They Don’t SPEAK for ME!

by Bruce Gerencser of Restless Wanderings

They all use the same Bible.

They all believe the same Bible.

They all worship the same God.

They all believe the same about Jesus.

They all believe the same about man’s need of redemption.

They all believe in heaven and hell.

Whether they call themselves Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant or Baptist they believe the same.

Whether they are a part of a denomination or independent they believe the same. Whether they are liberal, charismatic, conservative, or fundamentalist they believe the same.

Regardless of the name over the door every Christian Church essentially believe the same.

The cardinal doctrines are settled. God is God. Jesus is Jesus.The Bible is truth.
 
Yes, they differ in matters of eschatology, worship styles, music. social rules, government and politics BUT these matters are peripheral to the central truth of the Christian Church, Jesus the Christ crucified and raised from the dead.

Yet, a funny thing happens when a noted Christian pastor/bishop/elder/priest/para-church leader says something controversial…

Well, they don’t speak for me!

They don’t represent me.

They don’t speak for all Christians.

As with real families when the crazy uncles says or does something bizarre we are quick to distance ourselves from them. We pretend they are not a part of our family.

But they are.

So it with the Christian Church.

Try as they might to distance themselves from the crazy uncles in their midst, the uncles are still part of the family.  It is called the family of God. The blood washed band.

So stop trying to pretend that Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch, Jack Van Impe, Al Mohler, John Piper, Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, Creflo Dollar, Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard, Joyce Meyers, Paula White, Jack Hyles, Bob Gray, Ernest Angley, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Jim Wallis,  the Pope, etal are NOT a part of your family.

TBN, GOD TV, and the Church channel represent you.

When Pat Robertson gives his latest prophecy he speaks for you.

When the Pope condemns condom use in Africa he speaks for you.

When Rick Warren condemns homosexuality he speaks for you.

As with real families when the crazy uncles says or does something bizarre we are quick to distance ourselves from them. We pretend they are not a part of our family.

But they are.

So it with the Christian Church.
When Al Mohler, John Piper and every Calvinist let the world know that God is in the killing, maiming and destruction business they speak for you.

When hate-mongering Christian Michele Bachmann waxes eloquently about God she speaks for you.

When James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Doug Phillips, Gary Demar, Rousas Rushdoony speak they speak for you.

When the Southern Baptists pass resolutions about homosexuality and women in the ministry they speak for you

When a politician invokes the name of the Christian God they speak for you.

When a priest molests a boy his actions reflect on you.

When Ted Haggard smokes crack and has sex with homosexual prostitutes his actions reflect on you.

When your pastor steals, lies, and sleeps around his actions reflect on you.

When a Christian nation on behalf of a Christian God bombs the hell out of Iraq, Afghanistan, and

Pakistan and kills tens of thousands of people they do it in your name.

They are YOUR family.

They worship the same God as you. They read from the same Bible as you. They believe in the same Jesus as you do.

Object all you will about my unfair judgment…

The NON-Christian world sees things just like I have represented them here.

The FORMER-Christian  sees things just like I have represented them here. They see the Bible as the problem. They know to abandon the Bible is to abandon Christianity. They see no other solution to this problem but rejecting the Bible. It is the Bible that is at that foundation of all the speaking that goes on in God’s name. God has spoken! Where? In the Bible.

Every wild, bizarre, vile pronouncement that Christians make are propped up by the Bible.  Book, chapter, and verse.

What is your response to this post? Do you want to beat me up, in Jesus name of course? Do you want to straighten me out? Do you want to expose my biases, my errors in judgment? Do you want to attack me and tell me I have an axe to grind or that I am jaded, cynical, and hateful? (all true BTW)

Anything but deal with the main premise of this post.

252 comments:

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webmdave said...

ACatholic: “But I also want to find out the atheists' real worldview with regards to religion, that atheists - including Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris - consistently claim that theists are unaware of.”

The short of it; you psychologically infer atheism to categorically mirror the characteristics of organized religion, because you perceive reality from a religious lens.

While you can only infer, based on what you know; what you infer, ain’t so.

Atheism, unlike organized religions… is ‘not’ hierarchical… it’s flat – there is no authority structure/power pyramid.

Therefore, name-dropping like Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc, is baseless. While these individuals express their views on questions commonly entertained by religious investigation… they don’t speak authoritatively for an atheist collective.

To the contrary, I have no compunction to withhold professional criticism, because someone happens to be an atheist, and I haven’t; albeit, not so much here, as there is a time and place for everything.

Also, atheism is not a ‘driver’ for people in their lives; while ‘all’ committed religious individuals are ‘driven’ by their religious doctrine.

When I say, ‘driver’, I mean… when I get up to go save the world one day at a time, I’m not driven by a sense of duty/commitment to a god/religious doctrine… I go forth, because what I do aligns with my non-religious values and ethics.

I suppose I should mention, that there are atheists who belong to the category of anti-theism… the category overlaps atheism, but then… it overlaps theism also, ironically.

While an anti-theist may aggressively seek to dissolve theism, they do not do this ‘because’ of their atheism. Theists are different; their religious doctrine ‘drives’ their behavior, and thus, if they are anti-theists (xtians bigotry towards gay, Jews, etc.), it ‘must’ be consistently prompted by religious/theistic affiliation.

Finally, is exiting theism hard because it creates a social vacuum? Sure, for some… Is exiting puberty hard because one becomes a responsible decision maker, sure for some…? But, if we never strive to get past puberty, we’d still be closed-minded adolescents believing we have all the answers, because we say we have all the answers.

webmdave said...

Although I haven't read the bible ten times, I know an atheist who can recite most of the bible off the top of his head. He picked up most of that when he was learning how to be a biblical scholar while he was religious. He also taught Secular Bible study. Have you looked at how the bible was made? Q? Mathew, Mark and Luke, how they are put in the bible in the wrong order? How scholars have researched this and know why they came to that conclusion? The different writing styles are done by different people. That some swayed with threats, others with promises. Some writing that states that only x can join, while this book says everybody. Oral tradition? The letters of Paul. The issues with Paul's letters and Acts? Have you looked at a parallel Bible? How about books closer to the literal translation? Bible inconsistencies. Like Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. In Genesis 1 god makes the animals then he makes man and woman. Past Genesis 2 the story goes to say how god made man, then animals then later woman.

I don't know the bible as well as he does. But this is what got me, the bible studies were headed a very religious person. Yet most of the bible thumpers dropped out when they realized the proof that the bible wasn't written directly by god. Shows who was really interested in learning. Your wasting your time by trying to tell us that you THINK atheists don't know anything about the bible.

webmdave said...

ACATHOLIC,

I sense very much anger from you, we can heal. Allah is peace, and he offers his peace to you. It is clear you have not read the Quran carefully, or you too would have come to realize the truth it holds. The Quran as given to us by the Prophet, peace be upon him, is all thaat matters. Give yourself to Him. No one has ever written a book like the Quran. It is the only divine truth. Open your heart.

webmdave said...

shall we all list every book we have ever read? if you like, i'll go next ...

webmdave said...

I'm sure you can expect what would happen if an atheist went into a religious thread and was all "Wow I can't believe how rude and ignorant you people are in this group!" and then later is all "I can't believe you all attacked me! All I wanted was at least one person to ask my side and be persuaded!"

Yeah, we totally fed the troll. :(

webmdave said...

Brian, I've expounded on this below. You're confusing atheism with anti-theism.

Atheism, does not 'drive' behavior, any more than lacking a billion dollars makes someone an idiot, unless, that is a case you want to defend.

Anti-theism, is a position that rejects theisms' premise that gods can/do exist.

Stalin and Pol Pot do not speak for me, because atheism is 'not' a collective, it is 'not' hierarchal, in short, you have 'zilch' to infer from, just as there is nothing for you to infer about someone who lacks a billion dollars, regarding their values and beliefs.

On the contrary, if someone is following a religious doctrine and they are 'committed' to that doctrine, a lot can be inferred about their 'point-of-view' - by-doctrine, and how they 'should' behave in a particular situation.

Now... ironically, I was going to actually respond to the author of this article, and I still may.

webmdave said...

i think that ACatholic has simply been misunderstood!

he reminds me of a little boy who has a secret that only he knows about, but can't wait to tell someone else -- but only if they beg a lot and ask pretty please! he seems to think he has THE answer and he only wants to enlighten everyone (cause he has the truth). and, by golly, he won't go away until we listen. after all he has "contemplated and realized the deepest meaning of the bible" which he is happy to share with us if only he knew we wouldn't reject it. he knows "what it means to be a christian" and "he understands the bible in its proper context".

so, ACatholic, since none of us have "bothered to find out your position" or "understand your full point of view" and this is what you state you want to accomplish with all of this, would you PRETTY PLEASE tell us all what we are so obviously in need of knowing, what we have all so blatantly overlooked in our search for truth. cause if someone out there has the TRUTH (finally) i want to know it.

please enlighten us. how did i create my own hell? god is transnatural? how did you find out this truth that no one else seems to know?

webmdave said...

You are wrong - I DO mean Peace and am sad that you do not have it.

Children/young people? It matters not. The punishment for laughing at baldness should never be death. How do you know it is an allegory? On what authority? I suspects it is deemed to be allegory because it is too inconvenient a display of the capricious and cruel nature of your god.

I will address your other points later - I have a lecture to go to.

Peace,

David

webmdave said...

The term "genocide" is only applicable to innocents.


What. The. Fck?

Well going by the DICTIONARY it's more something like this:

Systematic killing of a racial or cultural group

Again, Wtf!

Wow, demonizing people to justify killing them. Where have we heard that before?

webmdave said...

Ok, so why again are you doing the equivalent of going to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting and extolling the virtues of a nice non-narcotic drug like meth? Trust me, you aren't going to convince anyone here to "come back" and we got away for a reason.

This has nothing to do with anything here, but I am convinced that there is no afterlife after clinically dying and seeing nothing. Absolutely nothing. I can tell you however, that what I have read is true about dying: The last thing to go really is your hearing. At least I am no longer afraid of dying since I now know there is no hell. Since most of humanity is supposedly slated for that place, no wonder so many fear death. I did until I knew better.

Life has so much more meaning when you accept that this is the only one you have and there are no do-overs.

webmdave said...

Is it O.K. to lie in this new age Catholicism? If you are not wracked with guilt then you are not a true Catholic!!! (:D LOL!

How have you gotten rid of your guilt?
Do you still go to confession or is that old school (or not done in your country)?
I read you list of books that you have read......A lot of study about Gays.......Hmmmm, I think your are fibbing again......I think you are gay!!!

It's O.K. Be who you are. You can even revel in the thought that God made you that way! Of course, in your case, your God doesn't like gays (it is made very plain and obvious in Scripture). So you are faced with a huge dilemma.....How to please your new age, 'trans-natural' God, with so many 'natural' feelings going on iside of you.

I still say you must be young (I consider anyone under 40 to be young). Your passionate and un-yeilding manner; your arrogant and solipsistic mindset; your inability to comprehend the purpose of this web-site; your compartmentalized thinking (just to name a few)......
These are all traits of a young and un-seasoned mind.

Spend a few more years in contemplation. Read a lot more 'Real' science. Read some real scholars, such as Bart D. Ehrman (I don't think I saw him on your list). Spend some time researching how your Holy Scriptures came to be the Bible in 325-326 BCE at the first council of Nicea. After that, study the second council of Nicea which took place around 400 years later (where everything was changed).

You make some very wrong assumptions my Asian friend. First of all, this site is called Ex-Christian not Atheist.net. Many who come to this site (in fact I would say most) are not Atheist.
We have many ex-catholics and even one of two ex-priests (and at least one ex-nun).

Some of us are Atheist, but by no means all.

Anyway, I grow tired of this exchange; nothing new here.....a guilt ridden, morbidly ignorant, closeted Gay, from a superstitious and multi-religion-based country, comes here to tell us dumb Americans that we don't 'Truely Understand' the Bible! Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah!

I feel sorry for you, acatholic. You are destined to live in guilt and fear and ignorance for the remainder of your days unless you 'get a clue'. Whether you choose to be a Theist or an Athesist is really not the issue here. The issue is this:

You will never find Reality by studying a dead book which was NOT penned by God.....Oh, and by the way......Jesus NEVER LIVED!

I do wish you peace, really ( I was a Christian for 40 years and never knew real peace). I know what peace is, now that I have left behind a dead religion for the life and vibrancy of Reality, Science and Free Thought!

Again I say to you, Peace

XPD (Ex-Pastor Dan)

webmdave said...

Reading books isn't stamp collecting, and I'm not impressed by your album. You say that you have read all these books, and I agree that you have probably read all the words. But just like you have asserted that those of us who have read the bible didn't truly understand it, I assert that you didn't truly understand ANY of these books. Heck, you'd probably think that Swift's Modest Proposal says that we should actually consider children as a renewable food source.

If you disagree with my assertion, that you didn't understand any of what you read, then apply the same logic from your refutation to your assertion. I, and others here, have read the Bible. I, and others here, have understood the Bible. I, and others here, recognize the Bible as a highly symbolic work, filled with cruelty and starring an evil god.

webmdave said...

Life has so much more meaning when you accept that this is the only one you have and there are no do-overs.

I agree 100%, Ren, and facing such a reality is much better than living a delusion.

webmdave said...

Not a Muslim troll too? I've read that book and it is even more violent than the Bible. Islam does not mean peace, but rather submission. So please do not try the Muslim lying crap here.

webmdave said...

"Brownie Points"... So Pastor is giving out brownies instead of cookies?

Like most trolls, he comes here to spout his boilerplate at us then go trotting back to pastor wagging his tail about how he "ministered to the poor backsliders" and collects an extra cookie at communion.

webmdave said...

Wrong, acatholic-as usual.I did not create my own hell. I disposed of that absurd Xian hell. It took the late JC to add the atrocious pain & the flame to Gehenna.(That is, if you BELIEVE that collection of 4th century fables.)

webmdave said...

You said, "God is a trans-natural being." You're kidding, right? Where have you ever seen the slightest trace of evidence that this "trans-natural" realm exists, or could exist? Have you seen it, tasted it, felt it, or in any other way detected it? None of man's instruments (being of the natural world) have ever detected or measured such a realm, so how can you possibly know that such a realm exists? Did god tell you? It sounds suspiciously like someone's answer to the problem of how a supernatural realm could exist. Trans-natural, my ass. What utter bullshit! I submit that you or one of your mentors made it up, probably because it just sounds so cool. But if you are honest, you must admit that you have no idea whether such a realm exists or even could exist. But you go even further in insisting that there is a god residing in this way cool "place" (or non-place?) or realm. Sheesh! You're getting carried away with your imaginaton.

webmdave said...

You should take your own advice and be a little more humble. In every one of your posts, you have been so presumptuous as to tell everyone what they think, what they know, and what they are wrong about. You continue that trend by making the assumption that we want to talk to xtians, real or otherwise.

Be humble. Accept that you don't know everything, and that sometimes, some people may know more than you. And most of all, read the disclaimer, which many people have repeatedly shown you, and consider your own appalling behavior.

webmdave said...

drinking during church is the only thing I remotely respect about those people

webmdave said...

I've been reading these comments, interesting about this acatholic guy. This is my take on him.

It has to be a "he", who else would have that much time to do all that reading! Men have uninterrupted "potty time" to do their extra, while women are constantly being bombarded with questions, requests, even during "private" moments. So this is a guy.

Since he is the south pacific area, if my memory serves me right, which it doesn't always, he's probably rich and educated, probably some kind of education in England, the "our" in one of his words, labour, I believe. Couldn't be a poor, uneducated guy, since he wouldn't have the time to read all that stuff. Too busy working.

I would also speculate that he's probably used to being submitted to. No one would dare disagree with him, so maybe royality, or in the ministry. Is there a difference? Must have a household of staff or students, or parishners or something like that.

He'll stick around until someone gives him the time he needs to get his point across, and tell him he's right.

I would also have to say he's a narcassist (sp?), but you know what I mean. No compassion for anyone, doesn't care to listen to anyone but himself and his ideas, is unable to understand anyone else's emotions.

I've enjoyed following the discussions, and seeing this guy and his arguements be smashed each time!

webmdave said...

lol That's too funny. :)

webmdave said...

eveningmeadows,

I think you nailed it. ;-)

webmdave said...

This is very well put.

webmdave said...

I don't read this as a Muslim troll, but instead as somebody deadpanning a "One True Religion" response back at acatholic. If it were an actual troll, it would be directed at *everybody* - not just the diehard catholic troll.

webmdave said...

OK. You maybe right. I'll let the two of them duke it out, which is what different religious views generally do.

webmdave said...

I believe someone in this post said there are like 20,000 religions! And each one says they have "the truth"! Goodness, even the Amish, with their horse and buggies, think they have "the truth", and they are the only true and righteous ones!

webmdave said...

I'll third that motion.

webmdave said...

Oh but alcoholic has the RIGHT interpretation and KNOWS the ultimate truth, don't you know. *rolling eyes*

webmdave said...

Oo! OO! OO! Can I be a vampress? I think I can still squeeze into my black catsuit. All I need is a cape. :D

webmdave said...

I have to agree, Ayhwh. S/he unbelievable.

webmdave said...

acatholic.....I don't know if you will see this or not, I hope that you do.

Quite a bit up there ^ I left a comment to you after you listed all the books that you've read. I gave you some answers, and a good recommendation for a well-respected book that I thought would answer many questions for you. You didn't even acknowledge it !

That's what I get for trying to be helpful. In our country we have a word for people who are respectful & considerate of others, it's called CLASS. You may want to try to obtain that status.

webmdave said...

BINGO! You found the part I disagree with him. Almost everything else he says, I can jive with.

webmdave said...

If only he could tell us.

webmdave said...

I think that is almost like asking a 6 month old baby to tell us what hurts.

webmdave said...

I do enjoy the site. I still believe there is a God, force, or an originator. I have major doubts about Christianity like any sound minded rational person. When the article says these "christians" speak for you, is that not generalizing? I do recognize the correlation though, with mental illness and christianity. I just want to say we should be careful not to concentrate our hate solely on christianity. We should spread it around.

webmdave said...

"...we should be careful not to concentrate our hate solely on christianity. We should spread it around."

No worries. Islam is in the same category, as well as any and all other funnymentalist religions who try to impose their beliefs on others.

webmdave said...

"...we should be careful not to concentrate our hate solely on christianity. We should spread it around."

No worries there. Islam is in the same category, as well as any and all other funnymentalist religions who try to impose their beliefs on others.

And just to be clear, by "hate" I mean hate the religion (sin) not the religionist (sinner).

webmdave said...

I do enjoy the site. I still believe there is a God, force, or an originator. I have major doubts about Christianity like any sound minded rational person. When the article says these "christians" speak for you, is that not generalizing? I do recognize the correlation though, with mental illness and christianity. I just want to say we should be careful not to concentrate our hate solely on christianity. We should spread it around.

webmdave said...

I think that is almost like asking a 6 month old baby to tell us what hurts.

webmdave said...

If only he could tell us.

webmdave said...

BINGO! You found the part I disagree with him. Almost everything else he says, I can jive with.

webmdave said...

acatholic.....I don't know if you will see this or not, I hope that you do.

Quite a bit up there ^ I left a comment to you after you listed all the books that you've read. I gave you some answers, and a good recommendation for a well-respected book that I thought would answer many questions for you. You didn't even acknowledge it !

That's what I get for trying to be helpful. In our country we have a word for people who are respectful & considerate of others, it's called CLASS. You may want to try to obtain that status.

webmdave said...

I have to agree, Ayhwh. S/he unbelievable.

webmdave said...

I have to agree, Ayhwh. S/he unbelievable.

webmdave said...

Oo! OO! OO! Can I be a vampress? I think I can still squeeze into my black catsuit. All I need is a cape. :D

webmdave said...

Oh but alcoholic has the RIGHT interpretation and KNOWS the ultimate truth, don't you know. Everyone else is wrong. *rolling eyes*

webmdave said...

Oh but alcoholic has the RIGHT interpretation and KNOWS the ultimate truth, don't you know. Everyone else is wrong. *rolling eyes*

webmdave said...

Great post. YOU speak for me.

Sharon

webmdave said...

And incidentally, I don't like the condescending way you treat believers.

Are you kidding? Your condescension is insufferable! And stop peppering your pronouncements with "Ah" and "Hmm" - you sound like an ass.

Ah, but then you don't dare to do so because you fear re-converting

Just as you fear deconverting, which is why you argue for your position with people who have no interest n anything you have to say - you're terrified you may be wrong.

acatholic, you're a Christian stereotype; the tragedy is that you don't know it. Your arguments are cliches, and have been refuted many times, here and elsewhere. It isn't our responsbility to repeat all of it for you.

You really have no clue as to what you're talking about, especially as regards your "analysis" of the process of deconversion. You're impressing no one here but yourself.

You keep talking about translation and context. I'll repeat my earlier recommendation - go and read materials written by Jewish scholars, people who have an understanding of the original Hebrew that isn't colored by a devotion to your Mother Church, then get back to us.

webmdave said...

Brian, I've expounded on this below. You're confusing atheism with anti-theism.

1) The unifying common denominator for all atheists is that they 'lack' a belief in a god/s. Atheism, is humanity’s default/benign/blank slate (non-psychological) position at birth.

Therefore, ‘all’ atheists don’t believe the same thing… they all ‘non-believe’ a particular concept, by natural/selective passivity.

2) The unifying common denominator for all anti-theists is that they reject theism’s premise, e.g., the basis for substantiating god/s.

Therefore, ‘all’ anti-theists ‘do’ believe the same thing: Theism is untenable & should be rejected.

*Not ‘all’ atheists are anti-theists; I’m the former, not the latter.

However, even though I passively dismiss the need to erect a ‘god’ concept psychologically; I’m ‘anti-(anti-intellectualism)’.

Regardless of belief, if one applies an anti-intellectual method to support ‘any’ argument/belief, to include theistic/religious, I consistently challenge them to form and understand their position, it’s not a ‘value’ concern for me, it’s an ‘approach’ concern.

webmdave said...

ATF

Okay, so who wants to dress up as what?

Well considering we're creating our own hell -- I'll just dress in some Bermuda shorts and a loud Hawaiian shirt, which will go quite well with the perfect Maui sunsets, waterfalls, never-ending Mai Tais, hula-hula girls, that I conjured up for my reality in hades!

--S.

webmdave said...

acatholic: "The term 'genocide' is only applicable to innocents."

How very convenient for your sick and unconscionable argument that your religion considers all of humanity to be tainted by Original Sin.

"Incidentally, if you believe so strongly that the Bible is a work of fiction, why do you bother so much about the welfare of the Amalekites, who by logic are only imagined characters?"

The Bible is not 100% fiction. It makes reference to the occasional real person or real place, and it's possible that the Amalekites were an actual tribe who were attacked and murdered by the Israelites.

That, however, is not the point. The very fact that you are making excuses for the Biblical account of the slaughter means that your own moral compass is swinging wildly in the magnetic field of cognitive dissonance.

And that means that you, acatholic, should not be trusted with either power or responsibility. An individual who values the reputation of his invisible friend above the pain and suffering of other sentient beings has declared moral bankruptcy.

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