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3/03/2007                                                                                       View Comments

Following God’s example?

By Kevin Parry

I am not an expert on the Bible, but there are some things in that book that I find incredibly disconcerting, especially when it comes to God’s moral conduct. It is often said that a leader who is worthy of respect is a leader who sets an example. When I read through the pages of the Bible, I become more convinced that if the God of the Bible exists, he is the type of leader I will not follow, simply because he sets an example that at times I find morally objectionable. I’ve written this post in the realisation that I could be mistaken, that it is possible that I’ve missed something. If so, please let me know where I’ve gone wrong.

One of the arguments for the truth of Christianity, put forward by various apologists, including CS Lewis, is that all humans are endowed with a moral sense of right and wrong. Due to the fact that this objective, moral sense exists, there must be a Moral Law Giver (i.e., God).

For arguments sake, let’s accept that this divine moral sense exists. Now, the problem is this: as a human being I must have been endowed with a slightly different moral sense than that of the God of the Bible. Why? Well, there are instances of God’s conduct that differ substantially from what I, and many others, consider to be ‘moral’.

A few examples:

  • Many would consider it immoral to kill an innocent human being, especially if it is a child. The God of the Old Testament, however, ordered the Israelite nation to kill children (1 Samuel 15:3). As a Christian, would you kill a child if God ordered you to do it? If God orders it, is it moral?
  • Many would consider it immoral to implement the death penalty for mundane, victimless actions. Again, the God of the Bible seems to act otherwise: think of the death of Uzzah (2 Samuel 6:3-8) who was struck down dead for simply trying to stop the Ark of the Covenant from toppling over. Also think of the thousands who perished simply because King David held a census (2 Samuel 24:1-15). And what of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) who were killed for simply lying?
  • Many would consider it illogical to hold individuals accountable for the crimes of their parents or their ancestors. According to Exodus 20:5 and 2 Samuel 12:7-14, the God of the Bible seems to hold individuals guilty by association.
  • Many would consider it just for a person to be judged by their actions, but according to conservative Christian doctrine, we are not saved by who we are in terms of character, or by the deeds that we perform. Instead, we are judged on the small act of belief. Mass murderers who surrender to Jesus on their deathbeds will be welcomed into heaven, but those who do not believe in the Christian message, but who have devoted their lives to charity and social causes, will go to hell.

Am I interpreting the Bible correctly here? When I read the Bible, these are some of the questions that I ponder: why does God order humans to follow a moral system that he himself does not adhere to? Why are some of his actions in conflict with the moral sense that many people – including most Christians – follow today? Why the double standard?

157 comments:

Anonymous said...

The reason for the immorality of God in the bible is the immorality of the men who wrote it. In 1 samuel 15:3, we see an early act of terrorist--murdering infants in the name of God.

God is not an entity, he is an excuse. The God of the bible is a way to justify immoral acts--God told me to do it, so it's ok.

Carl K said...

Evolution, specifically evolutionary psychology when dealing with morality, is doing away with a need for Abrahamic religion as surely as Darwin's original explanation of biological evolution slayed the creation myth. Man is a moral animal because we have evolved as a social animal, with built in feelings about things like empathy, a need for acceptance, and justice. We express those feelings in our social mores and laws, which we have honed with a couple millenia of experience. To see that man's morality is superior to the Bible's, consider slavery. The Bible doesn't condemn slavery, but most people on earth now do. It took the superior morality of man to make it happen.

madbuni said...

Kevin, I would encourage you to read "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins, he explains why we have morals and ethics as humans and that it has not one thing to do with a higher power such as god. He has many other books as well, and there are other good authors referenced on this website.

The bible contains some of the most vile and cruel acts commited by humans in the name of god, and it is pure fiction written by men who wanted power and control.

Christians cherry pick the hell out of biblical writings choosing only that which will make god and jesus loving and caring. They do not want to acknowledge the contradictions as you have pointed out because that would burst their immortality bubble and mean they had been duped and brainwashed.

Immortality is a fantasy all about living forever in a blissful eupohoric world. It is nonsense, and the voice of reason is calling you Kevin, you should listen carefully.

Good luck!

mike said...

I too am where you are at Kevin,

God tells us to love our enemies and do good to them. Yet, he himself does not. Even the bible says that if you love those that love you what good is that. The true mark of love is to be able to love your enemies, and yet, god does not do this. What a hypocrite he is! He wants to send everyone to hell, just because they dont see any evidence that he is anymore real then any other false god.

dano said...

I occasionally slip up and say, under my breath, "Help me with this, God," but I don't feel hypocritical when I do, because I am not talking to the God of the bible. I am talking to the God that gave me a brain, and expects me to use it.

My God can truly do anything, anytime it wants. My God would never murder his own son to appease himself. My God doesn't need sacrifices of any kind.

It's OK for me to rail and scream at my God, because, for whatever reasons it made me and the universe, it knows exactly what I am made of and what I am thinking. I just have to assume that I am only letting off steam, and will eventually get busy and try to solve my own problems.

My God is a work in progress. Nobody tells me what my God wants, because I am the one who designed her.

I clicked on "Edit" under Bible God, a long time ago and rewrote or redesigned my God.

I am perfectly content to let the Bronze age folks, take orders from their God, and it's only natural, because they designed him.
Dan (You can have faith in a God of your own design)

Anonymous said...

Most Christians are very wicked people! Not all I would say about 90%. Very Cold and manipulative. They all manipulate the hell out of each other. Once you realize this you'll know how to play the game too. The pastors are the master manipulators! Its a big mind game and I would not wish it on my worst enemy! I actually thought about going back to church again after a five year absence until I was exposed to the truth again and then I came back to my senses. Its pure craziness! These people are crazy. Once your exposed to the reality of Christians and Christianity it is very hard to go back! I don't care what anyone says! I hope I never get suckered again into going back!

Neocognitron said...

I’ve written this post in the realisation that I could be mistaken, that it is possible that I’ve missed something. If so, please let me know where I’ve gone wrong. Since you asked, I will provide my interpretation (a believer’s interpretation) and see if it might alter your opinion in any slight way...

For arguments sake, let’s accept that this divine moral sense exists. Now, the problem is this: as a human being I must have been endowed with a slightly different moral sense than that of the God of the Bible. Why? Well, there are instances of God’s conduct that differ substantially from what I, and many others, consider to be ‘moral’. I would propose that yes, we are all endowed with a guiding moral sense; but like any skill or ability we must hone and train it in order to excel in its use. In the case of morality we must look at the world around us, examine what benefits society and what harms it and learn to judge what is right from wrong using reasoning. But most importantly we must believe that we are probably using flawed judgments and must confer with others who also seek moral perfection to find our flaws. To do this Christians attend bible studies and talk with other believers with the hope of identifying and removing these flaws. And, because of faith, we look at the bible’s teachings as a measuring stick to identify right from wrong. I have many times found my ideas in conflict with biblical teachings but learned that I was wrong only after studying the passages and thinking about them, and in many cases testing out the new ideas. For example, it used to be incomprehensible that God would tell us to take an “eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:23) until I realized God was simply limiting the freedoms we are given. He was not saying that taking revenge was a good thing but was limiting our freedom to do harm those who had harmed us. It was God’s way of limiting our retribution by not allowing us to take the whole herd of cattle from a person who stole a single cow from us. So, when I read God’s word it was my own interpretation rather than God’s idea of morality that was faulty. I have been a Christian for a very long time and my sense of morality is at least reasonably well centered, but I am still learning and improving my ways. As I said, it takes lots of practice to get it right. A problem which I perceive for non-believers is that they have no single perfect concept of moral perfection to follow and thus are seldom united on moral issues and even find many of God’s actions immoral as you commented.

Many would consider it immoral to kill an innocent human being, especially if it is a child. The God of the Old Testament, however, ordered the Israelite nation to kill children (1 Samuel 15:3). As a Christian, would you kill a child if God ordered you to do it? If God orders it, is it moral? The reason our choices are moral or immoral is because they either follow or are contrary to God’s commands. In the Old Testament it was forbidden to eat the meat of cloven hooved animals, but later that law was removed and with it the immorality (Acts 10:9-18). If you realize that every command God makes serves a purpose for the greater good you would see that even His command to kill the children is a teaching tool. The passage from 1 Samuel 15:2 tells us that God was punishing the Amalekites for their actions against Israel; and as you noted, He chose to take the nation’s children. Why not? Isn’t God in charge of all life as well as the afterlife? Couldn’t He send them back to this Earth as children for different parents if He chose? And isn’t everything He does for our improvement? I tell you yes, He does everything for our improvement. Now regarding your question about whether Christians should obey if God ordered them to kill a child, I tell you yes: Christians should obey. But before obeying such a command they should follow scripture’s instructions and test to make sure such instructions are from the Lord as Gideon did in Judges 6:34-40. After all, Abraham, the OT’s earliest patriarch, was commended for obeying such a command and was not allowed to complete the task. So, I have no belief that God would ever ask us to do such a thing again, and even less that He would allow us carry it out without a very good reason.

Many would consider it immoral to implement the death penalty for mundane, victimless actions. Again, the God of the Bible seems to act otherwise: think of the death of Uzzah (2 Samuel 6:3-8) who was struck down dead for simply trying to stop the Ark of the Covenant from toppling over. Also think of the thousands who perished simply because King David held a census (2 Samuel 24:1-15). And what of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) who were killed for simply lying? Which crime is worse: killing your neighbor or refusing to do what the god of all existence tells you to do (assuming of course that god exists)? If by killing your neighbor you simply send them to the next phase in their existence I contend that it is refusing the commands of the Almighty. Of course this would not be an acceptable response if God does not exist. But then again, if God does not exist then who is to say that the killing is morally wrong? In the case of the thousands who perished in 2 Samuel 24, it was not because of the census that they were killed; it was because of God’s anger at the Israelites (2 Samuel 24:1); it was for their disobedience, the response of which took place during the census. Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Lord and were punished as a warning to those who would follow, not because they were any more or less sinful than those around them. Likewise, Uzzah’s death was a teaching tool for those who would follow. It was God setting up the rules for how this game of life is played. The ultimate example of God teaching us by using the “death penalty for mundane, victimless actions” can be seen in the death of Jesus. Jesus did not die on the cross in order to inherit eternal life; he never lost the reward since he never sinned and could have died an old man and still claimed it. He also did not need to die on the cross to inherit us as his servants since he was perfect and would inherit all that the Father had as the one and only heir to the throne. No, the only reason Jesus died on the cross is because we would not otherwise listen to his word. We would have allowed his story to fade away as a happy fairy tale. Thus, the “death penalty for mundane, victimless actions” holds significant importance to those who seek to become moral.

Many would consider it illogical to hold individuals accountable for the crimes of their parents or their ancestors. According to Exodus 20:5 and 2 Samuel 12:7-14, the God of the Bible seems to hold individuals guilty by association. This is not as illogical or unfair as it may first appear. The choices we make affect the people around us, most logically our families; and it is only right and necessary that others would be affected so that people doing wrong would be encouraged to do what is right, and people doing right would be encouraged to continue. If, for example, a neighbor chooses to use cocaine and becomes addicted he may choose to steal from homes within the neighborhood to support his addiction. This action results in the community encouraging or forcing the addicted person to seek help and to correct the behavior. Similarly, a neighbor who maintains his home’s appearance increases the value of the neighboring homes thus benefiting others by his/her own actions. This is the “guilt by association” which God has set into place which is here to help us improve both as individuals and members of communities. So you see, the “guilt by association” which God speaks of is not as illogical or unfair as it first appears.

Many would consider it just for a person to be judged by their actions, but according to conservative Christian doctrine, we are not saved by who we are in terms of character, or by the deeds that we perform. Instead, we are judged on the small act of belief. Mass murderers who surrender to Jesus on their deathbeds will be welcomed into heaven, but those who do not believe in the Christian message, but who have devoted their lives to charity and social causes, will go to hell. Why would the judgment of a person’s actions be more fair than the judgment of a person’s motives? If you were a deity in charge of a minion who killed a deer for food, wouldn’t you have more affection for that minion if they killed the deer for food and did so as a sacrifice to please you? And if you kept giving food to the minion who killed for food alone wouldn’t you become tired of feeding that minion? And if that non-believing minion woke up on the day of its death and prayed honestly for forgiveness, wouldn’t you show mercy and forgive them? To me, this is evidence of God’s mercy and should be a reason we praise Him and a realization of how much better than us God is. A friend recently reminded me that even as Jesus was being whipped by the Roman soldiers before his crucifiction He was loving and forgiving them. I know that I am not that forgiving and merciful but I hope to be some day.

When I read the Bible, these are some of the questions that I ponder: why does God order humans to follow a moral system that he himself does not adhere to? Why are some of his actions in conflict with the moral sense that many people – including most Christians – follow today? Why the double standard? I would most certainly be interested to know where God tells us to follow a moral system which He does not follow, since I don’t see it. When I read the bible I see God teaching us how to honor and respect others, to give rather than to receive, and to show patience when patience is not easy. And not only does God tell us to do these things He shows us; most clearly through Jesus, but also by having patience and mercy toward us as we fail while learning. God shows mercy by not punishing us for our many mistakes. It is people who are so very hard on each other, not God. Just look what happens to believers who prove they are sinners. Despite the fact that believers openly recognize they are sinners they are called hypocrites and all sorts of other names. How can you be a hypocrite if you openly acknowledge yourself as a sinner? Still, the name calling continues and the believers are held to a higher standard because of their beliefs. In this it is evident that God does “practice what He preaches.”
As for your question about “why are some of [God’s] actions in conflict with the moral sense that many people – including most Christians – follow today,” I contend that they are not. I have no doubt that God’s ways are perfect and when I find I don’t understand His morality I question why such a statement was made and seek understanding through scientific reasoning and logic, verifying my findings by comparing them against well documented proofs; and to date, the bible has always proven victorious over my interpretation. So I don’t see this double standard you speak of. I simply see misinterpretations and misunderstandings of what God has said. If I have failed to answer this question adequately, please rephrase it and I will attempt to do so. I’m a bit uncomfortable with my response, believing it to be less than adequate.

Am I interpreting the Bible correctly here? I find it quite puzzling that you would ask non-believers whether you are interpreting biblical things correctly. I find many inconsistencies on these threads and hope to correct a few of them, as our Lord allows. If I have aided you in your quest for answers then I welcome you to ask others. If not then I pray you find them where you can.

Peace to you and your house forever!

SpaceMonk said...

Angry God, Angry People
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/070228_god-violence.htm

An article proving with psychological tests that belief in an angry god makes people more prone to anger and violence themselves.
...just following god's example?

Dave8 said...

Neo: "But most importantly we must believe that we are probably using flawed judgments..."

Like, many of us believe you are making a flawed statement right now? Should we vote, on your flawed statements? If we vote unanimously, that your statement is ridiculous, does that make give our votes more "perfection"?

Why? And, whatever answer you provide, can you explain why Christians are different? If we are all biologically unable to use good moral judgment because of original sin, then, how does one get rid of it? By saying "I believe" in Christianity? You have got to be kidding.

Neo: "...and must confer with others who also seek moral perfection to find our flaws."

Again, if we are all flawed and thus, not capable of making moral judgments, then why would we ask another flawed person for their opinion?

Neo: "To do this Christians attend bible studies and talk with other believers with the hope of identifying and removing these flaws."

So, a flawed person can make a flawed decision to be a flawed Christian, who can confer with other flawed people in a group, so they can make a "better" decision? So, the more flawed people that come together, the less likely they are to make a flawed moral decision?

Neo: "And, because of faith, we look at the bible’s teachings as a measuring stick to identify right from wrong."

So, does "faith" remove you as being "flawed"? You must "believe", without any evidence (called "faith), that you can actually "read" the bible, without flawed eyes, and get the right interpretation. But, you do this as a flawed person, Neo.

When do you finally get away from yourself, so that you can make perfect judgments... or is that possible... if not, then you don't have that ability, and are no better than a group of lets say, "non-believer jurors" in a courtroom, making a decision on the moral action of another person.

Explain, Neo, how a Christian, is "more capable" of making the "better" moral judgment in a society which has many non-believers who can equally confer with others in a secular society to "make the best decision".

If there isn't, a way for you to discern between the Christian and the non-Christian, Neo, then what is the point of Christianity.

SpaceMonk said...

I just bothered to read neocognitron's sycophantic spiel and have to make a few notes:

"As I said, it takes lots of practice to get it right."

It takes lot's of practice to convince yourself of the made up excuses.

"If you realize that every command God makes serves a purpose for the greater good you would see that even His command to kill the children is a teaching tool. The passage from 1 Samuel 15:2 tells us that God was punishing the Amalekites for their actions against Israel; and as you noted, He chose to take the nation’s children."

The infants and the sucklings never took action against Israel.
Ah, who cares, just kill 'em all, let god sort 'em out.

"Why not? Isn’t God in charge of all life as well as the afterlife? Couldn’t He send them back to this Earth as children for different parents if He chose?"

Wow!?
Sure he could, being omnipotent, (I argue that all the time), but you know reincarnation is not a biblical concept, in fact it's explicitly opposed by it.

Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”


Neocognitron you've proved yourself a gutless sycophant, and a morally sick one at that.
I don't think there's anything more I care to point out to you.

Telmi said...

People who think that morality flows from religion, for example, using the biblical stories from the Old and New Testaments, are simply kidding themselves. In fact, the Bible is littered with tons of immorality masquerading as morality; the Bible is a book about hypocrisy, about a capricious malevolent son of a bitch doing or saying things with total ignorance of the harm or consequencies of his alleged speeches/actions affecting humanity. Kevin, you have cited a handful, but there is a lot more of such trash in the Bible. I have given up Christianity chiefly as a result of reading the Bible; I cannot believe people can still continue worshipping such a God, [question of existence aside].

Morality is something that has evolved with human evolution, through thousands of years of ascertaining and experiencing what is socially acceptable, what contributes to the welfare and happiness of the individual and the society as a whole.

Anyone who believes in the Bible God has to view him as he has been portrayed; if the Bible author[s] wrote nonsense, then the people who believe the Bible as the gospel of God are just believing in nonsense; if the Bible is seen as a book of absolute truths, then the truth is that its chief character, aka God, had committed atrocities that can be viewed as more than sufficient to sentence him to the gallows.

Telmi said...

SpaceMonk,
"Sure he could, being omnipotent, (I argue that all the time), but you know reincarnation is not a biblical concept, in fact it's explicitly opposed by it", I have to say that on the contrary, Christ himself clearly projected the concept of reincarnation when he said:
[Matthew 17.11/12]: "To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." [Matthew 17.13]: Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

There are other passages wherein Christ talked of John the Baptist being a reincarnation of Elijah.

And this is all from the New Testament. So what do Christians have to say about reincarnation? That Christ was talking nonsense or something else?

dano said...

Neo,
Do you really think the bible is the best inspired word,
that God, could inspire those bronze age tribal people with?

After inspiring those folk who thought the earth was flat, and the center of the universe, to write an instruction book for living, that is so incomprehensible, bizarre, incongruous, and virtually without relevance to us today, people like you, who are infected by the incurable Christian virus, spend a lifetime trying to defend it.

Why doesn't God come back now, in the age of information and inspire something a little more comprehensible to his "minions"?

I'll tell you why Neo.
Man created God in his own image! And furthermore you know it!

You have so much of your life invested in the Christian cult that you can never ever escape.

Do you really think an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent,
Omnibenevalent God would have any trouble doing anything perfect the first time?

It wasn't really written by them anyway, but composed and canonized by Constantine's men for the purpose of solidifying his power.

Dan to Neo:
("If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.")

Anonymous said...

Very interesting Telmi! Jesus clearly indicates reincarnation! I'm sure we'll hear the typical fundy response!

madbuni said...

Neo: "I find many inconsistencies on these threads and hope to correct a few of them, as our Lord allows"

Thanks Neo, but no thanks to you and your lord. There are intelligent people on this thread that will prove you wrong every time, much better than I ever could. You are spinning the same apology for your book of giberish, and murderous acts that every other christian does on this site, and we have heard it all before.

The part where you apologize for god for taking the lives of innocent children is sickening, but I have heard that before too. It is frightening, and I wonder if you really understand what you are saying. Maybe if I put it this way it would make a difference to you. Would you kill an innocent child if god told you to?

People hate other people for being a different color, having a different sexual preference, worshiping the wrong god, not believing in god, you name it. They can't mind their own business and live and let live. They send their youth to war to kill other youth all because of a god they have never seen or heard. It is insane, yet it is going on right now.

CARL K said it best:

"Evolution, specifically evolutionary psychology when dealing with morality, is doing away with a need for Abrahamic religion as surely as Darwin's original explanation of biological evolution slayed the creation myth. Man is a moral animal because we have evolved as a social animal, with built in feelings about things like empathy, a need for acceptance, and justice. We express those feelings in our social mores and laws, which we have honed with a couple millenia of experience. To see that man's morality is superior to the Bible's, consider slavery. The Bible doesn't condemn slavery, but most people on earth now do. It took the superior morality of man to make it happen."

So did Mark Twain:

-- Mark Twain, "Bible Teaching and Religious Practice," Europe and Elsewhere (1923)

"There are no witches. The witch text remains; only the practice has changed. Hell fire is gone, but the text remains. Infant damnation is gone, but the text remains. More than two hundred death penalties are gone from the law books, but the texts that authorized them remain.”

I have lived in this world for 59 years, and it took me until I was almost 50 to realise and be happy and thankful that god just isn't there.

mike said...

Christians are always talking about morality. Funny thing is there is very little of it in churches.

In talking about gods morality it is funny how they sweep things under the carpet just to try and make god look good. The fact of the matter is that morality is or it is not right. A person cannnot split hairs in saying that god has a different morality. The old testiment proves that god is a kind of dictator. After all the way he treated others is no better then Hitler, Saddam, or any other dictators have treated people who did not "toe the mark".

Wake up christians and quit trying to explain away the obvious with such childlike logic.

mike said...

Further more, christians argue against abortion as "immoral" and against god. However, in the old testament god commanded that pregnant women would be cut open thus killing them and the baby. Is not this abortion? It seems to me that god is confused. Not to mention that the sins of the fathers wont be put on the children etc etc.

Again it is sickning how christians try to explain this stuff away.

SpaceMonk said...

"...reincarnation is not a biblical concept, in fact it's explicitly opposed by it",

telmi: "I have to say that on the contrary, Christ himself clearly projected the concept of reincarnation when he said:
[Matthew 17.11/12]:..."

What? The bible contradicting itself?
Why, it's unheard of! ;)

P.S. I like your username.

SpaceMonk said...

Actually Telmi, Elijah couldn't really reincarnate because he never died. He was taken up into heaven alive, with those chariots of fire.

Jamie said...

Wow. Neo. I think you may have single-handedly pushed this "almost ex-christian" over the edge to "actual ex-christian". Your arguments make it easy to see how Christians, and religionists have used their holy texts to justify all sorts of immorality simply by showing that God did it so it can't be immoral.

Neo said:
To do this Christians attend bible studies and talk with other believers with the hope of identifying and removing these flaws. And, because of faith, we look at the bible’s teachings as a measuring stick to identify right from wrong.

And somehow come to the conclusion that two mutually consenting gay men must be stopped from loving each other (because that inexplicably undermines an entire nation), but it's okay vote en masse for a government who knocks out Iraqi sewage treatment plants with the foreknowledge that it will kill countless innocent people (mostly children). If that isn't enough, said government, supported by and large by Christians, also made sure that those same innocent people could not have access to medicine to cure them of the ailments that were killing them.

The thing is, if you read the Bible, the above makes perfect sense, since God hates both gay people AND the children of infidels, apparently...

Neocognitron said...

Dano,

Yes, I really do think the bible is God’s inspired word. As for your statement about “inspiring those folk who thought the earth was flat,” I presume you are suggesting that the bible caused people to believe this. Since there is nothing in the bible saying it is either flat or spherical my contention is that the bible was not wrong but that man’s interpretation of it was. And yes, it was primarily religious institutions which were resistant to the idea of the world being round. Hopefully they will always remember this mistake and learn from it.

Why doesn't God come back now, in the age of information and inspire something a little more comprehensible to his "minions"? I tell you that God is here with us, you and me, even now. He is the reason we are free to have these conversations and to debate His existence. He is the reason our nation chose to be so moral and allows each person to choose his/her own faith (or faithlessness, as the case may be). How can we see him? How can we know His presence? We see him in the face of the lost child reunited with her mother or the sick when visitors arrive to comfort them. We feel God encouraging us when we try to do what is right even when it is not easy and we are given peace when we finish a job knowing we did the best we could. This answer will no doubt befuddle most readers since it is difficult to understand as truth; but the image of God which we all share is our ability for kindness, compassion, generosity, humility, thankfulness, and similar traits. And we feel God’s presence when He encourages us to continue doing what is right by giving us peace or happiness for an honest day’s labor; when we succeed in a difficult task or realize the fulfillment of prayer. So when you ask why God doesn’t come back now I tell you He is here; and He is calling to all who will listen.

As for why His presence isn’t “more comprehensible,” it is a threshing tool; a way of separating those who seriously acknowledge that they are sinners from those who refuse to do so. For if you do not acknowledge God’s existence you are in effect saying there is no true single authority over what is moral or immoral which implies there is also no single perfection; and hence one person’s morality is just as right as the next person’s. And, by claiming there is no single perfection you are arguing that Jesus was not perfect which, if you could imagine, would really anger that kid’s Father. Now, if you were the creator of all life and your creations scoffed at your works (and your son) wouldn’t you be just a bit ticked off at them? After all, you didn’t give them perfect knowledge nor understanding so wouldn’t you expect more gratitude for the gifts you did give? This system of separating believers from non-believers is not for God’s purpose; it is for ours. God can see into our souls and knows our motives so He has no reason to divide us as believers and non-believers other than to let us compare morality and immorality for ourselves. Thus, God can determine if someone is sincere about changing their lives even at the moment of their death, but we can not. So, the difficulty in comprehending God is for our improvement; a teaching tool, if only we will trust enough to learn from it.

Do you really think an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, Omnibenevalent God would have any trouble doing anything perfect the first time?. What is imperfect about the universe God has made? Is it because we have wars, famine, pestilence, hatreds, jealousy, crime, etc.? Or is it because we do not see God easily? Or, is it because some are princes and kings while others are paupers? This world has all the resources necessary to feed, clothe and shelter all of the people in it, and many more. But we are not good stewards of our gifts and are self-seeking rather than servants to our neighbors. God has given us the knowledge and abilities necessary to solve many of the world’s problems but we are the cause of our own infirmities. Most people do not plan to pass their wealth down to their children but rather horde it for their own retirement or day-to-day living. This is not a sin or wrong to do, but it is not the wisest course of action. Rather we should live to benefit both those who live around us and those who come after us. Recently North Korea was given many hundreds of millions of dollars with which to feed their starving nation but the money ended up going to wealthy North Korean politicians and to feed and clothe the nation’s military forces. So it is the greedy few who doom the many to continue in their suffering. And it is many like them who make it appear as if God’s creation is somehow imperfect; but this is not God’s will. Ultimately, it is because we have free will and continue to choose unwisely that we are doomed to suffer the punishment which began with Adam and Eve.

I hope this answers the questions you asked and I thank you for the compliment about my Christian “cult.” It is true that I will never escape from it since I remain a captive by choice. The door is open to all who are willing to enter and all are welcome to leave if they so desire; but once you truly accept who God is there is no reason to leave. I am the willing servant of a God who is merciful to those who show mercy and vengeful to those who are vengeful. Praise to His name!

May you prosper in your wisdom!

dano said...

Neocognitron wrote:
"Dano,
Yes, I really do think the bible is God’s inspired word. As for your statement about “inspiring those folk who thought the earth was flat,” I presume you are suggesting that the bible caused people to believe this. Since there is nothing in the bible saying it is either flat or spherical my contention is that the bible was not wrong but that man’s interpretation of it was."

Dan>>> Neo! Some of your answers in the past have shown a lot more coherence and logic than this one. Are you o/k Neo?

I can't be responsible for the condition of your posterior Neo, after the regulars here see this one!

Worried about you Guy! (dano)

Michelle said...

**Since there is nothing in the bible saying it is either flat or spherical my contention is that the bible was not wrong but that man’s interpretation of it was."**

Neo -- the entire first chapter of Genesis was written with the belief that the earth was flat. There are quotes about the four pillars of earth, of God stretching out the heavens, and of their being corners of the Earth. Hell was perceived to be directly below the surface, and Heaven directly above -- hence Jesus ascending upward, while so many others said that they would descend to 'Sheol.' The entire reason why there are only four Gospels is because it was said, "Just as there are four corners of the EArth and four pillars of the Earth, so there are four gospels."

** Now, if you were the creator of all life and your creations scoffed at your works (and your son) wouldn’t you be just a bit ticked off at them? ** No. Because I'd be all-knowing, and I'd understand that so many people are repelled by the behavior of those who act in Jesus's name by rushing to condemn sin, and not lifting a finger to help the poor. Or those who kill in Jesus's name. I'd understand that many study science and can't make it compatible with the Bible. I'd understand that many would see God's actions in the Old Testament as barbaric.

If my three year old child hates me because I won't let him play on the highway, I don't get mad at him. I understand that my child lacks the understanding as to why it's dangerous to play on the highway.

tigg13 said...

Neo! Still lurking about, I see.

I just have a couple of points to make about your reality-challenged replies...

So all of that killing and suffering in the OT was just god's way of teaching us some important lessons, huh? Well, tell me, don't you think it should have occurred to god that SOME people might not have understood these stories as lessons of peace and love, but instead may have thought that god was saying that it's ok to kill people and make them suffer?

You know, like the people who started all of the holy wars and the witch hunts? Don't you think that someone as smart as god would have figured out a better way to get his point across without causing all that pain and death?

Of course your god "owns" us so our pain and suffering are of little consequence to him.

Now, notice Neo, I am not equating you with those holy warring, witch hunting folks. Because that would be guilt by association - just because one christian is a sick, twisted, sociopathic monster doesn't mean that you all are.

But you think that kind of guilt is a good thing, so I guess you wouldn't mind being lumped in with all of those lying, cheating, adulterous, child abusing, slave owning christians whose names keep showing up in the headlines.

If you don't think that's fair, then that makes you a hypocrite. (I'm not engaging in name calling here - and if you don't believe me just look it up in the dictionary.)

Neo, I like having your input on this website. You consistently provide us with these wonderful examples of just how far a christian will twist and warp and rationalize their perspective just to get it to align with their beliefs.

UnBlinded said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Yes it is true that the Bible God behaves seemingly immoral according to our standards. However, this does not mean that there is not at least some practical value to its morality. For example, abstaining from sex does prevent STDs whether anyone wants to follow this advice or not. Loving your neighbor creates a more peaceful world. The Bronze Age did not just write down what they wanted to believe necessarily. They tried to pen down how a perfectly ordered society should be run.
For further consideration, we have the following concepts. We condemn the wars that greatly benefited the Israelites ordered by God in the OT, but we still go to war. Why? We war because we have our own best interests in mind, just like the OT authors did. There are other things in the OT that we find morally reprehensible, but we participate in them like they did. The only difference is that they attributed their behavior to something inspired by God whereas we attribute our behavior to our personality. Indeed, most of our modern ideas about people's rights come from the NT. It was probably not God that authored these concepts, but some very smart people who had society's best interest in mind did. Thus, God may seem to be immoral, but he is no more immoral than present day normal people who participate in many of the same antisocial activities as the OT or NT God.

UnBlinded said...

Hi Jamie, I pray that God's grace will touch you soon. If you are sincerely seeking the Truth, I hope that you don't keep this site as your sole source of "wisdom". The obduracy towards God's word at this site can be harmful to anyone. Especially someone that may not be protected from the fruits of His church. I know this may not make sense to you today but I contend that you, at the very least, remain open. There is a Truth and the evidence is overwhelming but you must be permissive to hearing it. Even if today it sounds ridiculous to suggest this, at the end of each day trying sharing with Him the highs and lows of your day. With time, maybe even mention what your conscience tells you might have been a wrong choice. Before you know it, you'll be praying and He'll be teaching!

May God bless you,
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com/

SpaceMonk said...

"The obduracy towards God's word at this site can be harmful to anyone. Especially someone that may not be protected from the fruits of His church."

Except for the infants and sucklings...?

How about you christian types stop talking about morality and address the fact that your god approves of killing babies.

You obviously wouldn't follow his example. Why not?

Actually, some of you have said you would, so...

Shit, I don't know.

dano said...

Hey Jamie!
I know that you have been hanging around this "obdurate" site long enough to have read a few things about cults.

Unblinded's plea to you to not leave the cult has virtually every classic component of how cults work.

#1 We are praying for you.
#2 An insinuation that unblinded's cult has the real truth.
#3 Don't expose yourself to any other source of the truth than the cult.
#4 The cult loves you and you must not be trying hard enough to believe.
#5 We have a very mysterious way of knowing the truth.
#6 If you emerse yourself in the cult and pray more, you will son find yourself back in the loving arms of the cult
#7 It wouldn't hurt to confess that you were wrong to break the rules of the cult, but the cult has faith that you will return as a fully restored, full fledged cult member.

Jamie! I painfully downloaded (with dial up) that U-Tube thing about how cults work, that Webmaster presented here about a month ago. That is how I spotted the almost perfect mechanics of a cult in Unblinded's post.

UnBlinded said...

In this "cult" you are always free to leave. No one will harm you or pressure you. You can join the "cult" in the privacy of your own home, no money required. The only thing that is asked is that you look at all the facts. Once you get to know Him as revealed in the New Testament, either you'll love Him and are willing to work at living life by His rules or you prefer to make your own rules.

So, choose your "cult", the atheists that think everything around them evolved from nothingness where you can then worship "evolution". Or, choose the "cult" that believes that everything around them has intelligent design written all over it.

No words, written by me or anyone else could ever deter a person from his choice. We all have free will, we just need to decide on His will or ours. I choose to write about Him because I love Him and what He did for all of us. Personally, I tried living by my own rules for many years, it didn't work for me. Another thing about this "cult", you never need to let anyone of us know that you joined it, God knows and that's all that matters.

Just send 100$ to PO box... hehe. Bad joke, please be careful, your choice is serious and there are many, many real cults and a fantastic number of them are masqueraded as "Christians". Your conscience will tell you if something isn't right. The new testament is your preferred revelation, the Web sites below are sources of new modern day revelations He's allowed for these difficult times.

God bless,
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com/

Cathern said...

Isn't ironic that when some person kills there children, kills someone else, or does some unspeakable crime and says "God spoke to me and told me to do it" that Christians will denouce the person as insane. God would never tell anyone to do such wicked acts. But yet, here in thier very own holy book you see god doing EXACTLY that, ordering his chosen to cruel acts of barbarism.

tigg13 said...

Oh Jamie! You absolutely must keep an open mind and an open heart! (How does one not bleed to death after their heart has been opened? I've never understood this.)

Go, Jamie! Go to Unblinded's websites and see for yourself how he SO does not belong to a cult!

You will learn of the great and powerful Vassula; the modern prophetess who actually receives messages from god!

(Usually these are messages although she will get the occasional memo - there has been no complete manuscript from god, but he is working on an outline.)

You will also learn of the miracle at Garabandal, Spain. How four young girls witnesses an apparition of both an angel and the virgin Mary. And you will immediately see how this had to a miracle and not just some kids telling lies to get attention, or stoned on drugs, or misinterpreting some unusual phenomena as a religious experience because they had been so brainwashed by their church that they could not conceive of it being any other thing, or any of the other reasonable explanations that could come to mind if one just thought about it for a few minutes.

Yes, it isn't a cult. It is an option that you may freely choose to believe in.

(Of course, if you don't freely choose to believe in it, you will be turning away from the one-and-only true path to god/truth/
enlightenment/salvation/
happiness/whatever, and you will have to suffer for that decision for all of eternity.)

Peace
AND understanding.

Jamie said...

Dano, Thanks for the backup. I've been clicking on the links that Christians have been leaving on this site and others like it, hoping that the arguments there would be enough to assuage my doubt, but so far they have not. I have been 'unblinded' for better or for worse.

I am annoyed by the assumption that if I am sincerely seeking Truth, then I will wind up back in a church pew and believing that the bible is the final authority on truth. I was told all my life that this "Truth" stands up to scrutiny.

Not long ago I started noticing that atheists seemed to have all the best arguments. As I started to put the "Truth" to the test, I found out quickly that it didn't stand up at all once I started using sources outside the church to do my scrutinizing. So Unblinded's kind admonission for me to be 'more honest' in my search is not only a little late, since I have already started being more honest, but also wrong in where that honesty will lead me, since it's led me so far away from Christianity instead of toward it.

Jamie said...

Tigg, as a former Seventh-day Adventist (I think this is the first time I publically claimed to be 'former' in this regard) I know all about prophets. We had our own Ellen G. White, who church evangelists always praised for being right 100% of the time.

A quick google search will also show how this prophetess turned out to have plagiarized a good chunk of her writings from other books...not just lines here and there, but practically whole books!

One good thing I did get from Adventism, though, is a belief that there is no eternal hell. Adventists believe the choice is between heaven and "eternal death" where those who don't make it to the good place will simply cease to exist. (We may go down in a ball of flames, but once we're dead, we're dead).

I am still at a stage where I feel the loss of my beliefs, and it hurts a bit. I don't know if I'll ever be ready to wear the "atheist" label, but I'm certainly wearing the 'agnostic' label right now, because I just don't know...and I don't really see any way of ever knowing.

Back to the topic of this post, though, how can I, in good conscience, follow the example of the God presented in the bible? It seems tailor-made to permit crazy megalomaniac's to commit all sorts of horros against humanity.

Dagmar said...

Neocognition, I find your playing the theologian to be just too cute. I could just squeeze you to death.

I just happen to be a world-renowned expert in theology. Now let me enlighten you:

I do not give a flying fuck into hell if a god exists or not, nor do I see why I should. I am an intelligent woman, I am managing my own life, I have friends who love me and I have a guy who keeps me happy. I think for myself and do not go to my knees for answers. I do not fear god, nor revere god, nor do I have any use for god. I think god is for children, drunks and losers.

If your god exists (fat chance) she could not possibly object to me. She would respect me. And by the way, your religion is just getting in the way. Why don't you get rid of it? I have read your postings and I do not see god. I see religion.

tigg13 said...

Hey Jamie!

One of the most freeing and life affirming moments in my life came when I realized that it's ok to not know.

Think about it - if an all powerful being wanted you to know something then how could you not know it?

And, if this same all powerful being truly loved and cared about you, then you'd have to assume that "not knowing" couldn't possibly have any negative consequences.

Why should there be rewards or penalties for having a unique point of view? Particularly when you begin from the premise that everyone's perspective is perpetually flawed and incomplete.

In other words, ignorance IS bliss. (At least as far as deities are concerned.) So, why not enjoy it?

I'm glad to see that you have looked into the "tlig cult" and can see it for the nonsense that it is.

I'm not an atheist or an agnostic. (I'm just really good at passing for atheist.) I am what ever I feel like being at any given moment: Pagan, Wiccan, Pastafarian, Bullwinkelist, Jedi, Klingon (non practicing, of course)...

Don't get too hung up on labels. Just be you.

Jim Arvo said...

To Neo:

I'm perplexed. You are still repeating your beliefs ad nauseum. As I pointed out in another thread, we all understand that you believe in god, and believe that the Bible is his inspired word. We really truly do understand that you believe such things. Is there some reason you need to keep repeating it? Your position is trivial to grasp. Neo believes in god. Neo believes that the Bible is this god's "inspired word". Neo believes that god/religion makes us moral. Neo believes that the US was built on Christian principles. Neo believes that god is all around us. Neo believes that all of our warm-and-fuzzy feelings come from god. Neo believes he is a follower of the one true god/religion/savior. Neo believes the universe is perfect and his god is loving and just. We get it.

I could probably make a rather lengthy list of "what Neo believes". What good is that list, Neo? Please explain. Supposing I can make a detailed list of your personal beliefs, of what possible use is that to me or anybody else? As all of your statements rest upon your personal feelings, or dogmatic assertions, in my opinion they have zero value. Zero. You simply gild your elaborate edifice, which rests upon nothing but wishful thinking, at least as far as I can tell. There are thousands of such edifices, all floating in the air. Yours is no different. You are quite welcome to cleave to whichever floating castle you wish--pour your heart into it, profess it to the world, let it shape your every thought. However, please don't expect anybody here to give your rhetoric a second glance if you don't have substantive evidence to support your fantastic claims. All of us here have quite deliberately chosen to follow where evidence leads, not where wishful thinking leads, particularly when that wishful thinking is offered up by a third party who seems to take no interest in examining anything critically.

If you wish to do us all a favor, you could spare us the sermons. We already know what you believe.

Have a good day.

UnBlinded said...

Hi Jamie,
Your comments on Ellen G. White's plagarism are your clue. I hope and pray that this observation of yours begins to talk to your conscience. When something comes from the Truth you will know it. If you compare both reports from Wikipedia, you don't need divine intervention to see the difference.

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

"There are currently over 107 Notebooks compiled in 12 Volumes of the "True Life in God" series, which have been translated by volunteers into 42 different languages. Since 1989 Vassula has spoken more than 800 times in over 63 countries and more than 90 times in the United States. She receives no royalties, commissions or remuneration of any kind for her travels or for these publications"

"On the basis of Cardinal Ratzinger’s short letter it is now without the shadow of doubt that a Catholic with a clear conscience can consider Vassula as sent from God. Of course, everyone is free not to do so, but it is no longer possible to posit dogmatic grounds to reject her. To judge spiritual things one needs to listen to one’s heart. Freedom and respect for each other’s opinions are imperative when dealing with apparitions and prophesies"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_G._White

God bless,
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com/

Dagmar said...

Jim, we know what neo believes. I would like to know why.

alanh said...

UnBlinded wrote:

...either you'll love Him and are willing to work at living life by His rules or you prefer to make your own rules.

That is a false dichotomy: "a situation in which two alternative statements are held to be the only options, when in reality there exist one or more other options which have not been considered."

I don't have to make my own rules, I can follow the rules of the society that I live in. I can even adopt rules from a philosopher such as John Stuart Mill or Jean-Paul Sartre. I don't need to believe in a religion in order to behave in an ethical manner.

Jim Arvo said...

Dagmar said "Jim, we know what neo believes. I would like to know why."

Yes, exactly. Good luck extracting it from Neo, however. He resorts to repeating his dogmatic assertions when they are challenged. He also touts the usual Christian distortions, such as the "abundance" of evidence for the existence of Jesus (if memory serves) and even his resurrection, and he tends to view everything through the lens of Christian dogma, assuming the existence of sin and an absolute moral code (which he has never articulated, despite many requests). It all comes down to beliefs, beliefs, and more beliefs.

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

Unblinded said "The only thing that is asked is that you look at all the facts...."

Have you looked at "all the facts", Unblinded? Have you carefully examined the evidence that undermines the claims of Christianity, or have you confined your studies to only those "facts" that support it? Given the types of arguments you've put forth, I'd be willing to bet a large sum of money that you've not read a single book that examines Christianity critically. If I'm wrong about that, please list several titles and/or authors of such books that you've read.

Unblinded: "Once you get to know Him as revealed in the New Testament..."

And how did you reach the conclusion that the NT is a reliable source of information? Have you read the Koran? How about the Book of Mormon? If not, why not? If you have, how did you conclude that they are NOT what they purport to be: i.e. the revealed word of god?

Unblinded: "...atheists that think everything around them evolved from nothingness where you can then worship 'evolution'".

That comment reveals a profound ignorance of science in general (let alone cosmology or evolutionary biology specifically). I'll say it again: To the dogmatist, all is dogma. Just because you accept things based on dogma and/or personal intuition, it does not mean that the rest of the world does. Have you ever read a single book on science?

Unblinded: "Personally, I tried living by my own rules for many years, it didn't work for me."

I don't know what "rules" you made up for yourself, but I can't imagine they had much to do with reality, judging by the things you've posted here. Most of us allow reason, honesty, kindness, and respect for one's fellow human to be guiding principles. Have you ever tried those? They work astonishingly well, especially when coupled with a modicum of critical thinking.

Unblinded: "Your conscience will tell you if something isn't right."

I think intuition is a marvelous thing, but I suspect that you and I are worlds apart when it comes to what the value of intuition really is. To you it seems to be a shortcut to "knowledge". If your intuition tells you that something is not right, then it's not right. End of story. To me, intuition is little more than a subconscious "hunch", which may or may not be correct, as it is based purely on heuristic reasoning and incomplete information. Its value lies in pointing toward alternatives that are worth exploring further. If you confuse it with an infallible arbiter, then you run the risk of elevating prejudices and half-baked ideas to the level of "truth". (But, of course, that's precisely what religions thrive on, isn't it?)

dano said...

This is an excellent, scholarly, treatise on how virtually every religion has had a virgin mother of a God, down through history, and why. The virgin Mary was just a copy of the many mothers of gods who preceded her.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/pcc/pcc11.htm

Wes said...

I still don't understand how the hell someone can believe the bible is the "inspired word of god" without any supporting evidence. What is the evidence?? Yeesh! Every frikin' religion out there has its 'inspired' word/doctrine/whatever. What makes the christian's so special over everyone else's? -Wes.

Wes said...

...but then - do I really want to know?... Ugh. -Wes.

UnBlinded said...

Hi Jim,

Yes, I have looked at the facts and from both perspectives, Christians and atheists. I continue to do this as it is a young passion of mine. I've read some Sam Harris, Dan Barker and online works from others with similar views. From the Christian perspective, too many books to list. When it comes to determining the divine authenticity of an apparition or prophecy, I look for the Pope's comments for guidance and also for God's stamp of approval (I'll comment on this later).

To understand how the NT is reliable, I recommend starting with an easy read in Lee Strobel's "A Case for Christ". Yes, I have read parts of the Koran (and others like Urantia) but not the Book of Mormon. I am still young in my search for understanding and I'm a busy man (young family) so I don't get to read as much as I'd like. I have not read enough of them to provide a proper critique. My education is in the field of sciences, lab reports not book reports. :) I can say that in all my readings of non-Biblical "revelations" there is a falseness to these works. It is also apparent in those works written by atheists that try to refute Christian apologetics. It's made apparent with the intellectual arrogance that they often carry and the way they often pre-suppose how the reader will respond ("The reader will agree...").

On the other hand, I've found that there is a definitive truthfulness and general honesty in the way St. Augustine, C.S. Lewis, St. Anne Catherine Emmerich, G.K. Chesterton, St. Thomas Aquinas, etc... present their ideas.

With regards to your response on my comments on "evolution", being that you say it "reveals a profound ignorance of science", I can tell you that I did believe in evolution for most of my life. Today, having looked at the facts, I am very much opposed to our children being taught these theories in a way that presents them as fact. As I said in another thread (http://exchristian.net/2/2007/02/insulting-to-atheists.html), with what I've learned, to me, it takes more blind faith to believe in evolution than to believe in God. I recommend reading Michael J. Behe's "Darwin's Black Box" for a non-theological analysis on the facts for Darwin's theory.

On the "rules" topic, I have written about choosing righteousness in all that we do in the "Insulting to Atheists" thread but this topic always comes across as someone being self-righteous. The facts are, of course none of us are ever truly righteous but ironically, I've come to recognize that those that admit to this truthfully, are the people you can trust the most.

On intuition, please recognize that I spoke of nothing of the sort. Intuition is by definition, more of quick insight or an immediate recognition while your conscience gives you that inner sense of what is right or wrong. There is nothing necessarily quick with your conscience and it can be fooled, normally by ourselves. I believe that God talks to us through our consciences but we cannot hear him if we're immersed in impurity and self-interest (ie. sin). If we endeavor to live righteously in action and thought by listening to our conscience, I believe that divine guidance will follow. This is a life long journey and the fruits of His church can provide us with the sustenance we need to grow and learn with Him. By fruits, I generally mean His written word, the sacrament of Holy Communion, of Confession, etc...

To return to my comment on God's stamp of approval for the TLIG messages and the apparitions of Garabandal, He does so by the content of the messages coupled with details that cannot be understood with naturalism. For TLIG, her hand writing compared to the divine hand writings are distinctly different. Vassula Ryden was not educated in theology nor was she a practicing Christian. In fact, she was taught the Our Father prayer through these revelations. My point here is that with the little knowledge she had, she's written nearly a bible's worth of text and, studied by the Holy See, they find nothing contrary to their theology. Isn't it striking that she could write so much, from her "delusional" state and have it comply with the church? Have you noticed from an earlier post that she receives no royalties, commissions or remuneration of any kind for her travels or for these publications.

Part of God's stamp of approval for the Garabandal apparitions is evident in the duration and the corroboration......4 years and 4 children trapped in another delusional state? A shared delusional state? Witness after witness discussing what they saw during their ecstasy, reveal that the children were often moving too fast for anyone to follow. At times, no one could keep up to them, not even the older kids. Multiple accounts of men trying to lift the children during their ecstasy and not one of them ever succeeded. Never a problem to lift them after the ecstasy. The visionaries, while in ecstacy, could effortlessly return the blessed objects (generally rosaries) to the rightful owners, even though they had a pile of them in their hands, were surrounded by crowds and were looking up at the sky. The list goes on and on of inexplicable witness accounts, not the least to mention are the miracles of conversion of many that witnessed the children. In fact, if a person were to trust the TLIG messages first, Jesus directly confirms the authenticity of Garabandal in a September 1987 message (http://www.tlig.org/en/messages/145/).

This is just a little sample of the empirical evidence that God has made available to us all. Some might ask "Why doesn't He just write something in the sky, with the stars, or something?". The answer, to me, is that to certain extent, this would negate our freedom. This undeniable evidence that is being asked for would simply corner everyone into what, loving Him? With His infinite wisdom He does the best that He can to reveal Himself without coercing us to choose His will. He wants an honest, repentant soul that truly acknowledges it's distance from Him. And for this act of love to happen, He simply will not take away from our freedom, despite the fact that this is our weakness.

May God bless you,
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com/

ddd said...

Blogger sucks. Never works. -Wes.

ddd said...

Everytime I post, I have to create a new disposable account. This is silly. Anyone else having problems with this?? -Wes.

ddd said...

Oh - I murdered Lee Strobel last night. His head hangs above my bed. Thought you should all know... Thanks. -Wes.

.:webmaster:. said...

Wes, please email me or call and leave a voice message at 1-206-600-7954. I'll get back to you and see if we can't resolve whatever is going on when you try to post.

dano said...

UnBlinded wrote:
"This is just a little sample of the empirical evidence that God has made available to us all. Some might ask "Why doesn't He just write something in the sky, with the stars, or something?". The answer, to me, is that to certain extent, this would negate our freedom. This undeniable evidence that is being asked for would simply corner everyone into what, loving Him? With His infinite wisdom He does the best that He can to reveal Himself without coercing us to choose His will. He wants an honest, repentant soul that truly acknowledges it's distance from Him. And for this act of love to happen, He simply will not take away from our freedom, despite the fact that this is our weakness."

DAN SAYS: But what he gets is people like you who have sold out to the God of credulity.
You look to the Pope for guidance!!

The office of the pope has a history, so full of dishonesty, terror, and deceit that there are libraries full of books documenting it.

Who do you think those clowns are impressing with their funny clothes, and rituals?

I didn't think anyone still took them seriously, (If Jesus were real he would be appalled), and low and behold God has guided your hand here to this website, for Ex Christians, who share their views about the UN-believability of the Christian Myth.

But wait a minute! I just saw an apparition on my computer screen!

An old man with a beard, and a balloon, with text, which said: "Reach out to Unblinded, for I am not content that even one of my creations should have to go through life spouting the kind of nonsense about me, that he is so full of."

Dan (You say God does the best he can!!!!! He is "God", for Christ's sake!!)

SpaceMonk said...

So, UnBlinded, Bible-god is real?

So we should all bow humbly and kiss the arse of the god who orders people to kill babies, because if we don't we go to hell for eternity?

That is blackmail, bullying, gun-to-the-head mind-rape, call it what you will.

The only moral thing to do is resist him.

Giving in to his demands is cowardice, and a betrayal of mankind - and only serves to feed his overblown ego.

ryan said...

Unblinded,let me begin by saying that I am a student at a catholic college (Rensselaer, IN) and I am familiar with the authors you mentioned. I have majored in philosophy and minored in religion (google up to my name) and I find your innocent devotion to theology to be cute.

About acquinas: if you will return to the summa; question 1; article 1......the doctor is saying that, because reason is faulty, we need revelation in order to get things right, expecially salvation. This is a blunder that I would not excuse in a child. The doctor has tried to bullshit, and failed.The entire summa proceeds from that fallacy.

First, who says that our faulty reason is not all there is? My reason is faulty; okay, I should just go eat shit?

Second, why do we need salvation to begin with? I deny any such need. Where do you get such notions, the pope?

On that subject, I have participated in endless debates on the resurrection, all of them unnecesary, because there is no need for the resurrection, or the atonement, to begin with. The notion of forgiveness and salvation is bunk.

About your infatuation with garabandal: ever notice that these things are always happening among backward peasants? Has any such thing ever happened on a colllege campus? on Wall Street? on a US naval vessel? In London? Paris?

The only smart thing you said was about free will, but you display faulty reason. If god honors my use of my will, then there will be no trouble between us.

I have never heard a defense of the xristian religion. When any apologist begins to speak, all he can do is restate his religion. That is all you have done.

Ryan Pelsy

alanh said...

UnBlinded Marc wrote:

she's [Vassula Ryden] written nearly a bible's worth of text and, studied by the Holy See, they find nothing contrary to their theology

After doing a search on Vassula Ryden, it appears the Catholic church doesn't endorse her writing, and is keeping her at arm's length (not that any of this stuff makes sense, although Divine Persons would be a great name for a band)

Notification on Vassula Ryden

"In addition to pointing out the suspect nature of the ways in which these alleged revelations have occurred, it is necessary to underscore several doctrinal errors they contain."

"Among other things, ambiguous language is used in speaking of the Persons of the Holy Trinity, to the point of confusing the specific names and functions of the Divine Persons."

"Furthermore, the proximate arrival is foretold of a Church which would be a kind of pan-Christian community, contrary to Catholic doctrine."

"Given the negative effect of Vassula Ryden's activities, despite some positive aspects, this Congregation requests the intervention of the Bishops so that their faithful may be suitably informed and that no opportunity may be provided in their Dioceses for the dissemination of her ideas."


Clarification

"the faithful are not to regard the messages of Vassula Ryden as divine revelations, but only as her personal meditations;" (emphasis mine)

"Pastors and the faithful are asked to exercise serious spiritual discernment in this matter and to preserve the purity of the faith, morals and spiritual life, not by relying on alleged revelations but by following the revealed Word of God and the directives of the Church's Magisterium."


Catholic Doors Ministry

"Because of the potential risk of endangering one's faith and morals by reading Mrs Vassula Ryden's material, it is recommended that the faithful avoid reading it UNLESS they have access to a QUALIFIED Spiritual Director who is prepared to guide the faithful through the readings while pointing out the doctrinal errors."

So as far as religious "evidence" goes, Vassula Ryden ain't doing so well.

the Alleged Apparitions at Garabandal

"All the bishops of the diocese from 1961 through 1970 asserted that the supernatural character of the said apparitions, that took place around that time, could not be confirmed."

"The conclusion of this study coincided with the previous findings by the bishops, which is to say, that it does not prove [no consta] the supernaturality of said apparitions."


Marc, maybe you should just stick to plain old Catholicism, its at least a little less controversial. Plus you can now also "believe" in evolution, since the Pope has endorsed it.

Jim Arvo said...

Unblinded: "Yes, I have looked at the facts and from both perspectives, Christians and atheists....I've read some Sam Harris, Dan Barker and online works from others with similar views."

Well, I'm glad to hear it (and I stand corrected). Both Harris and Barker definitely qualify as being "critical" of Christianity, although I would also urge you to read Robert Price (e.g. "Deconstructing Jesus"), Earl Doherty (e.g. "The Jesus Puzzle"), Daniel Dennett (e.g. "Breaking the Spell"), Pascal Boyer (e.g. "Religion Explained"), and Victor Stenger (e.g. "God: The Failed Hypothesis"), to name just a few. While I respect Harris tremendously, and I salute him (and Barker) for helping to expose the dangers of religion, his arguments are of a fairly general sort; he does not explicitly expose the weakness of popular apologetic arguments. While Barker does do the latter, his arguments are largely based on personal experience. Hence, the suggestions above, which I deem to be either more squarely focused on debunking apologetics, or more scholarly, or both.

Unblinded: "When it comes to determining the divine authenticity of an apparition or prophecy, I look for the Pope's comments for guidance and also for God's stamp of approval..."

How is it that the Pope can lend any credibility to such things? Has he been shown to be right in the past? Ever?

Unblinded: "To understand how the NT is reliable, I recommend starting with an easy read in Lee Strobel's 'A Case for Christ'..."

Strobel's works don't even rise to the level of mediocre apologetics, in my opinion. Have you read any of the rebuttals to his books? If you dare to look outside the conservative Christian views Strobel focuses on, it's easy to see the holes in his arguments. For example, I don't recall seeing Strobel ever address the rampant use of midrashic interpolation in the NT, and he always dates the gospels as early as conservative scholarship will allow.

Unblinded: "My education is in the field of sciences, lab reports not book reports."

I have no idea what you mean by this. Perhaps you work in an area that is tangentially related to science, but this does not mean you have an inkling about how science works in the large. From your comments about faith and evolution I think it highly unlikely that you have any true appreciation for the methods or results of science.

Unblinded: "I can say that in all my readings of non-Biblical 'revelations' there is a falseness to these works..."

What on earth is a "non-Biblical revelation"? If you're trying to force everything to look like religion, it's no wonder it ends up ringing false! And what do you attribute this feeling of "falseness" to? If something feels "false" to you, does that mean it's false? I would urge you to consider what might be driving your negative emotional response. Could it be that you don't personally like the form of the answers? Is that a valid reason for labeling something false? That's precisely the type of mis-application of intuition I mentioned earlier.

Unblinded: "On the other hand, I've found that there is a definitive truthfulness and general honesty in the way St. Augustine, C.S. Lewis, St. Anne Catherine Emmerich, G.K. Chesterton, St. Thomas Aquinas, etc... present their ideas."

I find just the opposite. I call it the "cliff effect". Every single apologist that I have ever read (I've read most of the ones you've mentioned, plus perhaps 100 more), somewhere drives off a cliff when arguing their point, either by invoking a classic fallacy, or by distorting the facts; and virtually all of them ignore counter arguments. Here's one tiny example, from C. S. Lewis. According to Lewis, Jesus was either "Lord, Liar, or Lunatic", and we must simply decide which. This is a classic fallacy right off, as he has (deliberately?) ignored other alternatives, one of them even being another "L"-word: LEGEND. In other writings, he dismisses the legend idea as fanciful because the Gospels are written in a style that, to him, appear to be historical. Augustine (and later Paley) advocated various "teleological" arguments for god (e.g. Paley's watchmaker), which are fallacies based on a loose analogy. The modern spin on it is, of course, intelligent design, which is a bastion of inellectual bankruptcy. Even its most refined and "scientific" incarnation (i.e. Behe's "irreducible complexity") makes no explicit testable hypotheses, and is falsified in the broad sense by what is currently know through the fossil record (e.g. the development of the "irreducibly complex" mammalian inner ear) and through biochemistry (e.g. the recent evolution of a bacterium that can digest nylon through a complex multi-step process).

Unblinded: "With regards to your response on my comments on 'evolution', being that you say it 'reveals a profound ignorance of science', I can tell you that I did believe in evolution for most of my life."

Having believed something does not mean that you ever understood it. Have you studied evolution? Do you know what the theory posits, and what the supporting evidence is?

Unblinded: "...it takes more blind faith to believe in evolution than to believe in God. I recommend reading Michael J. Behe's 'Darwin's Black Box' for a non-theological analysis on the facts for Darwin's theory."

I've responded many times to the ridiculous assertion that the theory of evolution requires "faith". In short, a theory requires nothing resembling religious faith, it ought to be granted nothing resembling religious faith, and indeed it completely undermines scientific principles if you besmirch it with "faith" of any description. Faith implies a certainty in excess of what is manifestly demonstrated, and it actively discourages attempts at disproof. Both of those fly in the face of science, which is based exclusively on what is "objectively" observable. Moreover, it demands constant scrutiny as well as a willingness to toss out or revise failed hypotheses/theories.

Unblinded: "...of course none of us are ever truly righteous but ironically, I've come to recognize that those that admit to this truthfully, are the people you can trust the most."

There is a kernel of truth here that we can actually agree upon, but I express it very differently. I assert that a person who harbors no doubt is credulous and therefore untrustworthy when it comes to nuanced judgments. I encounter a great many Christians who do not admit to the slightest doubt that their god exists. To me, this makes them indistinguishable from fools.

Unblinded: "On intuition, please recognize that I spoke of nothing of the sort..."

Pardon me. I substituted one word for another with no explanation. You called it "conscience" which I see as nothing more than intuition that has some bearing on moral judgments--i.e. it is a largely subconscious process that employs heuristics to incomplete information. If you claim it to be something more, such as a means by which god channels his wishes to humans, then I will need to see some evidence supporting that fantastic assertion.

Unblinded: "To return to my comment on God's stamp of approval for the TLIG messages and the apparitions of Garabandal, He does so by the content of the messages coupled with details that cannot be understood with naturalism.... Part of God's stamp of approval for the Garabandal apparitions is evident in the duration and the corroboration...."

I believe you just contradicted yourself. If there is no way to understand the messages through "naturalism", then I presume there is no way to corroborate their divine origin through scientific observation. (Have I misunderstood you here?) If that is so, then why appeal to observable phenomena and note their "duration" and "corroboration"? If that's not what you meant, then please point me to objectively collected data that corroborates the amazing apparitions you speak of. I would like to see detailed records kept by dispassionate observers, not reports from religious converts. I will bet you that if all the facts are made available for public inspection, the "amazing" apparitions and events are far less amazing, if at all. I've seen this time and again. Stories get refined and inflated with retelling, especially when they pass through believers. (The gospels are an excellent example of this!)

Unblinded: "...if a person were to trust the TLIG messages first, Jesus directly confirms the authenticity of Garabandal in a September 1987 message..."

Trust the TLIG message first? Surely you're joking. Why not trust the Book of Mormon first? Or the Koran? On what basis would one simply choose to believe the TLIG message first?

Unblinded: "This is just a little sample of the empirical evidence that God has made available to us all..."

Thus far I've seen some fairly wild hearsay about apparitions and such. You've got a long way to go before you can legitimately call it empirical evidence.

Unblinded: "'Why doesn't He just write something in the sky, with the stars, or something?'. The answer, to me, is that to certain extent, this would negate our freedom. This undeniable evidence that is being asked for would simply corner everyone into what, loving Him?"

Surely you can see that what you just claimed is completely ridiculous. If god existed, and she decided to demonstrate her existence, it may reduce one's ability to deny what is obviously so, but it would not hamper our ability to choose how to regard her, or how to interact with her. Similarly, if I demonstrate that I am a real person, not a program generating text, does that force you to respect me? Of course not! Should I hide myself from my child for fear that I might FORCE her to love me, thereby impinging on her freedom? Of course not! This ploy of "god hides to respect our fee will" is clearly a last-ditch effort to explain why we see no trace of god. By the way, why did Jesus supposedly allow Thomas to inspect his wounds? Why did he supposedly perform all manner of grand miracles in full public view? Why did he not insist that we believe him on faith? Finally, what do you say to those who have tried earnestly for years to believe in god, only to be met with resounding silence? Would god have trampled their free will by granting their fervent request for some indication of his presence? No. That explanation is full of holes.

(Pardon me for not having read all the intervening messages since the post by Unblinded that I am responding to. No doubt others have pointed out similar flaws in Unblinded's reasoning.)

Dave8 said...

Unblinded: "I've learned, to me, it takes more blind faith to believe in evolution than to believe in God."

Interesting. That's your truth, and of course it's yours to keep as valid. However, evolution is the study of biological history... and "you", would likely assert that the belief in god is akin to religious history. How does one determine which study of history is more accurate or take less faith than another? By providing the opportunity for the one weighing the evidence the ability to physical become part of the process of observation.

Biological history provides that opportunity, and although you may not agree with what another person says or theorizes about how they "describe" the biological history of the incarnate, you do get the "honest" opportunity to give such a statement that others can validate or refuse as well.

Religious history, specifically, in Christology, etc., and on god... provides "zero" evidence to review... There are no scripts or documents written by Jesus - zilch. What you have, is a collection of writings that were collected by a Roman Emperor's religious entourage, in order to assimilate an Empire unto one power base. And, the writings they collected, were mixed with a myriad of different religious beliefs... Pagan, Agnostic, Greek Mythological, etc., run through the entirety of the bible.

Again, the actual "source" cannot be validated - period. You, nor anyone else, gets an "honest" opportunity to observe, measure, and weigh anything... because its the belief in that which can not be known - unless one claims to be a god themselves, and... well, there are those.

So, the fact that you say you have looked into evolution, and biological history, makes the case that you were at least able to, no matter what you accepted or didn't at the end of it all.

Now, the fact that you can't provide anything for anyone to "observe", measure, or "test", regarding your vision of a "god", becomes useless to "everyone" except you... Yes, "you" can believe whatever vision comes to your mind, but unlike biological history, you cannot "share" your vision, or offer anyone the opportunity to "test" your vision.

So, it's not that many don't believe in your god, the fact remains that your "god" has "never" been presented, for the sake of acceptance. Call your god, dependent on human limitation, if you will.

Why you believe with blind faith... is only known by you... obviously you were able to create the god of your mind, in such a way that it provides meaning... but it is "your" god, and someone reading the bible, can create a myriad of different gods based on the different books; jealous god, angry god, loving god, just god, unjust god, etc.

Regarding Aquinas, if he believed that humans didn't have the ability to reason in order to find truth, isn't it funny, he used reason to make such a statement - or - is he in the habit of making unreasonable statements...

Telmi said...

ocuSpaceMonk,

The Bible is littered with inconsistencies and contradictions. It would take reams to list them or talk about them. Yet people who believe that the Bible is the so-called word of God are blind to them, either they have not read the Bible, or have read it without understanding it, or just being plainly dishonest by not accepting that there are loads of inconsistencies or contradictions. For a Bible-believer to say the Bible is inconsistent or contradictory is to make an admission that it could not have been written with the inspiration of God [aka SOB] and that would obviously contradict the Catholic Church's claim that the Bible was written with SOB's inspiration.

"Actually Telmi, Elijah couldn't really reincarnate because he never died. He was taken up into heaven alive, with those chariots of fire" -

you are right in your observation. SOB allegedly told Moses: "You cannot see my face, for no-one may see me and live". Did Elijah see SOB's face when he was allegedly taken alive to Heaven? Only SOB knows.

But the Bible - according to assertions allegedly made by Jesus - clearly says John the Baptist was the personification of Elijah, and this was supposedly a fulfilment of Scriptural text of Elijah returning to Earth before the coming of the Messiah. John the Baptist was born [his mother was supposedly a woman named Elizabeth]; he did not appear out of the blue, Terminator Style, for instance; SOB or his son should have consulted the producer of Terminator for advice, to make the appearance of Elijah more authentic.

Was SOB's so-called son [question of existence aside] lying or talking nonsense?

Neocognitron said...

Michelle,

The bible does not say that the world is flat. It uses expressive terminology which was used at the time of the Genesis writings to emphasize important elements. During the period of the Roman Empire texts refer to the Romans as ruling over the “whole Earth” even though they obviously never did; and they knew they did not. It was an exaggeration. Even today’s writings can be found using the phrase “to the ends of the earth” despite the fact that we know better. The bible’s references to the pillars of the earth and its corners are not presented as facts from God but are literary tools intended to emphasize importance.

** Now, if you were the creator of all life and your creations scoffed at your works (and your son) wouldn’t you be just a bit ticked off at them? ** “No. Because I'd be all-knowing, and I'd understand that so many people are repelled by the behavior of those who act in Jesus's name by rushing to condemn sin, and not lifting a finger to help the poor. Or those who kill in Jesus's name. I'd understand that many study science and can't make it compatible with the Bible. I'd understand that many would see God's actions in the Old Testament as barbaric. It is precisely because God knows that we do not understand that He has mercy on us and offers us forgiveness, if we choose to accept it. If a child disobeys you correct it and forgive; but if it disobeys many times and many times refuses to be corrected you still forgive but you must find other means by which to punish the child so they will learn. But after the child becomes an adult and its choices continue to disrupt the lives of those in the community the parents have no choice but to let the community resolve the problem. God gives us many chances to recognize what He is trying to teach us, but at some point we become adults and we become responsible for our choices.

Thank you for your comments!

Tigg13,

So all of that killing and suffering in the OT was just god's way of teaching us some important lessons, huh? Well, tell me, don't you think it should have occurred to god that SOME people might not have understood these stories as lessons of peace and love, but instead may have thought that god was saying that it's ok to kill people and make them suffer? Everything God does allows believers to continue in their belief and non-believers in theirs; His ways have confounded scholars for centuries. It is a way to sift out those who seek God’s truth from those who are unwilling. Yes, I do believe it keeps many from understanding but there is a purpose in this method of teaching and it helps far more than it hurts. But it is not God who is keeping them from seeing; it is our unwillingness to acknowledge a creator and to accept His ways. If we have faith in what we can see, touch and control we have faith in knowledge and our own understanding. But God wants us to have faith in things that benefit all people: charity, compassion, love, forgiveness, hope, generosity, etc.; things that we cannot see, touch or control but evidence of which abounds. These are the attributes of God, the image of God, which we all possess and which God seeks to grow within us. It is difficult to become skilled in these mannerisms but quite impossible to master them without the assistance of God.

Is it “ok to kill people and make them suffer? No; of course not. But it is right and necessary that a father would punish his children so they would acknowledge him as authority over them and obey. Once we obey our suffering is removed and we can again climb into our father’s lap for a story, to talk or a hug. God’s children cover the earth and it takes events such as tsunamis, floods, and other disasters to change the opinions of the many very quickly; but He usually works quietly, one by one, calling out to us. One of the common problems God has is that we (all people) are all too willing to help punish those who do wrong but we are seldom willing to do right when we are asked. During Old Testament times God showed kindness to people who did not follow His laws; but the people “helped” God by stoning those who disobeyed them. It is us, believers and non-believers, who are merciless, spiteful and angry. And people still “help” God in this way. So I say yes, it has most certainly occurred to God that His actions of killing people and allowing them to suffer cause his children to question Him. But as a believer I find his reasons and actions fair and necessary since it is always to either teach or punish us.

Don't you think that someone as smart as god would have figured out a better way to get his point across without causing all that pain and death? I used to think there had to be a better way but the more I though about it the more I realized some things... If Jesus had lived a perfect life and died of old age we would have forgotten all about his sacrifice as a perfect example. If we were given empirical proof of God’s existence we wouldn’t have to hope for our future, but rather we would complain even louder asking why He allows various things to happen or why we aren’t all healthy, well fed and free from disease, famine and death. If we had empirical proof we would stop looking for answers and enjoying the beauty around us and would begin fighting for God’s favor rather than our own perfection. If we did not have such a divide between believers and non-believers it would be even more difficult than it is to recognize the differences between faith and faithlessness. This does not imply that all believers are right or that all non-believers are wrong; only that there is a disparity between to two and this disparity is not very large (IE: we are more alike than different). So in answer to your question: no, I do not believe there is a better way God could have chosen to help us understand.

Tigg13, it is good to speak with you again!

Dagmar,

Just so you know, you are correct that God does not “object to you.” However, He/She/It does not respect you either. She is omnipotent and does not respect anyone who is imperfect; me, you or anyone else. I am disappointed that you cannot see anything but religion in these writings but perhaps in time you will realize that God is here, calling to you and to all. May your life grow in happiness forever!

Wes,

I still don't understand how the hell someone can believe the bible is the "inspired word of god" without any supporting evidence. What is the evidence?? Yeesh! Every frikin' religion out there has its 'inspired' word/doctrine/whatever. What makes the christian's so special over everyone else's? -Wes. The fact that God exists is, of course, the main issue regarding faith. And yes, it has no empirical evidence; but then again, no one can provide empirical evidence that God does not exist either. However, you are questioning how “someone can believe the bible is the ‘inspired word of God’, and for this there is evidence. Faith would not be true faith if we had the evidence to prove or disprove it; so, both believers and non-believers rely on faith that their belief is correct. I will attempt to illustrate this evidence through examination; looking at the timeline of faith then detailing the results. Despite the fact that no empirical evidence proves or disproves the existence of god human beings have always inherently questioned their existence and included faith in deities throughout recorded history. This fact provides evidence to believers that god designed us to worship Him, but to non-believers it is merely a quirk of evolution. Therefore, neither argument gains credibility. As civilizations evolved it occurred to people that if the gods were working in their lives they would provide evidence of their existence; and if they were truly real they would be perfect in every way and would not be like the false gods such as Zeus, Cronus, Hesiod and Uranus whose constant quarreling and fighting likened them to men, proving them unworthy of worship (ref: Plato’s ‘The Republic’, 470-399 BC). The Jews had long had a faith in a single deity through Abraham, the first Hebrew. The difference now is that other faiths were coming to accept similar things. So far I have neither provided evidence for or against the existence of god; only a narrative describing the evolution of faith. Still, some will see this information as evidence which supports their case despite the fact that it supports neither. A short time later Jesus appeared on the scene and came to be known by many as the Christ spoken of in Jewish prophesies. While there is much evidence that Jesus existed, only a moderate amount of evidence is from outside of the New Testament: the writings of Josephus, Roman documents, and those of a few non-believing historians of the era. One reason for this is that evidence which would have gone into supporting claims about Jesus and what he did is already in the bible. The many disparate manuscripts and tablets which support each other though written by many different people over many different years were compiled together and canonized (approved by the church as having no significant doubt about its authenticity). So the fact that Jesus existed is very well documented by archeologists. But to question what Jesus did and who he really was (and is) is still a valid debate (unless, of course, you acknowledge the archeological evidence that has been included in the bible in which case there is overwhelming evidence about Jesus’ life). Despite this evidence, I will continue with the idea that the evidence presented so far does not benefit either argument.

However, if we step back and look at this history from the perspective of a mathematician we can reason out the probability of events to find some pretty strong evidence that supports the bible and its claims.
(A) The original Jewish texts which illustrate the persona of God have not changed since the beginnings of the faith even when compared against the newer Christian beliefs. This suggests that God has been telling us who He is for a very long time. If man had invented these ideas they would have been far less accurate to our modern thinking and would have evolved like those of most other religions (as described in the narrative above).
(B) The Old Testament was obviously written before the time of Jesus but its’ prophesies clearly speak a king would come and lead them. The Jews, of course, expected a leader who would rule and subject other nations so they would have been quite unlikely to author texts which prepared for the likes of Jesus. This is strong evidence that God not only had informed us that He is here and who He is, it provides evidence that Jesus truly is the prophesied Christ of the Jews.
(C) Beyond the fact that the Jewish texts quite nicely prepare for the coming of a king, every one of its most important ceremonies strongly correspond with the events in Jesus and his life; ceremonies which are strikingly ritualistic foretellings of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection. This again is strong evidence that God not only had informed us that He is here and who He is, it also told us what He was preparing to do.
(D) Astronomers have found evidence of a trinary star system that may be the celestial event the wise men saw at the birth of Jesus. Though this explanation is less dramatic than the biblical story it corroborates the bible’s teachings, providing evidence that the bible is truthful.
(E) Geologists have found records of flood events which indicate that the flood of Noah really did happen. The records do not point to a global-wide catastrophe but are additional evidence that the bible is truthful despite the many illustrative embellishments by its writers.
(F) Geologists also regularly use biblical stories to find the ruins of ancient cities and land masses; further evidence that the biblical stories are true. There were even a few cities archeologists thought they had found but in different places than in the bible, but which were later found near where the bible describes.
(G) There is also archeological evidence of the city of Jericho and of a conflict with the Hebrews. Like the stories of Noah’s ark and the star over Bethlehem, this story too appears to be true but again includes embellishments by its writers.

I could continue providing evidence of the bible’s accuracy but it is un-necessary. And, I have other reasons for believing in God which go beyond biblical truths and they have to do with the alternatives to faith.
(1) People who believe that God is watching what they do are motivated not to steal, commit crimes, lie, cheat, or murder without the threat of legal prosecution. This is not to say believers are guiltless of these crimes but that they are far less likely to commit them. When a person chooses faithlessness they invent their own concept of morality that has no guide or leader; no one to tell them when they are wrong. When an entire population makes such a decision the government must make itself the “big-brother” over its citizens by having police on every corner or video cameras everywhere so criminals think twice before acting. Without an omnipresent overlord people are less likely to follow morality which benefits all people and select their own personal moral codes. In other words, it is chaos.
(2) The alternative to believing in God is the belief in nothing, in self, in possessions, in knowledge, or in heroes. This is not much of a comfort since people who do not believe in a creator nor an afterlife find themselves completely alone and helpless when they lose these things. If they believe in nothing they are already alone; if they believe in themselves, knowledge, possessions or heroes they are alone when these things fail them.
(3) And finally, the Christian faith teaches us that doing right to one another is the service which God seeks of us; the service which pleases Him. But non-believers simply nod and agree that it is good to do right but they have no institutions which teach morality or measuring tools by which to verify they are correct or improving. Because of this non-believers are far less likely and effective in unifying when charity is needed such as toward the victims of hurricane Katrina, the recent tsunamis and other disasters.

And so I tell you, Wes, yes. The bible is the inspired word of God and Christianity is very special. But I would also add that faith in any religion is an acknowledgement that god exists and is more pleasing to god than non-belief.

Peace be with you!

tigg13 said...

Neo said,"
But God wants us to have faith in things that benefit all people: charity, compassion, love, forgiveness, hope, generosity, etc.; .... It is difficult to become skilled in these mannerisms but quite impossible to master them without the assistance of God."

Have you mastered all of these attributes, Neo? How does one master "love" or "generosity" or "hope"? Can you name some people who have mastered these things and provide some evidense that proves that they couldn't have done this without god's assistance?

And, please explain to me exactly how those OT stories that are so filled with hate and violence are supposed to teach people all of these wonderful things.

Oh, wait, let me guess. First, you begin by presupposing that god wants to teach everyone to love and forgive and be patient and so on. Then, you take all of OT scriptures apart, pick out the lines that look like they support your point of view, and rearrange them until you get exactly what you expected to get in the first place.

Neo: "Is it “ok to kill people and make them suffer? No; of course not. But it is right and necessary that a father would punish his children so they would acknowledge him as authority over them and obey."

It's not ok but it is right and necessary. You ever consider going into politics, Neo?

Neo:"Once we obey our suffering is removed .."

This is the same technique slave owners used to use. Worked like a charm for them too.

Neo:" One of the common problems God has is that we (all people) are all too willing to help punish those who do wrong but we are seldom willing to do right when we are asked."

Since when do you have the right to speak for all people?

There are many belief systems that focus on doing good as apposed to punishing evil. The central theme of secular humanism is to do good and avoid harming others whether you are asked to or not. You are preaching your opinions, Neo, and revealing just how biased and short sighted you are.

Neo:"During Old Testament times God showed kindness to people who did not follow His laws; but the people “helped” God by stoning those who disobeyed them."

Were the words that Moses spoke to the Hebrews god's words or Moses's words?

If they were god's words, then it was god's intent that transgressors should all have to suffer brutally violent deaths - even for minor violations.

If they were Moses's words then the first five books of the bible are nothing more than fairy tales written by an ex-egyptian politician while smoking a bush on Mt. Sinai, as he contemplated setting himself up as the future theocratic ruler of the people of Israel.

You can't have it both ways, Neo. Either admit that your god is cruel or the bible is a work of fiction. Making up scripture is not an option!

Neo:"...it has most certainly occurred to God that His actions of killing people and allowing them to suffer cause his children to question Him. But as a believer I find his reasons and actions fair and necessary since it is always to either teach or punish us."

So he punishes us for not believing in him even though he knows that punishing us will probably make us not believe in him. Brilliant!

Neo:"I used to think there had to be a better way but the more I though about it the more I realized some things... If Jesus had lived a perfect life and died of old age we would have forgotten all about his sacrifice as a perfect example."

(WE would? How do you know this?)

"If we were given empirical proof of God’s existence we wouldn’t have to hope for our future, but rather we would complain even louder asking why He allows various things to happen or why we aren’t all healthy, well fed and free from disease, famine and death."

(Again, how do you know this?)

"If we had empirical proof we would stop looking for answers and enjoying the beauty around us and would begin fighting for God’s favor rather than our own perfection."

(Once more, how do you know this?)

"So in answer to your question: no, I do not believe there is a better way God could have chosen to help us understand."

But you have based your conclusion on fictitious straw men that you have invented so that you wouldn't have to question your god.

You aren't going to solve these problems by dancing around them, Neo.

SpaceMonk said...

Neo: "Is it “ok to kill people and make them suffer? No; of course not. But it is right and necessary that a father would punish his children so they would acknowledge him as authority over them and obey."

It's hard to learn from a lesson when the lesson kills you.

You're not thinking about the ones who have died, only the survivors of bible-god's methods.

Those dead people don't get a chance to learn any lesson from it, but I know, you say they must be deserving of that death, as a punishment...

Then what about the infants and sucklings?

This is also one of the problems I have with the story of Job. People always say that Job was stronger for his experiences, but what about his wife and kids?
They don't get thought of as real people with individual lives, and value as human beings.
They're relegated to faceless pawns killed off for bible-god's plot points...

boomSLANG said...

Well, the same ol' presuppostional tripe from Neo'. Nothing too shocking, really.

Neo-fundy: The bible does not say that the world is flat. It uses expressive terminology which was used at the time of the Genesis writings to emphasize important elements.

Please explain the importance of a "firmament", and it's application in scientific study. Next, please explain exactly what it was that was producing "light" upon the earth, since "light" was "created" before the stars, yet, we obviously know that our sun, a "star", is where we get "light". Then, if you would, please explain how even a semi-retarded "God" wouldn't know that "darkness" was merely the absence of "light".

Neo-fundy: The bible’s references to the pillars of the earth and its corners are not presented as facts from God but are literary tools intended to emphasize importance.

Oh?.. is that so? Okay then, is the smoldering talking shrubbery a "fact", or a "literary tool"? Please explain, in either case. And how about a sleep-over inside a whale's stomach? "Fact"?..or "literary tool"??? Again, either way..please explain.(This should be good)

Neo': If a child disobeys you correct it and forgive; but if it disobeys many times and many times"...[edit]..blah, blah, blabbity-blah....in other words, insert same ol' apologetic "child/parent" anology that fails miserably every time.

Bottom line: Even if a living breathing child fails to EVER respect and/or obey it's "parents"---if you, in turn, dowse him or her with lighter fluid and set them ablaze, what, exactly, would that accomplish?

"See?...look at chu now!" ~ Al Pacino(God)

The Christian fundy, without fail, likes to assert that their "God" is "above us" and "beyond our understanding", blah, blah, yada, yada......but then out of the other side of their pie-hole they like to attach humanistic...i.e.."parental" attributes and motives to their "God". It's a never-ending on-slaught of contradictions.

Neo-fundy: His ways[God's] have confounded scholars for centuries.

But amateur religionists seem to know "His" ways. Hmmm....what's wrong with this picture?(Rhetorical)

Neo-fundy: But God wants us to have faith in things that benefit all people: charity, compassion, love, forgiveness, hope, generosity, etc.; things that we cannot see, touch or control but evidence of which abounds. These are the attributes of God, the image of God, which we all possess and which God seeks to grow within us.

News flash: One can believe in the power of "charity, compassion, love, forgivness, hope, generosity, etc." without being superstitious. You, Neo....you can believe in the power of all those things you mentioned without believing in "Buddha", right? Right...well, I can believe in the power of all those things without believing in, "Buddha"..OR "Yahweh". Get over it...we don't need superstition in the year 2007 A.D.(after deception)

Here's a dandy: During Old Testament times God showed kindness to people who did not follow His laws; but the people “helped” God by stoning those who disobeyed them.

Okay then, Disciple of Christ..... according to your Jesus' "laws", every Sabbath day(Sunday) your faithful ass should be hanging out at Home Depot stoning all the employees who work that day. So?..why don't you "help out" this Sunday? I think they open at 6:00..you'd have plenty of time to pelt a few arriving employees, and still have plenty of time to make it to church.

And here's a good one: The fact that God exists is, of course, the main issue regarding faith.

Nice try.

Um, if it's a "fact"....you don't NEED "faith", jackass. Having "Faith", with the connotation that it has in theology, is to admit uncertainty. Please, any Christian---tell me what other knowledge..i.e "facts" you've aquired, that need to be reaffirmed once or twice every 7 days. Gravity is a known "fact"...so where do people congregate for gravity worship?

Okay..I tried, but it's just too frustrating. I stop here. I concede the floor to my fellow Ex-ers with nerves of steel. lol

Good luck and reason be with you!

neosportin said...

You see, we must die and suffer in order for God to show his unending love for us. Just as Jonah was thrown into the belly of a whale, it just shows us how we can overcome God's evil punishment if we just have enough faith.

Like Noah and his family, God created all people before Noah, yet he warned them of an impending flood, if they do not change their hearts, but no one would listen to God except Noah and his family so, he killed them all, yet even after the flood that was not good enough, because soon we had Sodom and Gomorrah, yet God's warning about sin was not enough for S/G, so he had Lot have sex with his daughters, yet that was not good enough, so he sent Abram to have sex with his sister.

What this world needs is faith, that's all that is required to believe the Bible, faith, faith, faith...!!!!

.:webmaster:. said...

NeoCrazy said: "People who believe that God is watching what they do are motivated not to steal, commit crimes, lie, cheat, or murder without the threat of legal prosecution."

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!

Neo, that's ridiculous. The ratio of professed criminals to atheists in prison is greater in prisons than anywhere else. Less than 1% of prisoners claims to be atheist.

NeoDelusion wrote: "The alternative to believing in God is the belief in nothing."

HA HA HA HO HO HA HA HA HO HO

Neo, that's also ridiculous. People who don't believe in Allah basically believe in nothing. People who don't believe in the Greek Gods believe in nothing. People who don't believe in "The Great Spirit" believe in nothing.

Neo, people who BELIEVE in a unproven, no-evidence-for god, are living in a fantasy world. And Neo, to me, that is NOTHING. Reality is awesome. And mortality is simply a part of reality. It's called nature. Grow up.

NeoCrackpot wrote: "Because of this non-believers are far less likely and effective in unifying when charity is needed such as toward the victims of hurricane Katrina, the recent tsunamis and other disasters."

OMG!!! This is by far the most asinine thing you've written, Neo. Most of the rescue work in Katrina was done by secular agencies filled with secular volunteers.

Here's what Christianity can really do for a person. It can make that person into an arrogant, self-righteous, pompous, irrelevant, obnoxious, and pathetically mind-numbed ass named Neo.

tigg13 said...

Neo:"However, if we step back and look at this history from the perspective of a mathematician we can reason out the probability of events to find some pretty strong evidence that supports the bible and its claims."

Oooo goody! I love math!

"A) The original Jewish texts which illustrate the persona of God have not changed since the beginnings of the faith even when compared against the newer Christian beliefs. This suggests that God has been telling us who He is for a very long time. If man had invented these ideas they would have been far less accurate to our modern thinking and would have evolved like those of most other religions (as described in the narrative above).

First, the use of the terms "elohim" and "jehovah" in those early texts do imply that there was a change in how god was viewed.

Second, this may suggest a lot of things but it doesn't substantiate anything.

You are stating an opinion, not evidence.

"B) The Old Testament was obviously written before the time of Jesus but its’ prophesies clearly speak a king would come and lead them. The Jews, of course, expected a leader who would rule and subject other nations so they would have been quite unlikely to author texts which prepared for the likes of Jesus. This is strong evidence that God not only had informed us that He is here and who He is, it provides evidence that Jesus truly is the prophesied Christ of the Jews."

This is gibberish. The jews predicted that the messiah would be a king, but because jesus was not a king that means that the jews really didn't write the prophesies which proves that jesus was the messiah?

You not only have a bad premise but your premise doesn't even support your conclusion.

"C) Beyond the fact that the Jewish texts quite nicely prepare for the coming of a king, every one of its most important ceremonies strongly correspond with the events in Jesus and his life; ceremonies which are strikingly ritualistic foretellings of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection. This again is strong evidence that God not only had informed us that He is here and who He is, it also told us what He was preparing to do."

You have already questioned the accuracy and the authorship of these prophesies and yet you would still find them credible?

Did they say jesus was the messiah because he fulfilled the prophesies or did they say he fulfilled the prophesies because they wanted him to be the messiah?

You're jumping to conclusions.

"D) Astronomers have found evidence of a trinary star system that may be the celestial event the wise men saw at the birth of Jesus. Though this explanation is less dramatic than the biblical story it corroborates the bible’s teachings, providing evidence that the bible is truthful.

It is not possible for a celestial event to 'lead' people to a barn in Bethlehem. The idea for the star may have come from this trinary system but the story itself is pure fiction.

"E) Geologists have found records of flood events which indicate that the flood of Noah really did happen. The records do not point to a global-wide catastrophe but are additional evidence that the bible is truthful despite the many illustrative embellishments by its writers."

There are several ancient myths concerning great floods that predate the OT. Do you consider these tales to be truthful?

"F) Geologists also regularly use biblical stories to find the ruins of ancient cities and land masses; further evidence that the biblical stories are true. There were even a few cities archeologists thought they had found but in different places than in the bible, but which were later found near where the bible describes.

I own a whole stack of comic books that state emphatically that Spiderman lives in New York City. Now, it is a fact that New York City actually exists so I guess that proves that there really is a Spiderman.

"G) There is also archeological evidence of the city of Jericho and of a conflict with the Hebrews."

Unfortunately this evidence indicates that this conflict took place a couple of centuries before Moses was born.

"Like the stories of Noah’s ark and the star over Bethlehem, this story too appears to be true but again includes embellishments by its writers."

So you admit that these stories have been embellished but you still consider them to be good evidence in support of the bible.

Simply showing that the story tellers of the bible included actual places and events in their stories doesn't make the stories truthful. This is actually where myths and legends come from.


So what do we have here? Opinions, bad premises, unsupported conclusions and an inability to differentiate myth from truth.

Ok, now lets look at your math:

A number that you think is 1, plus another number that might be 1, plus a third number that could be 1 (but only if the second number was 1), plus a couple of numbers that look like 1s equals the "bible's claims are supported"

Bad math, Neo. Really bad.

Michelle said...

**The bible does not say that the world is flat. It uses expressive terminology which was used at the time of the Genesis writings to emphasize important elements.** So all the quotes about the ends of the earth, the pillars of the earth, the corners of the earth were just expressive terminology. The flaw there is that every writer who used that terminology meant it literally. Same with heaven and hell -- they 'knew' that hell was literally below them, and heaven literally above, and that is how the BIble is written --to express the idea that the earth was flat, heaven's above, and hell is below. -- and the pillars notion was used as justification to select only four Gospels. And if you're going to argue that God didn't say that the earth was flat, then you have writers inserting their own ideas into the Bible, because they didn't mean it in any other way. And if you're going that route, then you're opening the door to questioning exactly what God said in the entire Bible.

**God gives us many chances to recognize what He is trying to teach us, but at some point we become adults and we become responsible for our choices. ** But even to an infinite, all-knowing being, an adult human would come across as a child. You're assuming that God views human children and human adults as you do.

**after the child becomes an adult and its choices continue to disrupt the lives of those in the community the parents have no choice but to let the community resolve the problem** Our choices cannot 'disrupt' God's life. If that were true, we'd have power over God.

**This is strong evidence that God not only had informed us that He is here and who He is, it provides evidence that Jesus truly is the prophesied Christ of the Jews.** Have you ever examined the reasons why Judaism doesn't accept Jesus as the Messiah? Because they list prophecies that he didn't fufill, and should have if the Messiah. And half of the 'prophecies' he did fufill don't really qualify as prophecies.

**People who believe that God is watching what they do are motivated not to steal, commit crimes, lie, cheat, or murder without the threat of legal prosecution** What you're arguing is that people don't do those things *not* because it's the wrong thing to do, but because God is watching. There's no genuine desire to simply be a good person -- it's just a matter of fear keeping one in check.

eel_shepherd said...

Zowie, what a monster of a thread this one has turned out to be. As I read through it, I see stuff I want to reply to, and tell myself that I'll remember this one, but ten screens farther along, poof, it's gone from my little pea-brain when the next nugget catches my eye. Even so...

From UnBlinded, we have:
"...In this "cult" you are always free to leave. No one will harm you or pressure you. You can join the "cult" in the privacy of your own home, no money required..."

That's how it starts. But give it time. Eventually you will be informed that you are not giving the Lard some of your money when you ante up, but that since everything is his in the first place, you are actually witholding his own riches from him when you hang onto your paycheque, you dawg. So let's see the colour of your faith, brother.

One positive comment, which I'll try to get over with early, so as not to leave the wrong impression: Neocognitron, we must applaud your sign-offs to your posts, for not containing the "god bless you"s that you must be itching to deal out, opting instead for something of more universal appeal. Shows some awareness and appreciation of your surroundings, which in itself is an encouraging omen.

Whew, that was tough...

Okay now, a question for you, Neocognitron: If you were charged with a serious crime and the fact was that you were actually innocent, but that the evidence against you was not looking very good for you at all, who would you rather see sitting in the jury box: a random selection from the regular posters at this messageboard, or a random selection of the congregation of some Southern Baptist church in a city somewhere in Middle America? The truth, now. The spirits of the ancestors will tell me if you're fibbing.

And a general comment. In all your posts, you come at things as a believer. No problem there; you _are_ a believer. It's to be expected, therefore, that all of your interpretations will contain one more moving part (that would be the existence of biblegod) than would be expected from the one offered up by most people here. But for the life of me, I can't discern _why_ you include this extra moving part in a machine that will function equally well without it. Maybe it just seems like a given to you, but around here that's not enough. You have to show that without that extra part, the moral and philosophical questions under discussion are insoluble, or, at least, intractable. As things stand, the discussions with you resemble one of those "do-nothing" novelties that you find in the dime-stores, where you turn the crank and a couple of sliders attached to the crank run back and forth in grooves that are cut at right angles to each other.

The way morality can be accounted for in the absence of some perfect place-holder whose got all the best coupons is that life is a fractal affair. The patterns of life repeat themselves in a self-similar manner throughout the biosphere, right from the cellular to the societal level. "As above, so below." It's this comprehensive self-regulating tendency towards homeostasis that curbs rogue phenomena from setting a rogue agenda on the course of living beings for any length of time. This is the source of morality, not some nonexistent overlord. It's a process, not an event.

But let's not get distracted by all that. The question is, which of those two juries would you rather know was going to be judging the facts at your trial, if either?

Neocognitron said...

Tigg13,

Have you mastered all of these attributes, Neo? How does one master "love" or "generosity" or "hope"? Can you name some people who have mastered these things and provide some evidense that proves that they couldn't have done this without god's assistance? No, I have not mastered love, generosity, hope or similar attributes. Becoming better at them is not hard but perfecting them appears impossible. The closer I come to being perfect in any single aspect of ethical living the more I realize how difficult it is to be perfect in all of them. Every aspect of God’s ways has two sides. For example, when a person lacks love they are considered mean spirited or uncaring; but if a person has too much love they can be smothering, possessive or ludicrously self-sacrificing. Either way their love is not balanced. The same is true of generosity. If a person is not generous they are considered miserly or greedy; the opposite position is to be generous to a fault, giving all of their possessions without thinking or preparing for their own future. Again, these two positions are opposite sides of the balanced approach the bible promotes. Lastly, we consider hope. When a person has too little hope they typically become depressed and rely on others for support, but when they have too much hope they become overly brave and take un-necessary chances because of it. So how can a person improve these traits? Simple; just do the same thing you do normally to learn other things: make it a habit. Most people have no problem brushing their teeth, showering, eating breakfast or drinking coffee to start the day. Why? Because they have made these events habits in their lives. God wants us to make it a habit to be loving, kind, generous and hopeful. The more often we practice these traits the more they will become habits in our lives; the more habitual they become the more we learn to keep balance in them; as long as we keep seeking the balance.
You asked me to name some people who have mastered these things? Other than Jesus, I cannot. Mastery of these things is a difficult and very personal, and unlike the mastery of a sport or skill it does not put you in the public eye. In fact, it humbles you since humbleness is a primary aspect. However, there are a few people who stand out in history as exemplifying many aspects of them: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., America’s Founding Fathers, Ghandi, and those sainted by the church. Of those who have fought for civil rights, for the establishment and improvement of our government, for human rights, and a host of other changes in people’s ethical behavior the vast majority are from religious institutions. This fact provides evidence to my claim that only with God’s help can people excel in these attributes. Of course you will find a few who are not affiliated with religion, but they are uncommon.

”Neo: ‘Is it ok to kill people and make them suffer? No; of course not. But it is right and necessary that a father would punish his children so they would acknowledge him as authority over them and obey.’ It's not ok but it is right and necessary. You ever consider going into politics, Neo? I understand your confusion about this statement and your previous question about how we master love is a nice lead-in to this discussion. As I mentioned above, I have not mastered love, compassion, generosity or similar attributes; but I have come far enough to understand how one can love and still support the death penalty, the concept of war and deadly self defense. I am a Desert Storm veteran and have experienced many things related to combat, laying one’s life on the line and trusting is others to watch your back. And I was there, in part, to support your right to say and believe what you want even when I strongly disagree. We often think that love is opposed to the ideas of war and killing, but it is not. True love defends the weak, is expressed in many ways and does not expect love in return. For example, true love will still allow a murderer to go to the death chamber; but unlike at the death of Sadam Hussein it shows respect for the person who is about to die and does not taunt them. It verifies that the sentence is just and carries out the punishment quickly without causing un-necessary suffering despite the atrocities the condemned has committed. It is true that we should not kill and that killing is wrong but it is also wrong to say that ALL killing is wrong. It is wrong to kill without a valid reason, without mercy and without compassion. One of my favorite analogies is of two soldiers on a battlefield. One of these soldiers enjoys the slaughter and watching his bullets pass through the knees and stomachs of his targets causing them to writhe in pain and die slowly; the other seeks to defend the lives of his comrades and “hopes” that conflict will end quickly, shooting with the intent to kill to reduce the enemy’s suffering. Though both soldiers are killing enemy combatants the first is sinning by not showing mercy and compassion whereas the second has higher priorities. This is love shown even during times of combat.
God does not allow people to suffer because He enjoys it, He allows is it in order to teach us and to move us where we are needed. If a person is willing to listen and learn from the experience the suffering is appreciated as a learning tool. But one must not assume that suffering is meant to teach only them; sometimes it is meant to teach those around them as well. For example, a person who is happy and pleasant despite their difficulties does not become a burden to those around them; they show joy and strength even during suffering. Such a person is more likely to have friends and family who stick beside them and who assist as they can. However, a person who moans and gripes about their circumstances pushes people away and adds to their own misery. The happy person teaches others to be content with what they have and not to moan about what they have lost or do not have; and this is the ultimate lesson behind God’s allowance of suffering. He does not want us to suffer; it is us who do not welcome change or a loss of control or of a possession who view difficulties as suffering.

”Neo:’During Old Testament times God showed kindness to people who did not follow His laws; but the people ‘helped’ God by stoning those who disobeyed them.’ Were the words that Moses spoke to the Hebrews god's words or Moses's words? If they were god's words, then it was god's intent that transgressors should all have to suffer brutally violent deaths - even for minor violations. These were the words of God spoken through Moses. But these laws were intended to emphasize the serious nature of disobedience in order to show us His mercy; they were also meant to show how impossible it is to be truly perfect. Take for example the prostitute Rehab who hid spies in her home and was praised by God for lying to save them; or of Moses who killed an Egyptian guard but was still asked to lead the Israelites out of Egypt; or of Abraham who was lifted up for simply believing in God, not because he obeyed the commandments; or of Noah who slept with his daughters but was not harmed by God because of his faith; or of any other prophet, disciple or person in the bible. God has been showing us that none of us are perfect and we are all deserving of death. But this is not the end of it. These laws were also meant to show us how to be merciful; how to forgive though someone has done wrong. The greatest idea from Ten Commandments has always been that we love our neighbors as ourselves. God was teaching us that this love makes any other disobedience lawful since we cannot sin against others if we truly love them. Just think about picking up a rock to stone your neighbor. Some would very quickly grab stones to throw while others would reluctantly throw them in obedience to God’s word, and still others would not throw them at all. You might think those who choose not to throw stones are disobeying God’s word but God tells us above all to love our neighbors. I claim that this is what God wants of us.

Neo:"If Jesus had lived a perfect life and died of old age we would have forgotten all about his sacrifice as a perfect example." (WE would? How do you know this?) We know this because of the many others in history whose contributions barely receive a footnote in our historical records. It is the odd or deviant behaviors which stand out and which we recall with significant clarity, not those who try to live peacefully with one another. Jesus was forced to make himself a public spectacle so we would remember his contribution. Even at this many people still refuse to acknowledge his gift. For many people, if Jesus had died from old age his teachings and lessons would not have appeared significant because evidence of him “walking his talk” would not have been easily recognized or recorded; he would have been considered just another prophet or normal person as the Muslim, Buddist, Jews and Hindu faiths have relegated him to be.

If we were given empirical proof of God’s existence we wouldn’t have to hope for our future, but rather we would complain even louder asking why He allows various things to happen or why we aren’t all healthy, well fed and free from disease, famine and death." (Again, how do you know this?)” If we had empirical proof we would stop looking for answers and enjoying the beauty around us and would begin fighting for God’s favor rather than our own perfection. (Once more, how do you know this?) Jesus’ own disciples teach us this one since they were found quarreling amongst themselves about who would be the greatest. And, complaining about why God allows bad things to happen and us no longer looking for answers can be seen in many stories; for example the story of Job. Job was most convinced about God’s existence but very loudly complained about circumstances around him. Do you believe this complaining would have stopped if Job had received empirical proof of God’s existence? Why would that have changed Job’s position in the least? The question about why God allows troubles in our lives is a fundamental question both new and potential believers ask. It is one of the first questions we must understand about God before becoming stronger in our faith. The disciples quarreling about who would be the greatest exemplifies what learned believers would quarrel about; the questions and complaints posed by both new and seeking believers exemplify what young believers might quarrel about. This quarreling would not disappear if empirical proof of God’s existence were found. Currently we quarrel about “Did God exist” and “Could this really happen.” Further evidence would not stop it; it would simply take a new direction.

Tigg13, I appreciate your inquiries!

SpaceMonk,

”Neo: "Is it “ok to kill people and make them suffer? No; of course not. But it is right and necessary that a father would punish his children so they would acknowledge him as authority over them and obey." It's hard to learn from a lesson when the lesson kills you. You're not thinking about the ones who have died, only the survivors of bible-god's methods. Those dead people don't get a chance to learn any lesson from it, but I know, you say they must be deserving of that death, as a punishment. Then what about the infants and sucklings? ... They're relegated to faceless pawns killed off for bible-god's plot points. I am amused by the fact that so many on this thread are troubled by this issue of death and killing. It is not so difficult a concept to understand. God created all life and knows who will seek to live in harmony and those who will not. He knows whether we will become members of His family even when we are infants in the womb. We do not have to live a full, long life in order for God to determine who will become part of His family. He knows us. The reason we live and die is so we will learn for ourselves about the consequences of sin and disobedience. Those who die early in their lives (as infants or children) will not lose these lessons; they will see all that transpires upon the earth and will still learn them, perhaps even through the Master’s eyes. Death is not the end of life and should be looked upon as a doorway, not as a dreaded end. The premise that those who died were “faceless pawns killed of for god’s plot points” is imaginative and quite poetically described, but it is none-the-less wrong. Each of us is here for a purpose. The disciples were killed that others might learn; and Jesus too. At least they were adults, but we will all be taken when it is our time. So be joyful and have hope for your future knowing that God is in control.

boomSLANG,

Please explain the importance of a "firmament", and it's application in scientific study. Next, please explain exactly what it was that was producing "light" upon the earth, since "light" was "created" before the stars, yet, we obviously know that our sun, a "star", is where we get "light". Then, if you would, please explain how even a semi-retarded "God" wouldn't know that "darkness" was merely the absence of "light". In our modern language we use exaggerations such as “to the ends of the earth” and “pilliars of the earth” to describe far reaching and foundational elements even though we know there are no ends to a sphere and there are no physical pillars. Why would it be any different in ancient times? These people weren’t so ignorant as to believe they knew everything about the world, they were simply using words which best expressed their evolving ideas. Yes, they thought it was flat but they had little reason to think otherwise. I propose that scripture was written as it was because of things people believed at the time, not that it dictated what they believed. I also believe it was described as it is to allow for the truth rather than to establish their beliefs as fact. Nearly every story in the bible uses figurative language so why should the origin of the world be any different? As for your comment regarding the “light” upon the Earth, I am going to assume you have simply forgotten about plasma, quasars, pulsars, stars other than our Sun, and a host of other possible ways light appears within in the universe. Your question implies a literal interpretation as though you would believe no light anywhere was present but I would propose that this creation of “light” is referring to the creation of our local Sun and has no bearing on the other stars and celestial bodies. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if the order of the creation story was incorrect. If memory serves me, researchers have discovered ancient texts which show a different order to the creation story but these texts do not have enough corroborating evidence to be canonized. Their existence also would not prove the current creation story flawed; the current story may be the valid one while the other is flawed. Personally, I accept the premise of the creation story and it doesn’t matter if it is out of order since it does not affect the deeper truth the story relays. I wouldn’t mind knowing but I will leave those questions to archeologists and similar professionals.

... Is the smoldering talking shrubbery a "fact", or a "literary tool"? Please explain, in either case. And how about a sleep-over inside a whale's stomach? "Fact"?..or "literary tool"??? Again, either way..please explain. (This should be good) Apparently you don’t watch very many science and discovery programs since theories about these are favorites for them. The original Greek refers not to a whale but to a “sea monster” and most researchers find it plausible, given the right kind of sea creature. Likewise, the burning bush is plausible as natural gas escaping the crevices of a rocky mountain side, burning at the tips of the branches like a candle wick. If you wish evidence, then go do some research. There are plausible explanations for nearly everything in the bible but plausibility does not make it fact or negate its significance; and even when we can explain biblical miracles they are still miracles. As for what I believe about these stories: I believe they are true. But I also expect them to contain literary exaggerations which others stumble over in their attempts to understand God. It is all part of learning to walk by faith. I also believe we will never find logical explanations for many miracles within the bible since I believe God exists and can do anything; but usually He leaves just enough evidence for non-believers to convince themselves they are right.

tigg13,

The use of terms such as ‘elohim’ and ‘jehovia’ do not show evidence that the ideas about God have evolved in as those of other religions have. These are language translations; names. They show how the words were translated from language to language, not that the stories have evolved or that the ideas about who God is have changed. The Judeo-Christian faith has evolved over time but unlike for other religions it is our understanding which has come into alignment with the teachings rather than the teachings aligning with our understanding.

Your second counter argument, that the Jews predicted the messiah would be a king when he wasn’t, isn’t correct. Jesus was correctly interpreted to be a king but the Jews predicted him to be a king of this earth and did not realize there was a different kingdom in which he would reign.

Forgive me for not responding to the rest of your reply but it just goes downhill and my current response is already longer than I would like.

Michelle,

...But even to an infinite, all-knowing being, an adult human would come across as a child. You're assuming that God views human children and human adults as you do. Not quite. I have learned that God views the maturity in our faith independently of the maturity of our bodies. We can be children in our faith even when we are old and many stagnate in their faith and do not grow. I too have stagnated and it was only through troubles and suffering that God woke me up about it. And for that I am thankful. It goes back to the discussions I have been having with others about our suffering. We can learn from and appreciate it, if we are willing. We aren’t expected to enjoy it.

...Our choices cannot 'disrupt' God's life. If that were true, we'd have power over God. Perhaps I was not clear since it was not the ‘disruption’ of God’s life I was speaking about. It was about the disruption within a community. When a person steals from his neighbors it causes neighborhood unrest and the neighborhood must respond. They must either encourage or force the thief to get help, or to rid the neighborhood of him. God has given us free will and allows us to deal with those in our communities as we see fit. He would prefer that we all get along but we choose not to, so we are the ones who suffer the consequences. There’s no better way to teach someone than by letting them make their own mistakes.

What you're arguing is that people don't do those things *not* because it's the wrong thing to do, but because God is watching. There's no genuine desire to simply be a good person -- it's just a matter of fear keeping one in check. Yes, you are mostly correct. As a new, young believer remembering that God is watching is a very valid and necessary way to learn. It encourages believers to make habits of their good behavior so that as they get older they do what is right because it has become who they choose to be and not because God is watching. Notice that I said they choose to be good. Acknowledging an omnipresent deity is only the first step to becoming conscientious about what you do and are planning to do. Please do not be dismayed by this acknowledgement. We are all prone toward doing what is right when an authority is watching and are less motivated to do so when truly alone. Some will contest this and say they choose to do what is right despite their non-belief. I have no doubt of this, but I would not take a bet on the success of it unless the person acknowledges a power higher than themselves.

Peace!

eel_shepherd,

In answer to your question about who I would be judged by: I would have to go with the Southern Baptists somewhere in Middle America. I would expect them to supply counter arguments which make more sense and have more supporting evidence than those I have received here.

I enjoyed the comments!

UnBlinded said...

Hi Dano,
"The office of the pope has a history, so full of dishonesty, terror, and deceit that there are libraries full of books documenting it."
Why would you blame God for human error? Please note that I did say "I look for the Pope's comments for guidance and also for God's stamp of approval." Ultimately, I trust God to bring me where I should be and I do this by striving to be more and more like Him. As light years away that I am and as tiny as those steps are, I know that in the end, He'll bring me to where He wants me....and that will be with Him!
I probably should have written "With His infinite wisdom He does all that is possible to reveal Himself without coercing us to choose His will." instead of the "best that He can" but again, why hate God for my human error?

Hi Ryan,

With all due respect, I most certainly believe in St. Thomas Aquinas' statement that we need revelation for proper understanding. I have personal experience with this truth because I was blinded for over 30 years and it had to be revelation that gave me understanding. In the middle of an "Our Father" (a prayer that I had not recited in many years) recited as a Thank You to God for the life of sin that was so pleasing to me, I was overcome with an unexplainable deep sorrow and I wept bitterly. At this time, I didn't understand what happened and nothing was revealed to me but something that occurred that same day, was the catalyst to a deep repentance that brought me to my knees. I pleaded for mercy for all the years I did everything but my own will and now, 3 years later, He's blessed me with a peace and joy that I never experienced while running away from Him. Once I was UnBlinded, I could see all the times He had tried to touch me but that I always ignored Him. It took me a long time to believe that His mercy was still upon me but today, I know it by the many blessings that surround me. Ryan, I consider you blessed to be pursuing religious studies but your response is clearly not from someone that loves Him. I find this confusing... Nevertheless, if you can pardon my judgmental tone, I hope that you seek humility in your life. I don't believe that it's difficult for anyone to see that you would do well with this virtue....as we all would. If you seek God's virtues, all those written words that you studied will start to make sense. So much of it will make sense that for the amount of His revelation that you don't yet understand, you won't care much because your faith, by His grace, will be much stronger than the weight of any of these mysteries.

On your comments of Garabandal:
"Has any such thing ever happened on a college campus? on Wall Street? on a US naval vessel? In London? Paris?"
Are the people in these areas living in a healthy love of God? Please remember that the simple life of those people of Garabandal, in 1961, still involved mid-afternoon prayer times. The families still believed in daily worship of our Lord. They humbly accepted the Gospels as divine Truths and they all endeavored to grow in love of neighbor and God. I know these things of Garabandal through the many witness accounts of the life of it's residences before, during and after the period of miracles. These many testimonies help us understand why God chose such a humble and God fearing community. If you read the Gospels, you'll understand that it is consistent with His teachings.


Hi alanh,
Everything you referenced was from 1995 and 1996, what matters is the Church's stance today:
************
When Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict the XVI, was asked, "what will your office reply if anybody asks if the notification is still valid?," his reply was ...
"The situation has been modified"

January 2005

For the past few years an ongoing communication has been taking place between the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and Vassula. This communication has modified the situation that emerged after the Notification published by the CDF in 1995. The dialogue between Vassula and the CDF was published in the latest editions of TLIG worldwide at the request of the CDF’s Prefect at that time, H.E. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now H.H. Pope Benedict XVI. The publication of this dialogue has resulted in a letter dated 10th July 2004 which is signed by Cardinal Ratzinger himself to a number of Presidents of Catholic Episcopal Conferences who had expressed particular concern on Vassula and her writings. His Holiness explained to them in his letter that the position of the CDF has been modified towards Vassula and her writings. Pope Benedict wishes that everyone reads the questions put to Vassula and her answers.
************

By the way, "...either you'll love Him and are willing to work at living life by His rules or you prefer to make your own rules" is not a false dichotomy because there are only two alternatives, your way or His way. It doesn't matter what multitude of rules you choose from, the bottom line is that they are either His or they are not. Two options, period.

Hi Jim,

With regards to your comment on Jesus being a Legend, I never heard of anyone (or I should say multitudes) willingly die for a lie. It is confirmed through secular sources that early Christians were martyred for their beliefs. These early Christians were first hand witnesses to Gospel truths, how could they willingly be put to death for miracles and a resurrection that they never witnessed?

With regards to science's observation that creation has some evolutionary capabilities, this does not prove anything that is against creationism. Do you not think that God could and evidently has, made his creation with adaptive capabilities? Indeed He has and this is all part of the "gift" of freedom that we chose long ago. You will always have an "intellectual" out to believing in Him and this is precisely why, we can never come to faith with our "intelligence". He will always confound the "wise" because the only way to Him is through humility.

On your reply to my statement "...it takes more blind faith to believe in evolution"

"Faith implies a certainty in excess of what is manifestly demonstrated, and it actively discourages attempts at disproof."

This is precisely why you do need faith for evolution, because it is a theory with absolutely no leg to stand on. "Evolution" is certainly in excess of what is manifested and it actively discourages attempts at disproof! The facts are, that you believe that nothingness, through random micro-changes, gave you the ability to contemplate the Universe. Doesn't that strike anyone of you as simply outrageous? Don't get me wrong, I know how easy it is to believe this, I did it as well for many years but after seriously contemplating this fact, for me, by God's grace, it became completely unacceptable. Science has only reinforced my faith.

"I encounter a great many Christians who do not admit to the slightest doubt that their god exists. To me, this makes them indistinguishable from fools."

On this statement of yours I pray: "Dear Lord, based on this statement by Jim, I pray that you continue to intercede to keep my faith alive and to bring me to a greater state of "foolishness" as Jim describes. As well Lord, I pray that You continue to remind me that without Your grace, I would have no Faith what-so-ever. Lord, if you can raise me from the dead, I know that Your mercy can raise another agnostic from His state of spiritual death. I pray for this grace, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen."

"If you claim it {our conscience} to be something more, such as a means by which god channels his wishes to humans, then I will need to see some evidence supporting that fantastic assertion."

Intellectual arrogance = no faith
Willingly turning away from God = no faith

Believing in Him and trying to gain His trust in little things = growing faith and understanding

Your personal evidence will come from accepting Him as Truth and turning away from what you know to be sin. Without expecting anything, watch Him take control of Your life. Do not put Him to the test but Pray that you believe and that you need help with your unbelief.

"I believe you just contradicted yourself. If there is no way to understand the messages through "naturalism""

When I said that " details that cannot be understood with naturalism....", I was speaking of supernatural observations tied to TLIG and Garabandal. They are God testifying to the authenticity of the messages and they are the empirical evidence for His involvement in these messages/apparitions.

"Finally, what do you say to those who have tried earnestly for years to believe in god, only to be met with resounding silence?"

I would say that they know what sin they are choosing not to relinquish and that they should persevere in Penance, Prayer and reading God's word. They should also consider seeing a priest to discuss these issues. He may guide the person to the sacrament of Confession.

Hi Neo,

You mention multiple times that God cannot be proved with empirical evidence. Although you did not address me specifically, it certainly appears that you may have wanted to address my statement "This is just a little sample of the empirical evidence that God has made available to us all.". To be clear, I certainly agree that there is no empirical evidence for God but He has given some empirical evidence to substantiate His gifts of revelation and apparitions. The empirical evidence I speak of is the manifestations that cannot be proved through naturalism.

I repeat, this empirical evidence, for TLIG:

- her hand writing compared to the divine hand writings are distinctly different.

- Vassula Ryden was not educated in theology nor was she a practicing Christian. In fact, she was taught the Our Father prayer through these revelations. My point here is that with the little knowledge she had, she's written nearly a bible's worth of text and, studied by the Holy See, they find nothing contrary to their theology. Isn't it striking that she could write so much, from her "delusional" state and have it comply with the church?


I repeat, the empirical evidence, for Garabandal:
- the duration and the corroboration......4 years and 4 children trapped in another delusional state? A shared delusional state?

- Witness after witness discussing what they saw during their ecstasy, reveal that the children were often moving too fast for anyone to follow. At times, no one could keep up to them, not even the older kids.

- Multiple accounts of men trying to lift the children during their ecstasy and not one of them ever succeeded. Never a problem to lift them after the ecstasy.

- The visionaries, while in ecstacy, could effortlessly return the blessed objects (generally rosaries) to the rightful owners, even though they had a pile of them in their hands, were surrounded by crowds and were looking up at the sky.

- The list goes on and on of inexplicable witness accounts, not the least to mention are the miracles of conversion of many that witnessed the children.

May God bless you,
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com

tigg13 said...

Neo, first you said "It is difficult to become skilled in these mannerisms [charity, compassion,love, generosity, forgiveness, hope] but quite impossible to master them without the assistance of God."

Then I asked, “Have you mastered all of these attributes, Neo?"

To which you replied, "No, I have not mastered love, generosity, hope or similar attributes. Becoming better at them is not hard but perfecting them appears impossible.", and "You asked me to name some people who have mastered these things? Other than Jesus, I cannot."

So, if it is just as impossible to master these things with god's help as it is without it, then what good is god's help?

It seems that what you are really saying is that, in your obviously biased opinion, people who don't believe in your god do not (or can not) possess these traits to the degree that a believer does.

There is a word for this sort of opinion, it's called bigotry.

Neo: ‘Is it ok to kill people and make them suffer? No; of course not. But...'

You aren't answering the question, Neo. Does god want us to suffer or not? Trying to avoid the issue by saying that we are the one's who actually cause the suffering won't work. If god is all powerful then he/she/it is ultimately responsible for everything that happens.

If god decided that there would no longer be any suffering, then there would not be any suffering. The fact that there is suffering means that either:

A. god wants us to suffer.
B. god is powerless to stop it.
C. There is no god.

I get your take on morality and , to a certain extent, I agree with some of it. The problem is you have taken your own personal, subjective ideas about what is right and what is wrong and tied them to the bible.

You are not defending the bible so much as you are preaching Neoism.

"Were the words that Moses spoke to the Hebrews god's words or Moses's words?" "These were the words of God spoken through Moses. But these laws were intended to emphasize the serious nature of disobedience in order to show us His mercy; they were also meant to show how impossible it is to be truly perfect."

Where in the bible does it say this?

In any event, what you are saying, then, is that the laws of moses were never meant to teach us anything except 'we ain't perfect but we ought to be'. All of your grand notions about patience and understanding are are based on rules that god never expected us to follow in the first place.

Neo: "or of Abraham who was lifted up for simply believing in God, not because he obeyed the commandments"

God never gave Abraham any commandments - that came later.

Neo: "The greatest idea from Ten Commandments has always been that we love our neighbors as ourselves."

Sorry Neo. Not a commandment. Not in the same book. Not even in the same testament.

Neo: "God was teaching us that this love makes any other disobedience lawful since we cannot sin against others if we truly love them."

So I guess you must believe that it is impossible to truly love anybody because you have already demonstrated that we are imperfect sinners deserving of death.

Neo:"If Jesus had lived a perfect life and died of old age we would have forgotten all about his sacrifice as a perfect example." (WE would? How do you know this?)” ...

You are missing the point, Neo. You're creating "what if" scenarios and asserting that things WOULD have turned out a certain way if your scenarios had happened.

But this is all fantasy. It is impossible to know how the world would be different if the past had gone differently.

Neo: "...for example the story of Job. Job was most convinced about God’s existence but very loudly complained about circumstances around him. Do you believe this complaining would have stopped if Job had received empirical proof of God’s existence?"

Job did receive empirical proof of god's existance. In fact, they carried on a lengthy conversation which culminated in job's blessings being doubled.

And it did stop his complaining.

Neo: "The use of terms such as ‘elohim’ and ‘jehovia’ do not show evidence that the ideas about God have evolved in as those of other religions have. These are language translations; names. They show how the words were translated from language to language, not that the stories have evolved or that the ideas about who God is have changed."

You're stating opinion, not fact.

Neo: "Your second counter argument, that the Jews predicted the messiah would be a king when he wasn’t, isn’t correct. Jesus was correctly interpreted to be a king but the Jews predicted him to be a king of this earth and did not realize there was a different kingdom in which he would reign."

I didn't say that the jews falsely predicted the jesus would be king. I was trying to reiterate what you said which I called gibberish.

What you are really saying here, I believe, is that, because you Think that jesus fulfilled the OT prophesies and the jews don't that means that the jews weren't really responsible for those prophesies in the first place; god was.

Neo: "I claim that this is what God wants of us."

This one statement truly sums up everything that you have written.

You insist that the bible is the word of god even though you misquote it half the time.

You go on and on about what you think on the topics of ethics and morality and phrase everything as if you have the authority to speak for god.

You are so steadfast and certain of your superiority and god granted greatness that it does not seem to have occurred to you that other people have found what you have without your book or your god.

You have contradicted yourself, confused facts with opinions and avoided the issues.

But what really bothers me, Neo, is that you have implied elsewhere that your agenda in posting here is to convince others that they should believe in you.

dano said...

tigg13
It is all so clear to me, that God knew, even while you were still in the womb, that you would have a great capacity for critical thought, but he wanted you to be born, grow up, and start reading and posting here in ex-Christian so that you could expose Neo to seemingly, irrefutable logic.

The Gospel according to Neo gets stronger with the certitude, of which he will put into his next rebuttal of all of your points.

You know just as I do that God can do anything he wants. Just because he does things in the bible that are morality reprehensible to us, doesn't mean they are wrong. We must realize that many of the atrocities, that Bible God was fond of doing, were in reality lessons in morality.

I have enjoyed how God has used you to strengthen "The Gospel According To Neo"

Dan

ryan said...

Unblinded:

I cannot quote your exact words--something to the effect that we cannot come to god with our intelligence, but only through humility.

Any deity worthy of my worship, or even my notice, would respect and honor the brains that he gave me in the first place. Please do not even suggest that the supreme being wants us to be humble little milksops who are too afraid to raise an honest question.

How can you even dare to say that we cannot approach god through intelligence? That STINKS!!!!! What cannot be approached intelligently is your religion. Any god worth his salt would be only too happy to make himself apparant to not only my reason but to my senses. No worthy god would have me grovel on my knees in meek and mindless humility. Maybe you catholics value those things. It hasn't been so long ago that you were burning people like me; people who can and do think. Catholicism hates us. A god would not.

About Garabandal: you continue to report miracles and fantastic occurances which have come from ignorant, backward and superstitious peasants. Where is the "corroboration" you speak of? Did you see it for yourself, or, like any good catholic, are you believing what you have been told to believe? So your religion values these shitkickers more than it values civilized Americans? I am not surprized.

This thread is going to go south probably before the sun rises tomorrow. You need not respond to me, as I have lost interest. I am being petty by even replying to you. I would be curious about just one thing........how does anyone know that he has found the truth if he has shut off his mind to begin with?

Jim Arvo said...

Hello tigg13,

That was a very patient and thorough reply to Neo, our perpetual visitor. Kudos on that.

You said to Neo: "You go on and on about what you think on the topics of ethics and morality and phrase everything as if you have the authority to speak for god.". That is precisely so, and it's why I reached my limit of tolerance for Neo's rhetoric some time back. Take any statement of Neo's and look for what supports it; you will find that it rests upon a bald assertion of some form, such as a statement of what "god wants", or what motivates us, or what is "right", or what Jesus said, or what a Christian is, etc. etc. In other words, Neo's position suffers from an acute lack of critical reasoning. Most of us here have learned to keep questioning, which (presumably) is what allowed us to reject Christianity in the first place. But Neo, and a great many believers like him, stop as soon as he can find refuge in a comforting theological affirmation; e.g. Christians are moral, god is good, the Bible is the god's word, etc. Thus, conversations go nowhere, as they have no moorings to reality. It's all ephemeral self-affirming and self-righteous babble. Very tiring....

While I'm endlessly fascinated by the prospect of finding some way to communicate with folks like Neo, I occasionally need to throw up my hands and admit that I'm wasting my time. Not everybody has a desire to learn or grow; some simply wish to reaffirm what they think they know. As unhealthy as I think that is, if it's a deliberate personal choice, there's not much I can do about it--that is, aside from pointing to the emptiness of the rhetoric from time to time, for the benefit of others. That, and applauding others (like you) who have more patience than I.

b said...

any person that KNOWS God exists, and that KNOWS God loves him, and that KNOWS everything is going to be okay, would then choose to follow Him. or lets say 99.999% of people would (not that i'm saying the rest are evil or anything)follow him. So why doesn't he just make these so called "truths" painfully obvious to each and everyone of us in a personal way?

no, instead he gives us hidden, subtle messages. or he kills innocent children, or other very weird methods of rhetoric.

the answer is simply that this Christian-type God simply does not exist. or he does but he's a bit of an asshole.

alanh said...

Marc:

Most of what I find regarding Vassula is either your TLIG site, or www.catholicdoors.com which is advising Catholics to avoid her.
The "evidence" you mention is less than convincing:

her hand writing compared to the divine hand writings are distinctly different

Even if there was such a thing as "divine hand writings," why would a mismatch be considered supporting evidence?

Vassula Ryden was not educated in theology nor was she a practicing Christian. In fact, she was taught the Our Father prayer through these revelations. My point here is that with the little knowledge she had, she's written nearly a bible's worth of text...

And your assumption that she knew little about Christianity before she started writing is based on what? Her word?

As far as the Garabandal "evidence" goes, yes there is such a thing as shared delusion, mass hysteria, collective behavior, herd behavior, etc etc. From the pictures on the site it looks like children putting on a good performance for a receptive audience. If the "levitating" child didn't have her butt on the ground that would be a little more convincing.

Regarding your rules comment, for you the only choices are "your way or His way," so further discussion on the topic seems futile.

UnBlinded said...

Hi Ryan,

" I would be curious about just one thing........how does anyone know that he has found the truth if he has shut off his mind to begin with?"

You most certainly don't have to stop being intellectual, it's just that attempting to find the Truth purely with cerebral efforts isn't the way He made us. You can find Him intellectually of course but first you'll need to learn humility by trusting Him to take care of you through the whole process. First you have faith in Him, what follows is a life long journey of learning. I recommend you seek His ways, Jesus was very humble, He didn't go around yelling at everyone trying to intimidate with His power and intelligence. The facts are, that no one finds the Truth on their own, attempting this is intellectual arrogance. A sincere plea to God for assistance and a desire to be like him, will undoubtedly bring Him rushing to your help. He's said it many times in the TLIG messages "He loves us to folly!".

Also, from what I'm seeing with many people at this site that never find the Truth in His word, it's that they're simply not trying to find it. As atheists and as committed to their non-beliefs as they are, they read the bible to disprove the Truth. You see, there's an ulterior motive to their studies and it's rooted in their sin....their obduracy to divine revelation. If a person sincerely seeks the Truth, he will find it.

Hi Alanh,

Yes, the children of Garabandal put on a good show for 4 years. They woke themselves up in the middle of the night and had crowds of people following them nearly each time. All four of them, at their young age, had already corrupted themselves to such a degree that no guilt could bring them to deny their lie. We've all seen real thieves and murderers break down within hours under the interrogative stress of police officers, yet these children under significant stress from skeptics never surrendered to their so-called bluff. Years later, all of them continue to worship God.

If you have ears to hear, hear! And if you hear, know that you are truly blessed once you start to obey.

May God have mercy on all of us,
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com

Jim Arvo said...

Unblinded: "...attempting to find the Truth purely with cerebral efforts isn't the way He made us."

And you know this how? Certainly not through any "cerebral efforts" on your part, but "faith", right?

Unblinded: "You can find Him intellectually of course but first you'll need to learn humility by trusting Him to take care of you through the whole process."

Which means, of course, that you must FIRST believe in him; then you will find him. You have that exactly right. If you believe that an invisible being is pulling strings for you, you will see "evidence" of it everywhere you look. The brain is quite adept at attributing unexplained or unexpected events (with which life is teaming) to the wishes of some agent. This is why adherents of every religion see mountains of evidence for their chosen deity, yet nobody outside their cult can see it.

Unblinded: "First you have faith in Him, what follows is a life long journey of learning."

Translation: You first convince yourself that he is real, based on nothing but tall stories and wishful thinking, then you can further convince yourself by imagining that he talks to you and does things on your behalf; but only the good things--the bad stuff is caused by another invisible being.

Unblinded: "I recommend you seek His ways, Jesus was very humble, He didn't go around yelling at everyone trying to intimidate with His power and intelligence."

Yet he cursed fig trees for not bearing fruit (out of season), called people fools, deliberately cloaked his message in parables so that some would not understand, stated that he intended to cause strife within families, and suggested that nonbelievers would be better off dropped into the sea with a millstone tied to their necks. I suggest you try Buddha or Confucius for much more enlightened and compassionate teachings.

Blinded: "The facts are, that no one finds the Truth on their own, attempting this is intellectual arrogance."

Attempting to learn and follow reason is arrogance. That's a new one. To me arrogance is claiming to know things that you do not, like "no one finds the Truth on their own".

Blinded: "A sincere plea to God for assistance and a desire to be like him, will undoubtedly bring Him rushing to your help."

How many times did this all-powerful being watch children get abducted, raped, and murdered? How many agonizing praying pleading parents did he ignore? How many praying people have starved to death or been swept away by tsunamis or died agonizing deaths by cancer or Ebola? Could you possibly dream up any more egocentric and insensitive claptrap than the drivel you just handed us?

Blinded: "He's said it many times in the TLIG messages 'He loves us to folly!'."

Still on the TLIB kick, I see. Still showing not a trace of critical thinking, I see.

TotallyBlinded: "Also, from what I'm seeing with many people at this site that never find the Truth in His word, it's that they're simply not trying to find it."

Your arrogance is simply astonishing. Are you completely insensitive to the dozens (possibly hundreds) of anguished testimonies by people who sought your god with everything they had, for significant portions of their lives, only to realize they had been talking to themselves? If you can't open your brain long enough to ponder what so many apostates have gone through, when it is spelled out for you over and over in vivid detail, then you are either unforgivably lazy or intellectually dishonest to the point of being inhuman. I wish I could grab you by the shoulders and shake you. Wake up! WAKE UP!

BlindIdiot: "As atheists and as committed to their non-beliefs as they are, they read the bible to disprove the Truth."

And your evidence for this is what? You are making an assertion--something that you hope is true, for the sake of your pet beliefs. And your rhetoric about being "committed to their non-beliefs" is almost comical. I think you are attempting to hurl at us the yoke you wear--that of being "committed" to a belief. Of all things, being COMMITTED to a mere belief! I think you realize how absolutely ridiculous that is. Perhaps in the privacy of your own mind you will allow yourself to admit it. For the rest of us here, we will continue our commitment to discovering, as best we can, what is really so and not what we merely wish to be so. The former is the path of responsibility; the latter is childishness.

PompousTotallyBlindIdiot: "You see, there's an ulterior motive to their studies and it's rooted in their sin....their obduracy to divine revelation. If a person sincerely seeks the Truth, he will find it."

You cling to dogma like it's your life raft. You assert these things, totally oblivious to those around you. Is this what belief has done to you? Is this how blind belief imparts its poison? I don't know if it's possible to get through to you or not, but you have cut yourself off from reality. You present yourself as some kind of authority, yet your arguments are on a par with a nine-year-old. You confuse dogma for wisdom. You see blind acceptance as a virtue.

Some days I cannot muster any sympathy for those who walk through life totally blind, call themselves UNblinded, and expect the rest of us to bow to their wisdom. Such arrogance should have perished with the Dark Ages, yet religion still exerts it ugly hold on the minds of men. Blinded, you remind us all that we are still in the Dark Ages.

tigg13 said...

Hey Dano!

Yeah, I can put up with a lot. But what gets me about Neo is how contradictory he is.

He has shown that eternal damnation doesn't make sense, that he believes in evolution, that morality is relative, that the bible is so full of embellishments, bad translations, misunderstandings, cultural biases and irrational accounts that it can't be used as an inerrant, historically accurate resource, that god is far too complex for anyone to understand let alone explain to others, that religious doctrines, therefore, cannot be trusted, and that there's really no point in believing in god because: a) we are as we were intended to be, and b) we are all going to get at least one more chance to repent after we die.

The man is just a tree hug away from being a bonafide heathen!

And yet he continues to assert his faith in both god and the bible.

(At least I think he does - there's still a part of me that wonders if Neo isn't just a hoaxster who's pulling are legs.)

I guess I'm just hoping that since Neo has already thrown out most of the christian world view a dose or two of common sense will get him to look at his beliefs and see how vacuous they are.

Now, unblinded is a different story. I have the distinct feeling that he will soon be visited by a pair of white-suited gentlemen carrying rubber butterfly nets.

UnBlinded said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dano said...

No big deal UNBLINDED!
I'm sure that God will show all of us the same compassion and mercy that he is showing the people who are being born right now with horrendous birth defects, all those babies who are starving, all those women who will be raped today, all those who are dying of terrible painful diseases, the millions who have spent their lives in prayer asking, for mercy and justice, but have not received any, the thousands who have had their limbs blown off in wars, and generally, all the millions of his children who are suffering every kind of pain and misfortune imaginable.

As we speak I'm sure that right now millions, and millions of people are asking for something from God, and he will answer them just like he did for the little girl that was raped and buried alive in Florida.
Dan

Passerby said...

Blinded,
Unbeknownst to you, your childish replies are helping people leave the fold. You can't even write a sentence without capitalizing Him, He, His, etc. You really need to grow up! It appears you can't write a sentence without the constant fear of offending your imaginary big-sky-daddy (i.e. god). Are you that afraid of your imaginary little-man-in-the-sky (i.e. god)?


Or, are you just another callous faith healer who makes a living off the ignorant masses, spewing cherry-picked passages from the book of filth called the Bible?


May your Jealous God bless you.

http://www.christianitymeme.org/
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/your-delusion.htm

Cheers

ryan said...

Marc, or unblinded, or whoever the fuck you are, your reply of March 15 is without the faintest doubt the most revolting thing I have ever read on this site. I have begun to see that we do not need to try at all to reject xristianity; we just sit back and let you assholes post your drivel.

Your last post hit the screen like a handful of shit. What in the fucking hell do you use for brains? Who are you calling "intractable"? What you are hearing are ordinary men and women who have the decency to think for themselves and to make their own decisions; men and women who are not living on their knees.It is your problem if you are "astounded". I suppose that, to your kind, our kind is astounding.

And you are "sad". Why don't you just go and cry me a river?

And you pray that his grace will fall on us. I hope that a stray meteorite will fall on you--it might knock some sense into that thick head.

And "truly lucid"? You are following a set of superstitions that should have died out in the dark ages and you think that you are lucid? You are obsessed with miracles that you have heard second and third hand, and you pass yourself off as a thinker?

And do not call me a child. I am not a child. I do not need your jewgod, and I do not need your fucking preaching. Go back and read your sugar creek gang stories and your danny orliss stories. Stay away from grown-ups. You only piss us off.

"he's at your door knocking". Oh xrist almighty, I am going to retch.

ryan said...

Jim Arvo

I was going to answer Blinders post of March 14 but you did so damned good that I didn't want to spoil anything.

Glad to be sharing the same battleship, brother. Beats a lifeboat all to hell.

UnBlinded said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ryan said...

That's great, Blinders. We have had our fill of your slander.

And you accused dano of being self-righteous and arrogant? I wanted to retch again, but all I could manage was a bit of english muffin.

And the word is "slanderous" not "slanderish". And Blinders, if you cannot engage in good, hot, honest debate without feeling guilty, then you need to grow up. Your religion has made you feel less than a man. You are not a "sinner" if you have the insides to go head-to-head with strong, worthy opponents.

ryan said...

OH shit, Blinders deleted his own comment. For the benefit of the rest of you, he said that he could not continue posting, as he was beginning to sin by participating in our "slanderish" (sic) postings.

We see what religion does to a man's morale.

UnBlinded said...

I'm done. Take care.
Continuing "debate" will only result in further sin from both sides of the table. I am not exercising temperance as the Lord would want and this results in evil being refuted with more evil.
Peace and love to all of you...
Marc

Jim Arvo said...

Hi ryan,

Sometimes it's therapeutic to unload on these proselytizing somnambulists, isn't it? I think electro-convulsive shock therapy would be appropriate for some of them but, alas, that option is not yet supported through internet blogs. In the mean time, our battleship must be made of words and ideas, even if not always delivered genteelly. I know that we're on the same wavelength here. I appreciate your comments very much.

ryan said...

Well Jim, allow me to say that exchristian would be a colder place without you. To continue the naval analogy, it is my fond wish that we can someday retire and the ship can be decommissioned.

And Blinders, we have not heard the last of you. You are coming back like a moth to a flame. You find something appealing about our approach to life,no? We are people who can speak our minds without feeling sinful and without feeling that we are making baby jesus cry.

alanh said...

Marc wrote:

the children of Garabandal put on a good show for 4 years

Well, "good" being a relative term, if you're going to claim a child is levitating, you really need to show some daylight between the ground and the child's rear end. I bet the kids loved being the center of attention for all that time, and I'm sure they sincerely believed they were having a religious experience.

We've all seen real thieves and murderers break down within hours under the interrogative stress of police officers

In movies and TV shows, but they are, once again, performances.

Years later, all of them continue to worship God.

As one would expect.

If you have ears to hear, hear!

We're listening, still waiting for credible evidence.

ryan said...

At the center of the Salem witch trials was a pack of hysterical adolescent girls, followed up by fanatics who were only too eager to believe them.

dano said...

Unblinded wrote:
"Dano, do you not see anything self-righteous and arrogant in your argument? I suppose you could do better than Him while still giving everyone free will... Your compassion for the world is as astounding, we have a saint in the making."

Dano replies to Unblinded;
I didn't say anything about my level of compassion for the world. All I inferred with my post is that God is always assigned the attributes of love and compassion by Christians, but when you look around it appears that he isn't showing any.

Either, he isn't aware of all of the suffering in the world, or he is aware of it but refuses to do anything about it. That makes him either immoral or impotent.

#1 I don't think "Free will" is possible, because everything we do is a direct result of what we are, and for the most part we had no say into what we are. Life is just a process of discovering what we are from beginning to end.
Dan

Jim Arvo said...

From Blinded's deleted post...

Blinded: "I find it sad that so many believe that being able to love is something that evolved...."

Let me share what makes me sad. I am saddened by people who believe they are in possession of an absolute "Truth", and I am saddened by those who mistake their gut reactions for penetrating insights into reality. I am also saddened by those who attack ideas they have apparently made no effort to understand. In fact, I find all of those attributes to be nothing short of tragic when exhibited by a seemingly educated adult living in a modern socieity.

Blinded: "I pray that His grace will fall upon you some day, such that you can all experience what it feels like to be truly lucid."

I'm hoping you recognize at some level the price of that "lucidity" you claim you have. The price you pay is in blocking out all that clashes with your system of beliefs. You must explain away or close your eyes to all tragedies that befall innocent people. You must deny at all costs that intelligent, educated, well-intentioned people have seen what you have seen, and ultimately found your religion to be a contrivance of the human imagination. You must deny that apostates ever sincerely reached out to your god. You must partition all of humanity into the "saved" and the "unsaved". You must bring your thoughts into submission, so as to curry favor with your "compassionate" god. These are tragic in that they blind you to the very real people around you. They make you uncaring, unfeeling, and ultimately unthinking. And there you sit in your "lucid" bubble, fearing the consequences of having conversed with those who hold different opinions. The word "pathetic" springs to mind, but it somehow seems to weak a word. Tragic is more apt.

I'm going to try to convey to you what lucidity really feels like. It's being comfortable with who you are, faults and all. It's realizing that you will never have all the answers, that you are probably wrong about many things, and that it's all perfectly natural--it's all part of being human. It's the feeling that comes from knowing that you are free to investigate any idea, without fear of reprisal from an invisible capricious being. But most of all it is this: It's the luxurious freedom to answer any and all questions straightforwardly and honestly, without the slightest fear of contradicting one's self or being punished for it. You see, it's a marvelous thing to allow nature to answer our questions, as she is always "right". Nature is nature. We needn't apologize for her. We needn't cover our tracks, or attempt to be someone we are not. If our conclusions turn out to be wrong in one way or another, we can correct them and move on, better for the experience.

But the type of lucidity I just describe also comes with a price. The price is exacted by those who wish to foist their insular thinking on us, and wish for us to join them in their dark little bubbles, thinking they alone hold the key to the universe. We are vilified by them, despised by them, pitied by them, and blatantly mischaracterized by them. We want nothing at all to do with your intellectual cocoons, except, perhaps, to help you escape from them. As light as you may think it is on the inside, it cannot compare to the intellectual freedom of thinking for one's self. The astonishing coherence of a worldview without superstition is wonderful thing to behold.

At one point you referred to our discussion here as a "debate"; you rightly put that word in quotes. Our discussion with you was nothing approaching a debate. A debate involves exploring ideas by pitting them against one another; it is the forge within which finely crafted tools are made. What we had instead was a one-way flow of dogma from you to us. As far as I can tell, nothing at all made its way from us back to you, cloistered within your bubble. So, you are absolutely right about this not having been a debate, but I'll wager you will never own up to the reason why. I hope you have a pleasant life.

ryan said...

jim and dano:

Is it possible to retrieve deleted posts? How did you do that?

UnBlinded said...

I'm sorry Ryan, I thought you had enough, "That's great, Blinders. We have had our fill of your slander..

Thanks for the response "Jim".

My family will include you and this site in our prayers,
Peace and love.
Marc

**** Revised March 15 2nd post ****
Please pardon my March 15 sentence "It may help you sleep at night but, unless you try to wake up, you won't always have the luxury of sleep." This is a threatening statement and I don't have the right to speak in a doomsday approach. God tells us all that we need in the Gospels and if He has such a message to send, you can read it there. For those of us that love Him, we just want to let everyone know of His love and compassion. His justice, I'll let you learn about from Himself.

Dano, do you not see anything self-righteous and arrogant in your argument? I suppose you could do better than Him while still giving everyone free will... Your compassion for the world is astounding, we have a saint in the making.

I will end it here...as I am now beginning to sin by joining all of you in your slanderous approach to debate.
God help us all...
Marc

**** Revised March 15 1st post ****
Gentlemen and/or ladies, I am as astounded as you are with me, with your intractable state. I find it sad that so many believe that being able to love is something that evolved. I pray that His grace will fall upon you some day, such that you can all experience what it feels like to be truly lucid. Until then....I guess all atheists can continue to attribute their vices to an unfortunate evolutionary or psychological explanation.

His infinite mercy is dying to have His child (yes you!) back in His arms. He made you and He knows everything about you. He would immediately start to nourish you if only you gave Him one little sign of life...by seeking Him! He's at your door knocking...

Peace and love,
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com

Jim Arvo said...

Ryan, I just pulled it from the recent comments page.

Blinded, we'll be hoping for you. Bye bye.

redtail said...

Neo wrote: I have come far enough to understand how one can love and still support the death penalty
Did i miss something? How does a christian square this with "Thou shalt not kill"? I was not aware there were conditions to the commandments...? or is that just another area open to translation? or maybe just following gods example...

Astreja said...

Unblinded babbled:

...it's just that attempting to find the Truth purely with cerebral efforts isn't the way He made us.

Prove that we were made by anything. Then prove that your assertion about "the way He made us" is correct.

"...but first you'll need to learn humility..."

Nonsense. An all-powerful god is not impressed by humility. You might tend to think so if you regularly attribute human traits and emotions to your deity, but... When dealing with "infinitely powerful" beings, the second-most powerful and arrogant being in the entire cosmos would, by comparison, appear humble and infinitesmal.

Jesus was very humble, He didn't go around yelling at everyone trying to intimidate with His power and intelligence.

Except for the bit where he caused a riot in the temple by overturning tables and throwing out the moneychangers...

...And that part when he cursed an out-of-season fig tree...

...And the time he compared a Syrian woman to a dog...

...And, of course, that little glitch in Mark 14:62 when he boasted "Ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."

...A sincere plea to God for assistance and a desire to be like him...

Desire to be like that self-righteous, genocidal maniac? No, thank you. I prefer to model good behaviour.

Have fun in your superstitious delusions, Marc, and may your eventual deconversion be swift but not too, too painful.

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

Astreja, if you've read anything at all that I've posted, you know I would never choose to be an atheist. I would never willingly turn away from my lifeline. As well, I know in my heart that God will protect me from ever becoming blind again.

In Jesus' own words, "I loathe atheism!"

And please, don't ever lump me in as one that will eventually be like you. I've never written you that one day you'll convert, only God knows if this will happen, I only tried to share the Truth. If the Truth doesn't appeal to you, then sadly, all of us loving Truth will simply have to watch you walk away.

I think I'll go hug my children now and pray that the world never hardens them to this degree.

Peace,
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com

Jim Arvo said...

Marc,

It's no surprise that you came back to hurl more stones. Your post is thick with self-righteousness and the (outward) certainty that only comes from closing one's mind. I'm reminded of Bertrand Russell's famous quote:

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.

It's clear you have a deep disdain and distrust for those who do not share your beliefs. (There's a word for that too.) It's also clear that you will never afford yourself the opportunity to hear what we have to say. Let's both admit that, and part company. But I'm going to hurl one last stone of my own: there is no honor is credulity; claiming to possess the "Truth" while ignoring evidence to the contrary is the mark of a fool.

Anonymous said...

I hope Marc leaves for good. I can't stand that guy. It's people like him who are part of the reason I left church. What an asshole you are, Marc. You are such a condescending arrogant prick. Jim - don't waste any more of your valuable writing abilities on this guy. Even my ex-pastor thinks this guy is a farce! (Yep - exchristian, but I still maintain my friendships!) -Wes.

Jim Arvo said...

I'm done with him, Wes. Enough is enough.

Astreja said...

Já, I'm done with him too. His perspective on "truth" is a closed circle, and his message hateful and arrogant. He attempts to project his own fears and self-loathing onto us.

Just like the god of the Bible (or, at least, the authors of that god) projected its neuroses and prejudices onto humanity.

And therein lies a grave danger. Will those who make excuses for their pet deity's bad behaviour try to halt that same behaviour in their mortal cousins?

Or, like so many before them, will they write it off as "flawed nature" and refuse to act?

Or -- Far, far worse -- Will they themselves pick up pitchforks and torches and lynching rope if a fellow believer sanctions murder in the name of their god?

History, and my extended family's experiences in Saxony, Norway, Iceland, and Wurzburg, Germany suggest that we are never far from that third possibility.

To quote from Kevin Parry's original post, "It is often said that a leader who is worthy of respect is a leader who sets an example." And, like Mr. Parry, I find myself unable to reconcile Biblical atrocities with morality.

.:webmaster:. said...

Marc actually said, "In Jesus' own words..." as if it was authoritative and meaningful.

Great!

Jesus said "Give to ALL who ask."

And the context of that commandment is right here: "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked."
-- Luke 6:27-35

So, obey your god, be kind to this wicked sinner (me), and cough up ten dollars. And, be extremely grateful that I didn't ask for a thousand.

UnBlinded said...

Please pardon me Jim, if you feel that a stone has been hurled. Just because I don't agree with your beliefs, I have not joined you and others in petty name calling. I have the right to disagree with you on not choosing to turn away from God. I have the right in believing that it's a most frightful option to me. I also have the right to ask that I am not included in that group. For many posts, I only tried to share my thoughts on this sensitive issue. And for many responses I've been dealt with vicious personal attacks. You also have the right to believe in naturalism and this is why I calmly stated that "all of us loving Truth will simply have to watch you walk away." You shouldn't be offended by this...because it isn't Truth to you. You have your truth, we have ours. We don't need to resort to personal attacks, do we?

As well, I am not self-righteous and if you believe this, you've read nothing I wrote. I am a wretched creature that doesn't deserve salvation but this is how much He loves us all. He'll take any of us, clean us and bring us into His home once we acknowledge that we are filthy.

It's truly been a learning experience.
May He bless you all.
Marc,
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com

alanh said...

UnBlinded wrote:

In Jesus' own words, "I loathe atheism!"

You mean Vassula Ryden's own words:

God: Vassula write the word aids,

Vassula: AIDS?

God: Yes, replace it by the word Justice. My Chalice of Mercy has brimmed over, and My Chalice of Justice is full, do not let It brim over! I have told you before that the world is offending Me, I am a God of Love but I am also known to be a God of Justice I loathe atheism!



AIDS is justice? God hates atheism? This is some dangerous stuff, I hope it stays at the fringes where it belongs.

Jim Arvo said...

Blinded: "...God will protect me from ever becoming blind again."

Blinded: "In Jesus' own words, 'I loathe atheism!" (This "quote" is laughable, by the way.)

Blinded: "A...If the Truth doesn't appeal to you,..."

Blinded: "...I think I'll go hug my children now and pray that the world never hardens them to this degree."

Yet you see nothing self-righteous in anything you've said. You've been calling us "blind" from the start (which is why I now return the favor), you've been expressing deep disdain for our position (and without the slightest interest in learning what it is), you've been arrogantly claiming to possess the "Truth" and admonishing us for "walking away" from it, and you've suggested that we are "hardened". I've real all of your posts, and they are the epitome of self-righteousness, bigotry, and small-mindedness. They reflect an abysmal morality.

Goodbye!

dano said...

I like this quote by Sam Harris so much that I am cutting and pasting it with the hope that it will catch the eye of just one blinded person.

"Books like the Bible and the Koran get almost every significant fact about us and our world wrong. Every scientific domain — from cosmology to psychology to economics — has superseded and surpassed the wisdom of Scripture.
Everything of value that people get from religion can be had more honestly, without presuming anything on insufficient evidence. The rest is self-deception, set to music."
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-harris15mar15,0,671840.story?coll=la-home-commentary

DAN

Jim Arvo said...

I love the quote, dano. Thanks for sharing it. And thank goodness for people like Sam Harris, who have the honesty, eloquence, and wherewithal to expose the insanity of religion. Will it make a difference? Who knows...

UnBlinded said...

Dear Jim,
Why must you resort to name calling just because I believe in something that is greater than all of us..."epitome of self-righteousness, bigotry, and small-mindedness"? At least this time you were kind enough to quote me such that I could understand the source of your disdain for me.

Let's have a look, shall we...
Blinded: "...God will protect me from ever becoming blind again."
So....you know that I believe in Gospel Truths and that because of this belief, I hope in Him, right? For me to believe with all my heart that He will protect me from being blind again (ie. not believing the Gospel Truths) is offensive to you, how? Is this hope that I have, the source of my self-righteousness, bigotry and small-mindedness? Haven't I tried to share how God woke me up from sleep? Haven't I tried to show empirical evidence He's given us on some of His modern day revelations? Have I called you names and insulted your intelligence? So, my hope in His love and protection was re-quoted for....?

Blinded: "In Jesus' own words, 'I loathe atheism!"
So....why should this statement come as a shock or as an offence to any of you? Again, you know that I believe in Gospel Truths and this statement is clearly consistent with NT revelations, no? He always made it very clear that if we weren't with Him, then we're against Him, no? Why wouldn't Jesus, today, loathe atheism? There's no reason for this to offend any of you because He's a fictional character to you. Big deal, Papa Smurf, loathe's humans that don't believe in him. Is this quote, the source of my self-righteousness, bigotry and small-mindedness? Why, because I essentially re-quoted the Gospel...?

Blinded: "A...If the Truth doesn't appeal to you,..."
I'm not allowed to paraphrase you? You make it very clear that the Gospels for you are not Truths, right? So, I soften your stance by saying that "it doesn't appeal to you,..". I'm simply stating your case for you, aren't I? So, by mentioning in my reply something that reflects your belief....is this the source of my self-righteousness, bigotry and small-mindedness? Really? You're welcome to re-state that I love God a hundred time over if you wish, why should I be offended if you re-state my beliefs. ?

Blinded: "...I think I'll go hug my children now and pray that the world never hardens them to this degree."
Now this one is a kicker. I love my children and I pray for their spiritual well being....please don't tell me that this is the source of my self-righteousness, bigotry and small-mindedness? I do all that I can to teach my children by example.....by loving them and respecting them. They are their own created beings and they have the freedom to choose to turn away from God or not. I will never stop loving them and I will never stop praying for them regardless of absolutely whatever happens to them. It doesn't matter to me if they tell me that they're atheists, homosexual, thieves, etc.... I would always kneel down and pray for God to sustain me through any of those sufferings...as difficult as they might be. It's the sin that God doesn't like, not the sinner and I would plead that He molds me into being just like Him as I wait patiently for Him to come to their rescue.

Hi Dano,
#1 I don't think "Free will" is possible, because everything we do is a direct result of what we are, and for the most part we had no say into what we are. Life is just a process of discovering what we are from beginning to end.
I'll just call you mister "autonomic" from now on, I guess. So, how do you get out of the house...keep bumping into walls until you hit the door. Sorry for not being strong enough to resist, I mean "I don't think "Free will" is possible". ? Don't sweat it Dano, I've said and done a massive amount of silly things in my life. I can hear all your sarcastic comments from hear "No? Really?". :)

Take care,
Signed....foolish guy that just won't go away.
Marc

J. C. Samuelson said...

Marc/Unblinded,

"You have your truth, we have ours."

All truth is not equal. Your truth is dependent on a preference for unreliable testimony and an ignorance or intentional disregard for valid scientific evidence. Certainly, it is your choice to do so, but you have no business lecturing anyone on what is truth when it is abundantly clear that you aren't able (or perhaps simply unwilling) to distinguish the difference. If someday witness testimony is determined reliable, then perhaps some of us will have to revise our position. Until then, some of us will continue to demand a higher standard be met.

"I am not self-righteous and if you believe this, you've read nothing I wrote."

Some choice quotes by Marc/UnBlinded:

"...don't ever lump me in as one that will eventually be like you." (posted: March 16, 2007)

IOW, I am not like you, I am BETTER than you because I BELIEVE!!!

"If the Truth doesn't appeal to you, then sadly, all of us loving Truth will simply have to watch you walk away." (posted: March 16, 2007)

IOW, we (non-believers) don't love the truth, whereas you do.

"His justice, I'll let you learn about from Himself." (posted: March 15, 2007)

Veiled threat.

"I am now beginning to sin by joining all of you in your slanderous approach to debate." (posted: March 15, 2007)

Marc, you "joined" in that method long before anyone here did, as we'll see as we continue to review your remarks.

"...such that you can all experience what it feels like to be truly lucid." (posted: March 15, 2007)

IOW, we are not now "lucid," whereas you are.

"He would immediately start to nourish you if only you gave Him one little sign of life..." (posted: March 15, 2007)

Implying we are dead (presumably in spirit).

I'm seeing with many people at this site that never find the Truth in His word, it's that they're simply not trying to find it...You see, there's an ulterior motive to their studies and it's rooted in their sin....their obduracy to divine revelation." (posted: March 14, 2007)

Casting aspersions on our sincerity, our willingness to find the truth, now or in the past.

"I hope that you seek humility in your life." (posted: March 13, 2007)

Implying that the person you were addressing is not humble.

"...either you'll love Him and are willing to work at living life by His rules or you prefer to make your own rules." (posted: March 05, 2007)

Implying that those who don't subscribe to your holy book live by a faulty or non-existent standard (i.e., immoral).

"The obduracy towards God's word at this site can be harmful to anyone." (posted: March 05, 2007)

We are harming or intend to harm others.

From: Insulting to Atheists...

"For any Christians or potential ex-Christians that hit this thread, please recognize that I did try to get someone to give me a response with substance. I was hoping for someone to give me that clinching argument that sold them on evolution and I never received one single argument. I was expecting a solid scientific explanation to my rose scent experience and found no one willing to offer one. Instead, I was met with much hatred. If I were to continue posting to this site, I fear that I could end up succumbing to the temptation to return evil with evil and for this reason, I'm endeavoring to end it with this post." (posted: February 19, 2007 EST)

The righteous, long-suffering servant tried desperately to reach the heathens but was unable to penetrate their intractable, evil hearts.

Your ego is much larger than is warranted, Marc.

"Because it's been made abundantly clear to me that, today, many people here would never believe in God, nor would they ever love Jesus, I'd like to propose something for all of you. Why don't we all try to live with the end in mind, if not as a thank you for God's gift of life, then maybe for family members that we leave behind...The reason I propose that we do this is such that we all make a conscience effort to listen to our consciences. If you do this sincerely...turning away from hateful remarks to family, releasing grudges, ending all unwarranted hates, being the same person to everyone, ending secret lives and vices, getting rid of all hypocrisy and duality, etc..." (posted: February 18, 2007 EST)

Implying that we're living our lives for only our own pleasure, without regard to others (including family). In other words, we're immoral because we don't believe what you do.

"Have you ever really sought the truth with a truly objective mind?" (posted: February 17, 2007 EST)

Implying that you, not the person you're addressing, sought the truth objectively.

"...show me that you're still alive in there and communicate honestly with me."" (posted: February 17, 2007 EST)

Implying dishonesty on the part of the one you're addressing.

"Not all this Web site's viewers have reached your level of aridity." (posted: February 17, 2007 EST)

Implying the person you're addressing is lifeless & dull, lacking interest or feeling.

"If you believe in nothing, then you must believe in evolution and I hope that you are curious enough to look at the facts with an open mind." (posted: February 17, 2007 EST)

Implying closed-mindedness, and a lack of faith and/or belief in anything.

Furthermore, you continue to misrepresent yourself...

"The only thing that is asked is that you look at all the facts." (posted: March 05, 2007)

and...

"Yes, I have looked at the facts and from both perspectives..." (posted: March 06, 2007)

Disingenuous of you to advise someone to do what you yourself haven't done. I quote:

"I'll confess that most of my reading have been from creationists. I've read parts of Dan Barker's main book and am still reading a couple books from Sam Harris. I'll be attempting to read your recommended links and possibly even your recommended books." (posted: February 22, 2007).

As commendable as it may be that you've bothered to read something - anything - beyond that which affirms your belief, parts of Dan Barker's book and parts of Sam Harris' only two books does not qualify you to speak intelligently about "all the facts."

And instead of responding with something "of substance" as you persistently asked us to do (which we did on the thread, Insulting to Atheists), you decided to seek more fertile ground on another, only to find yourself drowned yet again in substantial rebuttals to your position. You've still not changed your approach, and you continue to misrepresent yourself as someone who's honestly looked at "all the facts."

Bottom line, Marc: You have been "hurling stones" since you first posted. Your time would be better spent educating yourself rather than posting long, insulting, and pointless missives here.

Guys, props to you all for showing as much patience as you have. It's more than I could muster.

.:webmaster:. said...

Thank goodness for people like Sam Harris, who ... expose the insanity of religion.

Jim, we don't need Sam for that. We have UB. He's doing a remarkable job exposing the insanity of religion.

Hey UB! In the name of your Jesus, I am asking you for $100.00. You can give it to me through PayPal. Remember, your god commands you to give to ALL who ask.

Jamie said...

Let's have a look, shall we...
Blinded: ...God will protect me from ever becoming blind again."
...For me to believe with all my heart that He will protect me from being blind again (ie. not believing the Gospel Truths) is offensive to you, how?


Are you really missing the point to this degree, Marc? I admire you for keeping your cool overall, but to think you haven't been hurling implied insults doesn't make me confident in your "Unblinded" assertion. To address the above quote, the part that is offensive is the implication that everyone who doesn't believe like you do is blind...that is what is offensive, not your belief in "Gospel Truth" as you call it. Do you get it? The offense isn't at your belief, it is at your implication of what others who don't believe are.

Now I'll spell out your misunderstandings in the rest of your post...

Blinded: "A...If the Truth doesn't appeal to you,..."
I'm not allowed to paraphrase you? You make it very clear that the Gospels for you are not Truths, right?


You really don't see how this seems to suggest that people are willingly ignoring "the truth"? It's pretty clear that you believe we all are, I guess, but for those of us who are sincerely searching, and coming to different conclusions, it is offensive when you suggest that the truth doesn't appeal to us. It's because it DOES appeal to us that we are searching.

Blinded: "...I think I'll go hug my children now and pray that the world never hardens them to this degree."
Now this one is a kicker. I love my children and I pray for their spiritual well being....please don't tell me that this is the source of my self-righteousness, bigotry and small-mindedness?


*sigh*. NO. No one is saying that, and how you get that is beyond me. The offensive thing here, to spell it out, is not that you hug your children and pray for them. It is your suggestion that because we don't come to the same conclusions as you do that we are simply too "hardened" to find truth. Again, to reiterate, your hugging and praying for your kids is not what offends, it is your attitude the everyone else here is simply hardened.

It seems someone mentions that you have been offensive, you take some of your own words that aren't offensive, and then act all aghast that we got offended by such inoffensive stuff while at the same time leaving the part that really did offend people unaddressed. It's that duplicity that makes people shake their heads in disbelief.

I for one would like to thank you for your posts. I'm still in the process of deconversion, and watching this conversation has made it clear which side makes the most sense. And to spell this out in case you don't get the point here, it isn't you.

UnBlinded said...

I think I'm finally starting to see why you're all getting so offended. You believe that all these things I write about are implied to you while generally I'm simply talking about my beliefs. Please understand that I don't see that I'm self-righteous at all because I know full well that I've been one of the biggest sinners to contribute to this site. If you need deeper understanding, in a nutshell, I've been a murderer (abortion) and an adulterer, not to mention years of impurity as a bachelor convinced that indulging in my sexuality was fine. Maybe, just maybe you'll understand that I don't view any of you as different than what I am, a sinner. I pretty much didn't believe in sin for most of my life and allowed myself free reign with my curiosities. The only way to pull a guy, like myself, out of the gutter is through something that could bring about repentance. Of course, I didn't know that back then...but after my little experiment with saying an "Our Father" at the height of my lost state, something happened to me. As I've already shared, that impromptu "Our Father" was met with intense weeping at which I remember walking away thinking, what the hell just happened here? But I sinned later that day (although I didn't think it was sin because my conscience had become so calloused) and something happened that brought me to a repentance that kept me up for many nights.

I can also share that I debated about Christianity with my mother for years (with arguments much weaker than yours) about the lack of proof for her beliefs. This "guy" on a cross, how do we know it's not just literature. I mean, come on... Back then, I never even came close to understanding why He had to die for us? I'd justify it with well, I'm not a bad person, I hold the door for old ladies, I respect my girlfriend, I'm an honest hard worker, I love to have a good time with buds. What am I doing that's so wrong, I mean come on Mom, I'm not a murderer or a rapist. So I can't settle down with the right person, big deal... To be fair, I was blessed with very loving parents that, in fact, I think were probably too liberal. They hoped and prayed for me but I just figured God, if there is a God, should be fine with me....I'm just living life like everybody else around me!

The tremendous grace I received allowed me to really examine what I was made of and what surfaced, in all those ugly secret corners of my mind, was quite vile. In fact because of the way He brought me to repentance, I was able to even see how He had tried to reach me through many past sufferings. I had received past sufferings but none of them ever woke me up completely, I'd just go right on back to doing everything that was fun to me. My conscience was very numb and I can honestly say that I was self-righteous during those years. I really believed I was a pretty good guy, plenty of friends, no problems meeting girls. Live with this one for a couple years, suffer a loss, live with that one for a couple years, you get the idea. For a guy as lost as I was, He had to rock my world and He did.

As Pope Jean-Paul II once said the 1st gift of the Holy Spirit is very often a healthy "Fear of the Lord". This is, without a doubt, what I received and it's not because He scared me, it's because His words were literally shining a light on all that I had been living. His judgement was justified. Because of my pride, I struggled to believe in His mercy but through prayer He's given me real peace.

I'll just share a bit from another thread and continue.

Excerpt from "Insulting to atheists"
When I made a mistake in my life, I received a grace that allowed me to really examine myself to see what I was made of. All I found was duplicity, impurity and tremendous selfishness. This is how I realized that, in fact, I had always known that I was these things, but I ignored my conscience. This was the moment, for me, where I realized that my conscience had become almost completely numb from always choosing my way. I had always tried to lead a good life but I was doing so using my own fabricated code of morality and it always resulted in pain.

Once I realized this about myself, the New Testament, a book that never meant anything to me, aside maybe being a collection of stories with some nice moral lessons, started to really make sense to me. My thirst to learn more about it has really become unquenchable and for the most part, I do keep this to myself, family and close friends that initiate the topic.

In order to stay true to my original objective, of providing a post that, hopefully, has some substance, I'll elaborate on my rose scent experience...fast forward to many months afer my conversion.

I guess, from what I'm reading, I'm pretty sure that most of you believe that the roses I smelled were just some psychotic manifestation. I do find it interesting how my mind is so powerful that I can create the illusion of roses. Please know that the moment I smelled them, I remember at that very instant having asked Saint Mary if she would be able to protect me where I was heading. I was hiking with my dog while praying and was going by a trail that had nudist warning signs on it. In fact, I can admit that I didn't believe that this rose scent was anything more than coincidence. I ignored the rose scent as I had to hurry to do something else (well, the fact is that I thought I could evangelize a little to this area by leaving some loving bible quotes on laminated cards, while the place was deserted at sunrise) and I promised myself that on my way back (about an hour later) I would scour the exact area (I noted the exact location) to try and find the source of that scent. I walked up and down the area and could never find the scent. After a while, I mumbled to myself something to the effect, "Well, that was odd, let's get out of here, I'm entering this in my journal, something I cannot explain definitely occurred here." and instantly, the scent returned. I stayed still at this moment and the scent was faint and sweet and in some way, I couldn't seem to get enough. I would take deep breaths and I found the scent to be very pleasing and so pleasing that I wanted to take deeper breaths but the result was always the same, just a beautiful scent. I took one step and it was gone. I tried again to find it for just a little while and could not get it back. As God is my witness, this is how it happened.

In response to your question on why I would post here, I'm sure it's simply because of similar reasons as Saint Paul. No, please don't think that I think I'm anywhere near him. It's just that I too had a very large debt to God and since I know that He's forgiven me, something in me can't help but share with others some of the things He's shown me.

Although God is completely not needing of anything from us, it does please Him to have those that love Him become His instruments. My efforts to share with others, while attempting to never be forceful, rude or condescending, is a way to glorify His name. As stated in http://www.tlig.org/print/en/messages/422/ He doesn't mind us to "evangelize for Love with love". Do I do this properly or perfectly, impossible! There's no doubt in my mind that my pride could and does rear it's ugly face. For this I do apologize as it is never my intention to communicate in a way that is disrespectful to any of you. God knows that I really am the least worthy to be blessed with the ability to love Him.
End of excerpt

The more I think about it, it all seems to come down to the severe implications that my Truth has on everyone else. That really is a tough one and I guess I thought it best not to walk on egg-shells around it. I have been communicating in a way that is very insensitive on this point and I suspect it's because I can't see how any of you could be offended by something that is a hoax to all of you. Nevertheless, it is still a wrong approach to talking about God and on some occasions I recognized it and did apologize more then once when I crossed a line. Of course, J.C., doesn't mention any of that and pulls many things out of context. If you are all as lucid as you claim to be, you'll acknowledge that there's a condescension and arrogance that has flowed from both sides of the table and that the harshest and rudest attacks have come from your side. You can deny this, but the threads speak for themselves. My condescension has come from my staunch beliefs discussed bluntly with little or no sensitivity to what I was implying.

A quick comment for J.C.

"...don't ever lump me in as one that will eventually be like you." (posted: March 16, 2007)

IOW, I am not like you, I am BETTER than you because I BELIEVE!!!


You know that I never said I was better than anyone, I'm only writing about what I believe to be true. To be this offended (with the capitalization and !!!) you might want to ask yourself why someone not wanting to believe in godlessness could be so offensive to you.

As far as your other observations J.C. and Jamies' comments as well, there is some good stuff here. As I said, I am definitely seeing how insensitive I've been to your beliefs....finally. The bulk of the problem stems from the way I write about my beliefs with no regard for the other person's spiritual state. This is wrong and I will need to learn much in the way to communicate my beliefs without offending others. Temperance and sensitivity to those around me is something that I pray I'll develop.

I do thank you for your contributions.

As always, may God bless you...
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com

tigg13 said...

UB said: "The more I think about it, it all seems to come down to the severe implications that my Truth has on everyone else."

That's right, UB, YOUR truth.

You see, we've already looked at and considered your god, your savior, your bible, your pope and many of the various 'miracle workers' in whom christians put their faith. And we ultimately found that there was no truth in any of it - only false hope and empty promises.

So, you see, from our perspective, the only way that your truth can equal god's truth is if you equal god - and that ain't happening. Your truth has no more weight, no more validity and no more substance than anyone else's truth - and that includes each of our own, personal truths.

Now you may want to blow off, belittle or discredit our truths simply because they don't match your own. But you can't do that without insulting us by implying that your life experiences are somehow superior to our own.

This is what's ticking us off. It's not your god or your beliefs that bother us (we've put them to bed a long time ago). It's your insistence that there must be something wrong with us (e.g. that we are hardened, ignorant, stubborn, selfish, insincere, uncaring, etc.) for us not to have recognized YOUR truth as THE truth.

And you may want to say that you are only stating your beliefs. But when a large part of those beliefs is the idea that anyone who doesn't agree with you must somehow be defective you are no longer simply expressing yourself - you are launching an attack.

Now is it unfair for us to complain about your insults when we don't mind getting nasty ourselves?

Look at the name of the web site, UB. Preaching your gospels here is like attending a bar mitzvah dressed as Hitler - you provoked this fight the moment you clicked the 'publish' button.

dano said...

Un-Blinded
Yes, I believe that everything that I am going to write in this post is predetermined by what I am.

The first statement that I want to make is, yes, I believe God loves all of his children. (In the sense that Stradivarius loved every one of his violins) The infinitely intelligent creator of everything, could not make a mistake, so therefore we are all EXACTLY, what IT, wants us to be.

The second statement is that no one living or dead knows what God is. NO ONE!!

The third and most important thing we must realize is, that we are just "Smart Apes" IT is just plain foolishness for us to live our whole lives being afraid of, and being watched by, and being ordered around by a God that WE created. I. E, Bible God.

In conclusion I will say that I have been what you are now, and I thank whatever God there is, that my legacy on this earth will be that I got to be one of the "Smart Apes" who was given the chance to grow up, and live at least part of my life, without angels, devils, demons, saints, miracles, magic, popes, preachers, deacons, visions, apparitions, rituals, blood sacrifices, and inherited sin, swirling around in my head, and that I was part of the process of weaning the human race off of its dependency on faith in mythological deities.

Who knows what your next role may be, UN?

Life is a Riddle, Inside a Mystery, Wrapped in an Enigma.

Dan

Jim Arvo said...

First of all, a big thank you to J. C. Samuelson and Jamie for spelling out what should have been obvious to our new perpetual visitor. I simply must laugh at the contrast between rational people who have the capacity to reason and those who, well... apparently do not. I'm also impressed with the patience you guys exhibit.

Now, Mr. Blinded. After pondering for while, I've come up with only three possible explanations for your last response to me. Perhaps this is not an exhaustive list, but it's all I can come up with:

1) You are playing us.

2) You have a very serious reading comprehension problem.

3) You are exhibiting the most dramatic case of cognitive dissonance I've ever seen.

Technically, there is also the possibility that you have some kind of neurological disorder (e.g. Asperger's syndrome) that renders you incapable of recognizing when your words and/or actions are inappropriate, even when it is spelled out for you; however, I'm not going to seriously suggest that alternative (at least not yet). If the explanation is #1, all I can say is "You got me". Pat yourself on the back for your brilliant portrayal, and for sucking so many of us into your game. Well done, and bye bye. If it's #2 or #3 (which I do not feel qualified to distinguish between), then it explains a lot; it becomes painfully clear why the exchanges with you have been so utterly content free. We might as well have been banging on the keyboard randomly; the effect would have been roughly the same. The upshot is this: whether it is #1, #2, or #3, attempting to communicate with you is pointless.

Of course, given what I just said, my explanation above will also have no effect on you. (I must confess that I have a morbid curiosity as to what violence you will do to it, however.) So, I will consider what I've written to be more for the benefit/amusement of my colleagues here than for yours.

Now, your specific replies do not warrant direct responses from me, as they are so wildly off base, so I'm going to direct the remainder of my post to my clearer-thinking colleagues. I've been noticing a recurring pattern with Christian visitors, and I'm wondering whether others have noticed the same thing. The first few exchanges are sometimes rather restrained and cordial, with each side stating what is (or should be) the obvious. The visitor asserts his faith, and his belief in the Bible, and makes some dogmatic assertions. We remind him/her that we do not share those beliefs, although many of use once did. We ask some questions. Then the visitor asserts his faith, and his belief in the Bible, and makes essentially the same dogmatic assertions. We ask for evidence, try to answer the visitor's questions (if there were any--often there are none), and re-ask our many unanswered questions. Then the visitor asserts his faith, and his belief in the Bible, and makes what amounts to the same dogmatic assertions yet again.

So far I could be talking about practically any Christian visitor, right? But here is where we get to the interesting part, and it happens with (conservatively) at least one in ten visitors.

As the exchanges progress, becoming increasingly more pointed (on both sides), we begin to probe for some kind of foothold. Can we get the visitor to agree to ANYTHING? (Case in point: In search of a foothold, I once asked a Christian visitor something like this: "Can we agree that there is a difference between reality and make-believe?" Astonishingly, the visitor would NOT answer that question, no matter how many times I asked.) Then, it dawns on me: There is absolutely no point in trying to have a rational conversation with this person, even on the most trivial of topics. Therefore, when the topic involves nuances or uncertainties, the prospect of having a meaningful conversation with such a person is about as likely as playing chess with a turnip.

Know what I mean?

.:webmaster:. said...

UB said: "I don't view any of you as different than what I am, a sinner."

UB, you're projecting onto everyone else the way you view yourself.

How about this, UB:

You are no different than me. I was once an ignorant, stupid, brain-dead fundamentalist, just like you. I am no better than you. I was once a complete moron, brainwashed by Christianity and religion. I was once drowning in dogma, but now, thanks to learning how to properly reason, I am free. I was just like you, once. I'm just sharing this with you because I love you. May the gift of being able to think straight make alive your hardened and dead mind.

Feel offended yet?

.:webmaster:. said...

Oh, and UB, may I please have $100? I am asking it in the name of your Jesus. He said to give to everyone who asks, so I am asking for $100. Prove your love for your savior, and your obedience to his clear command to "give to everyone who asks."

Please UB, please.




May reason one day be your master and deliver you from fantasy.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Marc,

"The only way to pull a guy, like myself, out of the gutter is through something that could bring about repentance."

I think one of the fundamental disconnects in our communication here is that to your mind, there is only one way to repent of formerly questionable behavior. There is an implied assumption that has been a theme of nearly every one of your posts: atheists are unrepentant sinners, living for themselves, and lack a moral code. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We've all had to confront - and continue to confront - our poor choices in life. We've all hurt someone, been hurt ourselves, done things we regret, etc.. We all feel (or have felt) guilt about them to varying degrees. You dealt with it by turning to Christianity, and many of us did the same at one time but have since turned away for diverse reasons. Religion does have a comfort value which I don't think anyone here would deny. However, that it brings a person comfort and helps them deal with their own flawed nature is no indicator of its truth.

Contrary to popular Christian opinion, atheists and other non-believers actually do live by a moral code that isn't much different from your own. Indeed, the primary difference seems to be that we're able to recognize our own accountability and yet are willing to eventually forgive ourselves. Otherwise, we are no more likely to lie, cheat, steal, commit fraud, murder, or any other imaginable crime and/or ethically questionable behavior, than you are. We struggle with many of the same ethical questions, except we do not turn to the Bible as our guide to what is ethical, because its pages are full of some of the most unethical advice on the planet (most of it in the OT).

We also recognize that faith is no insurance against those types of behaviors. We see it almost daily here at ExC, and this site's news items focus on Protestant leaders' failures, so Catholics and others aren't even accounted for here. In other words, the "transforming power of the Holy Spirit" is of seriously dubious merit. Many of us would rather accept ourselves as we are, warts and all, and do our best to leave a positive legacy for our families and our world, than rely on some unproven, invisible, external force to guide our actions.

As for the rest (evolution, science, creationism, etc.), we rely on rigorous standards of evidence. Your posts demonstrate that you do not, and this is something you share with many of the believers who visit this site. You point to books such as Dan Barker's "Losing Faith in Faith" and Sam Harris' "The End of Faith" and "Letter to a Christian Nation" as evidence that you've looked at "the facts." Unfortunately, the facts of evolution are little more than footnotes in these books, because discussing evolution was not the purpose of these books. For that, you have to look at books by scientists who work in the relevant field. And if you're not willing to balance your reading of "Darwin's Black Box" by reading something - almost anything - from say, Richard Dawkins ("Climbing Mount Improbable" is a great one for this), then you're not looking at "all the facts." It's just that simple.

"Excerpt from "Insulting to atheists..."

As compelling as a personal testimony may or may not be, feelings & intuition are not determinative of truth. There's no way around this. They can help guide us, but it is hard evidence that makes the difference. Your "rose scent" experience, like it or not, can be explained using much less complex natural hypotheses. Whether they appeal to you or not has no bearing on whether they may be accurate.

"To be this offended (with the capitalization and !!!) you might want to ask yourself why someone not wanting to believe in godlessness could be so offensive to you."

It is patently offensive to say to someone that you don't want to be counted among "their kind," even remotely. "Don't ever lump me in," you said. Your distaste for who we are was made abundantly clear in this one elitist statement.

But perhaps you now get the point after reading the others' explanations.

alanh said...

Marc wrote:

...I'm only writing about what I believe to be true.

What you believe to be true is mankind has a disease, and Christianity is the cure.

The tremendous grace I received allowed me to really examine what I was made of and what surfaced, in all those ugly secret corners of my mind, was quite vile

So now your self-esteem is based on your religious belief, which makes it very difficult to question that belief.

I don't view any of you as different than what I am, a sinner.

Not true, because you view yourself as being "saved." As long as you believe in your religion you're going to feel superior to those who are "unsaved."

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

Unblinded: "...don't ever lump me in as one that will eventually be like you." (posted: March 16, 2007)

J.C.: "IOW, I am not like you, I am BETTER than you because I BELIEVE!!!"

Unblinded: "You know that I never said I was better than anyone, I'm only writing about what I believe to be true. To be this offended (with the capitalization and !!!) you might want to ask yourself why someone not wanting to believe in godlessness could be so offensive to you."

J.C.: "It is patently offensive to say to someone that you don't want to be counted among "their kind," even remotely. "Don't ever lump me in," you said. Your distaste for who we are was made abundantly clear in this one elitist statement."


Hold on here J.C., don't you recognize that all of you continuously say this about being Christian? I could gather piles of responses of people stating how thankful they weren't like us, Christians. They're so happy to be free from brainwashing, and on, and on... These are extremely elitist comments and they are thrown at Christians constantly. I know that this is an ex-Christian site but, to be fair, are you simply ignoring or missing those comments? For my part, I have confessed that by speaking bluntly about my beliefs I have implied that I would not want to be atheist. I've said this by stating that "I pray that my children are never hardened by the world to this degree", by stating "that I hope that God would protect me from being blind again", etc... Again, by talking about my beliefs. Not by stating it out-right, as all of you do constantly. The elitist comments have come from both sides.

But....on the other hand, if I do say it bluntly (as you do), that I don't want to believe in godlessness, God forbid I should touch that sensitive nerve. That person had stated that I would eventually become atheist "Have fun in your superstitious delusions, Marc, and may your eventual deconversion be swift but not too, too painful.". I have never stated that any of you would eventually become Christian. Big difference. And this is why I chose to state it bluntly for all of you. I have been guilty of insensitivity by discussing my ardent beliefs, you've been guilty of duplicity and tremendous insensitivity for Christians as well.

Alanh,
I don't view any of you as different than what I am, a sinner.

Not true, because you view yourself as being "saved." As long as you believe in your religion you're going to feel superior to those who are "unsaved."


I have never spoken of being saved or not saved. I am a sinner that hopes and prays to recognize his sin and there very well may be others here that deep down, also acknowledge sin as well. Only God knows man's heart and I hope and pray that I never speak of who's saved and who's not. This would be judging others and I must never ever do this, as I am no better than anyone else. I'm just a man that believes that he is incredibly blessed to be able to journey through life with Jesus as my guide.

Have a great weekend!
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com

dano said...

UnBlinded wrote:
"I'm done. Take care.
Continuing "debate" will only result in further sin from both sides of the table. I am not exercising temperance as the Lord would want and this results in evil being refuted with more evil.
Peace and love to all of you...
Marc"
posted: March 15, 2007  

DAN is reposting Marc's March 15 post, today March 17, 2007, to remind him that no matter how much he is enjoying all the attention that he is getting "HERE" with his "rock solid," Christian dogmatism, he would be risking his soul less, if he just exchanged it with the millions of other cult members, on one of the thousands of Christian sites.

After all, they have a friend in Jesus, and Marc has a friend in Jesus. They talk to God, and Marc talks to God.

Just about everybody on this site, ain't real sure that there really was a Biblical Jesus, and even if there was, he got hisself kilt for rabble rousing on a Roman holiday, and ain't been heard from since!

Now don't get me wrong! Bible Jesus don't sound like a bad guy. It's just the "Son of God" thing, and the "Hate your Mother and Father, and follow me," thing, and the dying for me thing, etc., that is a little hard to swallow.

Besides he comes across, way to much like some of the other saviors, born of a virgin, fathered by God, that were so popular in the Pagan religions that preceded him.
DAN

freeman said...

To all christians who venture forth;

PLease explain what is unique about the judo/christian faith?

I want to know how it is different from the other faiths as Dan has said?

What is unique about adam and eve?
What is unique about cain and abel?
What is unique about mosses?
What is unique about noah and the flood?
What is unique about a virgin birth?
What is unique about a crucifixion?
What is unique about rising from the dead?

These are just a few questions I have. If any of you fundies could explain these stories of your god compared to others in history, I would be willing to listen. But, I will not listen to "Because it is in the bible" shit!

Intellectually honest!
Rudy aka freeman

J. C. Samuelson said...

"The elitist comments have come from both sides."

There is some truth to this, I suppose. Discussions like these do tend to get heated. For myself, I apologize if my remarks have come across as having a "holier-than-thou" tone. Having said that, there's a difference in our assertions about faith because there's a difference between evidence-based and faith-based beliefs.

Every one of your assertions concerning Christianity and your personal experiences have been based on mistaken assumptions about science, atheism, the reliability of human perception and/or thinking, evidence, and logic. What it boils down to is that you believe because you feel it's right, not because you've been convinced by rigorous study of the facts. This is not to say that you don't look for facts, but because of your mistaken assumptions about how we find and evaluate facts, you accept anything that appears factual regardless of merit so long as it supports your beliefs.

We've all been guilty of this from time-to-time during our lives. None of us is perfectly reasonable. However, the difference between many non-believers and you is that we recognize the limits of our knowledge and are willing to embrace a paradigm of declaring provisional certainty only on those things for which there is evidence. It is you who insists that absolute truth can be known, is known by you, and that those who don't agree with it are somehow faulty.

By contrast, many of us view as faulty any belief that does not have a solid foundation in quality evidence. Thus, there is a willingness to heap scorn on an idea that, at its core, is based on little more than that it "feels" right.

"...you've been guilty of duplicity and tremendous insensitivity for Christians as well."

On the contrary, I have not been the least bit duplicitous. Nor has anyone else here as far as I can see. As far as insensitivity, perhaps. But religious belief is as deserving as any other concept of rigorous and ruthless scrutiny. In fact, it is partly because so many have implicitly declared religion off-limits to scrutiny that a degree of ruthlessness is called for.

"This would be judging others and I must never ever do this..."

It's unavoidable. Judging is an interpretive act that helps us put people, places, and things into categories. In other words, it helps us interact with the world. We all do it to some extent. The only difference is the standards we use. As long as you continue to believe in the god of the Bible, you will measure others according to a standard defined by that belief.

Incidentally, I'd like to offer an interpretation of the biblical admonition against judgment that you may not have considered.

Usually, Christians point to Jesus' alleged admonition against judgment found in Matt. 7:1-2, which states: "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." Yet, John 7:24 has Jesus saying, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." So which is it?

Personally, I think this is not as good an example of a contradiction as some think it is. That is to say I think there are a host of other contradictions that far more clearly demonstrate the fallibility of scripture. But I digress.

In Matt. 7:1-2, Jesus appears to be saying something to the effect that his listeners should be hesitant and careful in their judgments, because if they judge by a reckless, or ill-advised standard, they will face a similar judgment at some point in the future (which, according to Christian tradition, is in the afterlife). In other words, kind of a karmic thing similar to the Wiccan "Rule of Three." Basically it's like a variation of the old saying, "What goes around, comes around."

Now, in John 7:24 it seems he's saying that there is a standard by which his listeners should judge, and that appearances are not a part of it. In other words, when judging, don't judge by appearance. Instead, look for righteousness (presumably meaning adherence to the letter and spirit of the Law, which Matt. 5:17 has Jesus saying he came to fulfill).

So the Bible doesn't have Jesus saying never to judge. Rather, it has him saying that be hesitant to judge and be careful of how you do it, because it will come back to bite you in the ass later. The same sort of interpretation can be offered even if we include seemingly less ambiguous admonitions like that found in Luke 6:37.

To sum up, you're holding yourself to a standard you cannot possibly meet, and isn't a part of what your Jesus is supposed to have said anyway. Let me caution you, however, that if you do judge others by the standard of righteousness implicitly set forth in John 7:24, you're going to find your list of enemies grows exponentially. You're far better off sticking to plain, uninspired human principles of morality, and do your best to mitigate their flaws with reason and a sense of fairness.

And so ends the sermon for Sunday, March 18th 2007. May today and everday bring you closer to being who and where you want to be.

alanh said...

OK Marc, you're not saved, you're incredibly blessed and guided by Jesus. Do you believe AIDS is divine justice?

Jim Arvo said...

JCS, I agree wholeheartedly. Very well put.

You said, "...it is partly because so many have implicitly declared religion off-limits to scrutiny that a degree of ruthlessness is called for."

Absolutely so. I think the preeminent secular commandment should be "Thou shalt declare no statement to be beyond criticism (not even this one).

Those who break this commandment shall bring upon themselves greater scrutiny and shall lessen their credibility. One must always be prepared to proffer evidence, or admit that there is none, or hold one's tongue and resolve to determine which it is. Those who do not heed this warning shall be in danger of well-deserved scorn.

Looking forward to your next sermon, JCS. :-)

.:webmaster:. said...

JCS, I agree wholeheartedly. Very well put ... Looking forward to your next sermon, JCS. :-)

I second this.

J. C. Samuelson said...

That's nothing. Just wait for the sermon on heavenly bodies.

Seriously though, I really appreciate the support. It means alot.

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

J.C.,
"...you've been guilty of duplicity and tremendous insensitivity for Christians as well."

On the contrary, I have not been the least bit duplicitous. Nor has anyone else here as far as I can see. As far as insensitivity, perhaps.


By describing your response as duplicitous, I might have been better served by using "double standard" to describe your critiquing. Again, to be clear, my unwillingness to be described as a future atheist was met with strong disapproval and perceived as elitist, while the frequent statements by many of you, to despise ever being Christian, were never acknowledged to the same degree. It is also elitist to make such statements against Christians and as such, your critiques have used a double standard. Because it may not have been caused by a deliberate deceptiveness, I must admit that duplicity may have been incorrect. Only the individual and the Lord our God know whether the double standard was deliberate, thus making it duplicitous.

With regards to your discussion of John 7:24 and Matthew 7:1-2 demonstrating the "fallibility" of scripture, it is necessary that the full context of John 7:24 be presented. As well, I use the Vatican approved english version of the bible, "New American Bible". Regardless of the bible used, there is no fallibility to be demonstrated.

You are certainly correct that Matthew 7:1-2 asks that we not judge our brothers, but John 7:24 is not a contradiction to Matthew. If you read John 7:21-24 (below), Jesus' full response, you'll see that He was answering them on how they were judging Him for the healing He had done on the sabbath. Because of the context, it's clear that when Jesus says "Stop judging by appearance, but judge justly.", He is ending His statement of their judgment on Him. In other words, Jesus was asking that they stop judging Him by appearances and that they should judge Him justly." In context, Jesus does not condone man to judge man, He is asking humanity to judge Him justly. Luke 6:37 (below) also re-confirms Jesus' stance on judging others and it is to "Stop judging....", again, no contradiction.

I doubt that anyone would disagree with the fact that the Pharisees and skeptics of the day were very much "grasping at straws" with this argument (ie. healing on the sabbath), as a reason to condemn Jesus. For me, I find it distressing to observe the power of sin in these men which allowed them to manufacture a "reason" to condemn Jesus. Nevertheless, as you all know, I have personally experienced the danger's of mortal sin and it's ability to blind a man.

Alanh,
OK Marc, you're not saved, you're incredibly blessed and guided by Jesus. Do you believe AIDS is divine justice?

Actually Alanh, I do believe that God has saved me. Because of my freedom, it is possible that I fall back into mortal sin and risk eternal loss but I endeavor to stay as close to Jesus as possible by repenting often of all my venial sins. To disbelieve in my salvation would be to succumb to pride, by believing that God isn't good enough to forgive me. As well, I would also be succumbing to despair. Till my last breath, I will hope, pray and believe that Jesus' sacrifice was sufficient for my salvation. All the while working to be steadfast to His word by seeking His will in all aspects of my life.

Do I believe that AIDS is divine justice...I think that all suffering is divine justice. You might argue with the case for innocent suffering (ie. a child born with HIV) but we could never fully understand His reasons. In light of the accepted Truths, I could argue that this child might pass away during the age of innocense and find salvation from this disease. Or, that the suffering child was going to bring an adult to repentance and salvation. Or, that having this child pass away, was going to put an end to a family line that is immersed in sin and God knew that it had no possibility of bearing fruit. The bottom line is that I think we can never fully comprehend the mistery of suffering. In the face of all "innocent" suffering (I quote because man is born into sin) I think that God's answer to how He can bring anything good from this type of suffering....lies in the cross. God's answer to innocent suffering was hanging on a cross over 2000 years ago. The only truly righteous one that ever suffered, Jesus, brought the greatest gift to humanity, salvation.

Hope all of you had good weekend...
Peace,
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com

Matthew 7:1-2
1 "Stop judging, that you may not be judged.
2 For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
John 7:21-24
21 Jesus answered and said to them, "I performed one work and all of you are amazed
22 because of it. Moses gave you circumcision - not that it came from Moses but rather from the patriarchs - and you circumcise a man on the sabbath.
23 If a man can receive circumcision on a sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I made a whole person well on a sabbath?
24 Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly."
Luke 6:37
37 Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.

.:webmaster:. said...

Marc, UB, or whatever you want to call yourself... I'm still waiting for a response to my request for a hundred bucks. Jesus said GIVE TO EVERYONE WHO ASKS.

This is my third request. You have apparently been ignoring me. Did Jesus say "ignore all who ask?" I was sure it was GIVE TO EVERYONE WHO ASKS.

Marc, please. I'm asking, begging, pleading to you for a hundred dollars in Jesus name.

What is your answer?

May the ability to reason and critical thinking one day deliver your mind from its current prison of religious slavery.

boomSLANG said...

Selective Atheist("Unblinded") said: Because it may not have been caused by a deliberate deceptiveness, I must admit that duplicity may have been incorrect.[bold added]

Wow...actually admitting error. That's a step in the right direction. But sadly, because of an imagined "reward"---and more than likely combined with a fear of dying---he is intent on defending is erroneous thinking on the existance of the Christian biblegod, "Yahweh", to his grave. But that's okay, because at that point, the meme ceases to exist right along with him. One more....CURED.

Selective Atheist: Only the individual and the Lord our God know whether the double standard was deliberate, thus making it duplicitous.[bold added]

As we see in the above quoted statement, and in the bulk of all of his other posts, anytime he uses the words "God", "Lord", or "Jesus", it is presupposing the existance of said deity(ies). Why?....well of course, because he has not offered one shred of objective evidence for the existance of said deity, that's why.

Y'see, in regards to the THOUSANDS of other "believed to have existed" gods, "Unblinded" is surely an Atheist. He is unblind enough to dismiss all other gods because of lack of evidence, but is intent on keeping corncobs jammed in his ears in regards to the lack of evidence for his bible hero "Yahweh".("El", if we're talking the "Old Testament"..i.e. man's first blundered attempt to create "god" in his "image")

So I say "Unblinded" is nothing more than a selective Atheist. Had he been born in Iraq, he'd likely be blathering on about "Allah" on an EXMuslim website, while using the "holy Q'ran" as "evidence"..... just the way he blathers on here, but using his "Holey" bible, instead.(mispelling intentional)

And then if his presuppositional religio-tripe isn't annoying enough, he disingenuously closes his posts with things like, "Have a good weekend!"..and "God Bless you!", and the like.

Dear "Un"-blinded/Marc/believer/christian--we got it. You "BELIEVE". Goody for you. Now---can you enjoy your delusion elsewhere?

God 'less, and don't let the door hit ya in the ass. "Click off".

J. C. Samuelson said...

Marc,

Be prepared for the scorn that's about to be heaped on some of the things you've written in your last post.

On March 17th, Jim contended that perhaps "You have a very serious reading comprehension problem," or that you're "...exhibiting the most dramatic case of cognitive dissonance I've ever seen." After reading this latest post, I have to agree with him.

Briefly, to address your statement about double standards being displayed here, I'll agree to a point. However, seeing as this is a site whose purpose is to support those leaving the Christian faith, one would expect to see a great deal of negative reaction and disavowal of Christian theology. If this was a Christian site and you were the lone atheist, you could expect similar treatment.

Think of it this way: This is sort of like a recovery program. Imagine if a cigarette salesman were to pay a visit to a Quit Smoking class, and touted the benefits of smoking. How do you think that salesman can expect to be treated? Will he be welcomed or derided?

"With regards to your discussion of John 7:24 and Matthew 7:1-2 demonstrating the "fallibility" of scripture...there is no fallibility to be demonstrated."

Here's where the scorn starts.

Did you read what I wrote? It doesn't appear that you did. I quite clearly stated: "Personally, I think this is not as good an example of a contradiction as some think it is." [Emphasis added]

I approached the verses not as a contradiction, but considered them valid and complimentary for the purpose of offering an interpretation that you may not have thought about.

As for your interpretation, you're certainly free to do so any way you like. I don't assert that mine was correct, or even superior. We all know that even Christians can't agree on one interpretation, so one is as good as another. However, I would like to point out that it seems to me that you've applied some tortured logic to your version. In fact, I daresay you've put your God in a rather uncomfortable position.

Essentially, you've set mankind up as having the power of judgment over God. Personally, I think this is uniquely appropriate.

According to your belief, God makes the rules, right? Yet this God can't even seem to follow its own commandments (not to kill or murder, to use a provocative example). The Bible stands as a witness against God in this example. Now, John 7:24 says to judge him by righteous judgment. As I mentioned in the previous post, from Jesus' perspective this would mean the example of "righteousness" set forth in the Law. Again, for the sake of contextual clarity we refer to Matt. 5:17 in which Jesus clearly states he came to fulfill this Law.

If we judge God according to his own standard of righteousness, God is guilty of breaking the sixth commandment (using the above example). Thus, mankind is judging with righteous judgment by judging God as failing to live up to His own standard. In other words, people who reject God as not worthy of worship regardless of whether He's real or not, are rejecting Him according to the very standards He set up in the first place.

Of course, the key to this idea is that Jesus actually is (or was) the same God as that described in the OT. Many Protestants believe this, and I think many Catholics believe the same.

There's much more to this, but I don't have time at the moment to go into it. For now, I'll ask you just to consider the idea so far.

And WM has asked you for something. See this post for why you should do as he asks.

dano said...

Do the Catholics actually have a thing, where they go into a little booth, and talk to some guy, through a screen, who has sworn an oath of celibacy?

Do they actually tell these whacko's about their sexual escapades and ask to be forgiven? ,,,,,,,,,,and then say some "Hail Mary's," and then feel good about the experience?

Nah! They don't do that!!
Do they?
Dan

dano said...

My God they do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"How To Go To Confession
1.   The Priest will often begin with the Sign of the Cross or a greeting and blessing.
2.   The Penitent begins by saying “Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been ____ (number of days, weeks, months, etc.) since my last confession.   These are my sins”.
3.   Confess all mortal sins committed since your last confession by kind and number (this is important).  Hold NOTHING back.   You may also confess any venial sins.
4.  At the end of your confession say these or similar words: “For these and all the sins of my life I am sorry.”  By this you tell the priest that you are finished.   Otherwise, he might think you are still thinking or even trying to summon the courage to tell him "the big one".
5.   The Priest may ask questions for clarification or give you some counsel on a point from your confession.   Answer briefly.
6.   The Priest will give you a penance.   Listen to it carefully and remember it.   You can refuse a penance if it is too vague or impossible to do in a reasonable time.
7.   The Penitent makes an act of contrition in these or similar words:  O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all of my sins because of Thy just punishments.   But most of all because they offend Thee my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love.   I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more, and to avoid the near occasions of sin.   Amen.    Memorize a good act of contrition.
8.   The Priest will give you absolution in Latin or in your common language.   (The words necessary in English for forgiveness are “I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”).   Do not leave until the priest has given you absolution.   He will not refuse you absolution unless it is clear that you are not sorry for your sins or you have no intention of amending your life."
Dan

UnBlinded said...

Dano,
Thank you for the post. I went to Confession today and didn't know about point 4.

Jim,
Jim said: "Personally, I think this is not as good an example of a contradiction as some think it is."

I certainly did notice that you said this, but you went on for 6 paragraphs trying to demonstrate that it was, in fact, a contradiction. The facts are, Jim, that you will interpret the Bible however you wish to interpret the Bible. By applying basic reason, it was made abundantly clear that your claimed contradiction was erroneous. It's God's word Jim, not literature.

Jim said: "Essentially, you've set mankind up as having the power of judgment over God. Personally, I think this is uniquely appropriate."

I fully expected you to try to defend this observation, but you failed to observe one critical point, the people He was saying this to, were blind! They wanted to kill Him because He healed someone on the sabbath! Blind because of their pride. Their desire to put an end to this "guy" such that they could go back to their old way of praying in the temple.....when everyone listened to them and not this unknown "person". Pride was very likely the root cause of their blindness. So, Yes, an emphatic Yes! it would be incredibly wrong to spend your time immersed in judging God or God's word, because these sins may bring you to a state of horrific blindness. But, when you die, God's light will reveal these sins and I don't even want to imagine the sorrow that must come from recognizing that you've spent your entire life attacking the source of Love itself. If you have ears to hear, hear!

This site is dripping wet in pride. The way you pat yourselves on the back for evil deeds is detestable. You should all be ashamed.
The only thing that comes to mind is John 3:19-21

19. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.
20. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed.
21. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.


Boomslang,
Boom said: God 'less, and don't let the door hit ya in the ass. "Click off".
If you want this site to be closed from all passerby's, make it a membership only site. Until then, I'll post the Truth to my hearts content and pray that God saves more of those souls that so many of you are trying to steal from Him.

And WebM, with regards to your money request, my answer is Luke 4:12.
12. Jesus said to him in reply, "It also says, 'You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.'"
I don't recommend that you continue to test God this way, nor will I contribute to your test.

I will continue to hope and pray that God keeps the impact of sites like these to a minimum.

May God have mercy on all of us,
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com

.:webmaster:. said...

I'm not testing God, you hypocrite.

I'm testing YOU. And YOU are disobeying your flying, un-dead, god-man on a stick.

Oh, and I think Zeus is big bag of wind too.

Unblinded (by reality), your mythological deity is every bit as scary as Baal to me. That is to say, I'm not afraid of imaginary ghosts, holy or otherwise, that only live in the minds of fanatical (and disobedient) believers.

Now, I'll ask it again: Will you please give me even $1.00? Just one? Surely obedience to your god, and using my website and my bandwidth, is worth giving just one lousy buck, isn't it?

Or are you so self-righteous that you believe you have the authority to just TAKE from those who don't mindlessly bow to your particular fantasy?

Hmm?

Well?

One dollar -- please.

Anonymous said...

'Unblinded' wrote: "It's God's word Jim, not literature".

Well, it all comes back to that, doesn't it? And if so, what is the basis for that claim? What reasoning has you convinced that this 'holy book' is 'God's Word'? That's the root of the whole xtianity thing; I just want something to prove to me that 'God's so called Word' is indeed 'God's Word'. But you can't. -Wes.

J. C. Samuelson said...

"Jim,
Jim said: "Personally, I think this is not as good an example of a contradiction as some think it is."


First things first...

I am not Jim, though I'm flattered to be confused with him.

"...but you went on for 6 paragraphs trying to demonstrate that it was, in fact, a contradiction."

I did NOT say it was a contradiction, nor did I try to show it to be one. I offered you an interpretation that considered the verses valid and non-contradictory! Is that clear enough for you?

"The facts are...that you will interpret the Bible however you wish to interpret the Bible."

As will you.

"By applying basic reason, it was made abundantly clear that your claimed contradiction was erroneous."

You have yet to apply basic reason to anything you've said here or on the other thread. Again, I did not say they were contradictory. Do you get it??

"It's God's word...not literature."

That's your opinion, pal.

"...but you failed to observe one critical point, the people He was saying this to, were blind!"

Ok, then what he allegedly said was completely meaningless.

"The way you pat yourselves on the back for evil deeds is detestable. You should all be ashamed."

With this, I think you've officially worn out your welcome. This is about the umpteenth time you've accused us of evil or immorality. You know nothing about us or what kind of lives we lead. Go back to your fucking creationist books, Marc. You've got nothing left to say here.

"Until then, I'll post the Truth to my hearts content..."

If all you're going to do is try to provoke us, you're wasting your time and ours. And I wouldn't bet on being able to post here indefinitely. If the WM tires of your bullshit, he may just decide to scrub and block you.

Bottom line: You are an arrogant, deluded, self-righteous fool who apparently can't decipher a sentence or reason with the slightest bit of clarity, and who appears to be trying to intentionally provoke anger through insult. That being the case, I'm done with you.

Please go pray or something.

Jim Arvo said...

Marc said "This site is dripping wet in pride. The way you pat yourselves on the back for evil deeds is detestable."

Well, I suppose that's about the closest thing to an admission of defeat that we're likely to hear from you, Marc. I think it's quite clear to everyone here that your dogma is supported by yet more dogma, and your ad hominem attacks are a signal that you have nothing else. It's what people resort to when they haven't the luxury of evidence and reason. What is it that you expect/hope to accomplish here? If you goal is to illustrate how religious indoctrination is antithetical to reason, then you're doing an excellent job. If it's something else, then I think you are in dire need of a reality check (in case that wasn't obvious).

I think it's very telling when believers get frothing mad about our demand for evidence. One would think that if god himself walked this planet for thirty some years, preaching and performing miracles for all to see, that the evidence of this most fantastic event in the history of the universe would be abundant. Yet all you have is ancient anonymous hagiographic stories woven from midrashic interpolation, with large portions borrowed from one another. It's a stunning silence. It puts your stories on a par with dozens of other religions that are equally propped up by "faith" and tall stories. I can understand why you get so irritated when we probe. But you should not be irritated with us; you should reserve that for the ones who foisted the stories on you in the first place.

By the way, as J. C. Samuelson already pointed out, the quotes were his, not mine. (Not that I mind having them attributed to me--I'm just trying to avoid unnecessary confusion.)

J. C. Samuelson said...

"Bottom line: You are an arrogant, deluded, self-righteous fool...trying to intentionally provoke anger through insult."

Wow. More than a little irony there. Sorry to all & sundry, including Marc/Unblinded. Guess I lost it.

All the same, Marc, if you're going to continue to call us evil & immoral, there's no point in talking with you any longer. As Jim said before, either you have a reading comprehension problem or are suffering from a severe case of cognitive dissonance.

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

Pardon me Jim and J.C. for the identity mix up.

Jim said:
I think it's very telling when believers get frothing mad

Really Jim, what about your previously frothing comments:
- I think electro-convulsive shock therapy would be appropriate for some of them but, alas, that option is not yet supported through internet blogs.
- arguments are on a par with a nine-year-old
- it's therapeutic to unload on these proselytizing somnambulists
- having a meaningful conversation with such a person is about as likely as playing chess with a turnip.
- PompousTotallyBlindIdiot:
- I wish I could grab you by the shoulders and shake you. Wake up! WAKE UP!


I did succumb to impatience in my last post and this is because I realized just how wrong this site is to God. It is evil to try and lure people away from God, regardless of how you justify it. It also takes a lot of pride to deny God completely and I decided to call it like I see it. Your comments, Jim, make it abundantly clear that you think I'm an arrogant idiot that you'd like to physically abuse. If your conscience is awake, threats of this type should bring you cause for concern. Unlike you, I do not have any ill-will towards you and I only hope and pray for your spiritual health. It would be wrong of me to leave this site without having made it perfectly clear that what you do here, is wrong.

J.C.
You know nothing about us or what kind of lives we lead.

J.C., I believe you use this site to feed your ego at the expense of your creator. This is what I'm seeing in your life.
That's nothing. Just wait for the sermon on heavenly bodies.
Seriously though, I really appreciate the support. It means a lot.

Was this approval that meant so much to you, worth it? Please wake up J.C., you were made to love, not attack Love itself. You come across as the ring leader at this site and some of your posts may be hurting impressionable souls.

WM,
You are indeed testing me, but you are testing me against God's word. Your perpetual attempts with this line of questioning do nothing but expose your severe state of confusion.

I will continue to pray for the spiritual health of all of us. Regardless of your apostasy, please know that God will always love you. It may just be that, at this stage of your lives, He's simply left you alone with your desires and so will I...

God bless,
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com

.:webmaster:. said...

Marc,

This is interesting. I'm confused because Jesus commands you to give to all who ask and you have elected to refuse to give to me even a lousy greenback, after I asked nicely. You refuse because...

Why was that again?

You say we are evil, right? Well your man-god says to not resist evil, and give to everyone who asks, expecting nothing in return.

Brother, can you at least spare a dime? Just 10cents?

I mean, it takes a lot of time and money to run this site, and I've given you a free platform for your opinions. I gave it you. Me.

Now I ask for just a little help, to allow you to freely preach your religion, and you refuse me.

Worse, you refuse your god.

Sad.

Good luck in hell.

.:webmaster:. said...

To all reading this, remember: God loves us more than we can ever understand. In fact, HE loves us so much that HE sacrificed Himself to Himself in order to appease HIS anger over a scenario HE designed and set in motion so that HIS creations wouldn't have to be tortured forever and ever by HIM.

But, if you don't happen to believe HE exists, HE will make you suffer in the most horrific ways imaginable, for all eternity, without the thought of rehabilitation or parole or time off for good behavior, for uncountable hundreds of billions of millenniums...

Meanwhile, those few humans, like Marc, who did happen to believe in the right god and picked the best version of the correct religion will live forever in ecstasy, knowing that most of their fellow human beings are in exquisite everlasting pain -- and it won't bother those rejoicing Christians one little bit.

Now, if that isn't an example of Amazing Grace, I don't know what is.

One penny. Can I have just one penny, Marc? Are you too stingy for even sharing a penny?


Marc, I'll continue to hope that one day you'll obtain some help so you can learn to tell the difference between reality and fantasy. It took me 30 years. Maybe you'll be smarter than me. And at the very least, I hope you one day learn that just because you have a religion, it does not make you superior to your fellow human beings.

Sincerely.

Jim Arvo said...

Thanks for the summary of my previous comments, Marc. I still think they're funny (and apt). You mistake exasperation for anger and threats of force. Yes, I do think you're arrogant; and self-righteous. You do need to "Wake up". Calling us "evil" is a hoot, Marc. Calling it "wrong" and "evil" to use our minds, and then to speak our minds is, again, telling. You will apparently resort to anything in lieu of actually thinking about the basis of your theology.

Credulity is not a virtue, Marc. To not only accept but to then attempt to propagate such baseless beliefs, complete with threats of damnation, is lazy and irresponsible. In my book that is immoral, Marc. In all your lengthy posts, how many times have you offered anything of substance to support your beliefs? Very few, if any. (Frankly, I have no desire to sift through your ramblings to come up with a number.) Mostly you've attacked us and insulted us, and for what crime: for daring to NOT believe in your personal theology. You are welcome to your beliefs, Marc. But the moment you demonize all those who differ, you become a bigot.

Can you please explain what you are trying to accomplish here? I've asked before, and you've yet to answer. It's a simple question. I'd also like to hear your explanation for why you have so far refused to give the WM what he has politely asked for. Why are your actions not in direct contradiction to the theology you espouse? Can you address that?

boomSLANG said...

Unblinded/Marc: "It is evil to try and lure people away from God, regardless of how you justify it".

As we know, neither the personal "creator-god" of the Christian bible, "Yahweh", nor his bastard Son, "Jesus", exist beyond a concept in the religionist's mind. However, for the sake of those who insist that said deities do exist; and for the sake of people like Marc, who thinks it's "evil" for people to try and lure the Faithful away from their precious man-ghost duo, here is a viable solution, inspired and condoned by "the Father", himself:

Deu 13:5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn [you] away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

Deu 13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which [is] as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;

Deu 13:7 [Namely], of the gods of the people which [are] round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the [one] end of the earth even unto the [other] end of the earth;

Deu 13:8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:

Deu 13:9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

Deu 13:10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.[bold added throughout]

So, Marc---why don't you just handle us "evil" non-believers the way your "God" tells you to handle non-believers?

It's odd, you don't give to those who ask(per your bible), and you bitch and moan about people who lead you away from your precious "God", yet, you don't handle it the way your ALL-loving "God" tells you to handle it(also per your bible)

Golly, it seems you aren't a "True Chrisitan", are you?(Rhetorical)

alanh said...

Marc, all you need to do is produce some evidence that backs up what you are saying. So far you haven't shown anything that indicates religion is something other than an altered state of human consciousness. You have Vassula writing page after page about how she is not worthy, some children putting on a show for a receptive audience, and the Bible, which is an ambiguous text in desperate need of corroboration. What you are talking about is the very nature of reality, so prove its real, without falling back on the usual excuses: you can't test God, you have to believe before you can see the evidence, atheists won't accept any evidence, you'll find out after you die, etc, etc.

J. C. Samuelson said...

"J.C., I believe you use this site to feed your ego at the expense of your creator."

Whether I had this computer or not, I would still not believe in a creator. If the "crime" of unbelief warrants eternal punishment, so be it.

Now, as to your judgment...

Have we met? Do you know anything about my family, my job, my friends, my activities (other than posting here when I have time)?

You bring up righteous judgment, yet you're ready & willing to judge based on a very limited idea of who we are. None of us has called you evil for having your beliefs. None of us has accused you of being an immoral person.

Your self-righteousness is absolutely sickening.

"That's nothing. Just wait for the sermon on heavenly bodies.
Seriously though, I really appreciate the support. It means a lot.
Was this approval that meant so much to you, worth it?"


Good grief. I showed appreciation for a compliment. I was always taught that it was common courtesy to show appreciation for a compliment. You're judging me based on a display of courtesy.

And in case you missed it, read the Site Purpose & Disclaimer. We are here to support one another. That happens to be my favorite part of this site.

"...you were made to love, not attack Love itself."

I really don't want to engage you on this, but I can't resist.

1 Cor. 13:4-7 - Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous...is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered...bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Jn 4:7-21 - Basically describes how God is Love.

One of these two writers is confused. For if God is jealous, provoked, and keeps a record of our wrongs, then God is not love.

"You come across as the ring leader at this site and some of your posts may be hurting impressionable souls."

A) I am not a "ring leader," whatever you might mean by that.

B) Are you really saying that people who come here and read might not know that there's another point-of-view or how to find it? Are you saying they should not obey their Lord by loving him with all their heart, soul, body, and mind? Are you saying that you have appointed yourself guardian over other, lesser Christians who may not be able to think for themselves?

Are you this arrogant all the time?

"He's simply left you alone with your desires and so will I..."

Finally!

Jim Arvo said...

Actually, JCS, I did imply several times that our friend Marc was immoral. I consider it to be immoral to perpetuate information as "truth" without the slightest attempt to examine it, corroborate it, or qualify it. I see it as a form of dishonesty (this is often referred to as intellectual dishonesty). If one is capable of expressing one's views in complete and grammatically correct sentences, then one is also capable of asking the simple question "How do I know what I say is true?" Failure to do so is a "secular sin", in my opinion, and it ought not be allowed to pass without mention, particularly when a person couples this with ugly threats.

I also consider it to be immoral to condone heinous acts such as genocide, murder, rape, infanticide, etc. Those who blindly endorse Yahweh and the hate-filled OT do this indirectly. I think it's reasonable to expect some culpability for such a position.

Maybe some would label me a "militant" atheist, but I see it as being socially responsible.

tigg13 said...

Marc said, "It is evil to try and lure people away from God, regardless of how you justify it...It would be wrong of me to leave this site without having made it perfectly clear that what you do here, is wrong.

Hold on here. Back up just a second. I thought that we were all inherently evil (at least, according to your bible anyway), and that includes you, Marc.

And might I point out that there are a great many christians who would consider your cult of Vassula to be heretical. From their point of view, you would be just as guilty of luring people away from the "one true god".

Jim, J.C., and the big WM aren't calling you self righteous and arrogant because you're calling us x-xians wrong, but because you have the audacity to presume that your personal set of beliefs must be 100% right.

How dare you cast aspersions on us when you yourself refuse to abide by your own doctrines.

dano said...

Un,
Other than thinking that our creator is up there in the sky watching and approving of your going to confession, I would be real interested in knowing what other paranormal anomalies you believe in.

Do you believe in an angel gone bad, called the devil? What stories from the bible do you believe literally? Adam and Eve? Noah? Immaculate conception?

Nobody here hates you Un, we just make fun of you like adults make fun of children who have carried their childhood fantasies too far into adolescence and adulthood. We are just trying to get you to grow up.

Stop for a moment and think how silly the concepts of heaven and hell are, or that the creator of the cosmos is up there waiting with bated breath for you to tell it how wonderful it is.

Just think about how really dumb it is to believe that whatever made us, also made an entity called Satan, who now represents evil, and the God who made him, can't control him.

The reason the Catholic church has declined in every aspect in America is because people woke up one day and realized that Priests are not gods, and that the church has been one of the most corrupt institutions in the world ever since it's inception.

Sure it will still control masses of ignorant people just like it always has, but not those who have learned to think. It only takes a minute nowadays to get on the Internet and expose new crimes being committed under the cover of religion.

The old days when a local priest could demand anything and get it, are gone. He cant sentence people to be tortured and burned at the stake anymore for disobedience.
Dan

Steven Bently said...

I would suggest anyone to follow those links provided by blinded.

The Lady of Garbandal is full of unending Blessed Miracles and Prophesies.

eel_shepherd said...

Jim Arvo wrote:
"...Of course, given what I just said, my explanation above will also have no effect on you. (I must confess that I have a morbid curiosity as to what violence you will do to it, however.)..."

Yes, a friend and I used to refer to such people and/or situations as an "ant farm" --- there's something vaguely horrible/creepy about them... and yet, for some perverse reason, y'keep watching anyway. N.H.P. Natural Human Perversity

Also, with reference to someone else's post: "The Lady of Garbandal is full of unending Blessed Miracles and Prophesies."

Well, she's full of something.