6/05/2007                                                                                       View Comments

If I only had a brain

By Dave, the WM
"Don't pay any attention to that man behind the screen."— Wizard of Oz

Dogmatic Christians tend to be some of the most confident people I know — at least in pubic.

I was one of those Christians.

Secretly I was skeptical... of myself. I'd put on the expected airs and broadcast self-assurance. But, barely hidden under a thin leaf of conviction lay naked self-doubt.

How could I, an average guy, be entirely sure I really knew what I was talking about when it came to impossibly supernatural things? Even a minute of honest self assessment would clue me in that my limited mental capacities were probably not up for the job.

The solution to this frustrating dichotomy was infantile in its simplicity: I tried not to think about it.

But that only worked for awhile. Eventually I started thinking again: "What if I'm just kidding myself, and none of this weird religious stuff is true? What if I've been deceived or am just mistaken? What makes me think that I am so enlightened when untold millions of people both living today and throughout history have seen things completely differently?"

So, to counter these returning misgivings, I'd turn to the Bible: "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your heart?" (Luke 24:38)

"Well, because I have a brain, Jesus."

In Christianity doubt is considered a fairly big sin against God. "Without faith, it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God." (Hebrews 11:16, emphasis added)

Impossible. No way. Can't do it. If you want to please God, you just can't let any doubt take root in your head. That would make you a bad seed, or something.

"But Lord, I don't understand how you could allow your Holy Word to contain so many contradictions in tallying of numbers, blatantly unfulfilled prophecies, conflicting and contradictory Old Testament narratives, historical inaccuracies, and confusing Gospel accounts that simply don't jibe with one another! Then, You still want me to consider this stuff Your infallible Word? I don't understand. I'm beginning to think I might wrong about all this — HELP!"

"The natural man does not accept the things of God ... he cannot understand them." (I Cor 2:14) "God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise"(1 Cor 1:27)

"Boy, you've got an answer for everything, don't you Lord?"

I am rebuked for being "natural" and complimented for being stupid. Meanwhile, my questions go unanswered. Christians are discouraged from asking too many questions — being foolish is better than being wise. Christians are admonished to resist doubt and to "believe" no matter what their heads might tell them.

Do we generally "just believe" anything else we are told in our lives?

"This car is a great deal." "This house would be ideal for you" "That dress makes you look fantastic." "You have just got to invest in this stock." "You know I love you, honey. Don't let that lipstick on my pants fill you with doubt."

Isn't it a good idea to submit things to careful scrutiny?

Questioning and doubt are things Christians are constantly warned to avoid.

"He must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." (James 1:6)

Why do you suppose that so much time and effort is invested in teaching Christians to embrace faith and excise doubt? Why is it bad to put a microscope on one's religion? Could it be because skepticism provides a natural protection against flim-flam? Could it be that a practiced ability for question and doubt is really an ally? Will those qualities help protect us from becoming stooges and the victims of circumstance?

Children, on the other hand, pretty much believe whatever they are told. Maybe that's why Christians are encouraged to become like Children. Children are easier to manipulate.

Is it any wonder that there are so many Christian charlatans out there? What with Christians being told to turn off their protective skepticism, it's surprising there are not more stories of crime and punishment by pastors and priests.

Think about it. When people are trained to turn off their brains, they can be made to believe that ridiculous myths of magical beasts and super-powered humans describe real historical events, and that an immaterial, invisible, undead, inexplicably three-in-one Palestinian god-man wants to be their bosom buddy.

When skepticism and critical thought are shelved, lunacy runs the floor.

What do you think?

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74 comments:

twilightmk said...

Dogmatic Christians tend to be some of the most confident people I know — at least in pubic.

LOL!

Audie said...

The "in Public" part is so true. Like the WM, I too had hidden and secret doubts.

But now, I am confident in and out of public. I no longer have the burden of having to know it all. There are a lot of things in this world that I do not know, but I am constantly learning. And of that, I am confident!

Nvrgoingbk said...

As a questioning Christian, I always felt like a trouble maker. Other believers found me absolutely exasperating. "Why do you have to make things so difficult?" "Everybody else gets it."

I never quit asking questions, though. With honesty being more important to me than faith, I dug until I was satisfied. Well, the only satisfying answer to my rational mind was that it was all a big lie-sort of like wondering how Santa Claus got into our house in Tampa, Florida without a chimney, until it finally dawned on me that my parents were full of shit.

Now, I look at those religious folk who thought me foolish and pathetic for being unable to grasp the absurdity of Christianity, and I pity them.

Anonymous said...

Those authors of the buy-bull were pretty slick, putting in admonitions against noticing the Man Behind the Curtain, weren't they?

Like Heller said, "That's SOME Catch, that Catch-22..."

John of Indiana

Anonymous said...

When I was a believer, the trouble I had was this notion that man can either turn away from God (sin) or walk with God (please him). There are 200,000 other choices one can make, and how could just living displease the God that made the world, your senses and your brain?

Also, the concept of worship never stuck with me. Now, God making us each the way we are, with our idiosyncracies, why should we all go to a building and do the same forced things together like zombies? Certainly God accepts us being honest with him and ourselves. Anyway, then I found I don't need to believe to be me and to be a good person. Now I am truly free.

Anonymous said...

Every sincere question deserves a sincere answer. In your time as a Christian, did you ever find anybody who was delighted to answer your questions? Did anyone ever sit down with you and explain these contradictions that you saw in the Bible? Was everyone you met insincere, stupid, or a hypocrite?

Lance said...

Anonymous said...
Every sincere question deserves a sincere answer. In your time as a Christian, did you ever find anybody who was delighted to answer your questions? Did anyone ever sit down with you and explain these contradictions that you saw in the Bible? Was everyone you met insincere, stupid, or a hypocrite?

Lance:
Recently a christian friend of mine has been trying to get me back into the fold. We have very civil discussions, and make a point to cut the conversation off if things heat up too much.

However, my friend does not have any answers to my questions. He admits to not having any answers, and continually reminds me that I just need to have faith. Just drop the doubts and believe.

He also backed way off when he realized that my questions started to shake his foundation. He said he wanted to walk with me through this, by which he admittedly meant to get me back to his belief system. I told him that if he wanted to walk with me then he needed to be aware that such a walk could lead to the loss of his faith, and if he was not willing to put his faith on the table and risk it, then I didn't see how he could help me.

He balked and decided not to meet weekly on these issues as he had originally suggested. He told me that god was telling him to hold fast to the faith.

Now we steer clear of the deep questions and we only hit a little surface issue now and then. But he still has no answers. By the way, neither do the several pastors I've met with, or other friends and family.

So the answer to your question is both yes and no. Yes, many people were willing to sit down with me to discuss the questions. And yes some did try a lot of hand waving and conjecture to try to mask over or hide the contradictions. But No, they did not have the answers.

The answers they had were always weak beyond belief and always ended with an appeal to faith.

And just in case you are wondering, these are not contradictions about some little detail here or there. The contradictions and bizarre thinking involve the very nature of god and the entire need for salvation. The absolute core of the christian faith.

I assume from your question, that you may still be a christian. If you are willing to risk your faith and see if it really stands up to the evidence, then you must do as the author of the original post hinted at, and give in to doubt.

Say to yourself, "I really want to know the truth, even if the truth is not what I currently believe." Then pray to god to show you the truth. And start with questioning the bible. How do you know it is the word of god?

How do you know that when you get to heaven, god won't say something like "What made you think I wrote that thing? Couldn't you see it made no sense? Why didn't you use the brain that I gave you and think for yourself? Why did you trust those church leaders that told you it was my book?"

And if you need some good places to start, check out the book section on this web site.

Sincerely,
Lance

madbuni said...

My answer to the question would be yes, I think if a myth can take hold of an entire country like ours, and government officials can try to impose ID into science class, lunacy has taken over reason and critical thinking.

I have been reading reviews on Christopher Hitchens new book: "God is not Great, why religion poisons everything" so it is on order now. Christopher's opinions regarding religion are so much like mine that I was excited to find another author/journalist who said it like I felt it.

I may be what the christians refer to as never having been a christian in the first place (even though I have been baptized twice. Once at age 10, a second time at age 30).

From the time I was 5 or 6 I began questioning what I was being told by adults about faith, and the rules I had to follow, and each one would make me feel guilty and ashamed for my young skeptical thinking, so I was programed to just think what they did, but never feel what they did, if that makes sense.

At my second baptism I can say honestly I did not feel anything spiritual, or powerful taking over, I was doing it because I thought I had to have some sort of belief in god. I gradually just quit going to church and one day a lightbulb went off that I really didn't need any of it or want any of it. That was the day I said, I am an atheist.

Hitchens is asked all the time to explain why he is an atheist, and he often replys with this statement:
"There's been some research in cognitive science, I'm told, that discloses that there have always been perhaps 10 to 15 percent of peple who are, as Pascal puts it, so made that they cannot believe. To us, when people talk about faith, it's white noise."

That describes me perfectly.

As Penn and Teller put it, Religion is Bullshit.

Anonymous said...

i have never encountered anything more scrutinized than Christianity.

.:webmaster:. said...

I have. Evolution.

The question is not whether or not some Christian apologist or detractor has scrutinized Christianity. The question is, have you? Have you closely examined why you have concluded that it makes sense to believe in talking animals, flying winged angels, floating ax heads, unicorns and dragons, and a super god-man whose blood has mystical efficacious power to grant everlasting life, but if you don't believe in this immaterial, invisible, imaginary god-man, you will fry forever in an unimaginably sadistic lake of fire?

That's the question.

Nvrgoingbk said...

There are two types of unbelievers: The ones that have been that way since birth and the ones that were once believers but whose pursuit of the truth was more dogmatic than their faith.

I am one of the latter. I was not a natural skeptic, because I have always been quite gullible and try to believe the best in others and the best of their motives. I am however, a natural investigator and pursuant of truth. I just can't help it. My integrity is just too important to me, and if I see an error or contradiction in something, I can not keep myself from investigating the matter further.

That's how most of us here were. Christians think otherwise. They just don't understand that our deconversion has not come from some desire to live without the influence of divine authority. We are not looking to run wild and shirk God's commandments. Our decision comes from having used the logical thinking skills we were born with and a desire to pursue the truth wherever led.

Dan King said...

As a Christian myself, I personally scrutinize everything. In fact, I feel like the Scriptures even tell me to.

"Test everything. Hold on to the good." -- 1 Thes 5:21

I could provide other references that back this idea up as well. But my point is that after spending 30 yeas of my life as an atheist, I eventually came to faith even AFTER careful scrutiny of what I was getting myself into.

From reading this post, it sounds to me like the biggest issue here is more with how you've been treated by other "Christians". Well, I actually agree with you that Christians should not be blind followers, but I don't believe that the Bible tells us to follow blindly. Mine is not a blind-faith, but an informed one. I also expect that other Chirstians (including myself) are not perfect. Being Christian does not mean that you are perfect, it means that you are a follower of Christ.

In this (and other posts on this site) I see a lot of reasons that you no longer believe in Christianity, but I see very little about what you DO believe.

I'm not trying to be confrontational, or make you change your views, just curious, really...

Thanks! Interesting post!

Spoomonkey said...

I can completely relate to this essay. During my time in the ministry, I had all of the answers - because I also made damn sure that could guide the debate/discussion/sermon. I was always proud of myself for being able to anticipate questions and objections and putting that into whatever I would talk about.

That habit also impressed a lot of people who heard me speak. I seemed pretty genuine - and it really did appear that I was comfortable qith questions about what I believed, because I was asking the questions myself!

Or was I?

I can remember a few times running into questions that I just couldn't answer. So what did I do? Steer the discussion around it. Hey, it was my sermon, I could manipulate it anyway that I wanted...

I wrote it off as just not having the time or expertise to study it deeply enough - and that worked as long as I really didn't care about the truth.

But I always said, "God isn't afraid of being questioned because the truth never fails." Looking back, that should go on the epitaph of my faith's tombstone...

Spoomonkey

Thackerie said...

Dan King said, “But my point is that after spending 30 yeas of my life as an atheist, I eventually came to faith even AFTER careful scrutiny of what I was getting myself into.”

It seems to me that the latest fad among christians is claiming to have been atheists before seeing the light and converting to their current state of religious belief. But what does it actually mean?

Best as I can determine, all it means is “I didn’t use to be born again.” An awful lot of fundies seem to think that not being religious or not giving a lot of thought to matters of religion or not going to church defines one as an atheist.

But I seriously question whether anyone who had come to an atheistic stance after really studying the history of how the bible and christianity came into being, the contradictions and errors in the bible, and the theology itself could ever convert to christianity. While I label myself as more of an agnostic than an atheist, I think becoming a christian would be impossible for me – knowing what I know now.

If any christian who claims to be a former atheist wants to correct my perception, please let me know what works of rational freethought you studied (or, really, what if anything on the history of the bible and christianity other than stuff by christian apologists) and exactly how they were proven wrong by your new religion. Please provide some truly convincing evidence (bible verses don't prove anything); my mortal soul may be at stake ;-)

Anonymous said...

To: Dan King

A belief is not a fact!

A belief is an ideology that a person longs for and wishes for it to be true.

This meaning that you want to believe in invisible spirits and ghosts, angels, devils, demons, virgin births, blessings, miracles, prayer, visions and dreams, prophets, etc.

Most people are afraid to question beliefs because of the instilled fear of a burning hell.

One must consider the mentality and education of the people at the window of time that they wrote the Bible.

The people that wrote the Bible were uneducated and were not allowed to apply common sense, nor were they allowed to think outside of the ancient scriptures already handed down from generation to generation, to study the Earth sciences was considered blasphemy and of the devil.

Until 1492 the general populace thought that the world was flat, just imagine what they thought prior to 1492.

People had no knowledge of bacteria or germs, they thought that the world was the center of the universe and that a God and a heaven was in the clouds above, they thought that the heart was the center of all thought and emotions, there is no mention of the word "Brain" in the Bible, because they had no knowledge of a brain.

The people that wrote the Bible, presumed that what they were writing was true, so much that they were sure it was the inspired word of a God.

The Bible writers presumed that the words that they heard in their brains and wrote down was in fact from a God, just as many Christians presume the inner voices that the brain relays internally is in fact the voice from a God, but it is the brains' synapses firing and telling your body what to do and how to react to the situation you are in at your present moment, it's being fed information through your eyes, ears, taste, touch, smell, and your present thoughts, it's not information being relayed from a God to you.

All living creatures are receiving similar information about it's present environment and it's thoughts involving them at their current situation, where ever they are living on this planet, it has nothing to do with a god.

Robby

RubySera Martin said...

Dan King wrote:

I'm...just curious, really..."

Dan, that proves the depths of your self-deception. Dave explained in some detail what his real problem was with Christianity and what do you do? You say:

"From reading this post, it sounds to me like the biggest issue here is more with how you've been treated by other "Christians"."

That's bullshit! That is the Christians' standard answer. Christians cannot for whatever twisted reason inside their own distorted brain confront the real issues so they make one up that they can afford to confront--the charge that Christians can be very nasty people.

Christians have no problem with that because Jesus died to forgive them; they are saved by grace, for heaven's sake; being perfect is not their goal. Nevermind that Jesus said "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5:48).

You're commanded by the Holy King James Bible to be perfect. Yet you dare brag about your imperfections!

But all that is beside the point. There is nothing--absolutely NOTHING--in Dave's article to suggest he's been treated less than decent by Christians. Yet you make up a story about it being the treatment he got at the hands of Christians that caused his deconversion. What a pervert you are!

"As a Christian myself, I personally scrutinize everything. In fact, I feel like the Scriptures even tell me to."

Yes, yes, yes! Of course you do! You scrutinized all except the universally forbidden topic.

"Test everything. Hold on to the good." -- 1 Thes 5:21

Yes, yes, yes! Of course you do! Absolutely EVERYTHING--except--and this is crucial--you test absolutely everything except the one thing that could cause your deconversion.

So you claim to have been an atheist for thirty years. Can't have been a real atheist of the calibre of Dave the WM. A real atheist does not get converted to Christianity. You must have had some niggling doubts and you allowed those doubts to lead you.

"I also expect that other Chirstians (including myself) are not perfect. Being Christian does not mean that you are perfect, it means that you are a follower of Christ."

I, too, am a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, also of Socrates, and all the other sages from all the great world religions, past, present and future.

How? The reason is really simple. All of them preach the same bottom line. But maybe your kind can't see it. That wouldn't be my fault but rather the fault of the voluntarily blind.

"In this (and other posts on this site) I see a lot of reasons that you no longer believe in Christianity, but I see very little about what you DO believe."

Isn't that a laugh! You're reading a forum that exists for the support of former Christians in their deconversion process. That is stated on every single page of the forum; this is EXChristian. Why in the name of all that's logical would you look for beliefs on such a forum?

All the same, it's there all right. Were it not there for those who look I could never have concluded what it means to be an atheist just from reading exC forums. Yet that's exactly what I did.

Now some of the crucial information may not appear on exC itself but that is for one reason only: ExC-ers believe in the fair use policy when it comes to respecting the intellectual property of others. Thus, instead of copying whole articles about what they believe, they post links. That you choose not to follow those links, of course, can be nobody's fault but your own.

If you don't like this kind of tirade against yourself, just stop spouting the lies and presumptuous conclusions you are spouting here. Enough is enough! I have had enough of your kind of lies pushed down my throat. So just stop it!

.:webmaster:. said...

Hi Dan,

The scriptures tell you: "Test everything. Hold on to the good." -- 1 Thes 5:21

Nice thought. First of all, how did that sentence become scripture? Do you know?

Secondly, do you think the writer of the sentence means "test Christianity and if you find it is false, abandon it?"

Here's the entire context of that passage, in case you missed it somehow: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil."

In other words, test everything against the version of Christianity that is being preached in I Thess, and whatever doesn't match up with that version of Christianity should be rejected. Do not treat prophecies (or preaching) with contempt, test everything (against what I, the writer of I Thess taught you).

That's not really testing things now, is it?

"It sounds to me like the biggest issue here is more with how you've been treated by other "Christians."

No, the premise of this article is self-doubt in one's ability to be so sure about an opinion when it concerns magical, mystical mystery, and healthy skepticsm. It is about how Christianity teachs Christians to deny self-doubt in these matters and abhor skepticism in regards to the claims of Christianity.

As far as you not being perfect, what is perfect? Please define perfect.

I see very little about what you DO believe.

I do believe in no gods. If your question means, "Since you don't believe in Jesus, what gods or religion do you believe in?" then, I catagorically believe in no gods.

This site is about leaving Christianity. Why should I necessarily feel a need to jump into another religion after abandoning Christianity? That doesn't make sense to me.

Oh, and to go back to your "other Christians" comments. How did you become a Christian? Wasn't it through "other Christians?" I mean, why is it bad to leave Christianity because of other Christians but it is okay to join Christianity because of other Christians? I personally didn't leave Christianity because of other Christians, but I most certainly did join it initally because of other Christians. I was "saved" at a youth meeting. It was led by other Christians.

I hope that answers your questions.

twincats said...

Anonymous said: "When I was a believer, the trouble I had was this notion that man can either turn away from God (sin) or walk with God (please him). There are 200,000 other choices one can make, and how could just living displease the God that made the world, your senses and your brain?"

This hits on what I feel is a key issue about the way xtianity hobbles the mind. So many bible believers are mired in the whole good/bad, right/wrong, up/down, in/out, black/white, on/off, in/out, 1/0, saved/damned, one-or-the-other-but-nothing-else dichotomy in the way that they think. Some seem to remain that way even after conversion.

It's easy to see why; there's no better way to avoid looking closely at anything because when everything is one or the other, you get to ignore the whole spectrum of things in between and even beyond.

These poor "souls" seem to be blind to the existence of any shades of gray, let alone the dazzling array of intellectual "colors" life has to offer.

Anonymous said...

webmaster wrote: The question is, have you? Have you closely examined why you have concluded that it makes sense to believe in talking animals, flying winged angels, floating ax heads, unicorns and dragons, and a super god-man whose blood has mystical efficacious power to grant everlasting life, but if you don't believe in this immaterial, invisible, imaginary god-man, you will fry forever in an unimaginably sadistic lake of fire?

yes

Anonymous said...

it was asked As far as you not being perfect, what is perfect? Please define perfect.

this is perfect: Completing God's Law
17-18"Don't suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures— either God's Law or the Prophets. I'm not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama. God's Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God's Law will be alive and working.
19-20"Trivialize even the smallest item in God's Law and you will only have trivialized yourself. But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom. Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won't know the first thing about entering the kingdom.

Murder
21-22"You're familiar with the command to the ancients, 'Do not murder.' I'm telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother 'idiot!' and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell 'stupid!' at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.
23-24"This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.

25-26"Or say you're out on the street and an old enemy accosts you. Don't lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him. After all, if you leave the first move to him, knowing his track record, you're likely to end up in court, maybe even jail. If that happens, you won't get out without a stiff fine.

Adultery and Divorce
27-28"You know the next commandment pretty well, too: 'Don't go to bed with another's spouse.' But don't think you've preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.
29-30"Let's not pretend this is easier than it really is. If you want to live a morally pure life, here's what you have to do: You have to blind your right eye the moment you catch it in a lustful leer. You have to choose to live one-eyed or else be dumped on a moral trash pile. And you have to chop off your right hand the moment you notice it raised threateningly. Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump.

31-32"Remember the Scripture that says, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him do it legally, giving her divorce papers and her legal rights'? Too many of you are using that as a cover for selfishness and whim, pretending to be righteous just because you are 'legal.' Please, no more pretending. If you divorce your wife, you're responsible for making her an adulteress (unless she has already made herself that by sexual promiscuity). And if you marry such a divorced adulteress, you're automatically an adulterer yourself. You can't use legal cover to mask a moral failure.

Empty Promises
33-37"And don't say anything you don't mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, 'I'll pray for you,' and never doing it, or saying, 'God be with you,' and not meaning it. You don't make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say 'yes' and 'no.' When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.
Love Your Enemies
38-42"Here's another old saying that deserves a second look: 'Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.' Is that going to get us anywhere? Here's what I propose: 'Don't hit back at all.' If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
43-47"You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

48"In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you."

Anonymous said...

this one is pretty good also and is also from Jesus sermon on the mount from the paraphase translation known as The Message.

Matthew 7
A Simple Guide for Behavior
1-5 "Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.
6"Don't be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don't reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you're only being cute and inviting sacrilege.

7-11"Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn't a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we're in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn't think of such a thing. You're at least decent to your own children. So don't you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?

12"Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God's Law and Prophets and this is what you get.

boomSLANG said...

Dan King: As a Christian myself, I personally scrutinize everything. In fact, I feel like the Scriptures even tell me to.

"Test everything. Hold on to the good." -- 1 Thes 5:21


"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." Matthew 10:16

Yes, test everything....be as wise as a "serpent". A SERPENT, Mr. Dan???.. be as wise as "Lucifer"? Seems contradictory, the least.

Secondly, "God", itself, is not "testable". So you can't "test everything". Thirdly, if you use reason and should happen to find something that you cannot reconcile---like talking snakes, swimming hammers, men camping out in a whale's stomach, etc---then the "scriptures" tell you that the "wisdom of man is foolishness". Essentially, that "reason" is irrelevant to "Faith".

So, you're "wise" as long as you don't find anything wrong with Christianity, but if you do, then you're being "foolish". Clever......except we're in the 21 century now.

Dan King: I could provide other references that back this idea up as well. But my point is that after spending 30 yeas of my life as an atheist, I eventually came to faith even AFTER careful scrutiny of what I was getting myself into.

And after having spent a great deal of my life as a Christian, I eventually came to reason, "AFTER" careful scrutiny of what I had gotten myself into all those years.

Now, would you suggest that it's impossible for me to have reached the exact opposite conclusion as you? If so, on what grounds?

Dan King: From reading this post, it sounds to me like the biggest issue here is more with how you've been treated by other "Christians". Well, I actually agree with you that Christians should not be blind followers, but I don't believe that the Bible tells us to follow blindly. Mine is not a blind-faith, but an informed one.

The term "blind Faith" is redundant; the term "informed Faith", an oxymoron. Here's why:

You, the Christian, worship a "supernatural", or, intangible deity. By definition---and also by reference throughout the bible---the "Faith" part of "blind Faith" to which you refer, is built upon revelation, and also, intangible data..i.e..emotions, feelings, and intuition, etc. Now, if your "Faith" was built upon tangible data, you'd have at least some empirical evidence for your belief, thus, rendering "Faith" unnecessary.

(Please don't tell me that "Faith" simply means to "trust". I don't need to have "Faith", OR "trust", to believe that if I jump in my neighbor's pool, that I'll get wet. I know I'll get wet)

Back to "informed Faith"---if I were to say, "Hey, I've been informed that Neptune is the one True God, and I believe it because of my 'informed Faith' "...it wouldn't hold much weight with you, would it?

Dan King: I also expect that other Chirstians (including myself) are not perfect. Being Christian does not mean that you are perfect, it means that you are a follower of Christ.

I see this "perfect" argument a lot. Okay, correct, no human being is "perfect"--yet, Christians claim to be guided by an invisible, intangible, all-knowing, self-righteous ghost, yet, we don't see them behaving any differently(except maybe worse) than those who disbelieve in said ghost. That's the point.

Dan King: In this (and other posts on this site) I see a lot of reasons that you no longer believe in Christianity, but I see very little about what you DO believe.

Me personally, I believe in UNcondtional love, reason, freethought, and humanity...to name a few.

Best regards.

ComputerGuyCJ said...

Excellent post Dave! You've captured the thought process that most of us have had quite well and also the struggle we've had of being asked to "believe and not doubt" and to "test everything" at the same time. The two statements are polar opposites and cannot possibly be done. It's the same as asking God to create a rock that he can't lift. Impossible -- even for an almighty power.

Thackerie also had a good observation. Most of us Ex-Christians have been on both sides. We've carefully and sometimes painfully studied the scriptures. We've read commentary after commentary and listened to sermon after sermon. We've studied word origins. We've considered contexts, historically, physically, and in all other ways, to determine why an author wrote the things they wrote. We've read one after another "practical" Christian-life books. We've done it all with Christianity, and then it only took a little bit of the opposite to reveal to us that it was all bullshit, but even then we seriously approached atheist resources in just the same way that we did with Christian resources.

How many Christians can say they've done the same? I'd venture to say that there are only a few that actually done enough homework to be real intellectual atheists. The rest were simply mindless and continued to be so when presented with Christianity.

Nvrgoingbk said...

Dan King, you've yet to answer the question as to what kind of Atheist you really were. I mean, were you, as someone suggested, the kind that now considers yourself once an atheist simply because you lacked a belief in Bible God or any particular god or were you a truly informed athiest or nonbeliever?

I mean, come on Dan, you're talking to people who have dogmatically lived on both sides. We didn't take our faith lightly, and now, we do not take what we have found to be true lightly. We know, that we know, that we know after months and years of investigating BOTH sides that divine truth, should such a thing exist, is NOT to be found within the pages of the Bible.

Now, really Dave, please satisfy our curiosity as to just how informed an Atheist you really were.

Regarding your nauseating assumption that we have deconverted due to the actions and character of other Christians: Do you seriously think that we would have taken the very salvation of our souls so lightly as to allow a few bad experiences with fellow believers to keep us out of the "Kingdom of Heaven"? You do not quite seem to grasp the fact that we were of the utmost sincerity and devout faith. Our exodus had nothing to do with any of your supposed reasons. We didn't want to sow our wild oats. We weren't turned off by other Christians. We didn't rebel against God, because someone we loved died and are now angry with God for not acting on their behalf.

We left the faith, because it is IMPOSSIBLE TO RECONCILE THE BIBLE'S INCOSISTENCIES AND CONTRADICTIONS! It is impossible to reconcile God's commandments and character with a "loving God". It is impossible to believe that God stopped the sun in the sky when it doesn't f*cking move. It is impossible to believe Jesus' prophecies, when his prophecies have already proven fallible. It's impossible to believe in God's miracles, when he only seems to answer them arbitrarily. It's impossible to believe in the power of Christ, when sticking my hand in a vat of vipers or drinking poison will most assuredly kill me or render me unconscious despite Jesus' promise that we would most certainly not die. It's impossible to believe in prayer when Christ promised to give whatever we ask for in his name and asked in faith, and then never see our sincere prayers answered in any tangible way. It's impossible to hear God's voice, when he doesn't speak audibly to ANYONE, EVER!

It became impossible to believe DESPITE our fear of Hell, despite our sincere wish for it all to be true, despite our once-adamant refusal to ever turn our backs on God. It became impossible to believe DESPITE all of the best apologetic "answers" to our questions, despite heart-wrenching prayer, despite consult with other Christians and faith leaders. Christian hymns and contemporary music did nothing any longer to soothe our souls. Promises of eternal reward or punishment were no longer enough to influence a decision to ignore the truth.

In conclusion, Dan, there was no longer ANYTHING that could keep us from admitting that our former faith had existed simply out of societal influence, fear, and wishful thinking. Now, there is no longer ANYTHING, outside of a verifiable visit from "God", "Jesus" or the Holy Mist (outside of an actual appearance from said deities) that could make us attach ourselves EVER again to a bi-polar, obsessive-compulsive dictator made up by the collective efforts of the ancient Hebrews and later, the power-hungry Roman government.

Have we sufficiently answered your questions, Dan?

.:webmaster:. said...

webmaster wrote: The question is, have you? Have you closely examined why you have concluded that it makes sense to believe in talking animals, flying winged angels, floating ax heads, unicorns and dragons, and a super god-man whose blood has mystical efficacious power to grant everlasting life, but if you don't believe in this immaterial, invisible, imaginary god-man, you will fry forever in an unimaginably sadistic lake of fire?

Anony-bot replied: yes

Webmaster asks: And what decision making process did you use to conclude that all these fantastic creatures and stories reflect something more than myth?

ComputerGuyCJ said...

Something tells me Dan might not check back into here, but I hope he does. I'd like to see what he thinks about what we've had to say. I'm curious if there is any defense that he can come up with.

.:webmaster:. said...

Another (or the same?) anony-bot defined perfect as someone who without error follows every jot and tittle as commanded in the laws attributed to an ancient tribal deity sometimes called the Tetragrammaton.

I sure hope you're circumcised. I know that the so-called Apostle Paul said you could keep that part of your anatomy without fear of condemnation, but according the big Jeese man, anyone who would teach against even on JOT of this law is headed for some hard times in the after life.

Oh, and watch mixing threads in your robe. No tats. And absolutely no pork. NONE!

Now, since the only gods I acknowledge have vowels in their names, I'm afraid your definition of perfect is meaningless to me. I mean, if I were to describe perfect as the person who follows Vishnu without error, would that mean anything to you? Wouldn't I sound silly?

You sound silly... Silly.

Nvrgoingbk said...

It seemed to me as i read your comment dan, that you have had some kind of close call in life.

Perhaps a brush with death or, a illness? The only athiests i have ever seen convert had a tramatic exsperience.

As non-believers we hear it must have been something that drove us away but, it is a personal choice.

I "personaly" think after all i have read in the bible and,all the gut wrenching stress, guilt, and confusion over my whole EXSISTENCE i decide not too be religious.

It is all a choice.I think you are even more lost now than you thought you were before xianity, but thats your choice.

I feel we can all look at the arabic poeple who have came too the u.s.a, and see how the muslim religion has become a part of our culture.You can read about how xianity did the same thing only years ago.

Both religions contain vulgar and, despicable things. It is full of lies and contradictions,even the bibles own authors contradict each other.

Since i have left xianity i have discovered i don't need a imaginery friend who makes me feel like shit even if i do right it is not good enough. I am man enough too be a good person because i choose too, that is true "free will"...

Nvrgoingbk said...

the above comment was made by Nvrgoingbk's husband, NvrgoingbkEITHER.

Poltergoost said...

"He told me that god was telling him to hold fast to the faith."

I wonder if he had a tape recording of god telling him that, or some video tape.

Once again another christian tells someone that god told them something, and they have no proof of god telling them anything.

I think a lot of these christians get their own thoughts in their head confused with their imaginary god.

Lance said...

Poltergoost:
Once again another christian tells someone that god told them something, and they have no proof of god telling them anything.

I think a lot of these christians get their own thoughts in their head confused with their imaginary god.


Lance:
I think you are referring to my post earlier, and you are exactly right. My friend gets a feeling or a thought and thinks god is talking to him. Like my 5 year old's imaginary friend.

It is scary and weird to realize that I used to attribute thoughts in my head to god or satan. What an absolute mind fuck that our well meaning parents and pastors did to us.

I remember being so confused when I would pray and then get a random thought. Was this from god or the bad guy, or just my own head? Could the devil control my thoughts? How was I to know? Like I said, what a mind fuck!

And christians practice this sort of insanity on a daily basis. So why do we expect them to think clearly when their brains are twisted up in knots?

So in addition to the bible telling people not to doubt and not to think for themselves, christians also can't rely on their own thoughts because those thought might not be their own. There are all sorts of folks up there waging a spiritual battle between their ears.

How happy I am to have escaped from that FUCKING INSANITY!

Anonymous said...

webmaster said Another (or the same?) anony-bot defined perfect as someone who without error follows every jot and tittle as commanded in the laws attributed to an ancient tribal deity sometimes called the Tetragrammaton.
I didnt define perfect anywhere near your interpretation. Mt (19:17) And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments." (19:18) He said to him, "Which?" And Jesus said, "You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, (19:19) Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (19:20) The young man said to him, "All these I have observed; what do I still lack?"(19:21) Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."

stronger now said...

Anonymous said...
this one is pretty good... 7-11"Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need....You're at least decent to your own children. So don't you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?

No. god will not give me what I need. He isn't real. If he were, then why didn't he help me when I asked him? So to say he and his "word" are perfect is wrong.

.:webmaster:. said...

First of all, anony-bot, the big Jeese man was talking to JEWS. They'd already had their ding-a-lings hacked.

He also said: "I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. ... Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

So, if you are going to pick and choose your verses, then I suppose you can make your holy book of myths say whatever you like. If you're going to read it all, however, there is a bit of a different message there.

In the book of Galations, Paul gets pretty irate with some messengers from James (the leader of the original cult begun by the Jeese man.) Paul denegrates, criticises and condemns James' personal messengers for maintaining a need to adhere to the law and circumcision. I wonder where Paul thought he gained the authority to contradict the true leader of this new cult. Visions? Voices? Interesting idea, but are hallucinations a better support than actually knowing the big Jeese in person? Would you accept my visions or voices (or anyone else's) I've heard as authoritative? Why or why not?

Finally, God says in the Quran, "If any one desires a religion other than submission the the will of God (Islam) it will be accepted and in the hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who are losers" (3:85). "O you who believe, accept Islam whole heartedly and do not follow the footsteps of the devil for he is your open enemy" (2:208). "Those who do not believe and die as non-believers, on them is the curse of God and of angels and of men combined" (2:161). "Those who become disbelievers after becoming believers, God will not forgive them" (3:90). "O you who believe, if you follow the People of the Book they will make you disbelievers after you have believed" (3:100).

So, how do you know that your holy book of myths is right and this holy book of myths is wrong?

Anonymous said...

stronger now wrote: He isn't real. If he were, then why didn't he help me when I asked him?
He nows our needs better than we ourselves know them and He always does what is best for us. There is an age old saying "dont confuse your needs with your wants". James 4-6You're cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn't care? The proverb has it that "he's a fiercely jealous lover." And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you'll find. It's common knowledge that "God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble."
I dont know what you asked for and I dont need to know but maybe He wants to give you something better.

Anonymous said...

webmaster: do not kill do, not steal, love God with your heart mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself applies to everyone.

Anonymous said...

even you

Anonymous said...

Webmaster: the very first church council met in jerusalem and made the decision over the very questions you are asking. Acts (15:19) *"It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. (15:20) *Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols,¤ from sexual immorality,¤ from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.¤ (15:21) For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath."
This was the decision of the Church that still applies to this day.

Anonymous said...

you also might find this usefull. Colossians 2:11
Entering into this fullness is not something you figure out or achieve. It's not a matter of being circumcised or keeping a long list of laws. No, you're already in—insiders—not through some secretive initiation rite but rather through what Christ has already gone through for you, destroying the power of sin. If it's an initiation ritual you're after, you've already been through it by submitting to baptism. Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ's cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.

Anonymous said...

baptism is the new circumcision

Thackerie said...

anonymous said, "you also might find this usefull."

No. It's not useful at all.

All the anonymous and named christian posters who replied to this thread so far have done nothing but hurl bible verses at us. Not one of them has said anything to prove that their set of verses is the one true set from among all the "holy" scriptures revered by various religions. Not one of them has offered "evidence" of anything; they have merely restated what they believe. A belief is not evidence.

In short, these responses merely illustrate the theme of Webmaster Dave's essay: Christians do not think outside the box of their own religiosity.

boomSLANG said...

stronger now wrote: He[God] isn't real. If he were, then why didn't he help me when I asked him?

One of several blogger-challenged anonymous Christian fundamentalists responds: He[God](knows) our needs better than we ourselves know them and He always does what is best for us.

Sure.

Okay, if "He"..i.e.."Jesus", "knows" our "needs", then "prayer" is an utter waste of time..... well, that is, unless "HE" gets some kind of cheap thrill out of hearing people literally BEG for what "HE" ALREADY KNOWS they need.

Can I illustrate it better for you? Sure: If a 4 year-old develops terminal leukemia?.... then your f%cking "JESUS" knows exactly what that child "needs".

Now, if it is argued that it is part of a "Divine plan" that a 4 year-old child MUST die a gruesome, painful, drawn-out death, then please enlighten me as to how that could possibly be "what is best" for them. If one wants to argue that it is predestined that an innocent child "MUST" be cheated out of life, then "Jesus" could've at least done the humane thing, and terminated said life in the womb, completely unbeknownst to the "child", as in, before "self-awareness" had developed.....and also, before the child's parents became attached to the child.

I'd be happy to have any theist enlighten me/us on this issue. Waiting.

.:webmaster:. said...

Yes, yes, anony-bot, but Col. was written by Paul. The same person that hated James and his Jews.

"And from blood"

I sure hope you don't enjoy a rare steak. That'd be a sin. Remember, it was voted on, and that's called divine.

And, btw, do you know who supposedly wrote Acts? It is supposedly Luke, the compainion of PAUL!

Hmmm.

You are not a Christian. You are a Paulist.

.:webmaster:. said...

Here's a little something interesting on prayer:

How many times have you asked GOD for something?. Did GOD answer your prayer every time? Did GOD answer your prayers at all!

"When My servants ask you about Me, I am always near. I answer their prayers when they pray to Me. The people shall respond to Me and believe in Me, in order to be guided." Qur'an(2:186)

How can this be?. If GOD is telling us in His holy book that He answers prayers...Then WHY is He ignoring mine?

This is really the dilemma that most of us go through on a regular basis, and which eventually works at eroding our faith, belief, and contact with GOD.

If GOD is hearing us, why doesn't He answer?.

Is it because I am bad?.

Or is it because I am not praying the way He wants, or fasting the way He told us, or doing all the commands that He has sent?.

We tear ourselves apart trying to work out where the 'mistakes' are and why we are being ignored...

But, is GOD really ignoring us?. Can the words of the Lord be 'untruthful'?.

"GOD's promise- and GOD never breaks His promise- but most people do not know." Qur'an(30:6)

Let us tackle this issue using GOD's own words for guidance:

"This Quran guides to the best path, and brings good news to the believers who lead a righteous life, that they have deserved a great recompense." Qur'an(17:9)


If I didn't know better, that sounded pretty much like Christianese, except for citing a different holy book.


Oh, here's the link: CLICK HERE

Spirula said...

Am I the only one who finds it funny that on a post titled "If I only had a brain" (which then goes on to reveal Dave's (WM) struggle with having to have an answer for everything biblical/Christian, and being filled with growing doubt to the point of rejection of the Bible/Christianity) that we have several Christobots coming on here with scripture quotes and fundy talking points.

Is reading comprehension as much of a sin in Christianity as doubt? It's starting to look that way.

alanh said...

Anonymous wrote:

The proverb has it that "he's a fiercely jealous lover."

That's quite a peculiar concept - how could an omnipotent and omniscient being be jealous?

Anonymous said...

Jesus gave true answers to how to be perfect. or do you think it would be good to murder cheat and steal? why are you upset that it is a good answer. Paul did not hate James our the Jews as you wrongly interpret. Romans 10-1 (paul writes) Believe me, friends, all I want for Israel is what's best for Israel: salvation, nothing less. I want it with all my heart and pray to God for it all the time. does that sound like a man who hates his own people. So God gave answers whats wrong with that He loves us and wants us to be in love with Him and each other. How is it possible to not want to love. What is wrong with someone loving so much to die for them and what could be move loving than someone dieing for His enemies and what if that is being perfect. why would answer that is true make someone made no matter who said it.

Anonymous said...

alanh writes: That's quite a peculiar concept - how could an omnipotent and omniscient being be jealous?
yes it is peculiar and I would ask how could an omnipotent and omniscient being not be jealous of what He loves? if He wasnt wouldnt He just walk away.

Thackerie said...

"Jesus gave true answers to how to be perfect. or do you think it would be good to murder cheat and steal? ... "

Do you seriously believe that these ideas originated with Jesus? That up until about 2000 years ago, people thought lying, cheating, murder, etc. were all A-OK?

Some of the stuff that this Jesus guy supposedly said sound pretty good - but the good parts are really just common sense and not very original, given that they were codified by what you might call "heathens" centuries before Judaism, let alone Jesus, ever existed.

Satan's Little Helper said...

"yes it is peculiar and I would ask how could an omnipotent and omniscient being not be jealous of what He loves? if He wasnt wouldnt He just walk away."

Not sure what this means, but it might explain a lot - about why god doesn't make personal appearances anymore, about how the hundreds of members of this website repeatedly called out to him when they were christians and received absolutely no response. The god in the bible had a foul temper, was apparently psychotic, in fact so maybe he did get pissed off with the rotten job he did with creation and walked off in a huff - or possibly a minute and a huff.

Anonymous said...

As concerning the Qu'ran maybe there is a Muslim reading who can answer your question better. I have read only parts of it and am in no way qualified to interpret it. I will say that I believe by in large that they are truly seeking the truth and that the Qu'ran has many useful things to teach but it best learned from one who practices it. I am also very sure it will require some cultural understanding to best understand it. I am Christian and I believe that Jesus is the fullest revelation of the truth and the way to the perfection of being and relationship and love that He was. Come humbly or pray for humility.
Concerning answered prayer later its the weekend :-) enjoy.

.:webmaster:. said...

"Paul did not hate James..."

No?

"Certain men came from James ... I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!"

"As for those who seemed to be important (James, Peter, etc.) those men added nothing to my message."

-- Galations 2:12, 5:12 & 2:6

Oh, there was certainly a big disagreement going on here. Keep in mind you only have one side of the story, but there was definitely a big arguement going on about Pauls innovations on the Jesus cult."

Regardless, I don't believe any of these writings are the words of a deity. They are interesting topics, I suppose, but not divine. These are the rantings of a human being.

Now, if you insist that these moldy letters were written by a god, I'd love to examine your evidence. How do you know any of the writings in the Bible are anything more than myths, stories, and fanatical middle eastern religious rantings? Hmm?

In any event, as others have noted, you are effectively illustrating the point of the original article. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

thackerie wrote: Do you seriously believe that these ideas originated with Jesus?
Yes I do, as I believe Jesus is God by Whom and through Whom everything that is came into being. I think they are common sense also but I find it very hard to live and stumble alot. I believe He does forgive me and stregthens me to be able to live like Him as He promises that we will but not by following like a set of rules but out of love even though that sounds nonsensical and mysterious it is somehow true and also sounds like common sense. Sometimes it is just allowing yourself to be loved by Him that makes a difference. regardless, those words are a beautiful picture of a beautifully lived life. thankyou for acknowledging them for what they are. peace.

Thackerie said...

Most of the moral tenets which you believe originated with Jesus were written by a Babylonian pagan named Hammurabi almost 1800 years before he appeared, and that was also hundreds of years before Moses supposedly gave the "laws" to his tribe. Hammurabi was transcribing rules that existed for centuries before his own time, and some eastern philosophies contain moral prescripts that go back even further than that.

Of course, you'd know that if you ever bother to study anything other than the bible and christian apologetics.

.:webmaster:. said...

Thakerie,

He can't read anything else, nor does he want to. He KNOWS he has the truth!

But, how can he, an average person, be entirely sure he really knows what he is talking about when it comes to impossibly supernatural things? Even one minute of honest self assessment would clue him in that his limited mental capacities are probably not up for the job.

Oh, wait, that's what I said above.

This is interesting.

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

Thackerie: I believe the originated with God and yes were spoken by many people. I believe confusius had a variation of the golden rule socrates also spoke many truths. paul wrote in romans 1 17But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse.
So I fully believe and accept that from the begining people were able to decern many truths about how God wishes us all to live from just humbly looking at His creation. I only meant that I believe that that Creator was God and Jesus is that God. the Catholic Catechism addresses this topic very well. Paul spoke of this also in Acts 17: 22-23So Paul took his stand in the open space at the Areopagus and laid it out for them. "It is plain to see that you Athenians take your religion seriously. When I arrived here the other day, I was fascinated with all the shrines I came across. And then I found one inscribed, to the god nobody knows. I'm here to introduce you to this God so you can worship intelligently, know who you're dealing with.

24-29"The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn't live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn't take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don't make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn't play hide-and-seek with us. He's not remote; he's near. (as an aside socrates worshipped the unknown god)
They all testify to the truths of the words but only one of them was God and saved us. hope that was helpful.

Anonymous said...

webmaster having a disagreement does not neccessatate hating the person you disagree with. many people disagree with respect and openness to the others opionions within a deep abiding love of the truth. actually in many circles its not even unusual.

Thackerie said...

Atheists and agnostics can live a moral, purposeful life and love others without having hopes of a reward in heaven or fear of punishment in hell. Those of weaker moral fiber must fixate on an imaginary deity in order to keep themselves in line. Hope this helps.

boomSLANG said...

The anonymous Christian who is bludgeoning Thackerie and the rest of us to death with repetitive apologetics and redundant irrelevant scripture, finished his or her post with:

hope that was helpful.

Helpful?????

What would be "helpful", is if YOU would first help yourself concerning the apparent reading-comprehension problem you have. As you, and countless other anonymous Christians have been told time-and-time again---quoting scripture from your Holy book is completely USELESS on this website.

For you to assume that we, as EX-christians(whether you believe we were, or not) have never thought to look inside the f%cking bible, makes you.....well, I'm sorry, but it makes you come across like insipid morons. In other words, quoting scripture to make a positive case for your supernatural deity is about as "helpful" as offering a quadruple amputee a game of Twister.

So please?...please just stop quoting scripture? Pretty-please?...please with kisses from jebus on top? Thanks.

.:webmaster:. said...

Anonymous (Is that you Marc?),

We have a good idea WHAT you believe. What I would like to know is WHY you believe what you do?

Why do you believe there is a magical extra-dimensional deity out there?

Oh, and I wish you would go castrate yourself. (Just imitating love as expressed by Paul.)

alanh said...

anonymous wrote:

yes it is peculiar and I would ask how could an omnipotent and omniscient being not be jealous of what He loves?

Jealousy is a feeling of resentment toward a rival. Who's the rival?

Dan King said...

wow. I had no idea that my comment would spur so much rage, and hateful comments directed back at me. More than anything else I wanted to respond to the idea that Christians are mindless drones, because I always very carefully and deeply analyze everything. The only Scripture that I "hurled" was one that simply stated that I should do it, so it was not directed at anyone else but myself. Nor was it used to justify my faith.

I don't really have the time, or now the desire, to justify my standpoint after getting blasted that way that I have, and most of you will probably use that to blast me some more. But before my conversion to Christianity, I did not believe in anything spiritual. I didn't think that it could exist. I was strictly naturalist all the way. I don't think that you guys care why I converted to Christianity, and if I told you then many of you would think that I was trying to convert you.

I did not come in here to try to convert anyone back to Christianity, but to learn more about why most of you felt the desire to leave. Some of your comments expressed that idea (and yes, WM Dave, thank you for sharing your stance). However too often I had to sort through the insults in order to find the simple answer that the rest of you felt that you had to share.

Like I said, my motivation in being here is to learn, and I actually think that backs up my stance of desiring to test everything. I really tried not to be disrespectful, so I am sorry if anyone took my comment as being such.

I also acknowledge the fact (as some of you have said) that you can live lives motivated by love and peace. I guess that I was hoping that more of your comments would reflect that position as well.

Thanks,
Dan (hoping to continue an intelligent conversation)

boomSLANG said...

Dan King: wow. I had no idea that my comment would spur so much rage, and hateful comments directed back at me.

Hello, Dan? Um, a couple of things. In case you didn't notice, per usual, there's an over-flux of "anonymous" Christians who have made posts after your initial post? See' em all? Right, so I wouldn't be too quick to claim sacrificial lamb.

Secondly, you'll find that most of the time, most of us quote the person we're addressing(as I did above, and as I did on my initial follow-up)

Hey, speaking of....lol, as best as I can tell, you addressed not one of the points I raised to you. If you care to, you can review and address my post made on June 6. As far as I can see, you've come back, only to make a few blanketed irrelevant assertions, all based on a misunderstanding, your "misunderstanding", that every pointed comment made on this thread was directed towards you.

As for the "love and peace" you were expecting, let's be realistic for second, can we? You are a proponent of an ideology/philosophy that has had adverse lasting affects on many, if not all, of those who left Christianity. People don't take that lightly. The best game plan here for you, is to stick to the facts. For example, if you are claiming it a "fact" that you have "knowledge" of a metaphysical, or "supernatural", realm, start by telling us how you "know" this.

Best regards.

.:webmaster:. said...

I'm sorry, Dan, but I quickly went through all the comments and don't really understand what offended you.

Perhaps you are misunderstanding pain from Christianity for rage and hatred toward you personally.

We have all come to the conclusion that your religion is nonsense. Some here have been painfully hurt by your religion. If you are going to interpret a bit of emotional language as a personal affront, then perhaps this isn't the proper forum for you. If you can't stand the heat, and all that.

And, if you really, really, really want to learn what makes ex-Christians tick, there are hundreds of testimonials posted over the past five years. You could just read without commenting. That is an option.

Sincerely written, without rage, anger or bad feelings toward you. Honestly.

stronger now said...

Anonymouse said

"...I dont know what you asked for and I dont need to know..."


Or, perhaps, you don't want to know. Perhaps I was asking for something I needed. What then? Wouldn't god have given me something that would have made me a stronger christian? Well? what if he didn't? Wouldn't that be an indication that he is not as portrayed in the bible? Wouldn't that make it a lie then?

I have made my testimony for all to read here at this very sight. If you wish to keep your illusions of me and of your imaginary friend, I suggest you don't read it.

Dan King said...

boomslang,
I apologize for not answering your questions directly. There were lots of questions directed back at me after my post. I felt like answering would put me in the middle of a fight, and that is not my intent. I am also not trying to play "sacrificial lamb" just explaining my honest, sincere attempt to be a part of this conversation. If you would like to continue the conversation about what I believe and why I believe that, I would be happy to outside of this forum. I am also interested in hearing your viewpoints, and having a civil dialogue about all of this.

WM Dave,
Thank you for your comments, and I do plan to continue to read what you share. I think that while I don't particularly agree with your viewpoints, I do appreciate and enjoy your blog. It is very well put together. I will resist the tempation to post if you think that is best, but I really do enjoy an intelligent conversation as I continue to examine and question my perspective and other people's perspectives. If you think that we can continue outside of public discussion if I have questions for you, then I would appreciate that as well. Again, I respect what you are doing, and your right to hold your opinions as passionately as you do. Thank you for respecting my right to do the same, even if we don't agree.

Thanks,
Dan

boomSLANG said...

Dan King: If you would like to continue the conversation about what I believe and why I believe that, I would be happy to outside of this forum.

Dan,

Okay. Frankly, I don't see a problem with just continuing the discussion right here. I mean, if your belief has any kind of referant in objective reality; if you believe it will stand up to my skepticism, then I don't see the problem with putting it out there in a public forum.

Notwithstanding, as far as discussing your "belief", regardless of where, hopefully we can start by agreeing that just because one or more people hold to a particular "belief" in something, it says nothing about whether said belief is an objective/universal "Truth". BTW, I also would need you to agree that the onus of substantiating the positive claim(yours), falls in your lap. In other words, I'm not here to say "God" is disproven....I'm saying "God" is UNproven.

How 'we doin', so far? Shall we discuss it further at Michael's on East?... over lunch? = /

.:webmaster:. said...

Dan,

You said, "I will resist the temptation to post if you think that is best..."

My comments were in reference to being emotionally burned in our metaphorical kitchen.

In other words, if the conversational heat will make you uncomfortable, then there is always the option to set aside the keyboard and just read. That's what I was trying to communicate. I wasn’t suggesting that you should not post, only that you should not expect the regular posters here to always express themselves in soft sounding syllables. This is a place for those who are deprogramming from the cult of Christianity to rant and rave, if they need to. Granted, that might not always be pretty, but it is part of the process, very necessary, and allowed.

I hope I made myself clearer that time.

Steven Bently said...

Just like all xtains, quickly claiming to be the victim and playing the persecution card, just like the white Europeans whom came over here to flee religious persecution, so instead they killed all the native American people and invaded their land, of course that wasn't persecution, that was killing off the heathen infidels and witches and they are still playing the religious persecution and victim card.

Why pick on me says the xtain, I'm just looking to follow Jesus, yet there have been more people killed in the name of God and Jesus than all the world wars put together.

Where's any honor in calling oneself a christain?

It's the weekend, let's go hide ourselves in the church.

Nvrgoingbk said...

Fundamental Anonymous said: " I'm here to introduce you to this God so you can worship intelligently, know who you're dealing with."

I'd like to deal with "worship intelligently" part of your post.

IT'S NOT POSSIBLE!

Anonymous said...

i make no apology for the words of Jesus or Paul and i do hope they bring people back to God. they are good and true words to live by and there are many nonChristians who live by them better than many Christians I am told Ghandi was one of those people. So give Do unto others as you would have others do unto you a try. Its not as easy as you think but i know the key to living that way is Love and not like following a rule book.

eel_shepherd said...

Does it seem that there's been a marked (Marc-ed?) upturn in the number of anonymice lately?

I'd suspect the presence of some sort of breeding program but for the fact that none of them seems to have evolved.

Astreja said...

Anonymouse: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you a try. Its not as easy as you think but i know the key to living that way is Love and not like following a rule book."

Exactly. If one wishes to live a life of compassion and love, Christianity is simply not required. The Golden Rule was not invented by the Gospel authors, merely included as the excellent idea that it is.

In fact, I contend that Christianity is prone to causing cognitive dissonance and violence rather than loving behaviour.

Take a long, hard look at the scriptures. You have a worldwide flood; innumerable battles and acts of genocide; a Tanakh-wise radical teacher who tried to fulfil the Mosiach prophesies and got nailed up by the Romans; and the most depressing book of all, Revelations. Any belief system that portrays the end of the world as a desirable event is criminally off the mark and a menace to all life on Earth.

(takes Occam's Razor and slices away the Bible) There. That's better.