6/02/2006                                                                                       View Comments

Borrowed Holiness

By Lorena

During my recent European trip, I visited more cathedrals and churches than I care to remember. When I was touring the places, I often wished I'd had a computer to type the multiple thoughts that crossed my mind. One recurring thought was how people choose to worship those they perceive as holy, instead of imitating them.

I am not convinced that all the Roman Catholic saints were remarkable, but there must have been something about them that made people put them in a pedestal. Should Mother Theresa ever be canonized, she will be worth imitating, but most likely the masses will resort to worshipping her instead.

During my trip, in every museum and church I visited, I saw at least one if not five plus pictures of St. Jeronimo. I have no idea what he did to be regarded so highly, but it became boring after a while to see him portrayed over and over again.

He, more often than not, was painted doing penances, out in the woods by himself on his knees beating his chest with a rock. It stroke me that he was doing what most of us ex-christians did. We gave our lives completely to god. We were by-the-book kind of people. We did everything there was to do to be holy.

I wouldn't be surprised if St. Jeronimo, by the end of his days, was a closet atheist. After all, he experienced how much peace and happiness the religion does not provide. He must have known by the time he died how useless the religious rituals are.

Or perhaps he realized that religion is just the beginning of a journey to get to know ourselves. First, we need to turn to an outside presence for help. We need someone else to hear us, forgive us, tell us what to do. But as we walk the walk, we realize that it is all up to us. We get to know our strengths and abilities. We learn to think for ourselves. Our capability to listen to ourselves is greatly enhanced and we experience real spiritual awareness. The awareness of ourselves. Many call that enlightenment.

It is my belief that if Jesus did exist, he experienced enlightenment, and did not want people to worship him. His desire may have been that others found their own truth, that they became independent thinkers as he was. (He was neither perfect nor infallible. He was just a person willing to think and to share his conclusions. Many of such thoughts, I believe, were wrong).

Instead of imitating Jesus, or St. Jeronimo, or whomever, people chose to worship them. They invented fables about them, built them shrines, and came up with the idea that if they just prayed to them, they could get things the easy way, without having to do the hard work of devoting themselves to a life of study, meditation, and profound reflection.

I believe that religion is borrowed holiness from people who used their brains to arrive at their own truth (or lie). Those who take religion seriously are able to get over it, to realize that dogma can only take us so far. When borrowed beliefs can no longer answer our questions, we must start thinking for ourselves.

The weekend-religious, however, are stuck at the beginning of the journey, and must rely on other people's opinions and holiness to have any kind of personal identity. They are too lazy to spend time developing their own philosophy of life. They believe anything that a smart-looking guy on a suit preaches at them in church. So it isn't a matter of intelligence. It is about having the resoluteness to investigate our beliefs and to disregard those that are found faulty.

I think I stayed in church for as long as I did because I was too lazy to do the hard work. People who looked smart and sure of themselves told me that, if I just prayed enough and read the bible a lot, all my problems would go away. For many years, I believed what I was told, and I repeated it as well. When people had problems I parroted, "You must pray about it," but I seldom did it myself. I didn't know whether the magic formulas I was given worked, because I inconsistently tried them.

One day, tired of always being in trouble, I decided to read the bible and pray every day. I did it daily for two years. My prayer time, which I now realize was all self-talk, was really good. It was during those times that from the depths of my soul I started to believe that rejecting gay people was wrong. I started to figure out that wronging others in the name of god was awful. Many of the things I heard from "the holy spirit" were against what I read in the bible.

The bible reading started to show inconsistencies and brutalities that I never noticed before. And so started my journey out of the christian religion.

It was until I stopped borrowing holiness from others to pursue my own that I was able to leave the christian cult. So when I meet aggressive christians, I invite them to read their bible a lot and to pray often, for I know that is the sure way out of christianity.

65 comments:

muttmutt1978 said...

getting them to pray and read thier bible, It wont always work. sometimes people will never learn. and sometimes they will. just watch out for the extremists.

Albert said...

Mother Theresa is NOT to be revered.
http://www.meteorbooks.com/introduction.htmlred

Jim said...

People who believe that Mother Teresa was a supposed Saintly person (I mean, what is a Saint?) have never really looked into the matter. Here is what Judith Hayes of the Happy Heretic had to say about it. Cheers all. Jim Lee
Defending Mother Teresa
The Happy Heretic
Judith Hayes
MARCH 1998

They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. But when it comes to writing anything controversial, your success can probably be judged by the caliber of your critics. So I'm flattered.

On January 17, 1998, Clark Morphew, syndicated columnist for Knight-Ridder, took aim at the winter issue of Free Inquiry because of two articles it contained that were highly critical of the late Mother Teresa. One was written by Susan Shields, a former Missionaries of Charity sister who worked with Teresa. Shields revealed that part of her job was to help keep track of the millions of dollars donated to Teresa's "charity" work. Unfortunately, most of that money sat unused in various bank accounts while the sisters had to beg for food from local merchants. If the locals couldn't help out, the soup kitchens did without. This is "charity?"

The other article was written by me. I compared the late Carl Sagan's genuine, almost immeasurable contributions to humanity with Teresa's contributions. Hers consisted of little more than telling people that suffering was good for them, and prattling on inanely about how God will provide, as starving children dropped like flies all around her. I also pointed to the brazen hypocrisy of Teresa's denying her "patients" the most rudimentary care, including simple comforts and pain killers, while she herself checked into posh hospitals to have a pacemaker implanted and blood vessels cleared. Her own health and comfort were apparently quite important to her.

Morphew was obviously upset with the articles, but his defense of Teresa was surprisingly halfhearted and ambivalent. In his opening paragraph Morphew predicts that criticism of Teresa will continue until "some serious reform comes about." But if Teresa's generously financed clinics were running smoothly, honestly and compassionately, why would any reform be needed at all? Likewise, after describing Shields' knowledgeable charges about the idle millions of dollars that helped no one, Morphew suggested that since Sister Nirmala has taken the reigns, "grand changes could happen." Again, why should they, unless something was wrong to begin with?

Seeming to want it both ways, Morphew presents Teresa as "one of the most obvious candidates for sainthood," but then concedes that among Tersa's beliefs were the ideas that suffering is good and that despite staggering overpopulation, birth control is always wrong. He also noted that wiping out poverty and illiteracy was not Teresa's focus. If all of that is true, it places Teresa somewhere between sadistic and stupid. (Which, interestingly, is where "saint" appears in the dictionary.) I have never heard of a compassionate person who thought that human suffering was ever a good thing, and I think compassion would be the bare minimum to expect in anyone being considered for "sainthood."

Morphew also pointed out that Teresa "never pretended to be a doctor who could wipe out or even soften the pain of death." This I challenge fervently. So too would the Columbia University Press Encyclopedia (1995) in which they say about Teresa: "In 1948 she left the convent and founded the Missionaries of Charity, which now operates schools, hospitals, orphanages, and food centers in more than 25 countries." How would Morphew define "hospital?" There is no ambiguity whatsoever about the activities Teresa presented to the world as hers. The problem is that what she said she was doing was not what she was doing.

If Teresa was offering spiritual comfort only, and not trying to "soften the pain of death," (and why on earth not?!) there should have been no drugs dispensed and no drug paraphernalia of any kind on hand at her "clinics." But there were. Her employees and volunteers used and reused un-sterilized syringes to administer ineffective drugs and mild antibiotics to terminally ill people, who suffered the resulting agonies. This is called practicing medicine, and why such malpractice was allowed to go on so long, with no legal challenges, highlights the power, and abuse of power, that is vouchsafed to organized religions. Especially the big ones with a lot of money.

But if, as Morphew asserts, Mother Teresa never intended to offer medical care to the ill, feed the poor, or educate the illiterate, but rather planned only to offer spiritual solace to dying people, then at the very least she was a fraud. Those millions of dollars were donated by caring people to offer medical care to the ill, feed the poor, and educate the illiterate-not to sit in bank accounts earning interest for the Roman Catholic Church, which has been a multi-billion dollar enterprise for decades now. And there are laws about raising charitable contributions for one thing and then using the money for another-as Teresa did. Apparently her goal was to hoard the money, like Midas and his gold. To what end, though, is anybody's guess.

There is a disquieting possibility, however, that presents itself in hindsight. She collected her millions "in the name of God." (And then promptly hid them away like a squirrel readying for winter.) She also converted souls "in the name of God," many just before they expired. I wonder, did she keep a rough tally of those souls? What I'm getting at is I wonder if in her simplistic view of things, anything she did for God would earn her big-time Brownie Points in the afterlife. For her, perhaps, this world had no meaning whatsoever, and was just some sort of challenging religious maze, designed by God to determine who gets the best bits of Paradise. If so, it might explain, since nothing else can, how she could be so callous as to sit on her millions while children, in her own part of India, were dying of starvation. This defies rational explanation, and I challenge anyone, from Morphew to the Pope himself, to explain it.

I am also very surprised that no one came forward sooner to talk about Teresa's questionable practices-but then that's what everyone said about priests raping little boys, isn't it? The Roman Catholic Church's power is unbelievably intimidating.

Whatever the motives of the woman from Calcutta, I have seen enough human suffering in loved ones to recoil in horror at the thought of terminal, tormented people being told that their suffering is a good thing. Suffering is never a good thing-except to sadists. Especially today, when we have the capability to alleviate so much pain, the mental image of those unfortunates who ended up in a Teresa "clinic" makes me cringe with nausea.

I know I am whistling in the wind to ask this, but--- When, oh when, will we stop inflicting pain on each other in the name of some God?!

© 1998 Judith Hayes

barb said...

Lorena,

What a great insight. I thoroughly enjoyed your post and will continue to give it thought.

My brother always asks christians if they've read Obadiah. This is the inspired word, a love letter if you will from your god. So, you can't be bothered to pore over every bit of it?

As to your main point, I wonder if ultimately people don't want to be responsible for their own "salvation." They can get to the pearly gates and say, hey, pastor said this or told me to do that, *I didn't know!* An over-reliance on experts, if you will, like patients who put all their faith in doctors and take no responsibility for their health. Lazy religious people who cannot be bothered to get a second opinion, and cover their ears saying LALALALA when another opinion is offered.

Anyway, thanks for the food for thought, Lorena.

-Barb

Bentley said...

Welcome back Lorena!

Worshipping man made Idols, that's so easy and it's cheap!

It would be so easy to mimick another great Icon, take Jesus for instance, now God being a just and mercyful God, all anyone would have to do is ask God to let them be the New Messiah of this Millenia, in 2006, if anyone would be willing to sacrifice themselves for the Blood Atonement Offering to repent of men's sins, God would be more than happy to oblige.

This is to say that, surely we've not yet run out of Saints or Messiahs or Saviours or Super-
heroes, are we scrapping the bottom of the invisible Icon barrell?

Why has God let us run out of invisible Icons and heroes and miracles, after 2000 years, is God asleep?

Has God been in cyber-hybernation for over 2000 years?

We need a new saviour, one that understands our needs in 2006, we don't want new wine, we don't need miracles, we don't need spiritual healings, we don't need prayer, we don't need any more superstitions, we need truth, real truth that existed before the bible infected America in 1492.

This website is our new saviour, because it tells the truth and exposes the religous lies and exposes false doctrines and fake preachers and biblical myths.

This website saves people from their forced brainwashed religious insanity.

The world needs to be saved from religious insanity and false doctrines and man made mythologies, superstitions and beliefs.

John said...

Lorena, the fact that you were able to leave Christianity at all is proof that it isn't a cult, as you referred to it. If you belonged to a cult, you wouldn't have had the freedom to do anything but what you were told.

As for Mother Theresa, I wonder how many of her critics would be willing to leave their jobs, homes, air conditioning, purified water, restaurants, and automobiles, and live in Calcutta for 50 years with the poor. I wonder would they even visit the poor in their own cities. That might be too much to ask of them.

I'm sure that some of the criticism of Mother Theresa is true, but if she fed only one homeless man in her life, that's more than most of her critics have done. And therein lies the threat that she presents - she's a symbol of what a lot of people haven't done for the poor and the homeless. Rather than point out her shortcomings and do nothing, why not try to outdo her? Nah, that would require too much sacrifice on your part.

The Occultist Mother Theresa said...

John, the fact that people every day leaving Christianity doesn't disprove it as a cult. If you belonged to a cult, you more than likely would have the freedom to do anything to include leave the religion, if the nation supported civil liberties.

Cult: "Adherents of an exclusive system of religious beliefs and practices."
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

I like all kinds of languages, from mathematics to english, etc. Lets see, cult, kind of like the root and smaller form of "culture", thus, cult could be perceived as the smaller of a culture, and is thus over time portrayed that way, i.e., the minority of a society, etc. Lets see, there's also the "occult", a term I think isn't used enough, when speaking of religion, because people like parsing religions from eachother as if they are somehow "better" or have more "truth" than another religious group.

However, as an outsider from religion, I think the term "occult" is pretty definitive of most "all" religions.

Occult:
-"Supernatural: supernatural forces and events and beings collectively;"

-"Supernatural practices and techniques; "he is a student of the occult"

-"Mysterious: having an import not apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence; beyond ordinary nderstanding;"

**Yeah, beyond "ordinary" intelligent understanding, seems to fit quite nicely.

-"Mysterious symbols; "the mystical style of Blake"; "occult lore"; "the secret learning of the ancients"

wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

Yeah, I can pretty much see all supernatural religions, and their ritualistic followers, whether ignorant or aware, as exceeding the bounds of ordinary thought, and thus - "occultist". Many religious people would suggest that this is an insult, but... only because they are too ignorant of the english language to understand the meaning of the word, as many of them have applied "occultist" to have a "negative" connotation for the other supernatural belief clubs.

Anywho, when I hear fundy, I hear... a believer in the absolute occultism, and then I hear liberal believer, I picture, an occultist who has crossed the threshold for ordinary thought, but isn't devoted enough to partake of the rituals to a highly devoted degree - possibly, because they don't believe in the literal word of the bible. In either case, Occultism, and Spirituality do have different meanings.

Spiritual: "Lacking material body or form or substance;"
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

If something were to lack material body or form or substance, then, obviously I can't possibly know of or experience that non-substance, etc., while I live in this natural reality. To me, for someone to make a statement in the reverse of reality, to hypothesize an alternate reality, requires unordinary thought.

However, if one claimed spirituality, based on their acceptance of an unknown natural phenomenon, of which they became a part of in experience, then I could see the rationale. I may come to different conclusions on the genesis of the sensation/experience, but I wouldn't disagree with the initial premise, this, would be someone who has ordinary thoughts. We all have thoughts about experiences we can't explain, its natural.

Now, the great thing about being literate, is, that I can discern where spirituality and those of occultism separate.

In either case of spirituality one need not conduct or be part of "rituals" of ancient lore. No need to read catechisms daily, and engage in behavioral reinforcement to support unordinary thoughts, it takes a lot of energy to keep those thoughts up. And, with spirituality, and no ancient rituals, well... one can just drop religion altogether, and the buildings that are used to peddle religious thoughts - churches.

I have been dubbed by my family as spiritual, because it makes the neighbors more comfortable to know I am not a heathen. However, their comfort only comes from their sheer ignorance of the term "spirituality", and how one supports such a concept. The unknown natural phenomenon I have experienced doesn't draw me out of this universe, it draws me closer so that I may get a better understanding, in that manner, I suppose I am naturally spiritual proxy natural ignorance.

Perhaps, those who accept natural phenomenon would also accept natural spirituality, like agnostics or atheists. Those who are more supernaturally inclined would be more the buddhist type, etc., and in the end, when we move all the way out of the horizon of reason we get - occultists, the ones who are so ardent and bent on proving their belief, that is founded on unordinary thoughts, while they attempt to speak to ordinary down to earth thinking people.

Well, wasn't that fun. I haven't had a whole ten minutes to myself in a while, and then, I get to make a post - liberating.

Big MT Occultist said...

John: "I'm sure that some of the criticism of Mother Theresa is true, but if she fed only one homeless man in her life, that's more than most of her critics have done."

So, if a person outdoes MT, then they get to rag on her. Wow, that's a lot of potential candidates throughout history. Perhaps, we are just carrying on the "good news" from their valid messages, that one act of kindness doesn't negate a lifetime of pious deceit.

Where would we be without second hand revelation and the words of those who have a leg to stand on, when judging MT, oh, that's right, without second hand revelation, christianity doesn't exist. Anonymous books in the bible, Paul never really meeting Jesus, I mean, the gospels written well after the crucifixion, etc., etc.

Well, its been great playing the, don't throw stones at a glass house, while living in one, but, at least some of our houses are much more "transparent" than ol' MT's. Perhaps, its doing a good deed to portray the lack of transparency as a deceitful and inappropriate act when a person benefits from such activities.

Obviously, a mother need not be a cheater, in order to show her child the ills of cheating in life. And, a mother need not be any more perfect than the child, in order to point out the obvious pitfalls of such actions. A mother need not even take a "test" without cheating, to build a case against "cheating". Just pointing out the obvious wrongdoing may make the difference in that childs' life. So, John, all actions don't require "physical" action, actions in a more abstract manner, can be easily seen as providing accurate information that feeds those who have a need for "truth". Not all "needs" are in the "macro-physical" world, wouldn't you agree?

Don said...

Hey barb - most of my posts are gentle and intellectual.

This isn't one of them.

Read Obadiah? Yeah. "Love letter?"
What kind of crap is that?

In Obadiah the Israelites are told to make war on Edom and that "God" told them to slaughter everyone on the mount of Esau, and that he will burn the heathen to death.

Some fucking "Love Letter"!

By the way, if you happen to believe that the Buy-bull is the "inerrant word of Gaw-duh" then know that Obadiah condradicts Deuteronomy 23:7.

Peddle your twaddle somewhere else!

Dano said...

John wrote:
"I'm sure that some of the criticism of Mother Theresa is true, but if she fed only one homeless man in her life, that's more than most of her critics have done. And therein lies the threat that she presents -- she's a symbol of what a lot of people haven't done for the poor and the homeless. Rather than point out her shortcomings and do nothing, why not try to outdo her? Nah, that would require too much sacrifice on your part"

Dan asks John:
John! Why does God get so much credit for loving his wonderful human creations?

He is all powerful, he knows everything, he is everywhere at all times, but there is no verifiable evidence that he is doing or has ever done anything to alleviate any of the suffering of his children.

With the blink of an eye he could remove the starving experience from the human experience.

With another blink he could undo all of the mistakes that he made when he created the universe and us.

He could quit blaming us for what Adam and Eve did. He could eliminate the concept of burning in hell forever if we do not accept the Pagan "sacrifice of his son" story.

He could just make Satan vanish, period.

He could re think the survival of the fittest and strongest, and most prolific, thing, and well, he could just admit it was just plain wrong to create Adam and eve and put them in the garden of Eden, and then create this scenario where temptation is put before them, and then throwing them out for doing what he knew they would do in the first place, because "He was the one who made them and programmed their little naked minds"

What I am getting at John is: WHY SHOULD WE BE EXPECTED TO BE MORE MORAL THAN GOD?

Dan(??????????????...........?)

GoneNsane said...

You don't have to live among the poor to make a huge difference in someone's life.

At any rate, none of us are claiming to represent a universal authority (aka The One True God), and as such Teresa is supposed to build up treasure in heaven and not on earth, give all her wealth to the poor, etc etc. It's not so much the fact that Mother Teresa was as greedy as anybody else, but that she was a giant, flaming hypocrite. You don't sit on the board of vegetarians and preach about the evils of meat and then go stuff your face with Big Macs.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Don,

Read Barb's post again. She wasn't peddling anything. Regarding Obadiah, re-read what she wrote:

"My brother always asks christians if they've read Obadiah. This is the inspired word, a love letter if you will from your god. So, you can't be bothered to pore over every bit of it?"

Does this sound like a Christian peddling something? Sounds to me as if she's pointing out that her brother challenges Christians with Obadiah, rather than saying it actually is a love letter.

Lorena said...

John,

You said that the fact that I was able to leave christianity proves that it isn't cult.

What proves it a cult is how difficult it was for me to leave it. How I can't still tell my relatives I am not a christian anymore. How terrified I was during the first few months of my exit.

Furthermore, the fact that they are still calling demanding to speak to me as if they had any rights over me. That proves christianity a cult.

As for Mother Theresa, I do not see her the way you see her, John. I agree with my fellow non-christians that she was a less-than-perfect individual.

My point in the article is that, perhaps, people may want to imitate those good things they perceive good about her, even though upon closer examination she may prove as human as the rest of us.

barb said...

Thanks for coming to my defense, Ubergeek. I was making the point that the entire bible is a love letter-- and if you got one from your lover it may contain ugliness or boring bits yet you would read and re-read it. But christians cannot be bothered to read the boring or ugly parts-- they just read the gospels and perhaps select parts of Deuteronomy and Revelations (for example).

Sometimes it's difficult to determine when an idea is meant to be sarcastic-- or parody-- because we're all so accustomed to "christianspeak" we can mimic it perfectly. So, for the record, if I say anything that can be construed as evangelical, please know it's meant as challenge to, or an attempt at humor about, christianity.
Thanks again 'geek.

carol said...

Mother Theresa was a self-serving attention whore. She did what she did in the first place to please her stinkin biblegawd and not out of any real compassion.

She did hoard the money that she could have used to ease much suffering and even treated her own nuns shabbily. That alone shows her lack of genuine compassion for her fellow human beings. She chose not to put the millions to good use so she could put on a show for the world on how much of a martyr she was.

She actually said something to the effect: "Poverty is beautiful." WTF? Poverty SUCKS! Therefore I also then she was mentally ill.

Sorry this thread took off on MT, Lorena, but welcome!!! I saw many churches in Europe, too, and found the lavishness of them sickening. They were built on the blood, sweat, taxes and lives of the peasants of their time.

Regards, carol

Anonymous said...

Sorry - her post wasn't clear.

mq59 said...

Carol,

In Italy, the churches and artwork etc were build with money made from trade. Norwich's "History of Venice" contains descriptions of who built what, so the source of their money can be traced.

No peasants were harmed in the construction of those cathedrals.

And in any event, did Italy even have feudalism and serfs and such? I thought that sort of thing was in Germany, France, etc.

Popeye said...

Cult is what the big exclusive culstist religion calls the smaller cult religions, two occultists pointing fingers using unordinary thoughts to support their arguments.

Dave8 said...

MQ59: "In Italy, the churches and artwork etc were build with money made from trade."

MQ, you astound me with your comments... First, you can't possibly know "all" churches and artwork etc, were built with money made from trade, that's absurd, unless you are a non-political and genetically independent god with omniscient powers, and then, I suppose you could know such absolutely true information.

So, while you are playing god, and making absolute observations... Care to explain who the frock Michael Angelo was, and how he was paid for his services to create "artwork". You suggest he was paid by money made from trade?

I'll ignore the obvious stupidity that "all" money is a form of "trade", so everything is being traded in one fashion or another, we have dollar bills that are materialistically "worthless", except for the "value" we give that money in society, its a "trust" trade at this point in civilization.

So, obviously without the stupidity, when you say money made from "trade" you must mean, money used from the "trade" industry as in consumables, etc., to pay artists for their work.

"Michelangelo was summoned back to the great city of Rome in 1503 by the newly appointed Pope Julius II and was commissioned to build the Pope's tomb. However, under the patronage of Julius II, Michelangelo had to constantly stop work on the tomb in order to accomplish numerous other tasks; due to such interruptions, Michelangelo worked on the tomb for 40 years without ever finishing it. One such interruption was the commission to paint twelve prophets and sybils and scenes from Genesis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which took four years to complete (1508 – 1512)."

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

Okay, MQ, quiz question one. Who controlled the economy and trade of Italy for a large portion of recorded history? So when you say artists were paid from "trade" monies, you forget who "owned" and "controlled" everyones' lives at that time... the religious orders and namely the RCC and its own national status as the vatican.

Some of the "most famous" artwork known to this day, came directly from the coffers of the Pope himself, and the religiosly controlled markets. So, obviously after the church took the money from the people, it was no longer their money, it was the RCC's, and "they" paid for the work to be done in many cases. Some artists probably did work using the barter system, a trade between the artists work and food, shelter, etc., but "not all", and surely not Michael Angelo.

Jim said...

It should be a country's government's responsibility to care for the underprivilaged in a society. However religious people (namely Christianity) fullfil this task with the importance being on Christianising those whom they assist. Religious aid workers should be abolished and Governments should accept their responsibility. Cheers Jim Lee

Jim said...

All religions are cults. Period. Cheers all. Jim Lee

freedy said...

"All religions are cults"...End of debate!Thanks Jim for plowing thru the B.S.!
I was envolved in feeding and clothing the homeless for 15 years or so.I did this for ME not them.I feared that I would stand before gaud and he would say.."depart from me",...There was nothing holy about it.Now when I help someone I do it because I want too not because the babble says I burn in hell if I don't!

Lorena said...

Just for the record. I DID NOT go to Italy. Not this time anyway.

Jeronimo II said...

Jerome, Saint (j?r?m`, j?r`?m), c.347–420?, Christian scholar, Father of the Church, Doctor of the Church. He was born in Stridon on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia of Christian parents (although he was not baptized until 366); his Roman name was Sophronius Eusebius Hieronymus. He studied in Rome (c.359–363) under Aelius Donatus. After further study at Trier and Aquileia, he journeyed to the East. At Antioch, in 375, he experienced a vision in which Christ reproved him for his pagan studies. Renouncing his classical scholarship, he fled to the desert to live as an ascetic and to devote himself to scriptural studies, for which he learned Hebrew. In 378 he returned to Antioch, was ordained there the following year, and then went to Constantinople to study under St. Gregory Nazianzen. In 382, Jerome returned to Rome with Gregory, when Pope Damasus I Damasus I, Saint (d?m`?s?s), c.305–384, pope (366–84), a Spaniard; successor of Liberius. His election was opposed by the Arian Ursinus (antipope 366–67).
..... Click the link for more information. asked them to help settle some Eastern problems; Jerome remained as papal secretary. He was acclaimed for his exposition of Scripture

Anonymous said...

Wrong Saint! sorry:( Eyes going out!!!

Dave8 said...

Lorena: "The weekend-religious, however, are stuck at the beginning of the journey, and must rely on other people's opinions and holiness to have any kind of personal identity. They are too lazy to spend time developing their own philosophy of life. They believe anything that a smart-looking guy on a suit preaches at them in church. So it isn't a matter of intelligence. It is about having the resoluteness to investigate our beliefs and to disregard those that are found faulty."

I totally, agree, its not until a christian is challenged however, that they are persuaded to look deeper into their belief systems.

Lorena: "I think I stayed in church for as long as I did because I was too lazy to do the hard work. People who looked smart and sure of themselves told me that, if I just prayed enough and read the bible a lot, all my problems would go away. For many years, I believed what I was told, and I repeated it as well."

For much of everyones' early years in life, they are "told" what to believe and really have no other choice other than accept the information they are provided as truth, there is no filter for people who are young, you have to build truths in your own mind before the information can be filtered, and that doesn't happen until much later in life.

Lorena: "When people had problems I parroted, "You must pray about it," but I seldom did it myself. I didn't know whether the magic formulas I was given worked, because I inconsistently tried them."

If someone attempts to try the same process over and over, like you said, then it becomes apparent that over time the inconsistent results, etc., will have an awakening effect for those who aren't totally delusioned out of personal need.

I agree with you, inviting a person to test their religious process may invoke awakening among some. However, religions have created the ultimate answer for every inconsistency a person may find... "god only knows the truth", "what god does, only he knows, but everything is of gods' will".

If a person buys this, along with Jesus being a god for eternal salvation from original sin, then "all" answers lead to "god", whether right, wrong, or indifferent, and no one can question a gods' reasoning. That's the formula, that many christians are caught up in, and they are programmed at an early age many times.

If a person started their investigation of religion, dropping all of their previous assumptions, Jesus, original sin, gods' "will" be done, on earth as it is in heaven, etc., etc., then a person can find their way out of their circular reasoning.

Logic, I believe god, because I have a bible, I believe the bible, because its from god, I believe god because of the bible, I believe the bible, because of god, etc., etc.

You wrote well, in your article. I for one agree with much of what you said, but, no matter who posts a comment, there will be those who challenge the articles' elements, its normal from what I have seen. If someone posted the "perfect" rationale in a post, it would still get critiqued. Consider your post worthy of inspection :-)Take care.

Bentley said...

Lorena, it sounds like you're conveying the message that real truth and inner peace lie's within one's own self, what perhaps jesus discovered himself was how to be himself and not what the religious scholar's of that time wanted to perceive him or jeronimo or whom ever, as being santimonious, since back then, just like now, so many people can only seem to replicate the man in the pretty suit or the one with the biggest church, instead of believing and trusting what their own inner voice of truth tells them.

This is what makes christianity the lazy person's free ride on the skirt-tails of religious doctrines.

Instead of using their own born/with intelligence, they would much prefer to jump on the bandwagon of brainless thinking and ride the currents of old worn out, and outdated religious philosophy and supertitions.

So to be a christian and just presume that all religious doctrines are true based on what the diciples wanted the outcome to be in their favor, to make it all look like a legitimate event, based on what they had hoped and prayed for, for so many years, it would seem to a christian that it would be so much safer to believe just what the old ancient scribes wanted people to believe and now the pretty preachers, and to not question the teachings, rather than investigate the absurdity of the teachings, just go ahead and bow down and submit to what ever the diciples and the pretty preachers and the pretty churches want people to believe.

It's all based on mind control and it is definitely a cult.

You explained it very well, everybody got off on a MT tangent, it's a very difficult thing to explain, when we've all been trained to think with the majority, which is exactly what you were saying, instead of looking at the persons teachings, people misconstrued the teachings and made them a Demi-God, so that they could worship them, because that is what people want, a god to worship and to save them, I hope I'm on track with ya, if not I apologize deeply.

Now I for one would be very disappionted if you quit writing, and I'm sure so many others would also, so to keep the number of suicides to a minimun, I suggest you keep writting, OK? :-)

mq59 said...

You have a good point that the artwork commissioned by the Popes and other churchmen was paid for by money taxed from/donated by the lower classes.

I was thinking largely of the Medici and the various banking/trade families.

And considering the amount of sweeping generalizations that go on around this web-site, you don't need to be rude.

trudy said...

John wrote: "Lorena, the fact that you were able to leave Christianity at all is proof that it isn't a cult, as you referred to it. If you belonged to a cult, you wouldn't have had the freedom to do anything but what you were told."

John,
There are many "cults" or "cultures" that allow you the physical freedom to leave - but are emotionally damned if you do. The fact that christianity damns people to hell for not believing or accepting it is the largest control factor they have.


John wrote: "As for Mother Theresa, I wonder how many of her critics would be willing to leave their jobs, homes..."

John,
You must not have been around the same christians I have. Many of us have given up all for "The Call" - only to wake up and find that we have neglected our families and continued the abuse of power. We were proud and arrogant to think that we were righteous.

-Trudy

George said...

Borrowed Holiness that is a good name and it may have been wishful holiness too. Very good writing and and very insightful.

It's so easy to stand-off from a distance and to say to one's self, I wish I was that person, or I wish I was as Saintly or as happy or wise as him or they, like I wish I was as charismatic and loving as they portray, tho without really knowing the person that they really are inside, from an outside perspective that person may appear to be pure as snow, and deep down inside may have thoughts of killing someone.

Like some of the recent killings, people said that they were so nice and were great neighbors or co-workers, etc.

I suppose Aldolf Hitler had some admirers, I'm sure he looked like a great leader, and many probably wished they had been him at one time. Possibly if Hitler not been discovered as a mass murderer and had succeeded in distroying all the Jews, then his image may have graced the churches as him being a great christian god, and he too may would have been considered worthy of worship.

It may only take someone with an abstract philosophy to become worthy of worship, in the eyes of the ignorant and mentally distraught.

.:webmaster:. said...

Considering how sweepingly asinine your comments are, MQ, it's quite surprising that anyone is polite to you anymore.

boomSLANG said...

mq59 said: "And considering the amount of sweeping generalizations that go on around this web-site, you don't need to be rude."

Stawman, add nauseum.

No objective evidence---no belief. All religious people fail to comprehend that. How's that for a "generalization"? The Atheist/Agnostic position, once again, is a position of *neutrality. Actually, it's really an uncomplicated concept to understand, at least, for those who don't have subjective religious convictions. Nevertheless, if people come across as "rude", I suppose the best way to combat that, is to either, A) cough up some objective evidence for your religious belief, B) look into becoming a freethinker, or C) scram.


C

Dave8 said...

MQ, we talk alot about history, and it gets annoying to see the same pattern of logic being used to support ones' belief.

For instance, its dizzying discussing "god" with you, or any aspect of religion in general, don't take that as an insult, its just dizzying.

If one were to go through all your posts, since you have been here on this site, they would find a pattern.

When "your" concept of a "god and Jesus" are challenged, you don't turn to the bible for answers, like most illiterate fundies, no, no. You are out to "tie" all the gaps together with modern day duck tape logic.

Lets see, you've used the amazing hybrid-Jesus, he's only running on god fuel half the time, but, obviously when he needs a little, he flips the switch and he's running on human gene fuel. Yeah, that's a real modern day explanation there MQ, it appears those who were closest to the scene however, seemed to have missed that as a possibility. I wonder why, they didn't come up with such a logical solution. Oh, that's right, the Jews didn't believe in the hybrid-Jesus vehicle, I mean it would have given the Romans more mileage, but, a hybrid-Jesus doesn't trump a full blown "Jewish Gods'" promises and power to the Jews.

Thus, the "god" Jesus, to trump the Jews' god was created. Now, even though that makes sense politically from Constantine-I, we get a modern movie that throws out, the not so politically correct hypothesis of a mortal Jesus. Now, although, its fun to guess at all these possibilities, you nor I was there MQ, trying to guess at a deities sperm count, motility, and magical power just seems ridiculous.

It was why there was a vote, remember. Obviously, the modern day directors, not being hindered by a Roman Emperor by murder, had the flexibility to bring forth a very "plausible" option on the nature of Jesus, as they obviously didn't give a rip about having to prove the Jews' religion no longer valid, and establish a new religion with a New Covenant.

Saying something like, well, it doesn't matter about the theology one way or another, is ludicrous. Entire religions are based on a divine or non-divine theology, only a blatantly arrogant self-absorbed, non-introspective churl, who sees their way as the Absolute Truth, so iron-clad would make such a rustic statement.

Theology: "The study of the nature of God and religious truth; rational inquiry into religious questions."

The study of theological questions, without coming to conclusion in itself is benign. However, when a person calls themselves a christian, they assert they are no longer "asking" questions MQ, they assert they have their theological answers. So, if their Jesus is a "god", and "same substance", and "not mortal", then a natural Jesus does seem to be a conflict.

Maybe you haven't come to terms with your theological beliefs, but, then... you shouldn't call yourself "anything" until you do come to terms. I mean, one little issue like the nature of Jesus, is the difference between you being Jewish or Roman Catholic, kind of big difference don't you think.

The bible is silent on many of these matters, and is contradictory when read literaly for objective truth. Its why MQ, many keep saying, that reading that book doesn't make someone a christian, a christian is a christian because they label themselves in that manner, but even their own labeling doesn't bring them any closer in theology to the next christian who may believe something totally different theologically. If you want to be a christian, its a personal choice, there isn't anything you can use to support your belief, you don't need evidence or objectivity, you just need "faith", in the person who told you about Jesus to begin with.

If you are questioning the "faith" that you placed in another individual, and are trying to weave yourself to something that you can anchor your theology to, well, I am not sure what that would be. I gave up, like many others trying to find that "thing", that "absolute" evidence to anchor christianity as the "true" religion. You make assumptions as to the substance of a deity and his double tank hybrid vehicle that gets twice the vehicle mileage with Jesus juice.

There is no evidence of Jesus, there is as much evidence that Santa Clause knocks up Mrs. Clause every night, than Jesus being non-mortal or mortal. If they couldn't figure it out in the day the legend of Jesus originated, then, MQ, you are late. If you want to start figuring out how to get some real evidence, why don't you try doing some research into some of the leading edge technologies, to prove/disprove your point.

I suppose its fitting to tell you that you will have to reach an objective singularity though, and all that religion stands for, control and in theory for those religions who claim to have a humanistic element, there appears to be a paradox of reaching objective truth.

"In futures studies, a technological singularity represents an "event horizon" in the predictability of human technological development past which present models of the future cease to give reliable or accurate answers, following the creation of strong artificial intelligence or the amplification of human intelligence. Futurists predict that after the Singularity, humans as they exist presently will cease to be the dominating force in scientific and technological progress, replaced with posthumans, strong AI, or both, and therefore all models of change based on past trends in human behavior will be obsolete."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity

So, the more objective one becomes, obviously the less human. Well, that gets rid of all the heal the poor, feed the sick, yadda, yadda, yadda, and of course, there is only "one" truth, no multiple human subjective truths, kinda' contrictory to quantum superposition, but, that's a different thread, and really a matter of "perspective". Anyhow, obviously, in order to seek Obective truth, it appears you must dump your subjective view in the process, so, you get truth but lose yourself, gee, seems like you have some choices to make. If religion wants their holier than thou Borrowed Holiness, to be Absolute Truth, then, they can just start cloning themselves like drones, oh, that's right, they are already one step ahead, in the programming process of children.

MQ, ya' think Santa Clause and Jesus are related? Its possible, right? I mean, anything is possible, right? Not if you are a christian with Absolute Beliefs, all possibility no longer exists. I believe in the possibilities of life, I can't accept religions that are Absolutely Sure of their doctrine, the people who make such comments just seem "less humanistic", than those who accept their humanity and limits.

Michael Thompson said...

Dave,

Thanks for your well thought out post.

I completely agree with what you said about the arguing being dizzying - instead of answers to valid points, you get cliched arguments or redirected arguments avoiding the issue. I hope you see that that works both ways, though.

I'm not sure if I agree with what you said about "when a person calls themselves a christian, they assert they are no longer "asking" questions. I think most Christians would argue that just because they have accepted the belief, doesn't mean they fully understand it and have stopped asking questions. Physicists believe in the existence of atoms, but they don't fully understand it so they continue asking questions.

(Here I know some will say "Aha! But atoms are proven, God is not!" Well, no metaphor is perfect, there's obviously a difference, but my point remains. To accept a belief does not always mean to fully understand it.)

You're right, critical theological questions like the deity of Jesus do make a big difference, and watering down the issue so as to win an argument serves no one, IMHO.

As for Absolute Truth, if a religion says that "ours is the only way, all other ways are completley wrong, we know the truth 100% and everyone else is going to hell", then ok, that's arrogant. But what exactly is arrogant about it, and are all religions saying that?

I don't think its arrogant to state something you think is true as fact. It reminds me of 4th grade when you start writing papers, and you write "I think..." before every sentence. What does the teacher say? You don't have to say "I think", it's your paper, so what you're saying is obviously your opinion. And so I don't think it's surprising or even arrogant for a religion to say what they think. That's their opinion.

So what's arrogant about many religions is what you were saying: that they don't even acknowledge subjectivity. Their's is the only possibility, period.

But I don't think that's what all religions are saying. Take the Catholic catechism, for instance. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day." (841)

Not perfect subjectivity, perhaps, but you get the idea. Even if you think it's still arrogant, its certainliy less arrogant. It's accepting the possibility of "well maybe our differences of opinion on the little things don't matter so much."

Of course, this doesn't handle the underlying issue of moral relativism, but that wasn't my aim. My point is that stating something as fact doesn't necessarily make you arrogant.

Anyways, thanks again for your intelligent reply, I enjoyed reading it.

-Michael

Anonymous said...

Hi Lorena, like you said, maybe jesus did not want to be worshipped, nor did jeronimo, nor st.peter or mary, or whomever, but got a statue and was worshipped anyway, because of them being perceived as being different from the others at that time, then they must surely have been sent down from the Heavens above and in plain ignorance, therefore need to be worshopped.

It's plain ignorance to worship something or another person, outside one's own self!

boomSLANG said...

Christian guest offered: "I think most Christians would argue that just because they have accepted the belief, doesn't mean they fully understand it and have stopped asking questions."

That may very well be true, but the problem is that if Christians don't have an answer to a particular question, then they do one of two things. They either, A) use THEIR particular "Deity" as a "default" answer, or B) refer to THEIR particual Holy Book, which essentially says to continue to believe even in the absence of evidence, or "lack of answers". This tactic is far removed from being objective. Furthermore, as far as Christians accepting "the belief", the one question they wouldn't dare ask, is "Have I accepted the wrong belief?" They, too, are "Atheists" when it comes to other people's gods.

Michael Thompson said...

Hi boomslang,

"...which essentially says to continue to believe even in the absence of evidence, or "lack of answers". This tactic is far removed from being objective."

You're right, it's not objective. But I think it's been established elsewhere on this site that Christianity, by its very nature, is something that cannot be proved, and must be believed even in the absence of certain proof. That's something that both sides will generally admit.


"the one question they wouldn't dare ask, is "Have I accepted the wrong belief?" "

This might be true for a lot of people, but it's a bit of a generalization. Growing up, I was almost always encouraged to question my faith, research other religions, and not to have a blind faith. And so I considered the other major world religions, and questioned often the idea that maybe God doesn't exist at all.

Obviously I reached a different conclusion than many of you. And you might say my questioning was biased, but that's really not the point here. I'm just trying to show that Christians do often ask that question.

Lorena said...

Michael,

You have asked the question before (have I accepted the wrong belief?), but it may not be the last time.

Life is a journey and, say, 10 years down the road, you will not be same person you are today. Perhaps then you will ask the question again and your answer will be a resounding "yes."

boomSLANG said...

Mr Thompson,

Fair enough. Okay, so the essence of your position is, "I believe my brand of Christianity is true". "True", just like the Mormons, the Five Point Calvinists, the JWs, etc...believe their brand is "true". Of course, this is what happens when people are "biased"(which you admit to being) in your line of questioning. So, if your "point" was that some Christians ask questions, it's not a very good one.

Michael Thompson said...

Hi,

Thanks for the civil and well-thought responses.

Lorena said, "You have asked the question before (have I accepted the wrong belief?), but it may not be the last time...10 years down the road...Perhaps...you will ask the question again and your answer will be a resounding "yes." "

I was simply refuting the claim that Christians "wouldn't dare" ask that question. But as a side note, you're right. I don't know what my answer will be in 10 years. Based on a lifetime of experiences of asking myself that question, though, I do feel reasonably confident of what my answer will be.

boomslang said, "So, if your "point" was that some Christians ask questions, it's not a very good one. "

Perhaps you're right, it's not very signifcant. But again, I wasn't trying to make some significant claim, just to refute dave's point that "when a person calls themselves a christian, they assert they are no longer "asking" questions".

There are both kind of side issues anyways. My main point in replying to dave was the whole facts and arrogance issue. But I appreciate your replies, and the fact that you have both been so civil.

-Michael

Dave8 said...

Michael Thompson: "I completely agree with what you said about the arguing being dizzying - instead of answers to valid points, you get cliched arguments or redirected arguments avoiding the issue. I hope you see that that works both ways, though."

Michael, if there is but one strategy that comes from me, its to seek the absolute truth, into absurdity. That's it. For over two thousand years, there have been very few Universal Truths established, and they are only established at this time based on current levels of knowledge. Change would be the only one, I am aware of, that incorporates "death, birth, aging, quantum superposition swapping of values, the stock market, the cellular structure of every person, etc., etc.".

Because of "Change", there are no "Universal Absolutes". Change "undoes" all absolutes, its really that simple. So, where you see redirects and cliches, I only see the obvious patterns of non-absolutes. Each topic discussed, should end with a light bulb flashing, "no absolute there".

If that were the case however, "god or Jesus", wouldn't be an Absolute, and thus, the very "Origins" of religion would be undone, due to the acceptance of a "Non-Absolute" vote, and a "Non-Absolute" human account from Paul, who never met a Jesus, and the other letters pulled together in a canon. Sometimes, I just stare at the PC screen, and just wonder how people can actually buy into an "Absolute" thought, I mean, lets see, the fountain of youth, the holy grail, etc, etc., have been said to stop change, stopping "Change" has been the treasure hunt since the beginning of the "time standard", literally.

Now, it seems only an uneducated person, would make the statement that there are "absolutes" beyond "Change", and they know these absolutes... while they "sit" and "think"... yes, "sit" and "think", as their own "mind", is "changing", physiologically. Michael, I don't want to enter into information theory, but in general, information is transmitted, stored, processed, etc., that's how we fixate on our reality.

That information that is stored in your gray matter, literally changes with each new pulse of information, as we age, our information storage depletes, its just a matter of time - we're human, our databases get corrupt over time, and memory recall isn't as sharp as it once was. Then, of course, while this is happening, our ability to process information drops in coherence as well. So, even when a person yells out they have an "absolute" truth, its out of sheer ignorance of their own limited humanity, in a physiological manner, we are products of cause and effect due to "Change".

There is "zero" evidence for anything to exist beyond the bounds of "Change", its why physicists are studying in a reductionist sense, quantum theory. And, no "absolutes" on change being a non-factor. The closest they have gotten is to assert that quantum entanglement shows promise as an escape mechanism beyond cause and effect determinism.

Well, almost. If you have two mirrors facing eachother, and you look in one, that is a "cause", the effect, is two images each the reverse of eachother. Now, I could stand here all night and play the let me create a model of the universe game to explain all the experimental physics out there, and it would be somewhat fun to use my imagination in such a fashion, but, before I would begin that line of endeavor, I would "assert" initially that "Change" and cause-effect relationships are "valid", until proven otherwise, hence, even if I don't like "deterministic" thought in the most strict sense, I really don't see the need to state that there is "Absolutely" the chance that cause-effect can be overcome.

There have been vacuums rendered to be totally free of all mass, to escape "cause-effect", and yet, given a little time, a photon shows up inside that totally isolated black vacuum box, and winks. Yeah, that's Nature saying, uh, you will continue to "Change". Sure, its fun to read through all physics behind such experiments, and even the mathematical reasoning, but in the end, its all about application, and levels of uncertainty.

Michael: "I'm not sure if I agree with what you said about "when a person calls themselves a christian, they assert they are no longer "asking" questions."

Not being sure about anything, is a great place to start learning. I have heard many state, philosophy is fake and useless. Typically, that comes from those who haven't grasped the concept of academia and philosophy. The notion of philosophy is to attempt to learn truths about life, using dialogue. However, taking a "huge" shortcut, and accepting that "Change" is a valid Absolute at this time, it becomes quite obvious, that for "every" argument, there is an equally valid polar argument, using the historical timeline as the argumentative dimension. For instance, what is moral today, may not have been moral yesterday, and so forth.

The erudition from philosophy, is to "know" that there is "Change", and that there are no "Absolutes". The most concrete of languages, Mathematics, with its tight internal consistency has changed over the years, and "continues" to "Change" on the whole (set theory, and a few other areas seem to hold more stability, however, that's because logic sets are general in nature). If a person must go through philosophical dialogue for years, to finally come to terms with this concept, or if they want to continue searching for the fountain of youth to "beat Change", etc., because they have an adventurous esprit, then they do so as educated people. Most all humans go through this process of dialogue, using their own daily experiences, they live out their dialogue, as opposed to verbally running through scenarios.

Once a person, collects enough dialogue through living experiences, or through conversations such as these, they begin to question the validity of "Absolutes", as they experience first hand "Changes", and "non-absolutes". A preacher gets fined for molesting a child, well... it appears that religious clergy are to be "Absolutely" accepted as Holy.

Educators today, do not teach dialogue via the Socratic Method. The "truth" is "Change" at this time, but educators teach "Absolutes", like how to take tests and memorize vocabulary words, etc., route memory is only good for a very short shelf life, information theory shows the dissipation rate to be elevated even among college students who only retain on average 5% of their informational input. Its the process that is valuable, because once a process is understood, "all" information can be examined at any time to find validity, with known acceptable limits of uncertainty.

Looking at uncertainty, look at some of these posts on this site Mike, and you see, that even in the face of religious leader travesty, people want to believe in their "Absolute" Holy Preacher, etc. Absolutes provide Certainty, but there isn't a single academician who would stand up and suggest that their area of expertise doesn't incorporate a standard for error rates. That's "all" academicians, Michael, if they don't accept their field of study with some uncertainty, then they have a great dissertation to write, as it will break the back of a two thousand plus year validated "premise", the "only" one standing at this time.

If a person calls themselves a christian, they do so, by accepting the "Absolute" truth, of a divine messianic "Christ". If a person called themselves "christian" without that one premise, then... they would not be a "christian".

The early Roman Church seized philosophical concepts to carry out their "Absolute" dilemna. They rationalized, through presupposition an "alternate" and "transcendent" reality, where "Change" doesn't exist. So, "god", exists outside change, and is thus capable of being "Perfect", as in a Platonic Form. Christians believe this Platonic realm exists, they all it Heaven, Celestial Kingdom, etc., a place where they can rationalize the existence for their Absolutely perfect & true messianic Jesus, etc.

So, in that context, a self admitted christian, should in theory no longer be asking questions about these basic principles. If they do, ask questions, then they need to curtail the use of the "occultist" view as a christian, and take on a more "spiritual" tone, even if they accept supernatural spirituality.

Michael: "I think most Christians would argue that just because they have accepted the belief, doesn't mean they fully understand it and have stopped asking questions."

Then, what we have here appears to be an uneducated consumer. If one is still asking questions, then why do they take on a title? Why do they get involved with tithing, baptism, etc? Many on this site, have done so, because its been what was taught, or taken the approach, better safe than sorry, while they continued to ask questions. The longer a person asks questions, though, speaking back to philosophy, the less likely they are to remain Absolute christians, information has a way of making that happen.

Michael: "Physicists believe in the existence of atoms, but they don't fully understand it so they continue asking questions."

Physicists, work from observational "knowns" in the present, using cause-effect relationships, that are consistent over time. Some theorists, I suppose, would suggest there are also logical ways to derive internally consistent hypothesis from "accepted" axioms, food for thought. Does the "electron" exist? The "word" describes a naturally occuring characteristic, "lightening", etc. Check out a lightening strike, we have taken what we could naturally see, diagramed out the framework characteristics of lightening/electricity, and then harnessed that energy to perform work, the conservation of energy and matter.

We could have named the electron anything, sure, even the scientist who posted the name, and studied its characteristics could have modeled the atom, with floating electrons a little differently as well, but its a modeling build on the known characteristics of the time.

If a 100 piece puzzle has 99 pieces put together, and the pieces fit together coherently with good internal and external consistency, then, sure we don't know "all" there is to know about the "whole" picture, but, it appears we know enough to use electricity. No one disclaims the use of the "electron" in our everyday lives. Does the 1% represent uncertainty, in a reductionist sense? Sure. Perhaps, that's why I believe academia of the modern era, has some serious issues, I'll leave it at that.

Anyway, beyond reductionism to create the perfect picture, I prefer to look at function and process. Does the process of harnessing mass to create energy work? Yes. How do we know, because its been tested, and validated as a process. Well, what about the few times, that the process fails to produce perfect products. Well, its not necessarily the process, its the variables the process hasn't taken into account that externally effect the internal consistency of the process.

So, in my personal opinion, its not the electrical process that has questions being asked about it, nor the laws underpinning the concepts for the process. The questions being asked, involve the external/environmental effects on the "known" process. Its true, Mike, you could throw out the entire name "atom", or for that matter, "electron", heck, do they really matter, further, are they really matter? To some philosophers, nouns are considered platonic truths, I am not one of those. We have energy, because we developed a process for harnessing energy, through the scientific method, and consistently validated natural laws.

One can attack the reductionist sense of the atom, however, its hard to attack validated processes, especially when "Change" is accepted as being an environmental contributor to energy output fluctuations. The uncertainty exists, not in the internal processes, but from the environment itself, as "all" is not known of the environment.

Now, lets see. Processes... validation, in "any" form from religious theology. I am not aware of any. The process of life after death, well, its impossible to know of such outputs. Lets look at internal consistency of christianity on the whole. Well, not a lot of coherence there, the belief system itself is extremely fractured, and many religious denominations refuse to accept "Change" as a valid factor when discussing their god.

Thus, there is no solid internal coherence (between religious sects), nor external validation (the bible is the sole literary source for its own validation), and the process whereby one would want to use to derive "truth" from the many different religious sects, is "inconsistent" at best, there is no "framework" or process a person can use to "find" the right religion. When the internal portion of a closed system (exclusively written holy words) is inconsistent, and the external validation are missing, then, there can be no consistent information, to start building a process to create a solid religion.

Right now, the only piece that seems somewhat consistent, is the name "Jesus", but, that's a highly "inconsistent" word, that some attribute to a Platonic Form of perfection, and others treat as a mortal being, family and all. If science has its problems, its in the lack of intuitive ways of describing the process of science. We bet our lives on science every hospital visit we make. Ironically, christians never bet their lives on religion... they bet their deaths.

Michael: "(Here I know some will say "Aha! But atoms are proven, God is not!" Well, no metaphor is perfect, there's obviously a difference, but my point remains. To accept a belief does not always mean to fully understand it.)"

I fully understand the process of taking matter, and transferring its properties to an energy form, that's not a belief, that's knowledge. I "know" how to validate that process. There is no religious, I "know" how to validate the process for showing a supernatural god exists, hence, the "I know" become "I believe". There is very little uncertainty in "I know", based on validated processes... There is "huge" uncertainty based on non-validateable religious processes.

Do I need to fully understand my belief, in order to believe? Yes, how does one have a belief unless they understand the principles. Perhaps, it would be more prudent to suggest that a person doesn't need to know "how" a process works, in order to believe in the process.

Well, its not a matter of fully understanding something, to build a belief upon. Its "levels" of certainty. I build my "expectations" based on actions which have very low levels of "uncertainty". There are others who build their "expectations", with extreme levels of "uncertainty".

True, one need not understand "all" there is omnisciently about their belief to hold the majority of the belief as valid, but there has to be a sane level of "certainty" one would think. That certainty doesn't exist for those who believe in the supernatural. Further, the object of the belief is also important.

A persons' belief based on their own personal experience, is much stronger, than basing ones' belief on a second hand party/revelation. Of course, christianity, begins on a "thousand hand" revelation, and works outwards towards an incomprehensive transcendent reality.

Michael: "You're right, critical theological questions like the deity of Jesus do make a big difference, and watering down the issue so as to win an argument serves no one, IMHO."

The watering down, of surrounding issues outside of the divinity of Jesus, seems to be all that the christian religions have. As you say, many Christians readily admit, they don't have evidence for the "major" theological pillars on which the Christian religion sits. However, I tend to not jump into the "many" side trails, until "Absolute" comments are made, like, artists working for trade marketers. Do the main points get lost in all this? Well, from my perspective, when one can't establish a root to stand on, it appears many attempt to find "something" to anchor themselves onto that's absolute. Perhaps, the comments are generally cordial and not meant to establish anything religiouslly Absolute.

Michael: "As for Absolute Truth, if a religion says that "ours is the only way, all other ways are completley wrong, we know the truth 100% and everyone else is going to hell", then ok, that's arrogant. But what exactly is arrogant about it, and are all religions saying that?"

Its in their doctrine, specifically the bible that everyone else is going to hell. What's arrogant about that?

Arrogance: "Overbearing pride evidenced by a superior manner toward inferiors."
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

If a person took a position of superiority, lets say a preacher or religious clergy, and taught that all children were going to hell that didn't follow the one true religion, is seems to not be a productive way for children to learn tolerance. The name Columbine seems to come to mind, and a huge list of other events that are directly attributed to "us and you" behaviors, enforced and justified by some religious persons' sanctimonious and arrogant beliefs.

Asking where arrogance fits into the picture, is like asking where hatred has a place in society. Obviously, the religion, the parent, the clergy, the communion setting, all have a factor in creating such an environment, and not one religion is vaccinated from the breakout, that can kick off at the gesture of anyone in religion, because their "doctrine" supports such views.

It may sound absurd to you, because you are more tolerant. However, there are those who don't cater to any religion, who aren't afflicted with such doctrine. That doesn't mean, non-religious people don't have the capability to be non-tolerant, it just means its a personal choice, and they obviously must accept personal responsibility for their actions, as there appears to be no "god" running around to justify their actions. When people take responsibility for their lives (when finally moving from repressive environments), they tend to start becoming more educated and have much more opportunity to grow. An arrogantly superior person, need not grow, they are obviously where they need to be "Absolutely".

Michael: "I don't think its arrogant to state something you think is true as fact. It reminds me of 4th grade when you start writing papers, and you write "I think..." before every sentence. What does the teacher say? You don't have to say "I think", it's your paper, so what you're saying is obviously your opinion. And so I don't think it's surprising or even arrogant for a religion to say what they think. That's their opinion."

Lets say little Johnny writes himself a paper to present to the class. On the title, it says, the teachers' mother is a whore, and continues to read. The teacher stops Little Johnny and asks him, why he thinks such things. Little Johnny replies, well, its my opinion and I can say whatever I want in an arrogant manner. The teacher sends Little Johnny to the principles' office. Why? Words are the initial process of "actions". Words become the person, or more accurately, the true person become the words. Isn't it quite easy to see where Hitlers' dialogue was going? What was the result, of his words?

Can someone write something merely to make a statement, and separate their true beliefs or thoughts from the "words"... No. Tis' why, little children are asked to draw pictures by psychologists in school, they draw what they "feel" and "think". Hate speech may be opinion, and even satire... I tend to think there are enough christians running around thinking their hate speech is justified because the bible is Absolutely True.

Michael: "So what's arrogant about many religions is what you were saying: that they don't even acknowledge subjectivity. Their's is the only possibility, period."

Well, along with all factors that follow someone living in an arrogantly superior objective world, yes. If a person believes their "objectivity" is the Absolute Truth, then obviously, by default all others are wrong. Funny though, that even those in the same church, each seeming to having their own "Absolute" truth, separate themselves from their own congregational members on many topics.

Michael: "But I don't think that's what all religions are saying. Take the Catholic catechism, for instance. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day." (841)"

Rome wanted to unite all religions under "one" god, as opposed to the pantheon of gods found in other religions or belief systems. This is the first phase of bringing people together under one rule.

Michael: "Not perfect subjectivity, perhaps, but you get the idea. Even if you think it's still arrogant, its certainliy less arrogant. It's accepting the possibility of "well maybe our differences of opinion on the little things don't matter so much."

Isn't it obbious that someone must have an aire of superiority to sell such belief, as there only being one true god, of Abraham. What I see is, if we stick together under the same main story, then we are all protected from the "outsiders". Yeah, except the insiders, particularly the ones who wrote such catechism, ended up murdering other believers of the god of Abraham, on questions like the Divinity of Jesus.

Michael: "Of course, this doesn't handle the underlying issue of moral relativism, but that wasn't my aim. My point is that stating something as fact doesn't necessarily make you arrogant."

True, not necessarily. However, if one wants to communicate with another person, they must use something that both can understand and validate. Saying "aether" exists, may be conceptualized, but when stated as a fact, it appears a little more thought is required to prove ones' point.

If one makes a statement of "fact", without the capability to explain their fact, then obviously many take that statement and downgrade it to mere "opinion", and we see where opinions got Little Johnny.

Michael: "Anyways, thanks again for your intelligent reply, I enjoyed reading it."

Likewise. I don't believe there is room in society for hatred, injustice, persecution, etc., and unfortunately for those of religion, I see the doctrine of the bible as an enabler. Many religious preachers don't use the bible as an instigator or enabler for adversity. But then, many do, its good for business.

Cocaine is medicinal when used properly, but when abused can lead a person to act in detrimental ways. The bible is such a product, the question becomes, are the religious leaders of today, ready to show how the bible can be used in an abusive manner? And the resounding answer for many in the USA, is 'no'. By touting the "Objective" and Absolute truth of the bible, they give their stamp of approval, and enable persecutory behaviors. Seems like people who claim superiority, tend to remove "equality" from the picture, in some form.

Having a belief is one thing, using that belief to affect others to create inequality, is wrong. I don't see a huge gap between belief and actions. A person has beliefs, because of their "experiences", and "experiences" create the platform for future actions.

A drug dealer speaking to a crowd of children says that drugs aren't so bad. One of a thousand children hear the message, and takes drugs and dies. The other 999 children, based on their past experiences choose to not take drugs. Do you blame the messenger for the childs' death, do your blame the "messenger", or do you blame them "both"? Remember, we are talking about a "child" who doesn't have enough knowledge becase of; non-exposure to such life experiences, they haven't read anything different or critical of the message, or the childs plainly "trusts" and has "faith" in the messenger.

The messenger was only giving a message, a mere opinion per se, to the Little Johnnies of tomorrow. Would it be more responsible for the messenger to educate their audience on the "improper" use of drugs, and the potential fatal results. Well, not if the messenger believes that their speech is perfect as is, and there can be no changes to that Absolutely True message. One persons' arrogance, can become another persons' nightmare. When is the last time you went to church and heard the preacher declare that the Old Testament should not be adhered to, and that the New Testament should not be understood literally as the Absolute Truth. For me, never. Cheers

Michael Thompson said...

Wow, Dave. Thanks for the thorough response. I can't say I expected my comments to be expounded upon to that extent, but it made for very interesting reading. Give me some time to digest it a bit, and I'll get back to you.

Thanks again,
Michael

Lorena said...

Michael said:

" I don't know what my answer will be in 10 years. Based on a lifetime of experiences of asking myself that question, though, I do feel reasonably confident of what my answer will be."

Lorena responds:

If anybody had asked me two years ago, I would have said exactly the same thing. So I am not going to judge for that. However, let me give you a bible verse that just came to mind (James 4:13-14a):

"Now listen, you who say,Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow."

Anonymous said...

I'm opening up a clinic for damaged goods. I hope you all seek some counseling. You need it bad.

Michael Thompson said...

Hi,

“Because of "Change", there are no "Universal Absolutes".”

This, of course, is an absolute statement, and thus contradicts itself. However, I think you’re aware of that. I’ve just always liked that irony :-)

“If that were the case however, "god or Jesus", wouldn't be an Absolute, and thus, the very "Origins" of religion would be undone”

In general, I will agree with your argument that nothing is absolute. Things are always changing, and only a very few precise logical statements are truly absolute. Even our thoughts, as you point out, take place in a constantly changing brain.

The difference is that while I believe everything in the universe is changing and non-absolute, I don’t believe that God is of the universe. You acknowledge this idea later in your post, referring to it as a “transcendental reality.”

“There is "zero" evidence for anything to exist beyond the bounds of "Change”

This is essentially what the entire disagreement boils down to, and is essentially the same as the question of evidence for the existence of God. I believe that there is something beyond Change, and that something is God. You believe that there is nothing beyond Change, and therefore there is no God.

Obviously the argument for the existence of God is beyond the original scope of the argument. But, because people have a tendency to say, “Aha, he’s avoiding the real question. Christians never provide proof!” I’ll say a little.

Christianity does not claim to provide perfect evidence for everybody. If there was such evidence, in other words, 100% proof, then it would defeat the purpose of Free Will. We would believe because it was the only way, not because we chose to do so.

Christianity does claim, however, to provide some evidence. But it is evidence on an individual level. This is why you hear many Christians talk of the “personal relationship with Jesus”, and why many Christians share their “testimonies.” The human experience is individual, and God touches us individually. (The human experience is also interdependent, hence the importance Christians place on community, and perhaps on evangelization) Whether one chooses to accept this evidence or not, or even see it as evidence in the first place, is up to them.

So, back to your original statement: “There is ‘zero’ evidence for anything to exist beyond the bounds of ‘Change’.” Like I said, there is no blanket evidence, that’s true. But I personally recognize evidence that God has shown me. Looking back on my own life, I see so much proof of God’s presence. You might find logical ways to dismiss some of them, but you didn’t experience them. I’ve seen a lot of amazing times, and a lot of terrible times, and looking back through it all I see Jesus.

But again, I’m not trying to convince you here, though you will inevitably dissect the last few paragraphs and argue them. My point is that, like I said in a previous post, Christianity does not seek to offer the perfect evidence you’re after. It was never meant to.

”accepting that "Change" is a valid Absolute at this time, it becomes quite obvious, that for "every" argument, there is an equally valid polar argument, using the historical timeline as the argumentative dimension. For instance, what is moral today, may not have been moral yesterday, and so forth.”

This is only true if, as you argued, God is not an absolute. For someone such as myself, who argues that God is an absolute, then by extension other things could be absolute as well. If God doesn’t change, then “Change” is no longer absolute, and thus the “equally valid polar argument” theory would break down. Granted, this only works if God is an absolute, which of course you don’t accept anyways.

“If a person calls themselves a christian, they do so, by accepting the "Absolute" truth, of a divine messianic "Christ". If a person called themselves "christian" without that one premise, then... they would not be a "christian".”

Fair enough.

”The early Roman Church seized philosophical concepts to carry out their "Absolute" dilemna. They rationalized, through presupposition an "alternate" and "transcendent" reality, where "Change" doesn't exist. So, "god", exists outside change, and is thus capable of being "Perfect", as in a Platonic Form. Christians believe this Platonic realm exists, they all it Heaven, Celestial Kingdom, etc., a place where they can rationalize the existence for their Absolutely perfect & true messianic Jesus, etc.”

As I mentioned earlier, I agree.

This is the opening that lets the Christian say that absolutes exist, and by extension that God can be absolute.

”So, in that context, a self admitted christian, should in theory no longer be asking questions about these basic principles. If they do, ask questions, then they need to curtail the use of the "occultist" view as a christian, and take on a more "spiritual" tone, even if they accept supernatural spirituality.”

Michael: "I think most Christians would argue that just because they have accepted the belief, doesn't mean they fully understand it and have stopped asking questions."

”Then, what we have here appears to be an uneducated consumer. If one is still asking questions, then why do they take on a title?”

This logic doesn’t really make sense. No one fully understands all of the United States’ laws, history, values, beliefs, and culture. But people still call themselves American. It’s a title, not a claim to omniscience. As you seem to concede later on in your post, “one need not understand "all" there is omnisciently about their belief to hold the majority of the belief as valid” Of course you add the condition that one should be relatively certain in that case, but I’ll deal with that later.

I think the problem is that you’re confusing absolutes with believing absolutely. Just because one believes in an absolute, does not mean he or she believes it absolutely. Thus, you have room for questions. The point is that the need for questions lies on our side, not on the absolute’s.

“The longer a person asks questions, though, speaking back to philosophy, the less likely they are to remain Absolute christians, information has a way of making that happen.”

Well, that’s interesting. Speaking from my own experience, the more questions I’ve asked the stronger my faith has become. Granted for you it was quite the opposite, but you made a generalization, I’m just speaking for myself. Where’s the support that your case is the norm?

“Processes... validation, in "any" form from religious theology. I am not aware of any."

Well, again, like I said, Christianity is not a scientific experiment. It’s not going to provide 100% proof. But I’ll still go through your internal/external points

”there is no solid internal coherence (between religious sects)”

Well, naturally. It’s not surprising that there is no great amount of coherence between opposing viewpoints. You have to look at them on an individual basis. Back when they were debating whether the sun or the earth was the center of the universe, you could hardly have thrown out both possibilities simply because “there is no solid internal coherence” between the two viewpoints. One of them was correct.

“nor external validation (the bible is the sole literary source for its own validation)”

For someone who believes, the validation is all around them in the world, and inside of their own lives with their personal experience of God. Not scientific, of course, but for the nth time this post, its not supposed to be.

As for the bible, it depends on what kind of external validation you’re looking for. Theotherian’s manuscript argument in the podcast forum was vastly misunderstood there. It’s not proof that what’s in the bible is correct, it’s proof that it hasn’t been altered. There are numerous other early writings, both Christian and non-Christian, that confirm details in the bible.

Of course, the bible isn’t 100% correct on all the superficial details, but that’s outside the scope of this conversation.

“there is no "framework" or process a person can use to "find" the right religion. “

If there was a framework to find the “right” religion, it would be offering 100% proof, which leads to the same issue as above. But take it from a different angle. Perhaps there is no rigid process because the relationship with God is individual, and so the process of each person’s journey is quite different. But, the fact that there is no rigid process does not logically imply that there is no correct solution. If the goal of the game is for everyone to get to Houston, TX, we’re all going to have different paths, for a number of reasons - where we start, what decisions we make, etc. (And as a side note, some people might end up in Austin, TX and think they’re in Houston. But that doesn’t mean they are. Again back to the argument of whether absolutes exist or not.)

“When the internal portion of a closed system (exclusively written holy words) is inconsistent, and the external validation are missing, then, there can be no consistent information, to start building a process to create a solid religion.”

This is why Christians do not believe that anyone can find God on their own, that it’s God who finds us, and then we choose our answer. You’re right in a sense. I’ve been saying this whole time that Christianity doesn’t offer concrete proof. So how do you develop a wide-ranging belief structure without that? Well, we don’t. Christianity, well let me just speak for Catholicism here, would say that God helped us to create the religion.

”We bet our lives on science every hospital visit we make. Ironically, christians never bet their lives on religion... they bet their deaths.”

I could turn your sentence around just as easily. I would say Christians bet their lives on religion, and atheists bet their deaths on the lack of it.

But both ways are making it sound a lot more ominous and one-sided than it is. We all live, and we all die, so we’re all faced with the same problem. Everyone’s in the same boat. Christians bet their deaths, as you say, on the belief that there is a God. Others bet their deaths on the belief that there is no God. Two different choices, but we’re betting on the same thing.

“There is no religious, I "know" how to validate the process for showing a supernatural god exists, hence, the "I know" become "I believe". There is very little uncertainty in "I know", based on validated processes... There is "huge" uncertainty based on non-validateable religious processes.”

Fair enough. Semantically, the analogy breaks down at the difference between “knowing” and “believing”. No analogy is perfect. I was simply trying to say that you don’t have to fully know something in order to believe it, which you address in your next point.

As for the certainty issue, see the “zero evidence” question.
“True, one need not understand "all" there is omnisciently about their belief to hold the majority of the belief as valid, but there has to be a sane level of "certainty" one would think. That certainty doesn't exist for those who believe in the supernatural. “


This is the same argument you hinted at earlier. And I agree with the idea that there should be a sane level of certainty. Of course, I disagree with you that the certainty doesn’t exist.

The problem is that you are limiting the possible sources of certainty. If the supernatural does exist, then is it not possible, even probable, that the primary source of certainty would could from the supernatural? I don’t expect one to be able to understand the supernatural solely through the natural.

Your statement automatically disregards the supernatural as a possibility, because you don’t believe in it. And you are welcome to think that. But the question is whether those who believe in the supernatural would accept it as a possible source of certainty. I, for one, do.

“A persons' belief based on their own personal experience, is much stronger, than basing ones' belief on a second hand party/revelation. “

That sounds familiar! :-) Personal experience, how about that?

The rest of this statement is handled in your next point.

“Of course, christianity, begins on a "thousand hand" revelation, and works outwards towards an incomprehensive transcendent reality.”

This assumes that Christianity is a solely human institution. Those who believe in it do not share this view. Christians would say that God does two things here: guides the handing down, or revelation, and also works directly with the individual. So the person’s faith is based on both a second hand party and a personal experience.

”The watering down, of surrounding issues outside of the divinity of Jesus, seems to be all that the christian religions have. As you say, many Christians readily admit, they don't have evidence for the "major" theological pillars on which the Christian religion sits. However, I tend to not jump into the "many" side trails, until "Absolute" comments are made, like, artists working for trade marketers. Do the main points get lost in all this? Well, from my perspective, when one can't establish a root to stand on, it appears many attempt to find "something" to anchor themselves onto that's absolute. Perhaps, the comments are generally cordial and not meant to establish anything religiouslly Absolute.”

Well, as I think you can tell from my comments, I’m not trying to provide proof. But, as I would do with any other topic, I’ll dispute what I disagree with. Believe me, I harbor no hopes that through side discussions such as these suddenly all of Christianity will be proven true to you. That’s between you and God. But again, I will defend the points, minor side trails as they may be, out of principal if nothing else.

Besides, I like being challenged, both intellectually and spiritually. It’s how I grow.

“Michael: "As for Absolute Truth, if a religion says that "ours is the only way, all other ways are completley wrong, we know the truth 100% and everyone else is going to hell", then ok, that's arrogant. But what exactly is arrogant about it, and are all religions saying that?"”

”Its in their doctrine, specifically the bible that everyone else is going to hell. What's arrogant about that?...Asking where arrogance fits into the picture, is like asking where hatred has a place in society. “

I think you misunderstood. I was asking the question rhetorically, so as to provide a connection to my following arguments. The arrogance is obvious.

Anyways, I would disagree that the bible says that. On the surface it would appear to, with verses about the necessity of believing in Christ, and gnashing of teeth for those who don’t accept it. I actually believe these verses point towards something deeper, and more tolerant than it appears. But I'll save that for another post.

“It may sound absurd to you, because you are more tolerant. However, there are those who don't cater to any religion, who aren't afflicted with such doctrine.”
It is absurd, but it’s not new to me. Even as a Christian I’ve had to deal with it. I really like what you go on to say about how anybody, religious or not, can be tolerant or non-tolerant.
“Words are the initial process of "actions". Words become the person, or more accurately, the true person become the words. “


I haven’t had time to ponder if this is always the case, but I think in general I agree with you.

Like I admitted, some church’s viewpoints are arrogant. But my point was that its not arrogant to simply say that one’s beliefs are correct. That’s just stating what you believe to be a fact, and there’s no harm there. Now extend it a little further. If I truly believe something, and you believe something else that’s contrary to it, then by extension I will believe that you are wrong. Again, nothing arrogant, just beliefs.
Of course it can come off as arrogant, or really be arrogant, depending on the context. There’s a difference between saying “I’m right, you’re wrong” and “I disagree, here’s why” which is what you and I are doing right now.

As for the case of little Johnny or Hitler, that’s a case of the belief itself being bad. Obviously theres a problem there, and it becomes even more of a problem when they try to enforce their beliefs on others. But just having a difference of beliefs, and honestly believing your side is the correct one, is not wrong.

“If a person believes their "objectivity" is the Absolute Truth, then obviously, by default all others are wrong. Funny though, that even those in the same church, each seeming to having their own "Absolute" truth, separate themselves from their own congregational members on many topics.”

Well, like I mentioned earlier, there’s a difference between believing in an absolute and believing absolutely. I don’t think my faith is perfect or absolute, so of course there are going to be differences of opinions. But if there is an absolute, what we believe doesn’t affect it.

”Rome wanted to unite all religions under "one" god, as opposed to the pantheon of gods found in other religions or belief systems. This is the first phase of bringing people together under one rule.”

Okay, the way you say it makes it sound like tyranny. But its only tyranny if its forced. Granted, during the crusades and throughout other phases of history it has been forced, and that has been tyranny. But the modern beliefs don’t support that. The bible and the Roman catechism make it clear that it has to be optional. The phrase “Don’t just a philosophy by its abuse” comes to mind.

”Isn't it obbious that someone must have an aire of superiority to sell such belief, as there only being one true god, of Abraham. “
No, that’s not obvious. If you believe that there is only one true God, then that’s just what you believe. You can believe it and think you’re superior, or you can believe it and think you’re not superior. You probably know that one of the major real teachings of Christianity is humility.

“What I see is, if we stick together under the same main story, then we are all protected from the "outsiders". Yeah, except the insiders, particularly the ones who wrote such catechism, ended up murdering other believers of the god of Abraham, on questions like the Divinity of Jesus.”

My point was not to show that Catholicism accepts all other beliefs equally. It’s that its not so arrogant as you make out. I selected the quote because it shows Catholic belief looking at a very different religion and not acting superior. I don’t see anything in the quote, or in the greater context surrounding the quote, suggesting anything about protection or outsiders, or even inferring it.

You’re right about the internal violence, of course. And nothing excuses those actions, they were obviously wrong. But what you have to decide is were they acting on legitimately Christian beliefs or not. Judging by all the teachings of Jesus, I don’t think murdering is acting on legitimately Christian beliefs.

”If one makes a statement of "fact", without the capability to explain their fact, then obviously many take that statement and downgrade it to mere "opinion", and we see where opinions got Little Johnny.”

They can downgrade that statement, and if they don’t agree with it I’d expect them to. But your referral to Little Johnny is a bad example. Like I said, that was not just an opinion but a harmful opinion. To say “where opinions got Little Johnny” is to suggest that no should have any opinions about anything. I’m pretty sure you don’t believe that. Little Johnny is a specific example, and quite an extreme one, but you are using it as a generalized case as if it adds strength to your argument.

”Likewise. I don't believe there is room in society for hatred, injustice, persecution, etc., and unfortunately for those of religion, I see the doctrine of the bible as an enabler. Many religious preachers don't use the bible as an instigator or enabler for adversity. But then, many do, its good for business.”

You’re right, but a lot of things can be used as instigators. The constitution of the United States is all about freedom and equality, but people use it to promote intolerance and oppression. The flaw lies in the person, not necessarily what’s on the paper.

”the question becomes, are the religious leaders of today, ready to show how the bible can be used in an abusive manner? And the resounding answer for many in the USA, is 'no'. By touting the "Objective" and Absolute truth of the bible, they give their stamp of approval, and enable persecutory behaviors. Seems like people who claim superiority, tend to remove "equality" from the picture, in some form.”
Again, I agree with you. There’s a lot of bad eggs out there. But while it’s a resounding answer for some in the USA, I don’t think it’s the resounding issue for most. In my life I’ve been to dozens of churches (and not all catholic), and while they all thought their beliefs were correct, the ones that said anything about other religions always said to treat them with love and respect. That’s my personal experience, at least. And combined with what mainstream Christian literature says about it, I think that’s the majority.

I know a lot of people on this site have had bad experiences with intolerance, and I don’t excuse that intolerance. But people’s intolerance, based on everything I know about Christianity, is not justified by the beliefs.

“Having a belief is one thing, using that belief to affect others to create inequality, is wrong. I don't see a huge gap between belief and actions. A person has beliefs, because of their "experiences", and "experiences" create the platform for future actions.”

There is indeed a strong connection between belief and actions. The question, though, is what belief is causing the actions of intolerance and inequality. Is it the belief in what real Christianity is supposed to be, or is it the person’s skewed and gross misunderstanding of what Christianity is.

My beliefs of Christianity do not lead me to being intolerant (to my knowledge). I think the problem lies in the people’s interpretations, not in the actual basis of Christianity. So maybe a good response to intolerance is not to attack Christianity, but the person’s misconceptions about it.

Regardless, you don’t jail someone for their beliefs, you jail them for their actions. Like you said, “having a belief is one thing, using that belief to affect others to create inequality, is wrong.”

”Do you blame the messenger for the childs' death, do your blame the "messenger", or do you blame them "both"?”

Well, that depends. The message in this case “drugs are not bad” is, in and of itself, a bad message to give to children. In the case of Christianity, I don’t think the message is bad, so I blame the messenger.

The messenger was only giving a message, a mere opinion per se, to the Little Johnnies of tomorrow. Would it be more responsible for the messenger to educate their audience on the "improper" use of drugs, and the potential fatal results. Well, not if the messenger believes that their speech is perfect as is, and there can be no changes to that Absolutely True message.

Well, this is going off on a bit of a hypothetical situation. The same point from above remains, this message is inherently bad to give to children, and I personally don’t think Christianity is. As for holding someone responsible for something they honestly believed, I tend to side with how the US justice system treats criminally insane people. It might not be their fault, per se, but this person is a danger, so we’re going to separate him from everyone else. We’re not jailing him for his beliefs, we’re jailing him because he acted on them. So it doesn’t follow that all insane people should be jailed, only those who actually commit crimes or are individually proven to be likely to. So, even though you think Christianity causes intolerance and other problems, it’s the individuals actions that matter.

One persons' arrogance, can become another persons' nightmare. When is the last time you went to church and heard the preacher declare that the Old Testament should not be adhered to, and that the New Testament should not be understood literally as the Absolute Truth. For me, never. Cheers.

Growing up, I heard both ways – literal, and not literal. I don’t think even literally that people can make a good case for the New Testament as a possible justification for their bad actions. The Old Testament is a bit trickier, but I hear all the time from preachers and religious literature not to adhere to it. It’s been replaced, or more accurately, fulfilled, by the New Testament. That’s why most Christians don’t follow Orthodox Jewish law.

But regardless, you’re right. One person’s arrogance can become another person’s nightmare. I completely agree. It’s the cause of that arrogance that we disagree on.

In the interest of not protracting this out any further, I won’t do a length conclusion. I think you can get most of my major ideas. I’m not trying to prove Christianity, because I don’t think you can. Rather, I’m simply defending specific points. And I know you don’t agree with me on a lot of these things. I hope you know that I’m not trying to convince you. Part of being tolerant is sharing beliefs, and I look forward to continuing our discussion.

However, as a practical matter, since we both have lives outside of this website, I suggest we keep the length down quite a bit and handle only a few issues at a time.
That being said, thanks again for your well thought out response, and take care!

-Michael

Michael Thompson said...

Lorena,

You're right, but of course your argument works both ways. I might change my mind, but you might change yours back too :)

Taylor

boomSLANG said...

MT said: "I might change my mind, but you might change your back too."

The odds of reconverting to a belief where there is zero objective evidence to support it is about the same odds of you reconverting back to believing in Santa Claus. Unless, of course, Santa starts leaving coupons for Eternal Life in people's stockings. lol.

Michael Thompson said...

Well, see it's a matter of viewpoint. I would say that the odds of me changing my mind are like the ones you described.

No worries, though.

-Michael

btw, I see I slipped and signed my last post with taylor, which is what I usually go by in real life. You can call me either.

Bentley said...

ha ha boomie, that's a good one!

I heard that Santa was going to start doing that, this year...lmao

boomSLANG said...

MT said: "Christianity does not claim to provide perfect evidence for everybody. If there was such evidence, in other words, 100% proof, then it would defeat the purpose of Free Will."

Just by your usage of upper case letters on the phrase "Free Will" shows that you are attempting to put your own spin on what it means. In every day language we understand free will to mean "voluntary choice", do we not? One can still be given free will(the ability to choose freely), without using coersion to appeal to the "right" choice. And that's exactly what it is---it's nothing short of coersion...i.e. "divine" blackmail. If "God" is really the right choice because "God" is so "good", then there shouldn't need to be threats of hellfire for not choosing "God".

It's a lengthy response and you put a lot of thought into it, but honestly, we've heard it all before. Nothing new. All religious belief---including Christianity---is purely subjective.

Dave8 said...

Michael, take your time, time is relative anyway :-) If there is more clarification in a topic, let me know. Personally, I used the word "dizzying", in the most informal sense, but sometimes my one word means much more, and I try and speak informally as much as possible. This is a place of community in general, not an established academic platform.

However, I want to be more precise with my "observation", of tactics used by many who come on this site, and I do say... its "dizzying", at the methogologies used to overcome illogical contradiction. Of course, I talk from an analytical stance and thus, have many issues with many schools of thought. My sarcasm using dizzying...

Medieval Philosophy 101...

"Scholasticism comes from the Latin word scholasticus, which means "that [which] belongs to the school", and is the school of philosophy taught by the academics (or schoolmen) of medieval universities circa 1100–1500. Scholasticism attempted to reconcile the philosophy of the ancient classical philosophers with medieval Christian theology."

"The scholastics would choose a book by a renowned scholar, called auctor, as a subject of investigation, for example the Bible. By reading the book thoroughly and critically, the disciples learned to appreciate the theories of the auctor."

I tend to appreciate the historical significance, "not" the moral/ethical guidance, and surely not the magical objectivity of this literature.

"Then other documents related to the source document would be referenced, such as Church councils, papal letters, anything written on the subject, be it ancient text or contemporary. The points of disagreement and contention between these multiple sources would be written down."

Like on a blog per se.

"These individual sentences or snippets of text are called sententiae. For example, the Bible contains apparent contradictions for Christians, such as the laws regarding what foods are kosher, and these contradictions have been examined by scholars ancient and contemporary, so a scholastic would gather all the arguments about the contradictions, looking at it from all sides with an open mind."

Uh, that means Orthodox fundies, etc., are not part of this group, who have already come to their conclusions based solely on faith alone.

"Once the sources and points of disagreement had been laid out, through a series of dialectics the two sides of an argument would be made whole so that they would be found to be in agreement and not contradictory. This was done in two ways."

Dialectic: "In classical philosophy, dialectic is an exchange of proposition (theses) and counter-propositions (antitheses) resulting in a synthesis of the opposing assertions, or at least a qualitative transformation in the direction of the dialogue."

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

Let me suggest that there can be no synthesis if one side believes they have the "Absolute" Objective Truth. It would take two people, with open minds to enter into such a dialogue, and the ones who are the loudest and most obnoxious in society, believe in "faith" alone, nothing else, dialogue is meaningless for them.

"First, through philological analysis. Words were examined and it would be argued they could have more than one meaning, that the author could have intended the word to mean something else."

Kind of like Unicorns, Dragons, etc., etc.

"Ambiguity in words could be used to find common ground between two otherwise contradictory statements."

As an analytic, I tend to disagree with coming to a "common ground". It is as it was written, per the "Author". The author had a specific reason for using their parlance, and thus, two people coming together thousands of years later, to attempt to reconcile the words on paper, with the "thoughts" and "ideas" of the author seems ridiculous. There can be contextual vectors, and probability may be brought in on the word, but... is that possible? I mean, if a persons' frame of reference is bound by natural laws, and another persons' reference is open to the magical supernatural realm, then, can there truly be a "common ground"?

In short, someone claiming that there are magical supernatural objects like "God", contradict themselves when limiting their "reference" to only "their" list of supernatural objects. Some of those magical supernatural objects/ideas include; Unicorns, Dragons, Deitical Super-Sperm, etc., etc. How does a person accept a magical concept, but deny "other" magical concepts, that's selective reasoning with no form of analysis to show how any magical object is more valid than the next. One who rests on natural laws, wants to see the boundaries of the closed magical supernatural system, or to understand if the open system of reference includes "all" magical objects that can be imagined.

"Second, through logical analysis which relied on the rules of formal logic to show contradictions did not exist, but were subjective to the reader."

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

Using "selective" relativism, and "selective" subjectivism to establish the "other" reader as obviously not really interpreting the "word" correctly, though the right mindset, i.e., you're not a true christian, and capable of reading the holy word, you need the holy ghost to guide you, etc.

Selective, in that only the non-believer is hindered through their obvious subjective reading. All "true christians", don't suffer from subjective views, or relative interpretation of the "word".

So, Michael, there are many arguments against the pattern of philosophy used by those of Scholasticism, to include; Erasmus
Francis Bacon, Thomas More, Robert Boyle, René Descartes, Galileo Galilei, Thomas Hobbes, Bernard of Clairvaux, etc. It need not be, that I post their arguments, I am sure you are well capable of looking into their criticisms. I'd suspect that Rene Descartes had issues, most likely because he thought he had the "Absolute" truth, with the Objective Bible, thus, contradictions did not exist for him in "any" form of literature, a medieval fundy if you will.

Anyway, as stated, take your time. At least you aren't the fundy Rene. Your concept of god comes from elsewhere, other than the literal word of the bible.

I'd be particularly interested in knowing what you base your god concept upon, if not the inerrant bible. An "abmiguous" bible, can not support a specific and "objective" god, it can't even point in the general direction.

Skeptically, I would suggst that anyone attempting to bridge the gaps of obvious ambiguation, by getting a few folks together to "guess" at an "authors'" intent, ideas, or thoughts, are engaging in Historical Revisionism.

Revisionism: "Revisionism (particularly in the western socialist context) has most usually been applied to the reformulation, or for its detractors, the watering down, or abandonment, of cherished principles."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revisionism

I for one, don't particularly like re-envisioning what a previous author supposedly meant to say, its seems academically dishonest. To engage in such activities, takes away from the historical picture of that era, to make modern sense of the terms. Bibles are being rewritten, as they have for centuries, while at the same time preachers are yelling that the "word" is the "Absolute", "Unchanged", word of "God". I don't like guessing games when it effects the quality of my life, and I don't particularly like guessing games where the one in authority gets to write the history as they see fit.

History is great, but its not the present, and it suffers from being too easily manipulated, or misrepresented by the people of a certain era according to their own subjective views. Thus, as an analyst, I tend to stick to the present. First hand revelations seem to be the most solid of evidence for me. Anyway, thought I'd clarify my "dizzying" comment, and why the patterns used, just don't seem to hold water to me. When a person chooses a school of philosophy, typically, they have a purpose and intent. There are those, who muddle through life with an intent and purpose, who really don't know of the formal philosophy they relate to, but nonetheless, make observations according to specific principles in quite the same manner.

My purpose, is to not bridge the gap of obvious literary contradiction in the bible. Typically, I engage in philosophy to distill information that is useful in my daily life. The bible fails in that aspect. If I need to rewrite a document to make it make sense, via dialect, I think it would be easier to "scrap" the old and start fresh, I mean, the Jews haven't bought the Jesus story and its been a few thousand years, why worry about converting the orthodox now :-) Cheers

Dave8 said...

Michael: "This, of course, is an absolute statement, and thus contradicts itself. However, I think you’re aware of that. I’ve just always liked that irony."

Truly, its the only known "Universal" absolute known at this time using formal logic. And, since there isn't anything for two thousand years that hasn't changed, or been proven to withstand "Change", its a pretty solid argument :-) I can't say for "Certain" that there isn't an escape from "Change", but... I can say for 100% Certain, I haven't found that which escapes Change, and thus, it becomes a "truth", along with the millions of philosophers who haven't found an exception as well. Even the language used to create the syllogism in "Greek", has changed and morphed into different languages. An absolute truth, is "true" as long as there isn't a valid alternative explanation, and thus can be falsified as an Absolute.

Dave8 said...

Michael: "In general, I will agree with your argument that nothing is absolute. Things are always changing, and only a very few precise logical statements are truly absolute. Even our thoughts, as you point out, take place in a constantly changing brain."

Change is currently the only Absolute known, until evidence for an alternative explanation can be provided to discredit it as an Absolute truth. And, at this time, I'd have to suggest that I tend to lean away from "other" logical Absolutes. There was a time, in human history where formal logical systems did not exist, that means these systems developed over time, and weren't Absolute truths with alternatives, the alternative, was the non-existence of the logical systems, or known to humanity anyway.

And, I don't accept well, just because humanity didn't know of these systems because humanity was still in the development phase of such knowledge, doesn't mean these Absolute closed systems didn't exist. Humans create information through cognitive processes, logic systems are the product of such cognitive renderings, thus, the "elements" of the universe could be argued to have "always" been around since the dawn of mankind, but... the informational design of closed logic systems can't be said, to have "always" been around since the dawn of mankind, or the Unvierse if one wants to go there.

Dave8 said...

Michael: "But again, I’m not trying to convince you here, though you will inevitably dissect the last few paragraphs and argue them. My point is that, like I said in a previous post, Christianity does not seek to offer the perfect evidence you’re after. It was never meant to."

"Aristotle divided theoretical philosophy into mathematice, phusike and theologike, with the latter corresponding roughly to metaphysics, which for Aristotle included discussion of the nature of the divine."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theology

Agreed, Aristotle started metaphysics to discuss topics that were not of a physical nature. Discussions don't render evidence, many times, they just provide further discussion on matters, and in the realm of the non-physical its an endless discussion that has no bearing on this physical realm, the only bearing that it can possibly have, is the "control" we allow that theological discussion to have. Theologia started out as discourse, from that discourse, messages were created, not philosophically founded statements through formal logic, but, messages are a dime a dozen, everyone has one, and they are not all benign to humanity.

Well, its late, and as I stated in my previously lengthy post, time is relative, so... I will pick at your post little by little. Still, I am analytic and more of an "applied" philosopher, if I can't apply what I learn then its really meaningless. Theory, is just another way of looking at something that has been identified to exist, which sits in this natural reality, from a different perspective. Some theoretical languages, being more discrete than others. Cheers

Dano said...

Michael Thompson wrote:
"Well, see it's a matter of viewpoint. I would say that the odds of me changing my mind are like the ones you described.
No worries, though"
-Michael

MICHAEL!
Do you believe God cares what you think?

If he is omniscient, and omnipotent as you suggest, and cannot or will not do anything about all of the suffering in this world, do you really think he cares whether or not you believe in the supernatural, or any other thought process that may be going on in your PRIMATE brain?

Of course we have free will, so that makes my question moot. Right?

Free will my ass! Do you think the woman being raped by 8 soldiers in the Congo has free will? Do you think her starving babies who are watching have free will? Do you think her husband who will be disemboweled after being forced to watch has free will? Do you think her 13 year old son who is next in line and is sodomized by the soldiers, has free will?

You can theorize like Plato, think like Aristotle, and believe Jesus was supernatural, and getting himself killed means something, but it still doesn't change the fact that God is out to lunch and has been ever since the creation of the universe.

IT designed everything, knew exactly how it would work, put it into motion and left. There are so many really horrible and stupid things in her creation. It would really be nice for her to come around more often and show us the "Goodness" that the Christians, are always attributing to God.
Ask the mother any six year old dying of leukemia, or from a stray bullet in the ghetto about Gods mercy!

Dan (Annostichomosapien)

Bentley said...

Sorry Dano but you're using logic to explain to someone that has had all logic and common sense wiped out of their brain from fear, because they have been taught that logic and common sense is of the Devil and a Sin and totally against god, and they will burn in hell forever.

Christians must never use Logic nor common Reasoning, nor Question the bible or preachers, because they will be sent to hell, it's against the bible and god to question it's teachings and wonder outside the bible, this is the unpardonable Sin to question anything that is of the bible and god.

You're asking Michael to give up his life for a chance that he'll burn in hell forever, by asking him to question his silly ignorant beliefs, and who would want to spend the rest of eturnity in a flaming bed of fire and brimstone, even if it's just a small tiny slight chance of him going to hell, he'd rather believe the stupid garbage that he's been told since he was a little child, rather than take even a slight single chance in this life, that he could just possibly go to hell like he's been told, but then there's Allah waiting to send all the Christians straight to hell, so it's a losing battle, either god will send everyone to hell or Allah will send everone to hell.

Dano said...

Yea Ben!

Christianity is like the "Roach Motel" Easy to get in but almost impossible to get out.

Dan (Agnosticdiestrationalist)

Shannon said...

Dano

Yeah, it’s always seemed a little funny that it is a greater crime to use our free will to turn away from ‘god’ than when we use to run amok and use it against the innocent and weak. But then again we seem to find ways to not turn from ‘god’ and still run amok and ravage the innocent and weak. Of course, they are not really innocent or weak because they are ‘them’ and not ‘us’ and they are damned anyway.

Lorena said...

Taylor (Michael) said:

You're right, but of course your argument works both ways. I might change my mind, but you might change yours back too :)

Lorena responds:

I actually laughed out loud when I read that.

The different between christians and ex-christians is that we, ex-christians, have been where you are. You haven't been where we are.

The chances of me going back to the faith are any where from zero to minus infinitum.

Take care

Michael Thompson said...

Lorena said, "The different between christians and ex-christians is that we, ex-christians, have been where you are. You haven't been where we are."

I'm sorry, but this is just blatantly untrue. You make the rash assumption that all Christians were born and bred that way, and that none have ever converted from atheism.

Shannon said, "Yeah, it’s always seemed a little funny that it is a greater crime to use our free will to turn away from ‘god’ than when we use to run amok and use it against the innocent and weak"

I certainly wouldn't call it a greater crime. And, if you read my post, I think you would see that I don't excuse tyrannical actions of religions.

Ben said, Christians must never use Logic nor common Reasoning, nor Question the bible or preachers, because they will be sent to hell, it's against the bible and god to question it's teachings and wonder outside the bible, this is the unpardonable Sin to question anything that is of the bible and god.

Here you confuse believing something that is irrational, and believing irrationally. Nowhere have I heard from religious leaders or texts that using logic or common sense, or reasoning things out, or questioning beliefs, is bad.

"39 In defending the ability of human reason to know God, the Church is expressing her confidence in the possibility of speaking about him to all men and with all men, and therefore of dialogue with other religions, with philosophy and science, as well as with unbelievers and atheists." -Catholic Catechism

Note, and this is very important, that it doesn't say forced conversion, it says "speaking about", which is what we're doing here.

Or if you'd like, take the bible. Where does it say not to think rationally, or to question God, as you claim it does? There are dozens of instances in the gospels, for instance, where Jesus is questioned, for instance, and he doesn't say "How dare you question me!" He tries to answer their questions.

Finally, I make no pretense that Christianity is rational. But even so, I believe that my discussions have still been rational. Read my posts, and even if you don't agree with them, I don't think you can say that the argument structure itself is any less rational than your own, for which I see no support or backing other than stock extremist arguments.

Dano said, You can theorize like Plato, think like Aristotle, and believe Jesus was supernatural, and getting himself killed means something, but it still doesn't change the fact that God is out to lunch and has been ever since the creation of the universe.

I'm not really sure what the "problem of evil," as it is called, has to do with me saying that the likelihood of conversion is a matter of viewpoint. (As an aside to Dave, this is where it becomes "dizzying" for those on our side by the redirecting of the argument to other topics.)

Anyways, I'm not going to go into this now, because that's a full topic of debate in and off itself, and I'm in the middle of this discussion right now.

Dave said, "I for one, don't particularly like re-envisioning what a previous author supposedly meant to say, its seems academically dishonest. To engage in such activities, takes away from the historical picture of that era, to make modern sense of the terms. "

I see your point, but I would argue that not considering the historical context, language differences, target audience, etc is what "takes away from the historical picture of that era", and is what puts the reader in the position of not understanding what the author intended.

You eliminate the Bible as a source of possible information for your daily life not just because you disagree with it, but because
for parts of it to make sense you have to consider its original context. You seem to have the viewpoint of "sticking to the present" unless a part of history can apply to your life without considerings its context - the authors intent, the culture, the language, etc. In my experience, the study of history has everything to do with context, and I personally believe that there is a lot to be learned from history regardless, even in the realm of ethics and morals.

Dave said, "I'd be particularly interested in knowing what you base your god concept upon, if not the inerrant bible."

Let me make a quick distinction. I admitted to the bible being not always "superficially" accurate. However, I still believe that the underlying truths are valid. So my concept of God does come at least partially from the bible, partially from my church, but mostly from my personal experience of God. The first two are just maps to help find the third. Even if a map mispells the name of the city, you can still use it to get there. And in my opinion, the superficial inconsistencies in the bible are no more significant than that.

Dave said, "In short, someone claiming that there are magical supernatural objects like "God", contradict themselves when limiting their "reference" to only "their" list of supernatural objects."

I don't refuse to believe in other supernatural objects simply because they are supernatural, I refuse to believe in them because nothing has been shown to me that suggests I should. If I didn't believe there was any evidence for God, like yourself, I wouldn't believe in him either.

The difference, as I've said before, is that I do believe there is evidence. You might disagree with my evidence, but that's why believing in one supernatural object does not imply that one must logically believe in all supernatural objects.

Well, I think that's enough for now. I'm in the midst of moving, so I'll be busy with packing and the other hundreds of hassles involved, so it might take a bit to respond. Take care.

-Michael

.:webmaster:. said...

MT, no one is born a Christian -- everyone is born an atheist -- a non-theist -- withou a religion.

All people are taught religion at some point in their lives, so you are not where we are. You were born without a religion like the rest of humanity, at some point you decided to adopt a religion, like most of humanity, and there you've remained. Most of us abandoned our adopted religion sometime later in life -- something you've yet to experience.

No, you are not where we are, and you do not understand the position. We, however, do understand your position. I, for one, was very zealous for "The Faith," but I eventually figured out it was all bunk.

Your wordy preaching and apologetics are just more re-runs to the regulars on this site.

Yawn...

.:webmaster:. said...

"Or if you'd like, take the bible. Where does it say not to think rationally, or to question God, as you claim it does?"


Uhm... Lean not on your own understanding?

Lorena said...

MICHAEL SAID:

Let me make a quick distinction. I admitted to the bible being not always "superficially" accurate. However, I still believe that the underlying truths are valid. So my concept of God does come at least partially from the bible, partially from my church, but mostly from my personal experience of God. The first two are just maps to help find the third. Even if a map mispells the name of the city, you can still use it to get there. And in my opinion, the superficial inconsistencies in the bible are no more significant than that.

LORENA RESPONDS:

Some underlying truths in the bible are valid. True; Particularly those that can easily be found in other traditions or philosophies, or those that are just pure and simple common sense, like do not murder.

If you base your belief system on those "underlying truths," then so do many muslims, who take their book, look only at the good stuff in it, and create themselves a "good religion."

All bullshit honey. All bullshit.

boomSLANG said...

M.T. aka "Taylor" said:

"I admitted to the bible being not always 'superficially' accurate. However, I still believe the underlying truths are valid. So my concept of God does come at least partially from the bible, partially from my church, but mostly from my personal experience of God."

If the information given in the Bible can't be taken at face value---in other words, if it's inaccurate *on the surface*, as that applies to not being accurate "superficially", then what that means is that one has to subjectively dig for, and interpret, some "deeper" or "underlying" meaning. This is, in NO WAY, a means to ascertain any kind of universal/objective truth. Again, nothing but subjectivity. No shocker, though.

M.T.: "I don't refuse to believe in other supernatural objects simply because they are supernatural, I don't believe in them because nothing has been shown to me that suggests I should."

Please! It's not that "nothing has been shown" to you; it's that you are NOT looking for other answers. Observe: The Holy Q'ran and it's supernatual sightings is completely available to you; documented Bigfoot sightings are completely available to you; there are plenty of ancient texts delineating the entire lineage of Egyptian gods and godesses---- that's all available to you.

M.T.---it's funny that the very method that you use to determine "truth" for Christ, could/would make every single one of the above examples a "truth" too---if you *wanted* to believe it. It's just that you subjectively dismiss them. More of the same apologetic "reasoning"....::sigh::.

Dave8 said...

Dave said, "I for one, don't particularly like re-envisioning what a previous author supposedly meant to say, its seems academically dishonest. To engage in such activities, takes away from the historical picture of that era, to make modern sense of the terms. "

MT: "I see your point, but I would argue that not considering the historical context, language differences, target audience, etc is what "takes away from the historical picture of that era", and is what puts the reader in the position of not understanding what the author intended."

Perhaps examples are best here... A two thousand year old lady said, her husband had the spirit of god... Okay, does that mean a god exists? What is a spirit? Are there different kinds of spirits? Was the woman using spirit, like esprit? Does she think her husband is a "hottie" like a "god", with muscles? So, lets see. We need to go look at how other people of her era, used the term "god", in order to vector in on the meaning of that "simple" sentence. Do you actually believe you can honestly say, with great certainty that you know "exactly" what she meant? Sure, if you knew she was in her prime sexual age, the weather, and her husband was sweating like a body builder in the middle of a workout, you could guess... If someone today said, "Jesus H. Christ", does that make Jesus H. Christ "Real"? How about, "you're evil!", does that mean "evil" exists? How about, I will love and care for my wife, for all "eternity", does eternity exist? Do you know "my" context of eternity?

An Atheist two thousand years ago says, only fools chase the gods... I can see someone of religion, taking that quote, and saying... obviously gods exist, or the guy wouldn't have made such a statement. MT, people don't write concretely with the same meaning of the others around them.

My point, is that you or I or anyone else is really guessing about what someone "truly" wanted to convey thousands of years ago, unless they have a very explicit cipher key, to decrypt their message in exact terms. If I saw someone say, Unicorn, and a people believed in supernatural things, I am going to give them credit for believing in literal magical unicorns. However, you tend to go the other way with the thought, adn think, gee, they must have been talking about an aurochs, or some other "live" animal.

You accept a god you can't see, but you want to interpret that the people thousands of years ago, couldn't have "experienced" a magical Unicorn, as easily as you say you experience a "god" today. You seem to be limiting the frame of reference for that person who lived a few thousand years ago, while keeping your supernatural reference intact and only allowing for "certain" supernatural objects.

MT: "You eliminate the Bible as a source of possible information for your daily life not just because you disagree with it, but because
for parts of it to make sense you have to consider its original context."

Agreed.

MT: "You seem to have the viewpoint of "sticking to the present""

I seem to have a problem, trying to splay my body and mind, into the body and mind of an author who lived thousands of years ago, to know their exact meaning of their words. The word "fuck", has a crap load of meanings, and depending on the manner it is said, it can mean a myriad of different things, from funny to angry. The romantic languages, require "much" non-verbal language support to convey a communication, a person can't read a word and get the true context many times, unless they know the "demeanor" of the author and their personalities, the bible doesn't provide that detail for the authors, as many authors are dominately anonymous.

MT: "...unless a part of history can apply to your life without considerings its context - the authors intent, the culture, the language, etc. In my experience,"

Agreed, in your experience, which is vastly different from the experiences of those who lived a few thousand years ago, you will attempt to apply your knowledge to them, as if you can do that equitably, is that possible? I suggest not, what you do, is place your knowledge, by painting the words using exegesis to make sense to "you". The author "knows" why they wrote the passage, everyone else has to ask them "why" they wrote their passages. Uh, I think its a little late to write the authors, and quiz them on "intent".

MT: "...the study of history has everything to do with context, and I personally believe that there is a lot to be learned from history regardless, even in the realm of ethics and morals."

Yep, its nice to find out throughout history, that there are almost five thousand recorded deities, and they all go by the name "god", depending on who you talk with, that one word could have over five thousand connotations, and then, of course you could "ask" just one person what a "god" is, and they may consider the question demeaning and blasphemous as no one can "know" a god, unless they demote the god to mere human knowledge. History can provide physical evidence for sure, and when an author has a history of writings, it seems one can begin to get the feel of the authors' personality, like Shakespear's writings, etc., however, even then a person has to rely on "their own" knowledge, to assign meaning to the words they see in front of them. I assure you, when you look at the word "god", and I look at the word "god", we come to two entirely different conclusions. I picture up over five thousand recorded possibilities, and an infinite number of potential gods, yet, you picture one immediately upon hearing the term. Its a matter of reference.

Dave said, "I'd be particularly interested in knowing what you base your god concept upon, if not the inerrant bible."

MT: "Let me make a quick distinction. I admitted to the bible being not always "superficially" accurate. However, I still believe that the underlying truths are valid. So my concept of God does come at least partially from the bible, partially from my church, but mostly from my personal experience of God."

So, your belief resides in:
-A superficially enigmatic bible, because of the many internal and external conflicts. However, you feel that you can get past these minor annoyances, in order to find a deeper truth, buried beneath all the superficial chaos.
Question: Do you realize that its ironic, that you want to use history to proof text single words of the bible, in order to derive an authors' intent, which is nearly impossible, but you don't employ history to apply the political and theological intertwining of the Roman Empire during the creation of the NT.

As well, you must ignore all of the gnostic writings, dead sea scrolls, and both versions of the Jewish Talmud, in order to support your belief. Talk about refusing to use history to see the "big picture". You have come to a conclusion there MT, and you seek that conclusion in the words in the bible, what doesn't make sense to you, you chalk up to "chance". However, there is a "reason" for every "enigmatic" word in the bible. There are reasons there are transliteration errors, hundreds of versions of the bible, breakaways from religious sects based on the Pentateuch, etc.

For each problem with the bible, there is a reason. Find plausible reasons for "each" issue, and see which common "reason" seem to explain the majority of the issues, that's probably the "true" answer. The OT was written by Jews, the NT wasn't. There were conflicting beliefs, and two different gods worshipped, its in the words of the bible, and the Talmud when taken into historical context with the authors of the OT.

Now, one could say, 'hey, that doesn't line up with my belief that "one" god, came down to deliver the word", but, that explanation doesn't make sense, nor hold water according to the text. Again, starting from the "result" and trying to use history and the words one can interpret according to their own personal druthers, isn't someone seeking the true historical context of the bible, its someone trying to use the bible as a tool to validate their belief.

MT: "The first two are just maps to help find the third. Even if a map mispells the name of the city, you can still use it to get there. And in my opinion, the superficial inconsistencies in the bible are no more significant than that."

Again, you state you want historical "truth" using "all" historical evidence, to include "all" writings of the era, but, you pre-conclude that when you hit an inconsistency, its just mere lint and nothing signigicant.

You begin your search with a belief in something which has no proof. A more appropriate analogy, would be the conflicted bible, and the people of your church, "suggested" to you that "god" does in "fact" exist, and through your personal experiences in life, you feel that you have "found" what they, in general, have presented to you.

However, MT, when you feel joy, and tell someone else about it, do you believe that the other person is totally capable of knowing the "exact" feeling you described? No. If another person can't "know" the "exact" same feeling you described, the honest thing to conclude, is that "generally" speaking, a person can gleen a notion of what you are saying. That would be fine, except, you can't be that "general" when seeking a supernatural deity, I mean, satan and all those other gods are out there, that can imposter the "Real" god, so you need an "exact" understanding. And, that's not possible there MT, another persons' feelings/senses and patterns of cognition can not be yours (notwithstanding, current theoretical AI experiments).

Dave said, "In short, someone claiming that there are magical supernatural objects like "God", contradict themselves when limiting their "reference" to only "their" list of supernatural objects."

MT: "I don't refuse to believe in other supernatural objects simply because they are supernatural, I refuse to believe in them because nothing has been shown to me that suggests I should."

Yet, you believed in Santa Clause most likely growing up. Are you suggesting you have "seen" god? Have you "talked" with god? What does "god" sound like? Oh, sorry, I drifted onto Dan Barkers' debate. But, really, you have seen "god"?

MT: "If I didn't believe there was any evidence for God, like yourself, I wouldn't believe in him either."

The good memories and experiences I have had in the past, I hold close, and recall them often. I haven't seen a "god" show up to my house, nor have I found anyone else who has stated with their hand on the holy bible, that "they" have actually seen god. Many people, just suggest that they have "felt" something that they assign to the presence of a "god", via a ghost.

MT: "The difference, as I've said before, is that I do believe there is evidence. You might disagree with my evidence, but that's why believing in one supernatural object does not imply that one must logically believe in all supernatural objects."

But, you have not provided the "is" evidence for anything supernatural. Sometimes, I wonder if you actually grasp what is being said. "You" and "I", live in this nice "Natural" universe, an imperfect and sinful place according to the christian tradition.

Now, the "Supernatural Realm" must exist outside of this "Natural" reality, and not touch it in the least, lest it be tainted. So... how can a person say they "enter" into the "Supernatural" domain, or a Supernatual entity enter into this Sinful Natural domain, without without tainting the holy three amigos. They can't, that's the point.

I didn't create that assinine theology, give that one to the early Roman Church fathers. I believe it was the Second Ecumenical Council that threw the holy ghost in there somewhere to say, that a ghost travels between the Supernatural realm, and the Natural realm passing out love letters from god, and thus, all is taken care of.

Unfortunately, there is the problem with the "substance" thing again, and the trinitarian view. If all is "one", then there seems to be a problem, with just one "messenger", as "all" three trinitarian objects, go for the joyride between realities. Attempt to separate them, and whallah, Jesus is the Son of God, and "not God". If you read a little philosophy and history, it is pretty evident by the writings from that era, how theology was influenced. The theology of that era, was challenged by philosophers, and shredded, hence, why many of the philosophers of that era were chased out of their own country and hunted.

MT: "Well, I think that's enough for now. I'm in the midst of moving, so I'll be busy with packing and the other hundreds of hassles involved, so it might take a bit to respond. Take care."

Cheers