Friday, August 28, 2009

My Favorite Church

My favorite fundamental baptist church is now judging those christians that accept established science. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that Shiloh Baptist Church may be a little intolerant. It may be time for me to visit again. I wouldn't dream of trying to stop what they're teaching. I just want to know what they're teaching.

Take a look.
IF YOU DONT
BELIEVE IN GENESIS
YOU DONT BELIEVE
IN JESUS
I know lots of christians that will be disappointed to hear this. He doesn't actually mean The Book of Genesis, he means creationism. Replace Genesis with creationism in the message and that's probably closer to what this minister is trying to say.

Do I have to remind everybody that christianity does not equal creationism? There are a several denominations that accept established science. Even one of them is a fundamentalist denomination! Take a look at The Church of The Nazarene.

Click here to see the other side of this sign.

144 comments:

ethinethin said...

In other words, he's saying:

If you don't believe in creationism, you're not a True Christian(tm).

Robert Madewell said...

That's how I took it, Ethinethin.

They have a Creation Club that meets every Wednesday. The adult class is at 7:00pm. I'd would actually be able to go. I wonder if I'd be welcome. Would they welcome honest discussion? Do they allow discussion at all? Who knows.

The pastor knows me, so I wouldn't be able to go in stealth mode. I wouldn't anyways. I am curious to know what they are teaching. This sign has made me even more curious. What I'm afraid of is that me being open about being an atheist would cause some church members to be less inviting, possibly hostile to me.

I suspect that this blog has been visited by members of this church and the commentors that I suspect were not nice at all and were not willing to have open and honest discussion.

Well, there's Sunday and after that there's Wednesday. I'll probably chicken out.

Lorena said...

Wow! You really like that church, if you're so tempted. Church isn't a source of temptation for me. Not at all.

Barbie Bacon said...

Really, if you believe the Bible, word for word, you believe creationism. If you don't believe the Bible, you cannot be a Christian. Christianity and the Bible are inseparable.

Robert Madewell said...

Barbie, are you sure that you believe The Bible word for word? I bet you don't.

Tell me what you think about this commandment directly from God.

If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. Deuteronomy 21:18-21

I assume (actually hope with all my heart) that you do not believe in the killing of unruly children. So, I would have to say that you do not believe everything in the bible.

The Rambling Taoist said...

Actually, I think the pastor is saying that if you don't believe what HE tells you (he, being the pastor, not God or Jesus), then you aren't a good Christian.

To that, I say "Pfttttttttt".

Robert Madewell said...

Lorena,

It's more of a curiosity. Besides, personally I like the pastor. Besides, I think I'm grounded in freethought enough to not get sucked into religion again.

Robert Madewell said...

TRT,
That's a good observation too.

In church you are expected to believe what you are told. Often, open discussion is not allowed and even when it is allowed, you better not be too open about your discussion.

That's one reason why I would be afraid to visit. I'm not uncomfortable with church. Heck, I was born in church. I just am reluctant to go there with many of the members knowing that I'm an outspoken atheist. I'm afraid that they may be a little hostile, even though I'll never be disruptive. The ruckus at the creation musuem attests to the reaction these people can have when confronted with someone who does not agree with them.

Barbie Bacon said...

I do believe the Bible word for word. Yes I agree with this: for that time period in history. You have to remember, that there were no such things as "treatment centers" or "juvenile correction centers." Without a way to separate these people from the rest of society, you would have a ticking time bomb on your hands. Today, this wouldn't be necessary, but back then, it was.

We are so ingrained with modern society, and the way we handle these things now, that it's hard to mentally take a step back to a different time. This was the only way to keep peace in their society at the time, which was crucial for their survival.

Robert, I would advise you against going back to your "favorite church." I know you are an unbeliever for some reason, and unless you are attempting to truly regain a relationship with God, you will do nothing there but quench the spirit, even if you didn't say a word. God's house is a place of worship. If you assign God no worth, don't bother going.

ethinethin said...

Yes I agree with this: for that time period in history. You have to remember, that there were no such things as "treatment centers" or "juvenile correction centers."

Then why didn't they make them? Why was it better for god to just tell them to kill the wayward people rather than help them? I don't buy the "for that time period" nonsense.

Humans, in our current form of development, have had the same capacity for knowledge for fifty-thousand years or more (and you christian idiots believe just six thousand years). Why was it more ethical back then to kill people rather than help them?

ethinethin said...

And I did read the rest of your comment. What I'm saying is if this really is god giving knowledge to the people, why did he give them barbaric laws when he knew they (as humans) had the capacity to be more compassionate?

Why do christians even bother reading the old testament if they pick and choose which of god's laws to abide by (Homosexuals: No, Red Lobster: YES!!!)?

Barbie Bacon said...

They don't "pick and choose." It's simple: Levitical law - Done with. DecaLaw - Not done with.

Robert Madewell said...

I do believe the Bible word for word. Yes I agree with this: for that time period in history.

I'm sorry Barbie. I can not agree with you. Anyone who would condone filicide is a monster. It's easy to justify that passage being in the bible by saying that it was OK then for their time and culture. That way we don't have to think it applies to us. Yet to even think of that happening any time makes my blood boil. I appearantly am more moral than your God. You want to know what? I think you are more moral than your God as well.

Just because you can justify that passage being in there and not applying to you, makes no difference to the fact that you don't practice (believe) everything in there. Not practicing or believing is still not practicing and believing. whether or not you can tell me why.

All Christians are cafeteria christians. Not all will admit it.

Robert Madewell said...

Robert, I would advise you against going back to your "favorite church." I know you are an unbeliever for some reason, and unless you are attempting to truly regain a relationship with God, you will do nothing there but quench the spirit, even if you didn't say a word. God's house is a place of worship. If you assign God no worth, don't bother going.

Are you saying that I would not be welcome at your church? I wish to know.

My dad always made a point of saying that everyone is welcome in the churches he pastored. Open congregations are one thing that I actually admire about fundamental christianity. Are the churches now going to close their doors for fear of criticism?

I seriously doubt that Pastor Kirkpatrick would toss me out of his church. I know him personally and he'd probably be happy to see me there. He'd probably even welcome some honest and open discussion. It's not Kirkpatrick I am worried about. It the other members.

BTW, by advising me not to go, just made me all the more determined. Maybe, that was your plan to keep me from wussing out? If so, you are a sly one Barbie! I think I love you! (In a non-sexual way of course.) If not? Your plan back fired and I still love you. (Still in a non-sexual way, of course)

Grace said...

Barbie, I'm a committed Christian, and have not shared here before. (Probably won't hang around long.)

But, I'm interested to know what leads you to feel so strongly. Why do you believe that people who are not creationists can't be Christian believers?

Don't we become Christians through trust alone in Jesus Christ as Savior, and Lord. To me, how we precisely interpret Genesis one, and two together is really a seperate, although related, issue.

Christians also might disagree how we should receive, and interpret some of these passages relating to the law in the OT together, too.

It feels like a form of "works righteousness," to me to say that people can't be Christian believers unless they intellectually believe certain things apart from the basic gospel.

Barbie, not trying to be unkind, or just to put you on the spot. Really trying to understand your thinking, and the teaching of your church.

Sincerely,
Grace.

Robert Madewell said...

Grace, You're always welcome to post a comment.

Grace said...

Thank you, Robert. :)

Hope Barbie is still around, and responds to my comment.

Robert Madewell said...

Hey Guys, I did go to the church and spoke to Pastor Kirkpatrick. I really just had one question and he answered it. We had a decent conversation. We didn't have alot of time because he was busy and had some Sunday socializing to do. However, he took the time to talk to me and didn't dismiss me out of hand. Looks like Kirkpatrick could be good for some very interesting debate. That's what I live for.

Anonymous said...

Robert, anyone is welcome in the church, as long as they are there pursuing growth in their relationship with God. It is not a sideshow or spectacle, or place for criticism. You can address any Christian (even a pastor) outside of their worship service. But worship service is time when the Holy Spirit is to minister to the Christians through the proclaiming of God's word.


Grace: The Bible is true. If you don't believe a literal 6-day creation, then you are saying that the Bible is not telling the literal truth. If you don't believe the Bible is telling the truth on any one point, that gives you reason to question everything it says, including the way to salvation.

Yes, Jesus is the only way. However, we only know that because the Bible says it and we know the Bible to be true.

Robert Madewell said...

It is not a sideshow or spectacle, or place for criticism.

No, it's not a sideshow or spectacle, but why should church be immune from criticism? What are you afraid of?

"You can address any Christian (even a pastor) outside of their worship service."

Which is exactly what I did. I sat respectful during the service. Not resepect for the worship service or the religion or for God. I have no respect for any of those. However, I'll sit there silently out of respect for my fellow human beings. It's important to them for me to be not to be disruptive. Besides, I was born in church. I know what to expect. I'm not going to cause any trouble.

If you don't believe a literal 6-day creation, then you are saying that the Bible is not telling the literal truth.

I don't know about Grace, but I'll say it. The bible is not telling the literal truth. It was written by people that had limited knowlege of the universe and their writings reflect that. I still don't understand why the book has to be 100% correct. I've read lots of books. I even liked some of them. But, I'd never say that any of them were inerrant.

If you don't believe the Bible is telling the truth on any one point, that gives you reason to question everything it says, including the way to salvation.

IMO, you should question everything anything says about everything. Questioning leads to investigation and knowlege. If the bible can't stand up to inquiry (in my experience, if fails miserably on many points), then it is not inerrant.

Yes, Jesus is the only way. However, we only know that because the Bible says it and we know the Bible to be true.

I don't know the bible to be true. I even go as far as to say that it's horribly wrong on several points.

GCT said...

Robert,
Kirkpatrick is simply hoping that he'll get you to come back to the church regularly and give them your money.

As for the Bible debate, I agree that all Xians are cafeteria Xians. I do think, however, that the ones who say things like this:

"If you don't believe the Bible is telling the truth on any one point, that gives you reason to question everything it says, including the way to salvation."

are being the most consistent in their beliefs. I actually sort of think that the YECs are the most consistent of Xians in some respect.

Grace said...

Anon,

I can see what you're saying. But, different Christians may interpret Scripture in various ways in some of these matters. We don't all agree. And, afterall, Scripture was not given to be a textbook of science, in the first place. :)

To give one example, how can we be absolutely certain that the term day in Genesis specifically refers to a twenty-four hour period of time especially even before the creation of the sun?

This term yom (day) in Scripture is also sometimes used in a non-literal context such as "the day of the Lord."

Also, it seems to me that there are different types of literature in the Scripture. Even St. Augustine believed that certain parts of the Bible were to be interpreted in an allegorical way.

I realize that I"m probably not going to change your mind, and I don't want to just debate back, and forth.

My concern is that you would not judge other Christians as not being true believers because there is a difference of opinion in this matter.

To my mind, our unity is in Jesus Christ around the gospel, not so much in how we interpret, or agree about every aspect of the Scripture.

Respectfully,
Grace.

Anonymous said...

First off I am not saying religion is immune to criticism at all. I am saying a worship service is not the place to address it.

It is important that the bible is 100% true, because God told us we would never be without His word. If the Bible is not true, then his statement is not true, and that would make God a liar, which he is not.


Grace, yom means one night and one day in every since of the word. There is a "day of our Lord" which will be a literal DAY. St. Augustine's thoughts matter no more to me than yours in respect to this. Either believe the Bible or don't, but quit trying to play both sides of the debate so you can retain your comfort of salvation and still try to have your level of intelligence respected of folks like Robert or Bruce.

God bless you, and I do pray you've asked Christ to be your Savior. If so I have no doubt you'll spend eternity in Heaven, but it's time you started believing God 100% and not caring what the world thinks. It's only His opinion of you that matters.

The Rambling Taoist said...

It is important that the bible is 100% true, because God told us we would never be without His word. If the Bible is not true, then his statement is not true, and that would make God a liar, which he is not.

It doesn't have to mean that at all! If the Bible actually was written by people, then "God" never said that in the first place and, therefore, this would mean that he's not a liar.

Grace said...

Thank you for sharing your thinking with me, anon.

God bless!

GCT said...

"It is important that the bible is 100% true, because God told us we would never be without His word. If the Bible is not true, then his statement is not true, and that would make God a liar, which he is not."

IOW, the Bible is true because god said it. And, we know that god doesn't lie because he told us so by putting in the Bible, which is true because god said it and god doesn't lie. Wait, how many circles have I made so far?

DagoodS said...

Anonymous 4:47: First off I am not saying religion is immune to criticism at all. I am saying a worship service is not the place to address it.
.
And I agree. The middle of Sunday Morning Sermon is not the place for a skeptic to stand up and start asking questions. But where IS the place to address it?

I note Robert Madewell indicated there was a Creation Club meeting on Wednesdays, and wondered whether it was open for discussion. Would that be a place to address it?

How many churches do you know set aside time for alternative points of view?

From my own experience, I attended a church that introduced a “Skeptic’s night.” A night (as advertised) where Christians were to bring their skeptical friends who would “ask the toughest question.” I went and asked exactly one (1) question. A fairly innocuous one at that, in my opinion.

Afterwards, the pastor met with me and suggested that Skeptic’s Night was really not designed for people like me. It was intended for “seekers”—what I gleaned as “people who hadn’t already studied it and would buy whatever cock-and-bull line we feed them.” The Pastor informed me he needed to concentrate on developing relationships with other Christians—not respond to skeptics.

I met with another pastor who recommended Church was really not for me. I could attend, just not do anything. Or another pastor who said he would be getting back to me…I’m still waiting…and waiting…and waiting… Or another pastor who was going to get back to me after reviewing a book recommended. After a few years, sadly he died, so he never will get back to me.

I have lost count the number of Pastors, Deacons, Elders, Leaders, Friends, and associates who initiate a discussion with me, and then discover I know more about their belief system than they do. I know more about their Bible than they do. They promise to get back to me…and never do.

The only place the church is open to criticism, is far from the participant’s view. Bury it in ostracized books and blogs. Refer to it generally as “Some critic stated…” without giving a source (which the people wouldn’t look up, even if you did!)

Do you think a church should have a skeptic’s night where…gulp!...actual skeptics show up?

Robert Madewell said...

Do you think a church should have a skeptic’s night where…gulp!...actual skeptics show up?

Kirkpatrick actually suggested something similar.

The middle of Sunday Morning Sermon is not the place for a skeptic to stand up and start asking questions.

I kind of feel like I'm being accused of disruptive behaviour. Here's what happened. I showed up for the 11:00 service and there was a meet and greet. Kirkpatrick recognized me of course. I asked him if I could talk to him after the service, if he wasn't busy. After the service we sat down and talked. No problems. I had really just one question. I asked it and he answered it (kind of). We also talked about other subjects, but I wasn't there to criticize. I just had a question.

Grace said...

Well, hey, check out the Episcopal church, Dagood.

I think different people have differing reasons for attending church. And, I fully understand there are some people who may not be so much openly, and honestly seeking God, as they are there to evangelize for their point of view, even atheism.

Lovin to stir the pot. (laughing)

But, as far as I'm concerned, God takes it all in stride. Why shouldn't we?? Who knows what the Lord might finally do in someone's life?

Sooner have those beloved heretics sittin next to me in church, askin difficult questions than out the door forever. :)

Dagood, do you think these people feel threatened by you, or maybe they feel that your mind is already made up, anyway??

GCT said...

"But, as far as I'm concerned, God takes it all in stride. Why shouldn't we??"

Except god doesn't take it all in stride, does he? No, he waits until you die and then burns you in hell for eternity.

"Who knows what the Lord might finally do in someone's life?

Sooner have those beloved heretics sittin next to me in church, askin difficult questions than out the door forever. :)"

But, you just said that you don't know what god might have in store for someone else, so how can you make pronouncements on whether it is better for them to be in church or out the door?

Robert Madewell said...

"Who knows what the Lord might finally do in someone's life?"

Like burning you forever after you've died? Oh yeah! I feel a song coming on! Click Here!

I just having fun, Grace.

DagoodS said...

Robert Madewell,

Well….I originally didn’t think you would be the type who would stand up in the middle of a service and cause a ruckus, but you ARE a P.K. after all—a notoriously bad brand of gene pool if I ever saw it—and who knows what you would do? *grin*

Seriously, I don’t think most skeptics would, and I found Anonymous 4:47’s suggestion we might to be a bit ludicrous. Certainly no deconvert ever would. I agreed to put it to rest, and then wanted to focus the question more.

Grace: Dagood, do you think these people feel threatened by you, or maybe they feel that your mind is already made up, anyway??
.
A bit of both. First they cough out something they think is particularly zinging, like “Skeptics once thought Hittites didn’t exist, but it turns out they did. Don’t you think you could be wrong, too?” to which I show that I have studied this question more than they have, know where that rumor came from, why it is wrong, and even that there are two groups called “Hittites.”

They didn’t know that. That is a bit threatening when your “zingers” are completely trounced by the other side.

Or they ask if I have read Ravi Zacharias, and I ask if they agree with Ravi’s position I should kill myself. “Er..uh…what? Where did he say that?” When I point it out, they realize I read it.

When I show that I have read more, know more, and have argued better than they have—that I know what arguments they should be making before they even make ‘em—yeah, that can be pretty threatening.

Since they can’t hope to keep up, they turn to rationalization. They probably tell themselves my mind is made up, so it is no use talking to me. Which I find pretty humorous considering I was once as immersed in Christianity as they are, and skeptics were able to change my mind by studied and careful presentation of the evidence.

Poor Christianity—doesn’t have the evidence to convince a once-believer.

GCT said...

DagoodS,
"Or they ask if I have read Ravi Zacharias, and I ask if they agree with Ravi’s position I should kill myself."

Do you have a linky for that? I would love to read it.

DagoodS said...

Can Man Live without God?
.
And to be fair to Ravi, he does only suggest suicide if we are in pain. Although, since every person I know has experienced some sort of pain, this would include all non-believers, I think.

Grace said...

Robert, I know you're playin. :)

But, my computer just won't go to that link. I'm not lyin, brother!! It freezes everytime. Must be the holy ghost. :)

Well, GCT, it seems to me that if someone has intense questions about the Christian faith, and wants to dialogue with Christian believers, it makes sense to hang out in church to me. My opinion, anyway.

But, I'm not trying to push this on you, GCT, if that's not where you're at.

What do you think is the most caring, and kind thing Christian believers can do to respond to you, Dagood, and Robert, everyone here?


I mean I don't want to cut off any conversation with someone who might be open, and seeking God. But, at the sametime, it doesn't seem very fruitful to me to get into these endless debates together, either.

I mean we can't exactly stick the almighty in a test tube, and prove He's there empirically. Can we??

Plus, I think no one wants to feel put down, mocked, or ridiculed, and often it seems these discussions between Christians, and non-theists can take a nasty, or disrespectful turn.

I don't want to be a part of that, or just be about winning a debate with someone.

But, seriously, how do you all feel?

DagoodS said...

Grace: What do you think is the most caring, and kind thing Christian believers can do to respond to you, Dagood, and Robert, everyone here?

Fair question. As we are all individuals, I suspect you will get a wide variety of answers, spanning from “leave us alone” to “engage in debates.”

For me, I would want Christians to study. Learn. Understand the other side. Too many times I have seen Christians who think they know something, when they don’t have a clue. Look, if all you know about evolution is what you read from a Lee Strobel book—don’t take on a person with a Ph.D. in biology. You don’t know more than them.

If you don’t know what a retrovirus is—you shouldn’t be arguing evolution.
If you think the theory of evolution is “just a theory”—you shouldn’t be arguing evolution.
If you think the theory of evolution claims humans came from apes—you shouldn’t be arguing evolution.

As for discussion with me, a person should be willing to study.

If you don’t know the terms “P52,” “Johannine Comma,” “Documentary Hypothesis,” “Markan Priority,” “midrash,” or “chiasm”—you shouldn’t be arguing with me.
If you think the way to learn what the “original Greek” means is to look it up in Strong’s Concordance—you shouldn’t be arguing with me.
If you don’t know the difference between textual criticism and higher criticism—you shouldn’t be arguing with me.

Please understand, I am NOT saying a Christian must learn all these things before even saying “Hi”—but please respect the amount of study that goes in to Biblical studies. Humorously, Christians have a great tool at their disposal they are too proud to use—ask questions. If you don’t know—ASK!

Most people (and certainly I would be) are happy to explain what each of those mean. But Christians are too damn proud about their own beliefs to ever think someone else could possibly know more than they do about creation or the Bible or archeology or Greek or any number of things.

If you don’t know those things—you shouldn’t be arguing, you should be asking.

Anonymous said...

"When I show that I have read more, know more, and have argued better than they have—that I know what arguments they should be making before they even make ‘em—yeah, that can be pretty threatening."

Considering that humbleness is something that must be achieved to find God, I can understand why many would write you off. I know that's going to come off as offensive, but I mean it quite sincerely. If you brashly assume you know it all, then why would someone try to shoehorn God into that. You are in love with yourself too much to seek anything else.

I'm not sure why anyone would think that any church SHOULD have open criticism in front of the world. Very few things work that way. If you disagree with a professor, you don't stand up in the middle of class and contradict him. You find out when his office hours are and approach him with respect.

Robert, I appreciate that you were doing your best to be respectful of that church's service. I still would just assume that if you weren't coming in an honest attempt to seek God, you didn't come to the church I attend. Church is for the saved, and for the lost who desire to be saved, or just feel there may be something more to life than mere happenstance. Church is for worship. If you credit God with zero worth, you have no reason to be there. Your better option would be to call the pastor and see if he'd be willing to meet you somewhere to discuss your question.

Would you mind sharing your question Robert? I'm curious what it was.

By the way, you do realize that the Bible says God is only holding back His return so that folks like you could come to salvation? If he really wanted you to go to Hell, he'd come back right now, but instead he's giving you more time.

Lastly, I'd just like to say that people of faith feel less threatened than you might imagine by an "informed" atheist. We do not hear your answers and say, "Oh my goodness! They've read the Bible! Our jig is up now!" What most of us think is, "This poor person is missing the forest for the trees. They have a million questions to which the answer is God, but are never going to accept that for an answer."

You see, there are thousands out there who haven't even heard the gospel. There are even more folks who have heard it, and accepted Christ as their Savior, but just need discipled, that they might have some sort of "accountability partner." Pastors, evangelists, laypreachers, etc have more on their plate than they can ever keep up with. They are not going to waste their breath on someone who obviously isn't interested in what they have to say, and rather just wants to try to prove them wrong for some reason. The fields are ripe for the harvest, and the laborers are few. Let the tares grow with the plants, and God will sort them out.

Robert Madewell said...

"If you credit God with zero worth, you have no reason to be there."

When did I say that a believe in God was worthless? I don't think I've ever said that. I don't respect God in the sense that you'd respect something that actually exists, but the belief in God is not worthless. People who believe in God do get benefits from that belief.

Robert Madewell said...

"They are not going to waste their breath on someone who obviously isn't interested in what they have to say, and rather just wants to try to prove them wrong for some reason."

What did I say to make you think that I'm not interested in what they have to say? I'm all ears. It's not about proving them wrong, it about whether what they're saying makes sense to me or not. Am I going to believe it? Just because I have an interest doesn't mean that I'll buy it. If I wasn't interested, I would have stayed home.

"Would you mind sharing your question Robert? I'm curious what it was."

Sure. I asked him if he believed that you have to be a young earth creationist to be saved. If he did then that would be (IMO) legalism. His answer was basically, "You don't have to be a YEC to be a christian, but you would be a hypocrite if you aren't."

That was really all I went to church for, but he wanted to talk some more. There's actually some things that I agree with him on. You may be suprized to find out that this particular church actually supports separation of church and state. The pastor blames the atrocities commited in christianity on theocracy. I thought that was a nice change from what I usually hear from churches in my area.

Robert Madewell said...

"I still would just assume that if you weren't coming in an honest attempt to seek God, you didn't come to the church I attend."

If you're close to me, I might show up. When and where. Email me.

ethinethin said...

You see, there are thousands out there who haven't even heard the gospel.

No. There are billions of people in the world who have never read or hear the gospel. Billions of people in the world who don't know who jesus is. Billions of people who your god is slavering at the mouth in anticipation to torture in fire for eternity.

To call that amount of people "thousands" (even though 1 billion is technically 1 million thousands) is downplaying the amount of "unsaved" people in the world, doomed to suffer for eternity.

There are more of them living now than there are christians.

GCT said...

Grace,
"Well, GCT, it seems to me that if someone has intense questions about the Christian faith, and wants to dialogue with Christian believers, it makes sense to hang out in church to me. My opinion, anyway."

I thought we just got done talking about how church is not the place to bring up questions?

"But, I'm not trying to push this on you, GCT, if that's not where you're at."

I have no desire to attend church.

"What do you think is the most caring, and kind thing Christian believers can do to respond to you, Dagood, and Robert, everyone here?"

Be intellectually honest.

"I mean we can't exactly stick the almighty in a test tube, and prove He's there empirically. Can we??"

Why not? If god intervenes in the real world, why would we not be able to detect or observe his presence scientifically? If you can't use scientific methods, why would you believe in god? To my knowledge, I know of no other way to learn about reality.

DagoodS said...

Anonymous 7:49,

I…er…do have problem with humility. But if I know the arguments for and against Pauline authorship of the Pastorals and they don’t—what am I supposed to do? Act as if I don’t know them? You are correct, though, my over-assertive confidence is additionally off-putting to many, I am certain.

Anonymous 7:49: Church is for the saved, and for the lost who desire to be saved, or just feel there may be something more to life than mere happenstance. Church is for worship.
.
I agree with the principle behind the statement. There is no reason for a non-seeking, deconverted, strong atheist such as myself to be attending what passes for church. I have often equated it with trying to roller skate in a bowling alley. Roller skating on its own is fine, and bowling alleys are fine. But the two are not compatible together. Church is not compatible for a person like me.

However….

Life always seems to be a bit more complicated, doesn’t it? *grin*

Here’s the problem—my wife is a Christian. Who desires to attend church. Who looks for companionship, camaraderie, support and friendship amongst other Christians. The obvious place to find such social networking is in…a church.

I would love to have Christian friends. I love to do things with my wife. I would sincerely love to attend a Church where I could fit in…somehow. Having addressed this with pastors, I find churches completely unprepared and unsuited for me, and have been flat-out informed (on more than one occasion) to not bother attending. The bowling alley is kicking me out (correctly so) for having roller skates.

Now if my wife and I were the only two people in the world faced with such a situation, I would write it off as a unique anomaly and tarry on as best as possible. But the internet informs me there are other deconverts with other Christian spouses who face similar problems. It is a growing phenomenon the church is utterly and totally unprepared to deal with.

There are other deconverts who would dearly love to help out in a church’s charitable events, without subscribing to the church’s doctrine. Another area the church is unprepared.

What has resulted is my wife barely attends church, with a complete lack of social networks, and I barely attend atheist functions with a complete lack of social networks.

The church is faced with a question—will it survive continuing to solely focus on saved/potential saved? If it thinks it will, it will continue to putter along as it has. If it becomes concerned, it may need to begin to address these issues.

Will the bowling alley need to add a skating rink?

GCT said...

Anon,
"By the way, you do realize that the Bible says God is only holding back His return so that folks like you could come to salvation?"

I'm sorry, but this is simply absurd. Nowhere does the Bible say that, nor does it even make sense. There will always be people "like me" (actually according to the Bible) which would make god paralyzed to act in bringing out the end times. Meanwhile, as people "like me" tend to die, more and more souls go to hell, while god is still waiting. This makes god into an incompetent buffoon.

"If he really wanted you to go to Hell, he'd come back right now, but instead he's giving you more time."

And what about all the other people who have already died and gone to hell and all the others who will go to hell in the meantime?

"Lastly, I'd just like to say that people of faith feel less threatened than you might imagine by an "informed" atheist. We do not hear your answers and say, "Oh my goodness! They've read the Bible! Our jig is up now!" What most of us think is, "This poor person is missing the forest for the trees. They have a million questions to which the answer is God, but are never going to accept that for an answer.""

This reads to me (and probably every other skeptic here) as, "I don't care what knowledge you have, I don't care what facts you have that contradict me, I'm going to believe what I believe no matter what, and you should be pitied for not being able to shrug off reality as I do."

GCT said...

Robert,
"When did I say that a believe in God was worthless? I don't think I've ever said that. I don't respect God in the sense that you'd respect something that actually exists, but the belief in God is not worthless. People who believe in God do get benefits from that belief."

To be fair, anon might not have meant belief in god. But, I would have to pick a nit with your last statement. What benefits do people get? What about those people who are haunted by the fear of hell or fear of demons (and do things like kill their children to exorcise those demons)?

Anonymous said...

"The church is faced with a question—will it survive continuing to solely focus on saved/potential saved? If it thinks it will, it will continue to putter along as it has. If it becomes concerned, it may need to begin to address these issues."

The reason the church will never (as a majority at least) do this would be because of the scripture that says not to be yoked together with non-believers.


GCT said, "I'm sorry, but this is simply absurd. Nowhere does the Bible say that, nor does it even make sense."

I know you don't like scripture postings, but it is required to prove my point. This snippet is from the second epistle of Peter, beginning at verse 3:

"3Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

4And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

5For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

6Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

7But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

8But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

11Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

12Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

13Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

14Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

15And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

16As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."


Sorry for the long excerpt, but it was necessary to get the context. This scripture says that God is "longsuffering" because of the issue of salvation. He is speaking of Jesus' return and explains that people will be saying "Where is he?" because they don't understand that God is just being longsuffering for the sake of those needing salvation.

The Rambling Taoist said...

DaGoodS wrote, There are other deconverts who would dearly love to help out in a church’s charitable events, without subscribing to the church’s doctrine. Another area the church is unprepared.

I guess it depends on the church. I wash dishes every month for the Soup Supper held by the United Church of Raymond. I've made it very clear to them that I'm NOT a Christian and do not believe in God. With the exception of their former pastor, everyone else has honored my request that they keep their religious discussion to themselves (and this pastor only showed up once or twice).

I have a good relationship with the folks who put on the suppers and I am warmly welcomed as a member of the team each month. We're doing a good thing for the community. They do it for their God; I do it because people are hungry.

GCT said...

Holy tortured interpretations Batman!

Anon,
That passage says nothing about unbelievers, except for the one line that mentions god not willing for any to perish. And, of course, it does nothing to counter the objection that I brought up about the fact that more people are constantly being born who are "like me" which therefore makes god impotent and the idea absurd.

Still, even if we look at the god not wanting anyone to perish idea, it's absurd in itself, and it does not mean that what you claim it does. If that were true, then god would be unable to ever start the end times - yet the passage also clearly indicates that it will happen. The only reading that really makes sense is that god isn't killing us, a la Noah's flood style genocide, because he's decided to be long suffering towards our sins and not just wipe out the whole lot. This is because he supposedly wants us all to join him in heaven, and by not wiping us all out and starting over, it's possible that some of us might join him.

This, of course, is also absurd. If god wanted us all to join him in heaven, then it would be so. If he wanted no one to suffer for eternity in hell, then no one would suffer for eternity in hell. It's just another example of how illogical Xianity is.

Anonymous said...

You argument's sounding weaker GCT. I think they're getting through to you!

Grace said...

Thanks for your answer, Dagood.

Have you considered adding teaching theology classes to your career in law? I'm not kiddin!

I haven't heard some of these terms since seminary, or my undergraduate classes in philosophy/religion, and I've already forgotten half of what I learned, or thought I knew. :)

Here's what has stuck for me like glue, though.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom. 8: 38-39.

It is a total disgrace, IMO, that you, and your wife have not been welcomed in these churches. Who did Jesus turn away??? No church should be conducting orthodox litmus tests at the door.

Prayers that you, and your wife will be able to find a welcoming congregation. Give her my best, and kindest regards.

Blessings, and peace to you, Dagood.

Grace said...

GCT, I've thought about this myself. But, no, I just don't think it's possible.

Here, I'll give some examples. Suppose God showed up in our time, by some physical manifestation, and performed these amazing miracles... Would we still know, be certain, it was truly Him, rather than something like aliens, mass hallucination, or some unexplained trickery.

Even when people do claim to recieve miraculous healing from God, and this seems to be well documented by the physicians...There still maybe other explanations at hand.

Of course, God could control our minds, and forcibly cause us to "believe," but then what about free will? Is this loving either? He made us more than puppets on a string.

If the Scripture accounts are true, there were many in the time of Jesus who didn't see the reality of God even in the face of someone coming back from the dead.

Seriously, my friend, what would it take to absolutely convince you of the truth of God? See what I mean??

GCT, also want to add, that I don't agree that church is not the place to ask questions. (Not talking about standing up, and disrupting the sermon, of course.)

I think it's the perfect place. I personally would not be part of a church that required me to suppress all my honest doubts, and questions, check my mind at the door, so to speak..

What would be the point?

GCT said...

Grace,
"GCT, I've thought about this myself. But, no, I just don't think it's possible."

Then, we are left with faith, which is a poor reason to believe something.

"Here, I'll give some examples. Suppose God showed up in our time, by some physical manifestation, and performed these amazing miracles... Would we still know, be certain, it was truly Him, rather than something like aliens, mass hallucination, or some unexplained trickery."

Why would god not have the power to convince us of his reality? Is god not omnipotent? Also, god being omniscient would know what we need to be convinced.

"Even when people do claim to recieve miraculous healing from God, and this seems to be well documented by the physicians...There still maybe other explanations at hand."

What is well documented? Miracle healings?

"Of course, God could control our minds, and forcibly cause us to "believe," but then what about free will?"

What does free will have to do with it? Whether I interpret the facts correctly or not as to whether god exists is not something that I free choose or choose not to do. We are speaking of factual matters, not of matters of choice.

"Is this loving either?"

It would be, yes. If you love someone and want them to love you, do you hide away and keep yourself from them? What kind of parent would one be if one did that, for instance? Showing himself so that we can believe in him would be a loving act! What we choose to do with that knowledge would be the question.

"He made us more than puppets on a string."

No, it seems he didn't. That's another discussion for a different time, however.

"If the Scripture accounts are true, there were many in the time of Jesus who didn't see the reality of God even in the face of someone coming back from the dead."

The scripture accounts are highly suspect.

"Seriously, my friend, what would it take to absolutely convince you of the truth of God? See what I mean??"

Actually, many atheists have written about what it would take. Even if I don't fully have an answer for it, why wouldn't god know?

"GCT, also want to add, that I don't agree that church is not the place to ask questions...I think it's the perfect place. I personally would not be part of a church that required me to suppress all my honest doubts, and questions, check my mind at the door, so to speak..

What would be the point?"

To do what god is clearly asking for in the Bible. god doesn't say that one should question him. In fact, he tends to become rather angry whenever one does question him. god demands obedience, not questions.

Anonymous said...

"God demands obedience, not questions." Amen!

Anonymous said...

GCT, I believe that God does know what it takes for you to believe. I just think that you refuse it. He's not going to come down and speak to you face to face just so you'll believe. He's given you an entire world that shows his handiwork. It is enough, whether you'll admit it or not. No matter what God did, you'd move the goal posts. You don't want to believe in God because you'd have to change your life. You'd have to think of consequences, and let go of the sins you think you do in secret now. You'd feel convicted about playing some internet tough guy when all you are is a scarecrow stuffed with pride and no backbone. You couldn't be more transparent. You'd have to get rid of the porn on your hard drive. You wouldn't enjoy being mean-spirited just to raise the ire of your fellow man. You'd have to step away from the video games you waste your time on, and you'd have to get out of your house and do something to help those in need.

Friend, you are on your way to Hell, and might not have tomorrow to change it. Keep playin' "Jesus-hater" all you want, but one day you'll stare into the face of the One who wanted to save you, and weep because you refused His salvation.

It's time to stop playing around.

Robert Madewell said...

"GCT, I believe that God does know what it takes for you to believe. I just think that you refuse it."

That is a contradictory statement!

Robert Madewell said...

"You don't want to believe in God because you'd have to change your life. You'd have to think of consequences, and let go of the sins you think you do in secret now."

This is a big stereotype about atheists. Anon, why do you think that atheists like to sin? Do you think that I'm an atheist because I just like to sin? If so, then you really don't get it.

GCT said...

"GCT, I believe that God does know what it takes for you to believe. I just think that you refuse it."

So, I'm more powerful that god? Sweet.

"He's not going to come down and speak to you face to face just so you'll believe."

Why not, especially if that's what it would take?

"He's given you an entire world that shows his handiwork."

Only if you beg the question.

"It is enough, whether you'll admit it or not."

Um, no it isn't, and god should be aware that it's not enough. I need something more than logical fallacy.

"No matter what God did, you'd move the goal posts."

Didn't you just say that god knows what it would take? Now you seem to be saying that it is impossible? And, how am I moving any goal posts?

"You don't want to believe in God because you'd have to change your life."

Ah, the argument from consequences. So, do you honestly think that I believe in god but am lying to you, myself, and everyone else in claiming that I don't?

"You'd have to think of consequences, and let go of the sins you think you do in secret now."

I'd have to live in a repressive regime where thought crime is met with eternal torture. I have to admit that I would not wish this, but I can assure you that your reasoning is faulty anyway. If I did believe in god, then I would be forced to act in accordance with his repressive will. It would do nothing for me to simply pretend that god doesn't exist, because I would know that I was pretending.

"You'd feel convicted about playing some internet tough guy when all you are is a scarecrow stuffed with pride and no backbone."

Internet tough guy? Please. I come armed with reason and logic and straight talk. If you mistake that for being an internet tough guy, then you need to get out more.

"You couldn't be more transparent."

Although skin is translucent to some degree, I would suggest that you're way off the mark in your little exercise in pop psychology.

"You'd have to get rid of the porn on your hard drive."

What's wrong with porn, so long as it is done with the consent of all involved?

"You wouldn't enjoy being mean-spirited just to raise the ire of your fellow man."

Who says I do this now? Oh, do you think I must necessarily be mean-spirited because I challenge your beliefs? How bigoted of you.

"You'd have to step away from the video games you waste your time on, and you'd have to get out of your house and do something to help those in need."

So, you have something against video games too? What is sinful about them? Does that include the Left Behind video game? And, do you think I don't leave the house or give to charities? Man, you're making a lot of assumptions here that you can't possibly back up.

"Friend, you are on your way to Hell, and might not have tomorrow to change it."

When in doubt, make threats, huh? I guess god is the ultimate tough guy.

"Keep playin' "Jesus-hater" all you want, but one day you'll stare into the face of the One who wanted to save you, and weep because you refused His salvation."

How can I hate something that I don't even believe in? It isn't logically possible. Also, if god wants to save me, why is he so incompetent?

"It's time to stop playing around."

Stop playing around? Sure, you first. Stop playing around with useless superstitions. Stop playing around with bad argumentation and bad logic. Stop playing around with irrational thinking. Stop playing around with bronze age myths.

The Rambling Taoist said...

So, I'm more powerful that god? Sweet.

No CGT, it's not that you're more powerful than God; you ARE God. I worship at your feet. Be on the lookout -- I'm sending all my prayers your way. :D

Grace said...

GCT, not all Christians are going to agree about all this. Please know that I'm sharing with you my personal conviction.

I truly don't feel that God has a problem with honest doubt, sincere questions, searching for truth. I believe He honors this. Remember the story of "doubting Thomas," in the Scripture...

Jesus didn't rebuke him for asking to see some compelling evidence. He showed him the nailprints..

I don't know you at all. It seems that you, and anon must have some history together from the sound of things. I certainly have no way of knowing if you, or anyone here are truly open, wanting truth, seeking God, or are simply spiritually rebellious, and looking for an excuse to sin, mock, and ridicule the Christians.

I'm naturally assuming the very best, GCT, and wanting to be kind, and respectful.

Jesus promises that whoever seeks truth will find it.

It's my firm conviction that anyone truly seeking God, and wanting truth will be brought to Christ, either in this life, or the next.

I'm feeling one of the best ways that God reveals Himself is through the creation, and complexity of the physical universe.

" The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies proclaim His handiwork."

I think the presence of altruism among humans, someone showing love even to an enemy at the risk of their own life, is something not easily explained by natural selection, and is like a kind of signpost pointing to humans as being made in the very image, and likeness of God..

The number of people in the world who are totally convinced atheists is pretty darn low. You have to admit. At least these folks are truly in the minority, no unkindness intended, GCT.

It seems to me that we are hard wired for God. For most people, there is simply this innate knowing that there is something, or someone greater than themselves there, and that the physical universe is not all there is.

He has put eternity in our hearts, GCT, and we long for something more.

The church bears witness to the love of God, and His reality in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It is totally up to each one of us, what we are going to do with this witness, and with the call of God in Christ.

I will give you the last word, GCT. Robert thanks for letting me visit, and share here.

Sincerely,
Grace.

DagoodS said...

Anonymous 11:03: …and let go of the sins you think you do in secret now. You'd feel convicted about playing some internet tough guy when all you are is a scarecrow stuffed with pride and no backbone. … You'd have to get rid of the porn on your hard drive. You wouldn't enjoy being mean-spirited just to raise the ire of your fellow man. You'd have to step away from the video games you waste your time on, and you'd have to get out of your house and do something to help those in need.
.
Sigh. The worst part of these “you-became-an-atheist-to-sin” posts is that they are another reminder of how boring my life is. When do I get to fill my hard drive with porn, play video games all day, get to be mean just to be mean, and avoid helping others?

DAMMIT! I’ve been an atheist for almost five years and haven’t been invited to a single orgy. No goat sacrifices. No wild parties where I get to snort coke off a hooker’s butt.

When will my pimp hand be strong?

I’ll tell ya, Anonymous 11:03—don’t EVER become an atheist. It is full of promise, but in the end we remain the same moral citizens we were before. I am sure it would be very disappointing to all those Christians longing to become atheists; thinking we have raucous parties. Turns out we don’t.

Robert Madewell said...

Yeah Dagoods,

Actually, I think I gotten more boring since identifying as an atheist. I'm married, a home body, and I still love my wife as much as I always have. Even though I don't hold to a religion that forbids me to cheat on her, I haven't cheated on her and don't even have the inclination. I still give money to a worthy cause every now and then. I have some friends that need some help, so I'll help them a little.

Where's all the sinning in my life? Where's all the things that the devil and this world promises to those who reject God? I'm still the nutty little short slightly fat man I've always been.

Besides, if someone really needs the threat of hell to be a good person, guess what? He's not a good person in the first place and religion is not going to help.

Anonymous said...

"Ah, the argument from consequences. So, do you honestly think that I believe in god but am lying to you, myself, and everyone else in claiming that I don't?"

Yes.

Also, you have a blog entitled "Why I Hate Jesus"

Isn't it interesting that the porn and videogames were right on? And you came back with no examples of how you've gone out and done good, and rather just said I couldn't prove it on here?

It's obvious you believe in God. I have friends (albeit not close friends) who are truly atheists. They don't believe there is a God. Do you know what they do when someone brings up God? Nothing. They don't believe, but unbelief doesn't cause a proactive argument against theism. It's like you always hear about those who are so anti-gay that it's obvious they are gay and simply repressed.

Robert, I'm not sure where you see a threat. I see a road that forks and goes one direction or the other. Saying that you can't take road A and reach destination B is not a threat. It's an honest assertion. GCT is on his way to Hell. No threat. Just a fact. I'd love to see that change.

Robert Madewell said...

Anon,
Of course there's a threat.

"Do what we say or else!"

The threat of hell seems like fearmongering and extortion to me. I've written a new article to address this subject.

Anonymous said...

If I tell you "Don't walk out in front of a semi or you'll die" is that a threat?

Robert Madewell said...

"If I tell you "Don't walk out in front of a semi or you'll die" is that a threat?"

Not the same thing and here's why. Being hit by a semi is a real danger. There's no intent on the driver's part to harm the person.

The threat of hell is different because it's like me telling you not to go onto the street or I'm going to get in my car and run you over. That's not a warning, that's a threat.

IWO, God has said, believe in me and do what my followers say or I'm going to throw you kicking and screaming into a lake of fire to be punished forever.

Or, "You better do what I say or my God is going to get mad and torture you." That in my opinion is a threat.

Anonymous said...

More like, "I know the guy who drives that truck through here every day and he won't stop for you. I wouldn't step off the sidewalk."

If you choose to step out there, the truck will hit you whether you believe in it or not.

Robert Madewell said...

Anon,
The difference is the intent. A truck driver has no intent on killing anyone. On the other hand, God is protrayed as actively, purposefully, willingly torturing those who don't do what his followers say.

How about this analogy?
If you step out in the road that guy parked over there is going to see you and start his car, drive very fast and laugh at you when your brains are splattered all over his windsheild.

It's the intent. Is it not true that you believe that God will throw the lost souls into Hell on purpose and willingly? That's my point.

Anonymous said...

I believe that God created Hell as a place for Satan and his minions. I believe that there are two choices: Worship God, or further the cause of Satan. If you further the cause of Satan, you belong with he and his minions.

Again, these are the rules set up by God. If you don't like them, that's ok, but it doesn't change them, or somehow make you immune to them.

Anonymous said...

Even if there is intent on the driver's part, it doesn't change the fact that you'll get hit if you walk out in front of it. Still, not a threat on the "warner"'s part, regardless of intent.

ethinethin said...

It's like saying "See that guy in the truck out there? He really loves you! But if you walk out into the street, he'll hit you with his truck for all eternity."

And then when you look, there is neither a guy, nor a truck, nor a street.

GCT said...

Grace,
"Remember the story of "doubting Thomas," in the Scripture..."

Really? I suggest you read it again:

20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

He's calling Thomas out here. He shows him the evidence, but then rebukes him for asking for it.

"It seems that you, and anon must have some history together from the sound of things."

I have no idea who that person is.

"I certainly have no way of knowing if you, or anyone here are truly open, wanting truth, seeking God, or are simply spiritually rebellious, and looking for an excuse to sin, mock, and ridicule the Christians."

Wanting truth is not the same as seeking god. In fact, if one is seeking god, one might not be searching for real truth, because one would be begging the question in order to find something that is most likely not true. Also, it's a false dichotomy to suggest that one is either looking for truth or being spiritually rebellious.

"I'm naturally assuming the very best, GCT, and wanting to be kind, and respectful."

Thank you, and I will in turn extend the same courtesy of course, although your idea of what constitutes respect may be quite different from mine and probably is.

"Jesus promises that whoever seeks truth will find it."

If by that you mean that whoever truly seeks Jesus will find him, then this is demonstrably false. The vast majority of atheists in this country are former Xians. You can't tell me that every single one of them weren't serious about their faith before deconversion (no true Scotsman fallacy).

"I'm feeling one of the best ways that God reveals Himself is through the creation, and complexity of the physical universe."

Ouch, that's a bad argument. How do you know that anything was created, let alone everything? What evidence is there for any of it?

"I think the presence of altruism among humans, someone showing love even to an enemy at the risk of their own life, is something not easily explained by natural selection, and is like a kind of signpost pointing to humans as being made in the very image, and likeness of God."

Um, that's another bad argument, considering that we see altruistic tendencies in other animals. Altruism is a trait easily explained by evolution, in that it allows for social animals to survive together.

"The number of people in the world who are totally convinced atheists is pretty darn low. You have to admit. At least these folks are truly in the minority, no unkindness intended, GCT."

So is the number of people who understand quantum mechanics...doesn't make it wrong. The number of people who believe in Xianity are also a minority. Argumentum ad populum...it's fallacious.

"It seems to me that we are hard wired for God. For most people, there is simply this innate knowing that there is something, or someone greater than themselves there, and that the physical universe is not all there is."

This may be true, that we are hard-wired to believe in god, but that doesn't mean that god exists. We are hard wired to see patterns, even when they don't exist. You're putting the cart before the horse here.

"He has put eternity in our hearts, GCT, and we long for something more."

Really? Do you really think you want to live for eternity?

"The church bears witness to the love of God, and His reality in the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

Which church? Which religion? How does it do this? I won't go into the "love" aspect of a deity that burns people in hell for eternity...

"It is totally up to each one of us, what we are going to do with this witness, and with the call of God in Christ."

Really? Do you think you could choose to believe in Zeus tomorrow?

"I will give you the last word, GCT. Robert thanks for letting me visit, and share here."

I hope you actually read it then and think about some of the arguments that you seem to feel are worthwhile. I'm always open for further questions.

GCT said...

"Yes."

Ah, so all us atheists are liars who secretly believe in god, but are claiming we don't because we think that we'll get to do what we want, even though we know we will go to hell...and that's incredibly stupid, isn't it?

"Also, you have a blog entitled "Why I Hate Jesus""

Um, I didn't come up with the title, for one (I was invited to be an author). Secondly, it's hyperbole.

"Isn't it interesting that the porn and videogames were right on? And you came back with no examples of how you've gone out and done good, and rather just said I couldn't prove it on here?"

Yep, you got me. In fact, as I'm typing this I've got a video going on of some porn. You might like it. It's got lesbians, gays, midgets, donkeys, a rusty trombone, a cup, fecal matter...you get the picture.

In another window, I'm playing the Left Behind video game (what does god have against video games again?) and killing sinners.

Oh, and I paid for all my computer equipment by robbing orphans in the street, because I hate helping people.

Oh, and I've got a nice plate of baby brains in front of me that are sooooo tasty. I harvest them in my super secret lab in the basement. I intentionally get my gf preggers so that we can get an abortion to harvest the brain cells for tasty eats. Yum yum. In fact, she's had so many abortions that she's almost filled up another abortion card from Planned Parenthood, and we'll get one free!

And, even if all of the above were true, it's ad hominem of you to assert that your arguments are true based on any of it. It's also a fallacious appeal to consequences.

"It's obvious you believe in God."

O RLY? This should be good.

"I have friends (albeit not close friends) who are truly atheists. They don't believe there is a God. Do you know what they do when someone brings up God? Nothing."

Good for them, but so what? Simply because I point out how bad your arguments are doesn't mean that I believe you are right. It could be that your friends simply don't want to cause you to go into a fit about how they are going to hell.

"They don't believe, but unbelief doesn't cause a proactive argument against theism. It's like you always hear about those who are so anti-gay that it's obvious they are gay and simply repressed."

Yeah, because there's a stigma in our society against people who believe in god, so I'm repressing it out of social pressure. Uh huh.

"GCT is on his way to Hell."

How do you know that? Seriously? What evidence do you have for anything you've asserted?

I presume that you think you are on your way to heaven as well, right? What if Allah is the one true god and doesn't like that you happen to believe in Jesus instead of him?

Anonymous said...

How do I know you're on your way to Hell? Simple. You reject Jesus as the Son of God. You cannot do this and get to Heaven.

Actually there IS a stigma against people who believe in God. At least for those who believe in the God of the Bible. The majority of society believes in some imaginary God who only cares if you were a "good person" or not. You create a false dichotomy when you assert that either you have a stigma, or we do. There are many other options, and therefore a stigma can exist for more than one.

"...we'll get to do what we want, even though we know we will go to hell...and that's incredibly stupid, isn't it?"

Yes, it is. Just like people tempt death in many ways, even though they know the statistics. People smoke cigarettes they know will kill them. It's not a matter of you not knowing the truth. It's a matter of you putting it so far off in your mind that you can contradict it and not feel convicted by it.

ethinethin said...

How do I know you're on your way to Hell? Simple. You reject Jesus as the Son of God. You cannot do this and get to Heaven.

What is your evidence for this? There are thousands of religions in the world. How do you know your is the right one?

Anonymous said...

Because of a personal experience. I know you haven't had it, but if you did, you'd understand. I have seen God work in my life. I have seen God work in my family. Things that were impossible without Him have become possible.

On the logical side of things, there is more evidence to back up Christianity than any other religion on the planet.

ethinethin said...

Okay. What is this evidence? I want you to give me objective evidence that christianity is the right religion. That's why I asked.

I really didn't want subjective nonsense about a personal experience. I have not had such a personal experience, despite being raised as an evangelical christian.

If there really is objective evidence that christianity is "more right" than other religions, I want to hear it. So come on. Out with it. Witness, evangelize, proselytize: this is your chance.

What is your objective evidence that christianity is the right religion?

GCT said...

"Actually there IS a stigma against people who believe in God.

Oh please. Do you know how hard it is for an atheist to be elected in this country?

"At least for those who believe in the God of the Bible."

A) What a load of crap.
B) I'm sure that all the Xians you disagree with aren't Scottish either?

"The majority of society believes in some imaginary God who only cares if you were a "good person" or not."

Evidence please that this is so. Evidence please that they are wrong and you are right? And, using the personal experience thing doesn't work, because they claim the same thing (among other reasons why it doesn't work, see below).

"You create a false dichotomy when you assert that either you have a stigma, or we do."

Which I didn't do, but nice try trying to be all logical and stuff.

"Yes, it is. Just like people tempt death in many ways, even though they know the statistics."

Ah, but your analogy fails. In the case of smokers, some of them actually believe that smoking isn't harmful, some simply don't care, some believe it won't happen to them. None of those fit in this case. It's simply absurd to claim that I know that I'm going to be tortured for eternity and yet I'm simply pretending that god doesn't exist so that I can do bad things, even though I know it isn't so and that I'll be punished for it. If you think belief is a matter of choice, then I suggest you try and believe in Zeus for a day and let us know how that goes.

"Because of a personal experience."

OK, so here goes. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that you have had a personal experience with a supernatural being. How do you know that it is god? How do you know that your fallible senses haven't cocked it all up? How do you know it wasn't some trickster god messing with you? How do you know it wasn't Satan leading you away from Allah or Shiva? You don't know any of these things.

"Things that were impossible without Him have become possible."

Such as? Did someone's limb grow back after an amputation?

"On the logical side of things, there is more evidence to back up Christianity than any other religion on the planet."

Like Ethin, I second the notion that you should present this evidence!

Robert Madewell said...

GCT,
I tried to believe in Zues for one day. I was almost struck by lightning three times that day. Coincidence?

JK

Robert Madewell said...

"On the logical side of things, there is more evidence to back up Christianity than any other religion on the planet."

I'm with GCT and Ethinethin. What's the evidence? Write an article and email it to me and I'll post it here.

Anonymous said...

Robert, you've admitted previously that if you were to believe in a God, it would be the Christian God. There is more archeological evidence in support of the Bible than any other "religious" book.

http://www.christiananswers.net/q-abr/abr-a005.html

Aside from archeology, a sheer look at things like the "little bible" in Isaiah, or the way the middle verse of the Bible falls between the shortest and longest chapters in the bible are clues to the divine inspiration in the authorship and division of the Bible.

http://www.carm.org/christianity/christian-doctrine/christianity-one-true-religion

Also consider these:


In Christianity salvation is a free gift given to us by God. In all other religions you achieve salvation through your works or good thoughts.

In no other religion does the leader of that religion die so that his followers may be saved, and then return after death--demonstrating the eternal life we all can have.

Christianity is the only religion in which love, including love for your enemies, is the central theme.

Only Christianity offers absolute assurance of heaven and eternal life.

In no other religion do we find God personally suffering with the people.

You can be born Jewish; born Buddhist; born as a Hindu -- but it not possible to be born a Christian. Being born into a Christian family does not make you a Christian.

ethinethin said...

Wow, this is a complete train wreck. I'll take on your points in a moment, but I'd like to point out that you are clearly, clearly, CLEARLY undereducated in matters of world religions and what constitutes objective evidence.

Robert, you've admitted previously that if you were to believe in a God, it would be the Christian God.

This seems like some kind of appeal to authority. It doesn't matter what Robert has admitted previously, this is not objective evidence of christianity being true. An atheist who was raised in Sudan might just as easily say that if he was to believe in god, it would be the god of islam.


There is more archeological evidence in support of the Bible than any other "religious" book.

The page you linked shows that various temples and locations that are referenced in the bible. What it doesn't show is the amount of FICTIONAL locations, such as Nazareth. The city now called Nazareth was a necropolis still at least 100 years (and possibly up to 200 years) after the supposed time of jesus. In jewish culture, at that time, it was unclean to keep the dead near living places, and so they had "dead cities" just for corpses. It would have been a crime to live there, and yet jesus is said to have come from Nazareth.

Of course, christians settled the city after the fact and later claimed (up to this day) it to be the hometown of jesus.

I have previously mentioned the Iliad and I will again point it out to show the inherent problem with this claim. Archeologists have unearthed artifacts to prove beyond a doubt that the Trojan War happened. We also have records of actual kings and people named in the Iliad. Does this make it so that I should really believe Achilles was dipped in gold as a child? Am I really to believe that Aphrodite granted Paris the love of Helen, thus sending a thousand ships to war?

The problem with the bible in this respect is that it was simultaneously used as a chronicle of the jewish people and a record of their myths and superstitions. Of course the leaders said they talked to god. Look in any old culture (even many contemporary cultures) and you'll see the same thing. Emperors claiming to be descended from gods, military leaders saying they are guided by god.

Also, as I previously mentioned, you are clearly undereducated in matters of world religions. There is objective, archeological evidence that Muhammad really existed (while there is none that jesus ever existed). While I will contend that there is much evidence for the existence of Muhammad, there is no evidence that he really was a prophet of god, the same as there is no evidence that your jesus was the son of god or that Achilles was cursed by Apollo for dragging Hector's corpse through the sand.

ethinethin said...

Aside from archeology, a sheer look at things like the "little bible" in Isaiah, or the way the middle verse of the Bible falls between the shortest and longest chapters in the bible are clues to the divine inspiration in the authorship and division of the Bible.

By the same token, one can read the works of Nostradamus and find similar patterns, or successful prophecies. In fact I imagine if you ran "Dianetics" through a supercomputer, you'd find other such patterns. It's a coincidence. Is it exact? And does this happen in all languages, hebrew, greek, english, and King James english?

Even if it did, it is hardly the kind of proof I am looking for. If the bible was the true word of god, maybe it would contain universal truths that still pertain to our lives. I know you've previously argued about how some of the old testament laws were appropriate for that time. Well, wouldn't the true word of god contain universal truths that are appropriate for all time?

ethinethin said...

In Christianity salvation is a free gift given to us by God. In all other religions you achieve salvation through your works or good thoughts.

Not true. Some religions don't even require salvation, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, or The Dreamtime of the Australian Aborigines. The punishment, if any, is finite.

And is the salvation of christianity really free? A murderer who murders dozens of people, then accepts god, cannot continue murdering people by the dozens. Such a man can't live how he wants to live, or he is dubbed "not a true christian" by anonymous internet retards.


Christianity is the only religion in which love, including love for your enemies, is the central theme.

Wrong. As silly as I think they are, many of the pagan religions teach love, including love for your enemies, as a central theme. Even the writings in the Koran have much about love -- if you know much about the history of islam, you'd know that islam built on christianity the same way christianity built on judaism and that during the crusades, the christians were the barbaric, violent people while the muslims were the enlightened, just, and honorable people. If you don't believe me, look up King Richard's massacre of muslim prisoners of war in 1191 during the third crusade. Oh, or was he not a true christian?

Only Christianity offers absolute assurance of heaven and eternal life.

All religions offer this in different ways. Just because you don't believe them doesn't mean they don't offer this. To the followers of those religions, THEIR religion is the only one that offers absolute assurance of heaven and eternal life.

GCT said...

Even if the claims of Xianity being unique in this way or that were true, how is that evidence that Xianity is the true way?

Even if the Bible were true archaeologically, how does that differentiate between Jewish, Xian, or Muslim faith?

"There is more archeological evidence in support of the Bible than any other "religious" book."

There's also a giant lack of evidence for many claims from Genesis to the Exodus and beyond. The evidence we do have indicates that Genesis is false, that the exodus never occurred, etc.

"Aside from archeology, a sheer look at things like the "little bible" in Isaiah, or the way the middle verse of the Bible falls between the shortest and longest chapters in the bible are clues to the divine inspiration in the authorship and division of the Bible."

This is ad hoc reasoning. You're looking at some part of the Bible, then claiming that it supports god because it gives "clues to the divine inspiration in the authorship and division of the Bible." Yet, you have no basis for making such a claim except that you want it to be true.

"In Christianity salvation is a free gift given to us by God. In all other religions you achieve salvation through your works or good thoughts."

Ethin already pointed out that this is wrong, but I'd like to add that it's also wrong in that Xianity does require works and/or thoughts.

"You can be born Jewish; born Buddhist; born as a Hindu -- but it not possible to be born a Christian. Being born into a Christian family does not make you a Christian."

Where do you get this inane special pleading from?

Anonymous said...

"during the crusades, the christians were the barbaric, violent people while the muslims were the enlightened, just, and honorable people."

You are mistaking Christendom with Christianity. This was actually more Catholic history than Christian history. Non-Catholic Christians moved into northern Africa at the time.

Anonymous said...

Biblical Christianity does not require good works for salvation at all. We are saved by grace. While it wouldn't be pleasing to God, a sinner could continue to act in the same sinful way after being saved. It's unlikely they'd want to, but this imaginary "Christian who doesn't want to change but is forced to by God" is key to your argument, so we can continue to pretend he exists if you want.

Anonymous said...

The "universal truths" you speak of do appear all through the Bible. There are very few things that are specific to a time period, but there is no commandment in the New Testament that does not apply today.

Anonymous said...

Also, Nazereth was included in the Roman census, not as a necropolis, as far back as the time of Nero.

GCT said...

"You are mistaking Christendom with Christianity."

This is nothing more than special pleading on your part along with the no true scotsman fallacy.

"This was actually more Catholic history than Christian history."

They are inextricably linked.

"Non-Catholic Christians moved into northern Africa at the time."

Cite please.

"Biblical Christianity does not require good works for salvation at all. We are saved by grace."

Here, you are wrong using your own argument from above. You consider accepting god and Jesus as necessary for salvation (i.e. I'm going to hell for not doing so) and you also argue that belief is a deliberate choice. Therefore, one must choose to believe and act on that belief, hence one must commit a "good" work in order to be saved. Your own argument contradicts you here.

Also, I find it funny that you talk about the universal truths in the Bible, but then switch to the NT when it suits your purposes. That's because the most egregious offenses are outlined in the OT, so you wish you separate yourself from them. Yet, to do so would be to admit that the Bible as a whole is a flawed work. So, you conflate. You talk about the universal truths of the Bible, and then talk about how the ideas in the NT hold today. (Of course, this ignores the things in the NT that don't hold today, but that's another discussion.)

Anonymous said...

It is not a good work just to say, "Yes, I accept someone else paid my debt." It is simple acknowledgement of a fact.

As for the difference between Christianity and Christendom, you have no clue. Christendom is an all encompassing term which includes religions far off from Biblical Christianity. You cannot place one ounce of blame on people like the Donatists for the crusades and other wars. The modern Baptist church traces their lineage back through those folks and the Anabaptists that had nothing to do with the wars you attribute to "Christianity."

Here's your citation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donatist

It is these folks who carried the banner of true biblical Christianity while the Catholics perverted it in Rome.

You cannot always invoke the "no true Scotsman" argument. Just because someone claims to be a scientist doesn't mean they hold to the true structure of the scientific method. Same goes for Christians. Not all who say "I'm a Christian" hold to the literal interpretation of the Bible.

GCT said...

"It is not a good work just to say, "Yes, I accept someone else paid my debt." It is simple acknowledgement of a fact."

According to your own argument, it is a "work," as it is something that one must do. One must positively believe in god and jesus and that jesus died for our sins. According to you, this belief is something that someone must positively choose to do, thus it is an action that one must undertake, therefore it is a work that one must do to attain salvation.

"As for the difference between Christianity and Christendom, you have no clue. Christendom is an all encompassing term which includes religions far off from Biblical Christianity."

This is the no true scotsman fallacy again. Who are you to saw which brands of Xianity are Biblical and which are not?

"You cannot place one ounce of blame on people like the Donatists for the crusades and other wars."

Um, the Crusades happened hundreds of years after the Donatists faded into history...so, I'm wondering why you bring it up.

"The modern Baptist church traces their lineage back through those folks and the Anabaptists that had nothing to do with the wars you attribute to "Christianity.""

Cite please. AFAICT, the Donatists disappeared during the Muslim conquest of North Africa. Secondly, this simply does not necessarily follow. Thirdly, the argument was over whether Xianity teaches love, which is why the crusades were invoked in the first place. You don't seem to understand the argument.

"Here's your citation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donatist"

Which doesn't support your contentions. Thank you.

"It is these folks who carried the banner of true biblical Christianity while the Catholics perverted it in Rome."

Evidence please that their ideas were the true ideas.

"You cannot always invoke the "no true Scotsman" argument."

I only invoke it when it's true. You are engaging in it.

"Just because someone claims to be a scientist doesn't mean they hold to the true structure of the scientific method. Same goes for Christians. Not all who say "I'm a Christian" hold to the literal interpretation of the Bible."

Yet, there are methods for determining what is and is not science. What method do you use to determine what does and does not constitute Xian thinking/belief? Is it strictly a literal interpretation of the Bible? I doubt that you hold one. Do you anoint yourself with oil and pray when you get sick or do you go to a doctor? Do you stone children that are disobedient towards their parents? Do you avoid all contact with women who are menstrating? You, like all other Xians, are a cafeteria Xian. If holding a strict literal interpretation of the Bible is the gateway to true Xianity, then you aren't one either.

Also, it should be noted that even "literal" interpretations are interpretations and are subject to error and bias. So, what you think may be the correct interpretation of a literal passage, someone else might disagree. For instance, were the "days" of genesis literal 24 hour periods, or did each constitute 1000 years? It may surprise you to learn that some very literal interpretters claim that that days of genesis were 1000 years long, because god claimed that Adam would die "that day" that he sinned, and Adam lived for 900+ years. If "day" meant a 24 hour period, then god would be in error. This is still a YEC position in that it takes a literal interpretation of the Bible, but I'm sure you would say that anyone that believes that is not a true Xian? (I'd be willing to bet that in your mind, the only actual true Xian is yourself.)

Anonymous said...

No, there are thousands (I would think) of "true Christians" as you like to put it. Yes, a literal interpretation is the basis of "true Christianity", and anyone who believes the Bible in it's literal words would see that Jesus did away with the levitical laws you are stating, and thereby would have no reason to follow them.

Anonymous said...

BTW, my citation did indeed affirm that when Constantine made all of Rome Catholic, the Donatists left. They did not "fade into history" however. Though they were ordered to be "brought back into fellowship" or executed, many held out and went into hiding. They were later called "Paulicans" in Armenia, then eventually were more focused in France under the name "Albigenses" and then Waldenses, and eventually Anabaptists.

GCT said...

Getting back to the discussion of salvation as deed or not, weren't you previously arguing that we act as if we don't believe in god because we want the freedom to do immoral things? It would seem that you are arguing that salvation (or at least belief in god) does require moral behavior, else we wouldn't have to "disbelieve" in god in order to be immoral. Oops. Once again, you can't keep your story straight.

"No, there are thousands (I would think) of "true Christians" as you like to put it."

I bet that if you asked another Xian, they would have a different interpretation of some piece of the bible as you, and then you would have to declare that they are not a true Xian, according to your own argument. Of course, your argument boils down to you claiming that you and you alone know what the true interpretation of the Bible is and that your interpretation is infallible.

"Yes, a literal interpretation is the basis of "true Christianity", and anyone who believes the Bible in it's literal words would see that Jesus did away with the levitical laws you are stating, and thereby would have no reason to follow them."

Where? Was it the part where he stated that people need to follow god's laws or the part where he said that of the commandments the most important two were loving god and neighbors? And, this invokes another problem for you, in that why would god institute laws that were sub-standard and would have to be done away with later? It's as if god is winging it as he goes, which would be weird for a deity that is supposedly perfect and omni-max.

"BTW, my citation did indeed affirm that when Constantine made all of Rome Catholic, the Donatists left."

No, it does not. Please quote where it says that. Also, note that it doesn't say anything about Donatists being oppossed to the crusades.

"They did not "fade into history" however."

That's what your own link seems to say, and the rest of your assertions are completely unsupported.

And, to top it all off, you're still missing the point!

Robert Madewell said...

"No, there are thousands (I would think) of "true Christians" as you like to put it. Yes, a literal interpretation is the basis of "true Christianity", and anyone who believes the Bible in it's literal words would see that Jesus did away with the levitical laws you are stating, and thereby would have no reason to follow them."

In other words:

True Christian=Fundamentalist

Oh yeah, I get it. I've always got that!

Just because you have reasons to not follow the OT laws, still does not change the fact that you do not follow the OT laws.

Even fundamentalists are cafeteria christians, they just won't admit it.

IOW, you take the bible 100% literal except for the parts that you don't.

Anonymous said...

"It would seem that you are arguing that salvation (or at least belief in god) does require moral behavior, else we wouldn't have to "disbelieve" in god in order to be immoral."

You don't have to disbelieve to be immoral. Many believe and are still immoral. However, disbelief certainly makes it easier, because you can imagine you will never face a consequence for your actions.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at the dates of the Donatists, and see that they left as soon as Catholicism became the national religion. You can also do your own research on the Donatists and see they were vehemently against the crusades.

As for what happened to the old covenant that included the old laws,

Hebrews Chapter 8

6But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

7For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

8For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

9Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

13In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

--------------------------------

With that said, you need to do some of your own research. For people who supposedly love study, you must be spoonfed the milk of God's word, and still choke on it.

You do realize that no believer is of a responsibility to convince you of the truth. Our only responsibility is to present the scriptures to you, and the gospel that saves. You've got the info. Not sure why I've even continued the discussion to this point.

ethinethin said...

You do realize that no believer is of a responsibility to convince you of the truth.

I wish the believers realized that.

GCT said...

"You don't have to disbelieve to be immoral. Many believe and are still immoral. However, disbelief certainly makes it easier, because you can imagine you will never face a consequence for your actions."

And this makes your case how?

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at the dates of the Donatists, and see that they left as soon as Catholicism became the national religion."

Apparently it might, considering that your own link is not agreeing with what you are saying. Nowhere does it say that they left anywhere. They stayed in Northern Africa and seem to have disappeared after the Muslim invasion. Didn't you even bother to read the thing you linked to? Oh, and you might want to look at the dates of the crusades and the date that Catholicism became the religion of the empire...notice how many hundreds of years there are in between?

"You can also do your own research on the Donatists and see they were vehemently against the crusades."

How could they have been if they didn't exist during the time of the crusades? If you want to make fantastic claims like this, you need to back them up.

"As for what happened to the old covenant that included the old laws..."

And, there are passages where Jesus says that he hasn't come to abolish the laws (literal reading). In fact, he's advocating (during the Sermon on the Mount) for a more strict interpretation of the Mosaic code. I'm also left wondering why there was so much arguing over whether gentiles had to abide by the prohibition on pork if people didn't have to follow the Mosaic law. It seems that the people at the time didn't see it the way you "literally" see it.

Oh, and I'm laughing that your defense includes the obvious language stating that god's law was faulty...oh that perfect god and his faults.

"With that said, you need to do some of your own research. For people who supposedly love study, you must be spoonfed the milk of God's word, and still choke on it."

I confess, there are so many conflicting beliefs in Xianity that it's hard to keep track of them all. Don't assume that you are all homogeneous in your beliefs.

"You do realize that no believer is of a responsibility to convince you of the truth."

Actually, you do own the burden of proof of convincing me that your assertions are correct. You are making a positive assertion and you are obligated to support it.

"Our only responsibility is to present the scriptures to you, and the gospel that saves. You've got the info. Not sure why I've even continued the discussion to this point."

I would think that one acting responsibly would be certain of acting in the best interest of the person in question. Would you think I was being responsible if I simply handed you some pills and claimed that they would make you live longer or heal any ailment, even if I had no data or evidence to back it up?

Anonymous said...

Acts 17:32, 33

"32And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.

33So Paul departed from among them."

GCT said...

And, your point?

Anonymous said...

Simple. When someone refuses to accept the gospel, we are to move on.

The Rambling Taoist said...

Anon,
You don't seem to be grasping the "moving on" part very well. You're still here.

GCT said...

"Simple. When someone refuses to accept the gospel, we are to move on."

But, what about the people who wanted to hear it again? I guess Paul just abandoned them, huh?

Anywho, I would be more than happy to accept the gospel if you or anyone else could actually provide evidence for it. Since you can not, you lash out at me for not accepting your say so. Then, somehow it becomes my fault for not simply accepting everything you say even though you can't back it up.

The ironic part is that you do not do this in relation to other religions. You do not do this in relation to other mythical figures (unicorns, leprechauns, etc.) Yet, you expect me to make an exception for your personal god simply because you made one yourself, even though you can't give me a reason to do so.

Further, your conceptions of the Xian god are different from other people's conceptions, so which Xian god am I to believe in? Why would I choose your idea of Xianity over Grace's or anyone else's?

Anonymous said...

There are actually unicorns in the Bible.

Anonymous said...

Yes Paul abandoned them. His job was only to "plant the seed." From that point on, it's up to the individual to work it out between them and God. Of course, these folks weren't athiests really. They knew there was a Creator who obviously laid things out a certain way. For these folks it was simply about clarifying who the "unknown god" was.

And Tao, you're right. I'm gone as of right now.

GCT said...

"There are actually unicorns in the Bible."

Wait, so you do believe in unicorns? Are they pink?

"Yes Paul abandoned them. His job was only to "plant the seed.""

Says who? Sounds like he could have gained some converts, which was the point I thought.

"From that point on, it's up to the individual to work it out between them and God."

How does one work it out with a being that doesn't give evidence of its existence, let alone have conversations with you?

"Of course, these folks weren't athiests really."

No, they were not. They believed that a creator existed (they certainly didn't "know" it) and Paul was simply seeking to proselytize in order to gain more adherents.

"And Tao, you're right. I'm gone as of right now."

We'll need more fresh meat then.

Anonymous said...

Psalm 14:1 "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good."


Proverbs 23:9 "Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words."


Matthew 10:14 "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet."

Robert Madewell said...

"There are actually unicorns in the Bible."

And cockatrices, dragons, behemoths, and leviathans too!

Anon,
Why am I suprized that you bought out Pslams 14:1? So typical.

Bye! Bye!

Anonymous said...

This really is my last post on this blog, but Robert, the only reason I posted Psalm 14:1 was because GCT didn't understand how I got out of the obligation to continue attempting to persuade him. First verse I listed was to define "fool." Second to show what a Christian is commanded to say to a fool.

ethinethin said...

In another spectacular session of lying for jesus (tm), Anonymous said..

I'm gone as of right now.

And then proceeded to post twice more. Brilliant, although not as furtive as the usual lies for jesus (tm).

Regarding the bible passages: I, like roughly 60%-70% of the world, reject the authority of your bible. It is meaningless to quote it and justify your actions in such a way. In fact, it just goes to show that theists can use their holy texts to justify anything they want it to justify.

I, having grown up in a religious family, have read the bible and I know a few passages (still). Fortunately for me, I don't know most of it (what with the giving up virgin daughters as burnt offerings to the lord and what not), but I imagine that it would be possible to cherry pick quotes to justify the exact opposite of what you've said (that is, that all christians should preach 'n' proselytize to people until they convert them).

When you cherry pick quotes from different books of the bible written by different people and cobble them together to try and make a meaningful statement, it shows to what inane lengths you'll go to find meaning in the bible.

It's sort of like those "Choose your own Path" books I read when I was a child... or maybe there's a decoder ring to tell me what order I'm supposed to read it in.

ethinethin said...

Second to show what a Christian is commanded to say to a fool.

Isn't there some passage where jesus says to call no man a fool?

Robert Madewell said...

But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Matthew 5:22

Stephen said...

Your brother is your fellow Christian. Part of the body of Christ. Doesn't apply to the lost at all.

Robert Madewell said...

Stephen, sure it could mean that. It could also mean brother literally as in someone who has the same parents as yourself. Or, it could mean your fellow countryman. Everything in the bible is up for interpretation and amazingly it always says what you want it to say.

Matthew 5:22 is actually one of my favorite verses in the bible. I can paraphrase it as "don't judge and don't slander people." Of course, I don't think anyone will go to hell for slander, but it's a good idea not to slander people. However, you've taken one of the few verses that has genuine good advice and have turned it into justification to slander non-theists. Good Job, Stephen!

Robert Madewell said...

More thoughts on Stephens comments.

I have heard the same argument used to justify not loving everybody by reasoning that when Jesus said to love your neighbor, he really meant loving only born agian christians. (see Matthew 22:39 and Leviticus 19:18)

I have had big problems with this kind of thinking (even when I was a christian). This is the "us and them" mentality I have ranted about since I started this blog. That kind of thinking is what fosters hate. Thinking that we are the good ones and everyone else is evil is exactly the kind of thinking that made young men fly planes into buildings. That kind of thinking causes otherwise good people to do horrible evil things. That's what I don't like.

GCT said...

"...the only reason I posted Psalm 14:1 was because GCT didn't understand how I got out of the obligation to continue attempting to persuade him."

Wow, you can't even tell the truth while you are flouncing out!

Stephen said...

There is a reason neighbor is used in some verses and brother is used in others. Brother always means your fellow Christian. You can't be my brother if you are "of your Father, the Devil" as Jesus put it. Neighbor always means anyone, be they a brother or not. You will never hear me argue that brother means neighbor, or neighbor means only brother. Not sure who does this, but apparently you've come into contact with someone who does.

GCT said...

Robert,
"I have had big problems with this kind of thinking (even when I was a christian). This is the "us and them" mentality I have ranted about since I started this blog. That kind of thinking is what fosters hate."

I completely agree. But, it raises an important question and ethical dilemma for me.

The Bible is not a nice document. The peace and love version that we see from modern Xians is a modern invention. For instance, the idea that loving your neighbor means loving only other fundies is probably the more accurate interpretation (although then it would have meant "Jew" instead of "Born again Xian.")

So, it's to our advantage personally as well as societally for Xians to be more peaceful and to believe that their book teaches peace and love. This, however, also leads to a society that is beholden to superstition and can have an anti-science, anti-rationality, anti-reason stance, which is something that we currently see.

If we reveal the Bible for the vicious immoral book that it is, we may turn more people off from it who may turn towards rational thought (which would be beneficial to all of us) and we would be supporting truth over superstition, which is a noble goal in itself. OTOH, for those that don't give up their religion, it gives them an excuse (only in their minds of course) for vicious acts against their fellow men (like Fred Phelps and his crew).

What to do?

GCT said...

Stephen,
There's good scholarship to the idea that "neighbor" meant fellow Jew - not that it means anyone.

Also, Matt 5:22 doesn't specify brother in the last part even though it does twice before in the other parts.

ethinethin said...

I have a hunch Stephen is just anonymous (i.e., "as of now, I'm gone") renamed. I guess that (the doubt) is the unfortunate side effect of allowing anonymous posting.

Stephen said...

GCT - It is fairly obvious that he is finishing the thought. If you look at the simple sentence structure it's obvious all mentioned actions are pointed towards your "brother." I doubt you'd find a textual scholar who'd buy the fact that he didn't mean brother in the last portion of that verse.

Don't get me wrong, it doesn't give any Christian a right to have hatred for an atheist, but saying that an athiest is a fool is simply paraphrasing the Bible.

I find it interesting as I read through these responses that both sides have the same flaws. Both feel that they have undeniable evidence for their belief. Neither values the others basis of evidence as the final authority however, so no ground will ever be made here. The Christian will never value science over the Bible. No atheist will ever value the Bible over science. Not sure how the discussion has progressed this far. Or maybe "progress" isn't the right word. LOL!

Robert Madewell said...

Stephen said, "No atheist will ever value the Bible over science."

Are you sure? I'm an atheist and I can't even make a blanket statement like that about atheists. Like mentioned before, atheists have no set beliefs, values, sensibilities, or morals. The only thing that I can say for sure that I have in common with other atheist (like Ethinethin) is that we don't believe that gods exist, including your God. It's that simple. I most certainly don't value the bible anymore than any other ancient holy book, but maybe there are atheists out there that do value the bible for some reason. I can't speak for all atheists and I don't think you can speak for any.

Stephen said...

So you believe that someone could value the Bible over science and not believe in the Christian God? You're reaching a bit there.

Must you look for something to argue about in every single post?

GCT said...

Stephen,
"GCT - It is fairly obvious that he is finishing the thought. If you look at the simple sentence structure it's obvious all mentioned actions are pointed towards your "brother." I doubt you'd find a textual scholar who'd buy the fact that he didn't mean brother in the last portion of that verse."

You're probably right, but to the literal person, why would he specify brother and then lead with "But" and leave out the brother part?

"Don't get me wrong, it doesn't give any Christian a right to have hatred for an atheist, but saying that an athiest is a fool is simply paraphrasing the Bible."

I tend to lean to the side that it doesn't give you a right to do so, but it does give you instruction to do so. This is why the Bible is not a moral book or set of instructions. We, as a culture, have progressed beyond the immoral strictures in the Bible. There's nothing timeless about them, they're simply outmoded and dated.

"I find it interesting as I read through these responses that both sides have the same flaws."

That is flat out incorrect. The two positions are not rationally equal.

"Both feel that they have undeniable evidence for their belief."

And this is why it's wrong. I do not have undeniable evidence that no gods exist. I don't know of a single atheist that makes that claim. What I do know is that we don't have evidence for gods, which is why it is rational to hold the position of atheism and why the two positions are not equally rational.

"Neither values the others basis of evidence as the final authority however, so no ground will ever be made here."

Because the Bible isn't a "basis of evidence." There's nothing in the Bible that constitutes evidence for god. If you disagree, you should present some of this evidence and show how it supports the idea that some omni-max deity named Yahweh exists.

"The Christian will never value science over the Bible."

And, that is (one reason) why Xianity is irrational. When faced with a choice between accepting reality and continuing to believe in mythology, the Xian chooses mythology. This is irrational.

"No atheist will ever value the Bible over science."

I should hope not. One is based on mythology and superstition, the other is based on empiricism and reality. It's a landslide win for science. We have gained no knowledge about the world through religion, and all knowledge through science. Science works. Religion doesn't. It's as simple as that.

"Not sure how the discussion has progressed this far. Or maybe "progress" isn't the right word. LOL!"

Because people like Robert are patient enough to take the time to try and explain why religion is irrational and makes no sense. You should thank him.

Stephen said...

I can present evidence for you, but it will be from the Bible, and therefore you will not consider it as evidence. Same as a Christian will not consider your evidence if it contradicts the Bible. You've simply reaffirmed exactly what my post said.

Robert Madewell said...

Stephen said, "So you believe that someone could value the Bible over science and not believe in the Christian God? You're reaching a bit there."

Maybe, I'm reaching a bit. I think it would be irrational to value the bible over science and not believe in God. That's not the point I was trying to make. You made a blanket statement about atheists.

You said, "No atheist will ever value the Bible over science."

I'm just calling you out on that. Are you sure that's true? Even though I don't value the bible over science, doesn't mean that all atheists out there isn't valuing it that much. People have all kinds of loopy and irrational beliefs. That's why I can't speak for all atheists about anything except one thing. We don't believe in the existence of God.

"Must you look for something to argue about in every single post?"

Well, I do blog because I do love debate. But really, I was just calling you out on a blanket statement you made. It was a lesson I had to learn. My wife was very harsh with me about saying "All christians blah blah" or something like that. The thing is, is that not all christian believe blank and blank. There are always exceptions. I don't even rule out the wackiest possibilities anymore.

My point was that we must be careful of blanket statements because the person were having a discussion with may not actually hold that position.

GCT said...

Stephen,
"I can present evidence for you..."

No, you can't.

"...but it will be from the Bible, and therefore you will not consider it as evidence."

Because it would by necessity be circular and logically fallacious.

"Same as a Christian will not consider your evidence if it contradicts the Bible."

Which is really irrational for them. When I present empirical evidence, it doesn't do to claim that reality is simply not real and that their interpretations (which are fallible by their own beliefs) are more trustworthy than what reality is.

"You've simply reaffirmed exactly what my post said."

I've explained why it is so, and why one stance is better than the other. You can ignore what I'm saying and simply continue to try and act as if there's an equivalence there, but it simply isn't true that the two positions are in any way equivalent.

ethinethin said...

I can present evidence for you, but it will be from the Bible, and therefore you will not consider it as evidence.

By this logic, I can present evidence for you that Harry Potter was a real person who went to a magical school and fought evil wizards.

The evidence will be from the Harry Potter books and therefore you will not consider it as evidence.

Leo said...

"Reality" before Columbus was that the world was flat.

Leo said...

"Harry Potter" doesn't make a claim to be truth.

"Harry Potter" was written by one individual over a short period of time.

"Harry Potter" has not lasted centuries.

"Harry Potter" doesn't claim divine inspiration.

"Harry Potter" hasn't made prophecies that came true.

"Harry Potter" didn't answer where man came from, the purpose of life, and the way of salvation.

ethinethin said...

"Harry Potter" doesn't make a claim to be truth.

Claiming truth doesn't make it true.

"Harry Potter" was written by one individual over a short period of time.

And the christian bible was written by many people with different sensibilities over a long period of time.

"Harry Potter" has not lasted centuries.

Give it time.

"Harry Potter" doesn't claim divine inspiration.

Claiming divine inspiration doesn't make it divinely inspired. Or perhaps you consider the book of mormon to be divinely inspired? Or how bout the Koran?

"Harry Potter" hasn't made prophecies that came true.

And the prophecies that the bible made are referred to later in the bible. Hey, there was a prophecy in Harry Potter that Harry would have to kill Voldemorte or die. Turns out, in the end, Harry did kill Voldemorte (sorry for the spoilers).

"Harry Potter" didn't answer where man came from, the purpose of life, and the way of salvation.

And the bible is clearly wrong about the origins of man and somewhat eclectic on the purpose of life. How can we trust it on what it says about salvation?

Stephen said...

So how exactly do you believe life did originate?

ethinethin said...

Origins of man and origins of life are two different subjects. My specialty is cell biology and cladistic analysis so I really don't know much about abiogenesis, except the basics (of there being a great deal of horizontal transfer going on long before the first self-replicating cell).

Undeniably, all life on earth is just chemical. There's no magic to it. Granted, living things have emergent properties, so you can't take apart a living cell and then reassemble it and expect it to continue functioning, but they are still undeniably chemical.

However, I am confident in saying "I don't know". It's not a weakness to not know something. I am not so insecure as to say "since I don't know, it must have been a god, and he spoke it into existence with a word".

ethinethin said...

And by the way you posted using your wrong fake name?

Stephen said...

This is not a fake name (except that I left off my last name, but you could find it easily). Is there a fake name I should be using? I use this name on multiple blogs.

"I really don't know much about abiogenesis"

You oughta check out the Bible. It'll clue you in.

ethinethin said...

You oughta check out the Bible. It'll clue you in.

Yeahhh... no. Sorry, the people who wrote the bible clearly knew less about biology than me.

Like I implied, I am not insecure enough to fill the gaps with god.

Leo said...

I've never understood how aatheists argue the ignorance of the Bible authors, describe them as a bunch of old uneducated farmers or shepherds, but then when you point out extravagant structure of the Bible, or anything else intelligent found in it, they argue that it's some big conspiracy to retain power over people by some massive guilt trip.

Were the authors intelligent conspirators or dumb shepherds?? Make up your mind.

Robert Madewell said...

"Were the authors intelligent conspirators or dumb shepherds?? Make up your mind."

Leo, I'd go with the former because much of the OT was written by preists. The shepherds and farmers probably weren't the scholarly type. Though when it comes to modern science and what we now know about the universe, those intelligent conspirators weren't much more knowlegable than the dumb shepherds. Bible cosmology in Genesis reflects that lack of knowlege about the universe.

ethinethin said...

Eh, the bible had dozens if not hundreds of writers. The old testament was kept as a kind of chronicle of tribal events (that incorporated their superstitions, much like you'd find in other tribal societies).

The new testament, which was written fifty to hundreds of years after jesus supposedly lived, was written by charlatans (joseph smith would be the best comparison you might understand) and then used by empires to control their subjects.

My original point that the writers of the bible knew less about biology than me stands. Whoever wrote many of the sections of the bible about the natural world clearly did not understand it as well as modern people do.

Striped animals are striped because their progenitors mated in front of a striped pole? Please.

Stephen said...

You've got to quit reading snippets posted by evolutionists and actually read the Bible for yourself. You are completely misrepresenting the circumstance here. Noah hit a rock with a staff and water came out. The staff didn't MAKE the water come out. He obeyed God, hit the rock, and GOD made the water come out. Similarly, the pole is not what caused the striped, spotted, or speckled offspring. He had made a deal over what cattle would be his and which would be Laban's. Jacob had favor with God, and this is simply the way God provided the animals for Jacob. This is the way God always works: First an act of obedience on our part, then he blesses as he promised.

Anonymous said...

For further clarification, see chapter 31:8-10 where Jacob is speaking to Rachel...

If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked.

Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.

And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled.

And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.

And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.

Stephen said...

BTW, is that better? LOL

ethinethin said...

Yes, but my education in biology has shown me that organisms don't need magic to have adaptations, so I find it absurd to make that claim.

If someone told me they saw something happen via magic like that, I wouldn't believe them or I would demand evidence. There is no evidence for magic from thousands of years ago, of course, so no-one could seriously make that demand.

Using biological sciences, though, diversity and unity of life can be observed without the divine intervention of a supernatural entity. It's really quite spectacular.

Stephen said...

My point was that the writer wasn't claiming biology worked in a different way, but that despite the way biology works, God did something supernatural.