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1/25/2008                                                                                       View Comments

Thinking of the god delusion

By Bill Jeffreys

I was thinking about god recently. I was wondering why Christians, like I use to be, don't see the hate, genocide, rape, murder, contradictions, false writings, and so forth in the bible? Why don't they look at the origins of the bible and see how messed up the process was, or how many other gospels and thousands of spiritual writings were circulating before the council of Nicaea, under Constantine who authorized the New Testament, or how the gospels weren't even heard of by ancient people for hundreds of years after the supposed death of Christ, or how the Apostle Paul never cites the gospels in his letters to the churches.

I used to think of Jesus as loving and forgiving and my personal best friend. I never looked at his anger, or his killing and damnation of unbelievers. Just look at the book of revelation. Jesus comes back with a sword and plagues to murder people and send them to hell forever. He tells his disciples that they must hate their parents if they are to follow him.

He sends people to hell because they don't accept him as god. Ok, why not just erase them if they are so offensive. Who says people who don't believe have to spend FOREVER in burning agony because they don't say, Jesus I am a sinner and please be my magical sky god?

It's hard to look at this if one is in the cult of Christianity, but I eventually did and it was like waking up in a stranger's home. I was shocked to realize where I was in life.

I finally understand why people cherry pick the bible, or Koran to support their view of god. I finally understand why I viewed Jesus as loving and my personal best friend. It's because we all want purpose, love and the need to feel that we are special. So rather than do the hard work of becoming authentic, rational and take responsibility for ourselves, we put our faith in something we can't see, hear, touch, feel or get accurate information on. We place in Jesus, god, Allah or whomever, all attributes we want to feel good about. We simply do this to feel good, have control over our lives and feel superior to others, aka special. We followed ridiculous rules and values thinking that we are pleasing our magical sky god and he/she will be happy with us. Knowing that we are making our god happy makes us happy. Well, not always, but that's another discussion to write about.

When we finally look at the facts with an open mind, we can no longer ignore the other facts of the bible or Koran. You know the ones that show god as a jealous, angry genocidal mythical being. We can no longer ignore the errors and contradictions in the bible or other spiritual books. We are forced to put away childish thinking and be responsible for the choices we make. We are forced to realize there isn't a second chance after this life. This is what we get, fair or not, for better or for worse. No one is going to rescue us and give us unlimited love and pleasure.

I really think some people just can't handle the truth. That is why they get so angry and sometimes violent when questioned about their beliefs. That is why they search for beliefs that make them feel good (what makes people feel good is unique to the individual) while ignoring the facts that contradict their beliefs. How can anyone believe in something that there is no evidence of or proof of? You could easily substitute the tooth fairy for god and support its existence with the same reason people use to support god or allah. All we need is an old collection of writings that say the tooth fairy exists.

As a professional counselor, I commend people who aren't afraid to examine their beliefs and make changes that support the evidence. It's much harder to live with the reality that this is our only life and we have to do the best we can with what we have. That takes much more courage then putting faith in an invisible god.

88 comments:

William said...

Congratulations on a well written piece:

There is not a lot I can add to what has already been declared:

I guess it all boils down to what the Christians call "FAITH" but faith in "WHAT"? "WHERE"? "HOW"? "WHY"?

Why cannot this mythical God present himself to us on a regular basis in such a way as to leave no doubt of his existence so that we can get on with life knowing that he is there for us if we need him:

Why do we need to have "FAITH"? without proof: The Bible is not proof: The Bible is a book written by men: WHERE IS THE PROOF?

Anonymous said...

The first thing to remember is that any concept of a "creator/god" violates the 1st Law of Thermodymanics: Matter/Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, so where was "God"?. Simple, "God" was made by Man to explain away that he did not know. These days, especially in the United Christian States of America, children are brainwashed into the Bible well before they are introduced to Science (if they ever are) and cannot accept the truth of testable, proveable Science Laws. Their brains have already been poisoned by Christianity.

That book of bullshit, the bible. I have written much about it's origins and the destruction done to it at Nicea at the orders of the Pagan Emperor Constantine I. He set up the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church for his own political gains. The Church then supressed all Roman schools and the teaching ofd reading and writing so the people had to swallow the lies told them by the Church preachers.

As far as St. Paul is concerned he revolted against the Jewish Christians led by Jesus' brother, James and Simon-Peter and formed his own branch which was the one that survived. Paul did not mention the Gospels because they had not been written during his time. Their authors are not known.

Telmi said...

Bill,

An excellent expose.

But it is happening, has already happened in fact. The inception of this website and the numerous postings bear testimony that deconversion has occurred for some people. Let's hope this number gets larger with the passage of time, with valuable input from people like you and other Ex-Xians

Anonymous said...

I can only hope that what I write here is read, and that you bear with me if you have decided to read.

I've found that rule number one of life is to never claim that something is wrong or unreal if you can't prove it is wrong or unreal. I truly wish that everyone who hasn't will find this lesson, or someday, understand and apply it if they haven't already. Rule number two is that humans are flawed, whether any religious texts say it or not. We don't know everything, and it would be a great error to assume we do. To cite rules of our creation to disprove things beyond our scope of vision is a mistake. You need to look further than that.

There are many people who take the bible the wrong way, and there has been much corruption over the years in the institutions that spread its word. I am more than willing to say so. Yet, I still believe there is a god. That one.

God was used, or maybe even created by man to explain what he did not know. However, I'm pretty sure that when the real one showed up, everyone freaked out. You don't find radical ideas coming to life in a place adverse to them unless something especially remarkable happens.

Faith is called such because one needs to believe without seeing. I do, and whether it gets me anywhere or not, I don't know or care. I have learned that religion has many uses. Religion gives a sense of inner peace and confidence, and a sense of inner security when everything collapses. It keeps people going, it gives people hope, and Christianity teaches people certain priceless morals they can really only get if they read the bible nowadays. These are all very powerful, necessary things to leading the best life we can.

If you are going to knock down a religion, please do it on the strongest grounds you can. God might not exist...but who are you to know?

Love,
Jen

Jen said...

I can only hope that what I write here is read, and that you bear with me if you have decided to read.

I've found that rule number one of life is to never claim that something is wrong or unreal if you can't prove it is wrong or unreal. I truly wish that everyone who hasn't will find this lesson, or someday, understand and apply it if they haven't already. Rule number two is that humans are flawed, whether any religious texts say it or not. We don't know everything, and it would be a great error to assume we do. To cite rules of our creation to disprove things beyond our scope of vision is a mistake. You need to look further than that.

There are many people who take the bible the wrong way, and there has been much corruption over the years in the institutions that spread its word. I am more than willing to say so. Yet, I still believe there is a god. That one.

God was used, or maybe even created by man to explain what he did not know. However, I'm pretty sure that when the real one showed up, everyone freaked out. You don't find radical ideas coming to life in a place adverse to them unless something especially remarkable happens.

Faith is called such because one needs to believe without seeing. I do, and whether it gets me anywhere or not, I don't know or care. I have learned that religion has many uses. Religion gives a sense of inner peace and confidence, and a sense of inner security when everything collapses. It keeps people going, it gives people hope, and Christianity teaches people certain priceless morals they can really only get if they read the bible nowadays. These are all very powerful, necessary things to leading the best life we can.

If you are going to knock down a religion, please do it on the strongest grounds you can. God might not exist...but who are you to know?

Love,
Jen

Astreja said...

Jen: "I've found that rule number one of life is to never claim that something is wrong or unreal if you can't prove it is wrong or unreal."

I think that's a ludicrous position to take, Jen. How do you feel when I make the following statement?

Here are copies of the Elder Edda, the Odyssey, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Mesopotamian Epic of Creation. Ball's in your court: Prove that Oðinn, Athena, Krishna and Tiamat do not exist.

If you consider yourself a Christian, you probably don't believe in any of them. Resist, for a moment, the urge to declare them false... And apply your own suggested methodology to the problem at hand. I don't think you'll get too far.

Neither you nor I are in a particularly good position to disprove the existence of each other's gods; but inability to disprove does not automatically mean that we must worship the myriad possible beings that might, in fact, be out there.

As far as I'm concerned, one need only find a belief unlikely in order to reject it. No absolute proof required.

Franciscan Monkey said...

Jen, you wrote:

"I've found that rule number one of life is to never claim that something is wrong or unreal if you can't prove it is wrong or unreal."

That's your number one rule of life? I'm sorry, but I can find so many better rules that could be in the running for the "number one" rule. How about, "Take responsibility for your own actions," or, "An' it harm none, do what ye will," or even, "Do unto others as you would have done unto you"?

Your rule is rather impractical. So you would say that, because you can't prove there is no Invisible Pink Unicorn, you should not claim that she does not exist? Wouldn't a much better rule be, "Never claim that something is right or real if you can't prove it is right or real"?

You continued:

"Christianity teaches people certain priceless morals they can really only get if they read the bible nowadays."

You'll have to elaborate on this for me. What priceless morals are you talking about in particular? And on what basis are you saying that these morals cannot be obtained through another means that does not include reading the Bible?

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. - Carl Sagan

WendyGirl said...

Dear Bill,

I stumbled across your site and not being an ex-Christian, I wanted to convey how very sorry I am that you've had such a bad experience with Christians. Can I apologize on behalf of all the knuckleheads out there who claim to be Christians, but are doing more harm than good? Not every Christian fits in the box you have created. I know you've heard it before, but maybe it bears repeating: God loves you. He really does.

Jen said...

@Astreja: I have no such urge, but thank you for assuming I did.

I do not have to prove someone or something is unreal to not worship it or to place doubt in its current portrayal (instead of blind disbelief based on limited information). Everything that humans have ever created using any form of creativity, as you imply was used, has basis from reality. I don't have all the facts sitting here in my hand, so as far as I know, PEOPLE like those mentioned, at the very least, did exist. There's a difference between crossing everything out and only crossing out what is disproven logically. The world isn't in black and white: there is gray.

If you would like to go through life being a skeptic of everything, you may be my guest. I enjoy believing in the integrity of people and information, but then, I'm also one of those people who constantly pushes herself to read and learn everything she can. I apply any information I learn to everything I deal with and have learned before, so I can afford to have faith in others.

@Franciscan Monkey: Yes, my number one rule of life is to believe in others and their goodwill unless proven otherwise. I personally think this is my most important rule of life because it gives me less stress and more motivation, which everyone needs to open their eyes fully to any other rule. It also gives me the wish to be kinder to everyone I meet. Instead of looking at the stranger as though they're a killer, I say hello and smile.

I'd rather not send someone to the electric chair unless I know they committed the crime. The resources are easily avaliable right now to figure out everything very easily.

Sorry about the last comment. I should have stressed the word "read" so the statement would be:

"Christianity teaches people certain priceless morals they can really only get if they READ the bible nowadays."

I was referring to the breakdown of the churches that we've been seeing for some time now, normal human error, and especially the problems with many people who are in the religious field or interested in religion. Although I'm sure the actual bible itself isn't flawless after its break through time, it's better than hearsay and doesn't leave out key information or present it incorrectly. The morals: treating all with familial love, working to help one another, not committing adultery, lying, stealing, etc. etc. (which were once novel ideas), and all the others that it's too late to write.



I'll be back tomorrow if either of you replies. I'm not trying to be a prick or any of that. (If I am being one, please forgive me, I seriously don't mean it.) I'm, honestly, innocently sharing what I think I know in the hopes of learning something more.

Franciscan Monkey said...

Jen wrote:

"The morals: treating all with familial love, working to help one another, not committing adultery, lying, stealing, etc. etc. (which were once novel ideas)"

These were not ideas that were novel at the time the Bible was written.

See the link below for the 42 Principles of Ma'at, which contain many of the same moral guidelines, and were written many centuries before even the oldest portions of the Bible.

42 Principles of Ma’at

Nearly all of the Bible's moral teachings can be found in other religions or philosophies. Even if we ignore the fact that many parts of the Bible are repugnant and should be discarded by any decent society, the Bible is not needed as a moral guide. These teachings are common throughout history and can be found in many different cultures, as they are principles that help form cohesive societies, an evolutionary benefit.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. - Carl Sagan

Ziggy Blacktail said...

Yeah, the whole selective reading thing is what destroyed my faith in Christ. It's what Paul, the New Testament Gospel Writers, and every Christian denomination that ever existed have in common.

Jen said...

@Franciscan Monkey: I'm pretty sure the Native Americans had some nice morals too. If you read my post, I fixed my prior error. On what you said though: I do not know if the 45 Principles of Ma'at or any other wholesome code was in the area that was addressed in the bible, because the novelty is written in that. Do you know?

I don't think any of the bible should be discarded. Whether or not the actual text itself is a problem, the interpretation of the reader certainly is.

Jen said...

@Ziggy: I'm furious at the amount of information that's been sitting locked up in the Vatican because it's supposedly "too strong" for everyone. I've been very excited that they're publishing more of it, all the pieces they've hidden for hundreds of years. I'd rather know all the information than some of it.

stronger now said...

Jen:"Although I'm sure the actual bible itself isn't flawless after its break through time, it's better than hearsay and doesn't leave out key information or present it incorrectly."

Could you explain this thought further please. It isn't clear to me if you think that the bible was at one time perfect and then got corrupted by time? Also, why is it any better than hearsay? Or am I misreading that as well?

Thanks.

Jen said...

@stronger now: I know for a fact that people wrote the bible, so obviously there is human error in it. All of our history has human error in it, except maybe the most recent written records, which are checked over and over again. I assumed this to be known, but I review it anyway. I'm pretty sure I have all of the following right, but it's been a while, so feel free to correct me:

There has been much corruption in the course of the bible's existence, many different translations, and many different renditions sparking from the translated text. I fully expect errors to have arisen, especially due to the gullibility of the masses, although I could never pinpoint where they are. I personally can't disprove it, and I can't prove it, so I work with what I have.

Jen:"Although I'm sure the actual bible itself isn't flawless after its break through time, it's better than hearsay and doesn't leave out key information or present it incorrectly."

If you took a history class, you'd learn about primary, secondary, and tertiary sources. A primary source is the root of the information, a secondary source is something interpreting and evaluating the primary source, and a tertiary source is a collection of the secondary. As you go down through the list, the information tends to become watered down, innacurate, etc. In the case of the bible, God would be the primary source (Jesus included because He was also God), the writings about him in the original texts and languages would be the secondary sources, and the rest are tertiary sources. By going directly to a primary source, we would avoid any problems with the material. However, that is near impossible for most people (there are people who claim to be contacted). The secondary sources are either nonexistant, locked up somewhere, or something else, and are in a language I do not read. I'm stuck with the tertiary source, as you probably are too. My teacher would give me a failing history grade if I used that.

When people speak of what they hear from the bible, it becomes a quarternary source, which isn't even on the normal list of source types. People are apt to take the information, which is probably already warped at a modest amount as it is, and present it in their own way, causing adverse reactions. They interpret it incorrectly and "spread the word", they forget key points of information to share, they paraphrase so the book that is supposedly the closest translation no longer has its facts accurately portrayed. That's why the bible is better than words out of someone's mouth. Human error is also less likely to be caught when the material shared isn't checked over and over and over, as our bibles have been. It's harder to check over the spoken word, there's no time to bring yourself away from what you want to say so you can review the material you wish to speak with a fresh mind. Listening to the spoken word only is a myriad of error.

I personally assume that the tertiary sources of the bibles are more accurate to the original than I have direct reason to believe. I think that anyone who would sit down for hours upon end and translate something has a passion towards keeping it intact, and prides themself in doing so. But then, that's why I suggest reading multiple bibles: you can catch errors and discrepancies.

I hope that made sense.

Thackerie said...

Jen: "In the case of the bible, God would be the primary source (Jesus included because He was also God), the writings about him in the original texts and languages would be the secondary sources, and the rest are tertiary sources."

And you know that the god of the bible actually exists and had something to do with its authorship because of ... what, other than blind faith?

Jen said...

@thackerie: I don't know, but I don't not know, and you don't either. That doesn't change much though. As I've said before, there has to be some sort of source. There's an origin for all of the content in the bible, which would be the primary source. And, to your chagrin, Jesus Christ has been historically documented as existing and appears in more than one religion. He's as proven to have existed as Attila the Hun. Whether or not God is the one who relayed the information through Jesus, Jesus would still be the primary source, seeing as he did not write any of the accounts that make up the bible, but the accounts still document his words, actions, etc.

Franciscan Monkey said...

Jen:

Much does indeed need to be discarded form the Bible, including such things as:

And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land. And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee. - Exodus 23:28-31

This and similar passages are one of the reasons why we continue to have so much violence and hatred in the Middle East today.

And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death. - Exodus 21:17

Yeah, that's reasonable.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man’s wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him, And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner; And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled: Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance. And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the LORD: And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water: And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD, and uncover the woman’s head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse: And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse: But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband: Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The LORD make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the LORD doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell; And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen. And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water: And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter. Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman’s hand, and shall wave the offering before the LORD, and offer it upon the altar: And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water. And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people. And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed. This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled; Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law. Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity. - Numbers 5:11-31

Now I'm sure you want to keep this in the Bible, Jen, it is such a great moral guide, and oh so practical. I wonder what we are to do if it is the wife that is jealous, though? The Bible is eerily silent on that.

Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. - Numbers 31: 17, 18

I eagerly await your defense of this practice.

And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. - II Kings 2:23, 24

Well, they did call him "bald head." They had it coming.

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. - II Thessalonians 2:11, 12

That's nice.

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. - Ephesians 5:22-24

This has caused untold suffering in many Christian marriages.

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. - Matthew 10:34-36

Real family values there.

Jen, I could go on all day with the vile things contained in the Bible, but I know that you will not recognize them as such, just as I didn't when I was a Christian. I truly hope that one day you will see the light of truth and rationality. If you do, you too will realize how awful the Bible is.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. - Carl Sagan

stronger now said...

Jen:"...Jesus Christ has been historically documented as existing and appears in more than one religion. He's as proven to have existed as Attila the Hun."

Okaaayy. Well, could you site some sources for this please? I wish to see this "proof".

(snicker..snicker)

Thackerie said...

Jen: "I don't know, but I don't not know, and you don't either."

Wha? Is this a case of "If you can't dazzle them with brillance, baffle them with bullshit"? Cuz I'm completely baffled by whatever it is you said there.

But, never mind me, just answer Stronger Now. That should be - ahem - interesting.

Jen said...

First off:

Step away from being nasty before it gets out of hand. Open your minds like a true scientists (who discover all the information you hold dear) or don't bother trying to understand real information, please and thank you. If you're just on this website to support one another in a belief you refuse to question without letting your biases into the picture, you are defeating yourselves before you even begin.

I don't endorse glutton in personal fantasies, I endorse truth and bluntly stated personal opinion. Most people against religion complain about people who have religion when they are degrading, threatening, angry, cynical, and otherwise braindead, so why are you beginning to act that way? Whether or not you hold what you do as true, and whatever pains you have gone through to learn what you have, I can assure you that it's not all necessarily correct and that if our scientists never questioned anything they already "knew" with open minds, we wouldn't be nearly as advanced as we are now. I also don't need it to be assumed of me that I'm some sort of religious harlot. I haven't even bothered to get my Confirmation in my baptized religion of Roman Catholicism: I think it's an incorrect tradition because there is no direct proof of it in the bible. I go by facts, not assumptions.

Moving off of that, I have to leave for a few hours, but I will return and finish answering your replies. Thank you for asking me the questions, and especially thank you Franciscan Monkey for a delightful debate so far. I'm enjoying every moment.

Until a bit later,
Jen

Franciscan Monkey said...

Jen:

"On what you said though: I do not know if the 45 Principles of Ma'at or any other wholesome code was in the area that was addressed in the bible, because the novelty is written in that. Do you know?"

I'm unsure what you are referring to by "area." Would you be able to clarify it a little? Thanks.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. - Carl Sagan

Stephen said...

Jen,

Although I cannot say that I have any personal relationship with deity, nor do I ever expect to (on my best days I consider myself agnostic and on my worst... well, those days just suck), I find myslef intrigued by your comments. I find your dialog refreshingly amicable for a believer on a non-believer's website when compared to the fundamentalists who show up trying to convert and/or condemn. I frequent this site quite often but do not find the desire to post, simply because most of my feelings are being iterated by so many others who are much more prolific in their ability to write. So, although I do not personally agree with most of the beliefs that you probably espouse I do appreciate your ability to politely present them here. Thanks.

Steve

Anonymous said...

Oops, someones a bitter x-Christian.

Don't throw the baby Jesus out with the bathwater, my mixed up friend.

AntiBarbie said...

Anonymous:

I agree. No need to toss him out with the bathwater when there are starving children in China. I hear he goes well with a lightly toasted wheat bun and a dash of honey mustard.

Astreja said...

Jen: "I do not have to prove someone or something is unreal to not worship it or to place doubt in its current portrayal (instead of blind disbelief based on limited information)."

I think that, for the most part, we're on the same page in this debate. Discomfort with its portrayal is essentially why I'm not following the Judeo-Christian path.

"There's a difference between crossing everything out and only crossing out what is disproven logically. The world isn't in black and white: there is gray."

Quite true, but in practical terms there are simply far too many possibilities for the average human to explore. At some point, things do tend to get crossed out without being definitively disproved once and for all.

There are many reasons for eliminating concepts from serious consideration. If I perceive something as improbable, and can't utilize it in some other way (e.g., as a concept for an artistic project), I tend to push it off to the side and decorate my inner world with other memes.

SpaceMonk said...

"I was wondering why Christians, like I use to be, don't see the hate, genocide, rape, murder, contradictions, false writings, and so forth in the bible?"

I asked my christian father about Moses' and Joshua's extermination of women and children, and even all their animals.
He said he was comfortable with that because they were god's hand of judgement upon those people for worshipping false gods, etc.

When I asked, what about the young children who didn't know either way and were innocently following whatever they were taught by their parents, he said that we are all born in sin anyway...

So I asked, what about the animals who couldn't have worshipped 'false gods'. The conversation got derailed from there...

Basically, christians don't see it because they've been trained to give their glossed over responses, so that they don't have to dwell on it.
That's why I call them one eyed, because, as you mention, they only see the happy-happy joy-joy side of it all and not its other, major, elements.

Thanks for this article Bill, it's one of the best I've seen on x-c lately, I think because it expresses my own bewilderments so well.

WendyGirl said...

@stronger now: thought I'd throw in my .02...Jesus Christ is not only mentioned in the Koran, but He is mentioned in "Josephus" as well, who was not a Christ follower and had nothing to gain from "advertising" Christianity. He just wrote about what was going on in the first century. Both of those sources would be considered reliable, I would imagine.

WendyGirl said...

Gotta respond to "spacemonk:" I would hesitate to put all Christians into the "one-eyed" box...it's not a matter of checking our brains at the door of the church. I have a different perspective about the troubling things of the Bible than you do, and it's my perogative to view it as I wish, as you view the Bible as you wish. The way I see it is, God is "God," and we are not. I don't understand why God did a lot of stuff in the Bible, and yeah, I don't get the part about the animals either, but in my opinion, there was a reason for it that maybe hasn't occurred to us. That kind of thing I take on faith, and I liken it to this: I can't understand the intricacies of how my car can take me from point A to point B, but that doesn't mean I eschew my means of transportation. Just because I don't understand exactly how something works doesn't necessitate discarding it. There is no way we can know everything about everything, so if you can agree with that, then why couldn't there be a chance that just because we can't see God, it doesn't mean He's not there?

~Clear said...

In the article it says:

"He tells his disciples that they must hate their parents if they are to follow him."

hate in this context is a hebrew idiom that means one most love Him over there parents.

See Luke 14:26

The idea to this passage is there is a cost to follow Jesus. Accepting Jesus doesn't translate into a feel good life. In fact, it leads to a rougher life not represented in this article.

Franciscan Monkey said...

~Clear:

You wrote, "hate in this context is a hebrew idiom that means one most love Him over there parents."

Ah, the "idiom" defense. When a statement in the Bible makes God look cruel, or perhaps causes a contradiction, Christian apologists will often claim that the passage contains an idiom, and that a proper understanding of that idiom would clear up the passage. Usually, there is no evidence that the phrase is idiomatic. Such is the case here, there is no evidence anywhere of such a Hebrew idiom. If you have found one, ~Clear, please post it.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. - Carl Sagan

AtheistToothFairy said...

WendyGirl wrote:
Jesus Christ is not only mentioned in the Koran, but He is mentioned in "Josephus" as well, who was not a Christ follower......Both of those sources would be considered reliable, I would imagine
---
Guess again Wendy,

Josephus is pointed at by many xtians to bolster the case that we have a historical jesus, as it's one of the very FEW mentions jesus gets from secular history.

Alas, using Josephus won't help your cause.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus

"The one directly concerning Jesus has come to be known as the Testimonium Flavianum. Its authenticity has been disputed since the 17th century, and by the mid 18th century the consensus view was that it was a forgery"

Nice try though


ATF (Who also has other sources that discount Josephus's mention of jesus as being legit)

xrayman said...

Wendy said,

"The way I see it is, God is "God," and we are not. I don't understand why God did a lot of stuff in the Bible, and yeah, I don't get the part about the animals either, but in my opinion, there was a reason for it that maybe hasn't occurred to us."

That is truly disturbing Wendy. As if to think in the future we will all see for ourselves that the slaughter of innocent children was all part of God's loving plan.

I just can't understand how one can even come close to getting into that mindset. I never really believed in the Bible. Even when I believed in God I always saw through the bullshit of the Bible.

SpaceMonk said...

Wendy,
when you say, "Why should we throw away something just because we don't understand it", well, yes we do understand it.
What Moses and Joshua did under their god's orders was wrong.

You say you do find these things troubling, so have some confidence in your own intuition.

Killing children is bad, mmkay.

Not to mention the adults, when their only crime was to be of a different culture.

Basically, you're still just wanting to remain on the happy-happy joy-joy side of the religion.
Sure, you may want to be not so obviously ignorant as your brothers and sisters, but you still are. You just justify it differently, but still to satisfy your conscience without rocking your worldview.

Killing is alright if God tells you to do it?
But how do you know God told you?

Why are Muslim terrorists wrong for blowing up buildings?
They were told by God. They were even convinced enough to give their lives for it (taking it on faith is bad, mmkay).

No, their God is not the true God, mine is.
Because...?

Belief in a god is one thing, but why you're specific one?

If you're thinking of Jesus mention by Josephus, then check here:

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/josephus-etal.html

As for the Koran, it was written hundreds of years after christianity was founded, of course it would know of him, whether he was real or not, same as we do now.

Pull The Other One! said...

WendyGirl

That's the first time I've heard a Christian call the Koran 'a reliable source'.

AtheistToothFairy said...

WendyGirl said:
...it's not a matter of checking our brains at the door of the church.

Sorry, but I beg to differ with your assessment here, as the xtian belief in god is clearly a matter of blind faith, which doesn't 'play well' with a rational brain.

>I have a different perspective about the troubling things of the Bible than you do, and it's my perogative to view it as I wish...

Yes indeed it is your prerogative to do so.
Isn't freedom a wonderful thing. Let's hope it continues.

>The way I see it is, God is "God," and we are not.

That makes the assumption that this god you speak of, actually exists.
Got any proof of your god to pass around to all of us here?

> I don't understand why God did a lot of stuff in the Bible, and yeah, I don't get the part about the animals either, but in my opinion, there was a reason for it that maybe hasn't occurred to us.

Which is exactly why it's quite necessary to check one's brains at the church door, see?
God does a lot of dumb illogical unexplainable things that reason can't explain.
It must take a whole LOT of faith to overcome the human desire to want certain things explained, huh?


> I can't understand the intricacies of how my car can take me from point A to point B, but that doesn't mean I eschew my means of transportation.

One doesn't have to know the mechanics of how a car works to see positive evidence that it will indeed get you from point A to point B.
The object of a car is to perform the task of getting you from A to B, which it does without requiring faith of it's technology.

>Just because I don't understand exactly how something works doesn't necessitate discarding it.

We don't need to know the inner workings that makes god tick, just as we don't need to know how devices work internally.
However, what we all do need to know is whether the item in question will perform the task it's advertised to do.
Will the car get you from A to B.
Will your cell phone allow to communicate with another person.
Will your TV set display a picture and sound.

So, does god perform the actions that xtians attribute to him?
If so, how can we know this is the case, as most never see god performing any actions?
Unlike the other items I mentioned, god has no physical form that is revealed to us, so that leaves proof of his existence to be based on something else that is tangible.

Can we prove that god really answers prayers, for instance?
e.g. I know of no secular study that ever has shown praying made any difference in the healing process.
In fact, the last study I saw showed that praying had an adverse affect on healing.
I might ask you why god never restores a severed limb, no matter how many pray for that person?

>There is no way we can know everything about everything, so if you can agree with that, then why couldn't there be a chance that just because we can't see God, it doesn't mean He's not there?

We don't need to "know everything about everything" to make a safe assumption that a thing most likely doesn't exists.
How many unnatural things of both the past and present, have you discounted the existence of?
I'm pretty sure you don't believe that all the common gods that are worshiped today, actually exists; aside of your xtian god, right?
So how can you discount all those other gods and other oddball things that are claimed by a few, if you don't know everything about everything?

See, it's not really difficult then for us to discount your xtian god, as we have no more evidence for his existence than you have for pink unicorns on Pluto.
No, writing a storybook and erecting church buildings in your god's honor, simply isn't proof of anything I'm afraid. Many ancient societies did similar things for their gods and I'm fairly sure you don't worship them, now do you?


ATF (Who understands that it's FEAR that reigns in xtians. Fear of having no god around and fear of hellfire, that keeps most xitans believing it their god)

The Muffin Man On Dreary Lane said...

WendyGirl: "I have a different perspective about the troubling things of the Bible than you do, and it's my perogative to view it as I wish, as you view the Bible as you wish."

Therefore, there is no doctrinally "true" Christianity, since, everyone can choose to interpret every word in the bible differently. Christianity, becomes... based on one's expectations with limited knowledge, per se.

WendyGirl: "The way I see it is, God is "God," and we are not."

In order to make a comparison, between two subjects requires two knowns. However, you have just one subject to observe, you, and that's it.

Thus, you've done nothing here, but remove the qualities of your self (and all other humans) from the possible list of attributes that could be used to identify/define your concept of a god.

Shall we infer, then, that your "thoughts" about a god concept are also on the list of attributes that you could not use to identify/define your god concept.

If so, you have undermined your ability to even speak on the subject of god - per your guidelines.

So, if you want to keep talking about some god concept, can you please provide that "common" attribute between "you" and this "god" concept that allows you to "bridge" the obvious "separation" you "presume" exists.

Perhaps, there doesn't need to be a bridge, if one wants to read the bible as they wish.

Psalm 82:6 - "I have said, Ye are gods."

John 10:33-34 - "The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?"

Apparently, WendyGirl, it would appear that we could take "your" book of interpretive reading, and suggest that we are "all" gods.

WendyGirl: "That kind of thing I take on faith,"

Wrong way to argue the point WendyGirl. If you suggest that you can not possibly hold a similar attribute between you and a god, then your "faith" is not planted or focused towards anything other, than the words of those who told you about the notion of a god concept.

An obvious contrast here, is that you likely did not "challenge" those who provided you with a god concept, to make the link or connection between their words and their concept of a god - while others on this site have.

WendyGirl: "...and I liken it to this: I can't understand the intricacies of how my car can take me from point A to point B, but that doesn't mean I eschew my means of transportation."

Poor analogy; unlike your ability to link your concept of god to you, that isn't a problem between you and a car. When you talk to others about "cars", they may have "no clue" about the intricacies of cars either, but when you talk about a car - you "both" likely know what you are talking about, because you have "both" experienced riding in a car.

And, more importantly, you can "take" anyone to your car and show them your nice, unknown vehicle that gets your from point A to B. While you may not have a clue about the car, your friend may be a mechanical engineer, and design architect, that could break your car down to the molecular level on a multi-tiered cut-diagram and tell you everything you ever wanted to know about it.

WendyGirl: "Just because I don't understand exactly how something works doesn't necessitate discarding it. There is no way we can know everything about everything, so if you can agree with that, then why couldn't there be a chance that just because we can't see God, it doesn't mean He's not there?"

Using "ignorance" to establish the "knowledge" of something like a god concept, is plainly contradictory.

If a person is truly ignorant of something, they can not know "anything" about it, period. If they have a name for their thought or idea about something, that they haven't physically "experienced" in the external environment, then they hold a personal "idea", based on creative imagination, which "is" something, and should be presented as such.

In other words, we "do" know something about your "god concept", we know, you have the "idea" of a "god concept", and that you learned about such a concept from someone else, without being provided evidence.

We likely disagree about the "information" you hold in your mind. While you believe the word god informs you of some entity beyond your understanding, I believe it informs you and those you talk to about your "ideas" of a god concept.

While some ideas are useful in our lives - many others aren't.

Anonymous said...

There was a study about "Biblical morality" and how religion skews perceptions of morality. Around 1,500 Jewish schoolchildren were given the story of Joshua and Jericho. Almost all of them thought that the destruction of Jericho was moral - on the basis that God had commanded it and God couldn't do anything immoral. Showing another 150 Jewish schoolchildren the same story but with the names changed, most of them now viewed the story as immoral - in what way was it right for someone to destroy a city and murder all of its inhabitants just because they believed their god had told them to do so?

Bobby said...

Anonymous wrote.....

Oops, someones a bitter x-Christian.

Don't throw the baby Jesus out with the bathwater, my mixed up friend.

How does this convince anyone to follow Jesus. First you insult them, by calling the person bitter. Then you use profound logic to convince them that they have made a mistake because they are mixed up!!!!!!

OMG

boomSLANG said...

Anony'...Don't throw the baby Jesus out with the bathwater, my mixed up friend.

Jesus take a bath? Huh, I think you're the one who might be mixed up, ol' chap. According to the bible, an ocassional foot rinsing is Jesus' idea of good hygiene.

Mr "8"?..is that you up there? Welcome back.

Bill said...

As I said in my article ~Clear, each persons idea of happiness is individualistic. Some people view the Christian life in the "name it and claim it" tradition. Others see it as a difficult journey on a narrow road to heaven sort of thing.

Either way, it boils down to some like it hard and some like it soft. Which interpretation/persuasion are you?

bobby said...

I like what Bill said..... It's much harder to live with the reality that this is our only life and we have to do the best we can with what we have. That takes much more courage then putting faith in an invisible god.

I wish it were true that we lived forever in some paradise, but the hard fact is that this life is all we know for sure exists. Why waste it by trying to follow a god who never talks to you (real talk, not in your heart or mind sort of hocus pocus junk). And please don't give me Pascals wager crap.

Living without a security blanket in Christ is far more difficult than living with Christ. With Christ you think He watches over you and guides you and helps you and so forth. And in the end He rewards you for serving him. Even if you die testifying for Him you get a big reward.

Living without Christ is just plain hard and dull. No rewards and no one to guide you. It's all up to you buddy. So give me a break about how hard it is to follow Jesus. It's all in your head man.

Jen said...

AAAAAAAAAAH! I come back after a good night's sleep and everyone explodes! You're giving me quite a lotta hell to explain.

How's about I pull ONE argument for now and then do the rest.

This is going to take a lot of typing. I love how you all try to think through everything so much though. I do too, and it's making this one of the best religious discussions I've ever seen.

I also adore how no one's gotten violent yet. Even athiests tend to get enraged after a while in my experience. Religion hits a very deep place in everyone, even if one has "none." (Hey that's why they call it "athiesm"; it's still a religion, but a religion of disbelief. You worship it on this website right now.)

Whether we like it or not, the bible is a historical text. Mind you, I'm not answering the question about Jesus's existence yet, I'm just speaking about the bible's content roughly. (I'll talk about each of the passages cited by Franciscan Monkey later. For now, only one. I have post-it notes FILLED with things to explain. Give me time to answer it all please, I do have a life.) With any historical text you ever read, things have to be put into context. The culture also has to be at least partially understood to see why they word things the way they do (as in, the way they would speak, what relations they would make and why, when things are probably symbolic and when they are not, etc.) and what their initial traditions are, because this always flavors any "new-age" writing of any time period. People are not flawless, and they have a tendency to take anything they have already learned and try to apply it to everything else to form a complete picture. We all do it, as we're proving right now...although, mind you, a lot of people don't continue to expand their knowledge base after making a decision or even in general, so they can never have a complete picture.

Interpretation of texts from another culture and time period is a tricky thing. Some things are totally alien to us and our culture, so we immediately call them incorrect (not talking about the murders here, I'm speaking in general terms for NOW), other parts are phrased with terms and phrases we would never know or recognize because the texts ARE kept as close to their original interpretations as possible in all the cases I know. I'm going to use an example from the bible, actually:

"The text of Luke 2 notes there was no room for Mary and Joseph in the "inn." Unfortunately, the Greek term translated inn (kataluma) had multiple meanings, among them inn or caravansary. Used only one other time in the New Testament (Luke 22:11 and the parallel passage, Mark 14:14), it was the place where Jesus observed the Last Supper with His disciples. Here, Dr. Luke gave additional information about the kataluma. He said it was a furnished large upper story room within a private Jerusalem house. The kataluma of the last night of Jesus' earthly ministry was the "upper room."

We suggest the kataluma of Jesus' first night was a similar room in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph came into town with Mary ready to deliver. Arriving at Joseph's ancestral home, they found it already full of other family members who had arrived earlier. While the exact reason space was not made for a pregnant woman is unknown, it probably indicates the house was full of elder members of Joseph's family, who had priority.

So that is when Mary and Joseph went to the barn, right? Not exactly. The Biblical account mentions neither barn nor cave—it is assumed because of the manger. Mangers are animal feeding troughs, and barns are where one would expect to find them. But in the ancient world, as well as in primitive modern cultures, mangers are also found within the house itself. Animals are regularly kept in homes at night." -http://www.christiananswers.net/q-abr/abr-a012.html (This was a quick pull, sorry it's on a Christian site, I know many of you don't like that. But I have seen it on the Discovery and History channels too in the past. You can look it up too if you have any thoughts that it's incorrect.)

The most extreme problems with the bible are not actually of the bible, but of the people who read it. There's been an incredible push, ever since these documents came about, to learn about God and to try to please Him as much as humanly possible. When this is the case, everyone who is studying the bible wants everything laid out in front of them. They don't work to understand other cultures; they're not historians so they have no idea that that would be needed for the clearest picture of events and phrases. So, everything is taken literally. But then, in the bible, we also have a cross that usually isn't seen in other texts: normally scientifically inaccurate, remarkable things happen. If anything strange happens in the bible, seen in the way it's worded or any such thing, it is overlooked as being one of God's miracles and not, perhaps, an incorrect human interpretation of the way something simple was written in the text. I myself fully believe SOMETHING amazing had to happen for such an amazing impact to have occured, but we'll get to that later too!



Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. - Matthew 10:34-36

You quoted the controvertial statement of the millenium right here. However, one thing you can never do is take things out of context! Everything plays into everything else, and if you took a single thing I said out of context, it'd sound stupid and wouldn't add to the whole. He didn't speak in just those few sentences.

We have interesting translational changes in all of the bible passages across the scopes too, but we're going to use the New American Standard Bible (unless you want a different one; they all differ their translations by minute amounts, so like I said, reading multiple bibles really is what gives you the full picture).

"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it." -Matthew 10:34-39

In Christianity, the points are roughly to become a good person and follow God. This paragraph is justified:

It says:
-To follow me, you must uphold me as your elder, as the one you listen to. Don't listen to other people, listen to me. (In the Christian religion, God is flawless, so this is justified. Remember what we read up there about elders of the culture too. I can get more if you want it.)
-Follow me. I will use your life my way and you will be glad for it. (Note that God has only the best interests in mind for his children and is perfect, so one believes what he says if one is of the Christian religion. I believe that, but I'm not letting it bias me.)
-You must bear your cross (symbolic) and follow me, or you do not deserve me. (You must bear the hardships I set before you [God is the one who put Jesus on the cross, remember?] or you are not worthy of me. This is very believable, but there ARE a few sides, all based on what you know. The first one says, "Why would God put his children through any hardship?" The second says, "God is everything, what he says goes." Those are self-explanatory: why would any father want pain for his child, and why would we blindly follow anyone? But the third point of view I'm going to list takes it the way it should be taken:

"No man ever became great or good except through many and great mistakes." - Willian Gladstone

We are humans. We were made, for some reason I'm currently not sure of, and we have free will, for some other reason I'm not quite sure of. As a human, you do not become wise by sitting down and hearing things. You must find out for yourself to fully grasp things. Always remember, there is a difference between knowing something and fully realizing it. There is also the free will element: for Christians, God gave us free will, and we are expected to choose what side we're on with it. It takes perseverance as a human to keep doing the right thing: there are temptations that always pop up. But if we are truly worthy of God, and truly on His side, then we will resist these temptations, and resist disbelief, and resist falling to evil acts. We are only then worthy of Him because THEN we have proven ourselves and learned a lot in the process. What we know keeps our development moving forward as human beings.

I make sure I don't segregate the bible from the rest of the world and how it works.)

It does NOT say:
-You must be disrespectful to your mother and father (Jesus was respectful to everyone, even those who hated him)
-You must hate everyone to follow me
-You will kill your mother and father

Jen said...

On second thought, email me at jennifer.a.ledoux@comcast.net if you would like to continue talking to me on this. I don't want anyone else to jump in. Please and thank you.

Please actually do email me. I like this debate. It's fun.

Jen said...

Another note, just because: There are levels of being right. MOST CHRISTIANS, you will find, are only a little ways there, and half can't really prove what they say, they just know what's been told to them from the text. That doesn't mean it's all wrong though. Like I said, email me. ^^;

alan_h said...

Jen

Instead of spending time and effort on yet another interpretation of various Bible verses, just produce some corroborating evidence. If what you believe is actually real then you should have no problem backing it up without referring to the Bible.

Franciscan Monkey said...

Jen:

Two points first:

1. No, I do not wish to continue this discussion by email, I'd rather have it posted publicly here. Others can jump in if they want, you have the opportunity to ignore their comments if you wish.

2. I quote the KJV because it is public domain and I am free to quote as much of it as I want. With your post from the NASB, you have violated copyright laws by not following the attribution procedure as outlined by the copyright holder, the Lockman Foundation. You would have the same problem with many other translations, including the popular NIV and the NKJV. Those that are in the public domain and can be quoted freely include: KJV (except in the UK), ASV, Young's Literal, Webster's, and Darby's.

OK, on with the passage from Matthew.

1. Even if we assume that your interpretion of the passage is the correct one, it should still be discarded. After all, many Christians have used those very verses (and others) as justification to shun family members if those family members leave the faith or aren't considered "Christian" enough. Not ony that, but Christian mothers have killed their own children because they thought they were doing the will of God, and of course, they loved God more than their own children. If God wanted to make the point that you seem to saying he really meant, he should have said it differently.

2. In your interpretation of the text, you are ignoring some pretty strong, unequivocal language. The family members are foes or enemies, and that was, according to the passage, one of the purposes of Jesus' ministry. Jesus came to "set" a man against his father.

3. You said, "Jesus was respectful to everyone, even those who hated him." Only if your definition of respect includes calling people a "generation of vipers," "serpents," "fools," "hypocrites," "evil," an "evil and adulterous generation," "blind guides," a "faithless and perverse generation," "swine," and "dogs." Driving the money-changers out of the Temple area with a whip, even if justified, is not treating someone with respect. Telling your mother, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come," even if justified, is not treating someone with respect.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. - Carl Sagan

stronger now said...

"...Jesus Christ has been historically documented as existing and appears in more than one religion. He's as proven to have existed as Attila the Hun."

I gave you a chance to explain this jen. I have to say this is a prime candidate for the Fundys Say The Darndest Things site. But I think I'll let it slide 'cause you were so polite.

Anonymous said...

Do you want to learn something or are you out to be part of the problem with this world?

The latter at the moment. I told you to email me. I don't have time to answer eight billion questions in a row. You should have enough respect for another human being to understand that.

Either take it to my email or drop it. I don't have the time to deal with adults who feel like acting like brats.

Jen said...

By the way, you have every right to quote absolutely everything in the said emails, thereby making it public domain. I'm sorry if you've forgotten this.

Love always.

Anonymous said...

"Do you want to learn something or are you out to be part of the problem with this world?

Arrogant, much?

I don't have time to e-mail adults who act like know-it-all brats.

Bill said...

The problem with arguing about the Bible is that everyone interprets or explains the passages in such a way as to justify anything god supposedly said. I mean, god supposedly told Joshua to kill men, women and children and all the animals. End of story, because that's crazy talk right? No, the Christian argues that god is just, good, righteous and we just don't understand god.

The other reason that arguing about Bible verses is a waste of time is that when one studies it's origins and understand the process that took place over thousands of years to get what we have today, one comes to the understanding of how biased, homophobic, mixed up, contradictory and unbelievable it is. To wipe all that away with,
"you just don't understand god's ways" is sad!

Let's just leave the Bible out of the picture and argue on reason and logic. No, that doesn't work either, because the Christian will again say, god is above logic and reason and we are finite. How can we ever understand god.

I know because I used to do this stuff too. Hey Jen, most of us are ex-Christians and used to give the same arguments and then some to people too.

Maybe you should be asking the questions as to what made us leave Christianity and disavow Christ and all that mumbo jumbo. Unfortunately you dropped into the site and started into the arguments with, what appears to me as, a mixture of arrogance and pride. You sound like you are trying to give us credit for our thoughts, but a form of elitism comes through your writing. Meaning, we just don't understand, but you have a better grasp then we do.

Again, remember that many of us have spent years in the faith. I myself was trained in seminary and have two degrees from Christian colleges.

Think about that for a moment. How does a person like me leave the faith? Do you supposed that I don't know your arguments?

On another note, the world is not divided into evil people and righteous people. Good and evil are religious terms. People do bad things because of mental problems, emotional problems, organic problems and so forth. The don't do it because they are evil.

There are people who do bad things and should be imprisoned or removed from life. The good bad things is a religious dilemma used by ancient people to describe why people do bad things. There is a supposed war with god's former servants (demons), and god. We are supposedly caught in the middle. That is so silly, but people swear by it. The pope even has an arm of the church with priests trained to cast out demons. OMG

Anyway, I wish you would take a more humble approach to debating your former brothers and sisters in Christ. Maybe ask more questions rather than spout off stuff that, probably all of us have used, learned, said, regretted saying (in the past) and so on.

Bye for now.

Michelle said...

One of my co-workers is a christian who sits behind me. I am a captive audience when she starts telling me how it was God who made the people at Starbucks give her a free latte, or how God saved her a seat at some eatery for lunch. I let her spew this crap unhindered, yet she got really defensive and angry one time when another co-worker asked her a few challenging questions about her faith, accusing him of trying to hurt her faith. Gee, as if the holy spirit is that much of a coward to flee in the face of honest inquiry. Pretty sad.

We are supposed to sit there and take it with a smile when a christian talks about their faith and their ridiculous ideas about God, but when someone else prods them, they get touchy and turn it around on us. Their faith is built on a crumbly house of cards, that's why they have to work so hard every day to remind themselves to keep believing. And when someone "dares" to ask them too many questions--in a row--about obvious contradictions, they start feeling the cracks in the foundation and get scared and lash out. I've seen it here, I've seen it in my daily life, and I've done it myself when I was a christian maybe I wasn't as psychotic as some, but I did feel anxious when someone would not just go along with what I believed.

If you have real faith, or belief in something, it shouldn't matter what anyone else says, you should have clear, solid answers ready to make a good case for yourself, especially if you are a christian that initiates conversations about god.

Franciscan Monkey said...

Jen:

You wrote, "Do you want to learn something or are you out to be part of the problem with this world? The latter at the moment."

That's rather presumptuous. How is my wanting to keep the conversation public being a "part of the problem with this world"?

"I told you to email me."

Yes, you did, and I declined. Can you respect that? This whole conversation started on a public forum. I'd like to keep it that way. I don't like to give out my email addresses to just anyone, and I don't feel like creating a new one just so I can monitor this conversation.

"By the way, you have every right to quote absolutely everything in the said emails, thereby making it public domain. I'm sorry if you've forgotten this."

True, but if we keep the conversation public, I can't be accused of misqouting you.

"I don't have time to answer eight billion questions in a row."

As I already mentioned, answer what you want, ignore the rest. You certainly don't need to answer eight billion questions in a row.

"Either take it to my email or drop it."

I'm sorry, but I will not be emailing you. If you want to drop this conversation, that's up to you, however, don't accuse me of dropping it just because you want to change the format.

"I don't have the time to deal with adults who feel like acting like brats."

Please try to leave any name-calling out of it. From your previous posts, I thought you were above that.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. - Carl Sagan

Bill said...

I thought I might add.....

Every criminal act done was done so for emotional reasons. No one acts rational and logical and then goes out and commits a crime.

Religion is very similar. No one goes out and follows god for reasonable and logical reasons because the foundation of religion isn't based on accurate evidence, reason or logic. People don't convert because of the supposed evidence. They convert for emotional reasons. If I remember my Christian stats correctly (when I was a Christian) most people convert in their childhood or youth when the brain is most susceptible to fantastical thinking. That was why we always targeted young people. They were more impressionable.

Why do ex-Christians practice morals and ethics if they don't do so out of fear of hell? Because it is reasonable and logical to do so. It's not about good verses evil, or punishment from god if we don't obey her/him.

How many religious people are in jail or prison at any given moment vs. non-believers? Statistically, there are far more religious people in jail then atheists. I work with corrections clients, and I can tell you that most every offender I speak with has some sort of religious belief. Many of them are Christian beliefs.

That should tell us something, but most Christians will argue this fact away with something like,
"people take time to grow in Christ, we are all under grace". It almost feels hopeless arguing with Christians; however it's not always hopeless. It's usually a matter of timing and persistence. Eventually you reach some Christians and they start to think about it.

darthwonka said...

ATTENTION SLAVES OF CHRIST

The burden of proof is on the one who is making the assertions.

If you assert that Jesus even existed, you must show evidence.

If you assert that the Bible is truth, you must show that the sun circles the earth, snakes can talk, water can become wine, virgins can give birth, and hundreds of other biblical assertions.

The Bible is an important piece of literature since much of our recent history has been influenced by it. That is about all the credit I can legitimately give it at this time.
Good luck with all that apologetics. Fitting the facts to the story is no small task, but many people still try. Many give up and call it a 'matter of faith'. Many give up and let the facts speak to what the story really is.

"It is time that we admitted that faith is nothing more than the license religious people give one another to keep believing when reasons fail." -- Sam Harris

The Muffin Man On Drury Lane said...

Jen: "(Hey that's why they call it "athiesm"; it's still a religion, but a religion of disbelief. You worship it on this website right now.)"

A religion requires a religious "leader", to guide followers. If there is no leader, then everyone has a personal belief system, which comes by having a mind anyway.

So, Jen, who is the leader of devotional services on this site? I mean, there is a web master, but I have not heard him claim to be the religious leader who guides the efforts of atheism. And, I haven't seen a request for followers to adhere explicitly to what the web master believes to be the Truth of Atheism.

Obviously, if "you" choose to call him a religious leader, you may as well call the owner of a shoe store the religious leader that guides followers/customers on how they should devote their time, while in the shoe store.

You don't need to use the word religion metaphorically so we understand what you're talking about, we guite well understand that you follow some religious leader, thus, you are part of a religion.

However, continued use of the word religion, metaphorically, "after" knowing we understand what a religion requires organizationally, only makes you look desperate to prove everyone equal at some level.

Perhaps, the only "commonality" we share is discussion of ancient mythology; we may never agree on the interpretation of the bible in any form. Where we differ, is in the devotion and allegience you have given to a religious leader to "guide" you in your belief, where I currently do not.

I am my own master, and devote my time to studying and defining what I believe to be true; I do not devote my time to studying what a religious leader has defined for me.

I, am "free" to explore; to seek truth, and... to be Christian, suggests you have opted to adopt their truth as if it were Truth.

It would be interesting to see you counter that assertion. Because, if you suggest you are free to seek the Truth without restriction via a religion's leader, then you are not a Christian, you are a free thought individual who just so happens to affiliate with other people who may/may not be Christian.

Ironically, that is exactly how I grew up, a free-thought individual hanging out at a Christian church - I never truly accepted without restriction what a religious leader presented.

More times than not, the religious leader required unrestricted acceptance of their message(s), so, I am wondering if you understand what your "religious leader's" message is. Why attempt to interpret the bible, that is not for "you" to do, it is "your" responsibility to present those passages exactly as your religious leader expresses.

There are no "shades" of gray in this relationship; you are either a follower or leader. If you are a leader, then you need a following to create a religion that demands the devotion of followers that will present "your" message as you "interpret" it, if you are a follower, you don't have the authority to make any statement or "interpret" anything according to your whims.

If you are a follower, then I need not accept anything you say, you have no authority of the Truth, and that is what I seek.

If you are a leader; then I'd appreciate an explanation for what you believe makes you more qualified to establish metaphysical Truth, that demands a following, than lets say, anyone else on this planet.

Roger C. S. said...

Dear Michelle, I am kindof in the same situation as you and your co-workers, so I just play along with them, but I love it when two christians disagree with each other concerning religion.

Hell, sometimes I try and think of something to get them started arguing with one another. It is so frikkin fun. Peace, Roger...A/A

D8 said...

BoomSLANG: "Mr "8"?..is that you up there? Welcome back."

Hey Boomer, always a pleasure to see your wit and logic. You have a knack for picking me out under a pseudo ;-) Haven't had much free-time lately, but it's always pleasant to perch on this virtual branch here with other great thinkers - minus the parrots of course :-) Have a great one.

D8

1 Sweet Rock said...

Jen,

Now that you have oh so rudely interrupted this thread with your meaningless attempts to thwart thine non-believing enemies, why don't you do yourself a favor by doing some much needed further research into academic debate and religious cults before you continue to denigrate yourself and others?

As I read your thoughts, you sound and act just like a typical spoiled rotten Christian brat. Especially when you sign off with Love always, Jen. That is a wee bit childish for this conversation, no? How old are you, if I may ask?

I thought I'd throw that out there as a hint, because your post's come across as self absorbed and fake to me. That is my opinion, and may not be shared by others. Take it or leave it.

I, and most others here, have walked away from the Christian religion and its unholy book for valid reasons, both objective and personal.

There is a plethora of people and opinions here, from Theologians, to academic scholars, ex-ministers, teachers, artists, housewives, military veterans, and entire families, all coming together to talk openly about various subjects and contemplating the big questions everyone asks about life. We are people just like you Jen. Thanks for taking this into consideration when you come back next time.

Jen: I also adore how no one's gotten violent yet. Even atheists tend to get enraged after a while in my experience

Adore is a word that is used to imply worship. So, I guess that means YOU are worshiping us and this discussion. (BTW: This is an example of making false assertions)

Stop projecting your fears and PREJUDICES onto good folks here. Please, step off your high horse before coming in here. Your posts are a fine example of immaturity and shallow thinking.

As an atheist, I personally know that after a long while, any group or individual that faces public ridicule and becomes socially excluded for the most superficial of reasons is exactly why Atheist’s push back against cults of oppressiveness and people can become angry in that process, for good reasons.

Anger can be healthy in small doses and it is a legitimate response to Christian intolerance and the spread of extremist religious cults worldwide.

Yes, we freethinkers tend to question everything and rage against the machine baby, and against all mindless spoiled rotten brats like you that insist on running around poking people’s eyes out with your torture device and hijacking open forums of honest discussions such as this one.

It is you cultist types that have made your religions the sham's and scheme's that they are, instead of allowing them to be adaptable to change and new information along one's individual spiritual journey. Think of Jewish mysticism. That is a step up from blind cultist faith.

Jen: Religion hits a very deep place in everyone, even if one has "none."

Trust me, there is no deep place in me that religion quietly dwells, so this statement does not apply to everyone just because you believe that it does.

Your FALSE ASSERTIONS are yet again wrong and overstated. Religion does not hit everyone the same way. NONE religion for me, thanks. I am glad to be WITHOUT beliefs in cults and gods. Matter of fact, it changed my life for the better.

Is it possible for you to understand that? I understand you, as I have been where you are. See, meeting you half way is such a nice thing to do! You should try it.

Jen: Hey that's why they call it "athiesm"; it's still a religion, but a religion of disbelief.

Jen's false assertion # 55!

Here we go again for the thousandth time. YOU Jen are thoughtless and inconsiderate of others who do not share in your beliefs and it shows. You try to redefine something so it can accommodate your own selfish belief systems.

You’re obviously uninformed or ill informed opinions have leaded you to make more shallow accusations that are entirely false and it really exposes you cultist for what you truly are; Charlatans.

Atheism is pejorative term from the Greek root word Atheos, meaning anti-theos or to be against theism and cultism.

Wikipedia.com: Atheism, as a philosophical view, is the position that either affirms the nonexistence of gods[1] or rejects theism.[2] When defined more broadly, atheism is the absence of belief in deities,[3] alternatively called nontheism.[4] Although atheism is often equated with irreligion, some religious philosophies, such as secular theology and some varieties of Buddhism such as Theravada, either do not include belief in a personal god as a tenet of the religion, or actively teach nontheism.

Many self-described atheists are skeptical of all supernatural beings and cite a lack of empirical evidence for the existence of deities. Others argue for atheism on philosophical, social or historical grounds. Although many self-described atheists tend toward secular philosophies such as humanism[5] and naturalism,[6] there is no one ideology or set of behaviors to which all atheists adhere.

READ #6 again and again, until you get it. Understand it. Then come back to this discussion.

I lack a belief in Gods. I have other beliefs, but you are to busy painting me into a dark corner with your ugly brush of hate. You would not know that atheists believe in many other noble things, which do not require blind faith.

I think theism is the worship of MAN MADE gods and doctrines of the collection of ancient myth's that have been blended and forged by various cultures throughout history and all of these are inventions born out of fearing the unknown.

My atheism is but one of the mere conclusions I have come to thus far in life, which I am capable of changing whenever, or if ever I should have to.

Jen: You worship it on this website right now.

Please, stop making empty accusations about the people who come to this website. You are the rude guest in our comfortable virtual home here, and I think you have way over stayed your intrusion.

Once again, you’re attempting to spread YOUR ideological rhetoric of preconceived lies and ill informed notions all over the place for the sake of your own self centered beliefs! How typical!

You do not come across as being capable of critical inquiry or honest debate, including examining those cultist beliefs that have been dictated to you.

You should stop using the same old tired apologist arguments as your hidden agenda. We have heard it all before, over and over again like a broken record!

You offer nothing new there, so move on to debate the semantics of scripture if you must. Stop using personal attacks to pat your own back of egotistical beliefs, as only then might you gain some credibility for what you are trying to express and share in this forum.

Individuality does more for a spiritual mind than anything else, and you appear to far from knowing yourself in that way.

Instead, you show up here just to keep on making thoughtless statements and attacks about a group of people that refuse to conform to your religious systems, which is a very common trait of cult believers.

Jen: Give me time to answer it all please, I do have a life.

If you only knew how many times we have repetitively heard EVERY thing you have puked up here in your posts from some other inconsiderate and rude religious fundamentalist.

We have lives too Jen, ours just does not revolve around mindless cultist beliefs in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or Hinduism, etc…

Here is some advice: You are not having a scholarly discussion here, nor do your posts come across as such and far from it. If you want to have more people join in this discussion in the interest of genuine understanding and the common good of intellectual gain, you should grow up and quit acting like an indoctrinated cultist brat.

Thanks for your considerations, and please do wipe your muddy feet and hang up your cross before entering our home next time. That would be thoughtful of you, if you would be so kind. Thanks again.

Go godless,
Melissa

When the missionaries came to Africa we had land; they had the Bible. They asked us to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them they had our land; we had the Bible. Jumo Kenyatta, the first elected President of independent Kenya, commenting on missionary activities

WendyGirl said...

Wow, you guys. Such vitriol against Jen. I thought she was doing a pretty good job being even-handed, but it's kind of hard after awhile when everyone's gunning for you.

As far as I'm concerned, I appreciate your rebuttals to my comments. I will think about them and mull over how to best answer them. I will say, however, that when I did turn from my sin and asked Christ into my life, He came. I am truly a "new creature in Christ," and it is most assuredly not of my own doing. I wanted NOTHING to do with Him and was running away from it all, having been raised in the church and completely turned off by the hypocrisy I experienced. But God cut through all of that stuff and changed my life. I am a completely different person now than I was before, and no, it's not because I'm "pulling up my own bootstraps," so to speak. The changed life I now have is evidence enough for me.

To Bill: you have piqued my interest. Why did you leave the faith? I would be interested to hear about it if you are so inclined.

WendyGirl said...

I wanted to get back to the people who took exception to my earlier posts. If there is anyone out there who sincerely wants to read a good defense of the Christian faith, I would recommend you read "The Case for Christ," or "The Case for Faith," both by Lee Strobel. A former atheist, Strobel tackles the toughest objections to Christianity. It's interesting reading. He does a much more masterful job defending the faith than I ever could. Every objection I've seen raised on this site has been covered in his books. Check it out for yourself, and God bless.

Franciscan Monkey said...

WendyGirl:

I have not read The Case for Faith, although I'm sure a few who post here have. However, I did read The Case for Christ a few years ago, when I was still a Christian. I was involved in apologetics at the time, and I was hoping for some good ammunition to use against atheists and other non-Christians. I was sorely disappointed in the lack of good evidence for a historical Christ that matches even remotely what the Bible portrays. Strobel did not ask tough questions, and did not interview those from opposing viewpoints. This was not surprising, of course, as he was a Christian whose sole purpose of writing the book was to discourage other Chrsitians from questioning their faith.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. - Carl Sagan

AtheistToothFairy said...

WendyGirl wrote:
I would recommend you read "The Case for Christ," or "The Case for Faith," both by Lee Strobel

Lee Strobel was an atheist, like I used to be Batman as a boy.

He only imagines he was in the same 'atheist' category as those of us who reached a god-disbelief conclusion by studying the issues, pro&con.

At best, Strobel may have not given a gosh-darn about god at some point in his life, but that is a far cry from being able to show reasons why one chose to not believe in god(s).

Frankly, I think his assertion of once having been an "atheist", is nothing more than his PR HYPE. He also claims to be a journalist, but if he was/is, then he has no idea how to research a story, as he never interviews any well known skeptics in his research.
To the contrary, he's infamous for using xtian apologist and misusing folks with PHD's, who then speak outside their area of expertise, but does Strobel tell us that little fact in his books...NO.

If Strobel is the best the xtian world has to offer to prove the xtian god/jesus is real, then I sure wouldn't use him to support my case if I were still a xtian believer.
The man is a devious salesmen, who is looking for fame, glory and the almighty dollar.
Oh, not to mention his so called evidence for his god's existence is lame at best and he knows how to lie with the best of them.


ATF (Who wonders why professed xtians like Strobel, have no problem in LYING for their god)

1 Sweet Rock said...

Wendygirl,

Wow, you picked a word that is so way over bloated to describe the valid and reasoned rebuttal's we provided to Jen. NO ONE bitterly abused her verbally.


Did you miss all the slighted vitriol that she attempted to use in her above post against the people here?

She is having a conversation with herself, and so are you. How about you two join forces and go bother the people over at Lustbutt.com

She was treated respectfully from most, and while I was rather irritated by how she addressed the people in this forum, I tried to defend my position by sticking to the point and showing her why this discussion is not going to move further into anything meaningful.

If she or you do not like it,
I can show you to the door.

Yeah, so we handed her back her bare Christian ass on a serving platter. That is what she gets for coming here to impose her naked cult on us. We did not invite Jen in here to argue over her righteous Christian assessment of us. So, why don't you ridicule Jen for doing that very same thing?

Run along now Wendygirl, there is nothing here for you to do that has not already been tried before by many other cultist like yourself.

This freethinking pot of ours is not here for you and others to come piss in. Why is that so hard for you all to understand?

Oh, and that unoriginal offering of apologetic books is just useless, and of course many of us here have already read them for Pete's sake.

And for Jane's sake, why don't you follow some of the advice I gave to Jen...we don't need to hear yet another tired version of Christ insanity. I assure you, it's all been said before, so move on.

Thinking of the God Delusion...
Have you read that one Wendygirl?
It makes Lee Strueddel's flakes apologies look quite sorry and way out of touch with reality.

I have no desire to return to the dark ages, thank you very much. The wicked bible does not apply to a modern world of virtuous laws and ethics anymore. Get over it.

Wendygirl: "Can I apologize on behalf of all the knuckleheads out there who claim to be Christians, but are doing more harm than good?"

LOOK IN THE MIRROR MY FRIEND!

Good godless night,
Melissa

The Muffin Man On Drury Lane said...

WendyGirl: "If there is anyone out there who sincerely wants to read a good defense of the Christian faith, I would recommend you read "The Case for Christ," or "The Case for Faith," both by Lee Strobel."

Uh, and what makes "Lee Strobel", an authority figure on the subject of gods, and supernatural forces? In other words, how much more qualified is Lee Strobel to speak about a god, than lets say, all of the other religious leaders and their gods?

What makes "any" of those religious leaders, who all claim to hold the authority to talk about gods, any more qualified, than lets say a professor of anthropology or history?

WendyGirl: "A former atheist, Strobel tackles the toughest objections to Christianity. It's interesting reading. He does a much more masterful job defending the faith than I ever could. Every objection I've seen raised on this site has been covered in his books."

Really. So, then, you should be able to explain succinctly, exactly what makes Lee Strobel an authority on god(s) lore.

Obviously, you can leave out that Lee Strobel used to be an atheist, since there is a plethora of atheists on this site who are equally qualified in that sense.

Let's make this easier, what makes WendyGirl, less qualified to talk about god(s), than Lee Strobel?

WendyGirl said...

To 1 Sweet Rock: How 'bout a little seasoning for your pot:)? Not urine, however. If you just keep throwing in the same ingredients, it could get rather bland and boring after a while. Unless you like it that way...just kidding! Sorry. You seem really peeved, and I'm not trying to make you mad. I assumed this was a free exchange of ideas. I have not read that book, but I will consider it.

WendyGirl said...

To Franciscan Monkey:
Interesting viewpoint about "The Case for Christ." I do, however, think he asked very tough questions in "The Case for Faith." Perhaps to counter criticism for the first book. What questions in the first book did you think were not tough enough?

Jen said...

@alan h and @Franciscan Money: I've been trying to figure out what questions to answer. It's overwhelming how many are here, and I just found out that I have a major project due this week...so I'm in a bit of a pickle. I said I'd be happy to answer the questions on my email, which would make it easier for me to answer all the parts of the questions asked in whatever way wished, but was turned down. I'm completely exasperated because there's no way I can do this outside of an email server at the moment. (After today I've got no access to anything else, really.) I really do care. But then, I also want a continuation for my own selfish gain: if anyone can prove to me that Christianity is wrong, I'll be indebted to them forever. But that's another string for another time.

Sorry Franciscan, I realize that was inappropriate of me. It's just that I believe fully and totally in going out on limbs to try to help other people, and going out on limbs to gain knowledge. It really distresses me to not be able to continue to talk to you on this, because for once, there's someone who is worthwhile to debate with. But thanks anyway for how far we did get.


@all: I have familial love for everyone. It takes a lot to maintain, but it's there. I'm sorry if this is offensive to anyone.

I'm already tired of hearing myself automatically being placed into the same ring as other Christians, told that I was "given a chance to answer a question" and apparently consequently failed the time limit, etc. I'd probably end up leaving anyway in about a week just because I'm getting very sick of that by now. (Maybe I should take a break from doing religious debates for a while, eh?)

When you care about everyone, it's very hard and almost painful to ignore it when they're obviously in the dark, whether they're Christian or not. I haven't gotten over not being able to save the world yet, I'm still young. I hate that I can't answer all the questions here, let alone all the questions the world has.

I guess I've done what I could for the time that I could. I HATE that I can't stay. I'm really sorry I actually HAVE to book from this. (Don't bother saying I'm running away, either: my email is on a different comment if you want to find me. I don't misquote or edit quotes, to clear that up. I wouldn't have a reason to quote you unless you misquoted me. I sincerely believe in doing nothing I will regret, and I would regret lying about something so high that it takes away from the dignity of the person who was lied about.) I hadn't learned anything yet, but I suppose it was worth it anyway.

See you around,
Jen

Bill said...

Hi Wendygirl,

Thanks for asking why I left the faith. That is a story too involved to share in entirety here. I can tell you that I simply started to realize that what the Bible says, should be, just wasn't happening.

No one is doing greater things then the alleged miracles of Christ. The Bible is very clear on this. Everyone who has faith will do greater things then he did. Prayers are just not answered. Sure some things happen that we are praying about, but they happen at the same rate when we don't pray.

I've never seen anyone's missing eye regrow, walk on water, raise the dead, regrow a missing arm or leg. Change a retarded person to a normal intellect and so on.

I started to see the light when my Christian wife failed to change and mature after years of Bible college, Christian counseling, prayer, etc. I later came to realize that she most likely has a personality disorder. That was why a healthy balanced marriage was impossible with her.

I began to wonder how I could have missed this when we prayed together, worshiped together, went to Bible college together and so on.

I beat my head against a wall for ten years trying to have a normal marriage all the while watching her accuse her father of molesting her when she was a child (which was completely false), I had to listen to her tell me how she had been abducted by a satanic cult when she was young, how she had multiple personalities and how she had been physically rescued by Jesus when she was a child.

What I believed and what was happening in my life just didn't add up. I started to re-evaluate my life, values and beliefs. I began to look outside the Christian box and use reason to question my assumptions of faith. Let me tell you, it took a number of years and a lot of emotional struggle to let go. The fear of being punished by god was hard to shake (I had a good concept of grace, but it really boils down to fear of punishment when you start to think that you might actually no longer believe in Christianity, and the...but what if I am wrong and god sends me to hell...thinking kicks in), but the constant agony of my life allowed me to really question my beliefs no matter what the cost.

Eventually, I let go and I'm so glad I did. I live a much more authentic life then I ever did as a Christian. I no longer struggle with false guilt or shame because I no longer use the Bible as a measure in life. I use common sense, reason and my relationships to evaluate life. I still have guilt or shame, but only if I do something I truly know to be hurtful toward another. I don't feel guilt for not reading my Bible, not praying more, not witnessing to other, thinking impure thoughts, not tithing, not pleasing god and so on.

I don't judge people based on their sexual orientation because the Bible says homosexuality is immoral. I judge people based on the law, reason, and common sense. I don't use an ancient book strung together by ancient tribal people trying to make sense of their world thousands of years ago.

I hope this gives you at least a brief understanding of why I took the bold leap to examine my Christian faith and eventually leave it.

Peace,

Bill

P.S. I am a learned and studied former Evangelical Christian. I have both a B.S degree and M.A. degree from Evangelical schools of higher learning. I am also an ordained and licensed minister, who no longer practices the faith. I only tell you this so you can understand that I have read many books on apologetics, sat in many a classroom regarding the Bible, theology and biblical doctrines. I've taught and preached many of the same things I hear and read from other current Christians. I could go into my credentials further but I hope you get the point.

WendyGirl said...

Dear Bill:
Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like you've walked a rough road. At the risk of the exChristian crowd raining down "hellfire" on me, I am going to pray for you. I really appreciate your measured and respectful response.

Peace to you as well.

Franciscan Monkey said...

WendyGirl:

It's been several years since I read The Case for Christ, so I don't recall exactly which questions were weak. I do remember that not much was made of the controversy surrounding the Josephus account, and that Strobel tended to ask leading questions rather than taking an opposing viewpoint.

I just pulled out my copy of the book so I could find an example of what I am talking about, though. In chapter 3, Strobel inteviews Dr. Bruce Metzger. In the course of the interview it is mentioned that there are more than 5000 extant Greek manuscripts of the NT. What isn't mentioned is that the majority of these manuscripts are from AD 1000 and later. There are only a handful of manuscripts from AD 400 and earlier, yet Strobel, who is supposed to be making some sort of journalistic investigation, fails to bring this up.

Another example of his weak jounalism would be in chapter 6 where the Jesus Seminar is bashed by Dr. Gregory A. Boyd, and yet Strobel does not interview anyone from the Jesus Seminar to give them a chance to answer any accusations. Strobel does not care for a thorough investigation, he just wants to make a point.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. - Carl Sagan

Franciscan Monkey said...

Jen:

I hope you do well on your project. I totally understand about not having time to reply to so many posts, so don't worry about it. Come back in the future if you have more time. Thanks for the discussion.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. - Carl Sagan

R. Black said...

Don't stop now girls this is entertaining...

1 Sweet Rock said...

Wendygirl,

My pot is seasoned just fine for now, that is until someone attempts to throw extra amounts of religious bullshit in to it.

Yes, peeved was a good word to describe my mood; That, I was.
After reading my post, I see that my tone was a bit harsh.

I do not like hurting people, so don’t let my bad ass attitude run you off. Stay and pray. Be my guest. We have thousands of folks praying for us, with no result of gaining your God’s favor thus far, in regards to myself.

I am not sorry that I expressed my honest feelings though. The pressure to fit in royally sucks sometimes, and this weekend was one of them for me.

I come here and find more believers trying to advocate and sell their religion, and it just seems as if there is no getting away from it at times.

Sure this is a free exchange of ideas, but you or no one else should come here for the sole purpose of proselytizing or pushing their religious beliefs onto others. Again, that is the opposite intention of this place as people come here because they have rejected said religions as invalid superstitious dogma.

Sharing and being open to discussing old/new ideas is one thing, but shoving your faith in everyone face shows no respect for the desired space we have between us. I do not go around advocating atheism in Christian blogs, so I guess I want that same courtesy in return. Not too much to ask in my humbled opinion.

Ask me how I came to the conclusion of atheism or why I think the bible is NOT a source of morality or higher authority, ask me if I have children, or just discuss the topic at hand. No, instead we usually get interrupted with worthless words like this:
Jen said:” It's very hard and almost painful to ignore it when they're obviously in the dark”

Who is she talking about here? I love sunshine and honesty. I think others here value it all the same.
Jen wants to save the world, and don’t we all!

If only the great gods would grant us a magic potion to cure it all.
Better yet, just show up and help out by putting those supernatural powers to work HERE, where it is needed NOW.

The God’s should get off their cosmic sized easy chair's and do something real for a great change. Oh, it must be grand to be a god sitting there in perfect peace, while watching the hard work of living with suffering to be the burden and ruin of humanity. That is not justice, nor is that grace.

The hide and seek game is way old and playing pretend is certainly no longer a sustainable option. I charge the God with abandonment, for not having faith in us.

Good night and good luck,
Melissa

.:webmaster:. said...

There is no doubt about it: LEE STROBEL IS THE GOSPEL!!!

Hells Bells said...

Wow, so many issues covered.

I did some reading about Josephus this last week. Basically he is as contemporary as the gospels (ie, the earliest he could have written was around 70CE, about 40 years after the supposed death of Jesus), and he makes two references to Jesus. One of them is hotly disputed as it is unlikely a Jewish chronicler would have written the things about Jesus, especially given the rest of the things he wrote, so it is most likely that the text has been amended. The second one is a passing reference, really a reference to James, a leader of the Christians, who is identified as the brother of Jesus. Given that the earliest extant copy of Josephus dates to around 400CE and is in Christian hands, it is more than likely that the text was amended by Christians to give more support to their view of the physical existence of Jesus.

However, if Jesus really did do the things he did, and raised the amount of kerfuffle that the gospels record - why are there absolutely no contemporary records of him at all? Unfortunately there do appear to be contemporary records of other "rabble-rousers" executed by the Romans, so it's not that the Romans didn't keep records or that we don't have them. It's that singular lack of corroborating evidence that makes me view the gospels as building a good story rather than historical documents in themselves.

Secondly, there are many flavours of Christianity. The US appears to be afflicted with a particular vocal form of evangelical, black-and-white Christianity that does seem to have gained a foothold in the UK also over the last 20 or 30 years. The message is simple and appealing, yet also literal and contradictory.

However, most people from that evangelical background that I know who have "faced life" in some way yet manage to retain a faith have done so in one of two ways - 1) by simply ignoring the issues or 2) by changing their faith to a point where, very often, it fails to resemble Christianity in anything other than "Jesus existed" and "God is love". I did (1) for many, many years until the stress of doing so proved too much. My wife appears to be on the way to (2), but the problem she has is what purpose does a god as insipid as she has reached actually serve? Was god simply there to "push the button" and get the big bang going?

I've written before and quoted someone else about how nice it would be to believe in a god - a Daddy figure who could make everything all right and would repay my "enemies" for things they had done wrong. But I can find absolutely no evidence for such a god at all - and evidence that Christians use has usually been so skewed that it is inappropriate to use it. In fact, I find more evidence to support the view that gods (of all descriptions) have been created by man in order to gain comfort, power or influence.

Helen

.:webmaster:. said...

Wendygirl wrote, "I am a completely different person now than I was before"

Completely different? That's a considerable change! Is your face different? Are you taller/shorter? Did you gain or lose weight? Did you acquire super powers? Do your friends still recognize you? Does your family still call you their daughter? Are you especially smarter now? Did you magically acquire the ability to play trombone?

My point is, what is so different? Surely you still feel emotions, right? You get depressed and sad sometimes, or angry, or happy, or silly... right?

So what exactly is "completely different?"

Xcelus said...

Windygirl:
FYI: The Koran has just as many faults as the Bible does, so I would not consider it a reputiable source.
Also Testimonium Flavianum (the writing by Josephus) was deemed a forgery in the 18th century, and is still considered so today.
Thus still no evidence that Jesus ever existed. Every piece of physical evidence brought so far has been proven a forgery.
Take care
-Xcelus

dd29 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
.:webmaster:. said...

dd,

It is against the TOS to copy and past the same thing on multiple pages on this site. You've already posted this link.

Your post here is deleted.

Bill said...

Wendygirl,

What are you going to pray for me about? Because I really don't understand why you would feel the need to.

Bill

Jim Earl said...

Two points:

First, the "atheism is a religion" point.

If you want to consider that atheism is a religion, then consider this: Atheism is the one True Religion. I can live with that.

Second point: Wendygirl, you can pray for us, but we can't think for you!

Jim Earl

slingshot said...

Jen, you admit that the bible contains errors, yet you try to interpret it your way? Perhaps your beliefs make sense to you, they really don't make sense to me.

You mentioned "following Christ." What exactly does this mean to you? What is the purpose of "following Christ?" Why should one do so, if one is merely "saved" for having once "accepted Jesus?" In "following Christ," would one become "Christ-like" as one is supposed to do? Why? If one does so, would he or she (can a woman become Christ-like? If not, why bother?) not ultimately be a "false prophet," or a "wolf in sheeps clothing," since that person simply wasn't born of a virgin to begin with and hardly practices morality, in fact, leading a more immoral life than ever, considering oneself "saved?" Is this why Jesus said there would appear "false teachers, even in my name?" Can christianity produce anything other THAN a "false Christ?" Does following Christ mean ascending into heaven?

I agree that the bible contains errors. That's the general consensus here. Where we disagree, is that christianity is truth. It's not. It's a load of nonsense. No disrespect intended, by nonsense I mean it doesn't make sense. Neither do you, really.

The christian church teaches that we are all in a "fallen state" since Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge and saw that they were naked. While in that fallen state, we commit "sin," and God hates us for this. Because we sin, we go to hell (which God created) when we die, where we burn in unimaginable torment for all eternity. For four thousand years everybody went to hell to burn forever, which is a choice we make, according to the church, because we won't "accept Jesus," even though he hadn't yet appeared on earth. (They actually went to hell for their sins, and Christ taught this throughout the gospels.) Somehow, certain "saints," such as Moses and Noah, went to heaven instead, even though they never "accepted Jesus." Finally Jesus came to save us and died on the cross (as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, according to John, who wrote the gospel of John, according to the KJV, in First John 2:2) yet we still go to hell unless we "accept Jesus?" Meanwhile, all those poor souls who lived before he came are burning in agony even as we speak, and there they will remain forever?

In other words, we go to hell because we sin, then Jesus dies as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, then we still go to hell?

Is that what you expect us to believe?

As far as taking the debate to e-mail, I wonder if you want to do so because you know that you cannot out-debate us on the bible and christianity and you don't want the whole world to see it. I'll debate you here, thank you very much.

slingshot said...

Again, we agree on one thing. The bible is a screwed up mess.

slingshot said...

If christians are nothing more than "false prophets, false Christs, false teachers, and wolves in sheeps clothing," does this explain why their prayers don't work? Why doesn't a christian immediately become "Christ like" the moment they "receive Jesus?" Furthermore, If Christ is "the only begotten Son of God," and is also God, then how could anybody POSSIBLY become "Christ like" at all? We are mere sinners, saved by grace!

Again, christianity is nonsense.

eejay said...

I've only been following this site for about a month, though it's been years since I walked away from xtianity. I find it refreshing most of the time, and enjoy the fact that I'm not as alone as I thought I was. I plan on putting a testimonial together in the near future to share with you my horrific experiences with a Mom who was a fundy, and my reasons for abandoning the faith. I think there are many people who stay xtian just because they're afraid to face the peer pressure thay may receive, especially of they happen to live deep in the bible belt. It's actually been a long time since my deconversion, but I have to admit, I played along a while longer just to get along. So, yes I agree, it is harder to NOT be a xtian. I do feel relieved when I read some of the inspiring letters and testimonials that I've been receiving. Thanks for a great site.

AtheistToothFairy said...

Welcome aboard eejay,

I look forward to seeing your story, which I hope will be fairly soon.

Yes, I also agree that for many, it's easier to pretend you're still a xtian, rather than face the wrath of the blinded.

Again, welcome!!

ATF