"A Sabbatical?" or "My Anti-Testimony"

I first posted this "testimony" to the web on July 27, 2001. If you too have found Christianity specifically, or religion generally, to be less than satisfying for any reason, please consider posting your own "testimony" to this site by clicking here, or message me by clicking here.




It is invariably a shock to Evangelical Christians to come across someone who has turned his or her back on the “faith was once delivered unto the saints.” Most believers will quickly dismiss an ex-Christian by piously pointing out that anyone who turns away from Christ was never a real believer. Or, as an insider might say it, “They were never born again.” There is Biblical support for the assertion. 1 John 2:19, which addressed the problem of First Century apostates, states that: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” (KJV) (I’d like to point out here that the previous verse, verse 18, suggests that the writer also believed it was the end of history and that the Antichrist was about to appear. It seems that whoever penned 1 John was premature in announcing it to be the “last time.” He may have been mistaken in his quick judgments against those ancient infidels as well.)

For those from a Calvinistic background, the fifth petal of TULIP uncompromisingly declares that those truly chosen by God for salvation will persevere in the faith. They will persevere in the faith because God will preserve them in the faith. Or, as a Baptist fundamentalist might express it: “Once saved always saved.” For fundies, a believer gone bad was just faking salvation or is presently backslidden and will eventually return to the fold, with his or her tail between his or her legs. There are also a plethora of competing denominations that teach people can lose their salvation. To members of those denominations, a fellow believer who has fallen away might have really been saved at one time, but is now lost again. They believe it is possible to get saved, and lost, and saved again, many times, before a person's allotted lifespan runs out.

The reason for this brief essay is to share my testimony about my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and my repentance from that relationship. What follows may unnerve some of my closer associates and will likely alienate some of my good friends. I have absolutely no desire to alienate anyone since I have already spent years as a zealous evangelical Christian, alienating dozens and dozens of people in the name of Christ. However, it is only fair to those who know me to allow them a glimpse into where I am coming from, now.

When I was very young, my parents attended a Presbyterian Church. I used to watch my father pray during the service. His eyes would close and his chin would rest against his chest. I wondered if he was asleep. At home, my mother would tell my brother and I Bible stories. I always had questions for her: “Why did God put the tree of knowledge in the garden since he knew what would happen?” I also wondered whom Cain married, if dinosaurs were taken on the ark, and all kinds of things my mother could not answer. My parents stopped regularly attending church when I was nine, but still sent my brother and me to Vacation Bible School during the summer. I was diligent to learn all the Bible lessons, stories and doctrines, earning multiple gold stars in each class. Though I do not remember it, my mother likes to tell a story that even when I was 5 years old, I would come home from Sunday School, gather the un-churched neighborhood kids together on our porch, and parrot all I had been taught that morning.

I was eleven years old in 1969. My grandmother was a staunch Baptist. In fact, she was one of the founding members of the First Baptist Church in Ashtabula Ohio, and was absolutely devoted to the place. The Church had hired an aggressive youth minister who wanted to see more young people attending services. His name was Norm, and he organized a youth rally which featured a movie produced by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The movie's aim was the conversion of young people. My grandmother invited me to the meeting and of course I loved my Grandma, so I got a ride from my Dad and sat with her to watch the show. I don’t remember the title of the movie, but the basic plot centered on one of the male characters who accepts Christ and starts to tell his friends about it. One of his unbelieving friends makes terrible fun of the whole thing, mocks Christ, and mocks the threat of going to hell. The unbelieving friend ends up accidentally trapped in a burning barn toward the end of the film and dies horrifically, going straight to a Christless grave.

I am not sure how powerful of a flick it was, but it got to me. Before that movie, I knew about God and the Bible and Jesus, but now I realized I had no personal relationship with Christ, and I needed one. When the altar call was given to come forward and accept Christ, I did not go forward, but listened intently, memorizing the “sinner’s prayer.” Later that night, in the dark and quiet of my room, I got down on my knees confessed my sins, repented as much as I knew how, and accepted Christ into my heart. It was a mind-altering experience for me. In my mind’s eye I visualized the Creator of all physically with me in the room. I felt overwhelmed with what I believed was a personal and direct manifestation of the LORD. I cried and cried. The emotional cleansing and reality of that moment has never left me, and as I write about it now, it comes alive once again.

The very next morning, I started carrying a small New Testament to school with me. I was in the sixth grade, reading a KJV, and doing my best to understand what I could from its inspired pages. I began attending church that week, and became a regular customer at the local Christian Book Store. My paper route wages and tips found investment in books and comic book tracts by Jack Chick, which I read and distributed zealously.

After my twelfth birthday I was asked if I would like to be trained as a counselor for the new Billy Graham evangelistic movie entitled “For Pete’s Sake,” which was being sponsored by several local churches. The showings were to be at Shea’s Theater in downtown Ashtabula. I eagerly agreed and dutifully submitted myself to the counselor training by memorizing the required verses and receiving a certificate as a bona fide counselor. At the end of each night, a short salvation message was shared by one of the local pastors, followed by the traditional Billy Graham style altar call. During the course of the weekend, I was able to assist several young people from my own age group as they came forward to make decisions for Christ. Following that crusade, I was excited. I began to do street evangelism on my own. I witnessed to other kids at school, and even led a fellow Boy Scout to the lord while on a week long Boy Scout camp. His name is Phil and is presently a pastor at an American Baptist Church outside of Youngstown Ohio. I started a junior high school Bible study group, and taught the others who joined how to lead others to Christ ala Billy Graham. (“The Romans Road” with some small variations, was what Billy recommended back then.) The early 1970’s saw the height of the Jesus People Movement in the US, so naturally I became involved with other non-denominational youth study groups held at various houses around town. I was introduced to CS Lewis, Watchman Nee and other famous Christian authors during this time. I drank every word written in those books like it was water. A prolific reader even in junior high I was insatiable for more and more information.

Reggie Kirk, my Boy Scout Master, recognized my thirst for more spiritual enlightenment and invited me to his church, the local Assembly of God, where I learned I needed the Baptism in the Holy Spirit to be a complete Christian. I attended one Sunday night when, providentially, the topic being discussed was that very doctrine. I went forward during the altar call to receive the “Baptism” and kept those poor people there long after the service ended as I pleaded with the Almighty to grace me with the Holy Ghost and tongues. Finally, after two hours of eye watering, knee hardening prayer, and some helpful coaching from a woman who stood with me, I babbled a few syllables. Everyone pronounced proudly that I had indeed received the Holy Spirit. Now, as a full-fledged tongue-talking Jesus person, I went full steam into making a difference in the world for Christ.

My parents, who at best were only nominally religious, viewed my obsessive enthrallment with church-stuff as disconcerting and worrisome. My mother, knowing I loved to read, decided to introduce me to her understanding of reality which was embodied in the writings of Edgar Cayce. My mother was a Reincarnationist. I rejected her teaching, witnessed to her unceasingly for the next 25 years about the love of Christ, and read everything published concerning the psychic Cayce. My grades suffered terribly in junior high, as I could not see any value to secular learning. I viewed the world as passing away, valueless compared with heavenly knowledge with eternal relevance.

As puberty became more influential in my thought processes, I struggled terribly with the hormonal demands of my body verses the tenets of the Church concerning any sort of sensual pleasure. Jesus taught that it is just as sinful to have any sort of lustful thought, as to actually act on any of them. I found adolescence very difficult on my thought life, finding myself in a perpetual war with guilt. I agonized over my sexuality, begging God to deliver me from temptation, to no avail. It was depressing.
I began to distinguish myself in music during this time, receiving nothing but positive feedback on my performance. By the time I was 14, I was being hired to play trombone semi-professionally. It was fun. I had begun finding inconsistencies in the Bible when I noticed numerous contradictions between various number citations in the Old Testament. Then I was confused by the multiple conflicting details in the resurrection stories in the Gospels, as well as in Paul’s version. One of the biggest contradictions I could not rectify was whether or not Judas threw his money into the temple and hanged himself or bought a field and fell headlong into it. I wrote to an evangelistic radio ministry out of Richmond Virginia, asking for direction about these apparent problems. I was only thirteen and they responded to my cry for help with a short note. Instead of an intellectually satisfying apologetic, they merely admonished that some things could only be answered through the eyes of faith. I pretty much got the same answer everywhere I went. Regardless, I continued to attend Baptist Church on Sunday mornings, Assembly of God on Sunday nights, and various home study groups during the week. Then, the summer before entering High School, the Baptist church hierarchy decided to fire the youth minister. He had held an all night youth rally event at the church. The geriatric power people in the church thought his tactics to lure young people to church were inappropriate, so they brought the issue to vote and that settled the matter. He was there one week and gone the next. During the same time period, the Pastor of the Assembly of God church was caught having an affair with one of the lady members. Both he and the woman were married to other people, so when the affair was discovered, he resigned and left the church. I still wonder how long that had been going on. My growing dissatisfaction with the church’s inability to answer my Biblical questions, my budding musical career and the hypocritical church politics worked together to help me fall away from Christianity for a time. My grades in school improved immensely. I finished High School early, in the top 10% of the class. I auditioned for the Air Force Band, was accepted, and as soon as I turned seventeen, I left for basic training in San Antonio.

As the years went by, I continued to have an interest in the Bible, studying textual variants and translation problems. I had several years of revival, when I buried my questioning and simply emulated the faith of a little child, trusting that though I could not understand many things, God knew what he was doing. Eventually, I would get a headache from such pious mind games and find myself drifting again. I spent years in and out of Charismatic meetings where healings were performed as well as Words of Knowledge, messages from God, and rousing sermons proclaiming the imminent return of Christ. The emotional feeling of those early charismatic events was like a drug high.

During these up and down spiritual times, I swung between being fanatically zealous, to totally apostate. I comforted myself on my lack of consistency by reasoning that at least I was not lukewarm. In the next few years I belonged to several different Baptist Churches and several different Charismatic Churches in succession. I was married, had a son, got divorced, remarried and had two more children. In my thirties, I finally hit bottom and decided I would simply dig in, buy books like crazy, and study until I got all my answers.

My second wife and I were deeply involved in an English speaking Assembly of God church while living in Japan. We ran the music ministry, the bookstore and participated in English evangelism at a local Japanese speaking Assembly of God. Once again, my inquiring mind reared its ugly head and put me at odds with the church. For years I had accepted the Pentecostal teaching that all Christians must speak in tongues to demonstrate they had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. I had also accepted the harsh Arminianism preached there. As I began to study John Calvin, Matthew Henry, John Bunyan, Matthew Poole, Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther and a host of other teachers from the past, I began to realize that there was a whole other gospel of which I was completely ignorant. I questioned the pastor of our AG church on some of these matters. He did not answer any of my questions, assuring me that God would comfort my heart as to the truth of the Assemblies’ teachings in time. He responded to my inquiry by removing my wife and I from all our leadership responsibilities until such time as we came to peace with the issues I brought up. He said if I were to remain in leadership with doubts on various Pentecostal doctrines, it would cause confusion for the congregation. Of course we were welcome to stay and attend the services, he said. We left the church that day. I started a home Bible study where we studied such things as Romans 9, Ephesians 1, and other strikingly Calvinistic chapters, without forcing any dogmatic conclusions. It was well attended. I led that group into street evangelism in Japan, passing out tracts at train stations and other public areas. I wrote letters to Christian leaders all over the world, soliciting their input on various doctrinal issues and spent a small fortune on books, studying the reformed theologians who lived prior to this century’s “charismania”.

I retired from the Air Force, left Japan and started over again in the town where I grew up. My parents and other relatives were apprehensive of my resettling near them, since they knew I was a religious fanatic. We attended, and even joined, several churches over the next few years, trying to settle in with the local evangelical, non-charismatic Christians. We wanted to find acceptance, and learn sound doctrine. As I learned more, and leaned more toward the Reformed Faith, I was made aware that I was living in adultery with my present wife. This was because my previous marriage did not end with a scriptural divorce. One counselor advised me that I should leave my present wife and live celibate in order to obey Christ’s commands. Failure to leave my present wife was considered continuous adultery in this Reformed denomination. This made no sense to me. Can one grievous sin be offset by committing another, I wondered? Should I really abandon my wife and two children because I blew it on my first marriage? I also discovered that any illusions I might have of ever being in any kind of leadership in any Reformed church, was out of the question. Divorce and remarriage was treated, except under the narrowest of scriptural scrutiny, as if it were more unforgivable than murder. The husband of one wife was the badge of acceptance required above all. Of course I still had questions. That, apparently, is a bad thing, as it did nothing but set me at odds with pastors and congregants alike. We finally found a Reformed Baptist Church in Pennsylvania, which accepted my past miscarriage of wedlock and we attended for several months. Originally the church had been an Independent Baptist Church and quite Arminian in theology. They had made the switch to Calvinism in soteriology, but remained Darbyite in eschatology. The primary preoccupation they seemed to have was with such important topics as head coverings for women and hating homosexuals. If the pastor was questioned in private concerning even the smallest detail of his teaching, the next service would be laced with personalized rebuke and condemnation pointedly aimed at the doubting inquiries and directly at those mouthing them. We left that church too.

We found another church some 35 miles away from our house that seemed promising. This church had been very charismatic originally, but had found deeper meaning in the teachings of R.J. Rushdooney. They had made a complete 180-degree turn toward Reconstructionism. I was totally unfamiliar with this brand of Christianity, so we stayed there for over three years. In that time we experienced and were taught a whole new brand of Christianity. Waving the Westminster Confession as the flag of truth we were encouraged to be filled with anger against sin, against worldly politicians, and to be fiercely aggressive political activists, so we might gain temporal power and obey Christ’s command to go into the entire world. “Discipling the Nations” was their clarion call. When the assistant pastor raised money to go and publicly support a civil war in a small African country, in the name of Christ, we finally knew it was time to leave that arena too. During the three years we were there, not one person became our friend. Everyone was too busy condemning pietism, marching and campaigning, and supposedly changing the world for Jesus.

Since leaving that church, I have spent the last couple of years reading other materials. Books by disillusioned Christians, pastors and others who find religion generally, and Christianity specifically, lacking in truth has become my books of choice. I have come to accept my initial adolescent doubts about the Bible. It was not simply rebellion, but the seed of good common logic and sense. I no longer claim to have all, or many, of the answers to life as I once claimed when my fanaticism expanded to full bloom. Since I have had to accept the fact that my theology has been wrong time and again, even though I supposedly had the Holy Spirit guiding me, it is quite unlikely that I have ever been totally right on much. I have changed my foundational beliefs several times as my religious self-education has evolved. I can’t say that I am content to be stagnant even at this juncture of spiritual understanding – I reserve the right to once again change my mind. Surely, if God could make a mistake and repent of making man, I can acknowledge error and repent of making a god and any decisions about my belief in it.

What do I believe now? Like I said, I am not sure. I suppose that makes me an agnostic. At this point, that is the most intellectually appealing position for my tortured thought processes. It allows me the freedom to keep an open mind while absorbing all the viewpoints without completely immersing myself in any of them. You might consider it an R&R from mind control, or perhaps I simply want …………, a sabbatical.

Dave




That is what I said then, and for the most part I would not change a thing. However, as my mind has cleared from the constant programming or self brainwashing I willingly subjected myself to, I have upped the "Anti", you might say. While I really cannot credit or blame anyone else for the positions on religion I have held, I find that much of the feedback I am receiving from this site implies that I have rejected Christ because of how people treated me. I regret I have written in such a way so as to mislead some on this point. Though I indeed was treated poorly by the bulk of Christians I know, I do not hate or dislike any of them. Neither did I leave the faith solely because of their behavior. I endured trials like that for nearly 30 years, and though unpleasant, it did not discourage me from my commitment to Christ. I remained stalwart for years, reasoning, as many of the people who write me, that Christians may be imperfect, but they are forgiven, and Christ is not like them, and so on. The main point I had hoped to accomplish in reiterating a few of the unpleasant experiences I had with the "chosen few" was to show that there is nothing supernatural going on in the lives of Christians. We are taught that the Holy Spirit is within us, transforming us, quickening us, destroying our sin nature, putting to death the "old man" and on and on ad-nauseam. The simple truth is: it is not true. Christians are absolutely no different than any one else. They do not have GOD ALMIGHTY in their bodies, making them into new creatures. Oh, sure, many resist temptation and endeavor to live a pure, moral life, but their thoughts continue to trouble them, and have to be resisted until death. Anyone who claims otherwise is a lying fool.

Now, of course someone is going to give me one of the stock theological answers to this puzzle, such as, the sin nature will never be destroyed until death. Or they might say that we are never perfectly sanctified in this life. There are plenty of well-rehearsed answers, all with supporting Bible verses, and interestingly, many of those bland explanations contradict one another, depending on the denominational bent of the various unharmonious voices. I readily admit that I have never been anything more than a layman. I have no official seminary or theological schooling to adorn my walls. I have, however, read extensively from the writings of Charles Spurgeon, Charles Hodge, Matthew Poole, Matthew Henry, Adam Clarke, Martin Luther, John Calvin, R.C. Sproul, the historic Confessions of Faith, commentaries without number, The Sword of the Lord, Charisma Magazine, Bill Bright, Frank Morrison, Hendricks, etc.

Listing all my reading is possible, but I only mention the books I can see from my computer desk. If I were to go to the basement, I would recite dozens of other well known authors in Christendom. I owned a Dake Bible and I own an old Geneva Bible. I have a reprint of Tyndale's original English New Testament. I was, and am, highly interested in the Christian faith. Does all this reading make me the authority? No of course not, but it was not only emotional dissatisfaction which led me to my present position. The more I studied the Christian faith, its history, how it has mutated and evolved over time, I began to realize that I was not being intellectually honest with myself. How can “the truth once delivered” change so much over the course of 2000 years if GOD ALMIGHTY was running the show? For example, Arminianism was heresy to Protestants when the Bible was published in English. Now it is the Calvinists who are held in disrepute.

Chances are that many of the Christians who read the mentions of Calvinism, eschatology, soteriology, etc., have no idea what I am talking about. That is another topic that contributed to my first suspicions that Xtianity is a false lie: the striking ignorance and loathing for learning that is rife in the Christian community. Claiming to love god with all their hearts and souls, yet reading His Word, memorizing it, studying theology to better understand HIM, is quite beyond most, if not nearly all Christians. Finding anyone who understands the history of Christianity prior to Darby's Dispensational gospel is nearly impossible. I would try to strike up conversations about theological and historical topics that were churning in my mind only to find blank stares in the Christian's faces to whom I would address myself. Now, that would be understandable if I were addressing novices, or baby believers, but the blankest stares would come from the pastors themselves. One pastor actually admitted to me that he found if very difficult to study the Word of God. He found study of theology very dry and boring and emphasized to me that Christ was relational, seeking a living relationship with his children, not living in dry books but living in beating hearts. Oh, how pious sounding! No doubt some reading this now have heard such tripe, and maybe some even heard their spirit bear witness to them that, yes that is true, Christ desires a relationship with us. To this nonsense I say that since Christ and his Dad are not talking in any other conventional way except through the words of Scripture in these last days, how is it I can hear His voice, unless I immerse myself in His WORDS? How is it I can say I am filled with the Holy Spirit, I love GOD more than all, I am being made into a new creation, and yet still find studying Christianity to be dull? The answer is simple of course. It is dull, and it is dead. There is no living Spirit indwelling believers, and only the compulsive, people like me, have the natural drive to totally focus on boring stuff.

Finally, finding no answers to my questions, I read the books of such people as Thomas Paine, Mark Twain, Dan Barker, Charles Templeton, Austin Mills, James Randi, Richard Dawkins, and a host of others. I began to see that there was a whole world of Freethinking Ex-Christians, and NON-Christians out there, people who were fairly invisible to the general public, especially the Christian general public. My mind was opened to reality, and is continuing to be opened to reality, as the myths and gods of my youth are abandoned to be replaced by reason.

I do not consider myself an agnostic anymore, finding fence sitting untenable. I could say I am now an evil Atheist, or I could use the softer sounding title of Freethinker. For now I will simply call myself an Ex-Christian, though there is more to it than being an ex something or another. I no longer believe in any gods or goddesses, they are all primitive imaginings reflecting an escape from fear and ignorance. There are many things we do not know about the world and the universe at large, but not knowing the how’s or why’s of things does not predispose us to believing in a giant Sky Daddy, or Tri-Daddy, or whatever.

None of this proves or disproves Christianity, I realize, but the purpose of this paper is to show the thinking processes that led to my de-conversion.

527 comments:

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Anonymous said...

I think that many Christians would (if they were to deeply consider it) find agreement with at least part of your negative assessment of the religion in practice. The Christian world you describe, one of hypocrisy, confusion and contradiction is vast, but it is also to be expected for a variety of reasons. I suggest CARM as a positive resource that will be of tremendous benefit when dealing with Christians of this nature.

Anonymous said...

My heart broke for you as I read your article, but then it also broke for me, as I have encountered the same "blank stares" from those in authority. I have lived thru countless "do and don't" sermons that were no more than brainwashings. I learned more of King James in one church than King Jesus. I also wonder as to the origin and place of all the translations...but I believe in John 14:6. I am afriad not to believe it. In my heart I know that there is in fact a God who loves us.

boomSLANG said...

Anony', you said your "heart" is broken. So then, what I want to know, is how can you "know in your heart" anything at all, if your heart is "broken"?

Fist said...

Hello friend.

First of all sorry for my bad english I am from Croatia.

***

This site has an interesting view. I think of myself as a free thinker but i would like to tell you one thing my friend and that is: "Religion is fear but faith is love". People always need to have faith in other people, don't loose faith. Religion is just corporative approach in using faith for gaining ego... Please do not think as this all bad (christianity). All people are natively good and want to make theirselves and other around them feel good. We as a people of this small world need to grow up beyond differences and join together to make this world worth living. No matter if you are christian, baptist, buddhist or islamist... Follow the way of love and help other people.

***

To provocated christians:

Religion is bad cause people are making it like that. As an ex-christian i can say that religion does not save you but people often search for an excuse so misuse religion for that. If i kill in the name of god or i go to church in the name of god would i be true follower or just someone who is searching for love in the wrong way? I ask you why do we need gods commands? Why do we need "gods" rules? IF we live by rules of love and understanding noone would be exchristian or christian. If you were in true understanding of your religion things like this site would not bother you. If catholic church encourages people to believe why wouldn't someone encourage them not to believe? I ask you again who is more right the one who asks to believe or the one who asks not to believe???

Anonymous said...

You should remove the "gospel quiz" from your site. It's bogus. Whichever answer you give, it always tells you you're incorrect EVERY time. I can't imagine what the point of this is. Having BS like this on your site discredits anything worthwhile you might have to share and makes you seem sinister and untrustworthy.

Anonymous said...

Hahahahahah...Mr. Anonymous! That is the point of the quiz! To show how the bible contradicts itself. Every one of those answers is in the bible! Look em up...

Anonymous said...

you were part of a cult.

webmdave said...

You're right, anonymous. I was part of the cult of Christianity.

In fact, I was part of several of the cults that call themselves Christianity.

WoolDeluxe said...

So, what is this top secret?

First, I get a code. Then I type in the secret word.

You get no comment because it apparently isn't God's will.

WoolDeluxe said...

My experience is different than your's in that you started looking to men (authors and experts) early on whereas scripture says, "do not say, 'I am of Paul' or 'I am of Barnabas'".

Every real disciple should have God Himself as his teacher and yet find the same truth. If you don't believe this then isn't God playing games with you that some "expert" on Him is all you can find?

There are many who are called but not chosen and think they know God but don't. Which one did you like best?

I think a person has to want to follow and worship a righteous King as God first.. if He exists. This is the kind of beginning point. If a person is happy without God, then they likely will not be sincerely seeking Him (though they may enjoy reading supposedly intellectual writings about "God" by writers whose real motivation is to exalt themselves by supposing they know God).

Since God is a King, He won't be bossed around giving out answers or even answering period unless a person sincerely wants to cooperate in His righteous plan and be respectful.

Most men are happy being their own god... no matter if the combined result in the world is kind of mediocre.

Astreja said...

Wooldeluxe: "I think a person has to want to follow and worship a righteous King as God first... if He exists." (Emphasis mine)

Follow a king? Worship a king? What in blazes for? My current country of residence has an honest-to-goodness queen who seems to be a nice enough lady. I know she exists; I've seen her on TV and heard her voice on the radio. But... Follow? Worship? No, no, a thousand times no. She isn't going anywhere I'd care to follow (and neither is anyone else, god -or- mortal).

I'm especially underwhelmed by the absentee-landlord Biblical god Yahweh, whose alleged actions on Earth are so random as to be statistically indistinguishable from chance occurrences.

As for gods-as-teachers, riddle me this: With literally thousands of versions of Christianity out there, and multiple versions of "the truth", what makes you think that anyone got the real deal?

WoolDeluxe said...

Astreja

This isn't "a god." This is the God that created and runs the cosmos.

There is little reason to believe that multiple gods of different personalities created or run it since they would long ago have begun arguing and let the whole thing go to pot. Also, the universe is really quite up to date after all these trillions of years, so God is obviously infinitely more with it than, say, the General Motors management.

If you believe it runs itself (the universe) then you probably might conclude the same thing about General Motors ( and of course the employees would agree with this assessment though we know better).

So far as which of all the forms of Christianity to believe... here's my experience.

I chucked the whole thing as a teenager after not getting answers to my questions. I was a Lutheran.

However, in my heart and mind I knew I would follow God as King if He is who He is in the bible and if He exists.

I supposed there might be a God, but if so He wasn't answering questions. He had given us death, which doesn't seem too great when He doesn't seem to have anyone around with answers to questions such as what happens after death; not convincing answers anyway. So I recognized the need for a loving Father God and wished we had souls that lived on, but it seemed too good to be true... must be a fairy tale.

And if one only gets to heaven through Jesus, then what about the man that died in India 5000 years ago that never heard of Jesus?

I went about my business and stopped looking for God or "believing in Him."

Then I had an experience where all my questions were answered about everything I could think of as fast as I could think of the questions.
It turns out there is a state of mind or communion with God wherein we are not seperated from the truth and the answers. If we were with God and holy we would be in this state of mind of communion and answers to questions all the time.

I wasn't looking for God at the time, but God knew my heart and reached me.

So, on the one hand, when you say you wouldn't want to follow a King, it indicates you aren't ready to respect one and so He knows your heart and unless He chooses to work on you, you will presumably continue to live your life without Him. This is, however, the real reason for you not knowing Him; it is not the myriad pontifications and denominations of men that you should claim for your reason for not seeking Him. He is able to reach a person personally if they sincerely want a righteous, holy God.

The queen you are discussing is not holy or righteous, unless she is by her relationship with Christ, if she has one. Following her is not at all the same as following God.

So far as the man who died in India 5000 years ago, he was judged by how he responded to his conscience and what he could see of the nature of God in nature (this is written in scripture and is logical).

Not knowing Christ,His judgment would have been that he came back here again to live another life as who he had become in the last life by everything he did which made him who he was by the point of death, judgment and rebirth, or he could have been denied another existence here by God and sent to hell if he deserved it (if you don't believe in hell, you must be niave because there are people who live in hell right here on earth).

Anyway, it turns out there aren't significant problems with the bible for me, just the overlay men had put on it, which makes it very hard to see it for what it really says.

Still, no problem, God is available with answers for those who humbly and sincerely seek the truth and a King because He has so prepared them. In my case, part of the preparation was demanding real answers that make sense.

If anything I said doesn't make sense, I will try to expand on it or clarify it if you request

Astreja said...
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Astreja said...

Wooldeluxe: "This isn't 'a god'. This is the God that created and runs the cosmos."

Prove it. (And not by using the Bible, either... Not admissible as evidence here.) I see no reason to believe that such a being exists outside the imaginations of humans.

And there is certainly no evidence thus far that points to (and only to) the god of the Judeo-Christian mythological books.

"So far as which of all the forms of Christianity to believe... here's my experience."

Your subjective experiences are insufficient as evidence. I am not living life through your eyes, but through Mine. Your fantasies are not "truth" to Me.

What I did see in your testimony, however, is a fear of your own mortality and a craving for a father figure. And I think that you convinced yourself by looking for 'signs' that confirmed what you already wanted desperately to believe.

My needs are different from yours. Very different. I'm comfortable with the concept of death and, being an adult, am not looking for "Dad" to tell me what to do.

"It turns out there is a state of mind or communion with God wherein we are not seperated from the truth and the answers."

Exceedingly common "mystical" experience. Happens in all cultures. Advanced students of meditation (all styles) regularly give similar reports -- Read Ken Wilber's Transformations of Consciousness for an in-depth look at the salient features of the phenomenon.

And such an experience doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the Bible (or any other religious book), or with supernatural god-beings, either. I suspect it was "merely" your own mind in a particularly lucid and focused state.

"So, on the one hand, when you say you wouldn't want to follow a King, it indicates you aren't ready to respect one... And unless He chooses to work on you..."

Ah, so much for that 'free will' shit. So your pet god regularly fucks with random human minds to get people to believe it exists? I am sooo not impressed.

"The queen you are discussing is not holy or righteous..."

(picks up very heavy gauntlet) *slap!* Hey. No one disses Betty Windsor on My watch, kid.

"...he could have been denied another existence here by God and sent to hell if he deserved it..."

NO ONE deserves Hell.

No one.

Not even your mythical devil.

If you believe otherwise, you are one sorry and deluded little bastard, and I hope you simply wake up one morning and discard your religion because it no longer makes any fucking sense to you.

Anonymous said...

Hey Wooly (Mammoth) Deluxe

Before I even saw Astreja's thoughts, I also picked up on your fear of mortality, as well as your strong need for a father figure; which this god IN YOUR MIND, provides you with both.

Your justifications that try to prove to us that YOUR god should be our god to, have about as much credibility to them, as any other lame fundie argument we've seen thus far on this site.
All your proof lies within your own deluded mind and no place else.
Your reasoning ability is just a wee bit skewed and out of kilter, but a sick mind doesn't always know it's in need of repair (e.g. patients that are having strokes don't know it many times).

Your mind needs to worship this god because of your own selfish needs for immortality and that mystical father figure to protect and guide you. So you, like all xtians do, form god in the image they wish to see him as and cherry pick qualities of the bible to support that specfic image.


>"I wasn't looking for God at the time, but God knew my heart and reached me"

Again I agree with Astreja here. This is quite scary in fact.

So your version of this god being, goes around touching people with his mind at random, which of course takes away the free will that most xtians proclaim we all have.
This is on par with how god hardened the pharaoh's heart ON PURPOSE so he wouldn't let Moses's people go too soon (and wreck the length of the 4 hour movie).

Sure seems that your god likes to interfere with the thought processes of the human he created.
Thank goodness my mind has a force field wrapped around it that repels such conjured up gods.


I wonder if those extinct WoolyMammoths, had an equal talent for making up gods to worship in their primitive minds. If so, their god had the same amount of proof that your does...NONE.

You really do need to put aside your emotions that prove your god to you and try and use some reasoning ability to see your god never existed.
Your emotional needs have created this god in your mind, but his reality stops where your skull ends.


ATF

WoolDeluxe said...

Well, ATF, it isn't necessary to prove that God exists.

If you don't think creation, or "nature" as you might like to put it without recognizing God, or mathematics, or any other of God's beautiful creations "proves" God's existence then you logically believe a Rembrandt painted itself.

Now leave it to you to tell me who is logical.

Atheism requires a lot of faith.... I think you should prove that God doesn't exist... what evidence do you have(your grievances with God don't prove He doesn't exist).

boomSLANG said...

Xian Fleece: ..it isn't necessary to prove that God exists.

Dead wrong. It is totally necessary. When a child believes he or she has an invisible friend, okay, sure....'harmless. On the other hand, when full grown adults commence to blowing each other up, even as we speak, over which invisible "friend" to worship, then YES, it becomes necessary to find evidence for, and identify, their alleged "friend"...i.e.. "God". When personal beliefs(yours) become collective beliefs, and those beliefs encroach upon my freedom and/or threaten my well being, then you'd better be able to validate the source, pal. That is the way it works.

Xian Fleece: If you don't think creation, or "nature" as you might like to put it without recognizing God, or mathematics, or any other of God's beautiful creations "proves" God's existence then you logically believe a Rembrandt painted itself.

Firstly, most Atheists I know are in awe of "nature". I, personally, don't need to know the source of nature, nor presuppose that it even needs a source, to be in awe of nature.' Follow? However, unlike you, the "lookist", I'm fully aware that nature can be just as ugly and deadly, as it can be "beautiful". In other words, if "God is like a icecream cone on a hot summer's day"....then to be objectively fair, "God is like a killing machine when a tsunami takes out 20,000 human beings". Of course, I wouldn't expect you to have a clue what the word "objective" means.

Secondly, if nature, in deed, has a source, then whoopty-shit. Who says it's not a non-personal indifferent impartial source? Who says it's a personal "being" flying around the universe in a tizzy over if a man has foreskin on his penis, or if they like to eat shellfish? Who says?..yoU? WHERE is your evidence?

Thirdly, your tired old apologetic, "painting needs a painter" analogy fails miserably, just like it always will. For one, I can waltz right down to the Ringling School of Art and witness painters in action, "creating" paintings. Secondly, you are comparing apples and oranges, to begin with---you are comparing nature, itself, to something that doesn't occur in nature.

Xian Fleece: Now leave it to you to tell me who is logical.

Oh?... you're leaving it to me? Okay, then I say that NOT believing in something; NOT spending a good portion of your life trying to please that somthing---something for which there is NO evidence...is logical. 'Hope that helps = )

Xian Fleece finishes with: Atheism requires a lot of faith.... I think you should prove that God doesn't exist... what evidence do you have(your grievances with God don't prove He doesn't exist).

WRONG again. Non-belief requires zero "faith". Do you have "faith" that Poseiden doesn't exist? How about the Almighty Allah? I think you should "prove" that every god you deny doesn't exist. Can you? Of course not...so what, then? Those deities exist because you cannot prove they don't? I'd advise you to not attempt that moronic argument if you should happen to challenge Atheists elsewhere.

SEO said...

"If a thing does NOT exist it can not leave any evidence of it's non-existence. Only things that DO exist can leave evidence. From this we can derive that conclusive proof can only come from the person that claims that a thing exists. It is nonsensical to demand proof of non-existence."

- http://groups.msn.com/AtheistVSGod/theonusofproof.msnw

Anonymous said...

anynonymous xtian says

"Waaaaaaaahh waaaaaaah waaaaaaah, you've shown us up to be a bunch of fools!! those evil people from the past aren't true christans WAAAAAH WAAAH WAAH!!!"

You are only to be congratulated mr Webmaster, your work will go down in history as some of the most important free-thought and hence liberation known in the 20th-21st century..

I can just imagine or descendents now...

Descendent#1:"Hey did you know that people believed in an invisible sky man who watched and judged everything you did?"

Descendent#2:"Yeah but that was before the internet and the age of electronic enlightenment...the internet was like the global library of alexandria in it's heyday;)"

Christianity is nothing but a psychopathic death cult and ALL its followers are neurotic to SOME degree...how else can we explain a belief in something that isn't there?

WoolDeluxe said...

For you who are so concerned about Christianity being dangerous, aren't you using monolithic thinking?

At minimum there are individual Christians who are not dangerous.
Sure, you can think of a smart-alec answer to anything.

By the same logic some of you use, atheists are dangerous because Communist atheists slaughtered millions of people in Russia and other countries.

You know, it doesn't take too much thinking to expose the lack of fair thinking in some of what is being said here.

There is an emotionally charged hostility here sometimes which might be the counterpart in an atheist cult to emotionally charged "love" or positive emotions in a pseudo-Christian cult.

I could easily find a rationale for blaming atheists for all the problems in the world.

Anyway, the form of cultic atheism which some of you have chosen to believe in, though quite a widespread and scholastically supported cult, never-the-less has a lot of the allure and ego-appeal that most other cults have. Why not find several listings of the nature of cults and see if you have unknowingly found your next one?

Astreja said...

Wooly: "You know, it doesn't take too much thinking to expose the lack of fair thinking in some of what is being said here."

I have no intention of playing fair.

I detest Christianity. It's a millstone tied around the neck of millions of people... A mind-fuck that has them shaming themselves, confessing unworthiness to a hypothetical invisible being who doesn't do squat to help this planet.

The problems of this world will not be solved by people who consider themselves to be less than dirt. What we need is strong, mentally stable individuals who know that they're good enough to sit down and come up with correct answers.

The violence of this world will not be reduced or resolved by us-or-them religions. Such cults, including (but not limited to) Christianity and Islam, see enemies on all sides and long for eschatological catastrophes such as the Apocalypse.

The future of humanity is at stake. Christianity is a liability to that future.

boomSLANG said...

Thoroughly incensed Xian is back with:

For you who are so concerned about Christianity being dangerous, aren't you using monolithic thinking?

I didn't finger Christianity, specifically, did I? Let's review together:

"When a child believes he or she has an invisible friend, okay, sure....'harmless. On the other hand, when full grown adults commence to blowing each other up, even as we speak, over which invisible 'friend' to worship, then YES, it becomes necessary to find evidence for, and identify, their alleged "friend"...i.e..'God'."

To be crystal clear---"full grown adults" was intended to mean adherents of ANY religion; I mean ANY religion that either, explicitly, or implicitly, condones/promotes the killing of opposing religionists. That would include Christianity, and Islam, and "God's Chosen". If you want to say that I'm thinking monolithically in terms of slaughtering in the name of "faith" being a bad thing?... 'so be it---I accept that "charge".

Wool': At minimum there are individual Christians who are not dangerous.

True---and further still, wouldn't you agree that those individuals don't likely need to keep a bible on their night stands to "not" be "dangerous"? Be honest. In other words, if they're good, compassionate, and peaceful people as moderate religionists, chances are, they'd be the same without religion at all, therefore, they wouldn't need to be proponents of the same doctrine that enable the extremists.

Wool': Sure, you can think of a smart-alec answer to anything.

Yup, all day...until you stop giving me the material.

Wool': By the same logic some of you use, atheists are dangerous because Communist atheists slaughtered millions of people in Russia and other countries.

I didn't bring up the past, did I? Nonetheless, you attack a straw man. Communism is/was a political movement. There is no Atheist doctrine that says all adherents must kill in the name of communism. Communism and godlessness are not mutually inclusive. Click here. Furthermore, how many wars are taking place as we speak, in the name of "no god"?

Wool': You know, it doesn't take too much thinking to expose the lack of fair thinking in some of what is being said here.

It apparently takes more thinking than what you have, because to my understanding, if you're here to campaigne that Christianity is the one and only Universal Truth, you've fallen way short. 'Got anything better?

Wool': There is an emotionally charged hostility here sometimes which might be the counterpart in an atheist cult to emotionally charged "love" or positive emotions in a pseudo-Christian cult

Tit-for-tat? That's the best you' got? Nonetheless, where's our cult leader? Where's our doctrine? Where's our symbolic blood sacrifice? Hey...where's our golden execution apparatus necklaces? Hmmm?

Wool': I could easily find a rationale for blaming atheists for all the problems in the world.

Sure you could---just like you could blame "evil" on a horned man-angel in a red leotard who lives in the center of the earth. BOO!

Jim Arvo said...

WoolDeluxe said "If you don't think creation, or 'nature' as you might like to put it without recognizing God, or mathematics, or any other of God's beautiful creations 'proves' God's existence then you logically believe a Rembrandt painted itself."

Grammar aside, let's take a look at the "logic" of this argument. WD claims that failing to attribute the creation of "nature" to "god" is equivalent to failing to attribute the creation of a painting to a painter. Let's see if this stands up. (I think I already know what's going to happen, but I won't give it away.)

As this is an argument by analogy, the whole thing stands or falls on aptness; that is, how close the parallel is between the two scenarios. WB claims that the parallel is so close that one cannot possibly accept (reject) one without accepting (rejecting) the other. Presumably, this is what WB meant by being "logical". So far so good, WD?

Let's start with a painting. We've all seen how they are made. A human dabs a brush into various paints and applies it to a canvas. We've never seen something that looks like a painting that was NOT done in this way. Hence, we have plenty of positive examples of painters creating paintings, and not a single negative example. Inductively speaking, we're therefore on solid ground when we assume a painter whenever we see a painting.

Now WD asserts that "nature" is so similar to a painting that it MUST share the attribute of having a creator (not a human creator of course, but a magical invisible being). Let's try to see why this must be. As WD gave no indication as to why this one particular attribute must carry over from paintings to nature, we'll need to guess why it must be so. Is it true, for example, that ANYTHING that is true of the painting must also be true of "nature"? Well, no. We cannot conclude that "nature" is nearly flat, or made of canvas and paint, or created by a human, or has a mass of less than a ton, or has no moving parts, or can be wadded into a little ball by a human, etc. etc. In fact, there's very little we can say about a painting that is also true of nature. NEVERTHELESS, WD claims that this ONE special attribute actually does carry over from the painting to nature; that somebody or something "created" it. And why is this again? Presumably because paintings and nature are SO SIMILAR; no other reason.

To sum up:

1) we've plenty of examples to cite when claiming a painter created a painting, but not ONE when it comes to universes or nature.

2) Nature is not very much like a painting, so there are countless things that are true of one and not the other.

3) The only reason to suspect that nature and paintings share the attribute of having a creator is a loose (and very poor) analogy.

So, the "logic" didn't fare too well. Perhaps you would like to try another example, or attempt to refine this one.

WD later said "I could easily find a rationale for blaming atheists for all the problems in the world."

Of course you could! Coming up with rationale is child's play. The question is whether that rationale would stand up to scrutiny. I very much doubt that it would. But don't let me stop you; give it a go if you like.

WD also said "Anyway, the form of cultic atheism which some of you have chosen to believe in,..."

To the religionist, all is religion. Atheism generally stems from skepticism; the demand for warranted belief. That's not only the antithesis of a cult, it's just about the only ticket out of a cult.

WoolDeluxe said...

The trick is that the spiritual can't be proved by empirical observaton of the material by definition of the terms.

I didn't agree with most of Dirty Jim's (I mean that affectionately) reasoning.

I do think Karen wrote some beautiful stuff and Fist has it right when he says loving each other whatever religion you are or not... can't knock it when someone helps you out.... I'm not saying atheists or Islamists or whatever are all bad... can't knock it when they are there to help you.

Om the other hand, there are unsavory types operating under any name. Stuff it in your ear.

boomSLANG said...

WD: ...[on] the other hand, there are unsavory types operating under any name. Stuff it in your ear.

The "unsavory types" argument for the existence of God:

1) Some Atheist's comments are unsavory.

2) Therefore, God exists.

3) Therefore, Jesus is Lord.

Jim Arvo said...

WD said "I didn't agree with most of... Jim's... reasoning."

That and $2.50 will get you a Frappuccino at Starbucks. Feel free to poke holes in what I said. We'll see if your reasoning holds up. Okay?

Anonymous said...

Wool said: The trick is that the spiritual can't be proved by empirical observaton of the material by definition of the terms.

Wool, if this is true, the world is (pardon my french) fucked.

As soon as you pick religion as the touchstone of reality, then we have to start discussing how one can demonstrate the correctness of one religion over another when different religions disagree.

-Wilson Heydt

WoolDeluxe said...

Jim:

I had a response to your reasoning behind why a painting is not a good analogy to creation or nature. I erased the whole thing because I thought the primary motives on the site are more along the lines of Huck Finn demonstrating his independence.

Since then I read Anonymous's long posting about mid-way up the scroll button margin about the origin of scripture, which I kind of liked, because it basically said the disciples taught it and then handed it around once somebody wrote it down and it got copied and passed down like any popular and valued writing might. I would add that the personality of God, or for you, the imaginary being, is evident in all the books that are in the bible. Here is where you might say, "ya, and He was this and that." I see consistency in the Being despite the fact that records of Him or "the postulated subject god" are gathered from a number of sources.
This doesn't "prove" anything, but it would be a tip-off that the subject god was manufactured if the various authors making the god up were not constistent over time about the exact nature and character of the being.

But, anyway, let me read your objections to the painting/creation or nature analogy again.

WoolDeluxe said...

1) Jim's response that there are plenty of examples of artists seen painting paintings but none of God creating a universe.

Well, that is the reason for the example of the painting; the fact that noone has seen God create.

Now as to whether a painting is enough like nature to posit a relationship between nature and creator such as exists between painting and painter:

A painting and nature are certainly different. How about, there is too much complexity in application of materials for either to likely be the result of random incident or forces. I would say that the screw on the back of the painting is a dead give away and any human, be it Jim Lehrer or Einstein, is the equivalent in creation of the screw on the back of the painting.

We also have complexities in time involving the chances of entropy occuring before material complexities would have a chance to develop, in the case of creation/nature. I guess entropy is not a factor in a painting. The complexities of the painting, however, point to application of materials with a desired result rather than by random chance, even without observation of an artist painting it. Of course, the missing factor in nature is that noone saw the creator create creation/nature, but that is the reason for the analogy, to convey that a large likelihood, or by mathematics, a certainty that all of the complexity cannot happen and maintain in order without entropy over vast lengths of time without intelligence behind it.

I am not saying, of course, "Oh, here's the paragraph that proves a creator." I understand that that might be what some are looking for.... maybe it is a matter of degree.... a paragraph that would satisfy and thus "prove" a creator to the logic of one person would not satisfy another. The fact that noone saw God/imaginary being create does not mean that we cannot intelligently infer and reduce to a certainty with mathematics that intelligent design is behind the universe.

WoolDeluxe said...

Put an "exists" between "certainty" and "that" in previous post.

WoolDeluxe said...

Jim:

I just more fully appreciated your notion that no attempt at logic at all is worthy of a Frappucino at Starbucks.

WoolDeluxe said...

Fjell:

You noted that it would be a brick wall if indeed, "the trick is that the spiritual can't be proved by empirical observation of the material by definition of the terms" is true.

I'm thinking the trick to this statement is the question, "Why are you attempting to empirically observe what is readily obvious once it has been ascertained that no nature/creator in a body has ever been observed?"

If for the reasons I stated, possibly inadequately, in the above post, there must be a creator, then the creator must exist on a spiritual level defined as one that is not observable from the frequency level our eyes and ears are attuned to. This because the group experience of mankind is that noone has ever seen the creator wih eyes or ears and lived.

Jim Arvo said...

WD said "...it would be a tip-off that the subject god was manufactured if the various authors making the god up were not constistent over time about the exact nature and character of the being..."

On that you have my whole-hearted agreement! Now, do you believe the ghastly capricious being depicted in the OT is identical to the generally benign character of Jesus? Is stoning disobedient children, or sacking entire communities consistent with the person of Jesus as you conceive him? I can think of few books as psychotically disjointed as the Bible. But, point well taken.

WD paraphrased my point #1 as "...there are plenty of examples of artists seen painting paintings but none of God creating a universe."

No, you missed the vital point. We have no examples of anything being "created" or "designed" IN NATURE, whether by a god or otherwise. The entire category of "natural" phenomena is without a single verifiable example of something having been created or designed. Thus, there is no way to test any inference about such. If you claim that an amoeba was "designed", there is no observation or experiment that one can perform to check that claim (Behe, Dempski, and Denton no withstanding). Thus, any analogy you employ to hop from the category of human artifacts to that of natural phenomena is wholly without support.

WD: "...there is too much complexity in application of materials for either to likely be the result of random incident or forces."

I agree. "Complex" structures and processes are (in general) not the result of randomness. If you think that anybody is arguing otherwise, then you are attacking a straw man. Life, for example, is the antithesis of randomness, as is the molecular machinery that comprises it. However, non-random is NOT identical with "designed". We have plenty of examples of the spontaneous creation of order out of seeming chaos. This happens continually at the molecular level as molecules self-assemble (and, no, this not a violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics any more than crystal formation is). But more importantly, life is subjected to continual feedback from the environment, which is not random at all--it's highly correlated with the structure of the organism; feedback is effectively the opposite of randomness. What we see in nature, at the macroscopic scale, is not random at any scale except the atomic scale. Non-random does NOT equal "designed".

Let me turn your analogy around and use it to make my point. The painter does not first decide what picture she wishes to paint, and then applies a precise sequence of strokes to create the pre-conceived image. Rather, she will continually assess how the picture is developing, experiment, and happily accept random flourishes if they produce something "good". The painting she ends up with may be vastly different from what she originally imagined. There is a complex feedback loop between the painter and the painting. While there is indeed some randomness within each brush stroke (for the painter cannot perfectly anticipate how each hair in the brush will behave), the overall process is NOT random, even though the path ultimately taken may not have been anticipated at all.

That is a reasonable analogy with life and the process of evolution. Note carefully how I made use of your painting analogy. I used it to illustrate what is observed (and inferred) to occur in nature; I am not attempting to infer anything about life by means of this analogy. That is, I using analogy as a descriptive device, as do scientists, not as an inference rule, as do creationists.

WD: "...The complexities of the painting, however, point to application of materials with a desired result rather than by random chance, even without observation of an artist painting it."

I've already addressed that above. You cannot infer that the painter created the painting *intentionally*; that is, by choosing from the outset to create that particular painting. Doing so ignores the vitally important role of feedback from painting to painter. Once you make that observation, the painting analogy becomes a better metaphor for evolution than for special creation (with environmental pressures playing the role of the painter, of course).

WD: "...that is the reason for the analogy, to convey that a large likelihood, or by mathematics, a certainty that all of the complexity cannot happen and maintain in order without entropy over vast lengths of time without intelligence behind it."

No, no, and no. Nothing in that sentence has any basis in fact. Your reference to "likelihood" and "mathematics" in that sentence are once again based on nothing but loose analogy and gut feel. Yes, we can see lots of complex things around us that have been designed. That's no surprise--WE PUT THEM THERE! WE MADE THEM. The existence of those artifacts tells us nothing about the complex things surrounding us that we did NOT make. It's perfectly valid to wonder whether the process by which these other complex things came to be was similar in some way to the process we used to create our complex artifacts, but aside from suggesting a hypothesis, it tells us NOTHING. There is no valid INFERENCE we can make from the class of man-made artifacts to the class of "naturally occurring" complex things. Analogies tell us nothing. They may suggest, but they do not inform.

Here's a legitimate use of your analogy. You might say "I believe that a god designed us in the same way that humans design cars." As a tool for illustrating what you intend by the word "design", such analogies are quite handy. I've no problem with that at all. However, if you attempt to INFER that we were designed, because cars were, then you have just spoken nonsense. Why must our origins bear any similarity to that of a car (or painting, or computer, etc.)? Answer that first, then use the analogy to illustrate if you wish.

boomSLANG said...

Good points, as usual, from Jim Arvo.

To expound a little more---even granting, for the sake of argument, that an infinite immaterial intelligence "thought" the material Universe into existence, the burden of proof that said "intelligence" is none other than the three-in-one man-god known as "Jesus Christ", remains in Wooly's lap. Note: if man-made holy texts and "gut-instinct" are his "evidence", then any one of thousands of "creator gods" throughout history can be validated as well.

Furthermore, let's also not forget that if "complexity" demands a "designer", then surely a infinitely wise/strong/present "intelligence" passes as "complex", therefore---by Wooly's 'logic'---requiring a "designer", as well. It's the age-old infinite regress that no Theist can over-come. They are simply answering questions with more questions.

But we're listening, Wooly.

Jim Arvo said...

By the way, I don't want to lose track of the point I made earlier. That is, proofs by analogy do not work, in general, because they assert that two things share some special attribute simply because they are similar in some other way. For instance, wolves cannot fly because wolves are similar to dogs, and (let's stipulate that) we know dogs cannot fly. The attribute of not being able to fly, one could argue, carries over from dogs to wolves on the basis of similar anatomy. In this case, the conclusion happens to be true, and the argument is actually not so bad considering that the similarity is extensive, and anatomy is pertinent to the question of flying. However, as far as logical deduction goes, it's still a fallacy.

In the case of creationist arguments, it goes like this: A watch (painting, jet airplane, car, computer, whatever..) was designed, therefore living organisms were designed, because watches and organisms are similar in some way. That "similarity" can be expressed in many different ways, such as being "complex", or having parts that work together for some purpose, etc. But the structure of the argument is inescapable: the attribute of having a creator is conferred by virtue of similarity to something else that had a creator. If anybody would like to differ, please speak up.

One of the fatal flaws in the creationist argument (aside from using analogy as an inference rule) is that the cited "similarity" is far too vague to be discerning. In fact, one can list many attributes that do not carry over from man-made artifacts (such as watches) to living organisms, despite the fact that they are both "complex", possess moving parts that work together, each part serves a purpose, etc. For example, a watch can remain in perfect working order for centuries with no input of energy while organisms cannot. A watch can be disassembled into a finite number of pieces using macroscopic tools and then be reassembled while organisms cannot. Why is it that these attributes are not shared, yet the attribute of having a creator is? Clearly, just being "complex" (and other variations on that theme) is insufficient to determine which attributes are shared.

WoolDeluxe said...

Jim:

My thinking gradually evolved closer to the nut of digesting your thoughts, but here are my notes in chronological order to my reading you:

When you say, "the entire category of natural phenomenon is without a single verifiable example of something having been created or designed," this seems like a faith proposition. You are assuming that none of them are created without proving that none of them were not created. You might mention evolution, for example as some evidence that none were created, but then I would ask you how a genetic lock-out on breeding between species came to be in place. (If there is an exception to the rule please don't quote it).
In addition I would say any evolutionary processes would be themselves inferential of intelligent design.

On randomness verses order:

Nature is designed to order itself. There exists a mathematical impossiblity of nature ordering itself without intelligent design.

A car rusting away is nature ordering itself. The fact that the car rusts away by nature ordering itself is further evidence of intelligent design because it might be inferred that a lock-out exists on and trumping over man's attempt in metals at intelligent design in the car. If numerous examples of nature ordering itself exist, all the more reason to posit by inference intelligent design behind a nature which so efficiently orders itself in a non-random way

Painters:

If you use "scientists" to mean observers only, then we need a new synthesis of observation and use of analytical abilities which allows for mathematically likely inferences to be made. Being satisfied with observation without inference from the observations seems like being stuck again with the world is flat, though anyone could, in ancient times, climb a mountain and, looking at the horizon, see that the world is not flat. Now, man-made and limited logical formats are being insisted on to come to impossible conclusions about there being no intelligent design when that design is clear all around us. You cannot possibly prove, even by the logical confinements you choose to indulge in, that there is no intelligent design.

"Nothing in the sentence has any basis in fact, aside from suggesting a hypothesis it tells us nothing." This seems like more of the same; using man-made limitations of the definition of "science," and playing with the popular notion that science is more far-ranging in scope that it actually is. Science seems to be defined so as to exclude any inference or analytical thinking which could lead to the conclusion that a designer is, for example, mathematically obvious. It seems the atheists are defining science in a way that suits them to reach their desired conclusions.

Let's look at our masonic judicial system. It cannot be assumed that a man is innocent of an act in reality just because he has been exonerated under our judicial system. The man-made rules of the judicial game are, contrary to popular notion designed to protect the sly as much as to protect the innocent.

The truth can be quite simple and obvious; a system of definitions and rules must be created in order to confuse respect for the system with unfettered seeking after truth. This is similar to the arbitrary rules and limitiations some theologians put on their thinking to arrive at desired conclusions or non-conclusions.

As for the Old and New Testament God being consistent, scripture explains the consistency. Under the old covenant laws and ordinances and worship we were being kept( preserved as individual spirits from deterioration from sin and as a culture from sin and annihilation)by God using these things to preserve us. Under the new covenant, we are preserved in a different way, having Jesus in us.
Having the potential to be closer to God as His sons and daughters, by adoption, we seem to be a bit cagier, though in spite of ourselves, since as scripture says, "the sons of this age are more shrewd than the children of light."

There are many things in scripture that take faith to agree with God on, but He is the surgeon qualified to make painful decisions we would dread. He makes these to bring something out of the chaos and mediocrity of men chosing to be their own gods. His plan and wisdom take time and patience and faith to understand it is so deep.

A mathematical improbability has occured, the word verification to send this message is the letters, "imjuew." I saved it to file.

WoolDeluxe said...

Slang:

Whether God is the God of the bible and Jesus is His plan; I think it's logical based on observing nature and making inferences about nature and people. One way to go at this would be to answer questions or objections concerning how or why this would be so. I still think God has to be working in the person's life to prepare a person to accept and know the truth, but that doesn't mean an attempt to answer questions or objections can't be made. I might expect a rash of objections and hostilities I suppose, considering the site, and wouldn't be able to answer all at once. Also, I don't say anyone couldn't make a statement, which I know is quite likely, but just making a statement isn't taken for granted always in the "religious"
world.

On if a creator is, he must be complex and where did he and his complexity originate from (Paraphrased):

Either complexity or simplicity would have to have a primal source of origination or be the primal source. Either matter or energy or a creator would have to be primal at some point. The non-theist has the same concept to grasp; that something or somebody had to be primal. Since intelligence exists, it is more sensible to conclude that the intelligence predated matter than that intelligence came from inert matter (whether that matter exists in the form of energy or light or solid matter).

Jim Arvo said...

WD: "When you say, 'the entire category of natural phenomenon is without a single verifiable example of something having been created or designed,' this seems like a faith proposition. You are assuming that none of them are created without proving that none of them were not created."

You seem to have missed the word *verifiable*. If you disagree with my statement, then all you need to do is show me a *verifiable* instance of something in nature that has been "created" or "designed".

WD: "You might mention evolution, for example as some evidence that none were created..."

No. You have a fundamental misunderstanding here. It is IMPOSSIBLE, even in principle, the DISPROVE intelligent design. It is not a testable hypothesis as every conceivable observation and every conceivable experiment is consistent with intelligent design. No matter what we observe, it's possible that it is that way because some infinite deity made it that way. So, you miss my point entirely if you think evolution disproves intelligent design.

By the way, if you think being unfalsifiable lends any credibility to intelligent design, allow me add another unfalsifiable theory: My pet turtle, Fred, created the universe five minutes ago, along with all our memories, and all the illusory "evidence" of there having been a distant past. (As an aside, I have roughly equal regard for the Fred theory and the Yahweh theory.)

WD: "...I would ask you how a genetic lock-out on breeding between species came to be in place...

Geographic isolation plus genetic drift. The technical term for this is allopatric speciation.

WD: "(If there is an exception to the rule please don't quote it)."

Come again?

WD: "In addition I would say any evolutionary processes would be themselves inferential of intelligent design."

Okay. You can say it, but you'll need to back that up if you want to convince anybody.

WD: "Nature is designed to order itself...."

That's the point in question. What is your evidence for "design"?

WD: "...There exists a mathematical impossiblity of nature ordering itself without intelligent design."

A "mathematical improbability"?! Calling something mathematical does not make it mathematics. Where do the probabilities come from? What is the precise chain of reasoning? By the way, we are talking about empirical matters here, so mathematics alone has no bearing on the matter.

WD: "...If numerous examples of nature ordering itself exist, all the more reason to posit by inference intelligent design..."

You seem to be launching your argument all over again, but at a smaller scale this time. Please explain why self ordering implies "design".

WD: "If you use 'scientists' to mean observers only, then we need a new synthesis of observation and use of analytical abilities which allows for mathematically likely inferences to be made..."

I'm not going to respond to your specific comments in this section, as you seem to be suggesting some grand new vision of what science or mathematics ought to do or be. To me all these comments appear to stem from a naive view of science. Possibly you are reacting to my earlier comment that what you said was not mathematical. Well, it isn't. It was all based on loose analogies. That's not mathematics. (Incidentally, I'm a mathematician by training, so I'm quite familiar with mathematics.)

WD: "Now, man-made and limited logical formats are being insisted on to come to impossible conclusions about there being no intelligent design.... "

No. As I said, intelligent design is an untestable hypothesis. Let me clarify something. My point, from the very start, has been simply this: Your arguments for intelligent design are fallacious. Analogies and intuition are not evidence of design.

WD: "...using man-made limitations of the definition of 'science,' and playing with the popular notion that science...."

First, I am not "playing with the popular notion" of anything. You've made numerous dogmatic assertions and employed a good bit of fallacious reasoning. I've pointed those out and explained in some detail why they are fallacious and/or dogmatic. Dogma is not science. Observation, testing, and verification is science. As for science being "man made", yes, as a methodology, of course it is. I'll be happy to consider any alternative you wish to put forth. I'll even happily adopt such a methodology if you show me that it actually works. That last part it the key.

WD: "Science seems to be defined so as to exclude any inference or analytical thinking which could lead to the conclusion that a designer is, for example, mathematically obvious. It seems the atheists are defining science in a way that suits them to reach their desired conclusions."

Sorry, but that's a load of nonsense. See all my comments above.

WD: "Let's look at our masonic judicial system...."

I have neither the time nor patience today to follow each of your threads. None of this seems to addresses the fact that arguments from analogy are fallacious.

WD: "As for the Old and New Testament God being consistent, scripture explains the consistency."

So you think it's consistent for this "unchanging" god to insist on murdering children, homosexuals and adulterers at one point in history, and then to insist on forgiveness at another point in history? Sorry, I don't see that as consistent. I see it as one "holy book" being crudely grafted onto another "holy book", with some ill-conceived apologetics to smooth it over.

WD: "There are many things in scripture that take faith to agree with God on,..."

In other words, they conflict with what we would otherwise conclude, which makes them irrational beliefs. I agree.

WD: "...but He is the surgeon qualified to make painful decisions we would dread."

That is the point in question. Is there such a being? I see no evidence of one.

WD: "His plan and wisdom take time and patience and faith to understand it is so deep."

Here's another hypothesis. The "plan" you speak of is a fabrication of men. It takes time for humans to weave such stories and to convince themselves of it, against their better judgment. I think the second hypothesis is more likely, as it posits nothing more than mundane human behavior, which we observe in numerous cultures (i.e. all those following "false" religions). We know that humans invent tall stories, believe them, pass them on, embellish them, and attribute them to fantastic invisible beings. Every culture seems to have done this. It appears that you claim one such story to be actually true. I don't see any good reason to think so.

Jim Arvo said...

WD: "Since intelligence exists, it is more sensible to conclude that the intelligence predated matter than that intelligence came from inert matter..."

More sensible to conclude? Why is that?! Please, spell out your chain of reasoning here.

boomSLANG said...

Wooly: Slang:

Whether God is the God of the bible and Jesus is His plan; I think it's logical based on observing nature and making inferences about nature and people.


Oh, perfect. So, "intuition" is your "evidence".

Boy, it just doesn't get anymore concrete than that, does it? lol

Wooly continues: Either complexity or simplicity would have to have a primal source of origination or be the primal source. Either matter or energy or a creator would have to be primal at some point. The non-theist has the same concept to grasp; that something or somebody had to be primal. Since intelligence exists, it is more sensible to conclude that the intelligence predated matter than that intelligence came from inert matter (whether that matter exists in the form of energy or light or solid matter).

Repeat: Until you can show, unequivocally, that there's a direct link between a disembodied "intelligence" and "Yahweh", using more than "a hunch", "gut-feelings", and/or "intuition", it is pointless to discuss the singularity or first cause. I've already conceded that, yes, there "could be" a disembodied "mind" that willed all matter into existence. Mind you, as Jim pointed out, that notion is not falsifiable. But again, neither is "Fred", the Turtle-god as Creator.

Wooly, this is ex-christian.net...NOT ex-deist.net. 'Sorry, you'll have to do better in bridging the gap.

In the name of Fred; the Tortugita; and their Holy shell!(the Trinity)..Amen.

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

ALL HAIL FRED!!!

SEO said...

I have my very own demigod - She lives in a cage in my bedroom. Of course, having a turtle in a cage is like having a cat living in it's kitty litter box. But hey, it you're a god or a demigod you can swim around in your own shit if you want to.

All hail Fred. He's the shit!

Jim Arvo said...

Fred bestows his blessings upon all of you.

(At least that's what I think he said. Hard to tell sometimes.)

Anonymous said...

Jim Arvo wrote:
"Fred bestows his blessings upon all of you"
--
Jim,

I need to wax my car soon, so rather than Fred's holy blessings, do you think he could muster up some extra holy "Turtle Wax" instead?

I'll even use the secret wax-on...wax-off holy rain dance while I'm waxing away.

Okay, I think I've waxed on long enough now....Bye for now



ATF

Anonymous said...

It is considered blasphemous by orthodox Fredists to speak the name of the deity. In the original turtle-ese, it appears as FR_D, all in uppercase, and means "I am what I swim around in." Fredism, having been around since the dawn of about a week ago, wouldn't it be about par for the religious course to form a breakaway sect around now? For purists, who are IN the terrarium but not OF the terrarium. No man (and very few women) can look on the face of FR_D and live.

Jim Arvo said...

That's very insightful, __L_SH_PH_RD. You are clearly a great prophet. Indeed, there is already a reformation movement, with at least six break-away sects. This is a mystery in itself, as there are only five Fredist's so far. Some insist that their deity's name be written __E_, others FR_D, as you pointed out. It is prophesied that a great calamity will engulf the terrarium if these names be written together. As you may know, the first major rift in Fredism was over a fundamental doctrinal issue; whether FR_D, his SH_LL, and a bar of soap are all one--distinct, but identical--thee aspects of the unified one who is actually divided. Some claim this is so. Others want to feed FR_D some flies. The dispute might have destroyed the nascent religion were it not for Clementine, who declared "Stop it, you guys, or I'm tellin' Mom!".

In the name of FR_D, his SH_LL, and a bar of soap... blessings to all.

boomSLANG said...

ROFLMFAO! Holy tortuga shit, Jim Arvo!....and here I thought your expertise was strictly limited to the methodical, analytical approach, when dismantling the Theists' position. Good stuff!

....and "__L_SH_PH_RD."

Priceless!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I was witness to at least the rise of one of Fredisms sects: the Branch Ninja Turtlians, whose heretical philosophies included none other than the quadrune turtlehead. But a few ancient documents found at Nag Ambphibadi quickly proved the quadrune turtlehead to be a later invention and not part of original Fred scripture.

fjell

TheJaytheist said...

Fjell,

You are incorrect! The Ninja Turtlians are a NEW TESTAMENT to the original OT(older turtle) ie, Fr_d. Their four gospel accounts are in complete accord with the original doctrine and are in fact Fr_d breathed. Please do not risk your immortal soul be denying their inerrantness.

Fr_d bless you all!

WoolDeluxe said...

I went to the allopatric speciation site you highlighted and leaving this site wiped out what I had written so far.

There is a link there to an experiment where fruit flies fed "different diets for eight or more generations and then reintroduced to each other chose mates from their own feed group. I don't make too much of this.... it doesn't say whether the two groups were reintroduced so that they would have to mate with the other group or just introduced so that they could demonstrate their preference.
The definition of a species is that the two populations cannot reproduce, I thought, meaning even if brought together after being in geographical isolation they will not succesfully interbreed. The site gives names to several different types of species lock-outs. Some are because of duplicate chromosome sets which leads to reproductive failure in plants and some to genital differences. The point is that there are lock-outs and it cannot be said that those locks-out exist without intelligent design... even geographical isolation, if that is able to lead to speciation and reproductive lock-out could be by intelligent design used as a vehicle or as a result of will leading to results consistent with Deity or Deity's intention. But then I guess we are beyond whether intelligent design is possible and heading toward the nature of the Deity if it is possible for one to exist.

"Analogies and intuition" are not what I was using soley... I used inference. Anyway, I thought you admitted that intelligent design is likely so why discuss the rules of proofs which automatically exclude the possibility of God because they are rules designed only for simple empirical observations.

Telling my reasoning is "fallacious" doesn't make it so. Remember, by your own rules you have to prove it. This is largely a matter of time and tenacity; I can answer accusations that my logic is faulty, but it takes longer to answer the accusation than it does to simply throw in a "fallacious reasoning" accusation, so this is really a political move on your part perhaps. It would also be easy to confuse when I was speaking about something that is experiental for me or a matter of faith that I said for when I was clearly talking about inference about intelligent design.

O.K. I'm going to send this part and then get on with responding to your concerns about what God, since I believe on Him I'll call Him God... you will no doubt call Him "your deity" which is fine.

WoolDeluxe said...

The first and usual complaint, which you voice, about God is that He "murders" whoever.

God is not capable of murder. He is holy. You are jading the discussion to begin with by using "murder." God kills but cannot murder because He never makes a mistake.

God didn't just go around killing homosexuals or children without a righteous purpose. Anyway, He gave us all death as a penalty for not following Him and respecting Him. Also, death is not the same thing if a person has a soul and will live again. Being imperfect, in mind, soul, and body (by our own doing, but that is another topic) if God made us immortal in our present body we would no doubt complain that God had sentenced us to live forever in the prison of our own body.

Sodom and Gomorrah couldn't likely be said to have been destroyed merely because of homosexuals living there. There were homosexuals in Greece and Rome and God did not destroy those. There were additional factors in the history of Sodom and Gomorrah.

So far as God setting up a kingdom with rules that He wanted followed as exemplary of who He is, He did that with Israel in the Old Testament. A person had a choice not to practice homosexuality out of respect for God and His will or apparently be put to death, to whatever extent this was enforced. God inferentially finds homosexuality obnoxious, though He has been tolerating it in some nations for some time along with a host of other practices and mindsets He doesn't like.

Paul says that we were "kept" under the law(the law was a covenant to keep the people until the Messiah and the new convenant). God wanted one nation on earth that represented His holy nature in preparation for or as backround to the Messiah as the personification of who He is. If God killed or commanded children to be killed, remember they had souls and would live again in continuation of who each had become though perhaps in a different nation if their nation was destroyed. No nation or people was about to get out of the way voluntarily so that God could create a nation for Himself. This though each person owes their existence to God. He would have to exert Himself as God over a people who spit in His face and did not deserve His respect in order to make a place for His new nation.

If the topic is, "Is God consistent Old Testament and New," let's now look at the New Testament. Jesus said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," when Mary Magdalene was about to be stoned. He apparently knew she had a repentant heart. So then He said, "Go and sin no more," after He convinced the stoners to stop. And she didn't say, "Who do you think you are, buddy?" She repented and followed Him. He was God on the spot and God can say "Wait a minute, this isn't allowing any heart to the limited instructions I gave you to uphold the moral nation I have been trying to get you to cooperate to create."

You say you see no evidence of such a being.

You know it boils down to would you, if God loved you and is righteous and fair, be willing to accept His help to learn to do His will and follow Him? If you have a soul and God has a plan and is all powerful I mean. You don't have to prove this, it is really in your heart. Only you know your heart... and God. A person can't ask God, who is King, to do anything, unless he has good and sincere intentions... which in this case is that God reveal Himself, and the good intention is that you will follow and let Him work in your life if indeed He is righteous and will show you that He is. If you are sincere and ready you just say, "Please show yourself to me... if you are who you say you are." Counting the cost I count as part of being sincere.

WoolDeluxe said...

In the above, the part about being righteous and fair, is what I meant to say you don't have to prove; you just have to be sincere in your heart that if He is righteous, sincere, and fair and your Maker, you will be ready to let Him work in your life and be your King. Then, if you really are sincere, I think He will make Himself known.

Jim Arvo said...

Responding to WD's first new post...

WD: "I went to the allopatric speciation..."

Good for you. That is more than most visitors do. I'm not going to quarrel over the definition of "species" at the moment, or point to numerous other experiments that demonstrate speciation. We can get to all of that later if need be. More fundamental issues of "logic" loom before us.

WD: "The point is that there are lock-outs and it cannot be said that those locks-out exist without intelligent design..."

Right! Did you read what I wrote above? Everything anybody observes--EVERYTHING--can be "said" to be a result of intelligent design. And for all we know, it could be. Similarly, my turtle Fred may have created everything five minutes ago. (Oops. Make that 23 hours ago.)

So, continuing to insist that something *could* be the result of ID is completely useless. It says precisely as much as my Fredian claim does (which, in case you aren't following, is absolutely nothing--no offense to Fred).

WD: "But then I guess we are beyond whether intelligent design is possible...."

Apparently not....

WD: "'Analogies and intuition' are not what I was using soley... I used inference."

Please point to where you used a valid inference! Thus far, you've invoked nothing but fallacious reasoning. That has been my entire point, and you've yet to counter what I've said. If you "infer" based on analogy, then you are invoking a fallacy--what you conclude DOES NOT follow logically from your premises. Do you understand my point? (I know you don't *agree*--I'm asking whether you *understand*.)

WD: "Anyway, I thought you admitted that intelligent design is likely...."

LIKELY?!!! I don't think you're paying attention, or you're not understanding what I'm writing. Do you understand that there is huge difference between "possible" and "likely"? That latter certainly implies the former, but NOT the reverse. It is *possible* that Fred created the universe. Will you agree with me that it's not likely? I hope so. Now please understand--your claim, to my ears, is not appreciably better than the claim about Fred.

WD: "...so why discuss the rules of proofs which automatically exclude the possibility of God because they are rules designed only for simple empirical observations."

Okay, you are definitely not paying attention. There are no "rules of proof" (whatever you may mean by that) that "automatically exclude" ANYTHING, let alone "the possibility of God". This is a ploy that I've seen countless believers use; when their arguments are shown to be fallacious, they attack logic itself as being too "limiting", or having a built-in bias. Not so, and I'll happily demonstrate this for you if need be.

I'm guessing you do not fully understand what is meant by the terms "inference" or "fallacy", and this may be part of why you are not following my points. Informally, an "inference" is a step in the reasoning process that follows a pattern--one that can be shown, through countless examples, to produce true statements from true premises (a "premise" being something assumed or shown to be true previously, either axiomatically or via another chain of inferences). EXAMPLE: All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal. (There is also a distinction between "inductive" inferences and "deductive" inferences, but I don't think we need to get into that now--I'm assuming that we're primarily talking about the latter.) Informally, a "fallacy" is an application of a bad inference rule--one that can be shown to sometimes produce FALSE statements from true premises. EXAMPLE: Socrates died. Socrates was a man. Therefore, all men die. Please note that this last example is a *fallacy*, even though the conclusion is true, AND the premises are true. Do you understand why this is a fallacy, and why fallacies should be avoided? (I'll leave this as an exercise.)

WD: "Telling my reasoning is 'fallacious' doesn't make it so."

Correct!

WD: "Remember, by your own rules you have to prove it."

My own rules? What rules would those be? The "rule" I generally adhere to when discussing things with people here is that I *support* what I say by reason and/or evidence. I've done that amply with every assertion I've made. Do you deny that? Conversely, you've not even attempted to support many of your assertions, and those that you have have been fallacious for the most part.

WD: "This is largely a matter of time and tenacity; I can answer accusations that my logic is faulty, but it takes longer to answer the accusation than it does to simply throw in a 'fallacious reasoning' accusation..."

That is patently FALSE, and the implication is appallingly disingenuous on your part. Look at how much I've written to support my claims. I've spelled them out in detail. I've told you PRECISELY why your arguments are fallacious--why arguments that follow the pattern you used (analogy) can (and do) produce nonsense. In contrast, you have supported NOTHING you've said so far with clear reasoning. You simply make assertion after assertion, and invoke vague analogies.

WD: "...so this is really a political move on your part perhaps."

Wow. That's a stretch. Political? Come off it. I've explained IN DETAIL why your arguments are fallacious. If you cannot counter what I said, please have enough integrity to remain silent, or (better yet) admit that you have some work to do.

WD: "It would also be easy to confuse when I was speaking about something that is experiental for me or a matter of faith..."

It needn't be confusing. Simply state it. However, if you tell me that you believe something on faith, then you cannot use it as a premise in another argument (unless you are willing to admit that the conclusion is also a matter of faith). Once you make a leap of faith, that's what your argument rests upon from that point on. Do you follow?

(End of Logic 101 a.)

Jim Arvo said...

WD: "God is not capable of murder. He is holy.... God kills but cannot murder because He never makes a mistake."

This is a matter of semantics. But more importantly, it rests upon your assertion that "God never makes a mistake". Let's see what you have to back that (as well as the more fundamental assertion that he exists).

WD: "...God didn't just go around killing homosexuals or children without a righteous purpose."

What does "righteous purpose" mean? Does god (by your definition) do ANYTHING that does not have a "righteous purpose"? Is it possible for him to do so? If not, then you are simply asserting that god can kill whenever and however he chooses.

WD: "...So far as God setting up a kingdom with rules that He wanted followed as exemplary of who He is, He did that with Israel in the Old Testament."

Do you find the laws of Leviticus "exemplary" of who god is? Leviticus is essentially a hate manual, filled with barbaric injunctions against people for a wide assortment of behaviors. Do you think that stoning a disobedient child is good parenting? Is that practice consistent with an all-knowing and all-loving entity?

WD: "A person had a choice not to practice homosexuality out of respect for God and His will or apparently be put to death,..."

I suppose one could just as easily choose not to eat. But that aside, this assumes that you or anybody else knows what god's "will" is. I assume you claim to know this through the Bible, and perhaps through revelation as well. I don't believe these claims, nor do millions of others. One reason I doubt them is that the Bible is filled with such horrific violence, even against children. You claim, in effect, that this violence is okay because it is sanctioned by a "holy" god who is "righteous" in all he does. (Is that a fair statement?) I ask, "How do you know it is so sanctioned?" You reply (apparently) "The Bible tells me!"

Which brings me to the fundamental question: How do you know the Bible is the word of god? And more fundamentally, how do you know there is a god, and if there is, that it is Yahweh?

With regard to consistency between OT and NT, WD said "...He [Jesus] said, 'Go and sin no more,' after He convinced the stoners to stop. And she didn't say, 'Who do you think you are, buddy?' She repented and followed Him. He was God on the spot..."

Summary: Jesus stopped the stoning of Mary, so Jesus is compassionate. Mary accepted his gesture without question, so Jesus is god. Therefore, since Jesus is compassionate, and Jesus is god, god is compassionate. Therefore, there is no inconsistency between OT and NT.

Before I respond to this bit of reasoning, please tell me whether I correctly understood the point of your story. If not, please correct me. I'd appreciate it if you would keep it concise and perspicuous (as I have tried to do in my summary, albeit possibly incorrectly).

WD: "If you are sincere and ready you just say, 'Please show yourself to me... if you are who you say you are.' Counting the cost I count as part of being sincere."

Either your notion of being "sincere" requires that I first *believe* such a being exists, or it does not. If it does, then your statement is circular: you are attempting to convince me that god exists by having me believe it first. That's nonsense, right? Now, if being "sincere" does NOT necessarily entail first believing in such a deity (which is far more reasonable), then I maintain that I have been sincere in my efforts to detect such a being all my life. (By the way, as I child I *did* believe in the god of Abraham, and I *did* ask him many things, including that he show himself. He did not. Can you accept that as evidence of your claim being untrue?)

WoolDeluxe said...

Mr. Arvo:

When I got to where you selected out my words and twisted the meaning out of context regarding Mary Magdalene and stoning I decided to respond. It seems to me you are purposely confusing topics and issues to be deceptive.

If someone wants to read what I said, he had better read what I wrote in its original context and entirety.

Jim Arvo said...

WD, I'm assuming that you stopped reading before you reached this part of my post:

I said "...please tell me whether I correctly understood the point of your story. If not, please correct me. I'd appreciate it if you would keep it concise and perspicuous (as I have tried to do in my summary, albeit possibly incorrectly)."

Your complaints are puerile, and your accusations are ad hominem. If you don't like my summary, I invite you to either 1) point out what is wrong, 2) fix it, or 3) offer a new one. The ball is in your court.

Jim Arvo said...

Let me add this, WD. I won't even hold you to your original argument concerning Mary. All I ask is that you spell out what you are claiming and why. How does one thing support the next? Your original argument was loosely constructed with no clear indicators of what you were concluding or why. I took a stab at distilling it down for you. When you leave that job to your opponent, you end up with something that highlights the weaknesses. Again, I invite you to 1) point out what is wrong, 2) fix it, or 3) offer a new one that is more clearly stated.

Jim Arvo said...

For the convenience of others, here is the full quote from WD:

WD: "If the topic is, 'Is God consistent Old Testament and New,' let's now look at the New Testament. Jesus said, 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,' when Mary Magdalene was about to be stoned. He apparently knew she had a repentant heart. So then He said, 'Go and sin no more,' after He convinced the stoners to stop. And she didn't say, 'Who do you think you are, buddy?' She repented and followed Him. He was God on the spot and God can say 'Wait a minute, this isn't allowing any heart to the limited instructions I gave you to uphold the moral nation I have been trying to get you to cooperate to create.'"

And my reply was...

JA: "With regard to consistency between OT and NT, WD said '...He [Jesus] said, "Go and sin no more," after He convinced the stoners to stop. And she didn't say, "Who do you think you are, buddy?" She repented and followed Him. He was God on the spot...'

"Summary: Jesus stopped the stoning of Mary, so Jesus is compassionate. Mary accepted his gesture without question, so Jesus is god. Therefore, since Jesus is compassionate, and Jesus is god, god is compassionate. Therefore, there is no inconsistency between OT and NT.

"Before I respond to this bit of reasoning, please tell me whether I correctly understood the point of your story. If not, please correct me. I'd appreciate it if you would keep it concise and perspicuous (as I have tried to do in my summary, albeit possibly incorrectly).
"

Notice that in my "summary" of WD's argument, I took the liberty of filling in several missing connections, including between NT and OT, as WD didn't seem to supply one. (That was supposed to be the whole point, after all.) It's possible that that's what he intended in the last sentence of his quote, but I could not decipher it. Needless to say, my summary was a cajoling invitation (which I then made explicit) for him to be more clear. Is there any chance of that happening? Perhaps a small one.

Jim Arvo said...

Why do people call me Mr. Arvo? I don't get that.

Anonymous said...

Probably because you're so dang smart;)

Anonymous said...

Hey Webmaster...maybe you should try the United Methodist Church, different brand with a slightly different view than other Protestants. Just an idea if you are still searching for truth.
Peace, Jeremy

TheJaytheist said...

jeremy,

Wouldn't that kinda be like eating different piece of the same bullshit.

Smells the same anyway.

boomSLANG said...

Hey Jeremy, are you the same "Jeremy" that got your lil' apologetic ass pummelled to infinity by us ex-ers a few days ago?.. but on a different thread?

Either way, you seem to be implying that out of the 33,000 some-odd splits/denominations/sects of Christianity, that Methodists are privy to the One and Only Objective Truth, correct? If this is fair statement, then I ask: Where is your objective evidence? Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

"Why do people call me Mr. Avro? I don't get that."

I think it's because "Mr." is a title given to indivduals of the male gender. Your name "Jim" is a name commonly given to men. Hopefully this will put an end to that mystery.

Also, atheists are dumb because they have no proof to back up thier silly belief system. Not even questionable evidence like Christians. Christians are dumb because they know nothing about the God the worship.

Jim Arvo said...

Homeless, Thanks for sharing those fascinating insights. We're all the richer for them.

Anonymous said...

Hopeless in Seattle: "Also, atheists are dumb because they have no proof to back up thier silly belief system."

E.g., Atheists have no knowledge of a God. So, hopeless, shall we see you convening the next atheist symposium... that is, unless you have some knowledge of a God.

Anonymous said...

This is my first time to this site, and I liked all the comments. I figured I'd write something.

As I read the comments, it reminds me of the Christians I know in my life (my family for example).

From my experience, it's not the evidence that causes them to believe so much as being born into it, and then believing God has changed their life, or "blessed" it somehow.

It's like giving someone a magic pill, and telling them this has great power, and it will help you if you just believe. So they do, and they work hard, and lo and behold, they change!! And they keep on believing in this power pill and sharing the Good News to all, and you just want to wake them up and tell them its not real.
Like God, why can't they see what seems so obvious?

And for the most part, this may not be harmful to them or those around them. It might actually continue to be beneficial. So why speak out against it? Because when you look at the big picture, it becomes dangerous. Because entire lives are built on false reasoning. People's priorities become skewed. And these people can make choices based on false presumptions, that effect all of us.

One, albeit fanciful,example.. what if we find out that a comet is going to destroy Earth 10 years from now. What will we as a human race do? I would worry that all the God/afterlife believers would jump at the chance to "save" as many souls as possible, seeing the comet as God's plan, and there is no need to worry for he has everything in control. Where as unbelievers as a whole would be more inclined to find a way to save the planet.
Sure, Christians can do good things, so can non-Christians. It's not about the good that happens, it's about the bad that happens BECAUSE of religion. And when these bad things happen, religion doesn't seek to change.

In my opinion, many people use God as a temporary fix. Whether its because they need a greater purpose, or social need or [insert common human condition here]. They have some need, and don't have the right tools to fix it (or don't bother to look), so they find a God to fit this need. And there ARE tools out there, to fix it right, but it might take some time and some study. God is a temp-fix, duck tape at best.

I was a Christian for a number of years. One side of my family has four generations of Pastors, with a couple of ministers on the other side too. My whole family worked (and some still work) for the church. But thankfully I questioned. I love science and logic and it was only a matter of time before I finally put religion to the test. It took me a good 5 years of further reading, studying and questioning before I was able to have a strong foundation in which to live my life. But that doesn't mean I've stopped questioning or searching.

It was scary, and it was new to me, but the more I saw the truth the stronger I felt. As a Christian, you feel you have it all together, like you are strong and unshakeable. You think the non-Christians are lost, with no purpose. But for most free-thinkers, rationalists, atheists, this isn't true.

When Christians ask me, "How can you be moral when you don't believe in God?" or "If you don't believe in God, what's the point, why don't you just kill yourself?" It tells me, their mind and reasoning is in a bad place. In my opinion, this is why so many of the deconverted feel more free. We can look at things like death, morals, suffering, pleasure, family, self, life ect.. and see things how they really are, the real truth to these things as we know it now. I can give good, reality-based reasons to why I don't steal or hurt others, rather than, "Because God said so, and I love God". I don't know it all, and I can admit that. Noone knows it all. But that's no reason to assume there must be a God out there.

webmdave said...

That was an excellent post, Liz.

If you would like to submit that post as an article, or if you might want to submit something else along these lines, feel free to contact me by clicking here.

Anonymous said...

I read a lot of the postings on this site and found them entertaining, illustrative, sometimes wacky (the one about photons bouncing off a dead son intending to be comfort to a grieving father), heartbreaking, both logical and illogical, at times vituperative and, as a Christian, certainly eye opening.
I certainly came away with the impression that most of the people posting would be better described as "Christians Mad at God" rather than exChristians. So much so that I'd suggest changing the name of the website to that.
But then I read Dave's "anti-testimony", wow, what a difference. Well reasoned, thoughtful and certainly well researched. I have to give him kudos for his diligence, I don't know of too many people who would have the stamina and patience to learn the precepts of so many religions. Most people give up after one or two tries at different churches in one religion, let alone the plethora Dave muddled through.
It would take a special person to debate Dave and I am certainly not that man. However, it strikes me as odd that the majority of members here don't "follow their new found faith" (free thinking).
While reading many of their testimonies a single word kept cropping up in my mind; rationalization. So I went to wikipedia (this source must be considered bona fide here as even Dave has links to it) to look up what it had to say and it was quite surprising:
"Rationalization-
In psychology, rationalization is the process of constructing a logical justification for a flawed decision, action or lack thereof that was originally arrived at through a different mental process.

This process can be in a range from fully conscious (e.g. to present an external defense against ridicule from others) to mostly subconscious (e.g. to create a block against internal feelings of guilt).

For an example, consider a person who bought one of the first home computers in 1980 primarily motivated by the excitement of playing with a computer. If he felt that his friends would not accept "having fun" as a sufficient reason for the purchase, he might have searched for other justifications and ended up telling them how much time it was going to save him in doing his taxes.

Another example is a person who apostasies out of a religion - for example a person who leaves Islam will tell him/her self they've made the right choice, many apostates of the former faith will go even to great lengths to demonize their former faith, according to new studies in psychology. According to Gordon Melton, while testifying as an expert witness in a lawsuit, said that when investigating groups, one should not rely solely upon the unverified testimony of ex-members, and that hostile ex-members would invariably shade the truth and blow out of proportion minor incidents turning them into major incidents. [1]. Bryan R. Wilson, who was a professor of Sociology at Oxford University, writes that apostates of religious movements, are generally in need of self-justification, seeking to reconstruct their own past and to excuse their former affiliations, while blaming those who were formerly their closest associates. Wilson utilizes the term of atrocity story that is in his view rehearsed by the apostate to explain how, by manipulation, coercion or deceit, he was recruited to a group that he now condemns.[2] Wilson also challenges the reliability of the apostate's testimony by saying that "[apostates] always be seen as one whose personal history predisposes him to bias with respect to both his previous religious commitment and affiliations, the suspicion must arise that he acts from a personal motivation to vindicate himself and to regain his self-esteem, by showing himself to have been first a victim but subsequently to have become a redeemed crusader."[3]"

The surprising part was finding out that some of the best examples were of apostates. That is what I noticed on this site. It isn't that you're "exChristians" it's that as "freethinkers" why aren't you formulating and promulgating your "thoughts and ideas" for a better planet, better community, better neighborhood, better family, and better you? Why instead do I see diatribes against a Being you no longer believe in? Why do all your arguments revolve around new ways to mock or ridicule the "non-existent nothingness"(small g-god, xtian, and a whole panoply (Merriam-Webster 3a) of made up derivatives of Jesus, Christ, God?
One of the posts linked to the Author du jour (Sam Harris, I think) and extolled his critical thinking and concise points to support atheism (actually he was making the case against using that label). In that link, Harris postulated that we don't talk about the "flying spaghetti monster" so why should atheists give God so much top billing.
Good question, why do you?
Calling Christians names, yes some of you are quite effusive with the words that need asterisks, doesn't make you better than them. In fact, it makes you just like the Christians who post and tell you you're all going to Hell.
Do I believe in Heaven and Hell, yep. But would I post that kind of logic on this site and then say, aha...that will really clear things up for them, pure foolishness on my part if I did.
I think the best thing about this site for me is that it helps clarify the positions on the "truth" in this world. I have a truth in which I believe and given the same data inputs (sunrise, rain, love, hate, chocolate, the Bible) your beliefs are quite different. Some, like Dave, have at least taken the time to learn of my beliefs. Some have believed what I believe. But sadly, many no longer believe. That's ok, because if I want you to have the freedom to make up your own mind (who knows someday you could change your mind again) I should support Dave's right to run this site. Unfortunately, Dave is extremely accurate when he points out that many Christians are far too ignorant of the Bible, God, Jesus and why they believe what they believe. And therein lies my gratitude for this site.
Thanks for pointing out where I have become lazy in my thinking. Thanks for showing that if I am not diligent in study, or strong in my beliefs that they can change 180 degrees due to painful circumstances, hurtful friends, false prophets and a myriad of other reasons.
To those who, like Dave, are constantly seeking answers, more power to you. Maybe you'll be proven correct, but if not, you'll at least die knowing you were forever seeking more information with which you could ponder the truly large issues of the day. And if your lack of belief in g-god and His Unconditional Love along with my belief in God and Jesus Christ as my personal savior allows us to end up sharing eternity together, then we'll have some amazing debates. On the other hand, if my God doesn't really exist and your belief is correct, well then we die, our "candle" is extinguished, and neither one of our opinions is important ever again (but at least photons bounced off our bodies while we were here).
Tony

webmdave said...

Tony,

Thanks for your politely toned comment. I think your questions are adequately answered by another article on this site: Not Ready to Be Nice.

Anonymous said...

Tony in Chatham: "It isn't that you're "exChristians" it's that as "freethinkers" why aren't you formulating and promulgating your "thoughts and ideas" for a better planet, better community, better neighborhood, better family, and better you?"

What if I saw religion as a bane to humanity? That I saw, religion as finding its way into medical practice, laws, public education, etc., to the detriment of citizens and myself. Surely, you have the intellectual capacity to understand that "fixing" the problem, is to go to the source - religion.

Do you understand what a subjective reality and objective reality are?

It's when some use their subjective reality to teach others, make decisions, and interact with people in society that I find a problem.

To teach one's subjective reality, as an objective fact to children, should be outlawed, and yes, the use of the word God has to be used, in order to "cite" the words used in such a "con".

Making a better society and planet, for the most part, comes from removing confusion so that people can honestly work together with clarity.

Consider the word "God" to be one of those words that infuse con-fusion, in the most minute of matters in society, and those trying to objectify that word as trying to "purge" such con-fusion in order to remove yet, another tool of manipulation that can be used by the "con" artist.

Tony, do you find a problem with keeping people honest? Do you believe the word God can "ever" be used in an "objective" sense?

Looking forward to your response.

boomSLANG said...

Tony: Harris[Sam] postulated that we don't talk about the "flying spaghetti monster" so why should atheists give God so much top billing.

Good question, why do you?


Here's the short list: Because Theists insist that, yes, "God" in fact does exist... yet, interestingly, there is no agreement amongst them as to which brand, version, model of "God" is the One True "God". Meanwhile, the "Holy" texts of the world's three major monotheistic religions condone and promote the killing of those who don't accept their respective doctrines. BTW, did you know that we're in a Holy/political war right now? Did you know that innocent people, including children, are the collateral damage of this war?

Tony: And if your lack of belief in g-god(whatever a "g-god" is) and His Unconditional Love along with my belief in God and Jesus Christ as my personal savior allows us to end up sharing eternity together, then we'll have some amazing debates.

Honestly now, how will we "end up sharing eternity together", when we skeptics will presumably be roasting away in horrific agony in the place that your, uh, "Unconditionally" loving "God", specifically designed for non-believers? Do tell.

Anonymous said...

boomSlang writes: (whatever a "g-god" is)

Boom, I apologize that my economy of words confused you. Maybe you read the note before reacting, maybe not. I was referring to my earlier assessment that the members of this site spend an awful lot of time finding ways to mock the deity they profess does not exist. I supported that assertion with examples I found on this website, one of the primary ones being the use of a "small g" when spelling god. The fact that you missed those statements and became confused can be blamed on my reluctance to re-explain myself when using the terminology more than once.
As for the rest of that statement, I was actually paraphrasing something Dave said in his anti-testimony (you should read it, it's pretty good) but I failed to use quotes. In response to an intemperate Christian comment, Dave said that if God's love was "unconditional" then he had nothing to worry about. Left unsaid was that Dave and the Christian would both be in Heaven. I am pretty sure that was sarcasm on Dave's part.
Again I will apologize for leaving you so completely in the dark.
Finally, boomSlang writes: Here's the short list: Because Theists insist that, yes, "God" in fact does exist... yet, interestingly, there is no agreement amongst them as to which brand, version, model of "God" is the One True "God".
Ok, so I get it, you talk about God all the time because Theists do, and because they can't agree on "which version is correct". Hmmm...
And then the clincher reason for your giving God top billing is because (unknown to me?!) we are in a Holy/political war? I am sorry to break this news to you but "innocent people and children" (BTW your phraseology makes the reader draw the conclusion that children are not "innocent people") are always collateral damage whether the war is Holy, political or atheistic in nature.
But really, if I wanted to debate war, there are better places than this.

Anonymous said...

Webmaster: I did read the article about why y'all are so mad at God. I think there are some good points there.
Can I ask a question: when will you be "over" this angst and when will you be strong enough to face the everyday issues involved in your decision? Otherwise, we "believers" will forever have to walk on tippytoes to have discussions with you.
I agree with your points that a lot of Christians don't get it, don't treat you or your decision with respect.
But if your ideals (atheism, free-thinking...wait y'all have more than one thing you call it, does that make it invalid? You might ask boomSlang)are strong and your belief in them correct and those on the other side of the idealogical aisle are in danger of living a useless life, don't you want to engage each and everyone in a reasoned debate when they show up here?
Don't you want them to look loony and you to look civil?
I think that is my point, let's not allow either side to be polemic.

Anonymous said...

Dave8 said: "Surely, you have the intellectual capacity to understand that "fixing" the problem, is to go to the source - religion."
Casting aspersions are we? tsk, tsk.

Dave8 said: "That I saw, religion as finding its way into medical practice, laws, public education, etc., to the detriment of citizens and myself."

So when asked for your "better plan" for society, you intimate the destruction of society (because religion created it/infiltrated it).

And then you go all psychological on me. Nope Dave, I admit I'd never heard the objective/subjective reality spin, but I had a good idea and, once again, wikipedia came to my rescue.

So the "universe" is an objective reality (because we can see it, measure it, define it) and whether there "is a Creator" (my subjective reality) or "isn't a Creator" (your subjective reality) is the debate right?
Or was your condescension towards me meant to also imply your view of the "Creator" is objective reality?

Finally Dave8 said: "Making a better society and planet, for the most part, comes from removing confusion so that people can honestly work together with clarity."

Platitudes? Dave, I asked for a plan, a reason and some logic, not platitudes.

But I will humor you, as the article the webmaster suggested I read described; your (re: atheists) "withdrawal" from theology is associated with anger, frustration and lots of venting. Your (Dave8's) solution is to remove all religion from "everything" and I surmise that boomSlang's would be to de-convert all Christians.
So we'd have a nation of angry, frustrated citizens venting at whomever used the word God, a society with Christian-based charity evaporating (whoops there are a lot of those), and as long as we eliminate "confusion" we'd all be hunky-dory.
I'll have to check back with you later Dave, I'm not sure my credulity will stretch that far.

Anonymous said...

TIC: "Dave8 said: "Surely, you have the intellectual capacity to understand that "fixing" the problem, is to go to the source - religion."

TIC: "Casting aspersions are we? tsk, tsk."

If the source is “religion”, I don’t see the problem, religion doesn’t get a “free pass”, and I have “personally” witnessed and lived a life based on direct “lies” promoted by religion – that is called “fact” not “aspersion”.

Dave8: "Making a better society and planet, for the most part, comes from removing confusion so that people can honestly work together with clarity."

Perhaps, you didn't understand the post... Religion has a marked "history" of "creating" confusion, especially when it directly calls into question - natural facts.

Christianity is a supernaturally oriented religion, is it not?

Dave8 said: "That I saw, religion as finding its way into medical practice, laws, public education, etc., to the detriment of citizens and myself."

TIC: "So when asked for your "better plan" for society, you intimate the destruction of society (because religion created it/infiltrated it)."

:-) You assert that religion precedes humanity, either by origin or by assimilation. That is patently false; humans were alive a lot earlier than Christianity.

And, "once again" here's that "better plan".

Dave8: "Making a better society and planet, for the most part, comes from removing confusion so that people can honestly work together with clarity."

Notice, a recurring theme here.

TIC: "And then you go all psychological on me."

Tsk, tsk, getting all paranoid on me, or perhaps, you have frequented this site, and are expecting me to drill into your online personality :-)

TIC: "Nope Dave, I admit I'd never heard the objective/subjective reality spin, but I had a good idea and, once again, wikipedia came to my rescue."

Fantastic... it appears we moving honestly forward ;-)

TIC: "So the "universe" is an objective reality (because we can see it, measure it, define it)..."

Now, now, don't limit the potential of the Universe; we need to make sense out of our reality here. An "objective" reality allows us the potential to obtain "common" knowledge – and allows us to "understand" each other when our "referents" to our "ideas" are in the "objective" reality that surrounds us "both".

TIC: "...and whether there "is a Creator" (my subjective reality) or "isn't a Creator" (your subjective reality) is the debate right?"

Now, you're getting the hang of it. Yes, your subjective reality is what your mind creates, from morality to idealist ventures of nationalism, etc., that you would presumably use as a logical principle to found/append to your philosophy/theology of life.

I'd suggest that "all" of our ideas come to us from an "objective" reality :-) We may churn our sensory inputs differently in our cognitive process, but, the objective reality "is" our source for all knowledge - to me.

Now, others may suggest that we are born with knowledge, or even, that we receive transcendental revelation in the form of perfect… ummmmm, let’s just leave it at perfect “things”…

The point to be taken away here, is that to communicate effectively, one has to be capable of linking their subjective product/idea to "reality" that can be understood by others.

On the other hand, a person can call their "subjective" idea, an "objective" fact, that which was "pulled" or "revealed" directly, without cognitive manipulation, from an "objective" reality.

That... is a statement founded on ignorance at best, or an outright "lie". Now, I wouldn't want to "characterize" an entire religion under the "lie" group", or the "ignorant" group, perhaps, it's a little of both. But, there is no "doubt" that Christian theology suggests that God is an "Objective" fact, that the "Creator" of the "Universe" was not "created" in the "mind" of a single individual in their "subjective" reality, using a cognitive mixing process, using objective elements of our "objective" reality. Nope, God is Universal in “presence” and Objective – meaning… I and the entire human race should be capable of holding a common knowledge of such ;-)

TIC: "Or was your condescension towards me meant to also imply your view of the "Creator" is objective reality?"

Well... that is a long story; let's just keep it on the 101 session... I will suggest I "came" from an "Objective" Reality, through a process called natural human "birth". However, "I" would not characterize our "Objective" Reality, as my "Creator", I am the product of a "creation" process - that would be - plural elements, not singular.

As well, I would not use the word God/Creator to label each part of the "process", or even as "gods", I would assign a word that "Identifies" each element "objectively", so you could understand clearly what I was talking about - to facilitate clear and effective communication - "avoid" confusion.

TIC: "Finally Dave8 said: "Making a better society and planet, for the most part, comes from removing confusion so that people can honestly work together with clarity."

TIC: "Platitudes? Dave, I asked for a plan, a reason and some logic, not platitudes."

Platitude: "A trite or banal remark or statement, especially one expressed as if it were original or significant. See Synonyms at cliché. Lack of originality; triteness."

:-) When I add 2+2, I keep getting 4... I suppose, you would call that consistency and reliability, which are leading principles that allow people to "succeed" in life to be - unnecessary - or, unoriginal and trite.

Want to impress someone TIC, what is it to be a "successful" Christian... :-) Surely, using the bible, one can find a solid formula to show a consistently held standard, such that a civilization can "thrive".

If there is "no plan", then religion in itself is "arbitrary", and thus, not really part of the successes that a religion would be able to "claim" :-)

In short, any claim to a success would not be for the "structure" of a religion, it would be due directly to each individual's efforts where religion really wasn't "necessary".

If you... evade the question, it's a statement to the lack of a plan by the way.

TIC: "But I will humor you, as the article the webmaster suggested I read described; your (re: atheists) "withdrawal" from theology is associated with anger, frustration and lots of venting."

Actually, I can't speak for any other person but myself ;-) My withdrawal from theology, came from studying "more" than a bible.

Given the thousands of years that pre-dated Christianity, and numerous gods, and religions... history, archeology, etc., I came to the conclusion that Christianity did not have a "monopoly" on a God/gods.

I left theology, because I earned a degree from a theology based university, and have thousands of hours of research. If you want to pick apart the bible, we can begin as soon as you want, which version should we start with.

I know of "no" theology that is "coherent" in terms of allowing a person to "understand" it, in "relation" to our "Reality".

The "gap", between the subjectively held belief, germane to theology, does not "link" to our "Objective" Reality.

If you would like to take a stab at defending a theological first principle to establish a God Identity, which can be afforded reliable and valid testing, then I can be amused for a while...

That's not to say, you may not have the ability... However, your silence on the matter, is again, a statement.

TIC: "Your (Dave8's) solution is to remove all religion from "everything"..."

Now, now, don't get angry or pass aspersions, take a nice deep breath. You're obviously projecting your cognitive fears onto your keyboard... if you are suggesting that your "religion" or that "religions" in general, are "generating" confusion to children and citizens in society... then, yes, I suppose that removing confusion would have a "secondary" effect of calling into "question" those religions that promote chaos/confusion.

However, my "direct" intent, is to "not" attack religion... it's to attack "ignorance" and "confusion"... albeit, your defensive nature on the matter seems to validate the connection between confusion and religion, or at least, by the words you are using :-)

Let me add... it would seem myopic for someone to argue for a "religious" centric society, where "all" roads must cross "religion", how Romanesque... Clearing up confusion, crosses over public education, and professional practices, government, etc... Those who can't understand that the earth/religion isn't the center of the Universe, has... well, some confusion to deal with.

TIC: "So we'd have a nation of angry, frustrated citizens venting at whomever used the word God, a society with Christian-based charity evaporating (whoops there are a lot of those), and as long as we eliminate "confusion" we'd all be hunky-dory."

It has occurred to me that you seem extremely "defensive" about such a simple goal I aspire towards... to remove mental confusion... so that a society can communicate more effectively and thrive - physically and mentally.

Are you suggesting, that you can't figure out an "honest" and "truthful" way, to "present" a religion or religious belief(s)?

Is that too much to ask? If a person can't "prove" that God is an objective fact, then is it asking too much, for them not to present such in a science classroom?

TIC: "I'll have to check back with you later Dave, I'm not sure my credulity will stretch that far."

Who's asking you to accept my goal of "honesty"? You don't have to "stretch" anywhere, you made a comment regarding religion, and its place in society, and I've stated I just want... pure, unadulterated honesty to prevail in society. If the two are not compatible, for "whatever" reason, then I choose the path of honesty - even to the detriment of religion, if "religion" can not find a way to present themselves "honestly".

And, as I have been known to do, I'll leave a quote...

Benjamin Franklin: "The way to see by faith, is to shut the eye of reason."

Elbert Hubbard: "Dogma: A lie imperiously reiterated and authoritatively injected into the mind of one or more persons who believe they believe what some one else believes."

webmdave said...

"Can I ask a question: when will you be 'over' this angst and when will you be strong enough to face the everyday issues involved in your decision?"

As long as there are people coming out of the controlling religious cult(s) of Christianity, there will be people needing a place to rant. That's what this site is for. If it offends or irritates you to witness the anger some people feel after being mind-raped by a lunatic religion, just look for the little red X in the corner of your browser and click it.

"Don't you want to engage each and everyone in a reasoned debate when they show up here? "

No, I don't. Read the site disclaimer. This site exists expressly for the purpose of encouraging those who are somewhere along in the process of de-converting. I am not interested in catering to the urges of mystically mind-numbed religionists. Unfortunately, Christians cannot resist the compulsion to hang out here and post apologetic rhetoric, so...

"Don't you want them to look loony and you to look civil?
I think that is my point, let's not allow either side to be polemic."


I've got a better idea. How about you go create a website of your own and run it in accordance with whatever standards you think important. I promise you, I'll never barge in to your website and assume an attitude of rude and nervy authority by attempting to tell you how you should be expressing yourself on your own blog.

Besides, there is no way to avoid polemics when Christianity is involved.

From Wikipedia: Polemics (pronounced IPA: /pəˈlɛmɪks/, /poʊ-/) is the practice of disputing or controverting religious, philosophical, or political matters. As such, a polemic text on a topic is often written specifically to dispute or refute a topic that is widely viewed to be beyond reproach.

The antonym of a polemic source is an apologia.

Anonymous said...

TIC, just an FYI... as long as there is "lying" going on, I will be speaking out, and my profession allows me to reach many people (internationally) - add that I have a good half-century to live ;-)

Thanks WM for hosting this site, and allowing us the ability to voice our concerns.

Anonymous said...

Another apology is in order. When I wrote my response it seemed reasoned and calm (why wouldn't it, my thoughts, my brain and my internal voice). But seeing it carved up into one sentence segments and regurgitated by Dave8 and his interlocutions does make me painfully aware that it came across as aggressive. Sorry guys.

D8: Point taken and conceded...you've read more than me, are smarter than me and can win any debate about any version of the bible I care to choose.
I infer from your statements that your additional knowledge above and beyond what is in a bible gives you a certain view of "truth" and allows you to hold an opinion of "religion" that differs from mine. Ok.

"Facts" vs. "Faith" or "Truth" vs. "Religion", is that where we're at?

D8 said: "That's not to say, you may not have the ability... However, your silence on the matter, is again, a statement."

Don't know why, but I chuckled out loud at this...given the one way dialogue inherent in a blog (of written words).

D8, many of the statements you made I can almost agree with, no, more accurately I agree with them until the twist you add at the end (D8 said: In short, any claim to a success would not be for the "structure" of a religion, it would be due directly to each individual's efforts where religion really wasn't "necessary").

I was with you all the way until those last three words.

At any rate, I learned something from our interaction, and I hope, I can use it to further my own individual goals.

It sounds like you are very satisfied with the reach and impact of your life and how you are able to share your beliefs with others.

I hope someday to do the same. And, as I also am only halfway done with my life maybe we'll have the chance to meet.

BTW, what version of the Bible would you say had the biggest impact on your decision(english version as I don't know any of the historical languages)?

WM said: "If it offends or irritates you to witness the anger some people feel after being mind-raped by a lunatic religion, just look for the little red X in the corner of your browser and click it."

TIC: Ouch!

WM said: "I've got a better idea. How about you go create a website of your own and run it in accordance with whatever standards you think important. I promise you, I'll never barge in to your website and assume an attitude of rude and nervy authority by attempting to tell you how you should be expressing yourself on your own blog."

TIC: Ok, I'll accept that promise. But, WM one final question: can I change 4 words in your challenge and still hold you to your promise? ("I've got a better idea. How about you go create a nation of your own and run it in accordance with whatever standards you think important. I promise you, I'll never barge in to your country and assume an attitude of rude and nervy authority by attempting to tell you how you should be expressing yourself in your own country."

TIC: Would that work for you?

boomSLANG said...

TIC: can I change 4 words in your challenge and still hold you to your promise? ("I've got a better idea. How about you go create a nation of your own and run it in accordance with whatever standards you think important. I promise you, I'll never barge in to your country and assume an attitude of rude and nervy authority by attempting to tell you how you should be expressing yourself in your own country."

Comparing a country where there is freedom of religion, and freedom from it, to a privately owned website?.. complete with disclaimer? To the best of my knowledge, no one here has said TIC cannot believe whatever fantastic stories he wants to believe.

You've run your course.

boomSLANG said...

Tony: Boom, I apologize that my economy of words confused you.

No, no.....no apologies necessary. I just thought it might be a variation of "G-d", or YHWH. You know, some new-fangled way for Christians to express their deity.

Tony: I was referring to my earlier assessment that the members of this site spend an awful lot of time finding ways to mock the deity they profess does not exist.

So, if I understand correctly, what you're saying is that you've taken the time to read all, or at least a good portion of the testimonies here at EX-Christian.net, and what you've assessed from it; what "stands out" the most, is that you feel we're really just, "Christians mad at God"?.... oh, because we "mock" h-him. Well, no astonishing revelation there.....that's what most Christians get out of it when they stumble in here. They never seem to pick up on the part(s) about the many of us who have invested huge portions of our lives as devout believers. They cannot accept that we've simply lost faith in "Faith".

Tony: Ok, so I get it, you talk about God all the time because Theists do, and because they can't agree on "which version is correct".

Yes!..that's a good part of it! This might be easier than I thought, for a change. Similar to how there would obviously be no need to talk about developing a flu vaccine, if it were not for influenza. Correct!

Tony: And then the clincher reason for your giving God top billing is because (unknown to me?!) we are in a Holy/political war? I am sorry to break this news to you but "innocent people and children" (BTW your phraseology makes the reader draw the conclusion that children are not "innocent people")..

boom': "...innocent people, including children, are the collateral damage of this war?"

I'm sorry you that's what you got out of my wording---I'm quite confident most others "got it", however.

Tony: [innocent people] are always collateral damage whether the war is Holy, political or atheistic in nature.

Find me a war that is currently being fought over "no god"; find me a suicide bomber who blows him or herself up in the name of "no god"; find me some young men who intend to use jet-liners as lethal missles in the name of "no god", and I will happily join you in petitioning against it.

webmdave said...

Tony,

BoomSlang already sufficiently answered your latest comment to me, but just in case his response was too concisely stated...

This is a website, not a country. A better analogy than yours would be to describe this place on the net as a privately owned home with an inviting porch. The front door to the place is wide open and there's big sign that says, "Welcome Friends -- No Soliciting."

Please read the site disclaimer before you bother posting anything else. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

TIC: "I infer from your statements that your additional knowledge above and beyond what is in a bible gives you a certain view of "truth" and allows you to hold an opinion of "religion" that differs from mine. Ok."

Okay, I concede we understand religions likely differently. I see theism as quite diverse, as diverse as atheism. However, where we may likely differ in "truth", is based on accepting opinions that may conflict with known facts.

There are different ways people come to their positions, I measure them by premises/axioms/first principles put forward, or not.

While someone may appeal to a moral first principle, I may not glance twice, because... hey, I understand where they are coming from. As well, if a person never proffered their position at all, I probably wouldn't "ask", unless they were engaged in conversation, and it was germane to the topic at hand.

However, when a person approaches "me", and attempts to "reason" with me, I default to epistemology or knowledge as the basis of discussion. I have a need to "know" how a person is going to move from an emotional/moral/ethical position, in a consistent and logical manner that does not "conflict" with life.

So, again, it's not that I demand an explanation from everyone in society, for the subjective views, it is when one attempts to communicate with me, that I have a desire to understand them clearly.

To call oneself an authority on a subject, and not be able to clearly articulate their position, causes me to back off, and question credibility - that has been my relationship with religion.

When someone tells me they have a "fact", and that I should go along with the program, that I will eventually "get it" over time, based on my "diligence" and "faithfulness", and I don't succeed - I am the failure, in such a position. I have shouldered guilt and personal chastisement because of another persons' ignorance/incompetence or lie.

At this point, I am keen to drill straight to the root of anything posed to me as a "fact". I am "skeptical" about what is presented to me, but if it pans out, I have no problem accepting that which can be logically validated, as long as it doesn't conflict with the rest of my knowledge - but that would be quite impossible, in my estimation, facts corroborate facts, they don't cancel/negate.

TIC: ""Facts" vs. "Faith" or "Truth" vs. "Religion", is that where we're at?"

Facts and faith, to me, have to be discussed in terms of "knowledge". And, to me, yes, knowledge is the basis for everything where "inter-personal" communication occurs. Having faith doesn't enable inter-personal "communication", it enables a person to project subjective "possibility" and a particular mental state of reality.

In the end, I have no qualms regarding any position, as long as it is clearly "understood" by the individual, and can be placed in a communicable form when addressed or presented to me.

It is the theological first principles of Christianity that prevent that from happening - it's not by "my" personal design... I didn't wake up one morning, and say I wanted to get rid of "all" religion... I woke up and said; I need to "believe" in what I "understand", and to "understand" something requires me to come to terms with what it means to "know" (have knowledge) of something.

I think, the more interesting and complex question to me, is... can a society exist with total honesty? And, as good an argument one can make either way; I feel greatly disappointed that the institutions that are supposed to tool us with the ability to ferret out deception, are the ones that are not only turning a blind eye, but are "encouraging" the process of deception.

Dave8: "In short, any claim to a success would not be for the "structure" of a religion, it would be due directly to each individual's efforts where religion really wasn't "necessary".

TIC: "I was with you all the way until those last three words."

There is a fundamental principle I have to concede, as undeniable in all aspects, and that is; people first, before any institutionalized structure. It isn't the routine that makes a structure "work" or "correct", it's the potential for people to adapt to a structure to give it the appearance of success.

I asked this question in another thread, and I'll ask it here as well...

When one approaches a religious person, and asks them to describe themselves, how would they typically respond?

1-I am a good person, who just so happens to be a member of "x" religion as a result.

-or-

2-I am a member of "x" religion, who just so happens to be a good person as a result.

Perhaps, we just fundamentally disagree on "emphasis". :-) You know, music is all about numbers... what makes music come alive and make sense... is in the personal emphasis and dynamics we use.

TIC: "At any rate, I learned something from our interaction, and I hope, I can use it to further my own individual goals."

Hopefully, your goals are positive for "all" people, and not just a "select" few.

TIC: "It sounds like you are very satisfied with the reach and impact of your life and how you are able to share your beliefs with others."

I enjoy discussing beliefs, in order to further my understanding of life... if others are enriched; it's all the more rewarding... there's nothing like seeing a light bulb moment in the face of a student of life.

TIC: "I hope someday to do the same. And, as I also am only halfway done with my life maybe we'll have the chance to meet."

I can't deny that possibility, the world is a very small place.

TIC: "BTW, what version of the Bible would you say had the biggest impact on your decision(english version as I don't know any of the historical languages)?"

Sorry, was being sarcastic... the bible has changed over the years, not only in translation into other languages as you suggest, but, in its historical context as well.

http://www.greatsite.com/timeline-english-bible-history/

Peace

Anonymous said...

Dave8, you asked when thte last time a religion donated to a charity without its name on it... my answer is a couple of months ago.

it wasn't a charity but good enough - a family in the community (Australia has many small communities close togther, rural area's 1/2 hour drive to the city) and the husband/father became disabled in an accident. the church of around 150 people donated, anominisly, around $2000 (i think it might ahve been $3000 actually..) because one of the pastors said their was a family in need and they wanted to help.

Christianity isn't a cult, a religion or a code of live. It is following in the very footsteps of Jesus - something christians in the wetern world have a very hard time doing (japan is heavily influenced by america by the way so i dont class that as being totally separate from the western world).It is something God has been speaking to my heart. To follow him and not a church, a belief, a system. Him alone.

And i have come out of a "cult" too. it wasn't really i cult i think but the symptoms are def there. ex-communication. Stress. Abandonment etc. But that was people who let me down, not God. I know God is real and loving, i cannot ever deny, and i have tried. He has done so much for me and i have seen too much of the supernatural and his love.

also, the questions asked in this "anti-testimony" that you asked your mother - i can answer the one about the tree in the garden ~ What is love if there is no choice? the Tree was a symbol of choice - between God and "knowledge" to become God. There wasn't anythin special about the tree. Adam and Eve's eyes were opened by the sin they commited, not the fruit.(back on track now...) God didn't want Robots. he wanted people who would choose to love him because they want to, not they have to.

Just so you know, I am an 18 year old chick from Australia who has her doubts about almost everything but this - God is there, he is real and loving and he will use me for the good of his kingdom in amazing ways.

Anonymous said...

also, bout the whole lust in puberty thing - Temptation is not sin. Everyone gets temptative (like my new word, Lol) thoughts - even Jesus did. The verse that says that if u lust after a women u are guilty of adultery in your heart, lust is constant thought, you fantasize about it, it doesn't mean a passing thought. Im addressing this becuase i know alot of people who think the same thing as you believed and who beat themselves up about it.

Anonymous said...

oh yer, the guy was temporaily disabled or sumthing - not able to provide for his family at that time due to accident - he may be recovered now... just thought i would clear that up...

webmdave said...

Bethany,

I am the author of this testimonial. Dave8 is someone else.

My youngest child is your age and just started college, so I'll give you a break on everything you posted. All I will say is that when I was 18 (31 years ago) I "was sure" of my GOD, too. Now I am sure that all gods are imaginary.

Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

i was addressing a comment that sum1 called dave8 said (near the begining of the posts)

There is a difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge. Like I said, Im going somewhere out whoop whoop where its dangerous so i can learn to completly trust God and know him more- i believe that is why many christians fall away from God. they dont actually DO anything, they dont take a risk and wait for God to come through. We are too comfortable and their isn't much of a difference between christians and non-christians. there is no "cliffs to jump off" and hope God comes through. Christianity has become a "feel-good" religion that we ditch when it no longer feels good.

I grew up in the pentecostal church I have been there, done that with all the feel-good God stuff and it isn't enough! Im diving deeper. God wants more for us than just to "feel his presence, fall on the ground crying and walk away". Jesus said he came to give abundant life. having warm-fussies isn't abundant life! Jesus said to lose your life and you will surely find it. Losing your life means total surrender, not just the parts that suit you or keep you comfortable. it means totally, utterly, complete dependence on him. That's whati aim for. Not what i get from God but what i can do for him. And I tell you, i have never felt more alive than the last few months while God has been calling me to a different life, one the world wont understand - that most the western church wont understand- the church's message is "build relationships with people, let them ask what is different about you, then talk about Jesus" "don't offend people by speaking the name of Jesus, keep it to yourself". I dont wanna live that way anymore.

I'm scared stiff, but i am starting to feel more worried that i will let God down than to worry about people.

Im sure you had simular passions/desires when you were my age but I'm grabbing them with both hands. I KNOW God will pass me by if i dont start taking hold and that is what scares me. And that isn't in a bad way. There is no-one expecting me to follow this - i actually think many will discourage me but Im doing more with my life than being a "nice-person-christian who everyone likes".

J.B. Phillips said something along the lines of this..

The main difference between modern day christians and those we read about in the NT is this. To us it is primarily a presentation, a code of life at best. to them it was a real experience...
.. perhaps if we believe what they believe, we will achieve what they achieved.

Anonymous said...

Bethany, I will give you a more comprehensive response when I am more able.

Bethany: "There is a difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge."

It's called objective reality and subjective reality. We mentally filter to find the objective facts of life, but we are not always able to filter out our desires, emotional reactions, etc., and those are considered subjective facts.

You are making a case for your subjective reality. Do you understand this?

Do you understand that your heart knowledge /subjective facts need to be clearly communicated so that others can understand your "ideas"?

Do you believe the elements that allow you to form heart/head knowledge, "all" come from your external reality?

Bethany, you and I are "very" much alike, excepting roo crossings, etc. :-) We both hold principles, that we believe allow us to "know" and "interpret" Reality most honestly.

However, there is one principle you hold, that I lack at a minimum - a theistic first principle supporting the notion of a God.

We could agree on everything else in life, but that "one" thing. So, where we find ourselves in discussion many times, is trying to figure out, what compels a person to "establish" a theistic first principle.

If it is a subjective need, then, there is nothing I can say or do, to remove you from believing in your belief. However... if you suggest that God is not based on subjective need, but is based on an objective fact, then I can investigate objective facts, because they are all out in our external reality, in the world.

If you do have a personal and compelling need to establish a God/theistic principle in your life, then just understand why - truthfully. If you can understand why, and accept that, then, you have become honest with yourself, and you can be honest with others on the topic.

The issue for me is that there are a lot of people being "tempted" to accept God, without telling them what it is, or anything.

Some say God is an "idea", or... the most "ideal" in some regard. Is that your take? Does God represent the most "ideal", Love, Joy, Peace, etc?

Do you believe such an "Ideal" is something you experienced in your past, or... something you "expect" in your future?

And a little more difficult... How can you come to "expect" something that you don't "already" understand?

Anonymous said...

Protestantism (incl.Lutheranism and Calvinism) = Reformed Catholicism

Catholcism = Paganism

Pentecostalism = West African Spiritism, the getting "the holy ghost" is the exact same thing.

So basically your testimony told us you were a pagan (and probably still is).
Perhaps you should change from ExChristian.net to ExCatholicPagan.net or ExPaganbutstillPagan.net, just a suggestion, your antitestimony suggests this would be the correct way to go.

And then you became an agnostic?
And now you "free" people?
Oh and you say you came to some atheist writes, I came from that crowd, wile disgusting creatures and excellent murderers (alot like their father, you know who). Thought I'd tell you so you don't have to hang with this crowd. Atheists are not even near as smart as the think.

And keep this in mind:
Matthew 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

There's the answer to your question. Few find the way that disqualifies the Catholics all you idiots think are Christians, and everything that ever sprang out of that whore.

Oh well no more time to spend on you, you're already made up but you're wrong but you seem to be used to be wrong (would disqualify you from the atheists crowd though, they're right even when they're wrong according to their logic (highly flawed logic, but when you're a village atheist then you're a village atheist)).

Here's some more to make you feel worse:
http://www.geocities.com/cobblestoneministries/2007/DebatingWithAtheists_Christians.html

webmdave said...

Anonymous,

Every flavor of Christian who posts on this site is convinced beyond all doubt that they possess the one true version of the one truth, while all others are in error. Far from convincing me that you have the one version that is correct, you've added support to the idea that all of Christianity is bogus.

Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

"Webmaster"
I have read of your unfortunate experiences with fanaticals, hypocrites, and(if you will pardon the expression) fools. It is obvious to me that you are very intellectual, well learned regarding Biblical scripture, and truly have a passion and zeal for truth that is not equalled by many. It does, however, cause me great sorrow to see that you (and most all of the contributors to this site which I have read) condemn Christianity based on man's hypocrisy. I don't claim to know your "full story," just that which you have chosen to share; but I can not help but find myself wondering if your doubts and "realizations" only occured when you "took your eyes off of God," and placed them on man. I want to be clear that this is in no way intended to be a judgement, but rather a question that I hope you can answer to yourself honestly. Yes, my Bible teaches of both an angry, jealous God, and one of peace, love, and prosperity; some may choose to accept this dual explanation as the ultimate example of hypocrisy, but I would hope that your studies have convinced you that nothing could be further from the truth. You see, the Bible is a progressive revelation of God which contains both an old, and a new covenant. I always find it heart wrenching when I find even the most intellectual of Christians trying to "mesh" together both old and new - it's like mixing sour milk with fresh and expecting it to be "O.K.!" I guess that I am just trying to say that we all understand things based on what we are taught. As you "hopped" from denomination to denomination (what it sounds like to me) you learned new doctrine after new doctrine . . .and they clashed. There are no doctrines in Christianity. Doctrines are created by man . . . hypocrisy is practiced by man . . .Christianity, truth, and love are of God. I do not walk a "perfect walk," but through Christ I have experienced, and do my best to show love. Too many people base their beliefs of what Christianity "is" based on the actions of man - man is not Christianity. You have studied the Bible . . .if I ever have opportunity to share with somebody what Christianity is, I always turn to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; not a bad goal for how to live if you ask me. But then, who am I to judge, but a humble servant of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Wherever your journey takes you, carry with you this . . .you are loved, and there is always room for another hypocrite to come join our pews - you will be welcomed with open arms.

boomSLANG said...

...::yawn::

Anonymous said...

Shawn wrote:
"Doctrines are created by man"
--
Yes Shawn, and so was your entire bible book as well.

Until god knocks on my front door, in-person, then I have nothing from your god, to tell me what I should believe or not believe.

ATF

Anonymous said...

Interesting....I found me way here via a scientologist bragging how 150,000 Christians are leaving behind their belief in Christianity. What I find funny is, that scientology is the very psycho political system described in Orwells 1984.

Scientology itself is based on control via lying.

"But if Freedom has no anatomy, then please explain how one is going to attain to something which cannot be fully explained. If anyone talks about a "road to Freedom" he is talking about a linear line.
This, then, must have boundaries.
If there are boundaries there is no freedom."
L Ron Hubbard--Dianetics 55


"An endless freedom from is a perfect trap, a fear of all things ...
Fixed on too many barriers, man yearns to be free. But launched into total freedom he is purposeless and miserable."
L. Ron Hubbard --The Reason Why

"Scientology is a religious philosophy in its highest meaning as it brings man to Total Freedom."
L. Ron Hubbard --Religious Philosophy and Religious Practice


" When you speak of "The Creator" you are probably speaking of something entirely different than implanted religion. Religion is always different than truth. It has to be,BECAUSE THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN CONTROL PEOPLE IS TO LIE TO THEM. You can write that down in your book in great big letters. The only way you can control anybody is to lie to them. When you find an individual is lying to you, you know that the individual is trying to control you. One way or another this individual is trying to control you. That is the mechanism of control.
This individual is lying to you because he is trying to control you - because if they give you enough misinformation they will pull you down the tone scale so that they can control you. Conversely, if you see an impulse on the part of a human being to control you, you know very well that that human being is lying to you. Not "is going to", but "is" lying to you.

Check these facts, you will find they are always true. That person who is trying to control you is lying to you. He's got to tell you lies in order to continue control, because the second you start telling anybody anything close to the truth, you start releasing him and he gets tougher and tougher to control. So,you can't control somebody without telling them a bunch of lies. You will find that very often Command has this as its greatest weakness.It will try to control instead of leading. The next thing you know,it is lying to the crew.

Lie, lie, lie, and it gets worse and worse, and all of a sudden the thlng blows up. Well, religion has done this.
Organized religion tries to control, so therefore it must be lying" L Ron Hubbard--Technique 88
Scientology considers itself an organised religion, so therefore scientology lies to control people

Anonymous said...

Hello Webmaster,

I find your site as I Goggled along (before your side I read Richard M. Price's story).

Most of these testimonials are genuine and candid sharing that I cannot ignore.

I am still a practicing Christian, but to be honest, I shared a lot of those doubts you have and in secret, I am a Liberal.
I taught myself critical thinking, logic, the Bible and a lot of other things, and these knowledge and the critical mind of me is calling me to question the faith which calls itself "Orthodox Christianity".

I have a total of 2 friends leaving Christianity for good and I need to see from their perspective. Your site is one that I can be free from judgemental remarks or quarrels in Christian forums.


Many articles are good, but it will be easier for a surfer to look if you grouped them like
(1) From Fundamentalist to Atheiest
(2) From "cocktail" Christianity (like yourself) to Athiest
etc

Best
Virginia

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Webmaster,

I will keep this short. I have read your reasoning and find that it matches perfectly with what I feel is right for me. I think that gods were created by men for the express purpose of control.

Someone once said (probably from a hilltop somewhere) "If you don't do it God's way (what he meant was my way) then you will go to this bad place forever and be toutured in some horrific fasion forever and ever" etc, etc, etc.. Its all about control.

If there is any kind of "god" to me it is the air, wind, trees, oxygen, food and all of the things that keep me alive. That would make me a ??

Thank you for being brave enough to host a site like this as I am sure you get a real bashing from all of those "forgiving Christians" that always seem to forget that the cornerstone of their faith is supposed to be live and let live, forgive and yet I always seem to find them the 1st to condemn others for being different.. Crusades anyone ? KKK anyone ?

boomSLANG said...

Anonymous: If there is any kind of "god" to me it is the air, wind, trees, oxygen, food and all of the things that keep me alive. That would make me a ??

Investigate "Pantheism"

Anonymous said...

Thanks Boomslang. I wondered if it had a name. This is what has made sense to me all of my life and is something that occured naturaly. I have never read about it or even heard about it. It just seemed to make sense to me. I can not accept the hocus pocus burning bush your gonna go to hell if you dont blah blah blah viewpoint.

boomSLANG said...

No prob'....hey, feel free to sign in with a pseudonym and stick around.

Anonymous said...

i read the first few paragraphs of your essay...and i have to say; you are making NO SENSE WHAT-SOEVER.

before you bash Christianity - think about what your saying.. because you sound really stupid.

no offense.

re-read your essay, sir.. and you will see how contradictory you really are. go ahead.. i dare you.

webmdave said...

Too-stupid-to-post-under-a-nickname-anonaymous:

If you would be a bit more specific, perhaps a response would be warranted. Until then, have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous from December 2, 2007 Said:

"i read the first few paragraphs of your essay...and i have to say; you are making NO SENSE WHAT-SOEVER."

The reason why it does not make any sense to you is because, you are probably too stupid to understand it and you don't have enough education and knowledge to understand it.

It is apparent that you do not know how to use capitalization when you use the letter "I". Which tells me a lot about your education.

Anonymous 12/02/07 Said:
"because you sound really stupid"

It sounds stupid because you are a stupid brainwashed christian.

Anonymous said...

webmaster...it is amazing how your life and my life a so much alike..I too was on fire for the Lord and very zealous..but had my doubts..like you I never wanted to "straddle the fence" when I stopped reading the bible and attending church I did't want anything to do with Christians..so I returned to the former lifestyle of fornication,drugs,heavy drinking ect...I did this a much as I wanted..until I had my fill..I mean how much sex can a person have until they feel like a "male whore"? How much wine and beer can you drink until your just fat and bloated and depressed? How much rock music can you listen to before you don't want to hear anything? For me and I don't want to come off as preaching or religious or telling you what to do..I belive that you like I did "will get to the end of yourself" and turn you life back to God..I'm not talking about going to a church..I have tried them all like you..I just want to know how much "peace that passes all understanding" do you have in your life right now. Man I don't know about you but when I turn my back on the things of God my life doesn't make sense...Life becomes boring and dry..Again I not telling you what to do but the way I see it if you really feel that strong about God not being real or just I would just leave it alone..This site just might provoke him to put something in your life that you really don't want..One last question you mean to tell me in your heart of hearts the happiest day in your "FREETHINKING" life would be one of your grandkids come in an announcers they had just "joined a satanic cult" full of human sacrifices and paid honor the Satan himself? That would not bother the Holy spirit living inside you

Astreja said...

Joe4Jesus: "How much rock music can you listen to before you don't want to hear anything?"

Speaking for Myself, I'm still discovering new bands after 44 years of record collecting.

"Again I not telling you what to do but the way I see it if you really feel that strong about God not being real or just I would just leave it alone..This site just might provoke him to put something in your life that you really don't want."

Translation: 'Sit down and shut up, apostates!'

Joe, fuck thee off forthwith. We shall not be silenced.

webmdave said...

So I returned to the former lifestyle of fornication,drugs,heavy drinking ect...

That's fascinating. But I've never had a lifestyle of fornication, drugs, heavy drinking, etc... Oh, and I made my living as a musician for over 23 years or so, so I guess I get what you mean about music. It's just music.

I've been faithfully married to the same woman for 23 years now, and shedding Christianity has brought us closer together than any of the missionary zeal we both once had. Neither of us for a minute would dream of being unfaithful to the other. It's not even a temptation: Yuck!

If you need religion to stave off self-destructive behavior, than I recommend you stay deeply entrenched in it. Survival is more important, ultimately, than the ability to reason.

Anonymous said...

webmaster..Thanks for the comments back..there is one thing that you seam to be VERY confused about..when I talk about the things of God..I'm not talking about religion I'm talking about relationship ok..I absolutely cringe with someone refers to me as "religious" it always refers to a set way of doing things..With that out of the way..the two most important questions I asked you were...do you have peace? If the answer is yes than great..I guess you "on the right track" only you can answer that right? You see in IMHO happy/peaceful people don't rail against anything good or bad they just live out their lives content..It's too much negative energy to use up and end the end you and I will do what we want anyway..this is what freewill is all about..God does leave that up to us. He's a gentleman in that department..I'm not saying that the holy spirit will not convict a person from time to time, but ultimately it's still "our choice" how we live. Also I asked you a point blank question regarding your grand kids or even you own children or wife for that matter?? How would you feel or what would you do if anyone of them joined a Satanic cult? Happy? Still in their corner? Still hating God/Christianity/Religion. I mean come on they support you in what your doing why not turn around and support them right?...maybe even open up your home the nice warm friendly Satanist for hot chocolate and a "Satanic Bible Study"? As for the comment made from the record collector... I made a living for years selling vintage vinyl...did all the shows in the NJ/NY area..It's fun right? but do yourself a favor and grow up..you think that because I'm a Christian I'm shocked that you use the F word??? Its over used to the point that it's no longer shocking..as a matter of fact if you want to really shock people don't use it, thats more powerful!!!! p.s. Do you have a near mint copy of The Flamingo's 45 "Dream of a lifetime" #808 on the Parrot label in red wax?

Anonymous said...

webmaster: you wrote.."
Or how about this scenario: My wife said she spent the evening with friends, which was true. What she failed to mention was that she also slept with a lover. Now, since she left out an important part of the story, did she tell the truth? It's funny out of all the examples you could have used you picked this one? Yet in your blog back to me you stated " Me or my wife would never for even for a minute think of being unfaithful" I hardly buy thats true for yourself.... maybe it's true... only you know your own mind..But do you really know what your wife is thinking all the time??? If so forget about having people send you ten dollars thur this site..Start another one and charge a big fee for the information leading to how you received this "gift" of knowing what other truly think!!!! wow... P.S. I can't help to wonder how much of this whole site is in fact a way of you "fellowshipping" with other people? Again I too have many times "turned from the things of God" and it's a funny thing if I keep in touch with at least one other friend who was backslidden and really hated/ questioned God it some how made me feel better that I was not alone..How much more when you have the whole world responding to you and sharing to very same thoughts? Kinda comforting right? But as it says in the bible..."in the council of many there is comfort....

webmdave said...

Joe,

The story about my wife cheating on me was made up. It was illustrative to make a point, but has no basis in reality beyond the point being made.


And, you are religious. You have a holy book, a god, certain dogmas you think absolutely necessary, organized meetings, etc. Words that are used frequently in your conversation would probably include worship, prayer, miracle, healing, sin, hell, heaven, judgement, god, angels, demons, etc. That, my grammer¶graph-limited friend, is a religion. You, Joe, are religious.

Oh, and I don't believe in your Satan character, either, so all your ranting on that was lost on me.

It's obvious that you are upset that I think your religion is ridiculous. I suggest you simply get on with your religously delusional life, and let your magical, invisible friend deal with me. Surely IT doesn't need your help, does it?

Bye.

Anonymous said...

webmaster..This is clearly a road that in leading to nowhere..I understand that you example of your wife cheating was just that..and example..What I said was it was funny that you pick that one..But you have not answered two of my basic questions..first, how is it that you know what your wife is really thinking at all times? And second I does not matter if YOU believe in the devil/ Satan... I simply asked you what would be your feeling deep in your heart, if your loved ones proclaimed they had joined a Satanic cult? Unless you are willing to answer these questions head on..I see know need in going back and forth..just a side note..you "pass judgement on Christians" yet you had to mention something about my lack of writing skills??? Good for you... do you feel better now??? One thing is for sure "what a man is born into he grows into" It is apparent you have not evolved far enough into your "freethinking" lifestyle/mindset to stop passing judgement...oh sorry correct me if I'm wrong but you still sound like a Christian..Let me leave you with a quote form Bob Dylan who became a born again Christian...
"The wicked don't know peace and you just can't fake it( If you had real peace you would not have a site dedicated to confusion) ...There's only one road and it leads to Calvary..It gets discouraging at times but I know I'll make ..By the saving grace that's over me...

webmdave said...

How is it that you know what your wife is really thinking at all times?

I don't know what my wife is thinking at all times. We've been married for 23 years, however, and dated for three years prior to being married. After all that time we know each other pretty well. We have discussed this particular issue on occasion and assured each other of our devotion to each other. I trust her based on her demonstrated behavior over the past decades. So, I can say with confidence I know her mind on this topic. But, I'm not psychic and do not know every thought going through her mind at every second of every day. If that's your point, you win.

If my loved ones said they had joined a Satanic cult, I'd ask to attend one of their meetings. I've never been to a Satanic cult meeting, nor have I ever heard of one being held anywhere outside of a movie theater or a novel. I've been to synagogue in the past (boring as hell), observed a Buddhist meeting (weird) and I'd like to attend an Islamic service some day, not to mention go to an Indian temple and whatever other opportunity comes my way.

My feeling if they joined such a thing and actually believed in it? I'd think they were idiots, because all that nonsense is imaginary. My kids were home schooled, attended private Christian schools, and then attended public school during high school because by then my wife and I had de-converted. My kids know more about Christianity than any Christian they know in college. But, my kids are atheists. They know not just the apologetics, they know the arguments based on reason. I'm not a bit concerned about them. They can believe whatever they like, but because I de-converted when I did, they know how to think rationally.

Thanks for asking, though.

As far as the rest of your cute post, let me suggest you come back after you pass your 18th birthday. Until then, I think you are correct that this is going nowhere.

You can consider this conversation ended.

Astreja said...

Joe4Jesus: "You think that because I'm a Christian I'm shocked that you use the F word???"

Actually, I swear to relieve My own tension, not to shock you. I get rather annoyed when believers wander in here and threaten us with the wrath of their Invisible Friend.

And no, I don't have the Flamingos red disk in My collection.

Anonymous said...

Joe4Jesus Said:
"when I talk about the things of God..I'm not talking about religion I'm talking about relationship ok"

I've heard that over and over again about how christianity is not a religion, but a relationship.

Joe, I hate to tell you pal, but you cannot have a relationship with an invisible man, who died 2,000 years ago, and has not been seen since he supposedly left all those years ago.

As for Christianity being a relationship, I don't know where you christians get off with your "Goody, Goody, Holier Than Thou, christianity isn't a religion" atttitude.

Joe4Jesus Said:
"I absolutely cringe with someone refers to me as "religious" it always refers to a set way of doing things."

You can deny it all you want Joe, but christianity is a "Religion". Anything that has to do with a "God" is a religion.

Joe(Blows)4Jesus Said:
"This site just might provoke him to put something in your life that you really don't want."

I use to be scared and intimadated by threats like that, now I see them as a joke.

Your invisible friend can fuckin' bring it on as far as I'm concerened.

While you're "Blowing4Jesus" tell him that old Phant said to go fuck himself, eat shit and die.

God/Jesus (Or whatever other names he uses) can kiss my goddamn ass.

Jesus was a loser just like his followers are.

And as far as my anger goes, it's all because of your stupid fucking God and idiot christians like you.

AtheistToothFairy said...

Phant said:
"Jesus was a loser just like his followers are".

Phant,
A 'loser' would be the best case scenario for this jesus, as I truly do not see any evidence such a miracle-man ever walked this planet.
No xtian who has paid us a visit here, has handed us more than a mere morsel of evidence for his existence.

BTW Phant.....Nice to see you posting !!


ATF (who is still waiting for ANY xtian to show me their jesus wasn't just another mythical figurehead of human invention)


P.S to AEB........yes AEB, I had a feeling you were closer-by than was obvious to the untrained eye [g]

Anonymous said...

Sorry Shawn. This is just a parody of what you wrote, but an example of how it sounds to an atheist.

"Webmaster"
I have read of your unfortunate experiences with fanaticals, hypocrites, and (if you will pardon the expression) fools. It is obvious to me that you are very intellectual, well learned regarding the Christmas tradition, and truly have a passion and zeal for truth that is not equalled by many. It does, however, cause me great sorrow to see that you (and most all of the contributors to this site which I have read) condemn Christmas based on man's hypocrisy. I don't claim to know your "full story," just that which you have chosen to share; but I can not help but find myself wondering if your doubts and "realizations" only occured when you "took your eyes off of Santa," and placed them on man. I want to be clear that this is in no way intended to be a judgement, but rather a question that I hope you can answer to yourself honestly. Yes, my Christmas records teach of both an angry, jealous St. Nicholas, and one of peace, love, and prosperity; some may choose to accept this dual explanation as the ultimate example of hypocrisy, but I would hope that your studies have convinced you that nothing could be further from the truth. You see, the idea of Christmas is a progressive revelation of Santa Claus which contains both "Miracle on 34th Street", and "The Santa Clause". I always find it heart wrenching when I find even the most intellectual of children trying to "mesh" together both old and new - it's like mixing sour milk and cookies with fresh and expecting it to be "O.K.!" I guess that I am just trying to say that we all understand things based on what we are taught. As you "hopped" from Hannakah to Kwanzaa (what it sounds like to me) you learned new doctrine after new doctrine . . .and they clashed. There are no doctrines in gift giving. Doctrines are created by man . . . hypocrisy is practiced by man . . .Christmas, truth, and love are of Santa Claus. I do not walk a "perfect walk," but because of Santa's List I have experienced, and do my best to show love. Too many people base their beliefs of what Christmas "is" based on the actions of man - man is not Santa. You have studied the Christmas carols . . .if I ever have opportunity to share with somebody what Christmas is, I always turn to “Deck the Halls” verse 2, line 3; not a bad goal for how to live if you ask me. But then, who am I to judge, but a humble servant of Father Christmas, Santa. Wherever your journey takes you, carry with you this . . .you are loved, and there is always room for another hypocrite to come join our carolling - you will be welcomed with open arms.

Anonymous said...

Those Jack Chick tracts that you were getting were pretty poisonous to your Christian beginnings.

Take a look at Matthew 16:18. The entire premise of the Reformation is that the gates of hell actually *did* prevail against the apostolic church.

Mat 16:18 narrows down your chances of finding legitimate Christianity down to 2 churches-- Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic. (how dare me suggest something so outlandish!)

I know this sounds like flame bait, but I don't know of any way of tactfully saying it: Faiths that are based off from warm-squishy feelings are doomed to failure. The fact is that life isn't 100% warm or even squishy.

I can't imagine that God, in His infinite mercy and wisdom would reveal himself by manifesting himself through people flopping around on the floors like dying fish. In my limited studies, I never once got the idea that people acted like that when they heard Jesus speak or were healed.

You have a right to ask real questions, and to expect real answers.

If you decide to give it one more chance, dig in with your head before you put in your heart. Be skeptical. Stay away from Evangelicals and Pentecostals. Stay away from so-called non-denomination or prophet churches.
Let the truth come naturally, and don't try so hard to believe the lies. Most of all, don't let someone else's strong belief in a lie influence your ability to reason.

For what it is worth, pray for me while you're on your journey, too.

Best regards,
-Mark

Stephen Camilli said...

Web Master,

All the best to you, and thank you for sharing from the depths of your heart. I too have searched, and search... Just wanted to recommend 2 books to you, "Man's Search for Meaning" by Victor Frankl, a Jewish psychologist who was in a concentration camp in WWII, and has offered psychological insights on the meaning of life for all people, religious or not, and another book written by people who converted to Catholicism, which I found fascinating, and a very good read (link below). all the best to you, your immediate family, and your grandchildren,

Stephen

http://www.amazon.com/New-Catholics-Contemporary-Converts-Stories/dp/0824508424/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1201841923&sr=1-8

webmdave said...

I appreciate the encouragement to become Catholic, but no thanks.

Besides, original Christianity disappeared toward the end of the First Century, when the Jerusalem Church, run by James the brother of Jesus, disappeared from the planet.

The Pauline version wasn't exactly sanctioned by James, so Catholicism is nothing more than a Roman perversion of the one true gospel preached by the Jewish Jesus.

Have a great day, but I suggest you don't bother trying to convert me. You'll be wasting your time.

DKJ said...

What a discussion!

I was raised an atheist. I have dabbled with Christianity.

I am currently a deist, I just can't believe in a universe without a creator, I've tried.

As for the bible it looks like a collection of stories written by authors who were seeking some kind of truth/wisdom. Christianity is a money making scheme based on fear as far as I can tell.

The search for truth is just hard.

Anonymous said...

:-) I pondered being a deist, but only for a short while.

A deist traditionally believes there is a creator that exists outside of this Universe, who set it in motion and then left it alone.

I was never able to understand, how anyone could ever logically suggest that something existed outside of the Universe they live in, except on blind "faith".

Everything we touch, smell, experience becomes part of our natural "relationship", with no separation.

I can understand how someone may perceive something "greater" than themselves in "potential", I just choose to call that greater potential - "Nature", of which I happen to have a very close relationship with.

I don't perceive there to be any reason to worship something for which I am an integral part of. "Rejecting" that relationship, so that I could entertain my "faith", and opening up the conceptual possibility of something "beyond" my Reality, seemed not much different than most "religions".

Deism, to me was a response to religious politics, and the controversy over "revealed" religion in its inception. It kept some tenets of religion, and recreated the personality of a God to be impersonal, which of course solves the problem with God not responding to humans in suffering.

A Deist and Christian would agree that a God does indeed exist outside this Natural Universe, but disagree on personality traits. It's a connection, that I see no evidence for, and something that begs the question; if a Deist or Christian can speak about things beyond this Universe, by rejecting their Reality; then, where does such speculation end?

The Deist doesn't go any further, than "initial" revelation, which provided them with the concept of a God external to the Universe, while the Christian religions, believe in a second coming, modern day apostles, Popes, etc., and ongoing "messages" of a God.

Again, I dumped all my beliefs, and rebuilt from the ground up, and found I had no reason to accept an initial premise/revelation to make sense out of my life and Nature.

Deism fell as an alternative belief for me, the second I dropped the Christian belief, in an "external" Universe with a God.

However, to each their own.

kendra said...

i just want to say that i think this is a very interesting site. there are a lot of ideas, thoughts and, beliefs getting thrown around here and i think its awesome! i believe life is a journey in which we all take in search for answers to the mysteries of life. and the truth is we wont know the truth until we die and we make it to the "other side" if there is another side. the thing is whether you choose to believe (whatever you believe) or not, we all definetly do have the freedom to believe what we want, so if a person decides to believe in every word written in the Bible whether we agree or not doesnt matter cause its there freedom, or if a person chooses to believe that there is no god, or even that we are all gods, it just doesnt matter. we all have the freedom to choose and i believe there should be no judgment on anyone for their belief. and i think that religion is a testy subject because everybody wants to be right, and the truth is only one will come out on top and again we wont know till we die. and i just think no one should attack eachothers ideas cause we are all trying to figure it out. just cause one religion doesnt work for one person doesnt mean it wont work for another. and the truth is that even if the christian faith isnt proven truth neither is any other religion includuing athieism (or however you spell it...sorry) so who are we to judge. all we can hope is that in the end our religion is the true religion, otherwise it is what it is. and i don't think that we have to go and search thru every religion to find the right one i think if you have found what works for you then nothing else matters but if you choose to search thru other religions, more power to you its a smart thing to inhance your knowledge on different beliefs around you.
Web Master although i applaude the fact that you stand for what you believe i do not agree with your saying that "Christianity is just another man-made, phony cult - that's all.While touting itself as the answer to man's ultimate questions, all it really does is enslave the mind." i say this only because i dont think you can make that judgment call, if it didnt work for you thats fine, and i hope you find what will, but i do believe it is not repectful to say that and not true for all just you and those who also have come across that road, but there are many who havnt and would believe that other religions were that way, would that make them true? i dont think so. but anyway what i really wanted to bring to light is that none of us know truth we only know what we hear, feel, see, and precieve as truth, so i do think in alot of ways Web Master has been respectful, honest, and open; and i think thats awesome. i pray that religion will no longer be a hold on you but that you will find what your looking for,
(for Everybody) dont get to caught up in finding factual scientific undoutable truth about religion cause i belive like ive said before we will never find it until we die because in a lot of ways religion is based on faith not evidence. thats why its called "Belief" and not "Know", because we belive but we dont know, we only think we know. so yeah thats all i wanted to say and ive learned a long time ago that arguing about religion doesnt solve a thing, in fact its the very thing that causes division and wars, and we really cant blame that on just followers of the christian faith, so im not going to argue with anyone if you have a comment you want to make feel free we all have a right to our own opinions which is why im glad this site exsits for the most part

Unknown said...

Webmaster, I am happy to have come upon this website. I'm not sure what I would call myself, but I was raised non-denom christian, and the fear of burning in hell still torments me today. My partner and I raise our children to be open minded and try to encourage them to find their own truth. Although they are young and I often tell them not to worry about it now, they have many of the unanswered questions of life. Our 8 yr old often asks me how did god get there? Why were we created? What happens when we die? Etc. I tell her that no one really knows.......I give her examples of what some believe, and I then tell her that she can decide what she thinks is true for herself. Then I tell her that I really don't know what I believe. I hope that they don't end up being more confused, but I just cannot raise my kids like how I was.

Do you have any suggestions as to how I can let go of the anger I hold toward christianity? I recently went back to college to advance my degree and just finished a world religions class that was offered online. Many of my postings angered christians and I realized that my anger is far more then I was aware. Perhaps time will heal all.

Thank you for this website!

webmdave said...

It took me over five years to get over the disappointment and anger associated with de-converting. There are no set rules on how long it should take or how long it will take. It depends entirely on the individual.

However, I can confidently say that as with all things, time heals all.

Feel free to hang out here and consider joining the forums. If you need to rant and rave, this is the place for it. Most of us understand completely.

Alicia said...

Dave,
I look at the first of comments to appear and I'm disappointed at how many closed minded religious fanatics are on here simply to tell you that there is no point to your site and you are of course misguided. How absolutely infuriating and incredibly offensive. If you think this site has no point then why are you on it and why are you posting a comment.

Your site and your thoughts are a delightfully intelligent meal. I found your thoughts to parallel those of many and your reasoning's exceptionally valid. I could easily go on a angry rant as to why religion, particularly Christianity, is not only offensive but given the history of torment and wars, wrath and hate, the equivalent of a large and very organized terrorist cult. I will have to work very hard to keep such disgusting values, ie. condemning homosexuals, supporting violence and war, making women unequal, away from my future children. Luckily Christianity is dying out quickly in Europe and parts of America. Hopefully with the new generations, which are much more accepting and much more educated, it will become either a thing of the past, or will reform to be more of coming together as one world and one love. That being said, someone stated would the world really be a better place if Christians didn't believe in god? How about if religion didn't exist? Well it would certainly end thousands of years of violance, intolerance, ignorance, meaningless deaths and wrongful persecution just to name a few. But wait? What about all the good things Christians do! They do charity work and donate money, spread love, encourage good morals, just to name a few. But what if people can do that WITHOUT god? What if people can do that on their own by taking responsibility for themselves and believing in humanity? I know this is possible because I do. And many of the people I meet when I'm volunteering do. And people I see on the streets daily do. So why aren't we encouraging that more, instead of spreading the word that regardless of how good you are, you are nothing without God.

Isn't it interesting that the more education a person receives and the more they are able to think freely, the less the likelyhood of that becoming or remaining a believer. I am grateful for your site as I'm sure many others are. I will continue to read it often. Whether you chose to believe or not believe everyone has the right to ask questions, seek answers and make a choice that feels right as opposed to just going with the crowd because you are told to do so.

Thank you again, keep this site going. Have a wonderful day.

webmdave said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Alicia. You are among those for whom this site exists.

I share your optimism that one day humankind will mature beyond the need to childishly chase insist on the existence of imaginary gods and goddesses, but I fear it will finally happen long after you and I have left the planet.

Regardless, and again, thanks.

webmdave said...

Hi Dve I just skimmed your testimony really quickly. I am appauled at what happened at those Churches you origonally went to but remember that those people were sinners too and not perfect; but I assure you there are answers!!

In regards to your questions, I think you would enjoy very very much Ravi Zacharias and Dr William Lane Craig among others. There's a book by Ravi Zacharias "Who made God and 100 Tought Questions About Faith" (something like that). Also you might like to look at Ravi's "Jesus Among Other Gods." Ravi is a world renowned Christian philosopher and apologist.

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