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4/13/2008                                                                                       View Comments

Debate – Does God Exist?

By godsfavoritecolor

I attended a formal debate a few days ago before an audience of about 200 on the question, “Does God Exist?” The representative for the negative was a college professor of philosophy. The representative for the positive was a pastor of a local fundamentalist Christian church.

The pastor was a typical fundamentalist Bible thumper, a YEC (young earth creationist, yeeecchh!) and believes that everything in the Bible is literally true. His arguments were a compendium of logical fallacies, while he accused his opponent of using logical fallacies.

Not surprisingly he compared atheists to Hitler, with the fallacious syllogism: Hitler was an atheist. Hitler killed millions of people. Therefore, all atheists are as evil as Hitler. Ignoring the fact that Hitler was not an atheist, by the pastor’s “reasoning,” since Hitler was a vegetarian, then all vegetarians are as evil as Hitler.

I believe that the major field taught at the fundamentalist seminaries like the one the pastor probably attended is obfuscation. I was able to get a question posed to him by the moderator. It was “Without quoting from the Bible, give us an objective reason to believe that the Bible is the word of God rather than the Koran.” I restricted him from quoting the Bible because I knew that, if I didn’t, he would use the circular reasoning of quoting from the Bible by saying the Bible is the word of God because it says it is. His non-objective answer was that: they both can’t be the word of God, either the Koran is and the Bible is not, or the Bible is and the Koran is not, and he believed that the Bible is the word of God. He left out the fourth condition that neither is the word of God. Obfuscation at work.

However, the professor was not very effective in his counter arguments. He was too nice to the pastor in my opinion and I suspect that his frequent use of irony went over the heads of many in the audience.

What really bugged me was what happened after the debate. I helped man a table at the back of the room for a local group called the “Community of Reason.” We handed out our monthly schedule of meetings and several pamphlets criticizing the Bible and Christianity. Most people came by and picked up our material without comment.

One woman, however, dragging her pre-teens behind her wanted to tell us about Jesus, sin, and hell. (Incidentally, I was wearing my “Smile, there’s no hell” T-shirt.) She had one of those shit-eating Christian grins like the ones I’ve seen at nursing homes on the faces of those with advanced dementia. She had to tell us that Jesus loves us. (Of course she hates our guts.)

Please don’t label me as immoderate Christian hater. I believe that the vast majority of Christians are good people. It is the things that they support and do that I hate.

This woman is an exception to the average moderate Christian. She is an addict and a pusher. She is addicted to the Jesus, salvation drug. She needs constant fixes to keep her high. Her fixes consist of aggressive, mindless, irrational proselytizing. Why does she need these fixes? Because there is always that still, small voice in the back of her mind that says, “All that you believe about your God is bullshit.” She needs to continually drown out that voice. And by convincing others to join her delusional fantasy, she validates it by adding to her delusional crowd by intimidating people with her irrational rants. But, as long as there are a few people that say it is not so, she cannot silence the voice in her mind.

These people are incapable of reason or logic and their prognosis for recovery is very poor. I’ve learned from sad experience that it is a waste of my time to argue with them, so I quickly shook the dust off my feet and moved on. I feel sorry for her kids.

For other examples of delusional argument, look at the Christian trolls on this site. Thank you for reading my rant. Ex-Christian comments and/or criticisms will be appreciated.

tag: , , ,

46 comments:

billybee said...

The thing I love about this post is that it reports on a debate over gods existence.

(back in the day..) When I was a thumper, I wasn't even aware that there WAS a debate. Now, thanks to the internet, people (especially kids) are able to hear our side.

This is going to snowball. There really is a shot at turning the tide. Those kids are smart, they have a much better chance of avoiding the damage that so many of us here at x-tian here had to "undo".

The AntiChristian said...

Dear Godsfavoritecolor,

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Hitler associated with the Catholic Church?

ExFundie said...

Cool story. I love hearing about people actually living an atheist lifestyle out in the open. I think I'd have to move before I did that. Anyway, I have seen myself, that sometimes those representing the atheist viewpoint are often 'over the head' of the crowd... especially a religious crowd. It seems to me that so often the simpler arguments will go farther in opening the minds of the believer.

godsfavoritecolor said...

The antichristian said "Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Hitler associated with the Catholic Church?"
I believe he was, and besides he appeals to god's providence many times in Mein Kampf. Many religious people claim he was an atheist. I allowed that claim for argument's sake about the logical fallacy of painting all atheists with the imaginary atheism of Hitler.

HoleyHands said...

The AntiChristian said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Hitler associated with the Catholic Church?

YES HE WAS!!! Click this link:
Check here for Hitler and Religion

Ben Stein's new movie "Expelled" is coming out this friday, I understand that it pushes the nazis were atheist theme.So, we should all bone up on this subject in order to refute this argument.

xrayman said...

Billybee said,

"Now, thanks to the internet, people (especially kids) are able to hear our side.

This is going to snowball. There really is a shot at turning the tide."

My circumstance is prime example of what you are saying. The internet and this new world of mass information is the sole reason I am an atheist today.


We can only hope people will stumble onto our material by accident or out of curiousity and realize the religious delusion.

Mr. Bee I laughed when you stated at one point in your life you weren't aware a debate existed.

Hey GFC. I liked the way you asked your question to the Christian. When the Mormons came to my door last year I asked them a question in a similar fashion. I said without quoting the Bible or any holy books, why should I believe God exists? They didn't do too well.

Great article. These people must realize that both Hitler and Stalin had mustaches so..........

Andrew said...

Ex fundie...what is an "atheist lifestyle"?

ryan said...

My apology to the WM. We are not supposed to feed the troll, but I cant resist.

About the "atheist lifestyle"......I do not intend to speak for anyone else.

I am an atheist, but that is secondary. My "life style" is standing on my feet like a man; thinking for myself; thinking my own thoughts; doing what I think is best; loving those who earn my love; hating those who earn my hate.

People like andrew often think that atheism is what drives us. It doesn't. Our need to be free is what drives us, and atheism comes in later.

We do not need some ancient bronze age superstition. We need to be men. We do not need to live on our knees. If anyone knows a better way to live, I am listening.

ryan said...

And hi to billy.

billybee said...

Ryan writes;
"...I am an atheist, but that is secondary. My "life style" is standing on my feet like a man; thinking for myself; thinking my own thoughts; doing what I think is best; loving those who earn my love; hating those who earn my hate."

I give a big "I'M-IN" (Amen) on this one.

In the 'market place' of Christian AND Atheistic diversity, we see every shade of belief. From bumpkins to brainiacs.

This forum is welcome to all comers. It is challenging and educational when the debate heats up. It is the confrontation of fact vs fiction, proof vs bullshit and reality vs wishful invention that tests and reveals our weakness or strength.

The 'newbeys' have probably already been through much of the fire already. Most of them will be fine.

No pain, no gain.

And you just never know....? When I hear the troll ranting, I grin and think..."thou protesteth too much".

billybee said...

Hi Ryan..and exrayman, The Masters is over....now what? he he.

Fernando G. Toledo said...

I think question "Does God exits?" is improcedent. Why? 'Cause it assume God's idea is a coherent idea. But, I say isn't. If God's idea is possible, his existence if necesary. But his idea (his "esence") is imposible, ergo God doesn't exists, can not exists.

PD: Apologize my english.

Fernando G. Toledo said...

Sorry, I should say:

. If God's idea is possible, his existence is necessary

freedy said...

The atheist lifestyle is living free of the number one mind-numbing drug in the world,...religion.

One down,one-hundred to go!

Andrew said...

Gods favorite color is an old Christian hater from KC Freethought.

You should see the SHIT he and his fried Igor Dybal post over at KC.Freethought.

Real Garbage, even by the standards around here.

I saw him debate some Muslims a few months back and he got humiliated with his ignorance.

godsfavoritecolor said...

ExFundie wrote: “I love hearing about people actually living an atheist lifestyle out in the open. “
I've paid a price for living the atheist lifestyle in the open. I've been discriminated against at my workplace. I've been thrown out of Toastmasters for giving speeches criticizing religion. I've endured sneering remarks from strangers about my anti-religious T-shirts. I've been insulted and written out of the family by some of my in-laws. I've been attacked by Christian trolls for expressing my views on the Internet. And, yes, I was shouted down by Muslims when I gave a speech criticizing Islam.

After my speech “God's Favorite Color,” one member of the audience informed me (at least politely) that I had offended him. My response was, “Tough cookies, the constitution guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but not freedom from being offended.”

If troll Andrew, Bertram, etc. was at my anti-Islam speech, he was too much of a chicken-shit coward to publicly reveal himself and openly defend his trollery.

ryan said...

I do hope that "andrew" begins to smarten up eventually. His use of the term "christian hater" is comical.

In this world, those of us who have the insides to think for ourselves are the ones who are hated. We publish a few books and the xristians howl as though they were being dragged to the Inquisition.

I do not know which they hate more, our courage or our freedom.

Ray Braun said...

I just recently discovered this site (two days ago) and am fascinated with it. I certainly haven't had the time every thing on it but I managed to read your on "Does God Exist Debate." I have just recently begun devoting a great deal of time to writing on that subject and am doing so by looking at how people become believers or nonbelievers. It is my contention that either direction is a human right and that no one has any reason to suffer any guilt feelings for their belief. I am doing my best in this book to present all sides in a positive light. I should perhaps clarify that I consider "nonbelief" to be just another form of belief. Why? Because, in truth, no person can prove the non-existence of a god any more than one can prove the existence of a god. While no one knows what skills science will come up with next, it is not likely that in any century soon to come, anyone will prove existence or nonexistence. Therefore, to me, it is important that people be free to lean in which ever direction they find to be comfortable. The "debate" you attended may well have been a simple waste of time because the individuals chosen to lead it were, I think not really qualified for the subject. Biblical literalists are really not representative of good scholarly and level headed understanding about the Bible and Christianity ( look instead to great man like retired Bishop John Shelby Spong), and a professor of philosophy could be helpful but I think an open minded physicist could be better great physicists are more common that great people in religion but if you want read some of the best, to to the "Quotes" page on www.nobeliefs.com.
In your blog you asked for comments criticisms etc from "Ex Christians" Does that mean you are really just looking for some one to pat you on the back? Since I will not take a side, I may not fit into your criteria but I would like to sit down as a good friend with a coffee or beer (however I prefer wine) and make a suggestion. Your writing, which clearly reveals a very intelligent person nevertheless sounds profoundly bitter if not aggressive. I would certainly that you should give up listening to literalists or evangelicals. They, in many cases are very fine humans with a caring spirit but sadly miseducated by their chosen church and leadership. If, in fact, you chose to give up Christianity, and I can identify with that, why are you now not at peace with yourself? Do you still feel guilty about leaving? Or are you interested in finding some way that people can live in accord with each other even if they don't agree? I suspect that because you went to the debate partly with some kind of exploring mind--that would be good.
One thing troubles me. You seem very concerned that those who don't agree with you are nevertheless polite to you. Then frankly, why are you so rude back to them "Tough Cookies"; "chicken shit coward." "anti religious t-shirts" "Thrown out of Toastmasters". You sound as if you are just carrying on the traditions of your rude inlaws who may think they are Christian but are just being stupid. All that results in is provoking war and that behavior doesn't really do anything positive for your cause. You don't think Christianity should force itself on you or any one else and I agree. So why are you forcing yourself on people. It just carries on the war! It reveals the child side of us that has to win. I personally do not push my beliefs on people. Whenever asked about my beliefs I simply said "I just can no longer buy into the club." Yes I experienced rejection and persecution. Whenever you don't believe what some one else beliefs you are open to being badly treated.
Here I am telling you I don't push my beliefs on others while in effect I am doing that to you. But you seem like an intelligent, caring and thoughtful person. I think your peace, happiness and pride will do more than hostility.

Bill said...

Ray Braun said,

"Because, in truth, no person can prove the non-existence of a god"

No Shit because the burden of proof does not lie on the disbeliever. One lesson we have all learned here on ExChristian.net is the fact that one can not prove a negative.

One thing I do have a hard time believing is the fact that you are neutral. I have a sneaking suspicion you just might be a wee bit on the Christian side.

xrayman

Bill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the-walruss said...

Ray Braun,

I believe the people on this site are less interested in discourse with christians, and more interested in discussing the reasons they chose not to believe. Purging bad belief systems is the site's purpose, not debate.

True, sometimes people here get a little overheated, and say things that I personally feel are impolite and disrespectful to our christian visitors. But you have to wonder why the Christian visitors are here to begin with.

(Is this community just as bad as a conservative christian community, only spouting the arguments they agree with and ignoring the ones they don't? I don't know. You be the judge, but keep in mind that everyone has an information bias that conforms to their beliefs)

And yes, many people here feel guilty about leaving the faith they were raised in. Conservative Christian families truly believe that those who leave their faith are going to hell. They are willing to resort to any means necessary to bring those people back. These means can include extreme guilting, playing on fears and insecurities, and other activities that might be considered psychological torture.

The folks on this site are venting after being coerced and brainwashed for many years of their lives. Try not to judge us too harshly.

Also, I'd like to point out one logical fallacy. You state that one cannot logically prove the NON-existance of God.

I'd like to point out that you also can't disprove the NON-existance of large, ethereal, invisible elephants, massive spaceships with futuristic cloaking devices, or a giant, flying spaghetti monster.

That's why burden of proof is on the positive side of any debate.

:D!

AtheistToothFairy said...

Braun wrote:
I have just recently begun devoting a great deal of time to writing on that subject and am doing so by looking at how people become believers or nonbeliever...[]....I am doing my best in this book to present all sides in a positive light.
-----
Braun,

I'm sure many others will continue to comment on the content of your post, so I'll forego doing so, for now.

You say you are writing a "book"?
If that is a true statement, then I have two comments to make to you..

1. I have yet to read any book, where there are zero paragraph breaks, as in your LONG post here. Please tell me your book won't be formatted in the same manner?

2. It's also a good idea to proof-read what one's writes, especially when it's of considerable length (such as your post). Your post contains many errors; such as left-out-words to name just one.

I would also suggest that you need to do a LOT more research, before even thinking of trying to submit your writings on this subject to a publisher !!


ATF (Who wonders if god also hates paragraph breaks and proof reading to?)

freedy said...

Ray Braun,...man,freak'in shit or get off the pot!--Sorry I could not resist.

The AntiChristian said...

Ray Braun,

Yes, it is a war, and one that I am willing to fight. The Christians that were around me while I was growing up also thought that they were fighting a war.

They would purposefully be obtuse, intrusive, annoying, even belligerent with their religious pabulum, and after I became an atheist I found the only way to shut them up was to ridicule them. Anything that I said that had to do with reason was completely written off as "the devil's lies," and was useless in a debate.

Yeah, I pissed off a few people, especially my relatives, but they learned not to preach to me any more.

I finally learned that Christians have the confidence of righteousness when they preach, and they feel that the Holy Spirit is working through them.

If you just sit there politely nodding your head waiting for it to finish, they will think that the Holy Spirit has started a work in your heart. But if you ridicule their beliefs, they will know that it's having no effect. And if you ridicule them virulently, they will leave you alone.

Christians should be ridiculed.

The AntiChristian said...

Fernando G. Toledo,

Actually, humans have a wild imagination and a wonderful gift for believing in things that don't exist. For example, we can conceptualize unicorns, life on Mars, etc ... Where would Star Trek be if we could not conceptualize things that never existed?

boomSLANG said...

(Is this community just as bad as a conservative christian community, only spouting the arguments they agree with and ignoring the ones they don't?)

'Probably a rhetorical question, but here's the short answer, nonetheless: NO. Non-Theism is not simply Theism's counterpart. That mind-set is bit too simplistic, and really, the fact that this question isn't coming from a Christian, illustrates that not all non-Christians, or former Christians, "agree". There are many more reasons, one of which, is "this community" does not threaten, explicitly, or implictly, bodily harm, for those who don't adhere to, or agree with, the views presented here.

Here's where we likely do agree, however:

Asking for conclusive "proof" of a negative is, yes, a logical fallacy.

The AntiChristian said...

(Is this community just as bad as a conservative christian community, only spouting the arguments they agree with and ignoring the ones they don't?)

Sounds like dogma, eh? Well, if you call science, reason, logic, and beliefs based on solid evidence dogma, then I'm all for it.

As a skeptic, I am willing to believe in anything at all - as long as you provide sufficient evidence.

This is my dogma.

Astreja said...

Já, what you said, Antichristian.

If someone tells me that people three days deceased can come back to life, I want to see it from a peer-reviewed medical journal, not a mythology journal.

If someone tells me I'm so bad that I deserve to be burned alive forever, My first instinct is to wonder what they've been smoking.

(Upon more reflection I make quiet inquiries about restraining orders and double-check the locks on My house, in the event that the aforementioned lunatic is not merely stupid but dangerous to life and limb.)

If someone tells me that their god is about to snuff out all life on Earth, I immediately look to see what human finger is poised on the Doomsday Button.

And if someone tells me that the guy who was dead for several days was deliberately killed for My sake, so that *I* can go live forever with the cheery divine S.O.B. who's planning to blow up the world... Well, it's all I can do to not want to kick the living shit out of that special 'someone'.

This forum is the next best thing... A vicarious kick-in-the-teeth to destructive and egregiously stupid superstition and all those who would consciously inflict it upon another generation of homo sapiens sapiens.

.:webmaster:. said...

Ray,

This site is for encouraging ex-Christians, not an inclusive invitation to polite debate.

The process of de-conversion can be quite traumatic for people. De-programming from years of religious indoctrination is not easy, and is typically accompanied by a host of powerful emotions. You apparently have never experienced the abandonment, fear, frustration, and anger that follow leaving a religous cult. Christianity is a cult. It is a popular, powerful, and successful cult, one that comes in many variations and flavors, but it is, none the less, a religous cult.

Next...

Atheist is not the flip side of theist. A theist believes in a god. An atheist is without the belief in a god. An atheist is not saying "There is NO God," but rather, "I do not have a belief in any gods." To illustrate, all children are atheists because no child has a religious belief until taught to have one. We are all born atheists. We are all born without a belief in a god. Such beliefs are added later in life. And in fact, every Christian is an atheist in regards to belief in any and all other gods.

So, there is no middle place between belief and lack of belief. A person either believes in a god or doesn't believe in a god. It is quite disingenuous to claim a position of "I neither believe nor disbelieve." Either one has a belief in the supernatural or one lacks a belief in the supernatural.

Since atheists lack a belief in god, it is up to the theist to provide evidence to back up his or her claim that there is a god, and that the god in question is actually his or her god. A similar situation exists for those claiming that UFOs are visiting this planet and the aliens inside are performing odd experiments on innocent people. I lack a belief in UFOs. I am skeptical of the claims. So far I have been given no evidence that convinces me that any aliens are visiting the Earth. I may be mistaken, but until those making the fantastic claims can provide some better evidence, I remain an unbeliever. I remain an aUFOist.

In like manner, I remain an atheist.

ryan said...

Hi to billy and astreja. astreja, can I meet your killer rabbits?

Mr Braun, I am not sure if I am tracking you. About that book you are writing.......do not forget that there are people like me who do not give a shit if a deity exists or not. I am 60 years old and perhaps what I am about to say either sounds childish or senile.

I live my own life. I am not interested in justifying myself or assuming burden of proof. I need do neither. My life is my own.

If a god exists, let her go and create something and leave me the bloody hell alone.

About unbelief being a belief: knock that shit off. I used to do the same thing. I used to say "everybody has a god". I was ashamed of being a xtistian and my intention was really "you're just as silly as I am".

If you take an interest in my beliefs--I really do not care--here is what I believe: "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees" Emiliano Zapato

ryan said...

That should read "Zapata" My deepest apology.

Ray Braun said...

Dear Bill (xrayman?),

I am mentally slow enough to admit that I could be on the wrong track when it comes to my statement that "no one can prove there is no god." I agree that sounds a little downright stupid. Here is the reason I came up with that idea.

In the process of attempting to compile the material for a book on the subject of believers and nonbelievers, I discovered that approximately 70 to 74 percent of the human population of the world will declare, if asked, that they are believers in a god (that doesn't mean Christian and it is only what they say about themselves). Only approximately 8 percent of the world's population will have the courage to declare on record that they are nonbelievers. That is OK. The best of us usually are in the minority.

Nevertheless, if you want to write and publish a book, you cannot ignore what I might refer to as the will of the majority. Do not take me to be saying that the majority is right. Often they are wrong. However, if you don't respectfully address their concerns, you are subject to the kind of rejection that I think I am getting on this site.

Let me give you some more specific examples. These things have nothing to do with relligion:

When I was in my thirties I had some health problems that I figured out were due to a problem of low blood sugar (the nutritionists were talking about that a great deal). Low blood sugar, now known as hypoglycemia, is basically the opposite of Diabetes (hyperglycemia). Doctors at that period in history however, were quite ambivalent about whether such a thing existed or not. Depending on the doctor you went to, they would agree or say "There is no such thing." Despite that, today, Hypoglycemia is a well recognized condition in patients. But, back then, how would you talk to a doctor who says "there is no such thing!"?

Are you familiar with restless leg syndrome? It is a downright pain in the butt to deal with and I experienced a great deal of it when I spent (only 4 years ago) three weeks in the hospitle with a bout of Pancreatitis. The nurses had no idea what I was talking about. In their minds again, there was no such thing. Again, I ask can you claim there is no proof for what others claim as a negative??? In a sense you are right, the burden of proof was on me to show that I really had the problem. Well I did have the problem and now you forever see advertisements on the Tube for medications to deal with it.
One more: Ever heard of Fibromyalgia? Not until recent years have we seen any respectful medical sympathy for the condition which one of our friends, who was also blind and has kidney trouble, could get any medical recognition for.

The point I want to make is that science, when it becomes arrogant and narrow minded can make some really serious mistakes.

In my case, I am not willing to ignore the fact that a majority of the world's population believes there is a god. It is a matter of of too much similarity to the doctors who denied the existence of diseases that now are fully recognized in the medical community.

Our so called democracy is not always as democratic as one would like it to be. I could drag this letter on with examples of true situations where one single family controlled the wishes of a majority because of their religious beliefs. Suffice it to say that religious beliefs cannot be proven in any concrete way. They are personal and have no witnesses. Therefore, a person has no right to impose on you, me or anyone else what they cannot even prove. Nevertheless, we, on the outside of that person's head, cannot either prove to them that there isn't a god so they are gonna go on behaving according to what they think is right.

What I am (admittedly idealistically) looking for is a way to get through to those people. I will probably fail, but I think it is worth a try. I am just that kind of an idiot. Ray B

the-walruss said...

Ray Braun,

That's more like it. While I'm afraid that your examples leave a little to be desired, the overarching point (that in order to change a belief, you first have to find common ground with the believer) is true, and easy to overlook when making an argument that makes sense to you, but not to them.

The issue that you're facing is actually much bigger than that though. While your medical conditions and such were unidentified by scientists at the time, you still argued with your doctors rationally. Similarly, the way we think of debate, we have to argue with believers rationally.

They don't have to abide by these rules. In the world of extreme conservative religion, the rules of rationality don't exist, and the only guaranteed FACT is the FACT that God exists, and that the bible is his word. You can argue all you want, but that doesn't change those FACTS. If this FACT contradicts another known fact, for instance causality, they will deny causality before they deny the FACT that God exists. How do you beat this? I don't know. But if you find out how, please tell me.

The AntiChristian said...

Ray,
Your point about science and your previous health problems was well taken. In your earlier years, as you claim, the medical community's knowledge of those specific problems you mentioned were murky at best, but within the passing of a few short years, they seemed to have gotten a handle on those problems.

In contrast, in the 6000 years of human civilization, what advances has religion made? Are believers any closer to proving the existence of God than they were 6000 years ago? On the contrary, the most fundamental precept of religion, the existence of God, after 6000 years has yet to be objectively established.

What is more, science has actually given us clear proof that many of the original concepts found in religion were plain wrong. For example, astronomy has given us an accurate picture of the heavens, biology has given us the knowledge of how life began and evolved, and psychology has taught us that schizophrenia is not a matter of demon possession, but a mental disorder.

The scientific method is based on logic, reason, research, and evidence. It is progressive and self-correcting (as evidenced by your own experience). On the other hand, religion is based on fear, hope/faith in non-existent entities, and superstition. Its ideas are fossilized in tradition and propagated by ignorance and the fear of the unknown.

The figure you claim, 8% non-believers throughout the world, is quite believable. (I actually expected it to be somewhat lower than that.) It takes a great deal of courage to go against the tide of tradition, and it takes a certain amount of effort to replace superstition with accurate knowledge. It's much easier to believe in God than it is to study.

We atheist/skeptics do not claim that science has the answer for everything, but it's certainly the best thing we've got going for us.
In contrast, religion, with its emphasis on fear and faith, only serves to hold back the advancement of civilization.

Ray Braun said...

Dear Antichristian

Appreciate your very intelligent response and I am in almost total agreement. I am seeing several people here making very broad generalizations about Christianity that are simply not accurate.l Your comments about Christianity are accurate if you are talking about the literalist, evangelical, conservative, extreme right. They are sadly a pretty large segment but there is a more reasonable, rational, what we might call liberal that do not focus on sin, punishment, wrath of God, Jesus Saving and all that crap. I would guess that it is the former segment, not the latter that explains the choices of many of the exchristians here. I will gladly document what I am saying when I've got more writing time. Peace

Hells Bells said...

Ray,

I've been wondering about just that dichotomy - between liberal Christians and the fundies.

My wife has been thinking and talking herself back into faith. I'm sure there are a whole bunch of psychological reasons behind it - needing the security of something she's known since childhood, fear of loneliness, fear of damnation. Also she hasn't been able to answer the core question of what to do with her experiences - she cannot accept that her mind may already have been trained by her continued childhood exposure to Christianity to be able to work in a particular way. But her faith seems to be tempered somewhat - God is no longer all-powerful because that simply doesn't work. Instead he becomes some kind of "counsellor" figure who works through but is constrained by nature. The Bible isn't truth but contains pointers to the truth.

Alongside this, I stumbled across a website (http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/2961/index.htm) yesterday which presents another set of liberal Christian viewpoints - the resurrection wasn't physical, the whole world (not just Christians) will be "redeemed".

For me it still doesn't address the key questions about the existence of God or the existence of Jesus. If God isn't all-powerful then why does he deserve or require worship or obescience? How do you know how to read or interpret the Bible? Even the "errantist" starts using specific quotes from the Bible to support his case. And why are humans so important when they're just one very recent branch of the evolutionary tree? What happened for the rest of the 4 billion years that the planet has existed?

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

Andrew is the hate-filled Christian formly known as Emmanuel Goldstein. His posts are not welcome here and will be deleted. Please do not feed the troll.

The AntiChristian said...

Godsfavoritecolor,

Ignore Andrew. He's an idiot. Can somebody wipe his chin?

The AntiChristian said...

Ray,

I would like to hear more about these "liberal Christians" that you speak of. I grew up with Southern Baptists, whose mainstay was "sin, punishment, wrath of God, Jesus saving."

Later, when I went to the Assembly of God church, the emphasis was on worship, gifts of the Spirit
(speaking in tongues, faith healing, prophecy), and the Spirit filled life.

Before, when I said that Christians should be ridiculed, these were the kind of Christians that I was talking about. What kind of Christians are you talking about?

Also, I would like you to know that ex-Christians recovering from their de-conversion are often filled with bitterness and shame. The bitterness comes from the broken promises of Christianity; the shame comes from realizing how foolish we once were to believe something so ridiculous.

It has been 28 years since my de-conversion and I still have these feelings.

So, yes, you will find strong language on this site. Bitterness and shame are strong emotions.

godsfavoritecolor said...

Ray Braun,
I wasn’t sure that you would return to this thread, so I have hesitated in replying to your rather condescending critique of my rant, “Debate – Does God Exist?”

To begin my response, you closed your comments with “Here I am telling you I don't push my beliefs on others while in effect I am doing that to you.” I agree.

Earlier you said, “In your blog you asked for comments criticisms etc from ‘Ex Christians’ Does that mean you are really just looking for some one to pat you on the back?” It would have been more accurate to have said non-Christians. I’ve heard enough from Christians. They have nothing to say that I haven’t heard hundreds of times before, ad nauseam. This site provides an excellent sounding board for non-Christian arguments and I have learned much from reading the rants and discussions here.

Next you said “If, in fact, you chose to give up Christianity, and I can identify with that, why are you now not at peace with yourself? Do you still feel guilty about leaving?” What ever gave you the impression that I was not at peace with myself concerning my decision to give up Christianity? I gave it up over 45 years ago and have never been sorry for that decision for one second. That decision was the abandonment of guilt.

Then comes your long paragraph of pseudo analysis which I will answer point by point. You say, “You seem very concerned that those who don't agree with you are nevertheless polite to you. Then frankly, why are you so rude back to them … So why are you forcing yourself on people.” I have never forced myself on anyone, but I have reacted to others forcing themselves on me. A decade ago I decided that, like the character in the movie “Network,” that “I was mad as hell and I wasn’t going to take it anymore.” From that time till now I have refused to passively allow religious fundamentalists to force themselves on me.

Wrap your passivity around this example! Would you actively oppose a Nazi takeover of our government? In philosophy, if not in practice, Christian fundamentalists are worse than the Nazis. Here is why. The Nazi philosophy (and practice) was to torture and kill millions because of their ethnicity and beliefs. But, after the millions were dead, the Nazis could no longer hurt them.

In their philosophy, the Christians (via their invented god) will torture billions in hell for eternity. Is that not worse than the Nazi philosophy? Granted, rational people know that hell is a fairy tale, but how does the view of an individual as hell bound affect the treatment of that individual in real life? We saw an answer to that question in Europe’s dark ages. Christians are trying to take over our government and make it conform to their interpretation of the Christian Bible.

I don’t see moderate Christians doing much to restrain the fanatics. They remain fellow-travelers and enablers to the fundamentalists. The moderates should be speaking out against the bogus concepts promoted by Bible literalists.

As for my language I have always opposed censorship. I agree with George Carlin about the seven deadly words. The use of the scatological has been a tradition in English literature from Chaucer and before through the Enlightenment until the present day. Only since modern day political correctness has its use fell into disrepute. What other words could describe an attitude and expression of unreasoning smiley-faced certitude and brainless quote mining as succinctly as “shit-eating grin?”

You ask, “Then frankly, why are you so rude back to them … .” I am rude only to people that are rude to me. Christians are the ones who claim to follow the book that says “turn the other cheek.” I have never seen a Christian turn the other cheek and I as a non-Christian am certainly not going to turn the other cheek.

You claim, “I personally do not push my beliefs on people.” I don’t push my beliefs on people either. They push their beliefs on me and I push back. When I see what those claiming to be Christians are doing to our country and the world in the name of their religion, I feel it is my moral duty to speak out against and oppose their actions. To name just a few of their actions: tearing down the wall of separation between church and state, using tax money to support churches, promoting discrimination against gays, atheists and many other groups, backing a war fomented by greed in Iraq, etc, etc, etc.

At work I was discriminated against for the mere fact that I am an atheist by a rabid protestant fundamentalist and a rabid Catholic, who both hate each other. Is that my fault?

Many Christians wear a cross, to me an offensive symbol of torture and death. Apparently you feel that what is offensive to me is unimportant. But if I wear a T-shirt that is offensive to the Christian majority, it is rude and inconsiderate?

How is that you conflate being thrown out of Toastmasters with being rude to others. Toastmasters is an organization for learning how to confidently speak in public. The content of the speeches should be irrelevant.

Near the end your diatribe you say, “Whenever you don't believe what some one else beliefs you are open to being badly treated.” Is that the new version of truth, justice, and the American way?

You end with, “I think your peace, happiness and pride will do more than hostility.” So, I will end with this. I did not initiate the hostility. I am not one who insists that everyone bow down to my imaginary god. As far as I am concerned, others may maintain any irrational belief they choose as long as they do not infringe on the rights of anyone else. But, there’s the rub. They do continually insist on infringing on the rights of others. I feel it is my duty to vociferously oppose that infringement.

Eric Laird said...

Favorite color, you sound pretty angry.

However, I think the representation of "fundies" as "nazis" is just as inaccurate as the "fundies" saying Darwin led to Hitler.

Frankly, whenever I see that kind of argument, I think of Godwins Law.

In any event, comparing the Nazi death camps, which were real, to Hell, which you do not think is real, is a complete category mistake so I won't belabor it.

What you have really presented is a straw man to demolish at leisure, but refering to Christians in the generality is as fallacious as the troll who refers to "atheists" in the same manner.

And it was not just the Nazi death camps that were real, it was the death camp system of the Dialectical Materialists who founded something just as real.

I can already tell that you don't want criticism, but, as you say, Tough Cookies. Although you may not have intitiated hostilites, you are certainly making sure that they continue.

So I see you as only a step above the troll.

You have your opinions, I have mine.

Ray Braun said...

Dear God's favorite color
This, plain and simple, is a sincere apology for my dumb handling of an initial communication. I apologize for offending you. I am not sure what my mindset was on the day I wrote my initial comments to you. I know I had some sense that I was just a sympathetic friend offering advice but it came out more like a pathetic fiend being stupid. It is embarrassing to be guilty of doing something like that.

At some point when I can find the time I will write my story into the books so, if nothing else, you will at least see that I am sincere and not "trolling" as the group calls it.

My suggestion that you look up John Shelby Spong is sincere too. He is an incredible breath of fresh air. You will find, despite the fact that he is a retired bishop of the Episcopal Church, he is a renegade teacher and is in great sympathy with the kind of thinking that prevails on this site. Some of his books are "Sins of Scripture," "Why Christianity Must Change or Die." "Saving the Bible From Fundamentalism." etc.

Again, I apologize and thank you for reading and replying.

godsfavoritecolor said...

To Ray Braun:
Thank you for your gracious apology. If perhaps I went a little overboard in my reply to you, I too apologize to you. I believe that civilized people can have civilized differences of opinion. I hope you will stick around this site and post more of your thoughts. I may not post here very often. I have free time only sporadically.

godsfavoritecolor said...

To eric laird,
Yes, I think that my posts indicated that I am angry. If you can watch what the religious fundamentalists are doing to this country and the world and not be angry, I don’t think you are paying attention.

You may speculate to your heart’s content about my attitude and motivations. I don’t care. I do care that you misrepresent what I have written so that you can support your argument. What I have written is right there in black and white.

First, I did not compare Nazi death camps to Hell. I compared the philosophy supporting Nazi death camps to the philosophy supporting the idea of Hell, a subtle but significant difference.

Secondly, I did not refer to “Christians in the generality.” I referred to fundamentalist Christians, another subtle but significant difference.

I am certainly open to honest criticism. I am not open to Christian proselytizing and diatribes. And, I refuse to be a doormat at the opening of hostilities. However, I choose my battles. I will not waste my time arguing with Christian trolls.

And what is this about “death camp system of the Dialectical Materialists?” I think Godwin’s Law should include Stalin as well as Hitler. (I could have used Stalin, or Mao, or Pol Pot in my example just as well.)

You conclude “So I see you as only a step above the troll.” I think you are a troll. Are you sure your identity shouldn’t be Andrew?

I will not be wasting any more of my time on you in the future.

Stephen_Richard_Webb said...

After reading this post, I remembered a conversation I had a few months ago with a fundamental spiritual invader called brother cavenaugh...He told me that Jesus loves me, and that his love is unconditional, so I said to him "Then there is no worry about getting THROWN into hell, unless of course Jesus throws those he loves into hell." His reply was that Jesus doesn't throw people into hell, people fall into hell by not loveing him back, then I said "Well, what about the passage that says 'Depart from me, for I never knew you'? Besides the fact, if jesus loved me unconditionally as you say, then he must have known me while I was alive - if he says to me that he never knew me yet he loved me, then he is a liar." Needless to say that was the end of the conversation.