1/16/2010                                                                                       View Comments

Cornering a Christian

by Gray

If you really want to stump a Christian, ask one which doctrine of salvation is the correct doctrine, according to the Bible. And by that question, I am not asking what the Biblical steps to salvation are. I think all Protestant Christians would agree that the definition of salvation is basically, repentance and acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior. Rather, I am talking about which of the competing theological doctrines of salvation, like predestination, Arminianism and “eternal security” is the one true doctrine of salvation. In other words, how is salvation achieved? Is it through predestination? Or is it through the Arminian belief in a synergistic interplay between God’s calling and man’s choice to believe? Or, is salvation up to man alone and guaranteed forever, once chosen?

The fact that the Bible contains conflicting statements about the path to salvation is very telling. Salvation is the central theme of Christianity, yet the responsibility for and the eternal effect of the repentance and acceptance of Jesus has eluded even the greatest of all Christian theologians. And don’t look to the Bible for a clear explanation of one “true” doctrine of salvation. You will not find it. In fact, what you will find, if you really look, is a confusing and some would say, contradictory treatment of the subject. For instance, in Romans, chapter 9, Paul lays out a very compelling argument for predestination. In verse 17, Paul quotes God’s statement to Pharaoh regarding his role in dealing with Moses, ‘I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’ Paul concludes in verse 18, stating, “Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”

And Paul reiterates his point about predestination in other epistles, as well. And the theological teaching about predestination, which is backed up by plenty of Biblical references, is that once a person is “elected” by God, he can never lose his salvation, because it is God and not man who perseveres in the faith. However, if that is true, then why are there so many warnings in the Old and New Testaments that seem to be directed towards keeping people from straying away from the faith. One very scary example of such warnings appears in Hebrews, Chapter 4, verses 4-6, where the writer of Hebrews specifically states that if one (obviously a believer) falls away from the faith, he or she can never return. There are other warnings that undermine the theory of predestination, like the one in 1 Timothy, chapter 1, verses 18-20, where Paul warns Timothy to “fight the good fight”, lest he lose his faith, like others have.

And the fact that there are excerpts from the Bible that seem to contradict the doctrine of predestination is why other doctrines of salvation have been adopted by other denominations. The Arminians, named after the founder of Arminiansm, Jacobus Arminius, believe that God alone does not “elect” those to be saved. Rather, God calls and it is up to man to respond or not. Another departure from predestination that exists in the doctrine of Arminianism, is the teaching that one can lose his or her salvation (backsliding), but can return to the faith by repenting again, although I have never heard a good explanation for the verses I quoted above in Hebrews. Those verses are outliers to the whole lot of the differing salvation doctrines.

Finally, there is the doctrine of “eternal security”, or “easy believerism, as critics call it, which is taught by many popular mega church preachers, like Charles Stanley. This doctrine is my favorite, because it reminds me of my old Catholic days of sinning all week and then going to confession on Saturdays to get a “clean slate”. Stanley and those who preach eternal security teach that once a person prays the “sinner’s prayer” – God I am a sinner, and I choose to turn from my sinfulness and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior – they are saved forever, no matter what happens in the future. As long as the prayer is genuine when it is prayed, they are golden forever. Needless to say, many of the more fundamentalist churches are offended by this doctrine, because they claim it gives a person a “license to sin”.

You might ask, “So what if the Bible is not clear on exactly which doctrine is true?” Well, if you look at each doctrine and its practical application, you can understand why it is important to know which one is true. For instance, if a person asks, how do I get “saved”? A person who believes in predestination cannot honestly say, “Well, all you do is repent and accept Jesus”, because that is not true. It is God who chooses who will and will not be saved, according to the doctrine of predestination. Now, it is true that those of the Arminian and eternal security persuasion can respond in that way. However, if a person asks an Arminian or an easy believer, “What happens if I turn away for a while (backslide)?”, well, then you have another split in theology. The Arminians will respond, “If you backslide, you must repent before you can be saved again”. And the easy believers will disagree and say, “No problem, you are still saved, no matter what you did. There is eternal consequence for backsliding in our faith.” And then there is that really confusing warning in Hebrews, chapter 4 that I mentioned, which no doctrine has an answer for.

I think the fact that the Bible contains conflicting statements about the path to salvation is very telling. For me, it was one of the reasons I began to question the Bible’s accuracy. And I think something as important as the doctrine of salvation should be clear if it is the truth. It should not lead to hundreds of different denominations and such contention and confusion. And if you force a Christian to choose one doctrine of salvation, no matter which one they choose, they automatically back themselves into a logical corner from which they cannot escape. That is because there are equally compelling passages that support other, contradictory doctrines. Try it, it is fun.

104 comments:

webmdave said...

Great post. This is one thing that I remeber pissing me off in my systematic theology classes. Of course it only very mildly botheres me because our biased professor was quick to point out exactly what the proper thwological choice was . . . All wrapped up in a tidy bow.

Who knew theoligial issues argued about for centuries were so easy to solve!

As I was backed into the corner, it put another crack into the wall . . . Which eventually crumbled.

webmdave said...

Hi Gray,

Thanks for your post.

I agree that the Bible does not contain one description of salvation.

Recently it became overwhelmingly clear to me that the Bible is an anthology of stories from several anonymous authors and editors, over a long time period and in different settings, each with a different purpose. As Karen Armstrong said, it is the "Christianisation" of the interpretation of all these stories that means we can't read them for their original meaning - whatever was trying to be expressed is lost. You might call it Christian homogenisation.

In my opinion, the idea that there is one "theme" running through the book is tenuous, but this is a central concept for Christians - that the book is from one author and has one message (usually, "Man's salvation," or "God's glorification").

I actually don't agree with your idea that it is fun to challenge Christians on which doctrine of salvation they subscribe to! I think one can easily get bogged in dull theological wrestling as they try to explain this versus that, and you try to resist getting drawn into the mire. I am totally OVER those discussions, trying to prove A and not B from different verses. But if you enjoy that, I wish you good luck!

Thanks again for posting,

-- KSS.

webmdave said...

Of course Christianity gets even more confusing after this.
You see the rules to get to heaven can be very different from denomination to denomination.

The Baptist churches I visited wanted you to pray to Jesus to be saved and be dunked in water.
The Holiness church wants you to pray to Jesus to be saved and be sanctified (but no baptism).

So of course these two different methods of getting to heaven that I studied are at conflict because each make it very clear that if you do not follow their instructions then you will roast in hell and it will be your fault also because you were warned about it.
unfortunately for Christians this is just the tip of the ice burg on this issue.

webmdave said...

I'm not sure you'll be able to corner many of the true believers as the answer is too easy: "My doctirne of salvation is the correct one. The others got it wrong."

webmdave said...

Yes, but a little nagging doubt, firmly planted, can go a long way sometimes. Doubt is the doorway to truth.

webmdave said...

Gray,

Thank you for this post. You raise some good points.

The Bible does not describe a consistent path to salvation. For that matter, the four Gospels do not offer a consistent Resurrection story. It is clear to me that the Bible is a collection of stories that were written by various (often anonymous) people and bound together by people. Distinct groups of people disagree to this day what belongs in the Bible and how to interpret parts of it. If God wrote the 10 commandments with His own finger, He could have written the entire Bible in clear and concise terms. That obviously didn't happen. It's contents were written over many centuries. I guess God wasn't in a hurry to reveal Himself. The idea that there is a central theme to the entire Bible is also quite a stretch. People read into the text what they want to believe.

The idea that a person gets an eternal reward for believing in an idea is absurd. Any rational person would prefer eternal reward over eternal punishment. The Old Testament offered no concept of eternal damnation. That is a fairly new concept.

Time and modern communication and growing scientific evidence do not bode well for Christianity. I don't know if that is true re. Islam, but that is another matter.

webmdave said...

An excellent summary of an appalling, confused set of differing doctrines of Xianity. What a shame that Xians will not read it, any more than they read tyhe bible. It's a pity that Emperor Constantine can't come back & convene another council of the most prominent Xians alive today. It would make a marvelous TV series. The mind boggles in considering the possibilities of this explosive entertainment. :-)

webmdave said...

You missed one- Path of Salvation, which refuses to call itself "predestination" and it is not once saved always saved. They preach that the path is ask for forgiveness and turn your life over to Jesus, but this is not a guarantee once you do this. It must be repeated over and over again, in order to reach Xian perfection. It is not a one time thing and sin can be as small as taking the Lord's name in vain. To do so, means you have to go up to the altar again and do it all over again. One is supposedly not predestined in this case, because one backslide, which as I said can be just "Oh God!" you might just go to hell of it, therefore you much repeat the process over again. This is Wesleyan doctrine of course. One is not predestined to go to heaven, but must strive for Xian perfection.

webmdave said...

Interesting post but all religious ideas sound like a crock of shit to me and pitiful waste of time. I wasted too much time with it to give 'em more time trying to "refute" them. I got a life to live and things to do and experience.

See ya. ;-)

webmdave said...

as a kid my parents drug me to every single church in the county, really. so, i got to see everywhichway type of belief system there was. i've been sprinkled, douse, dunked. made to join churches. made to go up front to get prayed over (for what i had no idea). i saw people beg for healing, speak in tongues (a total hoax, i think), get "demons" cast out, supposedly although they were always the same old people even after the praying. i've been in the super traditional churches where no one smiled and the arm waving churches where everyone supposedly got along in biblical harmony. i've heard male preachers, female preachers. preachers with bible college degrees and preachers who just decided they were gonna have their own church as a part time job. after all that, after 34 years (6 years agnostic/atheist now) of going to church, wasting perfectly good sundays i only figured one thing out. one common thread that makes and breaks every single church. one thing they all want, believe in and fight over......money. the end.

webmdave said...

Gray,

the fact that different denominations have different theologies regarding salvation does not mean that there are many meanings of salvation in the Bible. It simply means that all of the denominations have got the correct meaning, but have over-stressed certain parts and under-stressed certain parts of the doctrine. The fact that you found contradiction shows that you haven't "really looked" at the Bible.

(2) It is not easy to understand the Old Testament, and the New Testament might not really be easier, because although it is written in Greek, it is written by people with a Hebrew worldview, so they write in Greek but reason in Hebrew. Think of translating Hebrew into Greek using Babelfish. This will be a word-for-word translation. After that, correct the basic grammar. And you will get something like the New Testament.

And one of the big differences between Hebrew and Greek is tenses. Hebrew has only 2 tenses: perfect and imperfect. So Paul's statement rendered in Hebrew would use the imperfect tense. So "hardens" will be "is hardening". Not only that, but "is causing to become hard" since "hard" is an adjective.

What relevance does this have to the interpretation of Rom 9:18 and the doctrine of Predestination? Simply that the Greek, used strictly, implies active agency on the part of God; the Hebrew allows for passive agency on the part of God. That is, God selects Moses but allows Pharoah's heart to harden. Predestination is valid insofar as it states that God has knowledge of the future (because He has meta-knowledge of the system of how Free-Will operates) but is invalid when it claims that Pharoah had no choice.

(3) Election by God is a choice, not something that occurs to you imposed by God.

(4) You are saved; but you can choose to act as if you are saved, or as if you are not saved. The Arminians seem to have stressed the second part, over the first. You cannot lose salvation any more than America can lose the Boston Tea Party, but you can "lose" your state of salvation.

(5) I wonder who your catechism teacher was. You clearly have a misunderstanding of Confession (similar to many Protestants). Confession is where you are supposed to fully repent of your sins and never do them again. Perhaps the "easy believerism" is taught by the Megachurches, but it certainly is not taught by the Catholic Church. I invite you to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church again on the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

As a final comment, the doctrine of Salvation is clear, that is, if you eliminate all your prejudices and favouritisms.

webmdave said...

Or the doorway to Cynicism.

webmdave said...

Gary,

I started Armenian (Methodist) and became a 5-point Calvinist. That is the whole enchilada: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Preserving the Saints. (TULIP). With a doctorate in theology and a passion for "THE Truth" I read more theology on this doctrine than any other area of dogma. The fine points of difference between the various branches of Christianity as they deal with this matter are silly to the extreme.

You are certainly correct that there is no uniform doctrine in the Bible. “Bible believing” Christians cannot take that position without destroying the foundation of their own authority so they bend the scripture verses to conform to whatever position they have been trained to parrot. I remember reading somewhere that arguments on the Predestination issue reached such a fevered pitch in England at one point that the Archbishop simply forbade any discussion of it. Today I am sure we would say he did it in the interests of "community cohesion".

Once someone comes to the conclusion that first the Bible is not an inerrant divine book and second that Jesus may not even have been an historical figure, all this "order of salvation" bullshit just evaporates with the rest of the delusion. Only within the artificial bubble of Christianity is it even an issue. It is an issue there only because it must be because the Bible must be saying one clear thing or the authority basis that holds the whole thing together crashes. When the Bible and Jesus simply will not pass muster the whole matter is foolishness. However, if the Bible and Jesus remain as someone’s authority for truth confusion and disagreement among the various camps of Christianity is the only logical conclusion.

Today, most Christians could care less about doctrinal details. Most preaching, in the mega churches anyway, avoids any details. That way there will be no information that might lead to disagreements on doctrine that could result in a lack of community cohesion. So is more "God loves you, Jesus loves you, be sure to love other people, Amen." Oh, yes, and everyone loves the music.

The people, like you, who pick up the magnifying glass and read the fine print in the Bible, will see all kinds of off the wall shit that just simply does not fit together in any consistent way. If you are under the sway of a theologian who has learned all the canned answers for their side of the question you will see that any disagreement with their particular side of the matter is because you simply do not see as clearly as they do. It works this way on both sides of the fence.
The contradictions and inconsistencies are manifold. Could this be the reason that the sheep are not really sure what that " Divine Holy Word" is actually saying about this central matter? Yup! The fact is that those who care about it will rarely change teams. Most do not care about it and just follow whatever their pastor teaches on this like the do on all other matters. Freethinking is what is missing. When one leaves the whatever the authority says crowd a whole new world opens and in the world of reason the proper interpretation of Scripture is about as important as being an expert in repair of wooden wagon wheels. Then there are always the Amish! NOT!

webmdave said...

"Recently it became overwhelmingly clear to me that the Bible is an anthology of stories from several anonymous authors and editors, over a long time period and in different settings, each with a different purpose." "In my opinion, the idea that there is one "theme" running through the book is tenuous"

Agree!! I have often wondered how much generality and vagueness is required to proclaim from the pulpit that the bible is not contradictory and prophesy is being fulfilled.

webmdave said...

Thanks for a great post. I have come to believe xtianity and church are nothing more than a social club.

webmdave said...

acatholic,

I am willing to bet than many regulars on this site know much more about the Bible and its contents than you do.

You quote a verse in Romans 9:18 in a book (Romans) supposedly written by Saint Paul. Perhaps you can tell us how Saint Paul was a credible apologist when even Pope Benedict XVI admits Saint Paul himself never knew Christ (feel free to Google that and see for yourself). The only firsthand experience Saint Paul ever claims re. Christ is that Saint Paul believed Christ appeared to him as an apparition AFTER Christ was dead. Saint Paul was not known to be an eyewitness to anything Christ said or did other than appearance(s) as an apparition.

Do you (or anyone) KNOW with certainty who wrote Genesis or Job or the four Gospels etc.? You certainly do not. They were all written anonymously. Many books of the Bbile were written anonymously. Strange that God would write the 10 commandments with His own finger and give it directly to Moses, but the Bible was written over many centuries by different people, and many books do not identify the author(s). Stranger still is how the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church do not agree which is the one true church. They claim to be correct. They claim to be guided by the Holy Spirit. So do you. You both can not be correct. The Holy Spirit certainly does not promote confusion re. doctrine, does it?

Do you know anything about the early Christian church before Constantine made it the state religion of the Roman Empire.

Do you attempt to defend centuries of Roman Catholic barbarism? How aobut the fact that the Vatican holds the most valuable private collection of artifacts in the world? So much for not storing up riches for yourself in this life, eh? Christ never did that, and He certainly did not advocate doing so... even though the Pope is supposedly the Vicar of Christ on earth... living in a residence of wealth and splendor unlike anything Christ ever experienced...

As an FYI, I have read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, along with 'Introduction to Christianity' by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and the Bible cover to cover multiple times, and umpteen articles by Karl Keating and/or other authors on Catholic Answers etc. I doubt you have anything original to add, but you are welcome to try.

webmdave said...

I think the most egocentric thing about Christianity, salvation, heaven and hell is that 60% of the World's population don't know or don't want to know anything about the Christian god, Christianity and its vagaries, so he/she/it can't very important in the scheme of things.

Surely if there was an omniscient god somewhere he/she/it would want everyone on the planet to know of his/her/its existence and not condemn 4.5 billion people to eternity in hell because they've never heard of the Christian god? How loving is that? What a terrible thing to do to your children, only tell a third of them that you exist and what a good father you are and send the rest of them to hell!

Christians are only 2.1 billion(and falling fast) out of 6.7 billion so they are well in the minority.

webmdave said...

I'd like to create so much doubt that they realize how ridiculous the whole concept of salvation is!

webmdave said...

"Time and modern communication and growing scientific evidence do not bode well for Christianity. I don't know if that is true re. Islam, but that is another matter."

Of course, you are quite correct. Experts tell us that the lifespan of a religion is maximum 2000 years. There have been an estimated 20,000 religions in the past 6000 years with 30,000 different gods. Of course, no evidence for even one of them.

So, Christianity is nearing the end of its time, as evidenced by the huge drop in believers in the past 20-30 years.

Apparently, in U.K. many, many, Muslims entering Britain to take up residence and a new life are leaving Islam. I'd be interested to see if this phenomenon is happening in USA, too.

Education is the key. As more and more people become better educated they cast off the old and blinkered beliefs.

webmdave said...

Pious_ted,

(1) I am referencing Gray's quotation. And Benedict XVI says that Paul doesn't know Christ, but doesn't refute Paul's credentials as an apologist. And doesn't "know Christ" means "doesn't know Christ physically"; it doesn't mean "doesn't know Christ spiritually".

Paul had St James vouching for him, and St James was one of the twelve who were with Christ in person.

(2) Genesis is attributed to Moses, even by the Jews. Luke is known to be a doctor working with Paul. The actual writers of the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and John are unknown, but it is reasonable to accept that the writing was at least directed or vetted by the Apostles themselves, since the earliest discovered manuscripts are within a lifetime, in fact even before the destruction of Jerusalem. The Epistles of Paul begin literally with "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ", so that Paul's authorship of the letters is definite. (Plus, some letters include details that nobody would have bothered to make up.)

And actually, the Eastern Orthodox Church - unlike the Protestant Churches and the Anglican Communion - does believe that the Catholic Church is the One True Church. The major difference between the Orthodox and the Catholics is over the role of the Pope in relation to the Patriarchs i.e. is merely political. The doctrinal difference - over the "filioque" clause in the Nicene Creed - is an error of translation imposed by a Byzantine Emperor who wanted to control the Church.

The Holy Spirit does not promote confusion over doctrine. But man - even men within the Church - can choose to follow or ignore the Spirit.

(3) Please enlighten me as to what you think I do not know about the early Church before Constantine. And then I will confirm if I have known these before we had this conversation.

(4) No, I will not attempt to defend barbarism, only to defend the doctrine protected by that barbarism. But a little word of warning: Church organization is not as centralized as people like Dan Brown think it is. Doctrinal management is centralized; administration is not. Ordination and Consecration are doctrinal issues; not managerial ones.

And I am sure that the Vatican's "private collection" is open for public viewing once every quarter at least; otherwise how would people know of its existence? Incidentally, what would you like the Vatican to do with its "private collection? And rest-assured, the "private collection" is not the "private collection" of Benedict XVI or John Paul II or any Pope preceding them.

And as any Papal biographer would tell you, the Pope does not live in "a residence of great wealth and splendour". The real Papal residence is much more spartan than the facade of the Basillica. That the Pope lives like Bill Gates or Donald Trump is the worst lie anyone could make about the Pope.

(5) Have you tried to understand the Catechism?

webmdave said...

"Confession" was another of the RC Church's ways of bringing income for the bishops, who ran the finances of their own dioceses. The church was a business, just like any other. It was also like the Al Capone system whereby if you didn't join and pay for protection(tithing) then torture and possible death were on the cards. No wonder the RC church got so powerful and achieved so many believers. Even I would have believed, on pain of the Opoe's Pear torture or burning at the stake.

How anyone can belong to a group/business/church built on the decimation/torture/misery of all those who have gone before amazes me.

They were called "indulgences" and the poor parishioners had to pay for them! No wonder the RC church has always been an "old boys club" . It was a sure way to wealth.

webmdave said...

Freddie,

I will not deny that there have been many abuses in the Church. But I am not defending the abuses of Church Leaders; I am defending the doctrine that they were assigned to teach and supposed to practice. (Although, admittedly, they seldom practiced it.)

webmdave said...

I suppose what I'm trying to say is the the doctrine coming from an organization built on fear, coercion, fraud, lies and deceit should be screwed up and discarded as valueless nonsense.

webmdave said...

I agree that education is the key. One issue with Islam is many people in the Middle East, Indonesia, and parts of Africa are largely undereducated. Seeing the ranks of Islam grow in any such areas is alarming. Very backward religion.

webmdave said...

Hmm, that is an ad hominem against the Doctrine.

webmdave said...

That's the funny thing not only does Chrisitianity require blind faith to believe in the Christian God. It also requires blind faith to believe you've interpreted the bible correctly to stumble on the true means of salvation.

webmdave said...

Except Hebrews 6:4-6 blocks that. ;)

webmdave said...

I just stumbled upon this website tonight. Fascinating the fervor displayed in hating Christians. You seem to have formed your own doctrine and church.

webmdave said...

Are you sure that you know the meaning of "ad hominem"?

It means attacking the person. I'm not attacking any person, I'm suggesting that the doctrine regarding salvation is nonsense.

webmdave said...

(5) If you choose not to try to believe it, even St Francis of Assisi can't help you.

What does St. Francis, an animal lover and "patron saint" of animals have to do with this? He also gave up almost everything he owned and relied on "the kindness of others" just to eat.

So what will convince you that the Bible is reliable if you have prematurely blocked out every avenue that you would use with regards to any other text?

They aren't reliable. Even scholars and priests (Episcopal priests that is) have said that. None of them were eyewitness account (see Bishop Spong for one source)

If you say that they were copying from each other, what reason would they have for copying stuff?

Again, since you probably won't accept scholars such as Robert Price and Victor Matthews, I suggest Spong, Marcus Borg, Tom Harpur, Don Cupitt, and alike.

Catechism- shall we go a few rounds? I have it right in front of me- the Episcopal edition. How about the Nicene Creed? It is pure paganism, derived from paganism.

As for Luke, that was not the actual name of the author who wrote the Gospel of Luke. The Gospels were written to the Hebrew Liturgical calendar and there is nothing factual about them.

Honestly, there is not much difference between the Catholic and the Episcopal Church- which I came out of, except in matters of birth control, abortion, LBGTs, women priests, etc etc. The worship is the same, as well as other things. So, I am not afraid to go a few rounds with you either and no this is not the first post of yours or Ted's in this discussion thread. I've read them all and quite frankly, you have not said anything that is convincing.

webmdave said...

acatholic....and just WHAT is your need to come here and smugly try to get us in a debate with you ? You have said above ^ that you have " been very patient thus far "......WHO ASKED YOU TO CHARGE IN HERE, BTW ? Go take your " patience " elsewhere.

webmdave said...

On point 2, are you saying God didn't harden Pharoah's heart (and thus doesn't harden others)?

Exodus 4:21 seems pretty clear that God planned before hand to harden Pharoah's heart so that he wouldn't let the people of Israel go(unless that is a mistranslation too? As I don't understand Hebrew or Greek this link is the best I can do in finding an accurate translation: http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0204.htm ).

Except that whole passage in Romans 9 is built on the concept that God did harden Pharoah's heart, and does harden others as he see's fit. Paul specifically states that it doesn't depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy...

So is this then Paul spreading the false doctrine through the NT itself, because he didn't get the translation from Greek/Hebrew?
...which would bring us back to the original point of the article, that the bible contradicts itself on it's own theology.

webmdave said...

Tell that to Wesleyans.

webmdave said...

lol, yep it's a mess.

webmdave said...

Check the Interlinear Bible at scripture4all.org.

The actual text says "I shall make steadfast the heart of Pharoah". Whether "steadfast" is active or passive is unclear.

And no, the Bible only contradicts itself if you don't view it with the correct attitude.

webmdave said...

summerbreeze,

Well I came here thinking that atheists are reasonable people. Unfortunately, the responses of you and others have proven to me otherwise. *Sigh*

webmdave said...

All Xian sects are a mess and really screwed up with delusion and victims of a HUGE mindf***.

webmdave said...

the Bible only contradicts itself if you don't view it with the correct attitude.

ROFLMAO! Now that is a real delusion and corruption of the literature, for sure. There is NO such thing as "correct attitude" concerning religious texts. Only delusion.

More authors for you to read, besides Bishop John Shelby Spong and Victor H. Matthews. Try Robert M. Price, Don Cupitt, Tom Harpur, and the others I mentioned. They might help you break some of your delusion. Even the Archbishop Rowen Williams called the Virgin Birth story a legend, which is a form of MYTHOLOGY! Not only that, many of the above that I mentioned have pointed out the contradictions and they ARE contradictions regardless of one's mindset.

webmdave said...

Actually, one is hardly reasonable if they cling to their superstitious beliefs. That is not reasons, but relying on superstition.

webmdave said...

So it is Paul making the error here? ...in assuming the verse meant God 'hardened' Pharoah's heart, rather than just making him 'steadfast'?

I don't understand the active/passive thing regarding the word 'steadfast'? Either way it's still God 'making' Pharoah steadfast, so it would seem to be clutching at straws to say God was 'passive' here.
God obviously did 'something' to Pharoah prior to Pharoah's decision, in order to at least influence him - enough that God knew it would be effective enough to sway Pharoah toward not letting the people go - just as he wanted - seeing as this was the purpsoe for which God had raised Pharoah up...

Which Paul then builds his whole case on for the rest of the passage... in which he is definitely clear himself, that he believes it was God who hardened Pharoah, that Pharoah didn't have a choice - as he then goes on to address in 9:19 onwards...

If the bible can't handle an inquisitive attitude then it doesn't deserve the respect it demands.

webmdave said...

You can *Sigh* all you want. Y O U are the one who barged in here with your holier-than-thou and haughty attitude! Now think, is THAT
"reasonable" ? ? ?

webmdave said...

It's not just a mindf***. They are charged with spreading the 'good news' - so with evangelism and apologetics it becomes mind Rape.

webmdave said...

Yes, I stand corrected. I like the term "mind rape" much better.

webmdave said...

Reasonable, with an idiot like you? What a waste of good reason.
*Sigh* on this, you pre-VatII crypto-Marian-postJohnPaul-postulant of the holy-rotating-relics-of-holyghost-mounted-Mary: No one is asking anyone here to be reasonable, nor do we expect believers to come to test the cold ex-christian waters. Fortunately we were able to extract a sigh...I was hoping for uncontained incontinence for at least a boxful of Depends.
*sigh* some more because I'm just getting warmed up. Beware the ire of an exCatholic!

webmdave said...

Catatonic Acatholic as Cathartic Tonic

“And no, the Bible only contradicts itself
If you don't view it with the correct attitude.”
If that doesn’t take the host for a platitude!
This excatholic pushed the bibles off the shelf.

One more self-assured believer preached
Conversion with the arrogance that comes
With blind acceptance by papist bums
Assuming ultimate knowledge has been reached.

When clich├ęd phrases are vehemently opposed
Chicken shit Roman Catholics revert
To inane attacks with hopes to re-convert
Only to face backs turned and doors closed.

Listen acatholic and maybe you’ll learn a bit
You’re attacking bright exChristians, you twit!

webmdave said...

Hey, I'm trying to be reasonable and understand your point about incorrect translation of Hebrew/Greek, etc. I'm just pointing out where the argument has flaws.
Just because I use my mind to overturn the apologetics doesn't mean I'm unreasonable.

webmdave said...

I'ts not the sins of the fathers, or the bishops or popes...schisms and political battles aside, sprinke the water on the forehead or do full immersion for baptism...
It's the doctrine that is the most serious problem. It is seriously flawed. The basic tenet that the god of the bible exists is the foundation of the whole structure, and the fact that there have been some good and just ministers/priests/rabbis that continue to teach it is a much more serious problem than the scandals and misdeeds of the clergy.
We have all had to assume the missionary position and had the dogmadildo inserted, and that is totally indefensible.
Your doctrine is wrong, wrong, wrong, and, just to vary it, deadfuckwrong.
More than seldom practicing any of it, I would hope it would disappear from the face of the earth.
Others have read this from me before, but you might be unaware of the fact that I'm partial to the Quetzalcoatle plumed-serpent myth. The Omecs/Mayas/Aztecs had a very interesting cosmology and I really like some of their gods. You can't beat a huge multi-colored plumed serpent for pageantry and drama. Much more satisfying to me than some bleeding naked guy on a pole.
So you keep your myth, and I'll keep mine.

webmdave said...

I would like to do some serious ad hominem, ad humus, ad homotesticlenonerotic admonitioning, my dear acousticalcatheterholic:
You seem to have a smattering of information about some of the languages used by some of the scribes about stories heard third-hand in some cases...
Your somewhat condescending attempt to explain some of the challenges of the languages and translations of the bible.
If you had been around at the time of the council of Nicaea you would be faced with such a multiplicity of writings, languages, sects and opinions that you would go into instant catatonia.
It's not losing salvation that's a concern: it's losing your marbles, and yours are knocking around and ricocheting in a pretty empty box.
None of your statements are relevant, of interest nor based on enough information to even want to tangle with you on them. If you want to dabble in biblical research, that's fine, but don't come with a few droppings and attempt to instruct us in matters that quite a few members of this august exChristian group could teach you.

You are one arrogant and irrational pup...I know you probably are putting notches on your crucifix with each statement you write as if you've somehow shot down our arguments.

My belief in myself, my reason for existing, my direction and my very responsible actions is pretty solid. That being said, I love to get totally irrational, juvenile and foul-mouthed when confronted by a Roman Catholic fundie like you. You fucking get my whole self into an excited state of creativity and verbosity. I'm fairly creative and verbose in my regular life, but you stir up my juices to a whole new level.

I feel I'm the hound of heathens, barking at your skinny ankles and wanting to chomp on your holy butt! I want to insult you in ways you've never been insulted before: I want to create sacrilegeous novenas that end with those endless repetitious litanies where the congregation intones something like 'have mercy on us'...

Calcified Dog-ma Shit, stay away from us;
Wart on the Holy Butt, stay away from us;
Bugger in the Marian Nostril, stay away from us;
Toe jam in the Martyr's Toes, stay away from us;
Asswipe of the Assumption, stay away from us;
Pants Painter of the Popes, stay away from us;
Deliverer of Dogshit Dogma, stay away from us;
Hail Mary full of grapes, stay away from us;
Spouter for the Holy Spooks, stay away from us;
Shooter of the Holy Bird, stay away from us;
K.Y for the Holy Colon, stay away from us;
Proctologist of the Prophets, stay away from us;
Beholder of Bible-Bile, stay away from us:

Stay far, far away from us,
I beg you in Quetzalcoatls feathered name.
XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

webmdave said...

Reasonable? You want reasonable?

Heeheeheeheehee! You've *got* to be kidding Me.

AC, you come here representing an organization which has set humanity back by at least 1,000 years. My own ancestral homeland was invaded, and the native culture driven underground for hundreds of years. Tens of thousands of people have been tortured and murdered as "witches." A cat-killing order issued by Innocent VIII led to the deaths of millions of people in the Black Plague.

You'd think by now the folks in Vatican City would have smartened up, but even as I type this people are still suffering.

The Roman Catholic Church has had its claws around the throat of humanity for nearly 1700 years now, and the world is not better for it. I will not be 'reasonable' until the organization has been reduced to a fading memory in the annals of human history.

webmdave said...

Now is that ad hominem or what? Screw cool, rational, balanced and civil debate: I'll leave that to Fox News and Rush.

webmdave said...

I'm really loving this: what a great way to honor the work of Martin Luther King (His community and political work, not the faith part...)
So acatheterolic,
"And one of the big differences between Hebrew and Greek is tenses. Hebrew has only 2 tenses: perfect and imperfect. So Paul's statement rendered in Hebrew would use the imperfect tense. So "hardens" will be "is hardening". Not only that, but "is causing to become hard" since "hard" is an adjective. "
Let me rejoice in a very personal and private way for your contributions to our fair site. I turn 67 on the 18th and at my age an condition, the only thing that hardens these days is the callous on my foot. Well, your comments have actually caused something else to become hard. (We're all modern adults so this shouldn't be insulting to any reader on this stream).
You have given re-newed vigor to my little wrinkled fellow because your explanations of Greek grammar and predestination have given what had passive agency a vigorous active agency. Your so inappropriate and dumb commentary has my whole system erect!
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
You are predestined to carry a stupid gene with you all your life. I assume you are a mature adult so there is little hope that modern science can cure you of your stupidity. I fear, though not flaccidly, that it is chronic and fatal.
Rather being concerned with Paul's rendering in Hebrew of how hard it is, I'm really bothered by everything you are writing about and refering to. My mind is fully erect and indicating that you are depositing a large amount of biblical bullshit on this site, and none of it is requested, wanted, desired, hope for or in any way acceptable.
So, away with you, or I'll call you the boil on the bottom of the lowliest, least bathed bible-scribe.

webmdave said...

If I might translate your response to Summerbreeze:

"I came here thinking that atheists are reasonable people. Unfortunately, they are, and none of them would agree with me, so I shall retreat in a huff to safer places where I do not need to engage my grey matter."

*Sigh*

webmdave said...

Actually,

And no, the Bible only contradicts itself if you view it!

webmdave said...

"(1) I am referencing Gray's quotation. And Benedict XVI says that Paul doesn't know Christ, but doesn't refute Paul's credentials as an apologist. And doesn't "know Christ" means "doesn't know Christ physically"; it doesn't mean "doesn't know Christ spiritually"."

There you go again with you wild, unsupported assumptions and assertions.

Please explain, using verifiable evidences and sources, the existence of an aspect of knowing that occurs only spiritually.

How does this come about?

How is it measured?

What effects does it have?

How is the veracity of knowledge imparted thus verified and against what standard?

Your opinion is not sufficient as the basis of an argument which you use to reach your conclusions, otherwise you are merely a bigot.

webmdave said...

But more likely the doorway to knowledge, hope, truth and (nota bene) humility, as it teaches us what we do not know and does not attempt to substitute dogam for ignorance, as you appear to have done.

webmdave said...

My experience has been that when someone punctuates his/her comments with "Hmmm" and "Sigh", those comments can be ignored pretty safely.

acatholic, if you really believe what you're saying, that context and linguistics have to be taken into consideration, you ought to study rabbinic thought. Their opinions regarding the extent to which Christianity is based upon the Old Testament will dramatically affect your beliefs. Of course, I suspect you won't bother; you already have a belief system that tells you everything you think you need to know.

webmdave said...

Excellent point! Thanks for posting that. I look forward to the answer you get.

This character, acatholic, is similar to many smug apologists I have encountered. He/she hasn't made one original point yet. They are like drones trying to defend their dogma.

The drones in defense of dogma!

webmdave said...

aureliom,

Thanks for posting that.

You are right about Catholic apologists being smug.

webmdave said...

Another capital response. Well said.

webmdave said...

I see no hatred towards Christians. I see loathing of Christianity, that shows, hopefully, for it is surely one of the greatest curses ever placed upon humanity.

webmdave said...

One cannot have a reasonable conversation when one believes they are right and everyone else is wrong. acatholic believes s/he is right and we are all wrong, thus s/he tries vehemently to sway us towards his/her thinking. Notice how s/he has been insisting "you're wrong", "you don't understand", "you haven't read correctly (as though they are right and know it all)", etc etc. That is not reason nor is it anything else. To insist one is right and everyone else is wrong the way they have, just goes to show that they don't know what they are talking about, as well as a sign of a delusional mind.

webmdave said...

Hating Christians? No, you're way off base. If that were true, then many (most) of us would hate our very own families. We don't.

Think of it this way: Hate the sin; love the sinner. Hate christinsanity, love the christian. Understand the concept?

Having said that, I will admit to hating Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggart, Rick Warren, - and all their disgusting ilk. But hey, that's just me. I think they deserve to be hated for the hateful preaching they spew. When/if they change, then I will be among the first to withdraw my hate. I'm not holding my breath.

webmdave said...

Folks, I believe that another xtian has been cornered! LOL!!!! ;-)

webmdave said...

I'm not finished ripping up the various creeds, prayers, etc commonly shared by and are rote to the RC and Anglicans either. I could rip the Holy Eucharist to shreds too, which the words to it is not too much different between the RC and Anglican.

webmdave said...

Excellent Mriana !

webmdave said...

Astreja : " The Roman Catholic Church has had its claws around the throat of humanity for nearly 1700 years now, and the world is not better for it. " W E L L..S A I D ! !

webmdave said...

I'll try again, W E L L..S A I D ! ( guess I'll have to count letters in the future, to keep from having disjointed words ! - ha )

webmdave said...

Borg drones to be exact.

webmdave said...

Apologists states: "Even the Papal States was donated by a Roman Emperor. Prove me wrong if you have the evidence."

a.) The duchy of Rome was originally under the authority of the Byzantines - the Papacy was the largest landowner in Central Italy. There was no Roman donation.

b.) In the midst of a war with the Lombards - the Pope made the Lombards "donate" back a fort they conquered. The Lombard King donated it to St. Peter and Paul after the Pope threatened him with some sort of magical retribution from these two bearded cosmic henchmen. The fact that the Lombard King donated it directly to St Peter and St Paul rather than the Byzantines probably gave the Pope delusions of grandeur.

c.) The KING OF THE FRANKS Pepin III and NOT a Roman emperor donated the lands that would become the Papal States after defeating the Lombards on behalf of the Pope.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepin_the_Short
Since Pepin III had usurped the throne from the Merovingians he needed papal validation. The Pope agreed and sent a papal bull to convince the Frankish nobles to vote for him (while his army made sure they did regardless of papal authority or not :)) and later the Pope himself traveled across Gaul to anoint Pepin III himself and confirm his title.

The Byzantines were the big losers here - Pepin III completed his end of the bargain...oh wait...I should be politically correct here for the Catholics. I didn't mean 'bargain' - I meant 'donation.' :)

Donation (as defined by canon law) - the GRATUITOUS transfer to another of some right or thing.
Bargain - To transfer for a consideration; to barter; to trade; as, to bargain one horse for another.

And oh you might want to check out the Donation of Constantine - a document forged around that era that stated that the Papal states were donated by Constantine himself because he was healed by Sylvester's healing magic. Somehow Pepin III's donation was merely a return to the state of affairs under Constantine - useful since the document would then negate the claims of the Byzantines. The papacy used this forged document heavily in the middle ages only for it to blow up in their face during the Renaissance.

Sigh.

One thing I like about Pepin III was he got the Pope to carry out his side of the deal first. Thats good political advice whenever you deal with a man of the cloth - never trust any man whose outward authority stems primarily from self-righteousness and whose actions come from cold self-interest.

The papal states was the result of a bargain between a pope seeking to usurp the political authority of the Byzantines and a Frankish usurper who needed the Pope's political authority to cement his Kingship of the Franks

or in catholic speak

"Even the Papal States was donated by a Roman Emperor. Prove me wrong if you have the evidence."

webmdave said...

I have no hatred towards Xians. What I don't like is the tactics and behaviours of the more extreme religionists, esp those who insist they know it all, attempt to impose their beliefs on others, attempt to convert, insist they are right and everyone else is wrong. Those are the things I take issue with.

webmdave said...

Thank you, Summerbreeze. :)

webmdave said...

I LOVE EVERYTHING PIOUS_TED SAYS. lol. "Time and modern communication and growing scientific evidence do not bode well for Christianity". Well stated. For me, There is no room for christianity where there is no proof, no single shred of positive tangible evidence. All atheists from hence forth realize that we do not sell certainty (or anything for that matter), we encourage doubt and the discovery of truth.

webmdave said...

Speaking of Catholics and the virgin Mary, the Pope is against any form of birth control except abstinence, but she's proof that that doesn't work either.

webmdave said...

AH! ROFLMBO! That was too funny, Spacemonk, but all so accurate. :)

webmdave said...

I think Xtianity has tried very hard to compete with science, history, scholars, and has failed to do so. Apologetics are a poor attempt to makes sense of nonsense. Once again i will say that they sell certainty, we encourage doubt. PIOUS_TED is correct in his conve with acatholic, better men have tried and failed miserably. In order to prove the existence of god you would have to disprove physics, philosophy, history, and many other concrete studies that can and have been tried, tested, proven, and reproven. THERE IS NO PLACE FOR A GOD! period, end of sentence, done.

webmdave said...

Thanks, again, for the kind words.

I am fine with exchanging thoughts and ideas, but I despise when pious people come to our forum "knowing" they are right and we are wrong. I was willing to explore and embrace the breadth and depth Christianity to the fullest extent possible over nearly 35 years. I sincerely explored Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and many different Protestant denominations. It is not believable. It has no proof other than "tradition" and "hope" and "faith". That should not be enough for any rational person.

Let acatholic be anethema to this site.

webmdave said...

A couple of points: As said above, this is a support site and not a site where people are welcome to try to "reconvert" us as it were.

Maybe an analogy would help: Suppose we were all recovering smokers, people trying to stop smoking, people who quit decades ago, and the like who congregate at a stop smoking support site. Someone like yourself comes waltzing in here telling us that we wouldn't have quit if we had just tried menthol, or another brand, or only smoked in social situations, etc. and that we don't realize what we are missing and ought to try your brand. Keep in mind that some here may have been tobacco farmers, some worked for R J Reynolds or Phillip Morris, some were quit counsellors, whatever, and someone like yourself says that they have no idea what they are talking about - smoking has so many benefits! The dangers are a misperception on our part because you have smoked for a whole year and it hasn't killed you yet so it must be ok and we are just confused.

The analogy fits.

We should have warned you: Pious_Ted, XPD, and auroliem eat Christian apologists for breakfast.

webmdave said...

No, we don't hate Christians. What we do hate, however, is the mental damage it has wrought to most of us, and some hate things done in the name of religion. I am still pretty miffed about the massive genocide perpretated on my people in the name of "manifest destiny" and trying to "civilize" us. Had those folks succeeded in wiping out all of my ancestors, then I would not be here. Oh yeah, the crusades kind of sucked, too.


What I fail to "get" is how a deity who has been responsible for so much death, destruction, and misery would be a deity worthy of worship and praise? I have come to the conclusion that it is "just in case" that people try to believe, and not out of true love and admiration in an invisible being who allowed Job to go through hell on a bet. If it is love and admiration, how twisted and sick is that? Why would anyone even want to worship a being for all eternity?

If there is a deity and it is BibleGod, then he/she/it is no better than a kid who pulls the legs off of bugs for amusement.

I bring up manifest destiny because of the constant whinging that the US was founded as a Christian country (which is a lie) and as a whole our country has done some atrocious things. Then again, those things are no more heinous than the millions killed in the Old Testament by and on behalf of BibleGod so on second thought, it is consistent with your god.

Personally, I hate hypocrisy and mental abuse, and Christians are some of the worst perpretrators of both I know of. It doesn't apply to all of course, but look at most involved in the Tea Party movement and there they are in a nice, neat little group for all to see.

We also take much offense to people coming in here and telling former priests, pastors, and the like that they don't know what they are talking about.

webmdave said...

That made me snort and scared my poor kitty out of my lap. Well done as always.

webmdave said...

there certainly is a lot of stumbling going on in, around, and about this website. i myself once stated that i stumbled into this place. ( but i am glad i did)

webmdave said...

acatholic: As a final comment, the doctrine of Salvation is clear, that is, if you eliminate all your prejudices and favouritisms.

ME: Ok, then WHAT is the doctrine of salvation, if it is so clear??

webmdave said...

acatholic:
As a final comment, the doctrine of Salvation is clear, that is, if you eliminate all your prejudices and favouritisms.

ME:
If it is so clear, then what IS the doctrine of salvation?

webmdave said...

Hello acatholic,

I am sorry, but I must correct you on this statement:

"the New Testament ... although it is written in Greek,
it is written by people with a Hebrew worldview, so they write
in Greek but reason in Hebrew."

This implies there is continuity of mindset from the assorted writers of the Old Testament and the New Testament. This is an uninformed view of the various writers of the Bible, who are separated by long periods of time and come from different political and cultural settings, and speak a different language.

Here are some realities that make the thinking and logic of the New Testament very different from the Old:

1) the majority of Jews in the first century lived *outside* the land of Israel, and many never visited Israel in their lives; this is evidenced by synagogues all around Asia Minor, new places of Jewish worship, unheard of in the Old Testament;

2) the use of the Hebrew language was in decline; this is evidenced by the critical importance of the Greek Septuagint rather than the Hebrew Old Testament; the Old Testament in Greek was critical to the operation of the synagogues; you will note that 90% of the NT quotes are from the Septuagint, not from the Hebrew;

3) the misinterpretation of Jewish verses from the Septuagint gives rise to some of the later ideas of Christianity, such as "a virgin shall conceive", showing a lack of familiarity with the original Hebrew books and their context; even misunderstandings are copied into the New Testament from the Septuagint (e.g. "riding on a donkey, and on a colt the foal of a donkey")

4) the land of Israel was under political and military occupation and Jewish life was under threat; the creation of a Greco-Roman friendly "Christian" faith was a response to signal that this neo-Jewry was not a threat to Rome;

5) the writers of the New Testament had no idea they were adding to the Bible; the Bible was not "finalised" until editors decided the books in the fourth century, with a great deal of political controversy about what should be included or excluded; this was a strange replay of similar struggles by the Jews about the Old Testament books; many attempts were made by the early, dominant Christian 'orthodoxy' to destroy the excluded Christian writings.

So it is not correct to suggest that the "mindset" of the Old Testament writers was similar to the New Testament with only the language being different. It makes sense that our mindset is different to that of the Victorians - we cannot write from the same perspective or even language of that time. Likewise the Bible, but more so.

I've found it very important to understand how the Bible came to be written. When this platform was shaken, faith changed for me.

Hope this helps.

-- KSS.

webmdave said...

Thanks dealdoctor, I found this very helpful.

Especially these bits:

"Today, most Christians could care less about doctrinal details. Most preaching, in the mega churches anyway, avoids any details. That way there will be no information that might lead to disagreements on doctrine that could result in a lack of community cohesion. So is more "God loves you, Jesus loves you, be sure to love other people, Amen." Oh, yes, and everyone loves the music."

"The contradictions and inconsistencies are manifold. Could this be the reason that the sheep are not really sure what that " Divine Holy Word" is actually saying about this central matter? Yup! The fact is that those who care about it will rarely change teams. Most do not care about it and just follow whatever their pastor teaches on this like the do on all other matters. Freethinking is what is missing. When one leaves the whatever the authority says crowd a whole new world opens and in the world of reason the proper interpretation of Scripture is about as important as being an expert in repair of wooden wagon wheels."


-- KSS.

webmdave said...

Can't help but to think, "All I said was, 'That piece of fish was good enough for Jehovah!'"

webmdave said...

For anyone interested, Dwindling In Unbelief has posted (from the bible) 67 absurd and contradictory ways one is supposedly saved.

http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com/2006/08/28-ways-to-get-yourself-saved.html

Of course people like acatholic have to do mighty mental gymnastics to rationalize this nonsense!

--S.

webmdave said...

I've been following the comments and discussions that you've been having here and on the other site. I certainly cannot pretend that I am any kind of intellectual. I barely understand what is being said, but it's quite interesting, and reading the sparring back and forth is educational.

If you believe that what you believe is the truth, and you are happy with that, what does it matter what others think and believe. If religion makes one happy and a good person, that's fine. I don't really care. No one wants to hurt good people who truly are happy in their beliefs.

Everytime I read comments by believers on this site, it's always all these very confusing theological agruements, smarty pants stuff. What about god's love for us who have abandoned the truth? Does god not care about that? I haven't read, so far on this site, anyone who debates, bring up any comments about how god loves us, misses fellowship with us, grieves about us leaving him. It seems everyone just wants to argue all this jot and tittle stuff. That doesn't seem to work in getting the believers point across.

I think if there were more I don't knows, I have no explanation for that, I don't understand god at all, maybe I would have stuck around......for a bit longer. But, someone always had to have an answer for everything. If there was a discussion that made people uncomfortable, the old comments about god would end all discussion. We don't understand god's ways etc. There's just no honesty and I don't knows in religion. Someone has to be right. Who wants to be in a dictatorship?

Do mean reasonable as both sides finally agreeing? There can't be any reasonable final answers when each side feels as passionate as they do about what they believe. Who really cares? Perhaps you should look for areas that are mutual, what can everyone do together to make this a better world. Theological are alot like tongues in the penty churches. Who does all that babbling benefit? No one can understand them.

I had heard in church when much was given by god, much was expected. Intelligance is a gift, but it shouldn't be wasted like this. There are far more important areas to be concerned about. Plenty of us are looking for good leaders to follow. I believe jesus also made a comment about it didn't matter who was preaching or casting out demons or whatever it was, as long as the job of glorifying god was done. (paraphrase mine).

So, in ending, what does it matter what one believes as long as good things in this world can be accomplished. I was so tired of the same two issues in the church, homosexual marriage, and abortion. What about affordable housing? Never talked about that. I just couldn't follow such simple mindedness anymore. I can guarantee the issue of affordable housing touched more lives than the other two issues did. And I had read, during a good economy with affordable housing and jobs, there are less abortions.

Well, that's it.

webmdave said...

That was a good one and a good explanation. Thanks for sharing.

webmdave said...

lol That was good.

webmdave said...

lol That was good.

webmdave said...

That was a good one and a good explanation. Thanks for sharing.

webmdave said...

The 8 fold-path seems easier.

Indeed!

The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking...

Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-lagunga...

...he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.
-- Caddyshack

--S.

webmdave said...

Hey eveningmeadows,

I was just over at Pharyngula and watched an interesting video which explores what we were talking about.

Check it out.

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/01/who_gave_this_new_atheist_a_ti.php

--S.

webmdave said...

eveningmeadows

PLEASE don't accuse me of being a xtian, YUCK!!!!

Ummmmm? I wasn't accusing you of being a christian.

My position is FAITH (believing in what one thinks is the truth) is a deplorable method of obtaining and processing information as evidenced by some of the examples I provided above.

Faith is a brain malfunction, where someone abandons ALL critical thinking skills and the voice of reason, where they willingly, choose to ignore and bury logic, steeping themselves in ignorance, so they can believe, in the unbelievable.

When a person does this, it opens the door to believe in a whole host of absurd ideas. Although -- a person of faith can be good and happy -- the way they process information can potentially be disastrous.

The only solution to the problem is to educate people and introduce them to something called reason and logic.

Furthermore, other stains on our society like racism, prejudice, bigotry are propagated by the same method of obtaining information (very much like using FAITH). Both forgo reasoning skills to believe in the unbelievable. At one time American society regarded black people as inferior animals. Was this perception based on REASON or was it based on a thinking mechanism that is the equivalent of FAITH?


The only recourse is to eliminate ignorance and magical thinking (including the happy truth believers) by educating people to the advantages of acquiring knowledge by instituting critical thinking skills, into their lives.

"I know of no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable" -- Sam Harris

"Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the spot of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck." -- Thomas Jefferson


--S.

webmdave said...

Look at the timing......psychman86 posted that quite a while before you posted that long comment of yours. ( the one that starts " I've been following the comments..." ) so you can relax.

webmdave said...

Astreja

Notice how acatholic clings to her precious drug of choice (catholicism), even when confronted with the atrocities her beloved church committed against children.

Roman Catholic Church – Thousands and thousands of priests sexually abusing and raping children for decades, only to be relocated where they continued to prey on children — an egregious and unthinkable COVER-UP of colossal proportions, perpetrated by the churches hierarchy who still have jobs to this day! It has been estimated that the sex-abuse scandals have cost the U.S. Catholic church $2.3 billion.

And yet acatholic still supports her vile organization.

One has to wonder if acatholic would be so eager to support a franchised day care center, where molestations and rape of children flourished, as the powers that be allowed it to happen by covering it up for years or would she do the right thing: denounce the child day care centers, pull her children out, leave that organization, and call for the day care centers to be closed and bulldozed, and hold EVERYONE who was involved accountable. Or would she rationalize that the day care centers still did some good and this is why she supports them and contributes money to their endeavors?

"Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the spot of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck." -- Thomas Jefferson

--S.

webmdave said...

NO, i'm not a xtian!

I just feel really stupid now!

webmdave said...

The 8 fold-path seems easier.

webmdave said...

eveningmeadows

If you believe that what you believe is the truth, and you are happy with that, what does it matter what others think and believe.

Only thing is -- it's these same people who lay claim to "truth" who push their polluted agendas, while claiming it comes from god. You know the ones who want to teach the ignorance of creationism in public schools or....

Let's not forget how "truth believers" declared people to be witches and burned them at stakes.

Or how about those "truth believers" from the catholic church who led massive cover-ups, allowing priests to rape children over and over again. (Father So and So couldn't have raped little Johnny, he's a christian and a man of god).

And those "truth believers" also preach abstinence and the sins of condom use, allowing millions to die in undeveloped countries.

Or how about those "truth believers" -- the parents of an eleven year old girl -- and other parents like them -- who let their children suffer and die, because they only prayed over her, neglecting medical intervention?

Let us not forget the "truth believers" albeit, sick christians who blow up abortion clinics.

How about those "truth believers" who condoned slavery and tortured slaves when they "got out of line", in America.

How about the "truth believers" who think gay people are an abomination so they brutally beat them to death?

What about "truth believers" who will blow themselves up in the name of allah?

What about the "truth believers" who will fly planes into buildings just because they know the "truth"?

Consider christianity and their "truth beliefs", in it's infancy -- the horrors of the Crusades and Inquisitions which left rivers of blood in its wake, that spanned centuries -- "If you don't think the way we do and you don't become a christian, then we will torture you and slaughter you".

I'm sorry but this is why I confront people who lay claim to "truth".

Believe those who seek the truth. Doubt those who find it. -- Andre Gide

--S.

webmdave said...

I've been following the comments and discussions that you've been having here and on the other site. I certainly cannot pretend that I am any kind of intellectual. I barely understand what is being said, but it's quite interesting, and reading the sparring back and forth is educational.

If you believe that what you believe is the truth, and you are happy with that, what does it matter what others think and believe. If religion makes one happy and a good person, that's fine. I don't really care. No one wants to hurt good people who truly are happy in their beliefs.

Everytime I read comments by believers on this site, it's always all these very confusing theological agruements, smarty pants stuff. What about god's love for us who have abandoned the truth? Does god not care about that? I haven't read, so far on this site, anyone who debates, bring up any comments about how god loves us, misses fellowship with us, grieves about us leaving him. It seems everyone just wants to argue all this jot and tittle stuff. That doesn't seem to work in getting the believers point across.

I think if there were more I don't knows, I have no explanation for that, I don't understand god at all, maybe I would have stuck around......for a bit longer. But, someone always had to have an answer for everything. If there was a discussion that made people uncomfortable, the old comments about god would end all discussion. We don't understand god's ways etc. There's just no honesty and I don't knows in religion. Someone has to be right. Who wants to be in a dictatorship?

Do you mean reasonable as both sides finally agreeing? There can't be any reasonable final answers when each side feels as passionate as they do about what they believe. Who really cares? Perhaps you should look for areas that are mutual, what can everyone do together to make this a better world. Theological arguements are alot like tongues in the penty churches. Who does all that babbling benefit? No one can understand them.

I had heard in church when much was given by god, much was expected. Intelligance is a gift, but it shouldn't be wasted like this. There are far more important areas to be concerned about. Plenty of us are looking for good leaders to follow. I believe jesus also made a comment about it didn't matter who was preaching or casting out demons or whatever it was, as long as the job of glorifying god was done. (paraphrase mine).

So, in ending, what does it matter what one believes as long as good things in this world can be accomplished. I was so tired of the same two issues in the church, homosexual marriage, and abortion. What about affordable housing? Never talked about that. I just couldn't follow such simple mindedness anymore. I can guarantee the issue of affordable housing touched more lives than the other two issues did. And I had read, during a good economy with affordable housing and jobs, there are less abortions.

Well, that's it.

webmdave said...

Hi Gray.

Wow I'm exhausted and all I did was scroll to the bottom of this stream to say, "That's my name too."

Gray

webmdave said...

For anyone interested, Dwindling In Unbelief has posted (from the bible) 67 absurd and contradictory ways one is supposedly saved.

http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com/2006/08/28-ways-to-get-yourself-saved.html

Of course people like acatholic have to do mighty mental gymnastics to rationalize this nonsense!

--S.

webmdave said...

no, no, no, i'm not a xtian. I was trying to get across that in those rare occasions, sometimes, maybe once every 10 years we meet a decent person who isn't trying to push their beliefs on others. You got a bit carried away. What I was trying to get this guy to understand is that religion is good for people who use it as a good thing in their life. They don't get bogged down on what others are doing, they just try to live out their faith. My husband and I tried to do that when we were in the church. We didn't stuff our religion down everyone's throat, we were the 10% working for the other 90% who were "too busy" to do anything!

The reply was to the catholic fellow. He really doesn't care at all for his fellow man, just showing everyone how smart he is. He must be one of the 90% who are too busy "defending the faith" to actually live it!

If you didn't read the post in the context that I was trying to respond to the catholic fellow, it does sound like I'm coming from the born again side. Sorry about that. I was just trying to get the guy to see he's all aflutter about nothing!



PLEASE don't accuse me of being a xtian, YUCK!!!!

webmdave said...

Thanks dealdoctor, I found this very helpful.

Especially these bits:

"Today, most Christians could care less about doctrinal details. Most preaching, in the mega churches anyway, avoids any details. That way there will be no information that might lead to disagreements on doctrine that could result in a lack of community cohesion. So is more "God loves you, Jesus loves you, be sure to love other people, Amen." Oh, yes, and everyone loves the music."

"The contradictions and inconsistencies are manifold. Could this be the reason that the sheep are not really sure what that " Divine Holy Word" is actually saying about this central matter? Yup! The fact is that those who care about it will rarely change teams. Most do not care about it and just follow whatever their pastor teaches on this like the do on all other matters. Freethinking is what is missing. When one leaves the whatever the authority says crowd a whole new world opens and in the world of reason the proper interpretation of Scripture is about as important as being an expert in repair of wooden wagon wheels."


-- KSS.