1/31/2010                                                                                       View Comments

Does Christianity Deserve the Respect it Demands?

By Bret P

2006-08-22 - Road Trip - Day 30 - United State...Image by Wellington Grey via Flickr

Christians seem to whine a lot about how they're ridiculed and disrespected in the media, and how this fallen world is somehow persecuting them. I think it's an absolutely laughable claim, especially here in the United States where Christians have far more influence on public and foreign policy than they should.

Now of course there is a spectrum of attitude among the entire Christian community, but I think it's safe to say among the evangelical (basically Protestant non-liturgical) denominations they believe they're being portrayed unfairly by a liberal, intellectually elite media (insert laugh about Fox News here).

Here's a list of my top 10 reasons (listed in no particular order) why Christianity shouldn't be given the respect it demands (and in many cases, should be ridiculed):

• Suspension of Critical Thought - Have "faith like a child" and "lean not on your own understanding". Basically, don't think for yourself, and if you question any logical fallacy, your pastor and fellow flock members can give you plenty of explanations.

• Promotion of Scientific Illiteracy - Evolutionary biology in it's entirety is as much a fact as the earth's orbit around the sun. It's not a matter of opinion, and there is no "alternative" explanation. The bible is not by default correct, nor does it have the authority to trump scientific evidence. Humans were not "created", and it's unlikely that some unseen intelligence put everything into motion (and if you have some tangible evidence to the contrary that is testable, replicable, and not from scripture, I'd love to see it).

• Willful Ignorance and Mistrust of the Scientific Community - When I've asked Christians to define the theories they oppose (evolution, abiogenesis, and universe origins), it's clear that they don't understand them (or the scientific method for that matter). When I offer resources to clarify the theories (with evidence), the usual response is "I'm too busy", or an outright "I don't care to know, and wouldn't believe it if I did see it".

• Intricate Maneuvering of Tough Questions - Ask a Christian the tough questions about contradictions, the suspicious origins, historical inaccuracies, and downright absurdities of the bible, the nature of god, and so on. Most likely you'll get a wide range of parroted responses that are rather elaborate, and in turn create more questions than answers. If it were all true, wouldn't it be pretty simple and straightforward?

• Blatant Dishonesty - Creationist propaganda alone is enough to prove the point. There's no way around it; creation apologists blatantly lie without excuse. What does the scientific community have to gain by lying about its evidence and theories? Nothing! A better understanding of our world helps us make progress, and it improves our quality of life. What do creationists (and subsequently churches) have to lose? A whole lot of tithing, that's what. There's also blatant political propaganda on which party you should vote for (ever so subtle), that gays and lesbians are detrimental to family values, and that our wars are justified because we have god on our side to help us eradicate evil.

• Extraordinary Claims - Do I really have to present the long list of absurdity? To believe in any of it, your critical thought process has to pretty much be eliminated. Christianity claims to factually know the origins of the universe, the earth, life on the planet, and ultimately the future of humankind without sufficient tangible evidence. Christianity also rejects any reasonable argument and tangible evidence against their claims, while demanding respect. And apologists say non-believers are arrogant and closed minded?

• Repulsive Attitudes - What is god's obsession with blood? For millennia he required blood sacrifices for atonement of sin. Of course the ultimate blood sacrifice of Jesus was a human one (and it changed all the rules!). How is a bloodthirsty god who accepts human sacrifice (if you look in the old testament, there are plenty of other human sacrifices) better than any other god? And why does god need to sacrifice Jesus (who is also himself) to appease himself when he created humanity fallible in the first place? Also checkout the long list of atrocities (rape, genocide, slavery) that are condoned (no matter which testament you read).

• Cherry Picking Theology - As we become more civilized, the bible becomes less palatable, but apologists will continue to preach the divinely inspired universal truth of the bible, frequently claiming the new testament trumps the old. The good things Jesus said (like the Beatitudes) are highlighted, but you forget that Jesus is also god (and the same god of the old testament). As mentioned above, that old testament god condoned slavery, rape, and genocide (and within any context is repulsive). Even Jesus condoned (not condemned) slavery. Yes, Jesus was passionate about his ideals (that were well ahead of his time), but he also had a lot of crackpot ideas that most modern Christians don't follow (like abandoning your family, killing people who deny Christ, selling your home and all worldly possessions to give to the poor).

• Atonement - God created humans, knowing that they weren't going to be perfect. When the first humans sin, all subsequent generations are cursed because of this. So basically you're born a rotten human being, repulsive in god's eyes, but he loves you so much, you just have to believe in Jesus so that he won't have to torment you in hell for all eternity. That really can't be good for anyone's self esteem.

• Absurd Worldview - Christians are apparently not citizens of this world, as it's just a temporary place to prepare for the afterlife. Why bother making this world a better place for humanity when it's all going to be destroyed soon once the rapture happens and the apocalypse destroys the planet? I know from personal experience that most evangelical Christians view a global economy and government as a sign of the antichrist appearing. It explains why so many Americans (dominated by Christian ideals) are notoriously opposed to globalization (although you'd think they'd be all for it, if it would speed up Christ's return). Personally, I'd like to see the evidence for an afterlife. Modern science shows us that there's no reason to believe that consciousness continues after our brains die (because the mind is the function of the brain).

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but I just think it's amusing to list some of these things. I'm surrounded by people who believe this stuff, but of course I do not deny their right to do so, nor do I devalue them as human beings. Nonetheless, it shouldn't come as a surprise when the media ridicules, criticizes or portrays Christianity in a less than favorable light.

And on that note, I would like to make a final point. Christianity tends to ridicule it's Mormon and Jehovah's Witness cousins (like the kooky family members no one likes to talk about it), although they unite on the political front. I think the cult spawns of Christianity are slightly more absurd, but Christians really shouldn't throw stones. Christianity is just as ridiculous, it just has a larger following.



77 comments:

webmdave said...

Bret -

Excellent points. Well thought out and well written.

Thank you,

XPD (Ex-Pastor Dan)

webmdave said...

Bret P,

Thanks for the post. Those points were well presented.

Your post reminds me of a flim called 'They Live' (1988). It is a sci-fi film that deals with alien life on earth. The film was surprisingly good (in light of the fact the star of the film was a professional wrestler - Roddy Piper). Anyhow, the aliens basically subdue independent human thought through a variety of means. It is a decent film with a good story.

webmdave said...

I am going to have to remember this for when my FIL (father in law) and BIL (brother in law) start grinding the axe again about why we left Xtianity.

webmdave said...

Very good article. I especially liked the following...

"Evolutionary biology in it's entirety is as much a fact as the earth's orbit around the sun. It's not a matter of opinion, and there is no "alternative" explanation."

To think we must allow alternative explanations to evolution that have no merit what so ever.

Let me tell you guys a quick silly story that really reinforced the deal on evolution with me. I am an xray tech who has seen thousands of human pelvis xrays. We get to know every little detail of those things. One day my dog fell off a table and broke her leg. At that time I saw an x-ray of her pelvis. What jumped out at me right off the bat is how similar our pelvic structures were. I was simply fascinated, and knew right then and that we are related to canines.

webmdave said...

Exactly.

How is your dog doing?

webmdave said...

Awesome. Great post. I hate that in America today I have to be treated like a second class citizen just because I don't buy into absurdities.

webmdave said...

I don't think Christianity doesn't deserve the respect it demands because of the fact that Christians expect it without giving it back in return.

I also think that Christianity is subversive to any democratic-republic form of national government. I frequently see the most fervent Christians advocate, in couched terms, the overthrow of our constitutional republic.

This is shared with muslims who advocate the exact same thing.

I further feel that Christianity is undeserving of of respect because they advocate a global theocracy under severe duress of those who disagree with their aims. This is the same goal of Islam. So, I feel neither of them deserve the respect they often forcibly demand.

If Christians and by extention muslims had their merry ways, there would be even more strife and warfare in the struggle for one or the other worldwide theocracy by one or the other. I cannot respect such subversive ideas and actions such as these.

Finally, to reiterate, I cannot respect Christians (and Muslims) because, deep down inside, they don't respect me. You can't get what you don't give.

swabby

webmdave said...

Maybe we should post these in courtrooms instead of the ten commandments. Oh wait... there are two ten commandments?! Well why didn't anyone ever post them both? XD

webmdave said...

Bret said, "I think the cult spawns of Christianity are slightly more absurd, but Christians really shouldn't throw stones. Christianity is just as ridiculous, it just has a larger following."

If you believed in Lightening Bolt Toatin' Zeus, Elephant God Gahesha, Chubby Little Buddha, or Aba Daba Allah would't most Christians think you were under a wicked spell or something? I read somewhere that there had been over 10,000 different gods. Mythology seems to be the graveyard of the gods of days gone by. No one believes in any of them today. They were ALL sprayed roach crazy clubs. Why is Christianity the exception? The Christian would say their religion is THE exception but so would the Muslim. I guess all 10,000 would say they alone were the right one for everyone and truth to the bone. The old quote if Atheism is a religion then bald is a hair color. Faith in weird shit and doubt of weird shit are not at all in the same category. There is not one religion that is not weird shit. But I hear someone saying, " You just do not understand the depth of Voodoo!" My reply is ," No thanks, doll."

Your post was an excellent summary of why a rational humanist would reject Christianty. Most of your reasons would serve as a foundation for a rejection of religion in general wherever and whenever it is found.

webmdave said...

That was five years ago...Dog's leg healed just fine : )

webmdave said...

Very accurate list of why Xianity, esp Evangelical Fundamentalism, should not be respected. Kudos.

webmdave said...

Bret, you said, "I know I'm preaching to the choir here." Actually, that's not entirely true. If you read the posts on this site regularly, you'll see some posters saying they came here, accidentally or out of curiosity, as believers and learned much. We get a lot of fence-sitters, and the occasional believer as well. While the believers who try to set us all straight here generally seem to have checked their brain at the door, I suspect a few have left doubting. Maybe it's mostly wishful thinking, but I like to think my posts here have helped a few doubters to move a little further away from the nonsense of xtianity. And it's got to be helpful to educate one another on matters that are important to all of us.

webmdave said...

To answer the question, Christianity does not deserve respect as a religious entity. Individuals, however, always deserve respect. That does not mean deference to their screwy and dangerous beliefs but respect to their mental state and humanity.

We tend to lump believer with belief. The belief is wrong but the believer is just a human trying to survive. Do not forget how "convinced" we all once were. Think of how we would react to someone who condemned or derided our faith back then. There are forums and times and places to condemn religious lies but on the corner with a preacher or in the living room with a devout believer not interested in discussing it are not the places.

This is a point many people miss. We lower ourselves when we attack people for believing what we did for so long. Compassion is the key. If we show we care for them but cannot accept their beliefs and still live a contented life we reveal how their beliefs are not the end-all they are convinced they are.

webmdave said...

"I think Christianity doesn't deserve the respect it demands..."

I cannot recall a point in my life when I did not wonder why, if the xtian message is sooooooo compelling, xtianity feels the need for intellectual and emotional coercion of its followers and/or prospects.

webmdave said...

"Also checkout the long list of atrocities (rape, genocide, slavery) that are condoned (no matter which testament you read)."

I heard from the pulpit that, in the ot, god was merely instructing his chosen people (re rape, slavery) consistent with their culture. But it occurred to me that xtianity wants me to believe in an all powerful and all knowing god but then, at the same time, believe that this all powerful and all knowing god is NOT all powerful or all knowing enough to instruct his CHOSEN people to a higher moral ground? I find that difficult to believe!!!

How does the individual xtian or xtianity as a whole not make a logical connection like this and realize their "culture" comment only begs the question noted? Or am I missing something?

webmdave said...

Wonderful post. It is amazing how impossible creationists think evolution is, that the story of a pair of humans being manufactured into existence fully formed actually makes more sense. We "didn't come from monkeys"? Well, women didn't come from a man's amputated rib.

webmdave said...

I agree the post was well thought out. I am always frustrated when it appears you are calling a christian stupid when the subject really comes up. I mean, how can you disagree without actually laughing out loud that an adult would seriously read about adam and eve and think it is true? It just feels so obvious to me. I never believed that. I never really believed in god either. I remember my teacher in second grade telling us that the rain and thunder were signs from god that we are sinners and he is unhappy. I mean, come on. I laughed at her then. I thought, oh please god doesn't control the weather!
As time goes on young people laugh even harder at this crap. They will keep losing respect because they should. I don't respect anyone that does not use his or her brain to think.
nina

webmdave said...

When will the whole WORLD put all these arrant nonsense religions behind? Rhetorical question, I already know the answer-When hell freezes over. :-)

webmdave said...

This is a very good point. Sometimes it's hard to separate the person from their belief, but we do have to respect and love individuals, which I do (the vast majority of my friends and family are Christians).

I've had people close to me tell me that they feel that I think they're stupid based on my critical examinations of faith. I don't think they're stupid, but a challenge to a belief system can appear this way.

I lay a great deal of responsibility on the clergy's lack of critical thought and propagation of fantasy. I think it's safe to say that most pastors have read the bible cover to cover (which most of the flock doesn't do). If they don't see the logical fallacies, then that says something about their critical thought process. If they do and preach it anyway, then it's clear cut deception.

It's easier to memorize and repeat back concepts than to critically think through them and apply them to other situations. I think it's true because people believe it, not the other way around.

webmdave said...

This was a killer article for this community. I’ll make a point to forward to my Christian friends out there who continue to invite me back.

-Todd in Seattle

webmdave said...

Does Christianity Deserve the Respect it Demands?

NO!!!!!!!

webmdave said...

You know, I think we should all go to some xtian blog and just start posting anti-theistic rants just for fun.

See how much they like it. Give them a taste of how it feels like when they come here and post their deluded nonsense.

webmdave said...

Christianity has been around for so long that there are detailed responses to about everything one can throw at it, especially the Bible itself. I have read the Bible through, studied it a lot, and always reached particular conclusions based upon what commentaries said. Any pastor's office will have a couple of Bibles and dozens if not hundreds of copies of commentaries telling him how to interpret every single word in the bible.

Critical thinking is verbotten. Logic is nonexistent. One cannot be a fundamentalist minister and think critically or logically. It is not possible.

Christianity is dictated from the top down and has been for millenia. Thus the only way to break free is to admit that millions of people and hundreds upon hundreds of teaching is wrong. Even in the face of inane ideas and insane lies this is still very difficult.

It's the argument my wife uses to support Christianity: "How can I think I'm right and millions of people be wrong?" I appear pompous and vain for saying they are. But the honest truth is the majority is almost without exception entirely wrong about everything.

webmdave said...

Good idea, Daniel. Raise some hell!

webmdave said...

In order to continue believing in the hopes of heaven, one must take everything else as truth. Otherwise what? Hell. That's the truth they teach. The sad thing is that everyone who was taught this stuff, was taught by someone else, and it goes down and line over and over. It's just a cult. That's all I can make of all this. That's what so sad. Everyone is brainwashed and just passes it all on because of fear.

webmdave said...

I have an undereducated Christian friend who thinks that throwing out the following "argument" is clear headed, sound thinking:

"Tell me why science always changes it position? It's like the scientific community always adds to or takes away from their theories, while the things of the Bible have stood the test of time, and never changed."

??

webmdave said...

I have, it's fun. Only I don't 'dis them', I try to de-convert them. So far, i've had the same luck that the Xianuts have on this site. :-)

webmdave said...

Yeah, I've heard that one, too.

Would we be better off if we still stood by the theory that maggots can spontaneously generate from rotten meat without the benefit of parents? Or that doctors had no need to wash their hands before medical procedures? Or that man would never be able to fly?

Science is great that way: when new evidence comes to light, scientists test it and move forward, learning and inventing new things all the time.

webmdave said...

Ahoy there mate, I was a deck ape waay back when. How about you ?

webmdave said...

Josh's undereducated xtian friend: ""Tell me why science always changes it position?"

Conceptual maturation…

Josh's undereducated xtian friend: "...while the things of the Bible have stood the test of time, and never changed.""

Immaturity…

webmdave said...

the last point you made is by far the most dangerous item on the list.
I have heard countless talk by Christians of there hope of a middle eastern apocalypse so Jesus can come back which has self fulfilling prophecy written all over it.
I have no idea what we would want to do with this religion if their fantasy came true but life would be a whole lot less pleasant for them if a bunch of people had to die in a flash for them to be proven wrong.

webmdave said...

Bret P: "Christianity is just as ridiculous, it just has a larger following."

A xtian Institution doesn't exist, therefore, all xtians abide by a personal religion of their own interpretive choosing.

The Xtian Institution existed, under the Authority of The Roman Emperor Constantine-I - A "Politician"/Ruler who legislated and published the bible.

When that single authority died the authorial 'intent' regarding the bible was lost, today, every single xtian subjectively reads the political propaganda, establishing a personal belief system.

While there exists 'no true xtians' today, as that would connote knowing authorial intent and following the bible literally, there does exist a bunch of entrepreneurs involved in selling their personal religions in buildings called churches.

Mormons at least, developed their own doctrine; the bible to them, is insufficient for understanding, hence, why Mormons are typically categorized as non-xtians and have a modern prophet.

The only thing common to xtians is that they value a common book of political propaganda.

webmdave said...

Nay Capn.
It's a moniker I got from my early days in radio. I had a running gag persona named "The Great Swami". I did bogus astological forecasts and comic psychic meanderings for the listeners. Most mispronounced "Swami" and kept calling me "Swabby". The name stuck. My pals call me Swabby. Oddly enough, I do have a fascination with the British Royal Navy, (I've been to Portsmouth and seen the fleet.) I also love the lore surrounding the graceful clipper ships. Hence my avatar symbol.
swabby

webmdave said...

Great post Bret! Your cmmentary is going into the "freethought" file on my computer.

So, "Does Christianity Deserve the Respect it Demands?" Absolutely Not!

For centuries, xtianity has retarded and even reversed humankind's understanding and progress. She has killed untold numbers of humans as a result of her ignorance as well as malice. She has never provided our world with any positive change.

Xtianity is unrepentant for the above, has not learned from from these errors, yet still wants to meddle in national and world affairs. If anyone objectively points these flaws out, they cry persecution, even though their membership may be a majority. Xtianity is nothing more than a set of ancient, worn-out myths that poison minds and burden all of humanity.

Xtianity thrives upon ignorance, knowledge can be it's downfall.

webmdave said...

Ah heck, Swabbie. Thought I'd made a connect with my past-65 years ago.

webmdave said...

Sorry to disappoint you. I'm a boomer, but interested in your recollections. I have a distant cousin who served in the USN in the 1970s. Another cousin is stationed on a carrier based out of San Diego--I don't recall the name of the ship she is on. If you want to communicate on your service experiences...I'm at:
swabby429@india.com Contact me once at that address and I will give you my main address. The one I listed here is used to filter out spammers. That way we can keep this venue open for on-topic use.

swabby

webmdave said...

Here's the response to Bret's article: http://burden4souls.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/exchristian-net-exposed-part-1/

webmdave said...

Good heavens. That fool seems to think that christians are being persecuted when they aren't allowed to "spread the word" in public schools, on school playgrounds, have prayers in schools, pass out bibles at schools, etc.

What a moron.

webmdave said...

I was thinking the same thing. If Muslims (or any religious group besides christians) were passing out religious materials to school children, he would be out there with a lynch mob.

I can remember christian groups passing out little orange new testaments at my kids' school. The school said they had to allow it because they were not on school property. But they were standing on the sidewalk, yards from the building, between the school door and the buses. And there were so many of them, the kids had to run the gauntlet to get to the buses or their parents' cars.

I was gratified to see that when the buses pulled out, little orange books littered the circle drive and parking lot.

webmdave said...

when the buses pulled out, little orange books littered the circle drive and parking lot

Although the kids should never have been put in that situation, THAT gave me a big smile. Thanks for sharing.
8-)

webmdave said...

To answer the question you propose: Christianity and all religions deserve no respect. If someone introduced a book into schools or laws into public policy that stated, "Homosexuals are an abomination," that children should be beaten (spare the rod, spoil the child), that women should be oppressed and "obey" their husbands, that unruly sons should be stoned to death, etc., it would be thrown out. The Bible is full of contradictions, hate, and nonsensical junk (see Skeptics Annotated Bible). It is cherry-picked by all Christians; otherwise, they would not shave, cut their hair, eat at Red Lobster, work on Sunday, have paintings of god and Jesus, etc.... They obviously don't live by the word of their god, and shouldn't they follow the absolute word of their "creator?" This is because the Bible is obviously not written by an omnipotent, all-knowing, all-loving god, but by Bronze-age men who knew very little about science, astronomy, paleontology, geology, geography, tolerance, morality, ethics, etc. Humans are "evolving" well beyond their ancient ancestors, and the Bible (new and old testaments) is ridiculous, shocking, and often downright evil. Not to mention that if you study history, Jesus most likely didn't even exist (see "The God Who Wasn't There" on video). Religions only create obstruction to man's progress, oppress women and children, create divisions among people, and continue to perpetuate bigotry towards others and false hope in some silly pie-in-the-sky after life.

webmdave said...

Right on! Applause. Applause.

(I have the "The God Who Wasn't There" video--it is fantastic!)

webmdave said...

To answer the question you propose: Christianity and all religions deserve no respect. If someone introduced a book into schools or laws into public policy that stated, "Homosexuals are an abomination," that children should be beaten (spare the rod, spoil the child), that women should be oppressed and "obey" their husbands, that unruly sons should be stoned to death, etc., it would be thrown out. The Bible is full of contradictions, hate, and nonsensical junk (see Skeptics Annotated Bible). It is cherry-picked by all Christians; otherwise, they would not shave, cut their hair, eat at Red Lobster, work on Sunday, have paintings of god and Jesus, etc.... They obviously don't live by the word of their god, and shouldn't they follow the absolute word of their "creator?" This is because the Bible is obviously not written by an omnipotent, all-knowing, all-loving god, but by Bronze-age men who knew very little about science, astronomy, paleontology, geology, geography, tolerance, morality, ethics, etc. Humans are "evolving" well beyond their ancient ancestors, and the Bible (new and old testaments) is ridiculous, shocking, and often downright evil. Not to mention that if you study history, Jesus most likely didn't even exist (see "The God Who Wasn't There" on video). Religions only create obstruction to man's progress, oppress women and children, create divisions among people, and continue to perpetuate bigotry towards others and false hope in some silly pie-in-the-sky after life.

webmdave said...

Right on! Applause. Applause.

(I have the "The God Who Wasn't There" video--it is fantastic!)

webmdave said...

rza's Blog per link: "I don’t know about Bret, but those links all seem to suggest that there is a widespread persecution of Christians. Perhaps Bret doesn’t read a lot of newspapers reports, or he is just not interested in any news related to Christians."

Rza, my perspective regarding Bret's article:

First…

-Many Christians believe the bible to be Truth (Premise)
-The Christian bible honors Christians
-Therefore, many Christians expect/demand honorary Respect

Next...

-Many Christians believe the bible to be Truth (Premise)
-The Christian bible honors the character Jesus as a persecuted Martyr
-Many Christians strive to be 'like' Jesus
-Therefore, many Christians strive/self-identify with persecution

Finally...

-Many Christians believe the bible to be Truth (Premise)
-Many Christians expect/demand honorary respect (concl-1)
-Many Christians strive/self-identify with persecution (concl-2)
-Therefore, Many Christians seek/portray a persecution complex that demands Respect

Rza’s blog perspective:

-I believe Christians are persecuted (see list of links provided in blog)
-I believe the Christian Holy Bible is The True Word of God (see biblical defense to points in blog)
-Therefore, Christians abiding by their Holy Bible are persecuted just like Jesus

Rza, you’ve done well in defending/apologizing the Christian perspective of persecution… and… that perspective is in agreement in Bret’s article, at least in terms of agreeing that Christians perceive themselves as persecuted.

The ‘difference’ between your lens and Bret’s, is one of Biblical proportion.

In short…

1-A Christian who believes the Bible is The True Word of God; Respects persecution.

Many others perceive persecution as a political utility… those that ‘value’ and demand Respect for persecution by Biblical Right, are deemed under social/political influence… because… it isn’t naturally human to seek abuse; only the abused seek abuse, and abuse shouldn’t be Respected – contrary to biblical teaching and glorification.

Of course, you could let us all know how much you devalue the worship given to Jesus' glorified persecution by self-inflicted martyrdom, but then... you'd be rejecting basic Christian values... ultimately, values that you as a Christian Respect.

A few months ago, a fundy in-law attempted to counter-point a values discussion, as I played a video game... I feigned distraction and confusion… and with as much naivety as I could muster, asked… "Should we value persecution?” in the context of war, et al… she said, no... to which, I followed... "Do you value Jesus'?"... to which, she walked away.

We respect things we value rza... your blog post, is a gem, for what you respectfully value: The Christian Bible and Persecution, others differ.

webmdave said...

That was an excellent post by gwenmead. That is exactly how I feel, but she said it so well.

webmdave said...

Of course. In regard to Buddhism, though, there is no demand that it be believed. "According to the founder of [Buddhism]..., one should not believe anything merely because a great sage has introduced it or because it is traditionally accepted by many but one should use one’s common sense and intelligence and accept it only if it is worth while to do so." These words are from a booklet written by K. Sri Dhammananda that I happen to have read yesterday.

Christianity, Islam, Judaism all insist they are the "one true way." Hinduism is polytheistic so not quite as demanding. All of those religions claim to have a deity or deities behind all they say. Not so Buddhism. Buddha was just a man, that is all. He did not claim to be a god or sent from a god, merely that he took the time and made the effort to look deep enough into himself and humanity to see our true reality.

I believe we are all wrong. Nobody knows for sure and certain. But I also believe neither Christianity, Islam, Judaism or Hinduism is or can be right because their claim of deities contradict each other and in the end create a void of credibility in the spaces where the circles come together and overlap.

Hmm, makes sense to me but I'm not sure it will to you.

Let me think.....

webmdave said...

"How can I think I'm right and millions of people be wrong?

Couldn't you use the same argument for Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or any other popular religion?

webmdave said...

I see my post has cleared moderation. Thanks for practicing what you preach - it's a welcome break from so many other Christians that post here.

webmdave said...

True. Funny thing, he's also fascinated by airplanes and flying.

webmdave said...

Christianity and its god, being the world's leading religious organization, has a lot of respect (more than what it deserves) from around the globe. Christians just need to try a bit harder not to wreck it with childish scare tactics like "eternal punishment" or "original sin..."

webmdave said...

No kidding. Dogmatic drivel, cherry-picked quotes, and of course bald-faced lies.

webmdave said...

Well, I just wasted those minutes of my life reading the blog post at burdens4soul. As the kids would say - epic fail.

webmdave said...

This is a clip from the film. The main character discovers a pair of glasses that allows him to see through the "fog" of what he once believed was the truth.

It takes about 2:00 into the clip before you realize what is going on. This is a powerful story and a decent film.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Lwlx3GnLGs

webmdave said...

A small part of me says, "Go for it!" The rest of me disagrees - all you'll do is piss them off, and curl up tighter in their smothering blanket of ignorance. If you want to reply to them on their own turf, be respectful of the people - just not of the ideas. Get them to think; after all, independent thought is the ipecac syrup for fundamentalism.

Besides, I consider myself far better than the trolls here. If I resort to trolling their territory, I sink to their level, and you know what they say about mud-wrestling a pig. (Granted, if trolls enter our turf, then their fate as a balloon-suspended chicken in a samurai bar is well deserved and enjoyed greatly. But I only ginsu the trolls who insist on throwing themselves on our collective knives - legitimate questions and conversations are welcomed from Christians.)

webmdave said...

Ya know, there's something kind of weird going on in the forums right now.

There's a thread entitled "Open Letter to 'Persecuted' American Christians" written by gwenmead.

http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?/topic/35895-open-letter-to-persecuted-american-christians/

What's so unusual is that there are 80 "guests" reading that thread (along with an average number of regular members). 80 unregistered guests on one thread!? I've never seen that. Could it be that people from RSA's blog have gone to the other active thread on a similar subject?

I don't know. I'm just asking. Speculating.

webmdave said...

when the buses pulled out, little orange books littered the circle drive and parking lot

Although the kids should never have been put in that situation, THAT gave me a big smile. Thanks for sharing.
8-)

webmdave said...

I was thinking the same thing. If Muslims (or any religious group besides christians) were passing out religious materials to school children, he would be out there with a lynch mob.

I can remember christian groups passing out little orange new testaments at my kids' school. The school said they had to allow it because they were not on school property. But they were standing on the sidewalk, yards from the building, between the school door and the buses. And there were so many of them, the kids had to run the gauntlet to get to the buses or their parents' cars.

I was gratified to see that when the buses pulled out, little orange books littered the circle drive and parking lot.

webmdave said...

Good heavens. That fool seems to think that christians are being persecuted when they aren't allowed to "spread the word" in public schools, on school playgrounds, have prayers in schools, pass out bibles at schools, etc.

What a moron.

webmdave said...

Here's the response to Bret's article: http://burden4souls.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/exchristian-net-exposed-part-1/

webmdave said...

Sorry to disappoint you. I'm a boomer, but interested in your recollections. I have a distant cousin who served in the USN in the 1970s. Another cousin is stationed on a carrier based out of San Diego--I don't recall the name of the ship she is on. If you want to communicate on your service experiences...I'm at:
swabby429@india.com Contact me once at that address and I will give you my main address. The one I listed here is used to filter out spammers. That way we can keep this venue open for on-topic use.

swabby

webmdave said...

Ah heck, Swabbie. Thought I'd made a connect with my past-65 years ago.

webmdave said...

Great post Bret! Your commentary is going into the "freethought" file on my computer.

So, "Does Christianity Deserve the Respect it Demands?" Absolutely Not!

For centuries, xtianity has retarded and even reversed humankind's understanding and progress. She has killed untold numbers of humans as a result of her ignorance and malice. She has never provided our world with any positive change.

Xtianity is unrepentant for the above, has not learned from from these errors, yet still wants to meddle in national and world affairs. If anyone objectively points these flaws out, they cry persecution, even though their membership may be a majority. Xtianity is nothing more than a set of ancient, worn-out myths that poison minds and burden all of humanity.

Xtianity thrives upon ignorance, knowledge can be it's downfall.

webmdave said...

Nay Capn.
It's a moniker I got from my early days in radio. I had a running gag persona named "The Great Swami". I did bogus astological forecasts and comic psychic meanderings for the listeners. Most mispronounced "Swami" and kept calling me "Swabby". The name stuck. My pals call me Swabby. Oddly enough, I do have a fascination with the British Royal Navy, (I've been to Portsmouth and seen the fleet.) I also love the lore surrounding the graceful clipper ships. Hence my avatar symbol.
swabby

webmdave said...

Bret P: "Christianity is just as ridiculous, it just has a larger following."

A xtian Institution doesn't exist, therefore, all xtians abide by a personal religion of their own interpretive choosing.

The Xtian Institution existed, under the Authority of The Roman Emperor Constantine-I - A "Politician"/Ruler who legislated and published the bible.

When that single authority died the authorial 'intent' regarding the bible was lost, today, every single xtian subjectively reads the political propaganda, establishing a personal belief system.

While there exists 'no True-Xtian' today, as that would connote knowing authorial intent and following the bible literally, there does exist a bunch of entrepreneurs involved in selling their personal religions in buildings called churches.

Mormons at least, developed their own doctrine; the bible to them, is insufficient for understanding, hence, why Mormons are typically categorized as non-xtians and have a modern prophet.

The only thing common to xtians is that they value a common book of self-interpreted political propaganda.

I agree Bret, personalized/customized xtianity is as useful as other faith based belief systems that consume sheeple.

webmdave said...

the last point you made is by far the most dangerous item on the list.
I have heard countless talk by Christians of there hope of a middle eastern apocalypse so Jesus can come back which has self fulfilling prophecy written all over it.
I have no idea what we would want to do with this religion if their fantasy came true but life would be a whole lot less pleasant for them if a bunch of people had to die in a flash for them to be proven wrong.

webmdave said...

Josh's undereducated xtian friend: ""Tell me why science always changes it position?"

Conceptual maturation…

Josh's undereducated xtian friend: "...while the things of the Bible have stood the test of time, and never changed.""

Immaturity…

webmdave said...

Ahoy there mate, I was a deck ape waay back when. How about you ?

webmdave said...

Yeah, I've heard that one, too.

Would we be better off if we still stood by the theory that maggots can spontaneously generate from rotten meat without the benefit of parents? Or that doctors had no need to wash their hands before medical procedures? Or that man would never be able to fly?

Science is great that way: when new evidence comes to light, scientists test it and move forward, learning and inventing new things all the time.

webmdave said...

I have, it's fun. Only I don't 'dis them', I try to de-convert them. So far, i've had the same luck that the Xianuts have on this site. :-)

webmdave said...

I have an undereducated Christian friend who thinks that throwing out the following "argument" is clear headed, sound thinking:

"Tell me why science always changes it position? It's like the scientific community always adds to or takes away from their theories, while the things of the Bible have stood the test of time, and never changed."

??

webmdave said...

In order to continue believing in the hopes of heaven, one must take everything else as truth. Otherwise what? Hell. That's the truth they teach. The sad thing is that everyone who was taught this stuff, was taught by someone else, and it goes down and line over and over. It's just a cult. That's all I can make of all this. That's what so sad. Everyone is brainwashed and just passes it all on because of fear.

webmdave said...

Good idea, Daniel. Raise some hell!

webmdave said...

Christianity has been around for so long that there are detailed responses to about everything one can throw at it, especially the Bible itself. I have read the Bible through, studied it a lot, and always reached particular conclusions based upon what commentaries said. Any pastor's office will have a couple of Bibles and dozens if not hundreds of copies of commentaries telling him how to interpret every single word in the bible.

Critical thinking is verbotten. Logic is nonexistent. One cannot be a fundamentalist minister and think critically or logically. It is not possible.

Christianity is dictated from the top down and has been for millenia. Thus the only way to break free is to admit that millions of people and hundreds upon hundreds of teaching is wrong. Even in the face of inane ideas and insane lies this is still very difficult.

It's the argument my wife uses to support Christianity: "How can I think I'm right and millions of people be wrong?" I appear pompous and vain for saying they are. But the honest truth is the majority is almost without exception entirely wrong about everything.

webmdave said...

Does Christianity Deserve the Respect it Demands?

NO!!!!!!!

webmdave said...

You know, I think we should all go to some xtian blog and just start posting anti-theistic rants just for fun.

See how much they like it. Give them a taste of how it feels like when they come here and post their deluded nonsense.

webmdave said...

This was a killer article for this community. I’ll make a point to forward to my Christian friends out there who continue to invite me back.

-Todd in Seattle