12/25/2007                                                                                       View Comments

HELL IS FREEZING OVER

By Gabe

I have a serious question concerning the Bible's teaching on the doctrine of hell. Actually I have several serious questions concerning this teaching, but I'll focus on just one point for the sake of time. I'm sure almost all of us at some point in our lives have been to church and heard a preacher giving a sermon on the topic of hell. During my years when I was very religious, I had a favorite sermon entitled, "Hell, Fire, and Damnation." Actually it wasn't a sermon, but rather a five part sermon series. It was preached by my favorite pastor, Dr. Roy Hargrave, who is the senior pastor of Riverbend Community Church, a very large Southern Baptist church located in Ormond Beach, Florida. A friend of mine sat through one of the sermons during a Sunday morning service, and the sermon was so intense and terrifying that he caught a glance of a young college-age girl sitting in the same row literally trembling in her seat, while listening to the pastor describe in vivid detail the unimaginable horror and torment that awaited her if she did not convert.

The entire sermon series is heavily influenced by a sermon that was preached nearly 300 years ago by Jonathan Edwards titled, "Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God." This sermon helped ignite the Great Awakening, due to the fact that it simply terrified people into converting. Here is just a small sample of this message:

"It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God one moment; but you must suffer it to all eternity. There will be no end to this exquisite horrible misery. When you look forward, you shall see a long for ever, a boundless duration before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any mitigation, any rest at all. You will know certainly that you must wear out long ages, millions of millions of ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless vengeance; and then when you have so done, when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains."

Although I have never been eloquent enough to describe hell is such vivid detail, nevertheless I preached and taught this doctrine for several years. But even while I was a student in seminary, I had a very difficult question in my mind concerning this topic. My question is this: Why is the Old Testament almost totally silent on the teaching of hell? I'm sure someone will quote a verse (and I could quote a few myself) to argue that the OT does indeed support the existence of hell, but these very few verses are so few and far between that it should disturb anyone who has studied the Bible, when asking yourself why the Old Testament spend such a small amount of time discussing a topic of such vast importance.

In the entire Old Testament, there is really only one verse that could easily be interpreted as a reference to the idea of eternal punishment in hell. The verse is Daniel 12:2.

"Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, some to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt."

Even if we assume this verse is speaking of eternal torment, it raises another question: Why does it only say that "MANY of those who sleep in the dust will awake?" Why does it not say, "ALL of those who sleep in the dust will awake?" Is this verse implying that only a certain portion of those who have died will experience an afterlife? Are there some who will not experience an afterlife? I think it is easy to see how someone could interpret this verse in this manner. My point in bringing this side-note up is not at all to get off track discussing the universality or limited nature of an afterlife, but rather to point out that if one chooses to use this verse to defend the claim that the Old Testament supports the idea of eternal punishment, you have uncovered another problem due to the wording of the text.

But let us get back on track. Here is the main point I want to raise. The book of Daniel is said to have been written in the 6th century BC (although many scholars say the 2nd century BC). And the first books of the Bible are said to have been written around the 14th or 15th century BC (although conservative and liberal scholars debate this as well). So here is my question: If the book of Daniel is the first book of the Old Testament that mentions the idea of eternal torment in hell, why did the Bible wait 900 years to warn its readers about something this serious? If there really is an eternal torture chamber, it seems like the Bible would be absolutely sure to include this teaching on the very first page! I would say that is some REALLY important information to be leaving out!! Could you imagine a person dying who lived during the time of Moses, which would have been hundreds of years before the book of Daniel was written, and waking up in the eternal furnace of fire and screaming, "Oh my God, why wasn't I warned about this?!!"

I have thought about this question, and while I am sure a multitude of answers could be proposed in an attempt to solve this dilemma, I can come up with two answers that are very likely to arise. For the first answer to this question, a person might respond, "Well he's God, and he can do whatever he wants, and if he doesn't want to warn them about hell, then he doesn't have to." But if someone is willing to give a response like this, then he or she should not get angry if a radical Muslim says, "Well he's Allah, and he can do whatever he wants, and if he wants to command his followers to carry out suicide bombings on innocent women and children, then he can do what he damn well pleases." For anyone who would give such a response, it would be helpful to follow the advice of a quote I once heard that said, "Don't make a statement that makes God out to be less compassionate that your average mortal human being."

The second response may possibly carry a little more validity. In the second response, a person defending the teaching of hell might say, "Well maybe the early books of the Bible do not specifically warn its readers about eternal punishment in hell, but it did warn them that God would punish them if they sinned against him." And of course there is no doubt that this is true. There are hundreds of threats in the first five books of the Bible that God would punish people for sinning against him. There were a multitude of cases where God threatened the people of Israel with death if they broke his commands. One man was stoned to death for simply picking up sticks on the Sabbath, because any form of work was forbidden on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-36). And the book of Deuteronomy commands parents to have their child (more like a young adult) stoned to death for being disobedient (Deut. 21:18-21). So there is no question that the Bible warns its earliest readers that they will be punished for sinning against God. But are such warnings sufficient?

I would say that these warnings are not even close to being sufficient. A general warning that God will punish them for sinning against him is not good enough. Here is an illustration to make my point: A dad tells his teenage son that if he gets caught smoking pot that he will be punished. The son tries his best to not get caught, but eventually his dad catches him in the act. So the dad takes a rope and ties up his son's hands and feet and carries him into the basement, where he has a secret torture chamber set up. The dad keeps his son locked in the basement and puts him through the most sadistic torture for the rest of his life. Every day the son pleads to his dad to let him out, but the dad replies, "Son I told you I would punish you if you smoked pot." And his son says, "But dad, I knew you said I would be punished for disobeying you, but I wasn't expecting this!" Multiply the horror of this torture by infinity and apply the same logic to the doctrine of hell, and you'll see one of the reasons why I have a serious issue with this awful teaching. Feel free to voice any of your own objections or comments, they will be greatly appreciated.

104 comments:

Trans-man said...

It brings up that question once more - where is the free will in that?
Holding a gun against someone's head, telling them they either do what told or get murdered, does not sound like much of a free will.
Yes, people should have consequences for their actions, and they do, but all in a reasonable manner. If we all obeyed the Bible laws as written, we would have punished ourselves and each other out of existence.

Soma Sight said...

The doctrine of eternal hell. As a person who has studied the Bible much, it was the one doctrine that always poked its head out to my common sense.

I was born not to die, but to live forever? In Heaven or Hell? But wait a minute, I thought Everlasting Life was only for the believers and not for the non-believers? Because you would have to "live" forever in order to be tortured. Why does that not make sense AT ALL?

After studying the worlds religons intensively for the past 6 years, I now have come to buddhism as my choice. If the Buddha was asked by a disciple if there was an eternal hell somewhere he would simply shrug his shoulders? Because it is not a religion of faith in the unknown but action of the known. What good would it really do anybody to KNOW if there is a hell when it is not helping the individual in a pregmatic, useful fashion?

Eternal Life for Sinners in Hell! That should be a sermon title. Paradox and a half. How anyone can actually believe that God is sick enough to through us onto the earth ALREADY KNOWING that we would go to hell in the end makes God EVIL. Because God does already know the future right? If he does than to create me to go to hell for eternity is a God of torture not Love.

Anyways good post and let it be said that Xtians that actually believe in stuff like Eternal Hell need counseling.....

Gabe said...

trans-man said,

"If we all obeyed the Bible laws as written, we would have punished ourselves and each other out of existence."

Great statement, and a rather humorous way to state it! I would have to agree with you there. I can hardly imagine a life more miserable than that of an Old Testament saint living under the Mosaic Law.

freethinker05 said...

All I can say Gabe, is, you are one of the many intelligent (non-believers)?, I have ever heard on this site.

I've never given a thought on those verses myself, but your question does indeed makes sense.

Sure, I have had many on this site to point out to the fact that the OT doesn't speak of a eternal hell, but, again I say; you are a pretty smart guy.

I started out as a Baptist, at a very young age and was reminded of such a place, even up to about two years ago at the age of 49.

Anyways, I love it when someone brings up a question or answer to show just how absurd the God of the bible, quran, or any other man-made "holy"books are.

Thanks for more knowledge you and others have given me. Peace, Roger...A/A

Telmi said...

Gabe,

I would simply agree with anyone who says the Bible is all crap.

And I wonder how anyone can believe in the so-called all-goodness or all-lovingness of a malevolent, egoistic, capricious, genocidal maniac, aka the Bible God.

Andrew said...

Gabe is in the find tradtion of Dan Barker and John Loftus, and he has referred to Dan and Posted on John's site.

Like them, he preached sermons he did not believe.

So, like them, his is willing to lie to suit his purposes.

That said, how do we know how much of his story is true?

We don't.

Never will.

The Game is over before it begins.

Gabe said...

Andrew, do you not have anything new to say? Why are you simply posting the same exact comment that you made on a previous blog? Well I guess fundamentalists have become accustomed to repeating the same statements over and over, so I am not surprised.

Astreja said...

Gabe, your story sounds perfectly reasonable to Me.

The concept of a god that punishes people for eternity, however... Sounds like utter bullcrap to me. (swings and knocks tennis ball marked 'Burden of Proof' back onto Andrew's side of the net)

madame m said...

Good post, Gabe. The hell doctrine is simply a very nasty way to force people into conversion by fear. From the age of 7 on I sat through sermons on hell similar to Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. I can not tell you how damaging this is to the mind of an innocent child. By age 27 simply hearing the world "hell" would cause me to have an anxiety attack. It didn't matter that I was raised on the once saved always saved doctrine. Pastors have a way of ripping the salvation assurance out from under people's feet by making undermining comments such as, "If you are not 100% sure that there is a hell, I can not be sure you ever had a real salvation experience." Or, "If someone keeps falling back into the same sin, I can't be assured their salvation prayer was sincere." It is so hypocritical how christians are the ones ranting and raving the most about violence on tv and yet they allow their children to be saturated with stories of eternal torment, execution, world wide drowings, plagues, omnipotent bad guys (satan, demons)..etc. It is a nightmare of a worldview.

Franciscan Monkey said...

Andrew,

I can't believe how you so flippantly dismiss the books of I Peter and II Peter. After all, the gospels record Peter as lying when he said the he did not know Jesus. How can we then trust anything he (allegedly) wrote? We can't, using your logic.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

madame m said...

Andrew, most people who are deconverting are stuck between two worlds for awhile. Most are not consciously trying to deconvert, it is just a process. So for awhile, they are still speaking the worldview while inside there is internal conflict. It took me awhile to admit to myself I didn't believe. I spent about 6 months calling myself a liberal christian when in fact I was agnostic/atheist. I just wasn't ready to understand that I had unintentionally stopped believing.

Besides, you can stop pissing your pants over it. Most of us who were very indoctrinated could come up with a sermon of regurgitated christian cliches that would have a whole congregation weeping and amening. Get it, the whole religion thing is a show and an act created to control your mind and your life. It's not magical or spirit inspired or any such thing. The most successful preachers are showmen and versed in mass mind control techniques. Makes you wonder if you can trust anything any preacher says.

Christianity is a sham said...

Andrew do you not have anything else better to do with your time than troll on this site? Is your life really that pathetic?

You don't know what you are even talking about in regard to Gabe's post, however I can understand why you come on this site trolling and trying to make trouble for Gabe.

The fact is Andrew that people like you don't like it anytime someone exposes christianity for the lie that it is.

You are nothing more than a complete loser Andrew. Get a life and do something productive with it.

Chris said...

Reading your post made me think of something. Maybe since so many of God's threats didn't come to fruition (David's Psalms come to mind (Ps.140)), maybe hell was added in to appease the people's sense of eternal justice.

Mriana said...

Actually, hell in the OT was the place of the dead. In the NT it was a garbage dump that burned constantly and was called Gehenna. There really isn't an actual place unless it's the place of the dead.

Fundamentalist managed to change the constantly burning garbage dump into something it wasn't. As a former Episcopalian though, they don't do this- they actually, at least in the liberal branch tell you the truth about it.

Cousin Ricky said...

Scriptures are often dated by the parsimonious treatment of successful prophecies. In our modern experience, prophets are far more successful at predicting the past than the future, so we make the reasonable assumption that ancient prophets could do no better. By this method, Daniel has been dated by modern scholars to circa 165 BCE.

Thus, Daniel is post-exilic. This is important, because the Persians, who freed the Jews from exile, believed in a future resurrection. This is likely where the Jews got the idea of a conscious afterlife, and why it does not appear in the rest of the Tanakh.

The resurrection teaching also appears in the post-exilic 2 Maccabees. Catholics know the story in chapter 7 well, although few notice that the story does not teach of hell. (This book was stuck from the Jewish canon because it was written after some magical divine cutoff date. Daniel made the cut because the idiots, then and now, couldn’t figure out that it was a historical fiction, not prophecy.)

Not that the Buybull is a reliably guide to the afterlife anyway. None of the authors are known to have died prior to writing about what death is like.

AWLHEART said...

Speaking of Hell: Prepare yourselves for a possible shock: The word 'hel' means 'light.' It also means 'earth.' Check your Germanic dictionaries if you don't believe me. In fact, check many languages and find the meaning of the word 'hell.' Some will say it means 'cover.' If hell is such a negative place, then why do we refer to the sun, who gives us life, warmth and nurtures us, as 'helios?" Perhaps the thought of diving into the sun would be hell, itself. Maybe that's how it all originated? But, realistically, you wouldn't even make it that close without first disintegrating. Ah, but then you'd become pure energy, pure light, just like the sun, itself! Your real essence, in other words. Why, we even used to worship* gods representing the sun's energy - Amen Ra, Apollo, for example. So, why would it be something to be feared and avoided, at all costs?

A 'demon in hell' can also be called a 'genius in the light.' Demon, or daemon, has conflicting meanings. It can mean our inner genius, divinity or genie. It is a word sharing the same root thing as 'diamond!' Some dictionaries say demons are inferior divinity or evil spirits. How can they be both? Both divine, genius and evil? Think about it. Do they not cancel one another out? Or, can we put all under one divine umbrella? What definitions have you been taught?

The horns on the devil are also used to depict great divine light emanating through the individual. Same thing was shown with Hathor, Moses, White Buffalo Woman. It is a positive symbol of higher consciousness and knowledge, not evil.

Devil comes from the Sanskrit world meaning 'deva,' which relates to the good angels of the Hindu pantheon. Were you taught that Satan means adversary or plotter? 'Adverse' meaning 'to turn towards?' After Zoroaster and the Persians conquered Hindu territory the conquerers miraculously transformed the Hindu gods into devils! So, the Hindu devas became the Persians devils.

If we look at the pattern of religious manipulation through language, the word "daemon" was changed into having a evil implication. "It was just more Christian propaganda used to brainwash the followers of the Greek and Roman religions into rejecting their old gods in favor of the newly created Christian character," as one scholar explains. This old ploy cunningly used good timing to coincide with the burning of millions of books; books which had they not been burned would have allowed people to see the truth of how they were being lied to. And the word 'evil' probably comes from the same root as the word 'apple,' which is 'upfel.' Who decided that apples were evil? The apple itself isn't evil.

Michael said...

The problem with the doctrine of Hell in the Bible is that the Bible itself is a mish-mash of many religious traditions, many of which contradict each other, starting with the first two chapters of Genesis and continuing from there. A good example is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, which happens before God lays out his rules in Leviticus, not to mention the Flood mythos (in two conflicting versions -- but why does an all-powerful being keep his rules secret, then punish his followers and non-followers alike for breaking them?).

Jewish beliefs are a mostly a mash-up of Egyptian and Semitic sun-god teachings of Ra/Ba'al/Jehovah, Persian Zoroastrianism (in the fight between light and dark) which the Jews picked up during their Babylonian captivity (most of the Torah/Old Testament was not written down until after the captivity), and a rather general form of pantheism in the concept of the elohim. Contrast the Book of Job, where God gives Satan/Lucifer permission to torment Job (note that most of his afflictions correspond with arsenic poisoning, a very common problem with water in that region to this day) with the current Christian teachings.

Gehenna was actually the stinking, constantly-smoldering garbage pit at the edge of Jerusalem. The concept of Hell was a part of many of the mystery cults which held sway at the turn from B.C.E. to C.E. including Mithraism (which directly influenced early Christianity) and the cult of Ishtar (the so-called "Whore of Babylon" referenced in the Book of Revelations) -- which was later co-opted by the Church as Mary-worship and the holiday of Easter. Mystery cults had common beliefs, most picked up by Christianity, including Heaven (the Realm of Light), Hell (the Realm of Darkness), Immaculate conception, transubstantiation (wine = blood, bread = body), and resurrection.

~~ Mikey

Pull The Other One! said...

Watch out Andrew! That was a bit of healthy scepticism you showed there. Who knows where it could lead you!

Of course, you could be right. Maybe Gabe is telling a pack of lies. How would we know? Just because something is written on a web page or in a book, doesn't mean that it has to be true, does it?

Perhaps it isn't even Gabe at all. It could be someone else just pretending to be him. After all, people have tried such tricks before, writing letters in other people's names, for example, and they've got away with it!

In fact, some people have even lied about the time that they were writing - pretending to be from the distant past to give more weight to their invented rules ('Hey!, look what I've just found in the temple!'), or so that it looks as if their 'prophecies' have come true.

Others have written things that they must have known to be false, just to make it look as though somebody has fulfilled prophecy, for example.

Some people have even had the cheek to misquote older writings with a similar reason in mind.

So, once again, be careful Andrew!, or you might start applying that healthy scepticism of yours somewhere else!

Anonymous said...

Hi Gabe

Having left evangelicalism (as a pastor and evangelist) after some 30 odd years (and some, indeed, were very odd!), I look back on the times when I preached on eternal torment, damnation and the awesome ounishment of the God of the Bible ... yes, indeed, many did find their way to the Bible's formula for its salvation.

However, if you care to undertake a careful study of the various words used for hell in the Bible and also look at the teaching from a psychological perspective you may be assisted in your searching.

Succinctly put, hell is a much favoured pursuit of soul hunters - sermons usually hit their mark - especially amongst those who are not aware of the Bible and its false base of authority --- viz: the still unproven, "The Bible, in its original languages is the inspired word of God" - we all know that the "originals" have never been found! Very much like the WMD in Iraq!
Regards
Paul

PS I will soon be publishing a book entitled "Evangelicalism - another Hallucinogenic" ... you may find it interesting. If you care to, please contact me on eurekaplato@yahoo.co.uk

ANDREW said...

But Gabe, you didn't answer my question.

No one did. They simply attacked me, as you say I am attacking you.

By your OWN ADMISSION, you preached when you did not believe what you were preaching.

And of course you had your reasons, but the FACT is you LIED.

So how are we to know how much of this is true?

We can't.

Never will.

That is why I point out that you are in the same tradition as Dan Barker and John Loftus. Heck, now you will proabably make a gig out of preaching AGAINST Christ, but either way, like Barker, Loftus, and others you are still preaching.

But in your case it doesn't matter, because fortunately you exposed YOURSELF and left the church.

There are too many like you who either quit believing or never did and simply stay in the church for a livelihood.

Some of the preachers who make so much and live so well are those types, as I KNOW.

And then people like the posters here use those types, when they are exposed, to further shame the church.

But I am thankful you left. Had you stayed you could have caused much more damage.

.:webmaster:. said...

Andrew,

Your rage is showing. Regardless, don't you think it a reasonable assumption that every preacher has moments of doubt, and that every preacher has preached a sermon or two while wrestling with those doubts?

By your logic, every preacher is in the same boat, because if a preacher stands up and preaches even one time while wrestling with doubt, then that makes that preacher a liar.

Again, that's by your logic.

And, to sail along on your logic track, since every preacher wonders at times if he or she is in reality preaching a made-up version of a religion that is based on magical myths and legends that have never been and cannot ever be verified, that reasonably puts pretty much puts all preachers in the same boat.

Andrew. If your god is real, John and Dan and Gabe aren't a threat to IT or the "redeemed." Perhaps your raging accusations of "Liar, liar, pants on fire" is just the sound of your cognitive dissonance and doubts rising to the fore. If so, many of us have known exactly what you are going through.

If this Christian god is so omnipotent, it makes one wonder why faith in IT is so easy to destroy.

.:webmaster:. said...

Oh, and Andrew, your "student center" post is really getting old. You've been posting that for several years now, but in the past you always posted under your regular "Goldie" troll name.

Since engaging a troll is a waste of time, goodbye.

Gabe said...

Andrew said:

"Some of the preachers who make so much and live so well are those types, as I KNOW."

"And then people like the posters here use those types, when they are exposed, to further shame the church."

Andrew, yes I could rant about the lies and greed of the "health, wealth, and prosperity" preachers. But our primary objections are not aimed at those who distort the teaching of Christianity for their own personal gain. Our objections are aimed even at the so-called honest, respected teachers of "sound doctrine," such as R.C. Sproul, John Piper, John MacArthur, Billy Graham, etc. We don't have look toward the fringes of Christianity in order to find absurdity within your religion, because the teaching of Christianity in itself is completely absurd.

Cousin Ricky said...

Mikey wrote: “Mystery cults had common beliefs, most picked up by Christianity, including Heaven (the Realm of Light), Hell (the Realm of Darkness), Immaculate conception, transubstantiation (wine = blood, bread = body), and resurrection.” [emphasis added]

I doubt that immaculate conception was part of these mystery religions, as the concept of original sin hadn’t yet been invented by the Catholic Church (although the roots of the idea are in Paul’s writings). Perhaps you’re confusing the immaculate conception of Mary with the parthenogenetic conception of Jesus? As you know, everyone who was anyone in those days was born of a virgin.

Jim Arvo said...

Cousin Ricky said "As you know, everyone who was anyone in those days was born of a virgin."

I largely agree, but I would phrase that a bit differently, as most of the older myths did not focus on virginity; in fact, some of the gods and demigods were purportedly born of nonvirgins. I always say that anyone who was anyone in those days was born of divine-human unions; that's the important similarity anyway.

Apologists love to dwell on insignificant differences, as though that makes Jesus unique. Virginity was simply a way to "prove" that insemination was miraculous--in itself it meant nothing.

Chris in Anchorage said...

One of the great ironies of our culture is that atheists and antitheists ("Smarts") such as Christopher Hitchens and Samuel Harris make a great living writing and speaking about Someone they say does not exist and the "fools" that follow that Someone. Maybe they’re more altruistic than I give them credit for and they give away most of their earnings to further the cause of Atheism/Antitheism, the cause with the goal to stifle the influence (good or bad) of those who believe there is a Causer on our culture. To what ultimate end? Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow your meaningless existence ends? Or live nobly even though cutting short your possibly fun but definitely meaningless life for the sake of other meaningless people or meaningless nature (be a Greenie) is ultimately meaningless because the impersonal universe doesn’t give a rip (one giant asteroid or solar flare could destroy all human life at any given moment; as grateful as we may be for our heroes, they’re ultimately fools)? The search for meaning is futile in an impersonal universe, so just grow up you believers in fairy tales? Existentialism, baby, that’s the way to go. Choose wisely and create order, if that’s even possible in the culture of relativism.

They attempt to sow seeds of doubt among those place their faith in Someone greater than themselves, who, if humble, are much more vulnerable to doubt than proud atheists. They claim that Christianity and every other religion is absurd (utterly or obviously senseless, illogical, or untrue; contrary to all reason or common sense; laughably foolish or false) but what Atheists believe, which is that the natural universe has always existed and our existence is absurd (the condition or state in which humans exist in a meaningless, irrational universe wherein people's lives have no purpose or meaning). When one of their heroes, such as Antony Flew, objectively follows the evidence and ends up believing there is a Causer, they don’t attack what he says, they attack the person (“He once had a great mind but now he’s old and senile.”, even though he’s still sharp as a tack). Understanding how great (impossible) the leap from non-life to life is drove atheists such as Flew to the God conclusion. Even the simplest life form’s genetic code is extremely complex. How long would it take to accidentally generate a complex and functioning machine code from a randomly-generated series of 0’s and 1’s? How about never? No its not! Not if we believe there are an infinite number of universes (even though there’s no evidence for that, just a need for it to validate our inane presuppositions so we can say “What must have happened is . . . “) and we just got lucky!

Gabe’s “HELL IS FREEZING OVER” post and those posting comments about life and death miss the main point of the scriptures which is the restoration of relationship with the Creator. There is also a need for a better understanding of terms. As many of you “ex-Christians” should know, life is defined as being in relationship with God and death is defined as separation from God, not cessation of existence. Ultimate Death is eternal separation from the Life Giver and Ultimate Life is eternal relationship with the Life Giver. Unlike us very dependent beings, God is autonomous and, as we followers believe, a personal Being, relationships to those created in His image being the most important dynamic in His Book. I don’t profess to comprehend the complexities of all that is, including the conundrum of free will, but at some point we have to come to place of belief in something and have some basis for that belief or we’ll go insane. Do I have doubts? Sure but if you don’t have any doubts, I have to question your sanity. Some of my unanswered questions: How could Lucifer, a perfect being, become proud and rebel? Once Lucifer fell, why was he allowed to tempt Adam and Eve? Apparently the angels and humans have free will but I’m not completely satisfied with that general answer. My most disturbing thoughts: Why has God set up a situation where finite beings He cares about live a relatively short time, have very limited understanding, and have many other non-godly influences to distract them and yet, in the midst of all that, they have to determine their eternal fates? Why can’t God just obliterate those of us who reject Him instead of tormenting us for eternity? I know it takes humility to accept the Truth, to accept God, to really grow. Maybe that’s all I need to know and I should take a cue from Antony Flew.

By the way, I know what you guys don’t believe in but what the “hell” do you guy believe in? I love that G.K. Chesterston quote: "When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing -- they believe in anything." Anything beyond yourselves? Gaia, perhaps? Everyone has a belief system, organized religion aside. What’s your belief system? What would give your life meaning once you convinced everyone that Christianity is a bunch of hooey? Have any of you read Dinesh D'Souza's book "What So Great About Christianity"?

The ultimate "gun" against our heads is whether or not we're willing to accept the Truth, no matter what it is. And that depends on whether or not we're going to remain in our pride or humble ourselves for our own good and the good of other.

Thank you for the opportunity to address all of you in your blog.

Madame M said...

Chris in Anchorage,

Could you clarify something for me. Are you currently a believer, currently leaving the faith or currently considering joining the faith. I wasn't quite sure from your post.

I'm not exactly sure why I have to "believe in something". I have no real inclination to have a belief system. Possibly the closest to christian belief I hold is the golden rule- which is in no way unique to christianity- so it is a human code of conduct more than anything. That would be to treat others as I want to be treated. I don't think not having a belief system in a diety will drive me insane. I was going insane in the christian religion- not literally insane, but I was depressed, confused by the conflicting messages, distressed and developing a worsening anxiety condition tied to the "fear" messages in christianity- hell, god's wrath, loss of salvation, tribulation, persecution. I'm much saner out of the religion and my husband, who still believes, says I am a nicer person.

Yes, one of the big reasons I left was the finite life of varying lenghts and limited understanding being the medium for making an eternal decision with eternal consequences. Also the rebel angel falls to the exact place in the universe that god is starting a new creation and god instead of snuffing satan out on the spot waits 6 or so thousand years (and billions upon billions of damned souls later) before rectifying the situation. Talk about letting a small problem get out of control. If god has the power to get rid of satan, which the bible says he does, then he could have done it before humanity was corrupted. It's like someone seeing a small stove fire and letting it go until the house is burned down, then trying to solve the problem instead of simply putting out the fire before it got powerful. Unless god allowed satan to fall so that he could corrupt humanity and they could play this "who got the soul" chess game with humanity.

See how irrational it all sounds. But humans often do irrational things. People overeat when they know they will gain weight. People smoke when they know it causes lung cancer. People gamble when they know they are more likely to lose then win. People join religions when they know it doesn't sound plausible to fit in and have pat answers to sooth the larger questions.

Madame M said...

Chris in Anchorage,

Could you clarify something for me. Are you currently a believer, currently leaving the faith or currently considering joining the faith. I wasn't quite sure from your post.

I'm not exactly sure why I have to "believe in something". I have no real inclination to have a belief system. Possibly the closest to christian belief I hold is the golden rule- which is in no way unique to christianity- so it is a human code of conduct more than anything. That would be to treat others as I want to be treated. I don't think not having a belief system in a diety will drive me insane. I was going insane in the christian religion- not literally insane, but I was depressed, confused by the conflicting messages, distressed and developing a worsening anxiety condition tied to the "fear" messages in christianity- hell, god's wrath, loss of salvation, tribulation, persecution. I'm much saner out of the religion and my husband, who still believes, says I am a nicer person.

Yes, one of the big reasons I left was the finite life of varying lenghts and limited understanding being the medium for making an eternal decision with eternal consequences. Also the rebel angel falls to the exact place in the universe that god is starting a new creation and god instead of snuffing satan out on the spot waits 6 or so thousand years (and billions upon billions of damned souls later) before rectifying the situation. Talk about letting a small problem get out of control. If god has the power to get rid of satan, which the bible says he does, then he could have done it before humanity was corrupted. It's like someone seeing a small stove fire and letting it go until the house is burned down, then trying to solve the problem instead of simply putting out the fire before it got powerful. Unless god allowed satan to fall so that he could corrupt humanity and they could play this "who got the soul" chess game with humanity.

See how irrational it all sounds. But humans often do irrational things. People overeat when they know they will gain weight. People smoke when they know it causes lung cancer. People gamble when they know they are more likely to lose then win. People join religions when they know it doesn't sound plausible to fit in and have pat answers to sooth the larger questions.

Gabe said...

Chris in Anchorage,

You have fallen right in line with this new modern idea of hell, which reduces it to what you and many others call "seperation from God, the ultimate lifegiver." You speak as if hell is simply some type of void that unbelievers will remain in for all eternity. You speak as if God has nothing at all to do with hell, as if he may even be sad that human beings are in such a place. Jonathan Edwards would have rebuked you sharply, for Romans 9 plainly states that God has predestined many for hell, so that he can demonstrate the power of his wrath. According to the bible an unbeliever is not seperated from God in hell. No, the bible is clear that God is very much present in his wrath.

The concept of hell in Christianity today is becoming something far different than the concept of hell in the New Testament. What you are speaking of is simply mainstream Christianity re-packaging hell into something that is more marketable to the masses. Because more and more pastors are starting to realize that the traditional hard-line view of hell will be immediately shrugged off as something complete absurd. And that means fewer tithes, and churches don't want that!

.:webmaster:. said...

To Chris:

You feel that life without religion is "meaningless."

That's too bad for you. I wonder what possible "meaning" you find in cow-towing to mythology. Surely you could find something more meaningful for your life than delusional subservience to mythology. What possible meaning can be derived from fantasy?

liniasmax said...

Deconversion is tough - it's a very dynamic process. Gabe is smart. Staying a Christian is mental hopscotch (with some twister thrown in) to the person who thinks and removes the Gospel filter.

Hell is silly because it makes what you believe more important than what you do - even though it purports to do the opposite. It's faith, so it gets to have it both ways. Then God never speaks for Himself - he has spin doctors that are scared of Hell. And they are experts!!!

I can't attack Andrew as a person, even though that is what he seems to do - attack people. I don't know him, but I don't want to go to Heaven if he's going to be there.

What does that tell you about those that follow Jesus? Not all of them. Some are wonderful - but you see, if it's all based on what you "confess," then "Grace" is BS.

Who we being saved from? God? He created Hell for the Devil, but He doesn't make him stay there. He's got serious issues...

sconnor said...

God of the Bible is the mother of all hypocrites. what does God say about, “forgiveness“? It says, in Coloassians 3:13, Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Or the Lord tells us how many times we should forgive our brother who has sinned against us — “not seven times, but forgive seventy times seven”. That sure is a boat load of forgiveness, from a God who invented the fiery doom of gnashing teeth in the eternal pits of Hell! The God of love and mercy? Very, very, perplexing!

Chris in Anchorage said...

Gabe et al -

No, I believe separation from God is a horrible thing and yes, according to the scriptures, those who reject God will end up in the Lake of Fire. Other than the Buddhist, what do the rest of you believe? Everyone, down deep, believes something and bases their lives on it. We're defined not just by what we don't trust in but also by what we do trust in.

Cousin Ricky said...

Chris in Anchorage (who is certainly a Christian, judging from his cookie-cutter apologetics) wrote: “One of the great ironies of our culture is that atheists and antitheists ('Smarts') such as Christopher Hitchens and Samuel Harris make a great living writing and speaking about Someone they say does not exist and the 'fools' that follow that Someone.”

The “fools” (as you imply that we call them) that follow the non-existent Someone most certainly do exist. They are relevant to non-believers, even though their non-existent Someone isn’t.

Chris wrote: “Maybe they’re more altruistic than I give them credit for and they give away most of their earnings to further the cause of Atheism/Antitheism, the cause with the goal to stifle the influence (good or bad) of those who believe there is a Causer on our culture.”

You believers sure can get creative with your straw men when you insist on stating things that you do not know. Hitchins and Harris argue that religion should be abandoned, but they certainly aren’t attempting to stifle anyone. Also, it is ridiculous to claim that they’re indifferent to good versus bad influences, as the reason they argue against religion is that they believe that religion is a bad influence.

Chris wrote: “To what ultimate end? Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow your meaningless existence ends?”

If you need eternity in order to give meaning to your life, please don’t attribute your lack of imagination to the rest of us. I am alive now, and i find that plenty meaningful.

Chris wrote: “Or live nobly even though cutting short your possibly fun but definitely meaningless life for the sake of other meaningless people or meaningless nature (be a Greenie) is ultimately meaningless because the impersonal universe doesn’t give a rip (one giant asteroid or solar flare could destroy all human life at any given moment; as grateful as we may be for our heroes, they’re ultimately fools)? The search for meaning is futile in an impersonal universe, so just grow up you believers in fairy tales? Existentialism, baby, that’s the way to go. Choose wisely and create order, if that’s even possible in the culture of relativism.”

Man, this is rich!

Chris wrote: “They attempt to sow seeds of doubt among those place their faith in Someone greater than themselves, who, if humble, are much more vulnerable to doubt than proud atheists.”

It is doubt that turned us into atheists in the first place. Who is more humble, those who stubbornly cling to blind faith in the face of nagging questions, and refuse to consider any evidence that they may be wrong; or those who admit to themselves, through threats from well-meaning Christians of eternal torture, a life devoid of meaning, or even social abandonment, that they are no longer capable of believing what they've been taught?

Chris wrote: “They claim that Christianity and every other religion is absurd (utterly or obviously senseless, illogical, or untrue; contrary to all reason or common sense; laughably foolish or false) but what Atheists believe, which is that the natural universe has always existed and our existence is absurd (the condition or state in which humans exist in a meaningless, irrational universe wherein people's lives have no purpose or meaning).”

Who said that our existence is absurd and that the universe is irrational? Did you hear that from an atheist, or did a Christian tell you that atheists say that?

Chris wrote: “When one of their heroes, such as Antony Flew, objectively follows the evidence and ends up believing there is a Causer, they don’t attack what he says, they attack the person (‘He once had a great mind but now he’s old and senile.’, even though he’s still sharp as a tack). Understanding how great (impossible) the leap from non-life to life is drove atheists such as Flew to the God conclusion.”

Mr. Flew is a non-issue for two reasons. First, the arguments for design that led Mr. Flew to Deism have long been debunked. Second, atheism stands on its own, not by what some “hero” says. So Anthony Flew believes in a god. So what? He is not my pope. My mom believes in a god, too.

Chris wrote: “Even the simplest life form’s genetic code is extremely complex. How long would it take to accidentally generate a complex and functioning machine code from a randomly-generated series of 0’s and 1’s? How about never? No its not! Not if we believe there are an infinite number of universes (even though there’s no evidence for that, just a need for it to validate our inane presuppositions so we can say ‘What must have happened is . . . ‘) and we just got lucky!”

1. Learn about evolution (and abiogenesis) from biologists, not from apologists.
2. Lose the ex post facto reasoning.

Chris wrote: “Gabe’s ‘HELL IS FREEZING OVER’ post and those posting comments about life and death miss the main point of the scriptures which is the restoration of relationship with the Creator.”

What creator?

Chris wrote: “There is also a need for a better understanding of terms. As many of you ‘ex-Christians’ should know, life is defined as being in relationship with God and death is defined as separation from God, not cessation of existence. Ultimate Death is eternal separation from the Life Giver and Ultimate Life is eternal relationship with the Life Giver.”

Making up your own definitions of words doesn’t change anything outside your head. It certainly won’t sway people who don’t already agree with you.

Chris wrote: “Unlike us very dependent beings, God is autonomous and, as we followers believe, a personal Being, relationships to those created in His image being the most important dynamic in His Book.”

3. Look up “existential fallacy.”

Chris wrote: “I don’t profess to comprehend the complexities of all that is, including the conundrum of free will, but at some point we have to come to place of belief in something and have some basis for that belief or we’ll go insane.”

Speak for yourself.

Chris wrote: “I know it takes humility to accept the Truth, to accept God, to really grow. Maybe that’s all I need to know and I should take a cue from Antony Flew.”

4. Look up “begging the question.” You are assuming that God is the truth. We searched for the truth, and became honestly convinced that Christianity is a bunch of hooey.

“Here I stand. I can do no other.” —Martin Luther

Chris wrote: “By the way, I know what you guys don’t believe in but what the ‘hell’ do you guy believe in? I love that G.K. Chesterston quote: 'When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing -- they believe in anything.'”

5. Non sequitur, and presumptuous as well.

Chris wrote: “Anything beyond yourselves?”

Of course. We’re not solipsists, y’ know.

Chris wrote: “Gaia, perhaps? Everyone has a belief system, organized religion aside. What’s your belief system?”

Each of us is different. You’ll get a different answer from every ex-Christian. My world view features philosophical materialism and philosophical naturalism. My ethical system is secular humanism.

Chris wrote: “What would give your life meaning once you convinced everyone that Christianity is a bunch of hooey?”

My life already has meaning, and i don’t mean your presumption that we get meaning from deconverting people.

Chris wrote: “Have any of you read Dinesh D'Souza's book 'What So Great About Christianity'?”

No, but i’ve read some of his essays. I found them presumptuous, libelous, and highly insulting. So you’ll forgive me if i don’t inflict an entire book of his on myself.

Chris wrote: “Thank you for the opportunity to address all of you in your blog.”

You’re welcome.

Michelle said...

Why do some Christians think that ex-Christians automatically jumped into another belief system after leaving Christianity? It's as if they think we were so insecure that we needed something to take its place.

I have beliefs about a lot of things; I believe caffeine is bad for me, I believe watching too much T.V. makes me lazy, etc. But I don't feel the need to grab hold of a thought and "believe" it, I can ponder it, wonder about it, dream about it, get ideas about it, and fantasize about it. That includes all things spiritual.

Christians are so obssessed with constantly reaffirming their beliefs that they think the rest of us are just as obssessed with our "beliefs." For instance, I believe in the possibility of some kind of afterlife, but I don't walk around all day telling myself "I believe in life after death, I believe in life after death."

Christians have to constantly remind themselves of their beliefs, and the rest of us file ours away in our brains and move on.

Fundy Nuts do not get it do they? said...

Chris in Anchorage said...

"As many of you “ex-Christians” should know, life is defined as being in relationship with God."

Sorry Chris, however I would much rather be in a relationship with a woman.

Being in a relationship with an invisible make believe man never really did anything for me personally.

Stop insulting the intelligence of others on here with your 2,000 year old fable Chris.

.:webmaster:. said...

Chris in Anchorage said, "Life is defined as being in relationship with God."

Care to support that statement with a Bible verse or two?

stronger now said...

CIA:"...what the “hell” do you guy believe in?"

But you already answered for us remember?

CIA:"...but what Atheists believe, which is that the natural universe has always existed and our existence is absurd (the condition or state in which humans exist in a meaningless, irrational universe wherein people's lives have no purpose or meaning)."

Must be nice, already having the answers for questions about someone else's thoughts before you even ask them.

Here's an honest question for you:

Do you know the difference between deism and theism?

The reason I ask is to make sure you realize that just because someone may have a belief in a creator doesn't make that creator the biblegod by default.

Anonymous said...

Hey folks!
I believe that most of the people in here get the idea of God totally wrong. The issue is not about heaven or hell but the issue is rather about the character of God. And God would like us to trust HIM. I mean ask yourself why are there so many people suffering from depression, anxiety and the like today? And how would you like to change that?
And here comes my answer: Atheists do not have a spiritual power to heal people- neither physically nor emotionally. What- as an atheist do you say to a person suffering from depression? "go to see a psychiatrist?" I believe it would be nicer to have someone telling the person that there is someone out there in heaven who loves her:Jesus. Well- the question then is WHY do people "drop out" of Christianity?
Is it because of God/Christ or rather because of a lot of sick-minded, zealothic Christian fundamentalists who are trying to TELL them WHAT God expects from them? I am deeply convinced that it is never God (who IS nothing but love) but rather strict, zealothic and other kind of maniac-Christians that turn people away from Christ. Any rational thinker would be turned off hearing a pastor speaking about hellfire- or moral values such as living sexually pure until one´ s marriage. That is not the point about God. God is good- and God who has revealed himself through Jesus never wanted his people to torment one another by telling one another HOW to live a good life (doing good deeds, living sexually abstinent etc. etc.). It is always fundamentalist Christians who try to impose THEIR values on others who finally make people leave churches forever.
By the way- the rest is just a cultural phenomenom: In a lot of countries around the globe (especially Europe/Germany) Christians who still keep up their beliefs have a very relaxed attitude to moral values. There are very tolerant people in German churches tolerating homosexuals and heterosexuals alike for instance.
Any religion/cult is endangered to produce fundamentalisms. But that is not what Christ wanted us to be like.

Madame M said...

Hey folks!

Hey Anonymous Christian person come to convert us to your special interpretation of chrisitanity.

I believe that most of the people in here get the idea of God totally wrong. The issue is not about heaven or hell but the issue is rather about the character of God.

The heaven and hell paradigm alludes to the character of god. You would like us consider someone loving while ignoring the fact that according your chrisitan dogma he sends billions to hell for eternity? That's like saying "Hitler is love, the issue is his character not what he did to the Jewish people." Doesn't work, though I think Will Smith recently said something to that effect, so maybe you are on to something (sarcasm)

I mean ask yourself why are there so many people suffering from depression, anxiety and the like today? And how would you like to change that?

I actually think the depression has to do with the fact that people are disconnected from community. I think some of it has to do with us not living in tribal groups anymore, some of it has to do with being a mobile society and not being as close with family ties, and also in a mobile society people are not as known and involved in their neighborhood and community. In essence, I think some of the issue has to do with modern society creating a human relational disconnect. Study sociology, anthropology and psychology.

And here comes my answer: Atheists do not have a spiritual power to heal people- neither physically nor emotionally.

Um, neither do Christians. They just pretend they do and pretending is lots of fun when it is a headache or a minor emotional issue, because the placebo effect works pretty well. Try having a real problem like paraplagia, terminal illness or serious mental illness like schizophrenia. Then when the serious issue isn't healed, the person becomes more depressed because in order to keep on believing in their fantasy, the people around the "hurting" person will blame the failure to recieve healing on the already hurting person as hidden sin or whatever. It is nasty. If you want a clear view on it, read my testimony under Madame M called Anxiety to Self Esteem either on the testimony forum or posted here under testimonies in Jan or Feb of '07.

What- as an atheist do you say to a person suffering from depression? "go to see a psychiatrist?" I believe it would be nicer to have someone telling the person that there is someone out there in heaven who loves her:Jesus. Well- the question then is WHY do people "drop out" of Christianity?

So, for lack of better answer, you tell people a fairy tale. I'll tell you when the real depression starts, when the person falls into real need and this invisible Jesus never shows up to help them. Then what do you tell that more severely depressed person? Why do people drop out of Christianity- because as I mentioned above, they realize it is all bullshit when the sky man doesn't deliver.

Is it because of God/Christ or rather because of a lot of sick-minded, zealothic Christian fundamentalists who are trying to TELL them WHAT God expects from them?

Let me guess, its the old christian mind trick. You build a strawman out of other denominations of christianty in order to try to prove your own. I don't care if you a raging fundy or lovey dovey jesus freak- IT DOESN'T MAKE THE STORY ANY MORE TRUE OR CHANGE ANYTHING WRITTEN IN THE BIBLE. I think the whole of the OT law pretty much sums up what god is all about. Read the old testament and then the verse about god not changing. OT if full of carnage.

I am deeply convinced that it is never God (who IS nothing but love)

Prove god is nothing but love. Back it up with actions on his part. Saying you are loving is one thing, but love has to be an action in order for it to be proven. In my mind, biblegod is like an abusive husband who claims he beats his wife in order to show her love.

turned off hearing a pastor speaking about hellfire- or moral values such as living sexually pure until one´ s marriage.

What makes you think all atheists need to be roped into religion with the promise of free sex. Do you think all athiests are automatically interested in nothing but sex and drugs or something? That is what most christians think, which is why most of them do not assume I am an atheist based on my life. Besides, once again read the law in the OT to see what biblegod has to say about stuff.

I'm pretty sure a fundy could come on here and claim that you are not living a godly life and therefore are not saved. See how it all works. I don't care if your version of christianity is an orgy and the others guys version is women wearing puritan dress and the men with whips in their hands. Prove that biblegod exists and then show me why your version completely fits 100% with the bible, with all portions of the bible fitting together smoothly to prove your worldview and then I will consider belief.

.:webmaster:. said...

Anony wrote, "What- as an atheist do you say to a person suffering from depression? "go to see a psychiatrist?"

Yes.

What- as a Christian do you say to someone suffering from polio, or influenza, or a broken rib? Go see a doctor?

Well, duh! Yes! Unless you're an idiot.

Anony wrote, "And God would like us to trust HIM. "

HE would like (??) us to trust HIM? He would like it? You mean HE isn't really in control of things around here? HE is impotently wringing his hands, mumbling to himself how "I've done everything to woo them, and they just keep resisting. Oh if only I could think of a way to get through to them"?

Listen, anony-nony. Jesus taught more on hell than even Paul. Perhaps you should re-read your holy book a bit. Your religion sounds nice and fluffy, but it's not Christianity.

alanh said...

Chris in Anchorage wrote:

By the way, I know what you guys don’t believe in but what the “hell” do you guy believe in?

Speaking for myself, this pretty much sums it up:

Affirmations of Humanism

I'd be interested to hear your objections to these principles.

liniasmax said...

Anonymous dude wrote this above:


<<"Well- the question then is WHY do people "drop out" of Christianity?
Is it because of God/Christ or rather because of a lot of sick-minded, zealothic Christian fundamentalists who are trying to TELL them WHAT God expects from them? I am deeply convinced that it is never God (who IS nothing but love) but rather strict, zealothic and other kind of maniac-Christians that turn people away from Christ.">>

MY REPLY: You are "deeply convinced" about that which you seem to have no experience. The God of the Bible, upon some reflection, vanishes into thin air... actually, to vanish, you must first exist and have shown yourself... there is NO evidence, only suspect (VERY suspect) "testimony" that God has revealed himself - that's where the "faith" and "belief" come in...

Those "strict, zealothic" Christians that yopu mention are that way out of necessity - they have to supply ALL the energy and the zeal, because God will die otherwise!!! ... The fictitious God NEEDS human beings to believe in (and fear) HIm, otherwise He will cease to exist. Scripture holds that s/he that comes to Him must believe that He is... this affirmation is very problematic, and doesn't hold true for any other proposition that I can think of, because all we have is other people and a Book...and a bunch of second-rate songs with the message "I BELIEVE."

Hell evolved over time and thus in the Bible - [IMHO] out of this fear of the great unknown, and of the perceived (and real) injustices of the world. It was a way to deal with them. The juxtaposition of Love and Mercy with Belief, and some sort of fruit that should follow - only made it more obvious that none of it really worked - paradoxical to say the least.

Theology was born of this mayhem, to make belief work. Only problem: the Book lent itself to myriad interpretations, because it was a compilation - sometimes offering multiple versions of the same story - why? Well, so it could be infallible and the rule of faith. That makes sense, doesn't it?

An aside: I have convinced my oldest daughter that evolution is proven and that Scripture creation stories are a metaphor, if they are anything. My wife is acceting that fact and sends our daughters to me for these life altering questions, as long as I don't go agnostic on them. These are good signs, for now - my daughter (at the age of 12) is a theistic evolutionist in the making. I hope that 2008 sees the "theist" tag removed from any reference made to my family. Will we continue to Homeschool? Yep - because we are weird like that and if I'm successful, then we can say the old version of the pledge and forego the moment of silence.

Right now - we are heavy on Bible "history" and prayer. We are also on the AIG mailing list. But we have skipped a tithe or two and my wife is with me on voting democrat this year. Liberal Christianity is the baby step to agnosticism and beyond. Wish me luck and thank you all for this wonderful site...

A shout out to Nvrgngbck - It was her piece back in late spring, about the idea of Hell and standing up to Bbilegod, that I really believe was the final straw for the ole camel...

Liniasmax

Are you kidding me? said...

Anonymous Said:
"And God would like us to trust HIM. I mean ask yourself why are there so many people suffering from depression, anxiety and the like today? And how would you like to change that?"

And you think God is going to do something to change that, and make it better?

Hate to break it to you, but God doesn't do a damn thing to take away depression. I have suffered from depression for years, and have also worked with many other people who suffer from various mental illnesses, and if anything a belief in Jesus/God makes people who have mental health issues even worse. I personally blame your "God" for why I have depression which has damn nearly crippled my ability to perform in life.

Don't worry though dear anonymous. I am learning how to deal with depression in a more effective way these days. Fortunately there are good secular therapists out there who know how to offer practical solutions to today's problems.

Anonymous Said:
"What- as an atheist do you say to a person suffering from depression? "go to see a psychiatrist?" I believe it would be nicer to have someone telling the person that there is someone out there in heaven who loves her:Jesus."

Your statement is very insulting to one's intelligence. It is "Over-simplified" and it presents no practical solutions to anyone's problems. All you are doing is providing false hopes to someone by telling them that an imaginary friend loves them, which never did anything for me personally.

Basically you are trying to give that person a worthless crutch instead of helping that same person live a productive life. I have bigger ambitions in life, than going around beating on a bible all of the time.

Being told Jesus loves me never did anything to help me live a more productive life. Personal success and achievement along with seeing my dreams come true is what helps me with my depression. Jesus has never done anything that has helped me with my depression. My own success is what helps me. Not a make believe spiritual crutch.

It is unbelievable that christians like you think people like myself are actually dumb enough to believe that being simply told "Jesus loves you" can actually cure depression or help it. You think people are that stupid? How insulting.

Being told that "Jesus" loves you does not make anyone's depression any better. It only gives them false hopes about life.

I have struggled with depression for years, and have been told that "Jesus loves me" many times, and guess what? I never felt any better. So it looks like your little "Over simplified" statement does not work.

Anonymous Said:
"And here comes my answer: Atheists do not have a spiritual power to heal people- neither physically nor emotionally."

Funny you would say that, because I sure have gotten a lot further in dealing with my depression on a more successful level than I ever did with having faith in Jesus.

You "anonymous" have no idea what you are even talking about. You live in a fantasy world. People like you, have no practical solutions to today's problems. You contribute nothing. Instead you only offer over simplified answers that are meaningless.

It seems another christian who thinks they have the answers has decided to come onto our site with their, "I'm different from the way other christians are" attitude.

Your comments "Anonymous" are no different from any other christian moron's comments that have been left here on this site in the past. It's all the same old recycled crap that all of you christians use.

Your "Jesus" is the answer comments are nothing more than a bunch meaningless garbage that does not produce any fruitful results period.

Chris in Anchorage said...

To answer someone's request for a verse or two about "life = knowing God", go to John 17:3:

"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."

I guess I should have qualified my question about what you believed in. I meant "What absolutes do you base your life on?" I believe that without absolutes, we inevitably go toward nihilism. Believing is like breathing; we all do it, naturally, and it has to be something we consider a firm foundation. The question is, and it's one I pose to myself, "What do I honestly believe in?" I can profess many things but what really counts is what I truly believe. In that regard, I actually appreciate the honesty of the people at this blog, even if it comes with hostility and bitterness.

I've wrestled with the Christian question all my life, having been in many different churches, denominations, and parachurch organizations and having been exposed to many hypocrites and contradictory teachings. Ultimately for me, I had to see for myself the Truth behind the lies and misinterpretations and as pathetic as it sounds say, like Peter, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life." I've seen real life change in people, including my father who was an alcoholic and lost the thirst immediately but unfortunately got right back into self-protection when the pastor of legalistic, money-grubbing church lied big time about God giving him a deadline date to raise the money for a building project because he kept pushing passed that date. My father and mother had given sacrificially and they and others were burned. Something similar happened to the parents of my friend at work, only much worse (guess the legalistic pressure was greater in that denomination). I had a girlfriend in college that had been raped twice in two different states, two years apart. She finally got up the courage to go to a pastor of a large church for counseling and after hearing her story, he asked her what she was doing wrong. Turned out he was into porn and ran off with the church secretary but not until after he had further damaged my girlfriend to the point that she was suicidal and self-abusive (would put nail polish remover on her forearms and light it with a match and at some point slashed her wrists). The pastor of church I was going to said that child molesters ought to be strung up by their thumbs and he was convicted of doing the same thing (I didn't find out till much later that he was performing oral sex on those little kids). What someone remarked is very telling (my version b/c I can't remember the exact quote): "Christianity would be great if it weren't for all the Christians." Pharisees and hypocrites are the kind of people that Jesus got along with the least and they were a blight on the early church as well (the earliest epistle was in re legalism infiltrating the church - Galatians). Pharisees are in charge of most churches and the true Gospel, the only Gospel has been lost. Even my wife questioned why I held on so long despite what I've seen and experienced. It came down to this: I believe in Christ, not Christians. I believe He is at work despite us poor conduits of His Gospel.

I also agree with the person who posted that depression is caused by a lack of community because that's what is experienced by those in so-called church "bodies." My wife and I are finally involved with some honest people with whom we fellowship but unfortunately, our situation is exceptional, not the norm. In a sense, you have a fellowship (many of you burned by Christians) in your blog based on honesty, so again, I appreciate that. Starting Jan. 7th, we're changing the format of my Monday night group (we've met for three years) and the first hour we'll be covering practical topics such as investing (going through the book "Rule No.1" and playing Kiyosaki's game), cutting wasteful spending, how to fix things we own, coordinate helping each other and others with projects, and much more. The second hour we're going to share our personal struggles and pray for our families and others with their pictures and names in front of us to bring it home more.

No one has proved abiogenesis is even possible other than the straw man argument that we're here, so it must have happened. "We were lucky." (Dawkings) was not good enough for Antony Flew but apparently that's good enough for others. You can call me ignorant, uninformed, unscientific or whatever but don't lie to me and yourselves and say evolution has been proven when you can't even get past abiogenesis. Be honest here, please. Don't tell me it's so complicated, you wouldn't understand. Give me some web sites, some books, whatever to show me why you believe abiogenesis can and did occur other than the "We're here" argument.

By the way, I disagree with Mr. Anonymous. I believe God is a lot more than love and that includes just, which leads me to say that if there's any one doctrine I'm uncomfortable with, it's eternal damnation/suffering of humans. But because I can't fully reconcile everything in my faith doesn't mean I should throw it completely out nor ignore the elephants in the room. As someone said, "If you could understand God, He wouldn't be God." I, like the rest of you, have only a little light and I wish the truth (the big picture) was easier to see but it is what it is, whatever it is.

Happy New Year!

Madame M said...

Chris in Anchorage,

Something about your last writing strikes me as being on the up and up, not just here to convert people. Sometimes christians are drawn here, because in spite of the fact that we shred their belief system, there is something honest about a place where people can ask the questions that would be considered bad or blasphemous in christian circles.

Alot of the stuff you discussed happening in church is similar to stuff many of us have witnessed. I am sorry about your girlfriend. She really should have found a place of safety to discuss what had happened to her and a safe place to heal. I recall one pastor of mine from years ago,who preached the pro-life agenda, telling his good buddy who had gotten his girlfriend pregnant to go ahead and get her an abortion. I think his exact words were, "Don't let a girl like that ruin your life." Unfortunately this girl overheard the pastor and being a new christian was destroyed inside, aborted the baby and left the fold. I have seen way way more than this one example.

When I was still a christian but questioning why things were so screwed up, a friend put it this way. She said that it is like christianity is the polluted cesspool that the believers are swimming in and we are saying "come on in world the water is fine."

This is my problem with all that. The Bible says that the spirit indwells the believers and this is supposed to give people the power to change. There should be a marked difference between the church and the "world". For a long long time I made excuses for it as you do. After awhile I had to admit it was like the story The Emperor's New Clothes, where everyone is acting like they can see beautiful clothes on the king and finally a child says, "but the king is naked". In spite of everyone decieving themselves on what their eyes were telling them, the fact of the matter is, there never were any clothes on that king. He had been cheated. That is how I see the church, I saw what I wanted or needed to see to fit in with what I wanted or needed to believe, but eventually I had to be like that child is speak the truth of what I was actually observing.

Chris in Anchorage said...

madame m -

Thank you. I was pressured by my parents and others to evangelize others but I was always uncomfortable with doing that. Telling others that they could have a personal relationship with God when I wasn't experiencing one on any conscious level was hypocritical. On top of that, being in a state of misery - worried about being rejected by my parents and other Xians, I'm supposed to go around saying "Hey, don't you want to be miserable like me?" Peer pressure is powerful and I know it's one of the reasons many leave Xianity or the unreasonable facsimile thereof. Honesty is where it's at and Jesus exposed the lack of it in Pharisees - - - "You burden others with burdens you yourselves cannot bear." Hypocrites were there in Jesus' day and they're here today in the modern-day church; pick your denomination. Jesus said His Father was seeking those who would worship Him in spirit and in truth. Doesn't sound like there are very many of them in the American church. My wife and I have great admiration for those true followers in countries where they're persecuted. They don't have the luxury of believing in a bullshit religion; everything on this earth they hold dear is on the line.

Again, thank you for your acknowledgment.

Chris in Anchorage said...

I finally got a taste of the real Gospel when I was introduced to the writings and lectures of Steve McVey (former 29-year legalist and pastor; see http://www.gracewalk.org/Default.asp?) by a really nice couple at the legalist church we were attending, the kind of freedom I was looking for (only took 40-odd years). I did a PowerPoint presentation based on one of his teachings on the two trees in the Garden of Eden that was almost an aside for him but it was really powerful for me in terms of my perspective in human behavior from a spiritual perspective. Poorly done as it is (it's a work in progress), I'd be willing to send it to any of you if you'd like. All I ask is that you only use my e-mail address alias to request the PowerPoint presentation and maybe have side discussions. I'm a bit leery about doing this at all but I will keep the alias for at least a week. This is it: chris_in_anchorage@fastmail.net

Trepidatious in Anchorage,
Chris

AtheistToothFairy said...

Chris in Anchorage wrote:
No one has proved abiogenesis is even possible other than the straw man argument that we're here, so it must have happened.........
Give me some web sites, some books, whatever to show me why you believe abiogenesis can and did occur other than the "We're here" argument..........
You can call me ignorant, uninformed, unscientific or whatever but don't lie to me and yourselves and say evolution has been proven when you can't even get past abiogenesis

------
Chris,

While you are correct that Abiogenesis has not been proven (yet) to have created the first 'spark' of life on this planet, your assumption that the theory of evolution is also unproven, is clearly an emotional response and not one generated from studying the vast amounts of research done in this field.
Also, many make the mistake of lumping together Evolution and Abiogenesis, when in fact the theory of evolution does NOT speak about the origin of life.

If the ID folks really had a good argument that evolution was bogus science, then they wouldn't be losing so badly in courts of law.
In fact, they usually come out with their tails between their legs, for even trying to disprove evolution.

You won't find any huge group of scientists that have studied evolution (from qualified colleges), that are discounting that theory.
Funny thing about how science works; in that it is indeed self correcting.
When someone asserts a fallacy, it doesn't take long before they get shot down by their peers.
Therefore, given the vast quantity of scientists that accept evolution and that no one has successfully challenged it over the many decades it has been accepted, it's pretty much a sure bet that it's as real as the earth beneath your feet.

Also, just in case you're thinking there is some worldwide conspiracy amongst scientists, to pull the wool over the eye's of everyone, I suggest you re-think such an elaborate far-fetched possibility.

Now, I'm no expert on evolution, and some here know far more than I do on the matter, but I do know enough to realize that I was once wrong when I thought evolution was a 'theory for the birds'. The evidence for the theory is just far beyond being in question amongst the scientific community.

As far as links about Abiogenesis, here are some that won't prove it out, but do address the objections that xtians make, where they exaggerate the mathematical chances it could occur.


http://atheism.about.com/od/evolutionabiogenesis/a/probability.htm

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html


A small excerpt is shown beneath this next link, that shows amino acids can indeed be produced without a 'god' in the laboratory.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/spontaneous-generation.html
He passed the atmosphere through a glass retort, continuously cycling it for several days, while exposing it to heat, electrical arcing, and cooling. After two days, the "ocean" (a flask of water through which the gases were passed) became pale yellow, and on analysis this turned out to be glycine, the simplest amino acid. They repeated the experiment for a week, and in the final yellow-brown solution, Miller detected seven amino acids, including three (glycine, anine and aspartic acid) found in modern living systems. In a period of three and a half months, Miller had confirmed Urey's and Oparin's hypotheses on the formation of the precursor molecules of life.


ATF (who wonders if the xtians will say god "planted the life", when we discover it on other worlds or moons of worlds?)

.:webmaster:. said...

Chris,

Of all the Christians who have posted here over the years, I like your approach the best. Sincerely.

However, your underlying premise is no different from any other supposed "True Believer™," which is that you are a true Christian and others who do not view the gospel or practice Christianity in quite the same way as you are, well, just plain wrong. The "True Christian™" apologetic is common -- I was guilty of hiding behind it myself for a couple of decades.

Another assumption you appear to be making is that people here have left Christianity because of all the "not-so-true-Christians." I will admit that the plethora of un-Christian behaving Christians put question marks in my mind when I was a Christian. But, I had a tendency, like you, to dismiss all those miscreants as "not true Christians." I was, in my mind, of course, a true Christian, so I could tell the difference, or so I thought. So, as I said, other supposed Christians didn't destroy my faith. What opened my eyes was seriously and honestly studying the evolution and history of Christianity. Coupled with the ideas that Christians are indwelt by the very spirit of the living God and that Jesus was personally building HIS church, vs. the reality that Christians disagree on nearly every major doctrine with each other (read your history) combined to help free my mind from mythology.

The evolution discussion is engaging, but really, evolution is meaningless in this discussion. Regardless of the relative merits the the current scientific theories, mythology is neither proved nor disproved by evolution. The myths you have chosen to accept need to stand on their own merits. If you have evidence that supports the magical stories in the Bible, that is what would interest me. Poke all the holes in evolution you like. It makes no difference, because if evolution is false, Christianity does not by default become true. Christianity has to be proved true in its own right, regardless of opinions about evolution.

Chris in Anchorage said...

webmaster & atheisttoothfairy -

Thank you. You paid me a high compliment and have been most civil. I know we're emotional creatures and venting and name calling are ways we express ourselves but civil discourse helps to remain objective.

I'm not sure what form of proof I could provide but I'll give it a go after I've assembled something. In the meantime, I won't try to poke holes in the evolutionary theory or abiogenesis. Other than ID, it's the only other viable explanation for our existence and Dinesh D'Souza, whom I respect, believes that evolution has occurred because of the consensus of biologists (at this point, I don't his position on it beyond that).

I think the only people who are Christians, Christ followers, are those who simply follow Christ, however and wherever He leads. All too often we sheep follow those who have dynamic personalities rather than those whom the Spirit is actually working through. When I read the epistles, I picture the Apostle Paul more like Don Knotts than Mel Gibson; nervous, trembling, feeble-voiced. He didn't want to get in the way of the message, so much so that he bored a young man to sleep, who fell out of the window in was sitting in and died. Fortunately, Paul had that Apostolic authority to raise the dead. When I tell pastors I meet that it's a good thing they're able to keep their messages interesting because if someone's bored to death, I doubt they'd have the ability to bring them back to life. They usually give me an uncomfortable half-smile when I say that. (As George Costanza said, "Is that wrong? Should I have not done that?") As "dynamic" as the Paul was in terms of the fruits of his labor, the Spirit must operate in a much subtler way than most of us understand.

Anyway, my take on everything is that if God exists and He sets up certain criteria, we should be able to meet that criteria or else He's unjust. In other words, average Joes like me ought to be able to arrive at the truth without advanced degrees and exhaustive research. The only thing I think we can "do" is humble ourselves and receive that truth. If God does not exist, then it gets a lot more complicated.

I'd be interested in hearing your story, webmaster. Is it already posted somewhere?

Josh said...

Gabe,

I understand where you are coming from in your post. I have thought a lot about the doctrine of hell. I recognized that the bible is a bunch of bullshit and I decided that I would not try and rationalize something that is irrational. I am not sure if this would work for you or not but it is certainly worth a try.

Gabe said...

Josh,

Don't worry man, I have definitely come to that conclusion as well. Ths is an essay that I had already written about a month ago. And when I first wrote it and posted it on Myspace, I knew that most of the readers were probably sympathetic towards the bible. So I tried to be as tactful as possible, by challenging the doctrine of hell somewhat on their terms.

This is a nice change said...

Chris In Anchorage,

I must say that even if I don't agree with you on certain matters, I do appreciate your approach on this site.

I like you "Chris In Anchorage". :)

.:webmaster:. said...

Chris wrote, "I'm not sure what form of proof I could provide..."

I didn't ask for any proof. I asked for evidence. Take your time.

My story is linked in the left hand column of every page of this site. Here's the link again: Webmaster's Anti-testimony

stronger now said...

(pops some corn, grabs a drink, takes a seat)

Jim Arvo said...

I just read the Dec 26 post by "Chris in Anchorage" (CIA) and thought to myself "Do I have two hours to spend debunking all those fallacies?" Fortunately, Cousin Ricky and others already did a marvelous job. Kudos on that.

I am simply appalled by how many straw men CIA erected, how many minds he/she has tried to read, how many spurious definitions he/she injected, and how many unsupported assertions he/she made. Far too much to sift though at the moment, so I'll simply defer to Cousin Ricky's thorough reply and say "yeah, what he said".

But I would like to know one thing from CIA: How does the existence of a god give "meaning" to anything? It seems that what you are asserting is that you need to have approval or direction handed down to you, which you then deem "meaningful". You also seem to imply that only eternal things are meaningful. Why is that? How do authority and eternity equate to "meaning"? As a concrete example, my kids are wonderfully meaningful to me, yet I know that they too are mortal and will one day die. Moreover, childhood itself is a marvelous time, but it too is limited. If you can only savor that which you think to be eternal, then that would seem to be a pitiful existence--at least for me it would be.

Cousin Ricky said...

Chris in Anchorage wrote: “I guess I should have qualified my question about what you believed in. I meant 'What absolutes do you base your life on?'”

Reality.

Chris wrote: “I believe that without absolutes, we inevitably go toward nihilism.”

6. “Slippery slope” fallacy.

Chris wrote: “I can profess many things but what really counts is what I truly believe. In that regard, I actually appreciate the honesty of the people at this blog, even if it comes with hostility and bitterness.”

Being honest with ourselves is what got most of us here. Thanks for noticing.

For a discussion of the hostility and bitterness, please see the “Not ready to be nice.” It is also possible that you may perceive hostility where there is none.

Chris wrote: “I've wrestled with the Christian question all my life, having been in many different churches, denominations, and parachurch organizations and having been exposed to many hypocrites and contradictory teachings. Ultimately for me, I had to see for myself the Truth behind the lies and misinterpretations and as pathetic as it sounds say, like Peter, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.'”

The trouble is that, when it came down to it, i could find no evidence that there’s any such thing as eternal life, or that Jesus, if there were such a person, was any more than a human being. Peter fell victim to the existential fallacy, probably via wishful thinking.

Chris wrote: “I've seen real life change in people, including my father who was an alcoholic and lost the thirst immediately but unfortunately got right back into self-protection when the pastor of legalistic, money-grubbing church lied big time… [more horror stories] What someone remarked is very telling (my version b/c I can't remember the exact quote): 'Christianity would be great if it weren't for all the Christians.' […] Even my wife questioned why I held on so long despite what I've seen and experienced. It came down to this: I believe in Christ, not Christians. I believe He is at work despite us poor conduits of His Gospel.”

This is a point we understand well, and it frustrates us when Christians assume that we lost faith because of Christians. Ill-behaved Christians got many of us started on the road to unbelief, by raising the tough questions such as those that you struggle with. However, the hypocrites are never the final reason for unbelief; that only comes though examination of the issues themselves.

Chris wrote: “No one has proved abiogenesis is even possible other than the straw man argument that we're here, so it must have happened.”

This is not a straw man; it is merely an observation, however unsatisfying. After all, we are here, and all parties, including the Bible, agree that there was a time when there was no life. The real question is not whether abiogenesis occurred, but how.

Chris wrote: “'We were lucky.' (Dawkings) was not good enough for Antony Flew but apparently that's good enough for others.”

It’s not good enough for Richard Dawkins either. He merely made the unremarkable observation that we’re all lucky to be here, and the context of his remark wasn’t even abiogenesis; it was that, of the countless possible combinations of human DNA, here you are.

Chris wrote: “You can call me ignorant, uninformed, unscientific or whatever but don't lie to me and yourselves and say evolution has been proven when you can't even get past abiogenesis. Be honest here, please. Don't tell me it's so complicated, you wouldn't understand. Give me some web sites, some books, whatever to show me why you believe abiogenesis can and did occur other than the 'We're here' argument.”

Everyone agrees that there was a time when there was no life. Everyone agrees that there is life today. Aside from quantum vacuum fluctuations (which doesn’t shed light on this issue anyway), everyone agrees with the law of conservation of matter. Therefore, life had to have come from non-living matter. That, by definition, is abiogenesis. Now, you can be satisfied, like Antony Flew or Pat Robertson, that Goddidit, but some of us aren’t so easily satisfied.

Evolution is a separate issue.

Chris wrote: “By the way, I disagree with Mr. Anonymous. I believe God is a lot more than love and that includes just, which leads me to say that if there's any one doctrine I'm uncomfortable with, it's eternal damnation/suffering of humans. But because I can't fully reconcile everything in my faith doesn't mean I should throw it completely out nor ignore the elephants in the room.”

I concluded that my faith was the elephant in the room. Without the assumption of a 3-O personal god, some questions remained, but the absurdities and contradictions vanished. Without a god, the question of evil reduces to “shit happens.” That’s not exactly reassuring, but it at least makes sense. Without a hell—for which there’s no evidence anyway—all questions concerning hell vanish.

Chris wrote: “As someone said, 'If you could understand God, He wouldn't be God.' I, like the rest of you, have only a little light and I wish the truth (the big picture) was easier to see but it is what it is, whatever it is.”

Your someone has inadvertently exposed the problem with intelligent design philosophy: it stops inquiry cold. We cannot find the truth if we decide that it can’t be found.

Chris wrote: “Happy New Year!”

Happy New Year to you! Hope your Christmas was great.

pekingjohn said...

Andrew,
Why is it that Christians can't spell as well as atheists? I mean, we all make spelling mistakes from time to time, but there should be a limit.

The purpose driven life said...

I never found meaning or purpose in "God" alone.

The christian belief system actually caused me to sink further into depression.

There is nothing more gratifying than knowing that you have a good career, and that you are living a productive life here on Earth.

skeptic said...

Chris in Anchorage:

I agree with others here in that I appreciate your approach. You appear to be genuinely seeking, and I see a lot of myself in some of your questions, albeit a self that was not as skeptical as I am now.

Now, to your posts: you continually assert your belief that without a belief in an absolute, people inevitably fall into nihilism. I do not believe this to be true for the reasons I will explain below.

To begin with, I think it’s important to define “nihilism,” as this tends to be an emotionally loaded term. I just looked it up on dictionary.com and found the following definitions:
1. total rejection of established laws and institutions.
2. anarchy, terrorism, or other revolutionary activity.
3. total and absolute destructiveness, esp. toward the world at large and including oneself: the power-mad nihilism that marked Hitler's last years.
4. Philosophy.
a. an extreme form of skepticism: the denial of all real existence or the possibility of an objective basis for truth.
b. nothingness or nonexistence.


I assume that you are primarily talking about definition 4a above, i.e. “an extreme form of skepticism.” But the word also holds the other definitions, so it is important to at least state that atheism has nothing to do with 2, 3, or 4b above. Granted, Hitler and Stalin appear to have been atheists—as Christians never tire of pointing out—but they constructed their own dogmatic political systems. These systems were very “religious” in that they were held to be unquestionable truths, and “unbelievers” and “outsiders” were persecuted and murdered in the name of these systems. Moving on, I believe that definition 2 refers primarily to a specific group of Russian anarchists, so I doubt that you are referring to it.

Regarding definition 1: while some atheists may reject all institutions of thought, they tend to be, if anything, more concerned than many theists about established laws and social institutions, as atheists are primarily concerned about the here and now, not the hereafter. Historically the majority of atheists have been secular humanists, committed to improving education, extending equal rights, and engaging in other activities related to social reform.

Now, to definition 4a: an extreme form of skepticism: the denial of all real existence or the possibility of an objective basis for truth. This definition certainly describes post modern theorists, especially literary critics who subscribe to the type of “deconstruction” advocated by Paul de Man. Post modernists tend to make the claim that logic itself is just another system, thought they offer no alternative logic that makes any sense, as far as I can tell. Of course, they would say that that is the whole point, that there is no “sense.” But in saying that, they cut the branch that they are sitting on off, because if there is no sense whatsoever, and logic itself is just another belief system, then their assertions have no frame of reference whatsoever, and may as well just be random noises. See George Smith’s Atheism: The Case Against God and John Ellis’s Against Deconstruction for far more eloquent elaborations on this point. For this discussion, I simply want to contrast extreme skepticism with the skepticism I have found in atheism.

Atheists, by definition, are skeptics, but not necessarily, or even usually, "extreme" skeptics" in the sense described in the last paragraph. Having read the writings of numerous atheists, including the big four “new atheists,” Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett, I conclude that the general viewpoint of philosophical atheism is that the honest employment of scientific reasoning is our best source for acquiring knowledge. Far from being nihilistic, i.e. asserting that there is no possibility of having any knowledge, these atheists view knowledge as something precious enought to protect with skepticism regarding “faith,” or assertions with no evidence. Knowledge is based upon evidence, and no knowledge is absolute, in the sense of being off limits to new evidence. Facts, in this light, are true because they have an extremely low probability of being false. The theory of natural selection, for example, is regarded as scientific fact because, based upon evidence and experimentation, it is the most elegant (i.e. simple and comprehensive) theory regarding how organic life gradually came into being. But, as Dawkins states repeatedly, the entire theory of natural selection could be disproven if anyone were to find a genuine case of irreducible complexity, or an aberration in the fossil record.

Theists sometimes confuse the atheistic assertion that all knowledge is contingent with the nihilistic assertion that there is no possibility of acquiring any knowledge. In fact, these are two very different assertions. While atheists will acknowledge that there is no “absolute,” i.e. undisputable, knowledge, they value knowledge obtained through empirical study and rational inquiry. By contrast, nihilists value nothing.

One might point out that most nihilists are atheists, I suppose. But simply because most nihilists are atheistic, it does not follow that most atheists are nihilistic.

Finally, I just want to comment that, if you are using the term “nihilism” as a synonym for despair, the majority of atheists, in my experience, are not in despair. While it is true that many former Christians initially feel despair upon feeling their belief systems give way, it is also true that many of these same ex-Christians eventually find that, to their surprise, they feel freer and happier. Personally I find myself relieved that reality is not nearly so grim as I was taught it was when I was young. I have heard the question “How can you live believing that this life is all there is, that death is the end of everything?” My response is to question how a Christian can believe that their lives are ruled by a terrifying, whimsical, infinitely codependent God who is sending the majority of people to Hell? To me, that is despair.

Happy New Year!

Cousin Ricky said...

@skeptic,

Hitler was a card-carrying Christian, not an atheist. Christians tend to assume that he was an atheist because he was such a nasty person. This is a non sequitur, of course, but Christianity teaches otherwise.

AtheistToothFairy said...

Chris in Anchorage wrote:
Anyway, my take on everything is that if God exists and He sets up certain criteria, we should be able to meet that criteria or else He's unjust. In other words, average Joes like me ought to be able to arrive at the truth without advanced degrees and exhaustive research. The only thing I think we can "do" is humble ourselves and receive that truth. If God does not exist, then it gets a lot more complicated.
---
Chris,

I would agree with your hypothesis here, but I also have some questions to ask you as well....naturally I do [g]

If such a god truly existed, and really cared one iota about the humans he is claimed to have created, then one should indeed be able to 'find' this god without being a 'rocket scientist' (in theology). It should indeed be a most simple matter to discover this xtian god !!

Now, what could that "certain criteria" possibly be, is the age-old question here.

Well, it sure can't be a matter of just opening one's heart up to this god to find him, for I can with fairness say, that most of our ex-xtian members here made very earnest attempts to let this god come into their hearts and under many different conditions and thru various sects of Christianity.
Some even begged this god until they broke down in tears, for him to show himself and yet, all they heard was silence in return.

So if it's not a matter of stumbling upon the right xtian sect and not a matter of making an earnest attempt to let this god enter us, then what other method could there be to find this god?

Why is it that every single human born must be TAUGHT about this xtian god.
If I was this god in charge, I sure would instill this knowledge of my reality, into every single person in every country and throughout all time.
Alas, this god does no such thing and the ONLY way we discover this xtian god is by being indoctrinated by someone who also was indoctrinated in the same manner. In most cases it's our parents who make sure we learn early on about this special xtian god.

If you Chris, were shipwrecked on some remote small island and then raised by say, apes, as seems to have happened at least once, then would you be able to find out about this xtian god via nature?
What about those throughout history that never were exposed to the teachings of this xtian god.

So in a nutshell, if you weren't 'lucky' enough to be around someone who knew of the xtian god and then decided to teach you about him, you could never of known him, now could you?

Your super duper powerful god fails to include knowledge of him in our brains when he makes us, yet he is attributed to have made the rest of the complex biological systems that our bodies require to thrive on this earth.
How is it possible that god forgot to include at least the basics of his great plan in each an every one of us.
Why would ANY god keep himself such a huge secret, a secret which can only be discovered via another human.

Why throughout history have there been all types of god-beings created in the minds of man, yet your particular xtian god just sat back and watched from afar?
Why is it that your OT god revealed himself mainly to his favored Jewish humans and ignored everyone else on the planet?

I hate to bring this one up, because I know a certain member here reading this, will have an emotional response to it, but here goes anyway.

How is it that your god (and jesus as well), totally ignored educating the American Indian Tribes of the distant past?
When our ancestors arrived in this country and got past the language barriers, they didn't discover that the native Indians already had knowledge of their god. How could it be that the xtian god overlooked giving these Indians such important knowledge that would protect them from being separated from god for all eternity?

You appear to be from Alaska, yes?
How many of the Eskimo ancestors were privy to knowing about this OT god and/or Jesus?
Did god fail to show himself to the Eskimo's, as he did with the Indians?

Face it Chris, if your god and his faith rules are for real, then your god is extremely unjust in his behavior with the vast majority of humans that every lived.

So why do some SEEM to find this xitan god so easily then.
I have some ideas on that, as I'm sure you already guessed...lol

1. The emotional characteristics of a person can easily make them more receptive to the idea of 'A' god who will be there for when they themselves can't deal with life's problems.

2. The great fear that some have of the unknown, especially when that fear is about their own death.

For the person who has enough self-confidence to get through life without the need of a crutch-god to lean upon for strength/answers, a god is simply not necessary.
For the person who can accept death as being the end of existence, the need for a god is not required.

In a nutshell, if you have a person who feels the need to have something beyond the reality around them, then they will convince themselves that they can FEEL a god in their lives.
You'll notice that xtians believe what they do on FAITH and almost never because they first found evidence of a god and then chose to follow that evidence to form a 'god' conclusion.
The faith came FIRST and any evidence for a god followed later.

This is precisely why we all must be brainwashed as young children to have faith, because by the time we grow into adults, the bible stories would clearly be in the same category as any other fable we've heard.

Now if there is a clear path to finding your xtian god, then guess what, your god has chosen not to reveal it to ALL of humankind.
It then would seem that he's only looking for a select few to reside with him forever and the vast majority of us will perish.
Is this the kind of god you wish to promote to all of humankind Chris?
A god that rejects most of us humans who ever lived and only gives out his reward to his special favorites?

Would you honestly be happy if you were one of the lucky FEW that this xtian god chose, knowing while you were rejoicing up in heaven, that the rest of your fellow humans were tossed away by this god, like some wilted lettuce.

Any god worth his salt Chris, would make himself available to EVERY HUMAN on this planet, yet we know he hasn't done so.
He HIDES up there in his abode, playing that childish game of hide&seek, when he SHOULD be in touch with every man/women and child to let them know he truly is real.

No Chris, hearing god whisper in your ear, like some claim he does, sure isn't proof that he's real. There would be no way to tell the difference then between god talking to that person and that person being insane.

How can god punish anyone for not discovering that he is out there, somewhere?
Why is it that most who find god, do so by shutting down their cognitive brain?

What is the difference between faith in this god and having faith in any other far-out idea that humans have generated throughout their history.

While you may FEEL your god is real to you, that is all you really have to support your idea...FEELINGS.

Oh, if god doesn't exists, I think things are far simpler....
In fact, this world makes a whole lot more sense when you remove ALL the gods from the equations.

The earth and it's weather aren't being influenced by a god, but just do whatever nature tells them to do.
There are no demons to blame on mental illness.
Illness is caused by germs and defective DNA.
Winning some money had nothing to do with a god-send and losing money had nothing to do with being sinful.
Life is what it is and there is no magical creature adjusting our course, as our course in life is set by our ourselves and plain happenstance.

The eventual demise of planet earth will come when it comes, and if we are lucky we will know ahead of time.
When you die, it will be just like it was before you were born (thanks to Boomslang, for that simple concept).

Okay, just some ideas there for you to ponder about.


ATF (who thinks finding god should be as simple as calling out to him, ONCE)

Anonymous said...

WOW!
Most of you have missed the point about hell.
Remember Jesus is Love.
Check this out, here is a scenario:
A rapist/serial killer/psycho rape/kill a descent atheist family (father, mother and two daughters) and then get sentenced to the electric chair. Two day before his execution he is visited by a nice prison missionary and he end up accepting Jesus as his savior.

Guess who is going to burn in hell for the eternity and who is going to heaven?

In case you don’t know, the atheist family will suffer in hell for eternity.

The rapist, actually the new born saved Christian will be with Jesus in heaven singing kumbaya for eternity.

And some of you think that Jesus is mean, come give the son of God a break.

Atheist said...

Anonymous said...
The rapist, actually the new born saved Christian will be with Jesus in heaven singing kumbaya for eternity

Anon,
This heaven topic was covered in a RANT awhile back.
For more info, see the following link to the rant.


http://exchristian.net/exchristian/2007/10/who-deserves-heaven-as-reward.html

Feel free to add your own comments to it.

ATF

Jesus was a con artist said...

The reasoning behind salvation is pretty fucked up.

And christians claim that God is fair?

Madame M said...

I think Anon is either one of us being satirical or a really screwed up christian.

Of course it could never be a christian posting the above because no christian would ever call an atheist family "nice" and "loving".

Anonymous said...

Madame M
You got it right! I used to be a screw up Christian!
Halelujah! Thank Dog, I’m an Atheist now.
God is not love.
He is, …??? What’s the word …

Oh what the heck, let me give you a quote from one of my “Prophets”: Richard Dawkins.

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

Anonymous said...

However God claims this:

"I change not".

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

I, too, wish to cast my lot in the bundle and express my appreciation for Chris' approach and manners. A welcome change indeed.

I don't mean to sound presumptuous, but can hardly help from noticing how often the road to unbelief, according to many of the deconverts around here, begin with some preface such as: "...and then I began to notice that the people around me weren't following Christ the way Christ would have wanted, so I refocused my efforts to really divine for myself what Jesus at his core was trying to tell us..."

This leaving behind of "mass Christianity" for "True Christianity" seems to kick off the resumé of many an ex-Christian. Again, I don't want to sound presumptuous in the case of Chris, but this little tidbit is "unübersehbar", as we say in German.

I would only like to add one direct question to Chris:

At the end of the day, Chris, can you honestly say that your belief in Jesus' divitinity is not mostly a product of you when and where you were born? Can you honestly say that had you instead been taught that God's name was Zeus, Thor or Allah, your brilliant mind would not be defending instead their sovereignty and divinity this very day?

Geography and time are indisputable determining factors in what most people will ultimately "believe" in terms of the divine and eternal. Can you really imagine a God who allows such crude things to play into the ultimate destination of souls - billions of which are purportedly destined for the flames of hell for crimes no more spectacular than being presented as youngsters with stories not ascribing divinity to a man named Jesus or a being called Yahweh?

I advise you to take heed of the majesty in the brilliant quote from Michael Shermer, a pretty down-to-earth guy:

"Smart people are good at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons."

Anyhow, it was thoughts like these which ultimately led to my deconversion, I cared nothing for church hypocracy or the level of fidelity most Christians displayed in their faith - for me it was simply a question of absurd philosophy, and in the end Christianity's precepts could not make the cut in my mind.

They couldn't even make second string. But I defended my Christian beliefs for a very long time. I found the apologists who seemed to make it all click, but somewhere in the privacy of my own mind, with the books closed and videos turned off, I knew I did not at my core share the unshakable conviction that it was all true, in fact, the mere presence of the books and videos themselves were signs of a good chunk of my self knowing better. I wanted to assuage it all, but at the end of the day, the very best apologetics only address a certain small segment on the long spectrum of philosophical trouble-areas concerning belief in a personal god.

There are some segments they never touch, and so, as far as I'm concerned, you either end up living a life where you sacrifice a portion of your ability to reason to a belief in a deity who only makes sense some of the time and from certain perspectives, or you accept the entire troubling spectrum of your critical mind and believe what you must based on the aggregate of ALL your throughts, as awkward as that feels when you have been used to sticking to certain conclusions all your life.

It is a strange, wide-open, but ultimately satisfying god-less world which Christian apologetics gets absolutely down to the ground WRONG. We are not running around killing each other without "God", not all slitting our wrists because of being mired in intolerable moral relativism, and not an army of viscious narcissists.

We are simply people who decided that a belief in a creator with human-like qualities and a personal interest in making sure we read a certain book he caused a handful of people to write in a certain small corner of the world cannot be, in itself and without the aid of indoctrination, more likely than a horde of other suggestions which have maligned humans on other corners of this tiny, ignorant planet for millenia.

fjell

slingshot said...

I haven't yet read all of the responses to this post, and I would like to respond to the post itself.

I couldn't agree more that the christian hell is absurd and that the catholic and christian churches use it to scare people into joining them in their nonsensical beliefs. It is interesting to note, indeed, that the old testament makes no mention of hell.

I once studied something that taught that the word "hell" originally was used to describe reincarnation and then morphed into the christian hell. This, I might accept. To believe that anybody will burn forever in unimaginable torment is ridiculous.

As I once said on this website, if I don't believe in the "damnation" of christianity, why would I believe in the "salvation?"

Christianity is nonsense.

It's been pointed out before, that it is absurd to believe that everybody born before Christ went to hell to burn forever without hope of "salvation" from such torment. What kind of God would do such a thing? In many cases, christians are scared into believing this, then "accept Jesus," just in case it's true, then go on pretending they believe in what appears to be a load of nonsense, from what I've seen.

Christianity is nonsense.

Searching said...

Hi there,
I never really questioned the whole hell issue as a christian. It was something I always accepted as true. However, whilst reading Gabes initial post on hell, I had to check on my kids (daughter age 3 and 9 month old twins) and came to the realisation that no matter what my kids ever did, no matter how they disappoint me, I could never make them suffer for it. Hell cannot exist. It makes no sense.

AtheistToothFairy said...

Searching wrote:
I had to check on my kids (daughter age 3 and 9 month old twins) and came to the realisation that no matter what my kids ever did, no matter how they disappoint me, I could never make them suffer for it. Hell cannot exist. It makes no sense
----
Hi Searching,

Just thought I would add in my own two cents to your observation here.

I'm going to make an assumption here and suggest that at LEAST 90% of parents in the civilized world, would never make their own kids suffer in anything even close to the pain one is suppose to endure in that hellfire.
As you said, it wouldn't matter what they did wrong or how they disappointed us, they are sill our kids.

The bible (yeah, that awful book again) teaches us that we are all "god's children".
That infers that god is our 'parent'.
Now it's hard to enough to accept the concept that this god would make the majority of the human race that has existed for all time, suffer not just for a day, a year, a century, but for all eternity. There seems to be no difference in the intensity/duration of this hell punishment, that would account for if you were a mass-murderer, or simply couldn't find enough logical reasons to believe in this sky-daddy.

But let us suppose for a moment that such an unusual god really does exists.
If we now assume that god is all powerful and also assume that he has already succeeded in confining Satan and his demons to our own planet, then why the need for this particular hell all xtians fear.
If god FEARS that sometime in the distant future that all the 'bad' folks would somehow influence the 'good' folks left in the universe or heaven, then there are far simpler solutions to this fear problem of his.

1. As some of the minority sects of the xtian faith believe (J/W), god could simply just hand out eternal death as the punishment.

2. If there is some reason that this god wants to keep every single human that ever lived, alive, then given how HUGE even the known universe is, surely god could find some remote planet(s) to confine all these bad souls on for all eternity.
Obvioulsy he has the power to confine the more powerful devil to earth, so how hard could it be to confine some former humans (now in soul form) to such a remote planet.
They surely would never be able to influence any of god's 'chosen' FEW, wherever those few are to reside.
If souls don't require food and water then they pretty much would be maintenance free for god.

So how does a xtian justify the belief that god wants to do far more than just confine all these bad souls to some remote planet, but instead, wishes to torture them (with love of course) for all eternity in a fire that causes great pain but never burns a soul up.

Isn't it so obvious that hell was invented for two very human reasons.

1. To use fear as a tactic to keep xtians from leaving the fold.

2. To offer the 'good' humans some vindication for the wrong's done to them by the 'bad' humans. How many have hated someone so bad that they wanted them to suffer in hell?
How many 'bad' folks escaped the wrath of human law and the good humans were pacified with the promise from god's book that these evil folks would pay the price in hellfire.

Just as it's obvious that all the god's were invented by humans, it's also obvious that the threat of hell was just another human invention itself.
Both the invented god and hell, filled a 'gap' that some humans needed filled.

Logistically speaking, there are far too many problems with trying to reconcile how this hell would function, and under what circumstances a person would merit such a horrid fate.
It's also impossible to fathom that a god who created the entire universe and all it's life forms, would ever have a desire to hand out a punishment far beyond just death, to anyone.
As others have pointed out, there is no chance for rehabilitation in that hell, so the only purpose it could serve would be to make a god jump with glee while watching some of his own creation, writhe in pain for all time.


Is there even one xtian out there that can tell us how this hell could be justifiable by their beloved xtian god??????

Hello, hello, hellooooooo.....I'm waiting for an answer xtians !!


ATF (who thinks if any form of hell actually exists, then most xtians will find themselves surprised, when they also land up enjoying the flames of god's supernova barbecue)

atheisteasterbunny said...

Good point ATF.

I'm waiting to see if some Xtian responds also.

Wanted to let you know that you have influenced me and I have decided to use a name on here that sort of pays tribute to yours.

Chris in Anchorage said...

Sorry, all. Haven't been able to participate lately. Thursday night, my wife was skate skiing at a nearby high school and someone busted the window of her car and stole her bag. The thief or thieves then went to Best Buy and started buying hundreds of dollars of stuff with our credit cards. The police are going to look at the tapes of from the cameras pointed at the registers at the time of the purchases (two separate successful ones and three unsuccessful one b/c I'd called in the cards stolen with our bank). Earth, you know where "thieves break in"? Moths and rust are so bad. I got a bit cut up by a large broken falling heavy bowl in one of pantry closets and got burned on my left forearm by our oven. Trouble comes in threes, eh? I hope I survive a few more days to finish blogging with you this go round.

AtheistToothFairy said...

atheisteasterbunny wrote:
I'm waiting to see if some Xtian responds also

Welcome aboard, atheist easter bunny

I have to tell you that I almost fell out of my chair laughing when I noticed the name you chose to use here.
Should I assume you are the person posting using the "Searching" name above, that I answered in my post?
(Just trying to keep things from entering into confusion here)

Now ' bunny, we need to talk about them Easter eggs you brought me this year.
While I give you extra credit for your great hiding job you did with the dozen eggs, and while I appreciate the 11 I did get to eat (with salt), there seems to be the matter of the 1 missing egg, still.
You don't happen to know where you might have hidden that #12 egg?
I guess sooner or later the odor of it will be a clue to it's existence, unlike god, who provides us with no odor or clue to his own existence [g]


>>Wanted to let you know that you have influenced me and I have decided to use a name on here that sort of pays tribute to yours.

Okay, now you have me quite curious.
Are you saying it was this ONE post on hell I did here; that influenced you, or have you been reading this site for some time, including other post I wrote?

In any case, it's nice to have some feedback now and then, from someone that was influenced in a positive manner from our thoughts here.
While we do get new ex-xtian posters in here, I never really know if they were converts from reading our site or found us because they already were converted.

I have yet to see someone post that they crossed the line from xtian to ex-xtian based on what they read here on Dave's site.
Makes me wish we could do some sort of poll to find out how many crossed over by ANYTHING they might have read here.

Just like with my 'who gets the heaven reward' rant I did in October, I'm betting that the xtians will be silent about the hell question as well.
They love to preach AT US, but are never around when the questions get tough about their babble book philosophy.


Again, welcome, and please feel free to post your own thoughts to our own.


ATF (who wonders what kind of teeth an 'Easter' bunny might have)

Searching said...

ATF,
You wondered if anyone ever crossed over as a result after visiting this site. I am she. I posted a testimony a while back called " I refused to call myself a Christian anymore." Although I had been wondering about Christianity and the bible for some time already, my visit to this site finaly caused me to see reason. It has resulted in hours of research, endless reading and many debates with hubby dearest. I am still searching, still confused as hell - sorry ;), but I cannot return to my old way of thinking and blindly believing. I am amazed at the amount of compassion and suport I have encountered in the posts I have read so far. (No Xtian fellowship I have ever attented can compete.)Just to let you guys know, you are making a huge difference!
Ta
Searching

That sucks said...

Chris In Anco

"Thursday night, my wife was skate skiing at a nearby high school and someone busted the window of her car and stole her bag. The thief or thieves then went to Best Buy and started buying hundreds of dollars of stuff with our credit cards. The police are going to look at the tapes of from the cameras pointed at the registers at the time of the purchases (two separate successful ones and three unsuccessful one b/c I'd called in the cards stolen with our bank). Earth, you know where "thieves break in"? Moths and rust are so bad."

Chris,

Sorry to hear about your wife's misfortune. I'm not trying to pour salt in a wound or anything, however it is never a good idea to ever leave a purse or wallet in a car like that. If you do, then it's best to at least stick it in a trunk.

Sorry to hear about that.

Atheist_Easter_Bunny said...

ATF,

I have been on this site for quiet sometime as you already know. We have had many conversations on here.

Atheist_Easter_Bunny (formerly known as) Can't Spell Christ Without Shit.

Now I need to get a Google Account like you did recently. Good to see ATF in blue lettering now. Kind of reminds me of some type of promotion.

Sorry about the eggs btw. LOL!

fjell said...

Yeah, sorry to hear of your recent troubles, Chris. Wishing you a speedy return to the comfort of normality.

boomSLANG said...

Hi Searching,

Thanks for your testimony, and welcome to the site, and to the world of reason.

boom'

AtheistToothFairy said...

Atheist_Easter_Bunny wrote:
Now I need to get a Google Account like you did recently. Good to see ATF in blue lettering now. Kind of reminds me of some type of promotion.
----
AEB,
Well I have to admit, typing AEB is far easier than that former name you had...LOL.

Using the default internet explorer, I don't see my name in BLUE, so maybe it's a specific browser feature that does that?

Not sure if I got a promotion or not, as I'm still making the same money for my efforts here....ZERO.

I didn't realize how easy it was to create an account and did so, just so I didn't have to keep typing my long name in each time I posted [g]

Now AEB, I'm sure you can do better next year by leaving a HINT LIST as to where you hide them egg's, m'kay?

On a more serious note now.
Now you say that something I wrote influenced you, yes?

I'm curious if there is any one topic I had written about, way-back-when, that caught your eye.
I think it would benefit us all to know what exactly it is that tips-the-scales when a new still-on-the-fence person comes to visit us.


ATF (who hopes no xtian chews off your long ears [g] )

AtheistToothFairy said...

Searching wrote:
You wondered if anyone ever crossed over as a result after visiting this site. I am she. I posted a testimony a while back called " I refused to call myself a Christian anymore." Although I had been wondering about Christianity and the bible for some time already, my visit to this site finaly caused me to see reason. It has resulted in hours of research, endless reading and many debates with hubby dearest. I am still searching, still confused as hell - sorry ;), but I cannot return to my old way of thinking and blindly believing
---------------
Hi Searching,

Yes thanks, it all clicked when I went and re-read your testimony post, that you cite here.

I think most of us here had to have gone through that phase of being on-the-fence about whether god was real, or was just another Santa type myth.

This situation pretty much mirrors the Santa problem for us, in that a child reaches a certain age of wisdom where the cognitive brain is taking notice of the many problems for Santa's claimed existence, yet at that initial point in time, our hearts don't want to accept that possibility; just yet.
I think a lot of us also suspected that our parents wanted us to still believe in Santa, so for a time we faked our belief for our parents edification etc..

I know for myself, that when I reached that point about Santa, that I feared if my parents knew I had found out he was fake, that the presents would either diminish or stop coming altogether, as they would no longer have a reason to pretend to do santa's 'job'.

So we find out as older children, that we had been instilled with the concept of many mythical beings. Ahh, but like children enjoy having pretend friends and other pretend means of playing in imaginary self-contained worlds, we mostly tend to look back at those things with fond memories.

Religion on the other hand, makes claims that go far beyond the realm of a childhood world.

As children most of us don't put religious beliefs in the same category as Santa and such, because it becomes obvious that so many adults truly believe in this god, and adults had built very real brick and mortar churches that surely were concrete evidence (no pun intended) that god must be of reality.
We reasoned that this god was real because; surely adults wouldn't be putting up all these church buildings to worship something that was just pretend....or so we assumed was the case all along.

My point in all this is that once you tear a crack in the god-bubble and peek outside it, you will find it very hard to sew up that tear and pretend you never saw outside at all.
In the Matrix movie (which we seem to love using lately here), once one was removed from that computer generated world and saw the real world, the only way one could go back and not know of the real world, was to have one's mind totally wiped of that memory.
Same problem for us ex-xtians who discovered the real world. Short of wiping all that new found knowledge from our minds, how can one ever convince oneself again that the bible god is reality?


I VERY much sympathize, and relate to, your debates with hubby on the religion topic.
I'm in that same challenging xtian-spouse-boat, as you probably already know.
I suppose your chances of getting your hubby to realize the myth, will greatly depend on which is predominate in his nature, logic or emotion.

For myself, the logic has to play-out before my emotions will go along for the ride.
For my wife, emotional satisfaction is more important to her, and the logic tends to tag along where she feels it's applicable.
So as you can guess, my attempts at using arguments of logic against her sure-feelings of god, are merely knocking at the door, but the door stays locked tight.

Example 1......If a person has a great emotional need for a god to be watching their back, protecting and helping them in life, then the idea of taking that god away will be too scary for them to handle emotionally.
Example 2......If one has a huge fear of dying and that means the end of it all, then they will fight (mentally) tooth&nail to hold onto that needed conclusion.

In both cases these cases, you are not only fighting a need/fear, but you have to realize that most of us have been very brainwashed throughout our young years to believe it's all true about the xtian god.
The hell fear is probably one of the hardest to get over, as it's been well planted in us from a very early age.
Even if some have great doubts about the validity of the xtian belief system, many refuse to take even a slim chance that this hell MIGHT be real and they would then land up burning forever.
This is why even the greatly flawed "Pascal’s Wager" can be fairly effective to SCARE the waning xtian.

Since I read your other post, I've wondered about your small children, in regards to the choice you'll have to make about whether they attend some church or not.
I'm pretty sure that even if you yourself didn't want them to become brainwashed, that your hubby would fight you hard on this matter?

If you hubby insist on them attending 'his' church, then if I were you, I would insist that they are given a secular college education when the time arrives.
In my life experience, the best way to rid your offspring of the god myth, is to send them to college for 4+ years. While it may not totally eradicate the god belief, it usually puts enough doubt in their minds to make the bible god a pretty far fetched possibility to them.

Alas, there are still many people that are great at compartmentalizing their faith versus their earthly acquired knowledge, allowing these two things to exist separately in their minds and never have to fight-it-out, for which is the more true reality.
However, such folks rarely become the types to push their religious beliefs upon others.

Now, if you find some point of confusion about a particular xtian belief that you are having trouble vanquishing from you mind, I'm SURE many of us here will gladly help you with reconciling that hold-out belief. It really isn't very difficult to disprove such things, once one uses their WHOLE mind to see the world, instead of just the god bubble part of it.


ATF (who hopes I've helped you in your quest to find reality?)

Atheist_Easter_Bunny said...

ATF,

I'll have to think on that one for awhile. You have written quiet a few things that got my attention.

The one thing that has always stuck out in my mind about your posts are anytime you leave your final quote. Example: (ATF: hopes or wonders......)

AEB (Who is trying to remember ATF's very first post that got his attention).

AtheistToothFairy said...

Atheist_Easter_Bunny wrote:
AEB (Who is trying to remember ATF's very first post that got his attention)
---
Hey AEB,

I'm starting to think I shouldn't have given my "outie" idea away so quickly now [g]

It seems to be like, catching on, and maybe I should have packaged it and sold it as some kind of browser add-on option....LOL.

AnyWho...Yes I would really like to know which post or posts, you took more than average notice of?

But, don't go nutso looking for it, okay.


ATF (who probably could have been a millionaire, if he hadn't given away that outie idea so dang quickly)

Atheist_Easter_Bunny said...

AEB Said:
"AnyWho...Yes I would really like to know which post or posts, you took more than average notice of?
But, don't go nutso looking for it, okay"

Don't worry I won't. It would take me forever to do so, and I may never find it.

AEB (Who hopes some christian doesn't start requiring that ATF gives away 10 percent of the money to churches that he leaves under the pillows of many children).

Atheist_Easter_Bunny said...

My screw up....Sorry ATF that I didn't give credit to you for your original quote to me from my last post.

AEB (Who needs to do a better job of proofreading before he hits the post button).

madame m said...

It's been pointed out before, that it is absurd to believe that everybody born before Christ went to hell to burn forever without hope of "salvation" from such torment.

I asked this question in church and I've always gotten the answer that god judged people on their hearts and the same for those who never heard the message. Even though the Bible says that before christ you had to follow the law. So my question is, why tell people the gospel anyway if there is another way to heaven?

I have also heard that if people believed in the messiah (jesus) before he came then they went to heaven. Still, that leaves out anyone who wasn't in the Jewish circle to know about the coming of a messiah.

The problem is, if you try to make it make sense on a global scale (people judged on their heart or conscience) then there is no need for the gospel as there is a way to heaven. And if you make it make sense in the context of the bible, then it isn't fair globally.

Jason said...

During these interesting exchanges, several people have brought up the question of whether hanging onto Christianity or any religion (with its inconsistencies and failures), or leaving one's faith, is more likely to cause depression. Speaking for myself, I've concluded that its the former, and in any case, truth is more important in the end that what makes one feel best. I'm on the verge of fully leaving Christianity. Yes, this is causing some depression--both from the realization that this life is probably all there is, and from the fear of being shunned or looked down on by family and friends. I fear that most will not understand or will want to "rescue" me.
I don't think there is much chance that many will accept or support my journey, let alone end up in the same place, because it takes more energy and research and introspection than most seem able or willing to expend.
My own spouse tends to shut down or act threatened when I even begin to express doubts. I've come to the conclusion that most people much prefer simple explanations to taking the time and effort to sincerely question their own beliefs. To do so they must fight many psychological and practical factors. Many of these have already been mentioned by others. I think they can be summarized as follows:

1. Emotional needs
2. Fear of death and hell
3. Childhood indoctrination
4. Current peer and church pressure
5. Lack of will or ability to do in depth researach
6. Pride and Prejudice (I can’t have been wrong for so many years).
7. Fear of loosing or becoming an outcast to family and friends.

How many people can, or even want to, deal with all of that? But if they don't, it means we will always be in an uphill struggle with most of the world who accept and promote one religion or another. As those who question or reject what we once believed, we will be considered the "odd" ones, not the throngs who continue to believe in fantastic and illogical things. How ironic.

Although this is frustrating and somewhat depressing, leaving my faith is removing other sources of depression, and creating a feeling of relief and freedom. Its not the feeling that I am free to "sin" as many Christians would like us to believe (I feel just as much desire to live morally now as before). But I am finally free of the confusion and anxiety from trying to believe, and trying to convince others, of things I knew deep down didn't make much sense. I'd rather live a logical, rational life that will end someday, than to continue to believe illusions and delusions.

Happy New Year to All!

Tim said...

Vivid detail? Detail would included something SPECIFIC such as "your toes will be gnawed on by drooling rats that have long lost their teeth... etc"

See, THAT'S some mo foin' detail! Oh, I could write some tortures that these pastors would love to repeat. heheheheheh

But bottom line, there is no hell and no hell concept inthe bible except possibly the lake of fire in revelation.

Tim

Chris in Anchorage said...

To All:

This will be my final post for who knows how long, so please bear with the length of it. I wish I had more time to devote to this blog because it has helped me to better understand what I believe and the basis for my own belief system and I appreciate your experiences and insights. Although I have enjoyed my discussions with you, family matters (some good, some difficult) require more of my attention than I have been giving them. It’s always been easier for me discuss the abstract (belief systems) than deal with the concrete (my wonderfully troublesome teenagers) but it’s important that I pay attention to both. It has taken me many years to come to the conclusion that “neutrality” is an illusion. Something is either helpful or harmful. Either Christianity is true or it isn’t. We are either helped or hindered by what we believe. If we or others are harmed by what we believe, we should question the validity of what we believe. I, like many of you, was addicted to a legalistic substitute for Christianity. I’m still very much in recovery. Like a dog going back to its vomit, I fall back into a “works” basis to justify myself before God rather than resting in the finished work of Christ, Who paid for all my sins, past, present, and future. But the lie that I’m defined by what I do or don’t do, what I look like, what I know, what I own, my talents, and so forth still has a big but subtle influence on me and many others. That’s why I said in a previous post I only had a taste of the freedom and life found in the true Gospel when I was exposed to Steve McVey’s teachings and others like him (John Eldredge for example). My screwed-up parents along with my screwed-up religion really did a number on me. I never felt accepted by my parents and was constantly criticized. Religion just magnified that through giving me a false understanding of the God and the Scriptures and condemning leaders (hypocritical) and religious authors capped it all. My burden wasn’t light and my yoke wasn’t easy and I certainly didn’t learn from Jesus. It was only this year that I realized that if I was/am a legalist, then I’m the equivalent of a Pharisee in Jesus’ day. Jesus told them (not an exact quote I think) “You search the scriptures hoping that you will find eternal life but the scriptures speak of Me. Yet you won’t come to Me that you might have life.” A pastor at my grace-based church, Dan Jarrell, in response to my asking about the Pious Son in the Prodigal Son parable said he’d rather have his kid addicted to cocaine than legalism because they have clinics to help you get off cocaine. I’m a Pious Son.

In one of my previous posts, I gave you examples of the damaging hypocrisy I’ve run into over the years and many of you have similar stories to share. What I haven’t told you is how God’s been breaking me of legalism over many years but I kept holding on. Many of you weren’t as obsessive as I was and chucked religion a long time ago and felt a lot better for it. I applaud you for your rejection of a false gospel, which is not gospel at all. Like you, I was psychologically abused, not physically abused and I never had to suffer from being raped, alcohol or drug abuse, or any of the other things that give some followers a great testimony after they’ve reached the other side. But my heart suffered greatly, nonetheless.

One big example of my abuse is that during the Vietnam era, my Christian Dad talked to me about going to the Naval Academy when I was a high school freshman. I liked the idea but strived to obtain an appointment to the Air Force Academy instead, little old me with non-hyperactive ADD. After four years of keeping my grades up (3.97), playing in the band (trumpet; yes, webmaster, I was a brass man also, even in college), No. 2 on the tennis team, being involved in a Lutheran church choir, the Explorer’s Club, the French Club, working with my Liaison Officer, etc., I got the appointment in the spring of ‘74. But being under 18 years of age (I have a mid-summer birthday), my parents would have to give me permission to report to boot camp in June. Well, the Vietnam War ended and my Christian parents, not having any more incentive to “protect” me, wouldn’t sign the papers, no matter how much I plead or others plead on my behalf. My parents said “We know you. We know you can’t do it. When you fail, you be really depressed.” I didn’t realize at the time they were really protecting themselves, not me. Needless to say, I was very depressed and if it weren’t for my nominal belief that it was wrong, I would have ended my life. I didn’t realize that in way, it was ended for me. My unemployed dad lined me up a $2/hr job at a gas station and bought me a $1000 car, so I could drive myself to a nearby community college, so I’d better be grateful. I wished my high school counselor talked to me about alternatives in case I didn’t get into the academy and about scholarships and grants but he didn’t. My thoughts at the time and after: “I don’t get it, God. I did what I was supposed to and I succeeded in obtaining a worthy prize. Why did my parents not let me go? Why wasn’t I born a few months earlier so I wouldn’t need their permission? Why weren’t there other adults to help me live a successful life? What did I do to deserve this?” That started me on the track of my “For God so loved the world except for Chris . . .” pity party and trying to get the right information, the right formula, the right theology to make my life work. Legalism really got a grip on me in the years following.

As a legalist trying to break free from legalism, I’m trying to learn a lesson about life from the primo legalist of all time, Paul the Apostle. Paul said in Philippians 3:4-8:

Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ . . .

All his accomplishments were “dung”, bullshit, compared to knowing Christ. All my accomplishments are also bullshit compared to knowing Christ (at least from what I’ve tasted). As a legalist, to say that all my strivings were worthless is a bitter pill to swallow but as Paul said in Romans, the Law was meant to be a tutor to drive us to Christ. Since God looks at the heart, if one lusts, that’s committing adultery and if one hates, that’s committing murder. An impossible-to-keep standard but oh, boy, we legalists will sure give it a try or at least look like we’re keepers of the Law.

As far as the hell question, I believe there is one. As far as who will go there, I don’t know. Although I (and of course, God more so) don’t want anyone to go there, I believe some will and it will be a just sentence because God is just. How many? Don’t know. Who? Don’t know. What gives me hope that many more will not go there? People like you who reject false gospels, who don’t want to place your faith in lies. God showed Abraham that his children of faith would be in number like the stars in the heavens. In the book of Revelation, there’s a crowd there in Heaven that no man can number. Why do I believe? Why did I hang on? Because, somewhere in the midst of all the bullshit lies that darken this world, I believe I saw the truth still shown through some how, some way. I think we’re like Neo in the Matrix before he’s shown the reality of world.

Webmaster, you asked for evidence that Christianity is true. I realized that there are plenty of other Christians with minds much more brilliant than my own in many different disciplines who have provided evidence, including the reconciliation of “contradictions” in the scriptures, of the validity of Christianity. But negative subjective experiences can cause you to reject objective facts (guilt by association), especially when you start from the presupposition that what you rejected is totally false. Testimonies relate subjective experiences and you can reject those because you doubt the reliability of those “witnesses” (after all, you were one yourself). Martin Gardner, a fideist and not a Christian, in his essay “The Proofs of God” compiled in a book entitled “The Night Is Large” said that it is impossible to come to a completely objective conclusion that God exists and that there is an emotional element to faith. I agree with that assessment because I believe God is a person and wants to have relationships with us in which we treat Him as a person and not an impersonal object or force. Jesus was the greatest demonstration of that and ultimately the validation of Christianity rests on Christ.

Thank you for the opportunity to address all of you. I hope all goes very well for all of you.

Chris in Anchorage

stronger now said...

(munching...munching...takes a sip...puts down bowl O'popcorn and drink)

Well, C.i.A... thanks for nothin'.

Atheist_Easter_Bunny said...

Chris Said:
"But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ"

You know, I find it quiet sad anytime I hear someone talk about forsaking things just for the sake of Christ. Is that the only ambition in life that you have Chris?

How sad that people have no more ambition in life than chase after the ghost of a man who has been dead for 2,000 years. There is much more to life than christianity and other forms of religion. What a waste of time. I've got better things to do than concern myself with the spirit of a man who has been long gone from this planet, that is if he ever existed in the first place.

I refuse to waste my precious years on earth just to please some mythical ancient being who nobody can produce solid and credible evidence that this Jesus ever existed in the first place.

Chris Said:
"I believe God is a person and wants to have relationships with us in which we treat Him as a person and not an impersonal object or force."

What you believe Chris, does not matter really. Your belief is not based upon fact. It is nothing more than pure speculation based upon some ancient writings that were compiled together called, "The Bible".

I will also say that the idea of having a relationship with a man who is not a living and breathing person here on Earth is absurd. I only desire relationships with living and breathing people who I can communicate with verbally. Having a relationship with Jesus is no more different than having a relationship with an imaginary friend. I have never found any benefit in having a relationship with the imaginary dead man named Jesus.

Having a relationship with Jesus is just as unrealistic as having a relationship with my girlfriend who passed away over 14 years ago along with other friends and family who have been dead for years.

If Jesus is real, and if he desires to have a relationship with people, and he wants us to treat him like a person, then I strongly suggest that Jesus starts acting like a person by making himself visible to the human eye, and start communicating in a more effective and practical way instead hiding in the clouds expecting people to be stupid enough to believe in his ghost and a 2,000 year old book. If Jesus is not willing to do so, then that is just too bad for Jesus.

Chris Said:
"Jesus was the greatest demonstration of that and ultimately the validation of Christianity rests on Christ"

There is no validation Chris, because you cannot prove the validation of Christ, and the bible is once again hear-say. You did not live back then, so you have no proof of "Christ's so called demonstration". Just like every other christian you are relying on an unreliable source.

Jesus has not done anything to demonstrate his so called validation in the year 2007.

You still don't get it Chris, and I guess you will continue to be enslaved to your fear of hell, and damnation. That is the only reason why people like yourself are afraid to give up on christianity. You don't do it, because you love Jesus, you do it because you are scared of the "The Great Manipulator" named God, and you only do it out of your own personal fear of hell, not love.

You are like that battered and abused woman who keeps going back to her abusive husband. She does everything she can to please him, however she does not do it out of love, she does it out of fear of being beaten and abused by her abusive husband.

She acts like she loves him, and she tells him that she loves him, but deep down inside she resents and hates her husband. I believe that to be the same case with many christians. They hate God, however they serve him only out of fear of his wrath.

Any God or spiritual being who has to use manipulation, threats of hell and damnation just to win the loyality and servitude of others is not worth my time. A God like that is truly pathetic.

If it takes putting fear in others just to get them to follow him, then God is not about love.

God is the real Satan said...

"I believe God is a person and wants to have relationships with us in which we treat Him as a person and not an impersonal object or force."

God is nothing more than a worthless crutch, and as far as what he wants is concerned, well that's just too damn bad for God.

Ya see, that's the problem with this so called, "God" you believe in C.I.A. It's all about "What he wants". While people suffer on this planet, God does nothing to make their burdens lighter.

God doesn't care about the needs of people in this world, and he doesn't give a damn about helping to lighten the burdens for other people.

Innocent children are being abused and murdered in this world, and there are tons of people who sit in these mental hospitals who are mentally broken, and God can't even lift a simple finger to help these people all because of the lame excuse of "Man's Free Will". If God is that limited in his power then he is truly worthless.

Ya know, it really sickens me to hear christians talk about how we need to obey God, and how he desires a relationship with us. It seems that's all your God cares about is someone giving him attention.

GOD SAYS: "Screw the hurting and suffering, just give me some attention or I'll cast you into a lake of fire."

I don't care what the bible says or what you say C.I.A. Your God's actions speak for themselves. He does nothing to intervene. I am sick and tired of all the excuses and cover stories that christians use to justify the actions or lack of activity from some power hungry crazed maniac named God.

I'm more concerned with improving this world and helping mankind. I have no interest in stroking the ego of some insecured and self-centered God who craves attention and who is power hungry.

I personally don't care what this "God" wants. Fuck Jesus!

sy said...

Why do people want to pretend to have a relationship with a man of the same sex that has been dead for over 2000 years and probably spoke Greek or Hebrew or French or what ever? Chris you are like so many Americans, so screwed up in the head, and it shows. You haven't fooled us any.

.:webmaster:. said...

"In his essay “The Proofs of God” compiled in a book entitled “The Night Is Large” said that it is impossible to come to a completely objective conclusion that God exists and that there is an emotional element to faith."

So the short answer, Chris, would have been "No, I have no evidence outside of my own personal beliefs that a god even exists."

Chris, reality is your teenage kids. Reality is paying the bills. Reality is teh world you can see, hear, touch, taste and smell. The party you are having with Jesus is a party of one. You're the only one there, because it's all in your head.

Since you quoted Paul during one of his self-deprecating depressions, here's one with a different tone:

"1 Corinthians 16:22 (New King James Version) If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!"

Paul was just another religious fanatic in a time when science was virtually non-existent, when superstitious belief in gods and goddesses influenced everything, when life was difficult and short, when insane people were considered to be either touched by divinity or possessed by some spiritual entity, when the study of philosophy was considered the purest and noblest calling among the educated, when nearly no one could read or write... The point is, quoting a priest of Zeus or a disciple of Muhammad or a self-appointed apostle of a dead Jew carries no weight in proving a point. You have chosen to follow the teachings of this man named Paul. That's nice. I prefer Seneca. However, both of these guys are just guys.

May 2008 find you released from your religious prison.

Apostle Paul was a loser said...

I hate the apostle Paul, he was an idiot. It also seems that christians consider Paul to be God's other son since they put so much value on what he says. It's like he is just as important as Jesus was.

If Paul was alive in today's world, he would be sitting in a padded cell with a straight jacket on.

I sure would like to God's angels bust him out of that situation.

Future Prophecy for 2008 said...

Since Pat Robertson likes to make his "Prophetic Predictions" at the end of every year about what all God tells him is going to happen the next year to come, I have a prediction of my own.

I got word from my God the other day. His name is "Reality" and here is what "Reality" told me about things to come in the year 2008:

Christian Nut cases will continue to post here on "exchristian.net", and they will continue to try and convince us that their way is the only way, and they will continue to try and insult our intelligence by quoting scripture out of the bible.

However, as always these same christian nut cases will fail to provide any credible evidence that a christian God exists.

Plus one year from today, on January 1, 2009 the world will still be standing, and Jesus still will not have returned.

Happy New Year!

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

Chris in Anchorage...If we or others are harmed by what we believe, we should question the validity of what we believe.

If your premise is true...i.e..that Christianity is the Objective Universal Truth, then the above statement is a philosophical catch 22. Think about it: Obviously, no one would go through life self-imposing guilt and shame, etc...knowing that the philosophy behind those undesirable emotions is false. And for the record, I would think that self-imposing such emotions as guilt, shame, and fear on one's self, would qualify as a type of harm, as in the "harm" that you speak of, yes? If there is concordance this far, then you should see the philosophical problem right away. If you disagree; if you think that carrying the burden of such emotions is harmless, I'd be happy to have a look at your reasoning.

But assuming you agree---according to you, to avoid "harm", you should "question the validity" of the cause. However, in Christianity, to question; to doubt; to not accept the source causing said undesirable emotions in the first place, presumably lands you in a "lake of fire". And certainly, perpetually roasting away in hellfire would fall under the umbrella of "harm", would it not?

Now...do you see the circularity in your premise? Golly, I sure hope so.

Chris in Anchorage...As far as the hell question, I believe there is one. As far as who will go there, I don’t know. Although I (and of course, God more so) don’t want anyone to go there, I believe some will and it will be a just sentence because God is just.

And here, again, I find one more totally proposterous concept. Actually, a few of them.

If the Creator of the Universe is none other than the Christian biblegod(as Christians insist); and if said biblegod has all of the characteristics that Christians and their bibles attribute to said "God"---then the idea that this "God" MUST do something---ANYTHING---that it "doesn't want" to do, is not only absurd, it immediately calls biblegod's alleged "omnipotence" into question. Ultimately, "He" must do something that "He" does not want to do. You see?..."biblegod" is powerless over his own "will". "Sin", i.e.."evil", ultimately has more influence than what biblegod "wants", which presumably, is every "soul" to be in "heaven".

Okay, now on to this "just sentence" concept. Let's set up a some hypothetical numbers, and analyze something for a minute. Let's say that half of all adults alive right this second have committed, or will commit, one or more of the following violent crimes: murder, rape, child-molest, rob.

Now, when we die, we will presumably reach the "gates" where our mortal lives will be "judged" by biblegod. Let's say that 90 % of the above 50 % accepted the "free gift" of "salvation" in their earthly life, and took Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Do you know what this means, Chris? It means that "Heaven" will ultimately house more violent criminals than "Hell".

Now tell me, how is it "just", if worship and belief, trump "justice"?...i.e...actually paying FOR the crime? It defeats the whole purpose of telling people that "sin" is wrong; that it's "evil".

Feel free to try and make sense of it, if you wish.

Chris in Anchorage said...

webmaster-

A couple of "proof of God" websites:
http://www.allaboutcreation.org/proof-of-god.htm
(also includes some articles in re validity Christianity)

http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2518

.:webmaster:. said...

Chris,

I appreciate the links, but far from presenting scientific evidence, the first site is propagating fallacies and the second one is attempting to make a logical inference based on "What else could it be?"

If there is a supernatural creator out there, how exactly did it create the universe? What power source did it use? What methods? It spoke things into existence? What does that mean, exactly? Can we dissect the steps in the process and perhaps explore the physics involved? Or is the answer "God Did It!" pretty much the same thing as saying "We have no idea how it was done, but we are comfortable with remaining ignorant about it?"

What I'm trying to say is that the "God Did It" answer is not really an answer. It APPEARS to satisfy our questions, but in reality simply tells us that we can NEVER find out the answers, as they are all covered by the veil of the mysterious, unsearchable, supernatural wisdom of God. Well, the truth is that no one knows the answer to those questions. Scientists are trying to puzzle things out, while religionists are telling us that it's a waste of time to even bother thinking about it, because this world is passing away, and all that matters is heaven or hell.

Considering all the scientific advances I've seen just in my 49 years, and all the lunatic religion, I think I'll stick with the scientists.

And, even if you simply cannot endure an "I don't know how the universe came to be" answer and must fill the void of ignorance with a "God Did It!" you are still a long way from connecting some sort a non-natural creator of the universe with a dead magician in ancient Palestine, not to mention all the other mythological stories in the Bible.

Here's a little article for you: Design Yes, Intelligent No
A Critique of Intelligent Design Theory and Neo-Creationism,
by Massimo Pigliucci.

Michael said...

CiA posted "a couple of 'proof of God' websites" which I found more-than-a-little amusing.

The first link dragged out the "irreducible complexity" canard as "proof" of so-called "intelligent design" -- not only has Behe's book been consigned to the scientific dustbin on its own lack of merit, but it's easy to demonstrate that "irreducible complexity" does not require a "designer" -- a perfect study is any large city (Detroit, for example); take away garbage collection in summer or snow removal in winter and see how quickly things break down -- but no one "designer" built Detroit.

The second link tries to make the same feeble argument in a more roundabout way, with out-of-context quotes and verbose-but-meaningless arguments. Clearly, the author(s) know nothing of science -- and, just as clearly, they don't want to know -- a good example of faith as enforced ignorance.

I'll leave you with one shining (glaring?) example of the failure of intelligent design and a partial proof of evolution. Humans share a trait with several closely-related primates: unlike most animals, we cannot produce our own vitamin C, so we require it in our diets -- most animals produce their own ascorbic acid. Why would an Intelligent Designer do this? It's certainly and easily explained, though, by evolution...

~~ Mikey