind't get along with the people, and I never joined another one.
However I still considered my self a christian, I prayed, I believed, had faith, I thought I saw God's blessings in every little thing that happened to me, etc... I loved this God.

Until I went online and found out that it just wasn't really like that.

It was the contradictions in what I thought had been the infallible, inspired, Word of God that first got me questioning.

Once you get the ability to question back it's game over for christianity.

Anonymous said...

In response to:
Problem 1: Books of the New and Old Testament were written by ACTUAL PEOPLE, not puppets whose hands were moved by God to record stories. No, they interpreted stories in their own ways and reworked them to reflect some sort of message they wanted to send through it. The Gospels were written about 50 years after Jesus was alive, and the writers had different sources and different ideas. All that really matters is that they believed. Furthermore, I don’t believe that the Bible is at all intended to be the only book to guide us. We need to carry on so much more knowledge into reading the Bible, knowledge that we attain from living, from learning, from reading other texts, from experiencing. A book does not define God. There are millions and millions of writings that can teach us something about God.
Problem 2: Literally? Think metaphorically, son…
Problem 3: Interpret writings anthropologically. The Old Testament is simply a record of human-divine history, still developing, still happening. Sadly, people are literally and blindly following.

I know I’m being vague, but it’s late and I randomly stumbled upon this and had an urge to respond quickly. Feel free to respond.

SpaceMonk said...

Anon: "Books of the New and Old Testament were written by ACTUAL PEOPLE, not puppets whose hands were moved by God to record stories."

Derr...

"...Sadly, people are literally and blindly following."

Which is the point. To show that it isn't worthy of such.

You seem to be a more balanced than fundy, so this article wouldn't apply to you.

Chris L. said...

Here's a question that always stumps them. Whenever I ask a fundie to prove the Bible is "the word of God", I am always quoted 2 Timothy 3:16 ("All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.")

Instead of pointing out the intellectual idiocy of quoting the Bible to prove the Bible, I ask them this:

"The Bible started out with 72 books until Martin Luther removed six of them, making the protestant Bible 66 books. 2 Timothy 3:16 existed within the Bible BEFORE Luther removed those six books. Since the verse says that ALL scripture is given by God, doesn't that mean that Martin Luther disobeyed scripture by removing those books?"

I have never received an adequate answer.

LadySidhe said...

You forgot to mention the part where God "hardened the pharoah's heart," in order to show off His power.

The pharoah couldn't have agreed if he WANTED to, because God did not allow him the free will to do so.

carol said...

My favorite babble stupidity is the story of the fig tree in the NT. Forgive me if my memory is a bit off, the dispicable babble is not allowed in my home and I haven't read any of it in ages.

The jist is that Jeebus is hungry and finds a fig tree. It isn't fig season and the tree has no fruit. So his highness gets pissed and kills the tree.

First, it isn't fig season! Second, if he is gawd, why didn't he just make the tree bear fruit?

Whata moron Jeebus is, some diety.

Finally, this story is in two books, one being Mark, I think. In one of the books the tries dies rather quickly. In the other book, it takes days/weeks. WTF?

Most xains don't know this story. Wonder why?

Hi, Boomslang, I've missed you.

Regards, carol

freedy said...

Most honest theologians,(christian and jew),teach the old testament as mythology.How these fundies can continue to decieve people is not a mystery.
The literal interperation of the bible has become mainstream because of tele-evangelists. People believe everything they hear & see on T.V.!

boomSLANG said...

Hey Carol...what's shakin'?...yeah, it seems jebus isn't exactly "Omnipatient", is he? LOL! The story that always get's a chuckle out of me is in the "science" section..i.e. Genesis. I'm not going to post it verbatim because I think I used that chapter to line my cat's litter box---but it goes something to the tune of my great, great, great, great, grandmother was hiding from God in the garden one day---I think it was right after she had just got done chatting with the snake---and in comes Mr. "Omniscient", saying: "Where art thou?"....or some crap like that.

Huh!...that's a good one.....hiding from "God". This guy'll f%ck up a game of hide-n-seek?.... and he's supposed to run the universe????? ROFLMAO!!!!!!!

carol said...

Not much new shakin, boom, still making all kinds of typos.

Hey, you reminded me of an old joke:

Adam and Eve had sex for the first time and gawd came down to see how they liked it. He saw Adam and asked him how it was.

Adam says, "Oh, lard, it was great. Thank you for such a wonderful gift."

"Good, good, my son," replies gawd, "but where is Eve?"

"She went down to the river to wash up," answers Adam.

"Dammit," exclaims gawd,"Now I'll never get the smell out of the fish!"

Scott said...

Sorry, Mike, I wish I could help you out, but from time to time I've dealt with very much the same issues. Fortunately they never got in the way of my belief cause my belief never hinged solely on the Bible. I never came to believe in Christ that way...i.e., reading in a book and deciding to believe. If that works for some, then God and His love be with 'em. I was more or less kicked in the ass supernaturally, leaving no doubt whatsoever to His existence as Lord over all, so when it came to reading the Bible, it was more or less like a road map to navigate to some extent the course in life to take...not a book in which to stake my soul. That had to be more real for me...and it was. I could never make you, or anyone else understand, cause the experience was a gift from God to me. Hope you understand to that extent, and I wish you all the best in your pursuit -- be it intellectual or spiritual or maybe some of both. But if you're looking for me or anyone else to explain the Bible--- Ha! Good Luck. I'll be reading with interest what some have to say. Peace

SpaceMonk said...

Yes, of course, now all the non-fundies come out.

I've visited several apologetics forums and have found it is mostly only the non-literalists who bother responding to these types of threads.
True fundies are too slippery to get a hold of with such direct methods.

So the gospel is not inerrant?
So what?

So why trust any of the claims of this corrupt document when it is clearly written by fallible men?

What makes it more of a guide for our path in life over any other religious text?
- let alone our own conscience?

SpaceMonk said...

In 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21 King David counts how many soldiers are in his army.
This makes his god so angry he sends a great punishment on the nation of Israel.

Surely it’s just responsible stewardship for the king to know how big his army is?

So it seems David’s sin was pride. So pride must be a capital offence in the eye’s of bible-god, because he sent a plague that wiped out 70,000 men of Israel.

They didn’t know anything about it but, according to the bible, God killed them for it.
(70,000 men is about 23 X September 11!)

So what happened to the perpetrator of such a 'heinous crime', David himself?
Nothing.

This whole story is just another example of something terrible happening (like a plague) and the people thinking, “Oh no! The God’s are angry! We must have done something to offend them, etc...", just like every other culture who worships gods of their own design.

Some apologists say that bible-god was already angry with Israel for their sinfulness and so created this incident to punish them - so none of the 70,000 were really 'innocent'...

So why didn't he punish them for that in the first place?
Why perpetuate further 'sin'?
I thought bible-god hates sin?
He even hired the devil to corrupt them further...

This shows the deeply flawed character of bible-god, not just a contradiction between verses.

...but here are some of the contradictions involved in this passage anyway:

Who moved David to number Israel?
God did: 2 Samuel 24:1
Satan did: I Chronicles 21:1

How many soldiers did Joab count in Israel's army?
1,100,00: 1 Chron 21:5
800,000: 2 Sam 24:9

How many soldiers did Joab count in Judah's army?
470,000: 1 Chron 21:5
500,000: 2 Sam 24:9

boomSLANG said...

Good stuff, Carol. There's a never ending supply of joke material in them thar pages, I reckon.

On a serious---but yet, still somewhat amusing note---there's always those who say they've actually had a "supernatural" experience. Of course, the critical thinker knows that that's a contradiction in and of itself.....with "Supernatural" meaning, BEYOND physical observation. Thus, if one "experiences" something with the "natural" senses--the physical senses---then by definition, it cannot be a "supernatural" experience.

frredy said...

Ladysidhe,in the new testament gaud turns people over to a
reprobate mind.Once again taking away their freewill status.

freedy said...

Carol, I guess you've heard the common spin on the fig tree verse,that jeeebus was refering to
Israel and their fruitless backsliding.If you look how he's treated his chosen people,.. me
thinks he was nicer to the tree!!

carol said...

Yup, Freedy, heard that xian explanation. They always manage to fabricate something to try to make their babble bullshit make some kind of sense, don't they?

Boom, "supernatural" when these folks say it means "mental illness." They need therapy or medication, not churches.

I so dispise religion and the awful things it does to people and society.

Regards, carol

freedy said...

Scott,..I too thought I had a extreme conversion experience,or like they say in A.A.,.. I was beaten into submission".
I now know it was may own hysterical and desperate situation that convince me that this was supernatural.Like Carol said,.. I was mentally ill.
The born-again experiance is not supernatural,..no more than being born from the womb. People are born again many times in their lives,socially,spirtually,intellectually etc...Your kick in the ass experiance is the same thing that happens to muslims,buddists,and in all religions.

Anonymous said...

problem 1:

Regarding your contradiction about how many demon possessed men there were,who lived in those caves,and who came running out to Jesus?

In fact there is good reason to believe that there would have been more than just two Demon-possesed individuals?

First lets bear in mind,just why did men like that end up living in those caves? its all part of the explanation.The jews had some strange theories about where the soul went after death!And they believed that the soul walked around in dark places on earth,for a period of one year,some say?

And for one,why do you think that any jew would even bother hearding pigs,never mind eating them? You will know that the jew was forbidden to even make money out of the sale of them? never mind handle them.

Yes Mark and Luke only mentioned one man! and matthew mentioned two men! Now,what do we make of this seemingly contradiction?

For now,i must end,but i will get back to this thread as soon as pos!

Scott said...

Freedy said: "Scott,..I too thought I had a extreme conversion experience,or like they say in A.A.,.. I was beaten into submission".
I now know it was may own hysterical and desperate situation that convince me that this was supernatural.Like Carol said,.. I was mentally ill.
The born-again experiance is not supernatural,..no more than being born from the womb. People are born again many times in their lives,socially,spirtually,intellectually etc...Your kick in the ass experiance is the same thing that happens to muslims,buddists,and in all religions."

Can't disagree with a thing... as a matter of fact, I believe it was Cicero who said, 'There are many births and deaths within one life.'

Though I'd hardly categorize my conversion as being beaten into submission, since I was alone on the night in question and have never had a tendency to be too hard on myself (even, perhaps, when I deserve it!)

No one ever dared speak to me about Christ or God or getting saved cause they didn't want to run the risk of me getting violently agitated. I'd seen some disturbing things in my youth, and I was never in the mood to hear about God's goodness. I was uneven and hot tempered and, at 25, was still spry and fit enough to do damage on more than one occasion. (I came to the Lord at age 25 back in '79.)

If I could fully articulate the events of that evening back in June I surely would... but suffice to say, they were real enough to me, and since I'm the only one who's chosen to let those events dictate the manner in which I choose to live... well, that's a principle I've learned to adhere to...Live and Let Live. Thanks for the courteous and polite response. Peace

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous messenger just above, while you may be right about Jewish thought at that time, I am still looking for an explanation as to why the Christian Bible has so many inconsistencies and contradictions. Even if they can all be explained away eventually bvy some biblical scholar quoting the original greek text, I still have a problem with the fact that the Bible, the response to which is supposed to determine our destination for all eternity, is so unclear. You would have thought that, if god wanted us all to be saved, he'd make sure his message was crystal clear!!

Sandy W said...

Spacemonk wrote: "I for one am not one of those who left christianity because of bad treatment by people in my church."

Me neither.

I dumped it because it's theology is screwed up.
It's primitive and confused."

Me too. Psalm 137:8-9 should be enough to make ANY CARING person question the bible.

Psalm 137:8-9" O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is he who repays you
for what you have done to us- 9 he who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks."

To the bible LITERALIST I would say, "Do you not realize that this statement is EXACTLY how radical Muslim TERRORISTS view life? Are you blind?" I don't give a shit if the Babylonians were/are enemies of the Israelites or not, what a HORRIBLE and CRUEL saying this is. How disgusting and vile!

Anonymous said...

hi

Let me try to give you one or two explanations for what seems to show us Contradiction?

There isnt one really you know!

1.Lets have a look at the argument of how many women came to the sepulchre?..in (John 20:1) this passage tells us that there was one woman who came to the sepulchre.

But in (Matt 28:1) it says that two women came to the sepulchre?

Does this mean that someone somewhere got it wrong? no!
an absolute no!

John does not say that ONLY Mary Magdalene went to the tomb.Failing to mention someone doesnt necessarily mean that no one else was near by?

In fact if you read a little further on in this chapter,you would see that Mary wasnt alone!

"So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple,the one Jesus loved,and said,"They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,and we dont know where they put him!"

If Mary was alone,then who is the WE that she speaks of?

Clearly more than one person went with mary.John just dosnt mention them.

In (Mark 16:1)It says that there were THREE women who came to the sepulchre.

but in (Luke 24:10) it says there were MORE than THREE women who came to the sepulchre?

Again,the same approach applies to both these incidents.

freeman said...

Anonymous,

A prosecutor or a defense attorney would have a field day with your witnesses.

Anonymous said...

As the person who laid down the challenge, I have to say that I not convinced by the response of the Christians so far. They have completely failed to answer problems 2 and 3, and have failed to explain why so many contradictions exist in the bible, (problem 1). Although it MAY be possible to explain away one or two of the contradictions, I am waiting for a christian to explain why there are so many in a book that is meant to provide the basis for belief in Jesus, and is the means by which god is meant to judge us. C'mon guys, I thought you were meant to stand up for the faith.....

freedy said...

To anonymous @6:27 a.m.,.."If god wanted all of us to be saved,he would make sure his message was crystal clear."
I can tell you the fundie answer for that.They believe god uses these contradictions & un-
clear doctrine to hide the "word"
from those who are insincere, or unworthy to recieve him.
Like I've said before,"they have an answer for everything."

Anonymous said...

hi

Regarding how many angels were there within the tomb?

In (John 20:11,12) There were two angels.

But in (mark 16:5) There was only one angel seen.

So how do we fathom this out?....simple! these two accounts arnt talking about the same incident!

Johns account was especcially talking of Mary.(when she followed peter and john back to the tomb)

Oh! By the way,this account of John's,was much later than the account of Marks incident.

boomSLANG said...

Anon-Fundy said:

"Hi

Let me try to give you one or two explanations for what seems to show us contradiction? "

Let me try to give you one or two explanations of why your "shoe-horning" draws a false conclusion, and why it won't work on EX-Christians.

To begin with, the premise that an all-powerful "Divine" being would have so much ambiguity in "His word", is absurd. And for those who would posit that his Highness' ambiguity is some sort of "faith test", ask yourself: Is it A) more likely that a God wrote the bible and is just having a little fun testing us?....or is it B) more likely that a bunch of drunk Bronze-aged fisherman wrote the bible and made an abortion out of making it remotely believable? Hmmm...I'll go with "B".

Secondly, it doesn't matter HOW many people---nor does it matter if there is ever agreement on how many people---"witnessed" the infamous "tomb", for a "resurrection" defies logic, physics, and science...and therefore falls into the realm of the supernatural/mythological....i.e. "Osiris was resurrected."

Anonymous said...

hi

Regarding the question of the two men who were possed of demons,who came out the tombs threatening Jesus fiercly.

We know that mark and luke only mentioned ONE man.But,that isnt contrary to matthews account.

At times,even humans describe an event that we might have seen,but fail to mention everyone involved.

We must bear in mind,that Mark and Luke dont say that there was ONLY one man? Perhaps,the reason why they only take notice of the one man,was because he came over has the most fiercest of the two? He caught the eye so to speak.

It seems that he was the greater threat to christ,didnt he have the most legions of demons inside of him.

And we can take it that christ would have been more concerned to deal with him(the leader of the pack,so to speak)

After all,Christ would have been more glorifed if his power was seen in his casting out of the legions of demons.

Maybe,all the eyes were on this one wicked,malignant demon possessed man,who would (no doubt)have tried it on with christ. Maybe even daring christ to fight him? qgpIFH

Melissa said...

Anony #8,099 said:"In fact there is good reason to believe that there would have been more than just two Demon-possessed individuals?"

As if your humble human assertions are great enough to validate a divinely inspired contradiction?

Do share with us those "good reasons to believe" that people can actually be invaded by demons, as I and a majority of mankind have yet to factually witness and/or document these mysterious human manifestations of evil incarnate.

Well, besides the ones that are produced in Hollywood.

It is more likely this piece of the story was an attempt to explain away a human ailment that had not been identified at that time. Those people suffering from a serious mental illness could not be distinguished as such, because they lacked the knowledge to diagnose it for what it was.

To ancient people, everything was explained by superstition and myth.

boomSLANG said...

In Anon-Fundy's "rebuttal" he/she says:

"We know... (insert arbitrary passage of bibliocrap)"

You don't "know" jack, Jack. The "Holy Bible" is a man-made mythological bunch of fables, parables, and science-fiction. There are no devils, demons, or imps. The only "evil" is when things are done that harm and/or stunt the growth of humanity. Self-induced ignorance does both.

If you exist God, please strike me dead before I finish this sente....














PSYCHE!!!!! LOL!!!!

carol said...

Ha, Ha, Boom! That was good!

Funny this topic came up. Last night I watched "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" and it was very good. I highly recommend it, it is kind of a science vs superstition tale and it was very well done.

Per fundies, you can't take the wholey babble literally, except when you should take it literally, but it is often mistakenly taken out of context, except when out of context is needed to correct contradictions, yadda, yadda, yadda....

Regards, carol

Skip said...

Need an Angel? Dial 1-777-An-Angel

Had the pilgrims brought with them the Koran, then America would be a muslim nation right now.

The Bible happens to be the Book of foolishness accepted by most Americans.

Can anyone fathom that we have grown adults and political leaders believing in such nonsense in 2006, such as ghosts, angels, saints, souls, spirits, miracles, demons, blessings, prayer, prophesy, prophets, baptism, circumcision, divine inspiration, resurection from the dead, healings, being saved, speaking in tongues, talking snakes and donkeys, people called by an invisible god?

Aren't we all insane enough as it is, now add religion and beliefs to an already screwed up society?

What is wrong with people neeeding a belief? What is missing in peoples lives that need an imaginary savior, or invisible god?

How does an imaginary friend save you? Is it like a Teddy Bear friend that will always comfort you in a time of needless fear?

Why do people need a comfort savior to guard them from their playpen boogy man mentality?

We have adult grown men and women that cry like a baby when someone points out that their religion is fake or false.

How can a sane person claim that a god and jesus and satan exists?

Why are there millions of totally insane Americans claiming to have had a personal divine experience?

Where has humanity failed to recognize blatant insanity?

How can a society expect to continue to function as a rational enity that believes in invisible beings and ancient mythology?

Will we continue into the year 3000 still believing in imaginary beings without a single thread of proof for over 3000 years of a god and a jesus savior?

Why do people have a desire to believe in something, and stake their very life on a promise that will never be kept?

What is wrong with the human mind?

How did so many humans loose their common sense?

America is a nest bed of lunatics.

Americans are religious brainwashed zombies.

America is a lie, living in a lie, perpetrating a lie, soaking in lies.

America is festering pot of pseudo christians.

America is the flagship of foolishness.

America will destroy itsself by turning the other cheek.

America will die by wallowing in their religious beliefs.

America has let religion destroy America.

Dano said...

Skip said...,
"Can anyone fathom that we have grown adults and political leaders believing in such nonsense in 2006, such as ghosts, angels, saints, souls, spirits, miracles, demons, blessings, prayer, prophesy, prophets, baptism, circumcision, divine inspiration, resurection from the dead, healings, being saved, speaking in tongues, talking snakes and donkeys, people called by an invisible god?"

I feel your pain brother! I feel your pain!
Dan

Anonymous said...

I can not seriously call myself a christian anymore. But how to find meaning in life now that I am not a christian, well, let's just say I am having something of a nihilistic crisis. Be interested to hear from others who are experiencing or have experienced this when they tossed in the christian towel. Particularly interested in hearing from older people or at least mature. I don't feel free and liberated. Not that I did as a christian either but at least for a while, I had the comfort of *something* I thought for a long time to be true and it provided a focus, a clinging pole, a reason for tolerating existence.
It wasn't the contradictions that put me off as much as the growing, horrible realisation that what I was basing my faith in was really just what I had allowed myself to be indoctrinated into believing at a much younger, more vulnerable age and was open game for the evangalists and self-professed missionaries. I believed anything I was told if it came with an "I/we love you" because I was downright bloody love-starved, uneducated and inexperienced.
Recently, I heard a woman being interviewed on a radio program. She had been a catholic nun who after about ten years, left the convent, the fold and became a prostitute. An amazing story told by an equally amazing and brave individual. Later after that, she came to the self-realisation that even this choice was really partly something of an over-reaction to having been cloistered and repressed as a nun but more deeply an acting out of an unconscious kind of self-brutalisation (in the name of re-claiming her sensuality, of course) because of the abuses she had undergone at the hands of her father and her ineffective mother, as a child. However, she seems to have come out of all of this as a remakably together, loving human being living a fulfilling and meaningful life.

The path of the nihilist is definately one I don't want to tread. But honestly, where to, from here?

freeman said...

Anonymous, the one who has cest being a christian.

What you are feeling is natural during the deprogramming phase. You have been steeped into the doctrine for so long that you will feel the effects of withdrawal.

My greatest sense of "freedom" was that I no longer saw myself as part of some small "click". It was no longer my denomination versus someone else's denomination. It is now a complete understanding that we are all humans in the same boat, so to speak. I am able to see the larger picture of mankind instead of the myopic view from a christian stand point.

Ben said...

Dear Anonymous of 6:43am, yes there is a feeling of nothingness, but you have you now, you have reclaimed your internal self. You are free from the self induced limitations instilled in you by the brainwashed moron christians.

Now that you no longer need a crutch or an excuse to be judged by the selfrighteous morons.

You can now enjoy your life as never before imagined, do what you want to do as long as it hurts no one and especially you.

Go concur the world, become rich, do things you never thought possible, think about things that you were not allowed to think and do.

Write a book about your past experiences and share your knowledge with others, examine what it was that caused you to fall for the religious nonsense in the first place. Now that you know what it was, your mind will become more clearer and able to think with an open mind, and you will see how many religious idiots there are and just think how lucky you are by not being a mind warped religious robot. Your mind is your god now and it listens to you, not what some brainwashed fundy has told you. Do what you know is right and become the person that you were intended to be, before the mind snatchers got in.

Close the door on all religions, religions only offer mind control and manipulation, they offer no peace or freedom, just the opposite.

You now own the must valuable possession on the Earth, a clear mind, you have you back now, go do anything that your free mind desires enjoy your life to the fullest for yourself and for us all here, you deserve it.

Please keep in contact with us here, we are here for you, we will not lie to you, we will feed you truth and understanding. Your Friend Always, Ben

Dano said...

Anonymous (Who doesn't want to be a Nihilist), and wants to hear from older ex-Christians.

I am 70, but there are a few regulars here, some who are not as intellectually lazy as I, who will chime in as soon as they see your post.

I never have really bought into the Christian myth, but remained wishy washy until a few years ago, when I started to read on the Internet, all of the brilliantly articulated reasons for regarding it as pure nonsense. Now, the only thing that would change my mind, would be if JC himself appeared on the evening news and explained himself. ( And then I would have to wait for the critiques from the news anchors)

I cannot imagine that a God who created the universe, and put into motion 4 billion years of evolution of life hear on earth, suddenly being very concerned about the latest primate to climb onto the top of the food chain. What I am saying is that it is damn egotistical of us to think he is overly concerned about what our primitive philosophical beliefs are. We have come a long way from that first molecule that learned to reproduce itself, and at least we ARE thinking.

As far as what do you do now that you don't have your make believe Daddy up in the sky. I just like to believe that any force that can create an infinite universe, would have to know what she is doing.

What I am certain of is people who lived 2,000 years ago, did the best that they could with explaining the natural world, and down through history some brilliant and brave men have amended the story, and it is still an ongoing thing. We don't believe, the mostly Pagan concepts of the Bible anymore, but as we speak, there are some pretty smart people out there who are working on the problem of What we should be thinking about.

I believe the Billy Grahams, and other preachers mean well for the most part, but we all will go to same place when we die. Any God that I could believe in would not punish me for using the very same faculties of reason that it created in me in the first place. He wouldn't expect me to swallow a bunch of primitive beliefs, so that I could go to heaven and tell it how wonderful it is for an eternity.

I still make mistakes, but I don't call them sins. I still want to be rich and healthy and experience pleasure, but I don't feel quilt about it. In short, I think my God wants me to live as well and as smart as I can. If not then WHY am I here. The mystery of life and the struggle to live each day as well as I can are enough for me.

It would just be to much work for me to paste a happy grin on my face every day and go around saying a bunch of crap that I knew was crap, like some of the evangelicals do.
Dan

Swiss Christian said...

Hello from another part of the world!

I am quite happy to visit this site, because in fact I think I can understand why some of you became ex-christian.

Fortunately, never in my life did my parents, myself or God forbid me to think about my faith; at the same time, I came (and am still on the way) to know God and live with him, receive his love and forgiveness (I bet many of understand clearly what I mean).

I am a big Bible reader, and I identified many of the contradictions you mention and did not flee before reflexion.

First, I think the idea of the Bible as "litterally exact,inspired word by word " ...and so on... has no Biblical basis!
This is how muslims see the Coran, but it is unconsistant with the way our God usually works with people.

I do think the Bible is inspired, bt for me "inspired" means that God gave such help into it's writing that it is a (or the most!) valid guide for faith and life.
But who needs to know the name of Jesus' grandfather, or the exact number of people he healed at a certain place?
The Bible tells us everything that needs to be known with reliability, but there are many things that have no use for us, and therefore no need for God to certify their accuracy.

Somebody pointed out that perfect concordance between several witnesses shows that they have been made out of scratch, whereas various people reporting about the same event will always say some unconsistant things.


I grew up in an evangelical church, of which I am stil a member, and I saw many preachers saying "not-so-correct" thing, and some people looking at reflexion as if it was a danger for faith. But I think reflexion is something a christian needs to grow in maturity. So I understand that at some time, one cannot prevent oneself to "doubt" the official dogma. (and in fact, one should'nt either)

My point is: are you really reacting against God himself, or against a (sheeply?) way to consider faith?
Have come to consider evidences against God, or to doubt some (respectively many/all)sayings about Him?
I see you don't like "fundies" here; although they are brothers to me, they sometimes really bother me too!
In God's Love,

A friend frow overseas

Dano said...

Swiss Christian,
Thank you Swiss for reinforcing my belief, that the longer a person gives up rational thought, the more difficult it becomes for them to articulate any thought process that isn't full of holes.
Dan

Dan said...

Swiss Christian wrote

"....there are many things that have no use for us, and therefore no need for God to certify their accuracy."

Why then are those things even part of the "word of god"??

freeman said...

Dano,
I whole heartly agree.

Dear Swiss Cheese head, if part of the bible is not literal, then the ENTIRE bible is not literal and therefore a fairy tail.

We are not reacting to YOUR biblical god nor the way you consider faith. We only reject the bible and its god due to a lack of proof and the knowledge of history.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for input, all. I don't know if I will be writing a book on my experiences. There were many people in the christian circles I mixed in who, above and beyond their beliefs, were really not bad people and infact some who were really good people and who have a genuinely caring nature. I suspect that is why christianity is the religion they chose to follow in that many of the teachings of Jesus Christ are ones which exhort humanity to practice compassion, empathy and so on.

I don't feel a need to despise christians. Although there are many who are truly frightening individuals too. Hateful, vindictive and twisted, infact. I don't even want to give them my energy in terms of hating them; I just want to stay well-clear of such people.

I tell you what, though, I really feel sorry for thinking Americans who reject christianity. America, from what I can tell, seems to have an enormous population of fundamentalists christians. It must be hideous to live within that milieu if you are not of 'the elect' and even harder to bear if you have been and then walked away.

Dano said...

Anonymous wrote:
"I tell you what, though, I really feel sorry for thinking Americans who reject christianity. America, from what I can tell, seems to have an enormous population of fundamentalists christians. It must be hideous to live within that milieu if you are not of 'the elect' and even harder to bear if you have been and then walked away."

We feel sorry for you because you are not smart enough to push the "other" button and create a screen name, and that you are unable to understand that we did not just walk away.

We escaped, and some of us were mature enough at very early ages to look at the mythology of Christianity and question the irrationality of it, which is something you will never be able to do, because you are already at the point where you put your fingers in your ears and scream "I can't hear you", every time you come to this ex-Christian site and read anything that is contrary to your brainwashing.

You want to witness to us and try to get us to join your cult, and we are looking at you and thinking," A mind is a terrible thing to waste" Maybe if you keep reading here, one day we will catch you on a day when you have your brain turned on, and will see that if there really is an omnipotent, and omniscient God, it has some "splainen to do"
Dan (70 year old rationalist)

.:webmaster:. said...

Hey Dano,

I got the same initial first impression from that anony poster. In context with the rest of her or his post, I think what he or she meant to say was something like this: I tell you what, though, I really feel sorry for (how) thinking Americans who reject christianity (must be treated).

Of course, I could be wrong...

Dano said...

webmaster,
I think "The force" gave us the Internet, so everyone can speak out whenever the Zealots start trying to enslave us again like they did during the dark ages. It troubles me tremendously though to see the gathering storm of the Islamic brainwashed versus the Christian brainwashed, and the prospects of a self fulfilling prophesy.

The truth may protect us from becoming "combatants," but it may not protect us from the fallout.
Dan

Carla (who was anonymous) said...

Thanks Webmaster,

Your interpretation is exactly what I meant.

Swiss Christian said...

""....there are many things that have no use for us, and therefore no need for God to certify their accuracy."

Why then are those things even part of the "word of god"??"

As an example, let's look at the beginning of Luke's Gospel:

"Since many people have attempted to write an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2just as they were passed down to us by those who had been eyewitnesses and servants of the word from the beginning,I, too, have carefully investigated everything from the beginning and have decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught."

Luke isn't saying "God appeared to me in burning flame, and the told to write exactly the things you are going to read"; he is doing the job of an historian. (and therefore, if you totally recject the inspiration of the Bible, you should read his gospel as you would now read an historian writing about WWII, not as a fairy tale). The Bible isn't just a collection of orders, principle and laws; it talks about real events, and events as well as History have a context that shouldn't be removed.

Let I talk about God's guidance and Inspiration. I do think God the almighty can force any of us do do exactly what he want at any time, but I think he use this possibility as little as possible, by respect for the freedom have gave us.
Therefore, while people were writing the Bible, I think he guided them so that it would not contain mistakes of capital importance, but about pointless things, I think He just let the authors write what them found the most right.

Let I be a little more personnal; after about two years in faith I made the clear decision that, God being Truth, I would never, even "for God's sake" force myself into believing something obviously false.
This lead me to much reflexion and to a "balanced" perception of the Bible, but never to leave faith, and in fact I think it rather grew stronger that way.
(Saying "every single word of the Bible is exact" would be dishonnest to me, but saying " It's only bullshit or human work" would be dishonnest as well, as it changed people live the world around for ages.

I'm not adressing those who now just hate christianity, neither those who never actually believed in Jesus-Christ. But for those who really came to know Him and drifted away because of doubts, oppresive church system and teaching, hypocrisy and so on, I would like to tell you that God is who he always was, but maybe he was just wrongly depicted to you.

GoneNsane said...

"I'm not adressing those who now just hate christianity, neither those who never actually believed in Jesus-Christ. But for those who really came to know Him and drifted away because of doubts, oppresive church system and teaching, hypocrisy and so on, I would like to tell you that God is who he always was, but maybe he was just wrongly depicted to you."

Yeah, wrongly depicted...you mean your God actually doesn't order babies killed, women raped, make people miserable so he can display his power, need people to tell him how great he is, demand a pagan blood sacrifice as atonement for sins he himself commits...? Right. Jesus was nicer, but if you read carefully he encouraged worship of God, not himself, and never said he was to be exalted over anyone else. Since Christians worship Jesus, I believe what you guys do is called "idol worship," to use your own terminology.

boomSLANG said...

Swiss Fundy "semi-literalist" said:


"Saying 'every single word of the Bible is exact' would be dishonnest to me, but saying 'It's only bullshit or human work' would be dishonnest as well, as it changed people live the world around for ages."

Um, so who decides what's "exact", and what's "bullshit"? ....let me guess...you? LOL! Duh!

Swiss Miss, obviously, you---like most if not all other funamentalists---choose to read the bible "buffet" style. Y'know what happens when people abuse buffets, don't you?...they become lazy immovable gluttonous pigs....:: suuu-eeey!::

Please...take your beak out of the Holey Babble for a minute, and crack open a dicionario. Study the meanings of the words "subjective", and "objective". Then maybe you'll see that ALL religious belief is S-U-B-J-E-C-T-I-V-E.....and therefore, it can NEVER be an "objective" universal belief for all of man-kind.

Buh-bye.

Um...why? said...

I just think this is all very funny. I imagine the devil, should he exist, is laughing his head off. Lets see where we are here.

The so called ex-Christians don't believe a word of the bible because someone can't remember how many people someone counted 50 years before writing it down.

The "fundies" believe every written word, which really doesn't make sense as they do contridict each other often.

The Muslims don't believe the Christians because they don't think Jesus was much of anything other than a teacher, and to be honest, it is because of the Crusades I'm sure.

The rest of the world has too many gods or no gods and doesn't have time to even consider Christianity.

And the non "fundy" Christians are typically too laid back to argue, cause it just don't matter enough to them how many people or how far it was, or what color shoes the person wore.

Either way, whatever you believe, one day, each of us will find out who was wrong and who was right. I sure would rather go through my life believing is something or someone bigger then little insignificant me, who teaches us to do things that make sense, and gives us love and grace and compassion, and heaven forbid it but hope, than run around screaming at the top of my lungs how everyone is wrong and this is all bubkiss.

I mean really, if I'm wrong, oh well, no harm done. I had a good and peaceful life trying to be a good person. But if you're wrong....well then....I don't want to think too long on that.

Take care all, and try to be a bit tolerant of us ignorant Christians. You can't help our lack of enlightenment.

Dano said...

Carla (who was anonymous),
Hi Carla! Nice name. That's the nice thing about arguing stuff on the net. We can be anyone we want to be. Isn't it nice to live in a country that still has a modicum of free speech. Think how horrible it must be to live in China, for instance where they tell you what you can read, and what you can say, or even worse, Iran where they have a theocracy, the same thing that the Catholic Church had over Europe for so long.

Just think how horrible it must be for those women in those Arab countries, who are regarded as property, and where those old religious fools tell them what they can wear and what they can do and say. Have you seen those Muslim women with those masks that they have to wear?, and if a bunch of guys decide to rape a woman, they bury the woman up to her neck, and stone her to death, and give the guys a slap on the wrist.

Most of the great men who founded this country and wrote the constitution were Deist's. They were well aware of the horrible things that people who claim to know what God wants can do to the masses, and they wanted to make sure it didn't happen here. They wanted to make sure everybody had the right to believe anything they wanted as long as it didn't interfere with the health and welfare of their neighbors.

Viva La enlightenment!
Dan

boomSLANG said...

The "objective" diplomatic X-ian said: "Let's see where we are".

(*this is under the assumption that he read the testimonials here, and as well, fully understands the mission statement of Ex-christian.net)

Okay---"let's see where we are".

Firstly, what's this "WE" crap?...ya got a turd in your pocket? lol! But seriously---this is where YOU are. Your counter points, even though they are thinnly veiled, still reek of subjectivity with a lil' strawman thrown in for good measure. Nice. Y'see, the conflict/problem for most rationalists isn't about which mythological character "remembers" what, or what language the shrubs speak, or how many nails were in Jr.'s hands---the real contradictions are in the "end" that is trying to be sought....i.e...."love" through conditions; "freewill" through coersion; "belief" through the surrender of the "self". The notions are absurd and abhorent. BTW, the "Muslims" and the Christians believe in the same "deity".... they just each have their OWN "spin" on it, and let's not forget cultural relativity.

....next, the "objective" diplomatic X-ian says:

"I mean really, if I'm wrong, oh well, no harm done. I had a good and peaceful life trying to be a good person."

LOL! Are you serious? Pascal's Wager?--the oldest X-ian sound-bite on the net? Okay, firstly, you can have a "good and peaceful life" without being "frightened" into doing so.(and please, don't tell me about "divine" morals) Secondly, applying Pascal's Wager essentially just says that you don't have the evidence to back up your belief. And BTW, you don't.

Ciao.


* This would be a big fat "NO".

boomSLANG said...

BTW, a question for any believer, of any faith:

Why is it so imperative to believe in a "being" that is greater than one's self? Why is "purpose" and "meaning" so contingent upon such a notion? Really, I want to know......because by that same reasoning, we could easily say that the existance of "God" has zero meaning, because presumably, there's nothing greater than him, right? Do'h!

Carla said...

Dano, American christian religious fundos, in my opinion, are every bit as frightening as Islamic Relgious fundos. Incase you haven't noticed, you yankee patriotic twit, most of the western world has now been coerced off to fight a largely unknowable enemy thanks to good ol' God bless America and have become just as guilty of murdering inncocent women and children, the employment of torture, and the destruction of liberty including democracy whenever it doesn't suit the American 'christian morality' aka capitalist global domination. Right now, your presidential Abrahamic father is probably sifting through these posts on the lookout for anything 'of threat' to 'peace'...you know..the peace by which we now understand in the context of "when I say war, I really mean peace".

By American THINKERS, I did not mean American patriotic SHEEP.

Blissful Awareness said...

David M.: "Take care all, and try to be a bit tolerant of us ignorant Christians. You can't help our lack of enlightenment."

Yes, lets see this leading edge intelligence display itself as an objective view.

David M.: "Either way, whatever you believe, one day, each of us will find out who was wrong and who was right."

How enlightened, you suggest that there is truth beyond this reality, which suggests that we will be conscious entities capable of referring back to this previous life. So, enlightened one, how do you know there won't just be peaceful bliss with 'no' knowledge at all, no memories, no recall, just plain calmness. I am sure, you've thought through your statement before making your point, so, lets hear it.

David M.: "I sure would rather go through my life believing is something or someone bigger then little insignificant me,"

The tell tale sign of a christian. Typically, one who has been programmed to believe they are insignificant fodder of organic matter, born in sin, and unworthy of anything truly great in their life. Quite possibly, anything that can even come close to one who assumes something great happened to them, causes them to give the credit to a deity, because it just couldn't have been them that produced great moments in their life.

David M.: "who teaches us to do things that make sense,"

Religion is senseless, illogical, and has no foundation. However, people have used it to murder for the past few thousand years, that, doesn't make any moral sense at all.

David M.: "and gives us love and grace and compassion, and heaven forbid it but hope, than run around screaming at the top of my lungs how everyone is wrong and this is all bubkiss."

If you have to seek out an imaginary friend, one of over 4,938 noted gods throughout history, to find grace and compassion, you seem to be lost in life. Try stopping a moment and intrinsically searching for those attributes in your own life. You suggest that your life, and those who don't seek some greater power, have a life of bubkiss. Quit screaming, with between the line rhetoric, that everyone is taking your ball away. Keep your ball, however, keep it to yourself. Everyone has a right to a personal opinion, but, that doesn't make something fact. So, if people want predictable events in their life, to suggest fact, then religion has nothing to offer, as anything illogically premised, provides unpredictability.

David M.: "I mean really, if I'm wrong, oh well, no harm done."

Actually, you led a life based on repression and unnatural acts based on your thought patterns. If you don't harm anyone else, the best you could say, "no harm done" to others. And, if you wanted nothing out of life, greater than your dowry of sinful nature, then you got just what you wanted, and perhaps you talked yourself into believing that it wasn't harmful, because you didn't deserve anything greater. I see it as tragic, however, your life quality, is based on how good you feel.

David M.: "I had a good and peaceful life trying to be a good person."

I wouldn't consider having to lead an unnatural life with unnatural thoughts as peaceful, but, if it floats your boat, then keep it. Just keep it close to you, and away from the public arena, thanks.

David M.: "But if you're wrong....well then....I don't want to think too long on that."

It doesn't appear that you have spent much time thinking, so no harm done. If the Muslims are right, then you are going to suffer much worse than your idea of hell, good luck, I wouldn't want to be in your shoes. I will not die with demons in my mind, to haunt me in the afterlife, as, I don't believe in demons. Enjoy your happiness, while looking over your shoulder, for the little guy with the pitch-fork and little red suit.

Larva-Carla said...

Carla: "...most of the western world has now been coerced off to fight a largely unknowable enemy thanks to good ol' God bless America and have become just as guilty of murdering inncocent women and children, the employment of torture, and the destruction of liberty including democracy whenever it doesn't suit the American 'christian morality' aka capitalist global domination."

Well, you can also thank Blair, the fucking Brit Twit, for putting his UK cents in on this one, as the greatest sponsor of global democratization and free trade. Oh, and throw the fucking U.N. in as well, and NATO if you feel you need dumbass. Oh, and by the way, its the presence around the world, that creates hostility. Some like to suggest that expanding global woes are limited to just one variable, like natural resources, etc. Its not only natural resources, and nationalistic interests that are protected, but there are people who generally want to torture, murder, and control large masses of people through coercion, like Sadam. But, as long as some dumb ass sitting in the comfort of their home isn't bothered by the screams they hear thousands of miles away, they assume everything is just as it should be. When nations get invovled, they're told its none of their business, when they pull away, they are told they don't give enough to the poor nations.

"Even though these targets and agendas have been set, year after year almost all rich nations have constantly failed to reach their agreed obligations of the 0.7% target. Instead of 0.7%, the amount of aid has been around 0.2 to 0.4%, some $100 billion short."
http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Debt/USAid.asp

Protection of humanity, plus, monetary humanitarian foreign aid, and sending ones' citizens overseas to protect those who can't protect themselves. Yeah, dumb ass, that is a terrible thing, perhaps the U.S. should sit the fuck back and let people be butchered and starve.

The U.S. should be smart, and just back out. And, when the citizens in countries like Iraq, get butchered by terrorists, we should wait for the first idiot to open their mouth. Then, of course, ask the stupid son of a bitch, if they are willing to pick up a fucking rifle and march into another country to protect those citizens. If a country makes a comment, then the country should be asked to provide the first wave of their citizens for combat.

Regarding your most ignorant statement of boiling up terrorism.


"Newspapers across Europe have reprinted caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to show support for a Danish paper whose cartoons have sparked Muslim outrage."

"Some of the cartoons depict the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist"

"Seven publications in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain all carried some of the drawings.

Their publication in Denmark led Arab nations to protest. Islamic tradition bans depictions of the Prophet."

"Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed the paper's apology, but defended the freedom of the press."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4670370.stm

How assinine is it to provoke Muslims to riot, and claim democracy and freedom of speech. Perhaps, all media outlets should be censured, so that special interest groups don't get bent out of shape. Okay, now, who gets to be the editor in chief. Denmark? Germany? Britain? How about an eastern block country, they don't have terrorists, oh, wait, yes they do. They stormed a school full of children a while back, and took them hostage , a couple of times.

Carla: "Right now, your presidential Abrahamic father is probably sifting through these posts on the lookout for anything 'of threat' to 'peace'...you know..the peace by which we now understand in the context of "when I say war, I really mean peace"."

It appears you approve of free speech. Therefore, you are one of the problems in society, you are the one who would incite violence by supporting media outlets to post religious satire, knowing it would cause terrorist activity to increase. Oh, while American soldiers are sitting in hostile territory and will be the immediate target for aggression.

If a country protects is right to use international trade zones, and some twit doesn't like it, and they commit acts of aggression, then, retalliation is obviously necessary.

Carla: "By American THINKERS, I did not mean American patriotic SHEEP."

Okay, moron, without the patriotic sheep, the thinkers don't have the protection to think. One must be free to think, and that requires protection, to include the protection one needs because of morons who stir up global riots using media outlets, morons who push the U.K. model for free trade, and if it wasn't them, the communists who want to push their economic policy around the world. You're no better than a fundy who refuses to read, you just aren't aware of the level of ignorance you've shown in this one post.

.:webmaster:. said...

Dave M said: "I mean really, if I'm wrong, oh well, no harm done.[...]But if you're wrong....well then....I don't want to think too long on that."

WM's paraphrase of Dave M: "My life isn't worth anything anyway, so what's the difference if I live it out in a complete delusion? But if you guys turn out to be mistaken, you're gonna suffer eternally in my God's horrific torture chamber of retribution!!!! BTW, God loves you."

Josh said...

Wow...
There are a lot of trains of thought running through these posts. To the point that I'm not exactly sure what to say, but I'm going to articulate the best that I can. I am not a biblical scholar in the academic sense, but I am a Christian.

First off, I want to apologize for the way that Christians have acted historically. They have scammed for money, indulged in affairs of all kinds, killed in the name of religious cleansing, the list could go on and on and on for anyone who's counting. Honestly, also, I question their motives. Why do they act that way? I also quesion whether or not they truly follow Christ. But Christians are human, and as humans we are amazingly self-centered - a problem that only further exacerbates the so-called "big" problems of life like poverty and war and so many others. The only cure for that, it would seem, is to take your mind off of yourself for awhile, and take action on someone else's behalf - but that is an entirely different thread of thought, and not a response to the posed questions.

As for the three ideas presented above:

I think the question that needs to be asked is, "What is the purpose of the Bible?" Is it a collection of authors' scientific descriptions of historical events? Or is it a collection of authors' descriptions of the nature of God? Both? Or is it something else entirely? I'm not trying to limit it to a false dichotomy (or trichotomy for those of you counting).

I believe that while it does record history, the main purpose of the Bible is to reveal the heart of God. Throughout the Bible God's paradoxical nature is described in human terms. His abounding love for his creation, manifested (in one way) through His constant redemption and purification of Israel in the Old Testament, through means considered barbaric by most any standards in 21st century America; and ultimately His restorative plan for all people in the death and resurrection of Christ. The latter not only provides a means of re-establishing a relationship with God, but ultimately triumphs over evil, as well, so that we can be confident that regardless of life's circumstances we can persevere.

True, the gospels have things a little differently here and there. I don't want to simply reason them away with ideas like "Those passages cannot be taken out of context," or "Those details aren't important because they don't directly support the main thrust of the story," but historical context, biblical context, and factors like intended audience and cultural customs must be acknowledged.

I offer some possibilities:

Perhaps in the account of the demon possesed men Luke and Mark, unlike Matthew, only mention one man being exorcised at Gerasenes because he is the one who later talks with Jesus and begs to accompany Him, and to whom Jesus replies that he should go home and tell what has happened. Maybe they consider the dialogue more important than a play-by-play of the exorcism. (Note that Matthew does not record the dialogue at all.)

As for how many angels were at the tomb, there seems to me to be separate instances of angels appearing. An angel appears and rolls away the stone, and angels appear both outside and inside the tomb, both before and after the women are told to go and tell the disciples. I would assume that at this point the authors are relying on the memory of at least 3 different women to tell the story, and the thrust of each story seems to coincide with each other, regardless of different specific instances of dialogue. Perhaps each author used a different source. Also, we are not given a timeframe, or rather, the indication of all the elapses of time during the incident, so I find it hard, therefore, to dismiss the different tellings as inaccurate compared to one another in this case when we ourselves were not there to witness the event in real time.

When you say, "But of course we aren't" in reference to Isaiah 53's description of "by his wounds we are healed" are you referring to physical healing? If that is the case, while I do not deny that Christ can overcome physical illness, I do not think that is the message being given in this revelation. Rather, it is a message of the redemption of all people through the rejection of one. One who suffers, but is eventually vindicated and exalted.

As for prayer, I'm hesitant to discuss what I think, because my thoughts have not been fully formulated. I can say, though, that I do not believe God is at our beck and call just because we invoke the name of Jesus Christ in a prayer. Rather than go any further, though, I will leave it at that because I am still tossing prayer around in my head. I have a hard time meshing the Western conventions of prayer with the teachings of Jesus and actions of the apostles. And while I do think that with faith you can literally (altough I don't know why one would) move mountains, I think this is hyperbole to illustrate the point that nothing is off limits, or rather, that we shouldn't limit what we think God can accomplish by placing our own human standards and expectations on our requests.

Yes, God is loving, in fact, I John tells us that "God is love". But, we cannot apply love as the only attribute of God's character. God is also just, among very many other qualities, and both justice and love are evident in the Passover, when the firstborn of Egypt are killed. Egypt was a nation that oppressed and enslaved God's chosen people. The events that unfold (e.g. Passover, the Exodus, the crossing of the Red Sea and drowning of Pharaoh) are all events which demonstrate both God's intense love for His people, and His justice against those who would harm them. God is creating His people to be a nation set apart, through which He can reach the entire world, both then, and in the ultimate display of love, through Jesus. Although, along the way He is forced to deliver judgement on His people time and again because they turn to false gods for guidance and direction, essentially entering a life of depravity contradictory to the nation that He has called them to be. Always, though, He provides a group of people who adhere to the principles of His Law, and uses them to restore Israel as a nation.

As for Job, should it be taken literally? Maybe yes, maybe no, I know that scholars debate that argument incessantly based on, for one, the literary traditions of the cultural setting from which the story emerges. Regardless, Satan seems, really, to be God's pawn in Job, and only serves to prove that God is the ultimate victor despite Satan's best attempts to accuse and destroy. The message of Job seems to be, then, maybe not that human existence is one big wager between God and Satan, but rather that God's control is still present in situations in which we cannot see His hand. It also seems to challenge if not destroy the myth that ties together personal sin and suffering in a causal relationship (i.e. "I said too many lies today, now God is punishing me by giving me a bad grade on this paper."), replacing it with the knowledge of the fact that we live life in an uncontrollable world, but that our response should be one of trust in the plan of the Almighty.

Once again the question must be asked, "What is the purpose of the Bible?"

Many times, it seems, churches get caught up in the quest to boost their numbers and prove that they are an effective church, or to increase their budget, or to preach what people want to hear rather than what the Bible actually says. As a Christian, this leaves me jaded toward a great many things in the church as well. These desires for earthly gain in any way, shape, or form, or for security as a church for that matter, lead to the kind of Pharicitical dogma Jesus came to eradicate, and only serves to exlude those who do not fit into a certain group's interpretation of the Scriptures.

Rather, as a Church, we should be focused on restoring people to relationship with their Creator, not by exposing their faults and providing some sort of relgious method to overcoming those faults, but by offering them a community where they are free to be transparent with God and those around them without fear of retribution or prescriptions of penitence, and to accept one another regardless of their history. For what makes one person any better than the other, really? What makes the self-absorbed, super fashionable more acceptable to the Church than the homosexual? Or the greedy loan shark favored over the adulteress? Nothing should distinguish the love the Church shows to these people, but humans naturally, probably subconsciouslly (at least at first) assign these things into a hierarchy.

I think, also, that we need to stop thinking of God in human terms (the very fact that we call God "Him" is one example of that very idea, considering that God the Father is not a physical, flesh-and-blood being, but how else are we to address Him?), and stop depending on modern science to rationalize His existence, or rationalize Him away. (DO NOT misconstrue this thought - I am a major proponent of scientifc discovery, methodology, etc., etc., etc.) What I am simply saying is that we cannot discount supernatural forces in this world. We do not understand gravity, but that does not negate its existence. The physical laws of the universe are dependant upon it. Yet scientists are unsure whether it is a particle, some form of wave, or what exactly the nature of gravity really is.

I became a Christian when I was very young, and I was recently baptized. I do not remember any certain moment of supernatural joy or peace regarding those experiences, and when I heard others speak of their "it" moments, I doubted my own salvation. But I do not believe that God reveals Himself to everybody in the same way, and that learning to follow regardless of my having received a tangible experience of God's presence is both honoring to God, and honored by God.

I do not believe in God as anaesthesia against the problems of life. Rather, I believe in God as companion, friend, someone who loves me, and someone who actually likes me, too. He is there beside me, changing my attitudes, helping me to love others when I don't want to, providing for my maturation, and He deserves a response from me of a life of worship (do not read as empty ritual, but as a life of reverence and its corresponding actions) because of these things.

Now, I sit in my messy room six hours after having begun this response, and I am finished - and welcome any comments you have about what I have said - but leave the personal attacks aside. I did not attack your person because of the beliefs and thoughts you hold, and I expect the same courtesy, as I consider myself a critical thinker like the rest of you do, and I appreciate our free-thinking society which is allowed to hopefully arrive at truth through discourse.

-Josh

Anonymous said...

Hi Josh, as the person who set up this thread, I appreciate your attempts to finally answer my (very real) doubts and questions about the Bible. I have grown familiar to Christians explaining problem 1 away by saying "One gospel author said there was one angel at the tomb but he didn't say there was ONLY one.." etc etc. No-one has yet explained why a book that Christians insist will determine our destination for all eternit is SO full of contradictions that it makes it nigh on impossible to read as a clear and concise text. I have yet to hear any fundy try and explain away Problem 2. Also, I am afraid I can't accept your solution to Problem 3. Only a brain washed Cjristain can say that "the Egyptians had enslaved the Israelites and so had it coming, and it was OK for their innocent children to die as well". I commented that if Bush/Blair has used this tactic in Iraq we would have called this a war crime. God can't be called 'good', condemn us to hell for 'sinning' by looking at someone 'lustfully' and then slaughter thousands of innocent children. Who's the bigger 'sinner' then? So, I am still waiting for a fundamentalist christian to answer my challenge!

Dano said...

Carla,
What's wrong with capitalist global domination?

If our current polices divert the seemly inevitable war between Islam, and Christianity, some time in the future Bush will be looked upon as the greatest president of all. Sometimes luck is more important than intellect.

The Muslims have been waiting 500 years to get back at us for the Crusades.

If Islamic terrorists set off a dirty bomb in one of our large cities, the only response that would work would be to make parking lots out of a few Arab countries. That ain't gonna happen because we are conditioned to think that killing a billion people is unthinkable. But God can do it and will.
Dan

Dano said...

............and as far as cartoons about Mohammed. I think every news paper in the world as well as book publisher and publishers of any media should make fun of the ridiculous Islamic religion and it's prophet, and all aspects of the Christian myth as well. If we all joined in and laughed at the silliness of mystical pagan beliefs, maybe fewer people would be ensnared by them, and the world would be a safer place.
Dan

SpaceMonk said...

"If our current polices divert the seemly inevitable war between Islam, and Christianity, some time in the future Bush will be looked upon as the greatest president of all."

It will never happen.
Bush is the worst president of all time.
The Muslims aren't the ones who've been waiting five hundred years to get the other back.
The christians consistently got their butts kicked and eventually lost ground.
If a nuke bomb goes off in a US city, say the Superbowl, then it won't be Muslim terrorists who put it there, but it will be Muslim countries who pay the price - all in the name of capitalist global domination.

Jim Arvo said...

Dan, you are absolutely right. Humor is perhaps the best weapon against dogma. I say give the cartoonists complete freedom to skewer anything they wish.

And SpaceMonk, you too are right. Bush *is* the worst president of all time. I rarely curse, but I scream obscenities at the radio when I hear that moron speak. He absolutely must be the dumbest person to ever hold that office. Throw in that perpetual smirk, the tortured grammar, and that his incessant slurring of words, and you have the most insufferable twit to ever hold a high office. (Gee, can you tell how much I dislike the guy?)

JeffXL said...

Dano

Absolutely. Have you seen this? I really loved it:

http://maryamnamazie.blogspot.com/2006/02/apologise-for-what-on-caricatures-of.html

Any else find the bizarre tortures and mental contortions the Xtians employ in order to lie about the BuyBull's inconsistencies tiresome?

"The car is red. The car is green." These are contradictory. (Wull, ya see, back then I were drunk, so they ain't *really* contradictions.)

Dano said...

JeffXL,
( The lady publishing those cartoons is right on. A lot of people died for that right! )

It's the Mullahs that order those poor ragheads out into the streets to shake their fists and shoot into the air every time they want to demonstrate against something the Great Satan has done. (How would you like for those slimy bastards to be telling you what you can and can't do?)

Makes me wonder sometimes if that isn't all they live for. "O/k son, you are a man now. Grow that beard and mustache, and get out in the street and shake your fist in the air. You will get your own gun soon, thanks to all of the petrodollars we are getting from the Great Satan, and you can demonstrate how macho you are by shooting up into the air. Maybe if you are crazy enough for Islam, the will let you strap a bomb on so you can go out and kill some innocent people, and go to heaven and get your virgins" (Why do the women put up with being treated as less than human?)

Do any of them produce any goods, grow anything, write anything, or read anything other than the Q'uaran?
Dan

Leadership vs. Politicianship said...

Many people use different values to weigh politicians. Some use education, but, most all politicians, if not all, have liberal arts degrees, if any. None, are truly genius in the scientific sense. They typically are charismatic enough to be elected, and its more based on timing and public opinion than anything else. Most leaders, once elected, jettison the previous cabinet members and place people in positions that will make them look good and keep them out of trouble, to include their own political party, and the citizens for the most part.

I can't say that I truly like politicians in general. A politicians' job is to move with the people and make decisions to take care of the citizens of a country. However, when a leader moves with the people and their changing views, they are labelled poll chasers. If a leader takes a stand and doesn't chase the polls, then they are considered baffoons not doing their job. In either case, a politician is going to get heat, especially from the tail ends of the spectrum.

You can't please everyone, its basic common sense. If anyone wants to take me up on a challenge, please, by all means pick out a political leader that hasn't had opposition and critics. That should be amusing.

If G.W. sticks to his guns, and fights terrorism until the day he leaves office, he will in fact be seen as a protector of his citizens, and that will indeed be a positive. However, on the domestic side, he will be seen by many as attempting to infringe upon basic civil liberties, and the democratic structure of the U.S. So, there will be those who see him as a knight, and those who see him as a rube, it depends on which topic one is using to make their judgement.

There have been presidents who have chosen to leave americans on foreign soil, to be butchered because of the 'opinion' of some jelly back citizens. Uh, that would be the presidents who are poll watchers. I can pick out a few dozen, and their relative political affiliation if it isn't apparent. Perhaps, that is exactly why the current leadership sits in office at this time, no one wanted a coward sitting on the throne chasing polls while americans were being slaughtered on foreign soil.

The administration and leadership in office, has pushed to become more joint force oriented, and integrate with foreign multi-national forces. Thus, the U.S. military is being reduced traumatically over the next few years. Great, so that takes care of the taxpayer having to pay retirement for military, which makes up less than 1% of the congressionally mandated budget. I would hope that the american people can be proud of that little venture, saving that money to put it back into, lets see, oh, well, that savings will not be realized by the american people, the money will be diverted to some special program. The next wars are expected to be unconventional, and therefore, not believed to require mass armies. So, if we are attacked in mass, then this countries' reservists, and national guard will be doing the fighting, along with those who are drafted.

Politicians can either lead the nation or follow public opinion. I am not so sure, public opinion without knowledge or logical ability to reason many times, is where international matters should be validated. Basically, I see other presidents who have done far more damage internationally than the current administration.

Ignoring foreign affairs, and getting lucky because terrorists just blow up military and foreign tourists and not doing something about it, is far more damaging than taking a stand. Terrorism will in fact, escalate as it most times has, when a politician gets into office that isn't willing to provide 'immediate' and 'direct' force against an enemy. You can't negotiate with someone who wants to change global ideaology, its self sacrifice to do so.

Again, I can't wait to see the next leadership in office, as I am going to jack them up on the net for every variable in which they fall below the current administration. As, of course, that will make the next leader all the more 'worse'. I don't like many people, but not because of their lack of enunciation abilities, I typically don't like those who don't have the balls to take a stand, and of course, that means there are far worse leaders that have gone through the office in the past as opposed to the current leader. Lyndon Johnson was calling in air strikes from his office, while thousands of miles away from Vietnam, and why, because he wanted to tip-toe around the feelings of other nations. Who paid the price. American soldiers. Yeah, I can think of a lot of leaders who have done 'far' more damage, by not taking a stand and staying committed. It took american citizens to stand outside of D.C., to pressure politicians to stop the ball-less act of escalation operations.

The previous leader, accepted attacks as part of doing business in military operations other than war (MOOTW). The purpose of MOOTW involves protecting shipping lanes in international waters, that involves "retalliation" when attacked, not withdrawing from the scene, and stating lies to appease families who have lost members.

I think the biggest losers of leadership are the ones who are politicians more than they are leaders. And, although, I may not like the decisions being made in some cases regarding domestic concerns, I can at least know, that when attacked by some fundy, I can shoot back and defend myself, becuase the current leader has the balls to take a stand on international terrorism which leaked over into their administration because of the ball-less action from their predecessor.

I'd rather see a leader with balls, and the fortitude to make a decision and take a stand, than to have a leader chasing polls who is ambivalent. There are certain things that are 'right', protection of life is one of those, I don't support any leader who can't take that stand without thinking, and there have been plenty of leaders who just couldn't support that simple principle because they wanted to pander to terrorists. Yeah, I know a lot of leaders I don't want sitting in a chair, and who have done 'far' more damage to the U.S.'s credibility in regard to supporting that simple value.

The current leadership, is having to weigh the value of 'life' against, civil liberties. Does anyone have a simple formula, on how much civil liberties should be infringed upon, to save lives? Now, I am talking about saving lives, for a fact, based on personal experience, so, please by all means, throw out there which is more important. Because I want to take that statement and ram it down the next administrations' throat when we get attacked again, and it could have been prevented through diligent monitoring efforts.

Dano said...

Mike
Sorry to have hijacked your article, but it happens a lot. Someone says something that strikes an emotional chord with someone else and off we go into cyber space!

How can a person with a rational mind get past the simple concepts of Angels, Satan, and a God who is powerful enough to create a billion galaxies, being concerned with what a small band of primates (Who didn't even develop the physiology required for speech until just about a million years ago, and still are born with vestiges of tails, and hair covered bodies) are doing or thinking? Who really cares what the Israelites did?

God created Satan, sin and everything else. Don't you think he could change anything he wanted to with the snap of his fingers? Having a son with one of his creations and then arranging to have him sacrificed to himself? Give me a break!
Dan

Life Values said...

Josh: "Now, I sit in my messy room six hours after having begun this response, and I am finished - and welcome any comments you have about what I have said - but leave the personal attacks aside."

Just to ensure we understand how ideology works and values in a global environment. Why don't you tell us, if you are willing to kill people based on your god.

I just want to check sum your values for a second. So, lets say, you have a recurring dream, where your god tells you that its your job to kill the anti-christ. Further in the dream, you find that the anti-christ is none other than the Mr. "X", who happens to be a religious leader in charge of billions of people's ideology. Would you take the charge, and attempt to kill Mr. "X"? You must choose between your "faith" and "belief" in your "god", and human life. Which do you choose?

If you don't choose to kill Mr. X., then you are not a committed believer. If you choose to kill Mr. "X", then, your value for religious ideology is elevated above the value for human life. Those who have such values are the ones who are manipulated by religious leaders to perform jihad and other holy wars.

Its why, cartoons, take on entirely different meanings for 'some' people. So, please, by all means, let us know if you are a committed believer, or an uncommitted believer and where your values reside. This should be fun. Oh, and just so you don't think I'm picking on you, my answer would be, that I choose life over religious ideology anytime.

Value Norms - For Sale said...

SpaceMonk: "If a nuke bomb goes off in a US city, say the Superbowl, then it won't be Muslim terrorists who put it there, but it will be Muslim countries who pay the price - all in the name of capitalist global domination."

I agree that there is definitely the possibility that certain religious groups will be targeted for such an attack. Also, bringing people to a standard of common values, seems to be the more noble thing to attempt to accomplish, however, it has to be done in a manner that isn't coercive. Regarding capitalism and free trade economic policy. I agree, that using this form or economic 'mechanism' by which the U.S. and other nations attempt to change global 'values', i.e., making life more valuable through removal of poor living conditions, etc, may not necessarily be 'the best' way of attempting to change other nations' values. However, if there are ways to change, peacefully, and with cooperation values that are consistent globally, then of course, this would remove the urge for some people to end their lives based on hyper-elevated religious values.

The billion dollar question becomes, how do you change another persons' values after they have lived a majority of their life under an entirely different world view, where the highest honor is dying for ones' religious beliefs. I am not so sure, that 'some' nations have figured out there own standard for normalizing values. Kinda' makes one wonder, how a nation that can't seem to find its own normalization of values, i.e., true equality among citizens, etc., can really be in a position to offer another nation or people a viable solution.

Down to Earth said...

Mike, great post, and I agree the bible is full of contradiction, as the OT was written by the Jews who had an entirely different world perspective, life was simple. There was just one god, and there were only the Jews who were the favored people. Its that easy.

The NT was written many years later, and new and better attributes were added, like; hell, angels, satan, jesus, holy spirit, etc. The Jews knew their beliefs, and knew the NT was nothing but a politically charged attempt to normalize Rome under one belief system. Rome didn't base its belief system on values, as Socrates, may have suggested in his time in Greece, but, they based their belief system on Roman ideology which was dictated via religious leaders and Roman Emperors, and their 'changing' opinions. Hence, Rome fizzled out, when their leadership changed and dissolved over time. However, we still get to see the historical ramblings of ancient history, and the changes that were made by looking at the bible, and how it transitioned from one language to another, and one religion to another.

Perhaps, the christians are out there forming their response to your challenge, or perhaps they know the truth, that the literal bible fails to transition between the OT and NT because each testament reflects entirely different belief systems. Still, you'll get the wholly contradictory statement from many christians, that the god of the OT (El) is the exact same god of the NT (YHWH).

Jim Arvo said...

So as to not further hijack Mike's thread, I'm going to 1) try to keep my reply to "Leadership vs. Politicianship" as brief as I can, and 2) try to tie my comments back to unfounded beliefs, which describes the vast majority of religious beliefs (imho).

First, "Leadership vs. Politicianship", please take a look at how many times you used phrases like he "sticks to his guns", he has "balls", he "takes a stand". That's all you can say in the man's defense. You cannot defend the man's intellect. You cannot deny that the man disdains "study" of any kind. You cannot deny that he surrounds himself with people who are loathe to disagree with him. You cannot deny that he detests bearers of bad news, or holders of dissenting opinions. All of these things speak to his lack of critical thinking, or thinking of any kind, really.

As for "balls" and "taking a stand", can you not see how empty those platitudes are? In W's case, what those really mean is that he made a decision (typically with no true critical analysis), and then refuses to consider new evidence, account for changing factors, admit to any error, or (perish the thought) make course corrections that might give the appearance that he was not "staying the course" with the single-minded determination of an angry bull. Those are not attributes to be lauded! Those are pitiable attributes dressed up to sound honorable--and, unfortunately, too many people bought it.

I remain sharply critical of the man for his inability or unwillingness to think, or to articulate a single coherent argument, and for his outrageous behavior: mocking death row inmates, refusing to consider the possibility of wrongful convictions, taunting terrorists with "Bring it on!", making jokes about the missing weapons of mass destruction, continually lying about the pre-war intelligence, thinking that he is literally above the law, tolerating Rove's despicable dirty tricks, smearing all who dare to disagree with him, making disparaging remarks about the constitution, painting the world in black and white ("You're either for us or against us"), flipping off any international agreement that isn't 100% in line with the economic interests of the US, or might hold the US accountable in ANY way to other nations, ignoring solid scientific evidence regarding global warming and other damage to the environment,... I could go on for hours.

It *ALL* comes down to this. He is apparently incapable of weighing all sides of an argument; instead, he goes with his "gut", and apparently what god communicates to him directly, in lieu of what a true leader would do--which is to THINK and to ASK and to DEBATE and to *AGONIZE* over what by all right should be AGONIZING decisions, because they are DIFFICULT, and there is generally no perfect solution to anything. But no, W. somehow "knows" what is right without having to go through all that. And, yes, he "sticks to his guns", because, frankly, he's just too stupid and egotistical to do otherwise.

Okay, well that wasn't brief.... and I was just getting started. But let me at least tie this back to religious dogma, as I had promised to do. If you look at W's lack of critical thinking, it has much in common with the typical fundamentalist. Neither W. nor the fundamentalist has any use for other opinions; dissenters are somehow evil, or cowardly, or unpatriotic, or you name it. Neither can bear to admit that others might hold an opinion different from their own, and have legitimate reasons for doing so. Neither has any need for legitimate debate, and both will "stay to course" no matter what. What a tragedy that "staying the course" is seen to be a virtue in itself, and that those who are concerned about finding the RIGHT course are vilified. No thank you. I prefer to examine the course perpetually, and to always consider alternatives, and to ask hard questions relentlessly--and I expect true leaders to do the same.

Dano said...

Leadership vs. Politicianship,
I think that the last thing we should be doing is telling the ragheads that we think Islam is one of the worlds greatest religions. We should be printing up a bunch of pamphlets with Mohammed's sayings, along with commentary in light of today's knowledge, showing what an idiot he was. About a trillion or so and dropping them all over the Islamic world, along with cartoons of Mohammed, or anything else that would make those little boys realize how stupid they are for blowing themselves up for religious mythological nonsensical crap.
Dan

.:webmaster:. said...

The title of this topic is "A Challenge to any Christians reading this."

Please remain on topic as further rabbit-trailing will likely be deleted.

Thanks.

Leadership vs. Politicianship said...

Mike, good luck with this thread, hopefully someone will chime in and take you up on your challenge, your argument is pretty solid to me.

Dano, as much as I agree with trying to show people they are wrong and I am right, I don't think infringing on their personal space forcibly seems to be the best method, i.e., leaflets, etc.

Mr. Arvo, your post, although mostly ad hominem, does bring up some genuine domestic concerns. However, leaving out international terrorism and international affairs seems to be myopic. The rest of the world really does exist and religious leaders, and political leaders will be addressing the GWOT much further in the future than our lifetimes.

Your post will likely remain on this thread, however, my *deleted* response clearly showed that there is much more to being a leader of a nation, whether seen as a political or modern day religious demagogue, than playing politician. We will see how things turn out in the next leader, that's a fact. The same topics will remain, and the face and political party will change.

Again, Mike, sorry for the interruption, you deserve the respect of not having someone make political pot-shot statements throughout your thread. Perhaps, those who feel they are truly knowledgeable of the topic of politics and its influence on religious freedom and civil liberties, will start a new thread to support their claims, or, probably not.

Good luck Mike, Mr. Arvo and Dano, its been real.

Jim Arvo said...

I wasn't going to bother responding to your previous post, even though it was full of false dichotomies and straw men, given that this is not the place. However, I simply cannot let you part with this idiotic statement...

Leadership vs. Politicianship said "...However, leaving out international terrorism and international affairs seems to be myopic."

THAT'S what you took from my comments? I'm stunned. Absolutely stunned. I guess, as a Bush sycophant, you will read whatever you want into my comments so that you can avoid facing that fact that our commander-in-chief is incompetent (at best). Can you not see that international affairs are a COMPLEX matter? That diplomacy is COMPLEX, filled with nuance? That fighting terrorism is COMPLEX, requiring many difficult trade-offs based on scant and ever-changing information? All of this requires CLEAR THINKING and a DEDICATION to discerning what is *true* to have any hope of making choices that are beneficial in the long run. Black-and-white platitudes (Bushisms) are FAR worse than useless. That is why Bush is dangerous. That is why his being a simpleton is RELEVANT to the discussion at hand. And, by the way, Bush is the isolationist; he spent his first eight months in office burning every bridge he could manage, only to hypocritically declare "You're either with us or against us" when the terrorists struck. He then went on to squander every bit of good will that the world was willing to extend to us, thanks to his hubris and his arrogant tough-guy facade.

I was starting to think that you had some capacity for rationality, but I see now that you are complete nut-job. Good going, and Goodbye.

(A note to the Webmaster: If you are sick of seeing this stuff in this thread, and wish to delete my comments, I won't be offended. In any case, I promise I'll shut up about this from this point forward.)

boomSLANG said...

Yeah, unfortunately, this thread got hijacked to the subject of politics......and I can sum up politicians in one sentence:

Which ever "dog" has the LEAST fleas?......they are the "winner".

Moving on---

Josh stated: "I believe that while it does record history, the main purpose of the Bible is to reveal the heart of God."

Okay, unless I've missed something, I've yet to see objective evidence presented that a personal god even exists---namely, the Christian god---let alone, that the bible is "His Word". Note: When I say "objective" evidence, I don't mean the Holy Bible as a "self-proving" document...i.e..."The bible it true because it says it's true, see?...it's right there in chapter (insert arbitrary biblical passage)." Bzzzzzzzt! Wrong.

Secondly, there seems to be certain personifications that have evolved over time into cute little sound-bites---sound-bites, which clearly---have originated from the minds of dualists(X-ians)...i.e.."Pastor Livernuts has a 'kind heart', doesn't he, Gertrude?"....or, " I feel in 'my heart' that Bush is right for the job".

Look, it's the year 2006. It's high time we realize that "thought"... hence, intellect, feelings, emotions, etc, originate in our f%cking brains, not in our "hearts". The sooner we do this, the sooner we abolish legendary thinking. This is the very same thinking that has man killing each other over which "god" they "believe in their heart" to be the one true god.

So on to the challege---

Christians: Please provide objective evidence for the existance of the Christian Biblegod, OTHER than what you "believe in your heart", or what's written in the bible. Waiting.

Dano said...

.:webmaster: wrote:
The title of this topic is "A Challenge to any Christians reading this."
Please remain on topic as further rabbit-trailing will likely be deleted.
Thanks.
posted: 2/06/2006 5:30 AM EST  

I know how frustrating it must be to maintain some semblance of organization on your website, but people like you who are making it possible for the little people to express their opinions are very important. Don't give up the good fight. You and Ali Sina over at:
http://www.faithfreedom.org/index.htm

are appreciated a lot more than you will ever know. (she is starting a campaign now asking everyone to make fun of Islam)

The reason this format is so popular with people is that it is so easy to navigate. We can put our two cents in and get immediate "Feedback"

I would like to see a continuing thread called "STUMP THE REGULARS AT EXCHRISTIAN.NET", or something like that where lightweights like me can pop in and get stuff off our chest.

Any way, "VIVA LA FREE SPEECH"
Dan

Anonymous said...

Whats all the problem with all your crying about not understanding all the non-literal stuff in the bible?

Whats non-literal about all the promises of love to those who believe in the simple Gospel?

But,on the other hand! Whats the problem for not understanding all those warning's in the bible...that are in our case! "Writen in plain English"..like for instance?

"If ye forsake the Lord,and serve strange gods,then he will turn and do you hurt,and consume you,after that he hath done you good"(Joshua 24:20)

I think this verse speaks directly to you ex-christians!

I cant help noticing how many of you claim to have believed in God at one time or another in your lives? Nay! some even claim they loved him?

But! Did God love them in the firtst place,thats the biggy?

But has this little reminder to YOU...from..HIM! says.

At one time he did you Good?(but this dosnt nessecerraly mean that he loved you"? It just says he did you good.

Now surely,even with so much of your education,you can manage to take this passage has literal? or is this still "un-literal"?

Whats so unliteral about "Do Good" or! "He will do you hurt"?

Everyone knows what it means to do Good?

And everyone knows what it means to do Evil"?

If you wont recive good from Him? then the choice is simple?

In any language?

Even in plain English?

boomSLANG said...

Drive-by anonymous fundy # 7,000,003 asked:

"Whats all the problem with all you crying about not understanding all the non-literal stuff in the bible?"

...::yawn::....


E'cuse me little man....but who decides what's "literal", and what's "non-literal"?...YOU??????? Or wait, maybe you're just parroting what your preacher programmed into your, uh, "brain"....? "Cling, cling, cling!".....we've got a winner! D'oh!

ROFLMAO!!!!!!!



PS: If you have the balls to come back here..... please, first learn the difference between a "subjective" belief, and an "objective" belief....you'll find, too, that those definitions are available in "plain English". Thanks.

Jim Arvo said...

Yet another nameless person asks "Whats so unliteral about 'Do Good' or! 'He will do you hurt'?"

Answer: Nothing at all. I find that to be quite clear. Can we agree on that and move on?

Do you have any problem understanding what you are to do with disobedient children according to your Bible? Is there any question in your mind that they are to be stoned to death? How about homosexuals? You do understand that you are to stone them to death too, right?

If your god commanded you, in plain clear English, to slaughter the inhabitants of a neighboring community, dashing them all to pieces, young and old alike, you would do it obediently, right? What's not to understand about that? God has given that command before; if he does so again, will you be ready to act on it?

In to Koran, it plainly states that Jesus was simply a prophet, not god incarnate. In fact, the latter belief is blasphemous, and will put you in danger of spending eternity in Islamic Hell. That's quite clear, is it not?

Joseph Smith stated in plain clear English that the Book of Mormon was transcribed from golden plates given to him by the angel Moroni, and in it god states that he is setting the record straight on many counts. There can be no misunderstanding about that, right?

I'm glad we can agree on all these things. That's the beauty of simple, clear language.

Have a good day.

Leadership vs. Politicianship said...

Mike, hello again, it seems people seem to continue to make political comments within your thread. I don't see the need, to continue this debate, on this thread, however, it appears there are some that don't want to start a new thread. Now, that is rude, true, but, it appears that is what you are going to get when trying to voice your views.

For instance;

Jim Arvo: "Can you not see that international affairs are a COMPLEX matter? That diplomacy is COMPLEX, filled with nuance? That fighting terrorism is COMPLEX, requiring many difficult trade-offs based on scant and ever-changing information?"

Truly, I work in that area. And, if my post hadn't been deleted, as it contained matters of religion direct to civil liberties, perhaps everyone else would be able to see my comments. Nonetheless, I made the comment that supports the exact same view you just stated. Your comment previously was that "W" was making a mess on domestic matters, i.e., ozone depletion, etc. Without addressing international matters. Now, you've started addressing international matters, and that's great. Still, no matter who gets in office, in the future, they will in "fact", have to deal with ultimatums.

If anyone suggests that there is some highly complex formula dealing with international terrorism, I disagree. Especially, if they are tied to challenges like Mike has presented, which stems on those who rely on absolute ideology, and are willing to spite their nose to save face.

There is no, bargaining, there is no, lets take this to the table and discuss the matter. Its kill, or be killed, that's it, take it or leave it. I live with it, I watch it, and have no problem pointing out the fact, that murdering innocent civilians is nothing short of religious fundamentalist jihad, again, going back to Mikes' post and absolutism.

People can continue to yell and scream about political policy, but leaders don't back down from what is right - many politicians do, and they are fickle. Its like a preacher standing up at the pulpit, one sunday, reading a passage one way, because certain members show up, but the following sunday a different crowd shows up, and he/she preaches an entirely different message based on the same passage, to make them happy.

Mike, also presented the christian community with the challenge that some fundamentalists refuse to answer directly, because they want to flexibility to change their mind. There is no mind changing, we are being attacked, because we want the freedom to move in international waters and trade with other free nations. You suggest I am a sycophant, this leader doesn't know me, nor does he know you.

Jim Arvo: "I guess, as a Bush sycophant, you will read whatever you want into my comments so that you can avoid facing that fact that our commander-in-chief is incompetent (at best)."

Just like preachers and theologians have job descriptions, a.k.a, actors, etc., so do leaders. Now, why not let us know what a leader should be doing, chasing the polls or protecting the country from unconventional warfare. I did not take your words out of context, I have quoted your comments directly. I am not getting the next promotion, or brownie points by understanding that when someone attacks you, you have two options with ideological extermists; A) Defend, or B) Flee.

The only thinking involved, is, where does the money come from to support defense of a nation from religiously painted terrorism. Mike is challenging the absolutists with their own rhetoric, the bible, but there are others who don't 'care' about supporting their views with logic, they just simply want to kill anyone associated with democracy, and the 'infidels'.

If the litmus test for a leader is to choose option A or B, and you personally believe there is a point where B is an option, I'd like to hear the argument. In respect to Mikes' challenge, it would look something akin to; "When should a person/group accept subserviance to a fanatic group bent on ideology/rhetoric".

When do you give in Mr. Arvo, to the religious fanatics, or those who want to tell you that you don't deserve to live because you are an infidel. If there isn't a threshold, for absolutists, which I hope respond in the near future for Mikes' challenge, then Option A, *Is* the only option.

Some people don't like arguing politics, but it is little different than religion. If you don't see that it "IS" us against those who want to "kill" us, then we don't have the same perspective of terrorists. International terrorists, are religious absolutists on steroids, who are willing to commit murder, and they do, daily.

Some countries don't want to get involved, but they don't understand obviously, they don't have a choice. I don't have a choice, when door to door missionaries come to my door, and start preaching the passages Mike has pointed out. They show up, and I have to make a decision, I am placed in a reactive mode, sitting back behind the curtains is an option, if I trust they will leave, however, if their intent is to vandalize my property or burn my house down, my options seem limited. Stay in the house, or die. If I make my neighbors mad, because I have to hop over their fence to escape rabid missionaries, then so be it, its either that or die. If my neighbor, puts up barbed wire fence, to ensure they don't get associated with my attempted escape, I wouldn't have called them, friendly neighbors to begin with.

Where do preachers that quote the passages Mike has given us, get their money? They politic their words to the masses, they are word peddlers. My point, is that politicians are great during times of prosperity, and some semblance of peace, but, leaders are needed, to stick to certain principles and do the 'right' things, especially if the suggestion being presented isn't viable. Again, I don't see some highly complex pattern here.

Just like the fundies that peddle the passages Mike has presented, some attempt to peddle politicial rhetoric. In the end, one of the two options, "will" in fact occur, where the money comes from is the complex matter. However, to say, that "W", is incompetent because he has chosen Option A, means, someone believes there is a better option available. Care to provide an alternative, using a religious analogy?

Trying to pass the offering plate, around to other nations to offset costs, seems slightly workable in a charity sense. However, some nations don't care to give, and so, international businesses are given free reign to operate, which in turn cause domestic concerns, as I stated before, ozone depletion, etc., etc. Mike's post goes to the core of tradeoffs, what is a fundy willing to trade-off to 'make' their belief work. What is the U.S. willing to trade-off, to protect itself from international terrorism.

Outside of two options, the offering plate has to be filled. One leader, typically republicans, side with big business to generate money from the international community, and they at the same time, reduce gov't. Do ya' think I'm jumping for joy, Jim, that my job is being outsourced day by day, so big business can come in and 'protect' this country. The Reps, then, push more authority to the states, and tax them with providing national guard and reserve personnel, to supply troops when necessary. Yeah, A-Okay on that one, put those who have the least amount of training in combat first, that seems smart (not knocking the reservists, they are honorable).

Then, there are the democratic nominees, kinda' like the alter boy who passes the plate. They raise taxes to generate money, and start making international deals with countries to raise capital, which in the long term, bite the U.S. in the shorts. Then, the typical democratic leader enlarges gov't, yeeeaaaaah, I get one more person in my shop to help carry the load, while having to listen carefully as to what under the table trade-offs are being made to other nations. Then, in the middle of it all, we are attacked, because we have not engaged Option A, vigilantly enough, because we are trying to tip-toe around our neighbors, being the ultimate international sycophants. While, somehow believing we can actually, maneuver around religious ideological fanatics, that want nothing more, than to kill all 'infidels', as Mike challenges, literal fanatics.

Now, its not that difficult. The next preacher or leader will step in the pulpit or office soon. And, one of the two options will prevail, there is no middle ground. Anyone who plays any sort of contact sport, knows, that trying to play the game at half pace, gets a person injured, I don't want to be the injury for some whimsical politician Jim. Putting american citizens, in harms way, taking the injury via murder, and then just taking the ball and going home, is *not* an option - at least to me.

Jim Arvo: "He then went on to squander every bit of good will that the world was willing to extend to us, thanks to his hubris and his arrogant tough-guy facade."

Like Yemen, who just let 13 Al Qaida prisoners, escape, from their high-security prison, or would that be the good will of France, who doesn't allow U.S. air assets to fly over their air-space in times of international dispute. Perhaps, its the Russians, we need to seek for good will, who bought oil, under the table from Iraq, while international sanctions were being enforced, totally undermining any U.S. diplomatic bite. Maybe China? Perhaps, N. Korea, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, etc., etc.

Now, there are some countries who have been willing to support us, and yes, it really does come down to international commitment. Either a country is willing to support Option A, or they prefer to accept Option B. Its not that complex, it like the people Mike is trying to get to answer his post, they will either be fundy, or liberal, or some shade in between, but they will in fact fall on either side of the spectrum, and that's fine for religion and beliefs, but, its not stone cold reality with life-death scenarios.

Those who are currently supporting international efforts, *are* with us, and the ones who aren't, I wouldn't prefer to be protecting my back, as I intend to play contact sports, full out, without increasing my probability of injury. There are nuances, and then there's these shades of political gray, but in the end, its all about commitment between two options, and those who are willing to make the commitment to those two options. I know many don't like "W", and yes, I can see some people's points of view, on why they don't like his personality, but beyond personality, it comes down to strategy.

I'd much prefer to have someone stand up and "choose" an option, and stick to the option, than play political games with my life. I suppose, "W", just feels a little bitter about the airplane that was destined to fly into the oval office, and murder him, his family, and U.S. leadership, maybe that has something to do with his attitude. Like Mike said, we need to challenge everyone and their rhetoric, to see the underlying causes, not the ugly appearances, that seem to grate against "many" peoples' nerves.

Jim Arvo: "I was starting to think that you had some capacity for rationality, but I see now that you are complete nut-job. Good going, and Goodbye."

Well, as much as it appears you believe I am a nut. I totally respect you and your views. I know for a fact, that you have reasons to believe, what you believe, and I would not attack your right to have that belief - I'd support your right, with my life. Next time, I am taking fire, from an enemy position, I will be thinking of you, and wondering which way you wanted the options to sway, and how much support I can expect from leadership. I have a wife, and a family, but I am only one of a million soldiers. Do what you feel is right. Believe it or not, my life is in your hands, more than you probably care to imagine - I work for you, your family, and everyone who wants to be free from persecution in this world. Enjoy your evening.

(Webmaster, if you feel the need to delete this after its been posted for at least a day or two, that's all I'd ask. Thanks for the consideration.)

Free Speech Rules said...

Dano: "The reason this format is so popular with people is that it is so easy to navigate. We can put our two cents in and get immediate "Feedback""

I agree, nothing like airing laundry online, sometimes, we grow from eachothers' inputs. I couldn't possibly meet everyone that somes online and have a one on one conversation.

Dano: "I would like to see a continuing thread called "STUMP THE REGULARS AT EXCHRISTIAN.NET", or something like that where lightweights like me can pop in and get stuff off our chest."

I agree this form of media is great for catharsis, it allows us to get so much off of our chests, while at the same time, seeing other points of view. It would be interesting to have an online debate session, with "all topics" open, for a stream of thought debate. What is especially great, is the fact, that if someone doesn't like what they read, they can leave the area, while leaving the door open for those who are curious enough to read, much more conducive to changing opinion around the world. I also, like the cartoons that allow people to read at their leisure, without being forced or having the literature pushed on them. Just as long as we respect other peoples' right to civil liberties (as long as they earn that right, by mutual tolerance), let freedom ring.

As you said, "VIVA LA FREE SPEECH". Take care.

Leadership vs. Politicianship said...

Clarification between two options per my previous post.

"however, if their intent is to vandalize my property or burn my house down, my options seem limited. Stay in the house, or die."

Stay in the house and die, or flee, was the intended context.

An-udder Anonymous said...

Anonymous: "Everyone knows what it means to do Good?"

Obviously we are persuaded to realign our focus to the topic/thread at hand. Okay, no, everyone doesn't know what it means to do good - its subjective. Some people kill people who speak differently, or look differently, or believe differently, and call it good. Well, your god did anyway, the universal terrorist. That would be taking the bible literally, in clear context. Just an udder anonymous - boob.

freeman said...

Anonymous quoted the bible,

"If ye forsake the Lord,and serve strange gods,then he will turn and do you hurt,and consume you,after that he hath done you good"(Joshua 24:20)"

I quote the bible,

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness:

and I ask Anonymous, which god will consume us?

Jim Arvo said...

To "Leadership vs. Politicianship": This is NOT the place for this discussion. If you would like to hear why I believe that ALL of your either-ors are false dichotomies, start your own thread on politics. We can have at it there.

By the way, I apologize for calling you a "nut-job"; looking back, that was actually uncalled-for. I rarely do that--I just got ticked off because I felt that you distorted my meaning to the point of inverting it.

If you are actually in the military, and deployed, I wish you the best. I mean that.

Anonymous said...

So it IS your struggle with habitual sin's...Thats clearly making you so uneasy in yourself?

And it follows,that you are clearly uneasy whenever you hear the Gospel!

I'm afraid to be the bringer of bad tidings of great Lament to you.

But you are only behaving in the way that the bible says you would behave.Those who totally reject Christ have no option than to behave like you behave...or,some "To those who Despise the Holy Spirit"

In my bible(and it must be in your bible,if you have not burned it?)it clearly says,that that kind of SIN is...Unforgivable!...Unpardonable!..thats a terrible thing if you think about it! To think,that untill the atheist leaves this life,he/she has nothing else but darkness and uncertainty in front of them.

Lets put it this way shall we?

Supose that one of your friends should approach you suddenly and tell you in your face."That he can never forgive you for say?...cheating him out of some money owed him,by you"

Would you be able to understand such an easy to believe "literal" statement,of your friend? of course you would! and if you can,i assume you can?

Then its the exact same with all the WARNINGS of God,in the bible!

His warnings are so easy to understand that even children are capable of reading and understanding them.

So,to those people,who once claimed they believed in his Son,and claimed at first they trusted in him for their eternal safety... have now,turned on him,and resorted to mock him(By the way! by doing this you Despise the Holy Spirit)

boomSLANG said...

So, you mean, Casper's not always a "friendly" ghost?....."literaly"?

ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Josh said...

Sorry this took so long, I couldn't get on the site yesterday...

To Mike -

I'm curious as to your concept of inerrancy, what you were taught about it, how it is defined, how it is justified, etc. Because I know of no Scripture passage that outright certifies inerrancy - especially if it is defined as free of apparent contradictions.

I understand that you would be tired of having II Timothy 3:16-17 shoved in your face again, but let me bring it up for a short time. It seems to me to mention why Scripture is God-breathed and useful - "so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Maybe, in other words, so that they will be trained and ready to look at the marginalized of society with compassion, be prepared for spontaneous acts of mercy, and have confidence and wisdom when dealing with those in positions of power, among other things.

What if inerrancy (where does this concept come from, anyway?) simply means "error free," and therefore that the Bible tells the truth in all cases. I am not trying to mentally contort anything here - not trying to leap to any random justifications. Inerrancy, after all, at face value, is defined as freedom from error or untruths.

I'm not trying to turn this into a numbers game, either, (i.e. there were really 17 angels at the tomb, even though Matthew only mentions so many), I'm just trying to understand your view, and help you understand mine.

I've come up with an illustration for this idea, it may be full of holes (and you may not like baseball at all, but play along) since I have just thought it up, but here it is anyway:

You attend a baseball game, along with about 30,000 other people. Your team is losing 1-0, but with 1 out in the bottom of the ninth inning the star of the team slams a two-run homer to win the game. The 19,201 true fans, who've stuck around 'til now, rise to their feet cheering. In his ecstasy, the guy behind you spills his beer down your back, apologizing profusely, but it leaves you a little sullen, regardless - it was your favorite player's jersey, after all :).

Now, the scene is set.

You return home after the game and your wife asks, "How was it?" You reply that, "We won, but this guy dumped his beer all over me and I stunk the whole way home." You fail to mention that there were 19,199 other people there, too, screaming and happy.

The guy who was sitting a few seats down from you, completely oblivious to the beer-spilling, returns home to the same question. His account of the game is somewhat of a dramatic retelling, and, relying on the announced attendance of earlier in the game, near the end of his story he mentions, "Everyone was on their feet, all 30,000 of us."

A sports-writer with an overall view of the game from the press box - who could see that the stadium attendance was vastly reduced from earlier in the game - writes an almost chronological play-by-play, highlighting the errors and eventual victory of the winning team, and noting the joyous celebration of the remaining 20,000 happy fans.

The guy sitting at home in his easy chair watches the same game. He gets to see an incredible close-up of the bat shattering when the home run play occurs. When his wife asks him later how the game was, he only mentions the last play. "It was incredible," he says. "Jones' bat shattered when he hit the final two-run homer." He fails to mention the drudgery of the 8 previous, scoreless innings.

Twenty years later a historian realizes that this specific game was the beginning of a major win streak and change of momentum in the team's history. He interviews people who participated, coached, watched, reported, etc. Then, he puts it all together in one dramatic arc featuring gradual increase in tension peaked at a climax, and a swift resolution - a common literary technique in the Western world. For all intents and purposes the facts are correct and verifiable, but the subjective emotions are a combination of artistic license and drawing from the experiences of his sources.

Clearly, there are some contradictions at face value.

But which of these accounts are untrue? Which of them are errant? Are they inerrant (free of untruths) regardless of their contradictions with one another. "Your" account focuses on only one man, the guy a few seats down bases his numbers on earlier verifiable information, the sports-writer gives the closest account to factual acceptability as possible with a bit of flair, the guy at home only mentions one player - the one who won the game, and the historian took license with a factual story. Does that make any of them untrue? I guess it's mostly a rhetorical question, but feel free to rebut.

I believe inerrancy allows for paraphrase, allows for multiple viewpoints, allows for literary style, allows for the understanding that cold, hard facts might not have been the focus of the ancient world. Maybe the reason there are four gospels and not just one is because the writers wanted to show a specific audience who Jesus was, and why He had done what He had done for that specific audience (e.g. I'm pretty sure it's widely accepted that Matthew was writing for the Jews, Luke and the others probably to Gentiles, perhaps each with individual communities and accepted philosophies) - the nature of Jesus never changes from one book to the next. This is just something I've been thinking about as I write, and I hope you'll allow the digression.

Anyway, I don't think the Bible is simply a book about determining our final destination - actually, that seems to be just the beginning. Rather, it is a collection of writings to help those who are followers of Christ be molded more and more into His image. It helps us to strip away conventional thinking and start applying grace as best as we can, with no strings attached. This is difficult, considering we are not God.

From what I understand, you don't want to believe in the ideas presented in the Bible as truths because of the three problems you mentioned above (and perhaps you could help me understand Problem #2 more clearly - I guess I'm not quite sure what the reasoning is behind "promises that don't work." Are you still referring to physical healing and such? I'd just like to know.) among other reservations you might have not yet disclosed.

I don't think we can logically compare Bush/Blair to God, who does not look at the world, or history, or time in the same way that we do - that reminds me of the Greek and Roman pantheons - deities which had human characteristics and which people feared because of their deities responses to the peoples' inability to or direct opposition to satiating those beings' desires. How contradictory to that type of God, then, is a God who is patient, and loves us despite our hearts' deepest, darkest secrets?

You are not satisfied with my answers in the previous post, and you may not be with this post, either, and that's fine, because they are simply my ruminations and interpretations, but I wonder if you know what kind of answer would satisfy you. Do you already have a preconceived reply in your mind with which you want me to agree? Or are you genuinely seeking to know the answer? I don't think God dislikes questions - I think they're healthy, and I would imagine He does, too, for Paul says in I Thessalonians, "Test everything. Hold on to the good." How are you supposed to learn and grow with an attitude that staves off healthy doubt? I am curious, how would you expect a Christian to act and think when approaching daily problems? What characteristics do you expect to see from us? What values do you think we want to be acting?

The Bible is not about instant-gratification. It is not an immediate cure-all for the problems of the world. It is a convictor, a support group, a challenge for community, an inspiration, a friend in dark times, a companion in anger, a reminder to rest, and so much more, thanks to its varied voices - and maybe it's not about reaching the destination in this life, but about the growth process, and the maturation, and the way that we strive to live.



To Life Values -

I would not kill that man - but that does not make me an uncommitted believer - Jesus tells us to love our enemies. If God tells me in a dream that Mr. X is the Anti-Christ, I'm going to steer pretty well clear and let God deal with him, since He promises that one day He will. If I suspect him to be an anti-Christ (which he very well may be), it's not my place to judge God's purpose for him on earth - look at Saul, who became Paul - he was one of the most devout haters of Christians, those people that threatened his stable religious system. Then what happened? Jesus revealed Himself to Paul, who was never the same after, and became one of the most eloquent, philosophical (*almost* to obtusity) "dialecters", if you will, in favor of Christ, using the traditions of Greek and Roman philosophical thought processes. I, too, value life over religious ideology, which Jesus did not come to establish, but eradicate, and replace with understanding of God's truths.

Anonymous said...

I commend your work in debating the finer points of Christianity, but I really think such a granular criticism is unnecessary.

If you want the most damning evidence of God's non-existence, ask the following question:

Why does God allow pedophiles to live?

Really, if Jesus asked to "suffer the children come unto me," and thereby stating that God loves children, why would such a God allow such monsters to exist?

I grew up in an Evangelical household. My mother to this day firmly believes in God. As a victim of a pedophilic neighbor when I was a young boy, I have since asked her why God would let something like this happen to a child WHO BELIEVED IN HIM.

She's yet to give a logical answer.

As a Calvinist, she believes in pre-ordination. So again, I asked her if it was God's plan that that animal, that pervert, would be allowed to do what he did to me.

Her only response was "Don't hate God for that." I told her that I can't hate something that doesn't exist. She's heartbroken, but she's going to have to live with it.

boomSLANG said...

In regards to biblical contradictions and the Christian world-view, etc... Josh said:

"I'm just trying to understand your view, and help you understand mine."

Hi Josh. I cannot speak for all Ex-Christians, atheists, agnostics, or whatever the case may be---but if you want to truely "understand" my view as an atheist, in a nut shell, it goes something like this: No evidence; no belief.

Okay now....I can see that you put a lot of thought and energy into your "baseball game" analogy---cool...yet, IMO, it's flawed for a very obvious reason, that reason being that your analogy is based in the realm of naturally occuring events...e.g.....You can SEE a baseball game; you can HEAR the crowd noise; you can TASTE a hotdog; and certainly, you can FEEL a beer being spilled down your back. And mind you, all of the events that took place in your story?...even hypothetically, they could all be REAL experiences that would be totally believable... even 2000 years from now. So in other words, maybe in the future people would disagree on the sequence of events that happened at the "baseball game".... BUT, there would be NO conflict on IF the events, themselves, were possible. In other words, "winged people" don't carry the players around the bases, do they?.... that thought is absurd, is it not? Could a talking snake slither on to the field and play umpire? No. Does 1 strike + 1 strike + 1 strike = 1 strike? No. Can a sports injury be "healed" by a magic catcher's mask? Absolutely not. I hope you see the point this time.

Josh, your whole post is based on the presupposition that the Christian biblegod exists, and that the bible is "His word". You can quote, and quote, and quote, and quote, and QUOTE biblical scripture all day long, but it means nothing until there is universal knowledge of a god---and even then, you have the burden to prove he/she/it's the CORRECT god, out of the THOUSANDS of "one true" gods.

Regards.

Life Values said...

Life Values: "I just want to check sum your values for a second. So, lets say, you have a recurring dream, where your god tells you that its your job to kill the anti-christ. Further in the dream, you find that the anti-christ is none other than the Mr. "X", who happens to be a religious leader in charge of billions of people's ideology. Would you take the charge, and attempt to kill Mr. "X"? You must choose between your "faith" and "belief" in your "god", and human life. Which do you choose?"

Josh: "I would not kill that man - but that does not make me an uncommitted believer - Jesus tells us to love our enemies."

Actually, what this means, is that you obviously haven't ever received a response from your god after prayer, and don't ever expect a reply from your god when you pray. If you did, and the answer to a prayer was, to kill Mr. X., that would be an order, direct from your god, not a suggestion. What you are saying, is, that you place the words of the bible, over 'any' notion of an answered prayer.

And, not being picky, but, does love your enemy extend to lucifer. Just wanting to see where your values lay. Also, is all love equal, why, or why not? Do you love your enemy, i.e., lucifer, as much as you do god? If not, is that fair, are you abiding by your bible to the letter of rule.

If you believe there are varying levels of 'love your neighbor and even enemy', then why wouldn't you kill Mr. X, if your god demanded that of you? Finally, how do you tell prayer responses from mere dreams, that is, if you have ever had a prayer response. If you never have, then why pray?

L vs. P said...

Jim, I posted a thread request for general political discussion, if the request is approved then we could continue to discuss the varying political perspectives and the pros and cons of each.

Sometimes, I like talking about the here and now, instead of what didn't happen a few thousand years ago. I have long ago, passed the need to believe in a christian (or any other by definition) god to live a prosperous and successful life. I also, find it much more beneficial to discuss topics, with those who can see from different perspectives, and logically build an argument. Thanks for the support, I do serve, one of the benefits to the job, is being able to some degree pick out the next boss.

I am currently concerned as a 'realist', and as much as I believe there is value in exploring the notion of a universal 'idealist' philosophy, I tend to get caught up in the day-to-day cause-effect scenarios that will always exist. Perhaps, I am a little more stoical of humanity, than is necessary, there's just so many years to support the skeptical view for me to ignore.

I think there would be much benefit to just discussing the merits of building a philosophy from either end of each of those perspectives. If a solution were rendered, it would provide a rule by which political leaders of the world could be measured for effectiveness. The one major difference between religion and politics, is that politics at least takes into account this physical reality, and logical discourse can be rendered. Religion doesn't even get close to creating a logical framework, that some can apply if they desire to live a logical and practical life.

If the thread is not accepted, then, just know, its been good chatting on the topics, take care.

.:webmaster:. said...

Link to a General Thread, as requested.

John said...

Skip, you have an extremely dim view of Americans, but you forget that many of the people here are Americans. You also forget that there are many cities and towns in the United States with a gay rights ordinance, that abortion is legal in every state, that "under God" was removed from the Pledge of Allegiance in the West, and that prayer was removed from public schools in 1962. Doesn't any of that make you happy?

If you still think that America in general is a cess pit of the brainless, then how would you describe the average Mexican, Cuban, and Haitian immigrant that comes to the US every day, or rather, every hour? Are they geniuses? No, of course not. But they're almost to a person Catholic. So if you want to preserve what little makes you happy in this country, why are you attacking your own people instead of the very people that will transform the US into a more religious country than it is already?

Oh, and when you're through hating your own people, and you've kicked those nasty little Mexican Catholics back to their Third World country that you also must despise, what do you plan to do about Muslims?

Michael Shermer said...

Its interesting that a lot of the arguments about the "inconsistencies" of the Bible laid out here don't want to present the Bible scholar's explanation for it. It just lays out some sort of explanation for why it proves the Bible is bogus based on the presupposition that there isnt an explanation for it! All of these arguments lack cultural and theological understanding in order to interpret it. This leads from greater presuppositions, 1. ExChristians somehow think the Christian revolution took off because "people in the past didn't have common sense! they're really ancient! of course people back then couldn't be aware of these verses or things like 'inconsistencies' ! thats why it "made sense" to them. good thing I know about a concept called logic and they didnt!" 2. From that, ExChristians also have this assumption that Christians will just get frustrated and ignorant yell "Not!" and run away, and therefore ExChristians give no attempt at any scholarly research into their pseudo-philosophizing attempts. For the sake of not undermining the scholarly debates between atheists and Christians in the eyes of Christians, I beg you do some research before posting. So we can progressively analyze Christianity! Practice some valid skepticism. Cheers.

Sick of fundies said...

"For the sake of not undermining the scholarly debates between atheists and Christians in the eyes of Christians, I beg you do some research before posting. So we can progressively analyze Christianity! Practice some valid skepticism. Cheers."

You can always tell a fundie -- they have lots and lots of rules and suggestions for others to follow.

Thanks for the wide sweeping, non-specific, unhelpful criticism. Your fundie-ness is showing through.

michael shermer said...

well if it was really truth you were after, you could pick some out yourself. afterall, there are 97 posts =) Heres an article http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6187&printer_friendly=1

Also, my rules and suggestions are called reasoning, locate your local community college and sign up for a "philosophy" class (its a big scary term but i think it might interest you). And what you just posted are called "ad hominems". Thanks for your very critically thinking response. Cheers.

.:webmaster:. said...

Your link is primarily an attempt to find a reasonable explanation for the self-admitted contradictions in the various gospel accounts, doctrines, etc.

While the lengthy explanations are, perhaps, reasonable, there are many other explanations with at least an equal amount of validity. That the stories are fabrications immediately comes to mind.

Regardless, you are entitled to your opinion on these 1900-year-old anonymously written stories. You can think anything you want about them. I wonder why you deny others the same freedom?

Oh, that's right -- a fundie. Sorry, I almost forgot.

And btw, that last sentence was a rude sarcasm. If you'd like to label it as an adhominem, then fine, but while you're labeling people, be sure to look in the mirror: "locate your local community college and sign up for a "philosophy" class (its a big scary term but i think it might interest you). Thanks for your very critically thinking response."

boomSLANG said...

Finally, one of the few times that a robo-fundy doesn't post as "Anonymous"......and what does Livernutz do?...he posts as "Michael Shermer"...founder of the Skeptic's society. Good stuff!



Sincerely in Atheism, Jerry Falwell.

LMAO!

Anonymous said...

What is sad is that you will find out one day that God is real.What will you say to him on judgement day if we are right? You are making the decision to reject him.I know that I will get insulting comments back on this but so what! What if we are right?

Shannon said...

Anonymous 4/15/2006 3:16 AM

You might want to reconsider your decision in rejecting Allah because what will you say to him on judgment day?

Michael Shermer said...

"Your link is primarily an attempt to find a reasonable explanation for the self-admitted contradictions in the various gospel accounts, doctrines, etc."

Thank you. That was a very longwinded way of saying that people on both sides of debates try to explain things.

"While the lengthy explanations are, perhaps, reasonable, there are many other explanations with at least an equal amount of validity. That the stories are fabrications immediately comes to mind."

Of course there are explanations on both sides! Its interesting how atheistic scholars dealing with things such as the historicity of the resurrection or the Gospel accounts must resort to theories such as "Jesus had a twin" or mass hallucination. If you think I'm choosing the crappiest of arguments, try looking into the plethora of arguments on both sides. Any historian scholar knows that personal accounts, or testimonies, find their authenticity in the when things are shown in different perspectives. If we found Matthew Mark Luke and John to be word-for-word explanations with all the same details, THAT would be suspicious. We know the Christian Revolution took off in the worst possible circumstances, we know that the gospel writers were risking their lives by writing these. If they were fabrications, the FIRST thing in one's mind would be to make sure its corroborated in every detail! Yet it is not for a reason, the gospel writers were honestly writing what they knew. And yet, on the main points in each account, the messages are in fact corroborated. One example of this is the fact that the first persons to witness to the empty tomb were women. Culturally speaking, women's testimonies were not even respected or considered as reliable in any way during that time period. And yet, the Gospel writers chose women to unfortunately be the first witnesses to fabricate the story of Jesus? In order to get the revolution going? I think not. Again, this inconsistency issue ignores real historical scholarly analysis for the moder day individual's attempt at psychologizing the presupposed "stupidity" of people back then. http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/bib-docu.html

You also wrote, "Regardless, you are entitled to your opinion on these 1900-year-old anonymously written stories. You can think anything you want about them. I wonder why you deny others the same freedom? Oh, that's right -- a fundie. Sorry, I almost forgot."

Thank for letting me be entitled to my opinion. How exactly am I enabled to deny others the freedom to their opinion? Thanks for pointing out a power I didn't even know I had. Afterall, this blog is entitled "A CHALLENGE to any Christians reading this" Right...

Lastly you wrote, "And btw, that last sentence was a rude sarcasm. If you'd like to label it as an adhominem, then fine, but while you're labeling people, be sure to look in the mirror: "locate your local community college and sign up for a "philosophy" class (its a big scary term but i think it might interest you). Thanks for your very critically thinking response." "

I hate to burst your perceptivity bubble, but that was called purposeful rhetorical irony. I was fully aware of my sarcasm. Perhaps it was a returned-jab? Or would you like to hold it in a self-imposed victimized point of view just because a Christian is offering a reasoned argument? along with my so-called power to deny people to hold opinions just because I am a Christian + Gives-An-Argument-Reply. Look at my very last sentence of my last post, it says "practice some valid skepticism"--yep that sounds like oppression to me! CHEERS!

.:webmaster:. said...

Okay, so you've admitted that your linked website is an attempt to offer some possible, or reasonable, explanations for some of the discrepancies in the so-called Word of God.

It's true—stories told by people, stories repeated in bars, stories told to children at night, stories on the news, even eye-witness stories, will often differ on many points. The stories sometimes change with the retelling, even when retold by the same person. Human memory is not 100% reliable.

But this is the Word of God, right? Wasn't every word inspired by the Almighty Creator of the entire Universe? Every word?

Okay, so what you've "reasoned" is that HE has allowed errors in the original autographs of the Gospel accounts to make them authentic. Would it would be reasonable to surmise, then, that HE may very well have allowed errors in the original autographs of every other of HIS book to achieve the same level of authenticity?

From there we might come to realize that the transmission of the Word of God through the centuries was entirely dependent on manual copying—an obviously tedious, boring, and error-prone occupation.

Now that we've admitted that there are errors and discrepancies, and justified it as a good thing, how do we determine which parts are the errors and which parts are the truth? And how do we know that all the stories are even eye-witness accounts and not just re-tellings of stories heard somewhere? In that case, the stories might merely differ from the original fabricated story.

If someone were to tell me a story about how they were whisked away into the bowels of a UFO where aliens resembling Sasquatch fed them a bowl of Loch Ness Monster chili, well, I'd be a bit skeptical. Even if 5 people told me that story, I'd wonder what they'd been shooting in their veins. If 500 people told me the same story, I'd still have a very difficult time swallowing it. I'd probably want to see some verifiable evidence, regardless of all the self-declared, eye-witness accounts.

The claims of the Gospel writers are far more fantastic than my little example. Imagine a flying, un-dead, God-man, that does lots of magic, tells quaint stories, and appears in various forms for awhile after he's become un-dead.

It's a bit of a story. Before I would devote my life to a religion based on this type of story, I'd really want some better evidence than maybe, possibly, or could be.

In closing,

You are right about this: my comment that you were denying other's their opinions was not well thought out. Your response does only reflect the challenge of this article. Please continue.

Jim Arvo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jim Arvo said...

The poster calling himself "Michael Shermer" said "...Its interesting how atheistic scholars dealing with things such as the historicity of the resurrection or the Gospel accounts must resort to theories such as 'Jesus had a twin' or mass hallucination. If you think I'm choosing the crappiest of arguments, try looking into the plethora of arguments on both sides."

Yes, you most definitely have chosen the "crappiest of arguments", so I strongly suspect that you've not spent much time at all looking at both sides, despite your rhetoric. Do you really think those are the arguments put forth by people like Robert Price, Earl Doherty, Joseph Atwill, and George Wells (to name just a few)? Did you somehow miss those people in your assiduous search of "both sides"?

And, by the way, is Michael Shermer your real name, or have you chosen that name to be deliberately misleading? (If there is a third option, please inform us.)

Michael Shermer said...

Interesting that all of the people who you wrote to be the very awesome are in fact the even more absurd. They believe that Jesus never existed. Give me the most atheistic scholar and they'll at LEAST admit that a man named Jesus existed. My proposals were relevant to those scholars who try to explain the empty tomb. These scholars go beyond that and say that Jesus never existed. I doubt your fellow ExChristians would even agree with your stance on these authors. If you disagree with my "rhetoric", then I disagree with your name-dropping. Lets think critically here. Have you read the replies to these writers? http://tektonics.org/doherty/dohertyhub.html

These are conspiracy theories. Did you know Kobe Bryant doesn't really exists? The Lakers have paid off every single individual that has ever come to a live game, hired digital artists to create him on television interviews, and payed off the interviewers too. The Lakers have a really charismatic representative that talks to all of these people into holding the secret that Kobe Bryant doesn't really exist that is why it hasnt leaked. Btw, if you see Kobe Bryant, he's just the actor double. Oh yah and the birth certificates and other records of Kobe Bryant held by our government are in fact created, cuz the Lakers paid them off too. Prove me wrong on my theory.

Yes, its to be deliberately misleading. Of course Michael Shermer would reply to this blog! And of course you would all believe me and therefore give me credance since my name is Michael Shermer.

Dave8 said...

MS, Jim's right, you have the "crappiest of arguments". Bottom line, is that Kobe Bryant hasn't declared that he wants to reach the word and pass on the "good news", but yet, look at all that media attention, that anyone can look at throughout his short history so far.

I agree, you have the crapiest argument I have heard in a long time, and I have heard a lot.

We are "defined" by our "actions" or "acts". If Sally says she is the Queen of England, then, in her mind, she may be, however, I would ask Sally to take me to the castle where she lives, and ask the people if she in fact is the real McCoy, further, I could ask for a DNA test to ensure there is a solid family tree link with the nobility class.

If a man walked up to me today and said he was Kobe B., then, I'd throw a B-Ball at him, and play a little one-on-one, if the man couldn't beat the crap out of me on the court, I'd have serious doubts, just based on that one observation. However, perhaps he had a bad day, I could go see this person perform at a B-Ball game, and see if his "actions" aligned with his "legacy". If he is accepted by those who know him, and he can perform those actions cited to his name, then, I'd have to lean on accepting the man as "the" Kobe B.

Now, you have Jesus. Whose actions, were much more than dunking a B-Ball, you have a man god, no less. Who in theory, came to ensure there would be something left throughout history to show his presence here on this planet. There is better documentation of Djer...

"Djer is the second Egyptian king of the first dynasty. Manetho gives him the name Athothis, or Atoti.

Almost nothing is known about the life of Djer. According to Manetho, he reigned 57 years, but according to modern research (Von Beckerath's Chronologie des pharaonischen Ägypten) his reign lasted only two years (3000 BC-2999 BC).

He probably fought several battles against the Libyans in the Nile delta.

Like his predecessor, Hor-Aha, he was buried in the holy place Abydos. Close to his grave is another, that probably belongs to his wife Merneith, mother of the later king Den, and possibly his regent during his youth.

From the Eighteenth dynasty, his tomb was revered as the tomb of Osiris.

The evidence for Djer's life is:

--tomb in Umm el-Qa'ab, Abydos
--seal prints from graves 2185 and 3471 in Saqqara
--inscriptions in graves 3503, 3506 and 3035 in Saqqara

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Djer

Yep, definitely, much more evidence than a Jesus, and the man lived at least three thousand years earlier than theoretical Jesus. You've got to be kidding me, if you think you have an excuse for not having one shred of evidence for Jesus, who had a life mission to show his presence to the planet.

People wrote of the character Jesus, after his theoretical life... in my opinion, as nothing less than an 'afterthought', and "NOT" during his lifetime. Uh, that means, the dude's name grew in legend, like many poets, artists, etc., much later than when he would have lived. But, the claim of Jesus, as a Man-God, would've created a fan club immediately with all kinds of regalia, but... no.

Let me gues, you think some Atheist created a time machine, and went back in time to remove all archeological evidence, and give labotomies to everyone who would have known of him, yeah, that makes all the sense in the world.

Casper the Friendly Ghost said...

MS: "Yes, its to be deliberately misleading. Of course Michael Shermer would reply to this blog! And of course you would all believe me and therefore give me credance since my name is Michael Shermer."

Consistency builds credibility, taking experience, physical evidence, and information is used to verify the claim, at least by me. I don't believe you are who you say, until I can corroborate the information with the original author, and in line with others aspects, like, his historical background for coming onto blogs, and making ludicrous statements.

By the way, your name is insignificant in relation to the information you provide. Since, all we have of you is information, all anyone need do, is logically search your comments for anything consistent and credible. Oh, perhaps, you are going to suggest that Jesus did much the same thing. Uh, give me something consistent in writing from this man and his writings, nadda. Give me some consistency, within the book that describes Jesus, the bible, not much consistency, the Jews thought he was a mere mortal, yet, christians claim the man was a man-god. Well, lets look of the writings of the time from many different groups to build some consistency, oh, that's right, there was little to no consistency.

You coming on this site and claiming to be MS, is not consistent with that man's reputation. Also, even if you were MS, I'd take your information that you provided, and screen it with the tightest of scrutiny. Perhaps, if the people in the day of Jesus' theoretical existence weren't so critical, then, he may have passed for a man-god, but, perhaps he wasn't, and that's why no one believed him, until a few hundred years after his theoretical death.

Oh, and if you don't believe the information I posted, ignore the "name" is use, and check out the evidence for the claims I make. Its that very reason, I don't believe Jesus was a man god, and perhaps I am just busy in life, but, if he wasn't the man god per christianity, I really don't care what he said if I can't use his words consistently in my life.

freeman said...

Will the real MS please stand right up, stand right up, stand right up.
Will the real MS please stand right up, stand right up, stand right up.

MS, did the Lakers also pay off the woman who said that Kobe raped her?

Your assertations, logic and absurd analogy make you joke. My daughter in 4th grade can make a better case for atheism than you can for christianity!

Jim Arvo said...

MS: "My proposals were relevant to those scholars who try to explain the empty tomb."

And my comments were directly relevant to the tomb as well. If I were to widen the scope to include scholars who simply doubt the literalness of the resurrection and miracles in general (with or without a historical Jesus figure), and therefore doubt that there was an empty tomb to explain, then we have a much larger list; in fact, I'll wager that the majority of the Jesus seminar would qualify for such a list. Richard Carrier is another example of a scholar who thinks it likely that Jesus *did* exist, yet he seriously doubts the resurrection story. You can see his article on the resurrection here.

MS: "These scholars go beyond that and say that Jesus never existed."

If he didn't exist, then there was definitely no empty tomb, just stories of an empty tomb. But even if a historical Jesus existed (which is a definite possibility), the next hurdle is immeasurably larger: to show that such a person did indeed perform the miracles attributed to him. There are countless stories of miraculous events throughout recorded history, yet nearly all of them are bunk, are they not? I'll bet you will agree that the Angel Moroni did not present gold tablets to Joseph Smith, signed testimonies of "eye witnesses" not withstanding. So please tell me what evidence for the resurrection you believe to be compelling. Have you anything besides the conflicting gospel accounts (which are anonymous)?

MS: "...If you disagree with my 'rhetoric', then I disagree with your name-dropping."

Sorry, but I find that hilarious! You make an outlandish claim, I refute it with a short list of specific names, and you call it "name dropping". Good grief. You also seem to imply that "disagreement" should be quid pro quo, which is ridiculous.

MS: "Lets think critically here."

Yes, let us!

MS: "Have you read the replies to these writers? http://tektonics.org/doherty/dohertyhub.html"

Yes, I have. And have you read the replies to those replies? You can read what Doherty himself has to say here. For many other relevant articles, you can look here.

MS: "These are conspiracy theories...."

Hadn't you better try to understand the essence of the arguments before you make such a silly claim? They are NOT conspiracy theories. As your references to "mass hallucinations" and "twin" theories would indicate, you seem to think every argument for ahistoricity is grasping at straws. I can't help thinking that you've done no actual work toward understanding the arguments. Can you give me a one-sentence outline of Doherty's ideas, for example? His book in on-line here, so you needn't even buy the book.

MS: "Yes, its to be deliberately misleading." [That is, MS calling himself Michael Shermer.]

And your purpose for deliberately misleading people is what?

MS: "Of course Michael Shermer would reply to this blog! And of course you would all believe me and therefore give me credance since my name is Michael Shermer."

It was entirely possible that your given name was Michael Shermer. I wanted to allow for that possibility before rebuking you for misleading people. And, by the way, if the real Michael Shermer were to post here, I'm quite certain that we would not be making so many unfounded claims. In any case, his arguments would get no more credence than they deserved.

Jim Arvo said...

(Somehow I left off the first bit of my post above. Here it is...)

Back on 5/06/2006 (9:45 PM EST), MS said "Interesting that all of the people who you wrote to be the very awesome are in fact the even more absurd."

I can't even parse that. Maybe you want to fix the grammar and try again.

MS: "They believe that Jesus never existed."

That was precisely the point. Congratulations for picking up on that.

MS: "Give me the most atheistic scholar and they'll at LEAST admit that a man named Jesus existed."

Looks like I spoke too soon. I *did* give you several highly qualified scholars who believe it likely that Jesus never existed. Do you find some fault with Robert Price's credentials, for example? I'm always reluctant to start comparing credentials (as it quickly degenerates into a boasting match), but in this case it seems to instantly and decisively refute you claim, does it not?

Anonymous said...

i was raised in church....i am still trying to figure out if that was a blessing or not...i was spoonfed the Gospel from a young age....and it made sense....well until i began to question the Bible and search for answers instead of just 'believing' because my parents 'believed'.....i.e. 'blindfaith'.

so my questioning of the Bible has led me to a better understanding....now i can stand on my faith and not that of anyone else.....so i want to agree with you that yes the historical facts of the Bible are skewed from time to time.....i.e. numbers, eye witness testimonies of events.....but i have not found in the new testament where teaching contradicts teaching.....the writers of the new testament seem to follow a path that is consistent to the message they are attempting to get out.....and are consistent with each other.

i have not found a place where they teach contradicting messages....and when i read the writings of paul i always find consistency......

i think we are all looking for consistency in our lives...and i believe the Bible offers that....yes there are some points that are shaky....but the Bible as a whole is a solid document.....

and please do not read the scriptures as if you are the intended audience.....because you are not....i have to remove myself in that aspect and try to understand why the writer has chosen his words....why he decided to explain things the way he did....in order to make sense to the origianl audience....and then i make the connection to present day......

please let me know if this makes sense....i have tried to be respectful even though we disagree.

p.s. i saw the da vinci code movie last night.....i am trying to understand why people who have taken this as truth....when it was intended to be fiction....i think that goes to show how easy people are manipulated

.:webmaster:. said...

Anony said: "p.s. i saw the da vinci code movie last night.....i am trying to understand why people who have taken this as truth....when it was intended to be fiction....i think that goes to show how easy people are manipulated"

Anony-nony, try an experiment. Instead of saying "I just saw the DaVinci Code last night," try saying, "I just read the Bible last night." Then leave the rest of your statement the same.

Did you do it?

Obviously the DaVinci Code is a novel and you see that clearly. But just as obviously the Bible is filled with myth and fantasy, and that escapes you entirely.

I think that goes to show how easily people are manipulated.

Dave8 said...

Anony said: "p.s. i saw the da vinci code movie last night.....i am trying to understand why people who have taken this as truth....when it was intended to be fiction....i think that goes to show how easy people are manipulated"

Lets play a game there anonymous, for everything you find to be historically inaccurate, I will present a part of the movie that is "accurate". Want to see who will run out of fodder first? The reason the movie is intriguing, is because there were many facts brought together, to support a "plot".

Lets observe other works that seem to have the same structure as the bible shall we.

The Bible, Legend or Literal Truth?

Lets see an example of a Legendary work.

Hamlet (legend):

"Hamlet is a striking figure in Scandinavian romance and the hero of Shakespeare's tragedy, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark."

What is a Legend?

"A legend (Latin, legenda, "things to be read") is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude. Legend, for its active and passive participants, includes no happenings that are outside the realm of "possibility", defined by a highly flexible set of parameters, which may include miracles that are perceived as actually having happened, within the specific tradition of indoctrination where the legend arises, and within which it may be transformed over time, in order to keep it fresh and vital, and realistic."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legend

The bible can be said to be a Legendary book, which contains much mythology, no?

"Verisimilitude (from Latin verisimilitudo, from verus true + similitudo similitude) is the state or quality of something which exhibits the appearance of truth or reality."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verisimilitude

Much like the bible, a lot of historical information is thrown in to give the appearance of something which exhibits "truth", towards the plot.

Who provided Shakespeare with information for his Legendary play?

"Saxo Grammaticus (estimated. 1150 - 1220) was a Danish medieval historian of whose life practically nothing is known. The sixteen books of Danish history of this time, known as the Gesta Danorum, are attributed to him, and also contribute our principal evidence of his own existence.

We know he was a "follower" of Archbishop Absalon, which probably means he worked in the Archbishop’s administration; his exact status is not determined. He might have been a clerk."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saxo_Grammaticus

The bible and Shakespeare both appear to have taken information from a source/person who little was known about. Many of the books of the bible are anonymous, and a few are considered to have been written by the same author, i.e., The Synoptic Problem, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synoptic_Problem

What literary source was used to write Hamlet?

Gesta Danorum:

"Gesta Danorum ("Deeds of the Danes") is a work of Danish history, by 12th century author Saxo Grammaticus."

"In sixteen books, written in Latin on the invitation of Archbishop Absalon, it describes Danish history and to some degree Scandinavian history in general, from prehistory to the late 12th century."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gesta_Danorum

The Jewish Tanakh, and the books of the New Testament, that were voted upon by the first council of nicaea ~325CE, hundreds of years after the Legendary Jesus would have lived - were the sources used for the bibles' creation.

Purpose for using verisimilitude?

"Verisimilitude is also the willingness to suspend one's disbelief (even if the events or fictitious representations might otherwise be considered preposterous) when the intensity of the story or interest in the characters overrides the need to believe that things are scientifically correct.

Historically, verisimilitude has been used as a literary technique or plot device to assist a writer in presenting a work as actually true, which was important in times when it was taught that reading fiction was sinful."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verisimilitude

Now, I'd suggest there is much more credible evidence that Hamlet was a real character, than Jesus, because Shakespeare was the sole author and was capable of painting a more consistent picture in his legendary play. However, if appears the bible, when it was written, was written to a diverse religious audience, and thus, it was written to get them to buy into the legendary "reality" presented by Roman Clergy.

-Gospel according to Matthew-written to a Jewish audience

-Gospel according to Mark-written to a Roman audience

-Gospel according to Luke-written to "most excellent Theophilus" (Greek)

-Gospel according to John-written to all humankind

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospels

So, if an illiterate person wants to claim that The Da Vinci Code is somehow mischaracterizing the bible, I can only conclude that the person making the statement, obviously hasn't really read their bible, in a scholarly fashion, as they'd obviously see that the bible was written in much the same style (that Shakespeare borrowed from) as Hamlet. Also, its apparent, that the bible was written to attract a diverse religious audience, thus, mis-characterizing the bible is ludicrous at best. Depending on which of the audiences' one is coming from, they can claim that the bible mis-characterizes "their" true religious history. For instance, orthodox Jews, could easily claim, that they had a solid religion prior to the Roman consolidation of beliefs, and thus, the Roman Clergy (Roman Catholic Church), mis-characterized their religion, by taking their Jewish Tanakh, etc. Any, christian who opens their mouth to make such an idiotic statement of mischaracterization of the bible, should be embarassed at their most pointed ignorance on the matters of a religion they assert they are faithful to.

.:webmaster:. said...

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.:webmaster:. said...

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Anonymous said...

thanks for the reply....i can see that you are a very intelligent person.....you are obviously well read and very discerning.....so, i doubt that my response will be given much thought.....by no means can i make a claim that will be as provoking as yours.....

you did speak of how you could see hamlet as a real person before you could see Jesus as one because of credible evidence backed by a sole author.....i can see your point backed by your readings...but i have read many writings that claim Jesus as a real person.....they even verify events surrounding his life.....the collected writings of the Jewish historian Josephus.....he was a non-believer but he verifies Jesus' existence....and even goes so far as to identify many key events recorded in sripture.....that seems credible to me....a man's writing who is obviously not a follower of Christ but yet providing evidence to Biblical claims.......

i cannot battle with you on literary styles.....that is out of my league....so kudos to you....

but i believe we can discuss evidence....which is the main hang up "ExChristian's" have....or the lack thereof in your case....

many believed in evolution...but where have they gone....since evidence has proved them wrong....

many believe in cosmic circumstance...which is just as random a belief as some claim creation to be.....

and i am confused on why you call me illiterate...i never said that the da vinci code mischaracterized the Bible....i just said it is fiction yet people are buying it as truth.....the same claim you make about christians and the Bible.....why is your guard up so fast about that....i wasn't attacking anyone just making a simple observation....

there is just as much evidence to support Jesus as there is to support whatever it is you believe in.....why not discuss that....evidence in the Bible stated in many other writings....do you feel the same about Muslims or Buddihsts....or is it just the conviction of Christ that bothers you....

sincerely,

jason
the illiterate

J. C. Samuelson said...

Jason,

Please read some more.

"many believed in evolution...but where have they gone....since evidence has proved them wrong...."

Where do you get this idea? Christian apologists (Dr. Dino and the like)? There has been no fundamental shift among scientists as to the validity of evolution. This in spite of the fact that nearly 40% ascribe to faith in a higher power/deity/God. Evidence has not proven them wrong, my ill-informed friend.

You can Google this topic if you like. You're not going to find a consensus among scientists that says evolution is false. In fact, the contrary is the case. To get you on your way to understanding, see the following articles:

1. What is Evolution?
2. Scientists reject evolution?
3. Shakespeare or the monkey?

"there is just as much evidence to support Jesus as there is to support whatever it is you believe in"

In what context? That is, are you saying there's evidence for his existence, or for the supernatural events ascribed to and surrounding him? They are mutually exclusive ideas.

If we're talking about mere existence, we don't even need to argue. As mythical as Jesus is, I personally have no problem accepting that such a person might've existed, although there is some question as to his historicity (see here). However, it is a big jump from that to believing the supernatural healings, casting out demons, raising the dead and so on that he is purported by the Bible to have been involved in. If you claim evidence for the latter, I'm afraid you'll run into a brick wall.

"do you feel the same about Muslims or Buddihsts....or is it just the conviction of Christ that bothers you...."

Inasmuch as Christians and Muslims believe in a creative deity, no. However, Christians and Muslims seem to be the most willing to try and force their beliefs on others - by the sword if necessary - and like to poke their noses in where they don't belong (like the bedroom).

By the way, Buddhism is a humanistic religion. You don't find Buddhists igniting bombs, cutting off heads, lobbying congress for a marriage amendment, or saying hurricanes are punitive acts of some wrathful god.

Anonymous said...

thanks ubergeek for the reply...i will check out the links you provided and post soon....and i will agree we Christians struggle with how we try to present our side of the belief system....i fall short in this area....and we screw up a lot more than that...but thanks for the tactful response and i will get back after some research....

still growing
jason

J. C. Samuelson said...

Jason,

I forot one link that may be of particular interest to you regarding evolution. It's a link to the evolution page of the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA), which according to the statement at the top of their home page "...is a fellowship of men and women in science and disciplines that relate to science who share a common fidelity to the Word of God and a commitment to integrity in the practice of science." You might find this information to be useful. Read as much of it as you can. You can remain a Christian and think evolution is true.

The American Scientific Affiliation's Evolution Page

Of course, I would advocate not stopping there. Read items critical of Christian thinking. Read both sides of the debate. Ask questions here. Then, form your own ideas independent of what anyone else says those ideas should be.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I don't really know what to say. I read many of the comments on this web page, and I know that whatever I say most of you have made up your mind on what you believe to be true, so noting I say is going to change that. However, I hope you will read my opinion. First, I should start by saying that I am a Christian. I do not believe in some "religion", but rather I have a relationship with my Savior Jesus Christ. I know many of you are laughing right about now, thats ok. I believe the Bible is with out errors. I will admit that I do not understand parts of it, but I have faith in God and in His Word. Isaiah 55:8 says, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD." Why God does certain things I don't know. Why God allows things like baby killers or natural disasters, I don't know. I do know that God Almighty is more then just love or power. God is just (not fair) and righteousness and patience and peace and Joy (not happiness because happiness is based on outward circumstances but Joy comes from the inside and does not depend on outward circumstances). God is absolute. Like truth He does not change. God knows that you don't like Him but that does not change Him. God will always be The perfect and loving God that He is whether you love or curse Him. He loves you. He knows what you think before you think, He understands you pain, and He will always be there for you. 1 Chronicles 28:9 says, "The LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you."
God doesn't make everything clear in His Word, maybe because we don't need to understand it all, but He did make the important stuff clear: Where we came from, Why we are here, and where we are going. God made it clear that we are sinners in need of a savior.Romans 3:23- "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" We are all sinners not bad people but sinners. to lie is to sin. Stealing is sin. I know I've sinned.Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus" There is only one way to heaven and that is through Jesus.
Last, maybe your saying,"I don't believe in Heaven or Hell, so I don't need your stupid Jesus." If your right, then you don't need Jesus and everything I belive is worthless. However, If there is a God who is perfect and can't be around sin, so HE sent His only Son to die for us Sinners and if you reject Him, then everything I belive is true and the only way to heaven is through Jesus. I don't lose anything by believing in God's Word and Jesus as my savior.
Thank you for your time. Lynsi

Dano said...

Lynsi,
For future reference, when you post here you can just look through a few threads till you see another poster who starts or finishes their comments with "I, AM A CHRISTIAN."

In very short order you will find one who has already expressed your exact intended sentiments.

Just copy and past (It wouldn't hurt to use spell check because many true Christians are so full of the spirit that they fail to recognize the fact that grammar and spelling say a lot about who they are)

This method of showing us that you have shut your brain off and are hopelessly under the spell of some hick preacher who has elected himself to lead your cult, will be more efficient than struggling anew, to come up with all of the standard Christian cliches at one sitting.

You come across as a sweet simple person though, and I have one immediate suggestion:

If you get any letters from anyone in "Nigeria," asking for help in transferring a large sum of money that was left in an American bank by an important government official, who was their immediate relative, and they are unable to access it because the current regime is watching them, and this involves giving them you bank account number, seek help from your banker or someone with equal sophistication in these matters.

Dan (Your friend, and advisor)

J. C. Samuelson said...

"I do not believe in some "religion", but rather I have a relationship with my Savior Jesus Christ."

Of course you do. I'd just like to point out that your faith requires your religion, if that makes sense. Your religion taught you to seek a 'relationship' with the divine, gave it a name, and reinforces your belief.

In other words, the reality is that your faith is entirely dependent on your religion.

"I believe the Bible is with out errors. I will admit that I do not understand parts of it, but I have faith in God and in His Word."

Do you apply the same loose standard to everything you read? Of course not!

Nowhere in the Bible is it written that you should not question the Bible. Read it cover to cover for yourself, and any areas you have difficulty with, find answers. Ask questions.

"Why God allows things like baby killers..."

Not only does he allow them, he IS one! See this page. Use the "Find" function in your browser to find all the instances of "children."

"God is just (not fair)..."

In your mind, are justice and fairness unrelated? If so, take a look in your dictionary and then go slap your English teacher, or whoever it was who taught you this nonsense.

In the context of your baby killer remark, I'm beginning to worry about your mental health.

"God doesn't make everything clear in His Word, maybe because we don't need to understand it all..."

Thank you for your candor in admitting that your faith advocates ignorance.

"If your right, then you don't need Jesus and everything I belive is worthless. However, If there is a God who is perfect and can't be around sin, so HE sent His only Son to die for us Sinners and if you reject Him, then everything I belive is true and the only way to heaven is through Jesus. I don't lose anything by believing in God's Word and Jesus as my savior."

See Pascal's Wager.

And I second Dano's comments.

Anonymous said...

The natural man receiveth not the things of God for they are spiritually discerned.

All the babies God took went to heaven for starters which is far better then growing up and rejecting him and ending up in hell which is the fate of most.

God creates life and life is not just here on Earth real life is in heaven. The garden was heaven on Earth and when Christ returns it will be heaven on Earth again. Between now and then we are just passing through this fallen troubled world with Satan trying to steal your joy and cause you disbelieve and hate God and by the looks of it he is making some real headway with you.

I appreciate your questions and I too have noticed the exact same things and here are a few answers.

There were three angels at the tomb one outside who removed the rock and the two that appeared inside one at Christs head where he was and the other at his feet. If you'll recall there was another instance of two angels sitting like that. The ark of the convenant where there were two angels with God in the middle. Can you see the resembalance.

God wants us to choose him and if we don't actively choose him then we choose Satan by default because those are the only two choices. Satan defected from God for the same reasons he thought God didn't know what he was doing and that he (satan ) could do it better. Well the world we now live in is tainted by Satans lordship which is why Jesus rebuked the wind and the waves because Satan caused that problem.

Although God allowed Job's faithfullness to be tested. The point was that Job's righteousness came from God and that His loyalty was strong enough to withstand even Satan's trickery something that 1 third of the angels couldn't do. At the end of the test Job passed and was blessed with twice as much as before, also don't forget their are thrones in heaven and we don't know but he may be on one of them.

Heaven is the goal o man and heaven is our final destination and our home. If you went to qualm you wouldn't feel at home there either. You were at home when you didn't know God but now you are on a journey and of course hell wants you back they hate to loose also. God will win even in your life because He is love and you will never find anything good outside of Yahveh.

.:webmaster:. said...

Hey anony!

If the "natural man" cannot undestand these things, then how does a "natural man" become a "spiritual man?"

I mean, I just don't understand how a natural man could choose to become a spiritual man since a natural man doesn't comprehend any of it, and only spiritual men have a handle of all this stuff.

Do you see the contradiction?

So, god wants us to choose him, even though we are natural men, and if we don't choose him, then we are going to live forever in a horrifically sadistic torture chamber that this god created.

Sounds kinda mean to me.

Seriously, this god supposedly knew what was going to happen from the beginning. He knew that most of mankind would end up in hell, screaming in agony for all eternity.

Wow. That's the best plan your god could come up with?

It doesn't sound like he has much imagination. I mean, most of humanity burns forever while the relatively few real Christians look down from heaven.

It sounds more like a story to scare kids than something that the All Mighty would've invented.

Just an observation.

boomSLANG said...

All the babies God took went to heaven for starters which is far better then growing up and rejecting him and ending up in hell which is the fate of most.

So, Anony---these "babies"---do they spend a blissful eternity with the mentality of an "infant"?...y'know, the way they were when god "took them"? I mean, do they float around with Yahweh going "gagga googoo", or how does that work? Seriously, when the babies arrive in "heaven"...are they put in a special "day care" until their mommies die and come to "heaven"? Or... is it more like a Divine kindergarden? You have all the answers in your hand-book, so enlighten us.

At the end of the test Job passed and was blessed with twice as much as before, also don't forget their(there) are thrones in heaven and we don't know but he may be on one of them.

It's scary, isn't it? Here we are in the 21 century and we have grown "adults" trying to tell us that there are "thrones"---which are essentially "jeweled chairs"---floating around in space somewhere.... and that a bearded old man sits there as the "dead" people "line up" to see if they've met "His" requirements. F%cking absurd. It's hard to steer away from ad hominem comments when it comes to the more severe cases of fundamentalism, because they are so brainwashed, that any attempt to reason with them is futile. That said---Anonymous?... YOU ARE OFFICIALLY INSANE! lol.

Bentley said...

Satan is the ruler of this world, except for the one's that walk in righteousness or in the shadow of the Lord, like John Hagee or G.W B. or Billy Graham or annonymous.

Why do people believe this garbage that was written down in a book, does a book written by mentally insane people 2000 years ago verify it's own self as p ure fact?

How come we have the King James Version of the Bible?

King James said it was true, then therefore it must be true.

How come we do not have the authentic God's version of the Bible?

How come not one word of the Bible was written by either a God nor a Jesus?

How come we do not have a Bible written by a God?

Like God's Bible this I wrote, signed God?

It's always second party or third hear say, that a God was to have supposed to have said.

Then we have people spewing their Bible garbage as pure fact, when nothing in the Bible can be proved to be true, not one thing!

Oh, we have Israel will become a Nation big freaking deal!!!! So what?

People that quote the Bible are mentally unhealty, period!

Bentley said...

Anony said,

"There were three angels at the tomb one outside who removed the rock and the two that appeared inside one at Christs head where he was and the other at his feet. If you'll recall there was another instance of two angels sitting like that. The ark of the convenant where there were two angels with God in the middle. Can you see the resembalance."

Why would the rock need to be opened, since it's the invisible "soul" that rises to heaven????

And how could anyone give an account of three angels, when angels are invisible?

Why? Because it was all a Hoax perpetrated by Jesus and his sly disciples. The tomb needed to be opened so that Jesus's physical body could walk out, that why!

Can you see the resembalance? No, I'm sure you refuse to.

Bentley said...

Next question from anony. Why all the hate, why are you so bitter?

Becuase I am tired of people spewing garbage from a book and saying it as if it presented as pure fact, when not one thing can be proven from the Bible, it all based upon faith that it is true, when faith itself is a myth and a total lie.

Ain't that Special said...

Anony: "The ark of the convenant where there were two angels with God in the middle. Can you see the resembalance."

Yes, a fertility chest... two balls and a Dick. Close?

Anonymous said...

i can't speak for all of the other chritians out there, but, you don't have to accept it, i apologize for their behavior towards all those who felt mistreated by church members, and i apologize that no one gave those who find problems with the Bible and who didn't understand it, a Bible study or even suggestions on how to understand it better such as a commentary or another version.
i kno you might not believe a word i say, or even find it in yourself to forgive, but i hope you do, Jesus still loves you and i hope that maybe one day you can forgive those who have hurt you.

very, very, very heartfelt,
someone-who-happened-to-stumble-upon-this-while-supposed-to-be-doin-her-homework

(i promise to GOD [God strike me dead if it's a lie] this is not a adult who felt they needed to reach out)

Jim Arvo said...

Hello Anonymous,

You sound well-intentioned, so I don't want this to sound harsh. Can you explain what it means for you to apologize for the behavior of other Christians? We hear that a lot from visiting Christians, and I simply cannot make any sense of it. If someone has been cruel, isn't is up to that person to offer an apology? What would it mean for someone else to offer an apology on their behalf?

One other small point. You say "Jesus still loves you...", as if we were all in agreement that Jesus is still alive and well (not to mention that he existed in the first place). Given that none of us here believe that Jesus is still alive--a fact that I'm sure you are aware of--why do you speak to us as though we do? Let me make an analogy for you. Suppose I implored you to give the aliens who visit this planet on a daily basis a chance to prove their good intentions. Wouldn't you say something like "Hold on. What aliens?" In other words, wouldn't you want some evidence of the aliens before you were willing to contemplate their intentions? Do you see the analogy?

Just trying to help...

Anonymous said...

One I believe that none of you truly know the Holy Spirit. When you feel the Holy Spirit nothing can stand in your Cristian walk and talk for the Lord. I know God is real because thats why. I'm in a church that my pastor only greet new and members and members who left. Besides if we all went to church for peoples sake on to see what our know we might as well be bums on the street.

Anonymous said...

"I know God is real because thats why."

No, you don't. -Wes.

AtheistToothFairy said...

Anon almost wrote in 'english':
"I'm in a church that my pastor only greet new and members and members who left. Besides if we all went to church for peoples sake on to see what our know we might as well be bums on the street"
---
Does anyone have an idea, which ancient holy language www.bablefish failed to translate this gibberish from?

Just wondering

ATF (who's thinking someone built a tower to reach the sky...AGAIN)

stronger now said...

anony:"...I believe that none of you truly know the Holy Spirit."

The feeling is mutual. I don't think YOU know the "holy spirit" either.

Word is Word said...

Well... Believe what you want to.God stills love you and sent His Son to die for what you are doing now! One Day the truth will be out! So why run from it!

Word is Word said...

Jesus understands you better than any-one. He loves you man!

Astreja said...

Jesus understands Me better than anyone?

My abusive ex-spouse said crap like that, too.

.:webmaster:. said...

Yea Man, believe what you want, but if you don't happen to believe the correct version of the right religion, then my loving, awesome heavenly dude father in the sky is going to make you suffer like a MF for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever...