8 Things Christians Need to Stop Saying . . . Like, Immediately

Courtesy of Pixabay
Courtesy of Pixabay

Christians have a tendency to say some pretty lame things. That doesn’t mean non-Christians are exempt from this, but as a Christian myself, I feel that if I am going to offer critique, it should, first and foremost, be to my fellow brothers and sisters (and those who are non-binary) in the faith. Sorry, but not sorry.

That said, while the great majority of these folks probably have the best of intentions when they draw deeply from the well of cliché Christianese, I believe they need to stop, because, as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And we’ve been on this road long enough.

To that end, in this piece I would like to mention 8 cliché things that Christians need to drop from their vernacular. By no means are these the only things. They are just the first 8 that popped into my head this morning.

So, without further ado, here they are:

  1. “The Bible clearly says . . .”

For the most part, the Bible isn’t “clear” about much. So, don’t say it is. Seriously, just stop. I mean, if you are fluent in Hebrew and Greek, as well as familiar with the historical, theological, and philosophical context in which the Bible was written (which of course changes over the course of thousands of years), then perhaps you can say this. Perhaps. But, then again, if you are indeed fluent in Hebrew and Greek and do have a decent grasp on the cultural context of Scripture, then you probably already realize just how unclear our English bibles are, and aren’t using this type of language anyway.

  1. “God’s ways are higher than our ways.”

On the surface, I really don’t have a problem with this phrase. Indeed, God’s ways are higher than our ways. However, what this means is generally not understood by large swaths of Christianity, who typically use it to justify whatever asinine thing they want to say about the Divine. Either that or they default to it any time they are theologically pressed for an answer about something and can’t come up with one. Regardless, if one is going to say this, at least keep in mind that the context of this phrase—which comes from Isaiah 55—is that God is more merciful than we are (cf. Isaiah 55:7–9).

  1. “I’m a Bible-believing Christian.”

Okay. So is every other Christian. We all “believe” the Bible in one way or another. From the conservative Southern Baptist to the liberal Anabaptist, the Franciscan monk to the dispensationalist C&MA member, everyone “believes the Bible.” But that’s not what those who say this mean. They mean that the Bible is the inerrant and/or infallible Word of God, and that in order to be a “true Christian,” one must affirm this same theory of inspiration of Scripture. Hogwash! At no time did Jesus say this. Nor Paul. Nor the early Christians. Nor the early creedal formulations. So, stop saying such tripe. You’re not really saying anything anyway.

  1. “Jesus preached about hell more than heaven.”

First off, no he didn’t. My buddy and colleague Dan Wilkinson did a count, and out of the 1,944 verses in the gospels, only 60 or so of those refer to hell. However, with regards to heaven, there are 192. But, let’s pretend for a moment that this statement is true, that Jesus indeed talked about hell more than heaven. So what? That doesn’t mean anything. It’s purely a vapid statement, entirely void of context, and it fails miserably at everything but instilling fear in others. Please, do everyone a favor and save it.

  1. “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

Or, how about we just love people? Seriously! Hasn’t enough damage been done to the LGBTQ+ community? Haven’t they had enough abuse at the hands of the Church? Plus, aren’t we supposed to be more focused on that logjam in our own eye? I think this guy named Jesus taught that. So, if we are going to hate sin so vehemently—and we should, really—we need to start with ourselves, with our own plank if you will. The “sin” of others is but a speck (and no, that doesn’t mean I consider non-heterosexuality sinful. I’ve written about that here and here).

  1. “Well, we are in the last days, after all.”

This is such an eye-roller for me. We’ve been at this whole “it’s the end of the world” crap for so long that nobody is taking us seriously any longer (are we not the boy who cried wolf at this point?). So, when we say this, we are just yet one more dolt among other dolts—Harold Camping, John Hagee, and Jerry Falwell initially come to mind—who narcissistically think the end of the world will be in their lifetime and that they will be the ones who got it right. Time to move on folks. Like, for real!

  1. “Jesus is my personal Lord and Savior.”

Okay, are we supposed to be impressed? The last I checked, the Bible clearly says (oops!) that Jesus is Lord. Period. He is the Savior. Period. He’s not my Lord. He’s not my Savior. He’s not your Lord. He’s not your Savior. He is Lord, and everyone will one day give praise to God for this (Romans 14:11). He is the Savior “of all people, especially of those who believe (1 Timothy 4:10).” Can we not reduce either his lordship or salvific act to something “personal,” when it is much more corporate? That’d be great, thanks.

  1. “This is a Christian nation.”

Oh, yeah? Really? I guess, if you consider it “Christian” for a nation to be at war for all but a handful of years since its inception; if you consider it “Christian” for a nation to incessantly feed the military industrial complex whenever its tummy’s hungry; if you consider it “Christian” for a nation to engage in a perpetual war on drugs that has ruined the lives of countless people, primarily men of color; if you consider it “Christian” for a nation enslave black folks and attempt genocide against Native Americans; if you . . . well, you get the point. If all these things are “Christian,” then screw it, I’m not.

 

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. I’m sure there are more. If you have any others, I’d be curious to read them. Feel free to make a comment below (unless you are just going to tell me how much of an asshole I am; in that case, please try to hold your tongue).

 

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  • “God is in control.” This statement is usually used in conjunction with “God’s ways are higher than our ways,” but it’s even more boldfaced hogwash disguised as “theological” pious mumbo jumbo.

    The logic can be pulled apart pretty easily. Life sucks, but God is in control. So God was in control when hundreds of Yemeni women and children are slaughtered by weapons provided to the Saudis by the United States? God was in control when Hitler rose to power and slaughtered six million Jews? What kind of control is that? Either God is not in control, or God loves to fuck with people for entertainment.

  • Brandon Roberts

    i don’t personally mind some of these but calling america a “christian nation” is a stretch.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    “God is in control, so I will not be afraid when bad or scary stuff happens to me.” is a good thing. However, it’s usually “God is in control, so it’s not my problem when bad stuff happens to other people.”

  • But that’s not very helpful. You’re lying to yourself, and by believing that God is in control you’re creating a world in which the worst possible outcomes are ultimately God’s doing.

    When the worst happens, the one believing that God is in control hits a crisis of faith: is God loving? If so, why would God do such a thing?

    Let’s say for sake of example that your 12-year-old daughter is raped and murdered. If you believe that God is in control, an exercise in theodicy is necessary. God is not off the hook. God’s character is in question. Is God loving? I would argue that a God who would orchestrate events so as to ensure this outcome (Calvinism’ God) is a moral monster and the furthest from loving that there could be. The same goes for a God who would simply allow such events without necessarily orchestrating them, while having the power and authority to prevent such events (Arminianism’s God).

    God is either loving and caring, or God is in control. God cannot be both.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    I am not clear what you are saying: are you an atheist arguing against God because of the problem of the existence of suffering? If so, I don’t have complete answers for you, and it is indeed one of the few legitimate and powerful arguments for atheism, although I think it ultimately does not convince.
    If you do believe in a God of some kind, who do you think he is that he is powerless to combat evil or suffering?

  • Neither (though for the sake of your desire to label me, I’ll enter your dichotomy and say that I lean a bit closer to the latter, with the caveat that I believe God to be powerless, but that doesn’t negate an ability to combat evil and suffering).

    I’m moving towards a completely different way of viewing God from the options you provided. Dietrich Bonhoeffer touched on it when he said, “God is weak and powerless in the world, and that is exactly the way, the only way, in which [God] can be with us and help us.”

    God is, by very nature, Love. That is a statement about God’s ontology. I won’t go much further down the rabbit hole in a comment thread with a stranger, but perhaps I can recommend some sympathetic reading material. Brad Jersak’s A More Christlike God, Thomas Jay Oord’s The Uncontrolling Love of God, Catherine Keller’s On the Mystery, and perhaps (though it’s only tangentially relevant to the topic of conversation) Peter Rollins’ The Idolatry of God.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    If you don’t want to discuss your views with a stranger it seems slightly odd to post them on an internet comments board, given that such is the basic purpose of such things. I’ve no desire to label you, merely an interest in what you think.
    You set up a dichotomy yourself by saying God was either loving or caring, or in control, but not both. If “in control” is meant in the Calvinist sense of directly orchestrating every event, then this is plainly true, but you also included “in control” as including a scenario where God could be in control but chooses to relinquish it. I’ve not read Oord’s book (although keep meaning to) but it was my understanding this relinquishing of control was in fact the book’s principle thesis.
    I may of course have misunderstood.
    My understanding of God is of the origin and governing principle of the universe itself – he therefore necessarily remains in control except in so far as he chooses to relinquish control to his creation, if only because ultimately creation ceases to exist if he ceases to sustain it. The concept of a God who would simply be unable to prevent evil even if he determined to do so seems odd, and if you do care to do so, I would be interested if you elaborated.
    I myself am a Christian universalist. God, I would say, necessarily has to relinquish control for us to exist as independent entities in the first place, and because unconditional love cannot include coercion. Sin and therefore suffering needs must be permitted in the world. God remains in control, however, because this is his creation and he is infinite in wisdom, patience and power, loves us and made this place for our good. God (if I am right) will eventually work all things to the ultimate good and reconciliation of all (despite our best efforts, it sometimes seems). Hence the statement that God is, indeed ultimately, in control. It is, however, as I perhaps failed to convey, a comfort against despair, not a blind denial of the existence of evil or an excuse not to combat it.

  • Cool man. You already lost my interest by describing God as a “he.”

  • But you do you. Peace and shit.

  • Judgeforyourself37

    We are not now, and never were a “Christian nation.” Our forefathers were Deists, they believed in a superior being, but they were not, necessarily, Christian.

  • Judgeforyourself37

    My but you love to see yourself in print. You are really rather obtuse and verbose.

  • Barrie Beaumont

    Not wishing to appear be a prude, but I believe that the author would have more effect if he moderated his language a tad. Some words used could be more condusive and others spoil the intent of the argument.

  • Delane Krause

    Judgeforyourself37 That also is not necessarily true. ‘In the early years of what later became the United States, Christian religious groups played an influential role in each of the British colonies, and most attempted to enforce strict religious observance through both colony governments and local town rules.”
    https://www.facinghistory.org/nobigotry/religion-colonial-america-trends-regulations-and-beliefs
    Christianity has always been a big influence in the making of the USA. But I guess we should first establish what is meant by “Christian nation”.

  • Ellen Hammond

    I couldn’t agree more! Another one that irks me is, “Walk by faith not by feelings and just claim your healing,” often accompanies or followed by “If only you had enough faith…” I’ve heard this used so often by people who pray for someone to be healed. It strikes me as a contingency plan, like, “If it’s God’s will…” as it is already offering excuses for why someone isn’t healed. In actuality, it blames the sufferer, and dumps a lot of extra grief, hurt, guilt, and pain, on them.

  • Different strokes…as they say.

  • Laura Bourdo

    The phrase that most distresses me is “God will not give you more than you can handle.” Aside from this being a bit less than comforting – I mean, what does this really MEAN, anyway? – it posits a God who intentionally plans human suffering. That is revolting. Likewise, I have a similar reaction to “God has a purpose for your suffering.” I believe in a God of unconditional love who walks WITH us in our inevitable and unavoidable pain, not a God who inflicts pain in any way.

  • Laura Bourdo

    Excellent article, btw. 🙂

  • Laura Bourdo

    I have come to believe that God is not in control – at least in the sense that we understand it. God is not a puppeteer, who “likes to fuck with people for entertainment” (great phrase!), or who has already decided on our futures. No. The world is an ugly, confused, self-destructive mess in so many ways, but humanity – we – have made it that way. For me, the only hope we have is to mirror God’s unconditional love to ev.er.y.one and ev.er.y.thing in the world, relying on God’s strength to aid us in bringing about healing. I also believe that this grace-filled perspective is not unique (or original!) to Christianity. All major religions stress this teaching. Christianity does not have a corner on the grace market. (Google the Golden Rule and world religions for an eye opener.)

  • Zenmyme

    Also, “Have a blessed day”. What the hell does that mean, anyway? The day is the for you to make the most of it. Please, you can not bless me!.

  • Chew on the phrase, “God is Love,” and if you let it sit for long enough, you might discover that God doesn’t exist as you once thought. Go far enough down that rabbit hole, if you will, and everything changes.

    I’m talking everything. Sadly, there’s no blue pill.

  • Francesca C. Howell

    Dear Matthew: Thank you for that! Not only very humorous — I’m thinking of all the people, Christian and non whom I would like to send it to — but scholarly as well. I so appreciate your various points on whether one understands/reads ancient languages, on the canonical Gospels’ veracity, and a point that so often rankles with me: peoples’ arrogance in seemingly indicating that their relationship with Jesus is surely SO much more profound than the person they’re speaking (monologuing?) to. As a recently trained Chaplain, we were taught never to use the old chestnut: “God never puts more on you than you can bear.” Excuse me?? What sort of hurtful and useless thing is that to say to those in suffering? Anyway, I have more to write, but will leave it at thank you! Blessings and joy to you and yours, Francesca

  • Laura Bourdo

    Fun mixed metaphor! 🙂 But, can you say more? How does everything change?

  • Bill B

    “God works in mysterious ways” is one of my biggest pet peeves. Also in addition to “God is in control”, is “there is a reason (or purpose) for everything”. No, no and no.

  • Bill B

    I love #1. I don’t recall any mention in scripture about God’s personal stenographer…. Most people who say that don’t even have a clue that the Bible wasn’t written in Elizabethan English.

  • Sarah

    I would suggest that another thing Christians should stop saying are words like “lame” that carry with them ableist messages and however unintentionally make those around them feel less than.

  • Linnea912

    Yes, all of the above! Especially #3. It’s gotten to the point that I’m deeply suspicious of any church that describes itself as a “Bible-believing church.” In my experience, anyway, it’s come to be code for fundamentalist-to-the-point-of-ridiculousness.

  • ChevalBlanc

    Good article! If you mean that the first United States citizens were largely Christian, then calling it a “Christian nation” is reasonable. Even those that weren’t terribly religious came from a Judeo-Christian tradition; familiarity with the Bible was necessary to navigate social interactions; most attended church. However, “We’re a “Christian nation” is often used in defense of xenophobia and/or to spread false information. For instance:

    1) Some argue that since Christians were here first (don’t get me started), their faith deserves priority status: “I don’t see why teachers in a public school can’t lead a classroom prayer; we’re a Christian nation.” It is implied that those Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, & agnostic parents need to suck it up.

    2) “History professors don’t want you to know the real truth. Our founders were devout Christians* who never intended separation of church and state. We’re a Christian nation.”
    As stated in your link, English interference in religious matters was a factor in the desire for independence. It was Christians that called for separation of church and state.**

    3) “We would have less division if we could just be a Christian nation again. Muslims and atheists are bad for social cohesion.”
    Anyone that believes this reeeeally ought to read your link. Christians beating and hanging each other doesn’t sound very socially cohesive (or very Christian) to me.

    * Were the Founding Fathers Christian? Yes and no. If you want a truthful answer, avoid sources with an obvious bias (HuffPo, David Barton, etc.). This is one of the more balanced, enjoyable articles I’ve found: http://www.jameswatkins.com/articles-2/heavy/foundingfathers/

    **George Soros paid me to write this.

  • Linguagroover

    A former Christian turned atheist writes: 1. Quite right; 2. I am quietly confident a Christian somewhere will keep on saying one of these things; 3. I think I’ll keep this list and play apologist bingo.

  • I’ve come to the realization that everyone’s journey and discoveries are different, but if you let the statement, “God is Love,” be a statement about God’s ontology, then God exists everywhere. In every good thought, action, feeling, etc. We bring God into existence when we love someone/something. We bring God into existence when we care for people and for this world. We do so because we’re bringing love into existence.

    That’s what changed for me. I went from viewing God as a transcendent being to viewing God as being itself. Not sure what kind of change you’ll experience (if any at all), but whatever it is, I trust it’ll be good for you.

  • Lark62

    The one that really needs to go is every variation of “This tragic event happened but God protected me” which is nothing more than christianese for “I’ve got mine. Sucks to be you.”

    “237 people died in that plane crash, but god made me oversleep and miss the plane. Praise Jesus.” Unsaid: God likes me best. Sucks to be them.

    “A hit and run driver hit my child but godvarranged for a nurse to be on hand to save my child. Praise Jesus.” Unsaid: Too bad about every other child who died in a car accident this week. God loves me best. Sucks to be them.

  • Lark62

    The one that really needs to go is every variation of “This tragic event happened but God protected me” which is nothing more than christianese for “I’ve got mine. Sucks to be you.”

    “237 people died in that plane crash, but god made me oversleep and miss the plane. Praise Jesus.” Unsaid: God likes me best. Sucks to be them.

    “A hit and run driver hit my child but god arranged for a nurse to be on hand to save my child. Praise Jesus.” Unsaid: Too bad about every other child who died in a car accident this week. God loves me best. Sucks to be them.

  • Lark62

    The one that really needs to go is every variation of “This tragic event happened but God protected me” which is nothing more than christianese for “I’ve got mine. Sucks to be you.”

    “237 people died in that plane crash, but god made me oversleep and miss the plane. Praise Jesus.” Unsaid: God likes me best. Sucks to be them. 237 dead people and their grieving families mean nothing cuz I’m fine.

    “A hit and run driver hit my child but god arranged for a nurse to be on hand to save my child. Praise Jesus.” Unsaid: Too bad about every other child who died in a car accident this week. God loves me best. Sucks to be them.

  • valleycat1

    and please quit asking atheists why they hate God.

  • Doubting Thomas

    The “God will not give you more than you can handle” idea should be easily squashed by the fact that people commit suicide. Apparently some people do get more than they can handle and it doesn’t seem to end well.

  • Doubting Thomas

    I’m always interested how a person squares a god who loves unconditionally and yet does nothing while millions are slaughtered. Don’t these two things seem to be mutually contradicting? One way we know someone loves another person is the lengths they go to keep that person safe.

  • Laura Bourdo

    Sorry for the delay in responding, Nate. I just found this comment. I appreciate the clarification, and I agree with you completely. When we believe that God is love, and that we have the responsibility to respond to that love by sharing it with others, everything changes. Everything.

  • Laura Bourdo

    Hi Thomas. I have struggled with this theological dilemma for years, and I have come to a place of peace with it. As I said above, for me, there is a huge difference between love and control. I believe that God loves all of us absolutely and unconditionally, but has given humanity free will to build love and peace, or to create hatred and destruction. God also freely offers grace, support, guidance, inspiration if we ask for it. Seek it. Act on the love we have received. When humanity fails to do these things and the world suffers as a result, God honors God’s “contract” (of free will) with us and doesn’t intervene, but offers us a double serving of grace, support, guidance and inspiration so that we can change and correct the mess we’ve created, ourselves.

  • Doubting Thomas

    But human free will and god’s unconditional love are mutually exclusive. Would you ever watch someone you love be tortured, raped, murdered, etc., and not do anything to stop them because you’d be infringing upon the free will of the perpetrator?

    We recognize love because of the lengths someone will go to to ensure the well being of the one they love. If god will watch millions of people he “loves” be slaughtered and not do anything to stop it because of free will, then his love is not unconditional. It’s conditional on not being in opposition to the attacker’s free will.

    Not only that, but in the case of rape, a person’s free will to not be raped is being infringed by the rapist. So god chooses to honor the free will of the rapist over the free will of the victim.

  • I get so tired of Christians and others saying how much they love us, or that they don’t hate us. Who cares if you hate us? You don’t have to hate us, to hurt us.

    Maybe you’re hurting us for no reason, and will have to answer for that someday. Is it really too good to be true, that God does not force you to hurt us? I wouldn’t wish the pain I’ve been through on my worst enemy.

  • nicole

    If one believes the Bible is NOT the infallible Word of God, but instead believes it to be the fallible word of mankind, why believe anything in it at all? Do people just use their own autonomous and self-glorifying judgement to pick and choose what suits their fancy?

  • nicole

    If there is no God to determine objective morality, then what could be wrong with hundreds of Yemeni women and children being slaughtered? Life just happens in a “might makes right” world. Because God allows mankind the free-will to pursue their sinful desires does not mean mankind is not responsible for the resulting chaos, suffering, and death. Thankfully, God has revealed there will be justice for those slaughtered. Without God, there is no justice. We will all ultimately stand before our Creator and be held accountable for our every thought, word and deed. Are you ready?

  • nicole

    By offering a critique of other Christians, isn’t the author failing to take his own advice when he states, “Aren’t we supposed to be more focused on
    that logjam in our own eye . . . with our own plank if you will?” I’m also curious why Mr. Distefano presumes “hate the sin” refers solely to the sin of homosexuality, which he assures readers he does not personally consider to be sinful. Thankfully, none of us will be held accountable to Mr. Distefano’s arbitrary standard of righteousness!

  • Susan Foley

    Depends on what you mean by “safe” doesn’t it? People who believe in God obviously don’t think it means that you have a life without sorrow, without trouble, without death.

  • Chari McCauley

    And, usually from the very people who do all the judging, ironic, huh?

    If the thief can “gaslight” you into thinking that somebody else did all the stealing, then the thief can keep stealing from you anonymously.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Is there a way to be safely murdered or safely raped?

  • Christian skeptics for want of a better name talk about their god all the time as in my god wouldn’t/would/is ……..fill in the blanks.

    Why doesn’t that offend you?

  • jamesparson

    Stop telling atheists that they secretly believe in God and just don’t want to admit it because they want to sin
    Stop telling atheists that you will pray for them
    Stop telling atheists that God believes in them
    Stop telling atheists that they are morally deficient.
    Stop telling atheists to read the Bible.

    I had best stop. I doubt anyone will read it anyway.

  • jamesparson

    Stop telling atheists that they secretly believe in God and just don’t want to admit it because they want to sin
    Stop telling atheists that you will pray for them
    Stop telling atheists that God believes in them
    Stop telling atheists that they are morally deficient.
    Stop telling atheists to read the Bible.

    I had best stop. I doubt anyone will read it anyway.

  • jamesparson

    Stop telling atheists that they secretly believe in God and just don’t want to admit it because they want to sin
    Stop telling atheists that you will pray for them
    Stop telling atheists that God believes in them
    Stop telling atheists that they are morally deficient.
    Stop telling atheists to read the Bible.

    I had best stop. I doubt anyone will read it anyway.

  • jamesparson

    I really really don’t get the strangers claiming they love me routine.

    99.9….9% I don’t know them personally. I don’t have ill will, but for the most part I am apathetic. I won’t get in the way of their life and I hope they don’t get in the way of mine.

  • jamesparson

    There still might be parts that are interesting

  • Sandpirate

    No joke, I have a neighbor who only reads King James because they think it is the oldest Bible out there. “It’s been around for 2 thousand years, the rest are too new and don’t get it right.” Yes, you read that right, they think King James version is 2 thousand years old. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that not only was it only 4-5 hundred years old, but that he was likely a closeted gay man (or at least there are theories on that).

  • Sandpirate

    I think a lot of people say it out of habit. Especially here in the south.

  • Bill B

    I think in the most literal sense it means “I hope you have a day in which you are made happy”. However, I think often it is more about the person saying it trying to show you they are nice people.

  • Zenmyme

    I am a southerner, myself, having not lived there in many years. But, you are correct. Southerners say a lot of stuff, like ‘Bless your heart”, not always meant in a nice way.

  • Zenmyme

    Or to bond as a religious person. I just say, “You, too”

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Not sure you are interested in an ex-Baptist/turned Atheist POV but here ya go.. As a former minister…I have been guilty of saying all that
    “The Bible clearly says . . .”
    An oldy but goody. Me: “How is it that 40,000 differing Christian sects cannot agree on what that book says?” Then I sometimes flex my seminary muscles and show them some clear examples of inconsistencies…(just for funsies)

    “God’s ways are higher than our ways.”

    There could be a weed joke there..but I won’t

    “I’m a Bible-believing Christian.”

    As opposed to a Quran-believing Christian?

    “Jesus preached about hell more than heaven.”

    I often respond: Which hell do you mean? There are four hells in the Bible – Sheol (grave), Gehenna (a real garbage burn site in the valley of Hinnon), Hades (Greek underworld) and Tartarus (other Greek underworld).

    “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

    You said it best: “Or, how about we just love people?” If you Christians could all )or mostly) get behind that..people may come back to you.

    “Jesus is my personal Lord and Savior.”

    After I thought about that one – I came up with a formula. If you do not have the ability to (at least potentially) have lunch with another entity…then you do not have a personal relationship. Period.

    “This is a Christian nation.”

    This is a secular nation that happened to be organized by people who were largely of a Christian culture.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Because the hatred of homosexuals is at the forefront of most fundamentalists’ ire?

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Because any document written by humans can contain many correct things and some error. Let’s say you have a textbook on accounting…99.9% of is correct. One page has a tiny error about some obscure point of depreciation. Is that really going to stop you from being an effective accountant?

    Do people just use their own autonomous and ….. judgement to pick and choose what suits their fancy? If backed by evidence…sure.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Indeed….I would say one of the big reasons for my shift to atheism is due to my deep study of the Bible.

    “Stop telling atheists that they secretly believe in God and just don’t want to admit it because they want to sin..”

    I usually reply: “Given your obvious deep insight into my personal life, what sin do you think I am committing and desire to continue doing?” CRICKETS.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    thus the Problem of Evil (Theodicy) is born..

  • TheMountainHumanist

    It would also help if they would just admit the Old Testament may not be necessary for their religion. Just drop it.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    I had a lady tell me: If the KJV was good enough for Paul..it’s good enough for me…wait..what?

  • TheMountainHumanist

    It is especially curious that many will say God is mysterious and then claim to know what god wants of us…

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Doesn’t bother me….I get they mean blessed as happy. I usually just reply and you have a happy day as well.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    well bless yo heart!

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Which words and why would they be considered immoderate?

  • TheMountainHumanist

    And the lizard aliens pay George Soros…right?

  • TheMountainHumanist

    What makes you think a god determines objective morality. If it exists..perhaps god is equally bound to it?

    However, seems that morality is a mental construct by humans in the context of social groups. The best evidence indicates morality is based on the consensus of a given society. True..that means some societies will come up with morals that most other societies find wrong (Jews must be killed!). But it is also true that we all share more or less the same human needs so it makes sense we would all construct similar moral codes…because it works best to keep us alive and thriving as a cohesive group..no god neeed.

    “Without God, there is no justice.” Why would you think that true?

  • TheMountainHumanist

    With hand sanitizer?

  • TheMountainHumanist

    It goes back to the Euphythro (sp?) dilemma — “Is it the case that god is willing but unable to stop (Bad Thing X). Or is it the case that god is able but unwilling to stop it?

    If 1. then god is not all powerful. If 2. then God is content to not stop horrible things from happening and would be considered immoral.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Contrarian question: By associating a particular figure with an emotional state or ideal…aren’t you just transforming that entity into a metaphor?

  • TheMountainHumanist

    What do you mean by “control” as it relates to god….is it a very intricate control…like making sure every snowflake is a certain pattern? Or is it more like setting a thermostat on a certain temperature and then leaving it to do its thing?

  • nicole

    If morality is merely a mental construct, then it is not objective, but subjective personal preferences, like chocolate ice-cream vs. vanilla. Accordingly, you can’t say there’s anything wrong with anything, including rape, mass genocide, or baby torture. No, not all cultures construct similar moral codes. Some don’t agree with your personal preference that it’s best to keep us alive and thriving. That’s just your personal opinion.

  • nicole

    You can’t compare the Holy Scriptures, which claims to be the inerrant Word of the Creator, who inspired the authors to pen a supernatural revelation, which teaches mankind what to believe concerning their Creator and what duty our Creator requires of mankind with any other document. You either believe the Scriptures are the infallible Word of our Creator or you don’t. If it’s merely the word of mankind claiming to be God, then it’s written by a bunch of liars and worthless.

  • nicole

    I’m not following you. When the author hypocritically focuses on the logjam in other Christians eyes whom he claims are wrong for citing, “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” he wrongly assumes the sin of homosexuality is the one and only sin being referenced in this saying. Homosexuality is the ONLY sin to be hated??? There are many additional sins which God commands believers to abhor, especially the sin of hypocrisy.

  • Gretchen Pritchard

    Where do the Holy Scriptures claim to be the inerrant Word of the Creator?

  • Iain Lovejoy

    By “God” in the classic Christian sense is meant whatever is the ongoing source from which everything that exists emanates; everything that happens from second to second is generated by God, including ourselves. If all that exists were a movie, God would be the movie projector producing it. That’s the “control” bit, and much like your “every snowflake” option.
    But God also creates creation, both us individually and in a sense collectively, with free will. Even as he creates each moment, he creates the next moment in accordance with the internal logic, rules and will of what he is creating. So while he could simply choose whatever pattern he wanted, instead, to give us self-creating free will, each snowflake is formed into new patterns in accordance with how the universe plays itself out. (Bad) analogies would be with an author who allows the plot to develop naturally according to how the author perceives the characters of the protagonists, or a jazz musician improvising who plays according to where the tune takes them. This is the “setting the thermostat” bit.
    The third element (for a Christian) is God working within the (self-imposed) restrictions of preserving he universe’s independent existence and free will to restore the (self-inflicted) damage done by that free will going wrong through sin and leading to suffering and death. The preeminent way this has occurred (says the Christian) is in God’s intervening directly in the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus.
    (This at least is what I am talking about.)

  • Bill Burnette

    It’s in the book! Every move we’re ever supposed to make…

  • Bill Burnette

    Face palm…

  • NS Alito

    Hail Pedantia!
    The core premise of Christianity is salvation from a problem caused by people thousands of years earlier, back in one of the OT stories.

  • nicole

    Or perhaps it’s God is able but unwilling to stop Bad Thing X for morally sufficient reasons beyond your finite and fallible reasoning skills.

  • nicole

    You’ve never hurt anyone? Will you have to answer for that someday?

  • nicole

    Some thirty-eight hundred times the Bible declares, “God said,” or “Thus says the Lord.” Here is a sample of some Scripture verses which claim to be the authoritative Word of God:
    The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8).
    Forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89).
    The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul (Psalm 19:7).
    See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it (Deuteronomy 12:32).
    Is not my word like a fire says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? (Jeremiah 23:29).
    All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
    For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21)
    Jesus speaking: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18)
    Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:12-13)

  • nicole

    “I’m a Bible-believing Christian.” As opposed to a non-Bible-believing faux-Christian.
    In other words, “Not every one who says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). As to your belief that one can only have a relationship if they’re able to have lunch with another entity: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). When Christians say “Love the sinner,” which people do you assume they are not advocating we love? Not seeing your claimed “clear” inconsistencies.

  • nicole

    You really had a poor Christian education if you believe the Old Testament is not necessary for Christian faith. Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17–18). The Old Testament was the authoritative Word of God appealed to by Jesus. When tempted in the wilderness, Jesus repeatedly answered Satan with “It is written” as a final, unanswerable rebuttal—in each case He was referring to the Old Testament, of course. After His resurrection, Jesus likewise showed two downcast disciples on the road to Emmaus how “beginning with Moses and with all the prophets”, the OT pointed to Him (Luke 24:27).

  • nicole

    Why “should” Christians do or stop doing anything? Aren’t you imposing onto others a morality which is based solely on your subjective personal preferences? You like chocolate ice-cream, others like Vanilla. Why should others stop liking vanilla?

  • nicole

    This would make sense for the God-hater to subjectively interpret the Bible based upon nothing more than personal interest. But for those who claim to submit to God of the Bible, like the author of this article, it makes no sense to arbitrarily accept as authoritative, objective Truth some parts of the Bible, and disregard other parts that don’t suit your fancy. The Bible is either authoritative Truth or it’s not.

  • nicole

    Untrue. The Founders identified themselves as Christians. In 1776, every European American, with the exception of about 2,500 Jews, identified himself as a Christian. Moreover, 98 percent of the colonists were Protestants, with the remaining 1.9 percent being Roman Catholics.

  • jamesparson

    Interesting. Thanks for your reply.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    “You really had a poor Christian education if you believe the Old Testament is not necessary for Christian faith. ”

    Yeah…two years at one of the most evangelical seminaries in the US….sure that’s poor.

    The idea that the OT MUST be linked to Christianity is not a brute fact of nature…tis simply an artificial construction by councils of the past. Even Paul wrote “there is no Greek or Jew in Christ.”

    I am not saying we do not recognize the historical context of xtianity as an offshoot…but given its status as a separate religion….the churches could indeed separate from the nastiness of the OT (in fact that’s what the Gnostic Christians advocate). Christianity has never balked in adapting its beliefs to the zeitgeist of its day.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    “”I’m a Bible-believing Christian.” As opposed to a non-Bible-believing faux-Christian.”

    It’s a well-known phrase used by fundy denoms like Baptists to underline their belief in biblical inerrancy.

    “”Not every one who says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). ”

    Indeed…you have many sects of the religion who believe only they have “the truth” of the Bible and all other sects are wrong.

    “””As to your belief that one can only have a relationship if they’re able to have lunch with another entity: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” “””

    Not sure how your repeating a text actually addresses my point — which still stands.

    “When Christians say “Love the sinner,” which people do you assume they are not advocating we love?”

    Gay people for one….

  • TheMountainHumanist

    “Or perhaps it’s God is able but unwilling to stop Bad Thing X for morally sufficient reasons beyond your finite and fallible reasoning skills.”

    If so…then why would God reveal anything at all about its nature…seems like poor communication skills.

    If you admit we both have “finite and fallible reasoning skills” then you must surely see that your Christian dogma could also be wrong.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Meh…Christianity has always shown a willingness to adapt principles to new cultural shifts. You could still have an NT based on the concepts of the OT but reject the nasty stuff (“the authors were wrong that Yahweh condoned slavery!”). It could be done (in fact many sects of Christianity are slowing shedding the “hell is a place of torture” model). After all — this forum is called Progressive Christianity…..it could “progress.”

  • TheMountainHumanist

    I guess one move we are permitted to take (per Exodus and Leviticus) is to own slaves????

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Those are all interesting claims…..were they built on compelling evidence I guess I would have remained a Christian.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Perhaps you wrongly assume homosexuality is a sin. Can you demonstrate with evidence that it is? How do you know?

    I agree that many Christian sects tend to laser focus on one set of behaviors they believe are sins but then ignore the others.

    The Baptists of my youth were very focused on the “sin” of drinking alcohol….but they had no problem with gluttony…lol

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Actually I can compare them..I just did. You hit the nail on the head….it is a book that CLAIMS to be inerrant but yet is full of errors.

    And…it is one book among many in history purported to be a god’s “revelation.”

    “You either believe the Scriptures are the infallible Word of our Creator or you don’t.”

    I agree, I do not.

    ” If it’s merely the word of mankind claiming to be God, then it’s written by a bunch of liars and worthless.”

    Sounds like a false dichotomy…there are other possibilities. The writers could simply be mistaken or they may not have intended for parts to be literal.

    Also..just because any given text has errors does not invalidate the whole book….like most ancient texts…the Bible has some good advice (and some horrible advice). Although they were not unique, some alleged sayings of jesus are fine.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    “If morality is merely a mental construct, then it is not objective, but subjective personal preferences, ”

    I half agree…morality is subjective but is established across various societies by consensus.

    “you can’t say there’s anything wrong with anything, ” Sure you can. My society agrees these are harmful things and I agree as well. If this society suddenly said rape was right..I would simply no longer be a part of that society.

    “not all cultures construct similar moral codes. ”

    I agree…which shows again why there is no objective morality. However, given that all humans have similar needs and must live in social groups to survive….most moral codes are pretty darn close.

    “Some don’t agree with your personal preference that it’s best to keep us alive and thriving.”

    Of course..there will always be deviant individuals and societies — which is why we have conflict. For example, the Bible condones slavery….our modern culture does not.

    “That’s just your personal opinion.” No…it’s the opinion of a given society.

    And you have yet to demonstrate there is an objective morality….where is it..show it? Show me the book? The Bible? Then why does the Bible condone genocide and slavery? They are objectively moral?

    It seems like you simply do not like the fact that humans as societies construct morals because you do not like the fact that many behaviors might be right in some instances and wrong in others (for example….murder vs. killing in self-defense). So, you insist on an objective standard…even though your holy book presents subjective morality.

  • sushisnake

    So are you saying the only reason you don’t personally rape, murder and pillage is god, Nicole? Because god will hold you accountable?

    Funny. I’m an atheist and I don’t rape, murder and pillage because it’s destructively anti-social and unempathetic. I do unto others as I’d have them do unto me and hold myself fully accountable for my thoughts, words and deeds- no third party punishment/reward necessary. I call it being human, no god required.

  • sushisnake

    Wrong! At least three reads. ☺

  • sushisnake

    Does that mean you do nothing about people you hurt NOW, Nicole, but will answer for it someday?

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Re “hells” in the Bible: “Sheol” and “Hades” are synonymous and neither are “hell” as such, just the place the dead go generally (the issue is whether you end up in 1st class or steerage!). Tartarus is mentioned once, but as a place where rebellious angels were imprisoned, not people.
    “Gehenna” is what Jesus refers to (when he uses a name) and it is also the name of a real place, but it was never a rubbish dump and that this is what is being referred to is a medieval myth. “Gehenna” in Jewish cosmology is a place sinners go to be cleansed of or pay for their sins prior to their final destination, rather than the permanent place of torment hell is normally thought of (there’s a good Wikipedia article, if you’re interested).
    Re having lunch with Jesus: what do you think mass / communion is supposed to be?

  • TheMountainHumanist

    I understand..I am only pointing out that in most English translations they are listed as hell.

    You are right about Gehenna…I wrote that based on some old recollections. It was indeed seen as both a real place (where probable child sacrifice took place) and as a spiritual concept in Judaism.

    “Re having lunch with Jesus: what do you think mass / communion is supposed to be?”

    A symbolic meal where Jesus is the main course (not the lunch companion).

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Jesus is both lunch companion and “main course” in Christian thought. The point is by sharing the meal Jesus becomes present in us doing so.

  • S R

    lol what. Maybe she was joking…?? I hope…

  • TheMountainHumanist

    It is certainly something some Christians claim….

  • songbird_63366

    I used to hear all the time, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.” It made me see red!

    If only we would remember as Christians that Christ came to give us but two commandments, and the second is to love our neighbors as ourselves. If we are judging them, demonizing them, denouncing them, excluding them or hating them, we are violating that commandment.

    It seems we are in a regressive era when fundamentalists are using their interpretation of the Bible with which to claim superiority over others. People in office use it to legislate against people, rather than for them. Many use it as a way to justify casting aspersions on others. We should be seeking unity, not division.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Nope.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    I’ve no intention of trying to convince you it’s true.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    No worries!

  • Lol

  • NelsonRobison

    All these phrases and more are a language all their own. And Christians use with impunity so that they insulate themselves from the rest of the world. Why? Do they need to insulate themselves from the rest of the world? Are they so special that they cannot speak the native tongue like normal people? I find it incredulous to think that I used to use a special vocabulary and syntax specific to Christians. This Christianese is not only insufferable but it cuts them off from the very people that they are trying to help and convert. For they lose touch with and find that they cannot relate to people that are “sinners,” according to them!

  • nicole

    Not at all. However, AJ has generalized “Christians” hurt “us” as if he is not guilty of hurting others. I’ve never met a human being alive who hasn’t hurt someone at some point in their life, whether intentionally or not. I’m not sure how you personally suggest society punish individuals for “hurting” others (that would depend if the hurting was committed against subjective feelings or against someone’s person or property), but I do know each of us will be held accountable to our Maker for every thought, word, and deed. Even you.

  • nicole

    You claim morality is established by society by consensus, but then contradict that statement when you say if society said rape was right, you would no longer be a part of that society (as if rape were objectively wrong apart from consensus). But if YOU decide what is right and what is wrong, what prevents others from doing the same? Who’s definition of “right” and “wrong” is the “right” one? How do you define, “deviant individual?” Someone who deviates from the consensus, like you when the consensus says rape is “right,” but you assert rape is “wrong” because YOU say so? The Bible does not endorse or condone genocide or slavery. There is recorded history of God using a specific people to judge a specific pagan nation whom God long-sufferingly gave 400 years to repent of their wicked deeds before passing judgement, but taken in context, neither genocide or slavery are generally prescribed by God. Though our modern culture does not condone slavery, this was not always the case and is not the case in some modern cultures today. But if morality is established by consensus, there was no reason to abolish slavery in the first place. Wouldn’t those who opposed slavery be considered “deviant individuals” according to your humanist worldview?

  • nicole

    No, I did not say the ONLY reason I don’t personally sin is to escape God’s righteous judgement. I don’t rape, murder, and pillage because those things are objectively wrong, not simply because I don’t personally dislike them at the moment. But as an Atheist, you have no rational reason to believe destructive, anti-social or unempathetic behavior is wrong, only that you don’t personally like to do it. You do unto others as you’d have them do unto you (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31) because you still live in a culture influenced by Christianity. Many cultures do not follow this precept. Otherwise, there’s no reason to hold yourself accountable for your thoughts, words or deeds. As long as you can get away with it, what does it matter? From an Atheistic worldview, one’s sole purpose is to eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die.

  • nicole

    I’m not a fundy Baptist, but I understand if you don’t believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, as it claims to be, then you have no business calling yourself a Christian. Just because sects exist which believe only they have the “truth” doesn’t mean there is no TRUTH. God’s Revelation is plain enough for even the simplest minds to know how salvation is obtained. A relationship is based upon a shared understanding, not lunch. Since Christians are saying, “Love the sinner,” and agree that “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” then that would include those individuals who engage in the sin of homosexuality. Are you perhaps suggesting it’s not loving to say homosexuality is a sin? But that would be lying, since God’s Word clearly states those who engage in homosexuality will not inherit the Kingdom of God, which I’m sure you already know. From a biblical worldview, leading the blind off of a cliff is not the loving thing to do.

  • nicole

    It matters not how many years you spent at a seminary, I stand by my original statement, IF you believe the Old Testament is not necessary for the Christian faith, you had a poor Christian education, indeed. Christ is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. He was in the beginning.

  • nicole

    You presume the “hatred of homosexuals” to be a sin. Can you demonstrate with evidence that it is? How do you know? Aren’t you just as guilty of “hatred of Christians?”

  • nicole

    Yes, it is no surprise that one who has contempt for God and His Word would compare the Holy Scriptures with say, the story of Little Red Riding Hood. However, my original comment was directed to the author, who claims to be a Christian (I should have been more specific). If one does not believe the Holy Scriptures to be Holy, informed or directed by the Holy Spirit, they have no business calling themselves Christian. We already know you are not.

  • nicole

    God shouldn’t reveal anything unless He reveals everything? Who are you to tell God what He should or shouldn’t do? To what infallible standard of righteousness do you appeal to judge God? Christian dogma is not based upon mankind’s finite and fallible reasoning, but on the certainty of the Holy-Spirit-directed Word of God, who alone is infinite and infallible.

  • sushisnake

    No Nicole. As an atheist, I don’t rape, murder and pillage because to do so would simply be wrong and as an atheist and secular Humanist I try to follow The Golden Rule- a code of conduct common to all religions and cultures all over the world and far, far older than your religion. Here’s a link to the chronology of the Golden Rule that makes it very plain it’s far older than Christianty, so your claim that I wouldn’t know about it if I wasn’t born into a Christian culture is just plain wrong. I’d know about it if I was born in ancient Greece, China, India or Australia. Humanity has aspired to empathetic social repricocity ever since humanity has existed. It’s not surprising, since many other animals behave morally, too. I’ll provide a link on animal morality as well.

    http://www.harryhiker.com/chronology.htm

    https://youtu.be/GcJxRqTs5nk

    ” From an Atheistic worldview…”
    Here’s a tip: instead of telling me what my worldview is, try asking me. I’ve never met an atheist who sees the world in the way you imagine we do. I don’t know why Christians feel telling someone else what they believe is righteous -or why they feel it’s effective for anything other than offending people. I suspect it’s because trotting out the tired, stupid old stereotype of sinful atheists who eat, drink and be merry with no thought for tomorrow isn’t for the atheist’s benefit, it’s for the Christian echo chamber.

  • sushisnake

    Well, I’m relieved you don’t wait til you meet your maker to make amends for the hurt you’ve inflicted on others, Nicole. It may surprise you to know I don’t either. In fact, the fact I don’t believe in a maker means I am wholly accountable for my own actions right now, no waiting for divine justice, any justice in this world will have to come from humanity itself. There’s no god to provide it, you see. So I differ from people of faith in wanting universal justice NOW, in this life, for everybody. Waiting for a divine parent to sort it out when I get home just doesn’t cut the mustard. It also doesn’t fit history: every bit of social progress humanity has made has come from humanity, from public sanitation to preventing a third of our children dying from preventable illnesses and everything in between. Sticky human fingerprints all over human progress, no evidence of divine ones.

  • Pofarmer

    This. It’s the one argument that makes the Free Will argument look as silly as it actually is.

  • Pofarmer

    If God could create a perfect Heaven with Free Will, he could create a perfect Earth with free will. He’s said to he tri omni, remember?

  • Pofarmer

    Christian dogma is not based upon mankind’s finite and fallible reasoning, but on the certainty of the Holy-Spirit-directed Word of God,

    Just a short programming note, but don’t we falliable humans get the Spirit Directed Word through, uhm, other falliable people?

  • Pofarmer

    If you want to claim objective morality you need to demonstrate it, and demonstrate how it’s objective and universally accesible. Good luck.

  • Pofarmer

    Where is tartarus in the bible?

  • Pofarmer

    God is mysterious, and powerful enough to create a universe billions of light years across, yet vitally concerned about the skin at the tip of your penis.

  • Pofarmer

    Edward Asner wrote a pretty good book “The Curmugeonly Historian” that deals with the founding Fathers and there beliefs. At the end I found it too short.

  • sushisnake

    Komodo dragons are apex predators. They hunt in packs. They will administer a small, but very poisonous, lethal bite to the prey animal, then they let it go. They track it over several days as the prey animal comes become sicker and weaker. When it finally falls down and can’t get up again, the pack of Komodo dragons come in and tear it apart, devouring it alive.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Komodo_dragon

    What do human beings have to do with Komoda dragon behaviour? How did we create the ugly, confused world they operate in? Please note the Komoda dragon is only the first example of egregiously cruel animal behaviour I thought of- there are many, many more. How does animal suffering square with your belief in an all-loving god? Short answer: it doesn’t, unless you are incredibly, blindly anthropocentric. Ditto animal morality.

  • sushisnake

    I get that, Laura, but once you bring the rest of the universe into it – the other 99.99% of it that isn’t human- and note all the egregious suffering, cruelty and violence, how can you possibly believe there is an omnibenevolent god?

  • sushisnake

    I’m sorry, Nate, but “God is Love” is no more compelling than “God is Life” or “God is tri-omni”. It doesn’t change anything. It’s still devoid of evidence. You can’t convincingly define a thing in terms of the character traits you attribute to it unless you start with evidence for the thing itself. I could just as easily proclaim “God is Egregious Cruelty” and point you at the Komodo dragon to support my argument. God still doesn’t exist, as I once thought.

  • sushisnake

    Yep.

  • sushisnake

    Rape is as common as dirt in the rest of the animal kingdom. If your god and objective morality was real, no animal which couldn’t exercise free will would practise rape. Only human beings, who can chose to rape by practising free will, would do so. Ditto killing babies- happens constantly in the rest of the animal kingdom, often within its own pack – the males kill all the young to bring the females into season. And genocide, though we tend to call it extinction when talking about other species. Unless of course you are of the anthropocentric view that only human beings matter and not the other 99.99% of the universe, in which case you just need to don your “made in God’s image” googles and fuck the rest of the planet/universe.

  • sushisnake

    They won’t. They just trot out their poster children tropes- rape, torturing babies and genocide, and they are very, VERY careful to keep it about human beings while being willfully blind to the rest of the universe. I would too, because once you bring the rest of the animal kingdom into it, the argument for omnibenevolence falls flat on its face.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    One of the Peters…hang on

    Aha I was half right and half wrong (wait this is Disqus…I will NEVER ADMIT TO BE WRONG!)

    In the New Testament, the noun Tartarus does not occur but tartaroo (ταρταρόω, “throw to Tartarus”), a shortened form of the classical Greek verb kata-tartaroo (“throw down to Tartarus”), does appear in 2 Peter 2:4

  • TheMountainHumanist

    I’m not a Christian…notice what I wrote was in quotes from someone else.

    ” Are you perhaps suggesting it’s not loving to say homosexuality is a sin?”
    Given that it’s not….yes. In fact, many sects do not see it as a sin….so Christianity as a whole in in disagreement.

    ” God’s Word clearly states those who engage in homosexuality will not inherit the Kingdom of God”

    You might want to dig into that verse that makes you think that….

  • Pofarmer

    Thanks!

  • TheMountainHumanist

    I never said it was a sin. I reject the concept of sin.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Correct I am not.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    So are you saying seminaries are useless and ministers should not get educated? hmmmm

    Your opinions are noted.

  • Doubting Thomas

    If there is no God to determine objective morality, then what could be
    wrong with hundreds of Yemeni women and children being slaughtered?

    I fail to see how the addition of a god to the equation changes anything. In the Old Testament, god orders the slaughter of countless women and children. Does that make it objectively right?

  • TheMountainHumanist

    “You claim morality is established by society by consensus, but then contradict that statement when you say if society said rape was right, you would no longer be a part of that society (as if rape were objectively wrong apart from consensus).”

    In no way is that contradictory. I have my morals….my morals either conform to a given society or not. If they do…fine. If not…I am free to move to another society. We saw that happen in WW2 Germany as many Germans left their homes.

    ” But if YOU decide what is right and what is wrong, what prevents others from doing the same? ”

    Nothing. That’s literally what each of us do.

    “Who’s definition of “right” and “wrong” is the “right” one?” On an individual scale…you do..it’s called ethics. Morality is basically ethics on a societal scale.

    “How do you define, “deviant individual?”” One whose normative behavior is at odds with society (usually as it applies with causing harm to others).

    “”””” Someone who deviates from the consensus, like you when the consensus says rape is “right,” but you assert rape is “wrong” because YOU say so? “”””

    I say so. My society says so. In fact, we feel its so wrong that we add sanctioned force behind the moral as law.

    ” The Bible does not endorse or condone genocide or slavery.”

    The Bible condones both. Yahweh commands his people to kill other tribes wholesale. The Bible gives instructions on how to capture, own and beat slaves.

    “Though our modern culture does not condone slavery, this was not always the case” So morality changes over time?

    “But if morality is established by consensus, there was no reason to abolish slavery in the first place.”

    Indeed that was the case in early America. Southern Christians used the Bible to justify slavery. There is plenty of reasons to abolish slavery. That you would need a book to tell you why it’s wrong or not..is telling.

    “Wouldn’t those who opposed slavery be considered “deviant individuals” according to your humanist worldview?”””

    No. I have no idea how you conclude that. My morality (and the majority of human morality) states that causing harm to others is wrong. There are many reasons why such a moral is natural and rational. We don;t need an old book to tell us. We knew causing harm was destructive before the Bible and after.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    I’m unclear who you thin compares the Bible to LRR. Just like the Reg Veda, Quran, Greek myths, Native myths, the Bible is an important work…it shows us what ancient people believed and why..and how they viewed the world.

    I actually agree….I tend to say a Christian is someone who more or less affirms the Apostles Creed. You guys are “People of the Book” and a person who does not see the book as holy I would not consider a Christian. At some point, you have to have a standard to maintain a definition/label.

  • nicole

    First you claim morality (defining right vs. wrong) is determined by consensus, then you say if the consensus were to determine rape is right, you would seek another consensus which agrees with your personal opinion that rape is objectively wrong. But you have failed to account for how you personally determine rape is objectively wrong from a Humanist point of view. To what objective authoritative source of morality are you appealing? Neither the “consensus” or your personal opinion can be the source because both are subject to change. Only an unchanging standard of right and wrong which applies to all people at all times in all places, regardless of “consensus” your or my personal opinions, which are subject to change, can be the source of objective standards of right and wrong. When God commanded His people to kill unrepentant pagan nations who were under His judgment, this is not condoning arbitrary genocide. It’s a specific example of God’s justice. There is a difference. Because sinful humankind justifies their wrongdoing using Scripture out-of-context, does not mean God’s Word condones the sinful behavior. I agree there are reasons why believing causing harm to others is objectively wrong, however you have failed to provide a single rational explanation. Neither the subjective opinions of the “consensus” nor your own personal subjective opinions can be the source. Without the biblical God, right and wrong are reduced to mere personal preferences.

  • nicole

    Yes, God used Israel to judge an unrepentant Pagan nation, whom He had given 400 years to repent of their wickedness. This instance of recorded history of God’s judgment is not a general prescription for murder, which God condemns. Ones purpose is justice, the other malice. However, you still have not provided a rational explanation as to how you can claim any behavior is objectively right or wrong.

  • nicole

    Earlier you stated you believe the Bible to be full of errors, or multiple deviations from the truth. Can you give specific deviations from the truth? Also, to what infallible standard of truth do you appeal to judge the supposed non-truthfulness of Scripture?

  • nicole

    That is not my opinion.

  • nicole

    If you reject the concept of sin, then it’s irrational for you to claim there’s something wrong with hating homosexuals or rape, only that you do not personally like it. You like chocolate ice-cream, others like vanilla. But it is nonsensical to claim there’s something morally wrong with liking vanilla.

  • nicole

    I’ve dug into the entire Bible to determine God’s plain teaching on the abomination of sodomy. Sects can arbitrarily make-up anything they want to justify anything. However, God’s Word, in context, is the authority on TRUTH.

  • nicole

    Yes, I’m familiar with how common rape and murder are in the animal kingdom. I see my roosters brutally rape my hens every day. But God does not hold non-moral beings (i.e. animals) to the same moral standard. Animals will not be judged the way you and I will be judged. And why don’t we hold animals to the same standard we do human beings? Why do we say it’s wrong for a man to rape a woman, but it’s not wrong for a rooster to rape a hen? What’s wrong if someone “[bleeps] the rest of the planet/universe” if objective, unchanging standards of right and wrong do not exist? You act as if there is some duty required of humankind.

  • sushisnake

    Yet animals DO behave morally:

    https://youtu.be/GcJxRqTs5nk

    And I DO believe humankind has a duty to behave according to The Golden Rule- because we, and many other animals, can conceive of it and act accordingly. Not because some god tells us to, but because social reciprocity is the safest, most surefire way for a species to thrive and coexist with other species.

    And you missed my point about objective morality. If morality was objectively wrong, those animals you believed were non-moral wouldn’t rape because they couldn’t chose to break an objective moral rule: no Free Will, remember? They’d be bound by god’s laws, his moral absolutes. Only humans would have the Free Will to break moral absolutes. The fact that rape is rife in the animal kingdom makes it plain rape is not objectively wrong, just as the egregious suffering inflicted by parasitic wasps and Komodo dragons isn’t objectively, morally wrong- both happen every minute of every day. Subjectively wrong, certainly – I’m relieved I’m not a hen, or a female dolphin, or prey for parasitic wasps or Komodo dragons- but clearly not OBJECTIVELY wrong, or it wouldn’t happen.

    objective
    əbˈdʒɛktɪv/Submit
    adjective
    1.
    (of a person or their judgement) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.
    “historians try to be objective and impartial”
    synonyms: impartial, unbiased, unprejudiced, non-partisan, disinterested, non-discriminatory, neutral, uninvolved, even-handed, equitable, fair, fair-minded, just, open-minded, dispassionate, detached, impersonal, unemotional, clinical.

    The only way you can claim morality is objective is by being completely anthropocentric and ignoring 99.99% of life on this planet. Not to mention all the things that used to be considered moral abominations but no longer are, like eating shellfish, or how morality varies from place to place, country to country, culture to culture. Morality is subjective. It’s a social agreement arising out of a given culture.

    I suppose in the end it doesn’t really matter. I behave morally because I know it’s the right thing to do. You behave morally because god tells you it’s the right thing to do. In the final analysis, we both behave morally, it’s just I hold myself accountable to myself and every being on the planet, while you hold yourself accountable to an off-world supernatural being.

    It would be nice to have a universally agreed human moral code. If we ever manage it, it will come from the secular world, not from the faith based one. Why? Because each faith thinks it’s Right. Each one of the 40,000+ Christian sects alone thinks it’s Right, and everyone else is Wrong.

  • sushisnake

    I’ve learned only recently that the “sin” they’re almost always talking about is sex outside marriage. Tickles this 52 year old lady everytime it’s thrown at me, now. Been such a long time since my hormones ruled my head I can barely remember what it was like. Happily single, curled up with a good book, in the bosom of family and friends. The idea that I deny god cos I just wanna get laid is absurd. Like something out of Monty Python. Methinks Christian fixation on “sin” says more about them than it does about me.

    Actually studying the bible cemented my atheism, too, but religious pluralism and evolution’s greatest fuck ups got me there.

  • sushisnake

    I really wish each of the 40,000+ Christian sects would stop saying “We’re Right! We have the monopoly on the TRUTH! We are the ONLY TRUE CHRISTIANS! Everyone else is Wrong and NOT True Christians!”

    Perhaps they could get together and sort out their differences first before presuming to preach at everyone outside their individual sect? After all, they’ve had more than two millennia to get their story straight. Secular Humanists as a group are discussing how to go about coming up with a universally agreed code of human morality. Meanwhile, Christians still can’t agree who’s got the best Jesus after 2,000 years. And they wonder why few in the West want their product.

  • nicole

    Objective morality is universally accessible because everyone universally lives as if morality is objective. Even you. If I describe the gruesome details of the atrocities committed under Khmer Rouge, the millions who died in labor camps from torture, starvation, exhaustion or disease, while others were beaten to death or suffocated with bags during mass executions in “killing fields,” there is only one word to accurately describe those actions – evil. But if moral relativism is true, as you suggest, then these events cannot be objectively evil or wicked, but must be merely one culture’s preference which must be tolerated and not judged wrong. If there is evil in the world, it is only because morality is objective and people do things that are actually wrong. If moral relativism is true, you should end everything you state with, “Just ignore everything I’ve said, I’m just emoting.” But you don’t live in the morally relativistic world you claim exists. People never want others to be moral relativists towards them, they just want to be relativists towards everyone else.
    Likewise, if you want to claim subjective morality or moral relativism is true, you also need to demonstrate it and how it’s universally accessible. Good luck to you. I’ve found Atheists to be much better at offense than defense.

  • nicole

    While we’re on this joint quest for truth, let’s do some deep soul-searching and figure out why we have that something we see inside ourselves (only we know about) that we don’t like. A sense of moral brokenness. We could call it guilt. Maybe just maybe, we feel guilty because we are guilty of breaking the objective moral laws of the Moral Lawgiver, who we are beholden to. The right response to guilt is NOT denial, which is moral relativism, but forgiveness, which is where Jesus comes in. The Christian message conforms to reality. We all know we live in a deeply moral world, that we are moral creatures, and we’ve broken the moral law. The Moral Lawgiver of the universe provided the rescue plan, becoming Man and taking on Himself the punishment that you and I both deserve. That’s the Gospel Message.

  • nicole

    Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 3:2, 15-16.

  • mikehorn

    Thanking god for things like food or a successful surgery or wealth or health.

    Thank farmers and the scientists who figured out how to consistently grow amazing harvests year after year.

    Thank the surgeon and the surgical team. Thank the person who came up with antisepsis and germ theory. Thank the researchers who figured out anesthic. Thank the wealthy economy that supports a robust medical community.

    Thank your one hard work and thriftiness. Thank the people who insisted on roads and power lines and schools other investments of public tax dollars.

    Thank food safety regulations and people that figured out how to store and transport perishables to provide abundance, especially during childhood when nutrition is crucial.

  • ChevalBlanc

    Thanks for the heads up. Just by virtue of having an awesome title, it sounds fantabulous!

  • Pofarmer

    Uh huh. circular argument is circular.

  • Pofarmer

    You’re attempting to do theology on an atheist. You’re talking bubbles here. You’ve succumbed to a religion based in guilt.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    I remember when I found out how the Bible was actually decided (i.e. through political committees). I had always assumed the Bible was somehow always the same. Then I learned that the original canons had several books considered authoritative but later thrown out.
    How could the “Word of Almighty God” be cobbled together by committees that each had their own agendas?

    From there…it occurred to me that whatever was god had no Word…and then I realized I could not justify my beliefs with evidence,,,and..atheism

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Indeed…you have an opinion. Other people have other opinions. Nothing makes either fact.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    That argument contains a number of fallacies.

    First…I reject the religious construct of sin because it implies a god. i do not reject the idea that some behaviors are considered wrong by me (ethics) and wrong by many societies (morality). No gods are needed.

    I agree…morality is relative. I like a state of non-harm (my ice cream). Because I am human and share similar needs and protections as other humans…we form societies…and societies create their morals. Notice they are similar but can change over various societies.

    For example, in the Old Testament, slavery is considered not immoral. The Bible gives instructions for how to capture, own and even beat slaves. Today, neither (most) Christians nor (most) Jews would consider slavery moral or to be condoned.

    For example…we would all mostly agree that lying is wrong (for a variety of reasons). However, there are situations where lying could be the most moral action (for example, let’s say you lie to a Nazi about hiding Jews in your attic).

    I think what you are projecting is a strong desire for morality to be objective. I understand that wish — it would be nice if it were all clean cut. But we live in a messy world. Morality has to reflect the needs of a society in order to be accepted and workable.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    It’s certainly not fact 🙂

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Here’s an exhaustive list

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/number.html

    “Also, to what infallible standard of truth do you appeal to judge the supposed non-truthfulness of Scripture?”

    Empirical facts of reality. For example, the Bible depicts the sky as a dome that holds back water with lights attached to the ceiling. This is incorrect.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    First you claim morality (defining right vs. wrong) is determined by consensus, then you say if the consensus were to determine rape is right, you would seek another consensus which agrees with your personal opinion that rape is objectively wrong.

    True except for the objectively part.

    But you have failed to account for how you personally determine rape is objectively wrong from a Humanist point of view.

    Not a problem.

    To what objective authoritative source of morality are you appealing?

    The facts of nature. To rape is harm another. First, I do not wish to be harmed. I (and you) do not wish to be raped so why would we agree it’s a right action? If you and I found ourselves in a society where rape was considered “right” — we would flee..yes? Societies that condone constant violence against one another do not survive…they are eventually destroyed from within. We as humans want to survive and thrive…so we form societies that teach non-harm. Thus the standard of non-harm is my standard (and yours). BTW…you may not want to use rape as an example….the OT condones it.

    “Neither the “consensus” or your personal opinion can be the source because both are subject to change. ”

    Why can’t a source be subject to change? The Bible has changed many times in its history. We acknowledge the dictionary as our source of vocabulary….but ..meanings change over time.

    “Only an unchanging standard of right and wrong which applies to all people at all times in all places, regardless of “consensus” your or my personal opinions, which are subject to change, can be the source of objective standards of right and wrong.”

    What makes you think that?

    “When God commanded His people to kill unrepentant pagan nations who were under His judgment, this is not condoning arbitrary genocide. It’s a specific example of God’s justice.”

    So to God..sometimes killing is justified and sometimes not….does not sound unchanging to us.

    “Because sinful humankind justifies their wrongdoing using Scripture out-of-context, does not mean God’s Word condones the sinful behavior.”

    That’s assuming the unwarranted/unproven claim that this law-giving god exists.

    “Neither the subjective opinions of the “consensus” nor your own personal subjective opinions can be the source.”

    Why not? The fact is..they are. Ask yourself why you think slavery is immoral. That will clear it up.

    “Without the biblical God, right and wrong are reduced to mere personal preferences.”

    Again….morality is defined as societal preferences. Ethics would be personal preferences.

    Your biblical god condoned slavery in the OT (and don;t try to argue it was indentured servitude…it was not). So either slavery is objective OK or it’s wrong because societies can decide it’s wrong.

  • Pofarmer

    Uhm, Nicole. Think about this for a moment. Your third sentence contradicts your first sentence. By the nature of those events happening, there must not be access to objective morality. Take the mass Slaughter in Rwanda. There was a Catholic Bishop and two Priests convicted of War Crimes, for Petes sake. Some objective morality. Same thing in Kosovo, etc, etc, et. al. Evil is a human construct, and not everyone thinks the same things are evil. It used to be, for instance, that conquering armies would systematically rape all the women in the villages they conquered. They saw it as spreading their seed. Today we see it as deeply immoral.

    But you don’t live in the morally relativistic world you claim exists.
    People never want others to be moral relativists towards them, they
    just want to be relativists towards everyone else.

    Absolutely I do, and you do to, you just don’t want to admit it. I live in a world where morality is defined by society. Morals have changed over time as societies have changed. Maybe that bothers you, but it’s the demonstrable fact.

    Likewise, if you want to claim subjective morality or moral relativism
    is true, you also need to demonstrate it and how it’s universally
    accessible.

    You’re statement is nonsense. If you really want to learn about this, then you could read some philosophy of morality. You could also study folks like Churchland’s book “Briantrust” who are formulating the basis of our morality from the shared heritage of the rest of the life on this planet. We share traits that we would call “moral” caring for young, caring for the old, with other Primates, and even other mammals. We’re basically herd animals, and what we would call our “morals” build from that. Societies do change them, though there are some basics that stay pretty much universal.

  • Pofarmer

    Dangit, I was wrong on the name it’s “The Grouchy Historian”.

  • Doubting Thomas

    I’m pretty sure it’s your problem that we can’t show morality to be objective, not mine. I’m not the one claiming that it is.

  • nicole

    It does not follow that because evil things happen, therefore we don’t have access to objective morality, even when committed by a Catholic Bishop or Priest. When I ask you to do the same thing you requested of me (i.e. demonstrate moral relativism is universally true), you dodge with, “You’re statement is nonsense,” and follow with an appeal to the authority of a couple of philosophers, as if they are the source of all truth. Like I said, Atheists are notorious attackers, but unable to defend their own irrational beliefs. It’s my guess you’d be the first to inconsistently cry foul if someone cut in line in front of you, as if it was objectively wrong that they did so.

  • nicole

    “True except for the objectively part.”

    So rape is not wrong, you just don’t personally like it, but if others want to rape then that’s perfectly fine because raping is their personal preference. You prefer chocolate ice-cream, they prefer vanilla.

    “The facts of nature. To rape is harm another. First, I do not wish to be harmed. I (and you) do not wish to be raped so why would we agree it’s a right action? If you and I found ourselves in a society where rape was c onsidered “right” — we would flee..yes? Societies that condone constant violence against one another do not survive…they are eventually destroyed from within. We as humans want to survive and thrive…so we form societies that teach non-harm. Thus the standard of non-harm is my standard (and yours). BTW…you may not want to use rape as an example….the OT condones it.”

    So it’s objectively wrong to harm another and it’s objectively wrong if societies do not survive. You’ve contradicted yourself again.

    “Why can’t a source be subject to change? The Bible has changed many times in i ts history. We acknowledge the dictionary as our source of vocabulary….but ..meanings change over time.”

    So slavery wasn’t wrong when it was commonly practiced and accepted. If you believe it should have been abolished, you’ve contradicted yourself again by appealing to objective morality.

    “So to God..sometimes killing is justified and sometimes not….does not sound unchanging to us.”

    You are conflating murder, which is to kill an innocent human being with premeditated malice, with judgment – the sentence of doom or an extraordinary calamity inflicted by God on guilty sinners.

    “That’s assuming the unwarranted/unproven claim that this law-giving god exists.”
    Right. And your statements all unwarrantingly presume the law-giving God does not exist, though you’ve failed to rationally account for the objective moral laws you believe to be true.

    “Why not? The fact is..they are. Ask yourself why you think slavery is immoral. That will clear it up.”

    I believe slavery is wrong because all men are CREATED equal before God. I oppose “Racial” slavery because it is contrary to the value that God places on every human being, and the fact that God “has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26). I reject the lie of Darwinian Evolutionism, which reduces humankind to an animal and declares some animals to be more evolved than others. But if moral relativism is true, I would have no rational reason to believe slavery is immoral. Slavery is still practiced in the world today, though not where I currently live. The most I could say as a moral relativist is I don’t personally like slavery.

    “Again….morality is defined as societal preferences. Ethics would be personal preferences.”

    You said earlier that if society prefered rape, you would leave, therefore in your worldview, morality is NOT defined by societal preferences, but your own personal preferences. You have no basis on which to judge another’s actions as good or bad, since your only standard is your own personal preference. If someone cuts in line in front of you, you can only say I don’t like that you cut in line, but since the person cutting has a different personal preference, it’s perfectly fine for them to do so. You prefer chocolate, they prefer vanilla.

    “Your biblical god condoned slavery in the OT (and don;t try to argue it was indentured servitude…it was not). So either slavery is objective OK or it’s wrong because societies can decide it’s wrong.”

    Again, you are conflating God’s righteous judgment with sin. That aside, you have no rational basis from which to call slavery wrong, only that slavery is not your personal preference.

  • Pofarmer

    It does not follow that because evil things happen, therefore we don’t
    have access to objective morality, even when committed by a Catholic
    Bishop or Priest

    Where did I say that? The problem for the idea of objective morality is that the Bishop and Priests didn’t think they were doing something evil when they did it. May still not.

    When I ask you to do the same thing you requested of me

    You mean when I allowed you to shift the burden?

    ” and follow with an appeal to the authority of a couple of philosophers, as if they are the source of all truth.

    What I did was describe the world as I see it, and list a couple of philosophers and gave you one source you could look at or not. I doubt you will. As far as I know, there are no moral philosophers who aren’t theists who have any belief in objective morality.

    Atheists are notorious attackers,

    You mean by forcing you to support your statements? Sure. If objective morality is a thing, show it. You haven’t.

    but unable to defend their own irrational beliefs.

    But this isn’t about my beliefs. This is about you accepting the burden of truth for the statement “There is objective truth”

    It’s my guess you’d be the first to inconsistently cry foul if someone cut in line in front of you

    I dunno, I actually insisted that a lady with a small child cut in line in front of me the other day.

    as if it was objectively wrong that they did so.

    See my statement above.

    Now, back to you.

    If objective truth is a thing. Show it. Show how we access it. You might want to think about “Objective according to whom.”

  • nicole

    What was the scientific experiment that demonstrated that experimental science is the only way to know something for sure? I could just as arbitrarily declare the Bible claims there is no God if I leave-out the context: “The fool hath said in his heart there is no God” (Psalm 14:1). Do you have a biblical quote and scripture verse?

  • nicole

    If there is no objective standard of right and wrong, no good or evil, then how can there be anything wrong with suffering, cruelty, or violence?

  • nicole

    God did create a perfect Earth with free will. We blew it. He fixed it.

  • nicole

    Since an ultimate standard cannot appeal to a greater standard for its authority, it must appeal to itself. This is true of any alleged ultimate standard, not just the Bible. When people accept the Bible as God’s Word because it says it is, this is circular. But when people reject the Bible as God’s Word, they too are reasoning in a circle; that is, they start with the assumption that they do not need to begin their thinking with God (and thus they are assuming that the Bible is wrong), and then conclude that the Bible is wrong. Any ultimate standard involves some degree of circularity.

  • nicole

    sushisnake wrote: “And I DO believe humankind has a duty to behave according to The Golden Rule- because we, and many other animals, can conceive of it and act accordingly. Not because some god tells us to, but because social reciprocity is the safest, most surefire way for a species to thrive.”

    Your personal preference that a species thrive, is only your preference, it has no authority over others. Words like “should” or “ought” only make sense if there is an absolute standard given by one who has authority over others. If others think rape is a good way for the species to thrive (like my chickens) or don’t think the species should thrive, but that the species should die, that is their personal preference. No one has a “duty” to your personal preference. Why should your preference be the preferred preference? It cannot be unless you inconsistently appeal to the objective morality you deny exists.

  • Pofarmer

    There has been no discernable “fix”. And besides, how would we break something created by an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent god who also created us?

  • Pofarmer

    Any ultimate standard involves some degree of circularity.

    No, simply no. If something is an “ultimate standard” then it should exhibit a wide degree of support from other sources. The Bible simply doesn’t have this. Well, sort of, which I’ll talk about more.

    But when people reject the Bible as God’s Word, they too are reasoning
    in a circle; that is, they start with the assumption that they do not
    need to begin their thinking with God (and thus they are assuming that
    the Bible is wrong), and then conclude that the Bible is wrong

    What you did here is beg the question, and erect a Strawman at the same time. Nicely done. Most of us who are atheists, after studying the Bible, have come to the conclusion that it’s a work based on other, older works, including Egyptian, Sumerian, Astrological, and other Myths. A great many of us “Started our thinking with God” and realized that he Bible, Just, Wasn’t. You could read Randal Helms and learn about how the miracles of Jesus are all found in either the Old Testament or Homer’s odyssey. You could read authors like Bruce Molina who talk about the Astrological symbolism in The Book of Revelation. You could read authors who talk about the Solar Symbolism in the story of Samson, or how the stories of Elijah and Elisha are the stories of a Declining and a Rising Sun God. And, in fact, when you do that, a lot of the stuff in the Bible that makes little sense (Think Elisha and the She Bears(Ursa Major and Ursa Minor)) then more of this stuff makes sense in the context of where it was written and who it was written by and the surrounding and corresponding beliefs. I know that you don’t “Believe” any of this, most probably, but the majority of us are Atheists because we recognized and studied the Bible for what it is, and realized it isn’t just devotional literature.

  • sushisnake

    Nowhere did I use the words “should” or “ought” or express a personal preference for a species to exist. Why are you misquoting and strawmanning me?

    ” Why should your preference be the preferred preference?” What? My preference for living by the Golden Rule aka Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you? I’m surprised you find my preference troubling, as most Christians claim to live by it, too. So do most Jews, Muslims, Buddhists,
    ( insert religion here), so did the ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese and Indians, yet you seem positively enraged by it. Odd. I’ve never met anyone offended by the Golden Rule before. Very odd indeed.

    But not to worry. I can’t see the point in pursuing a conversation with someone who misquotes me, strawman’s me and rants “Why should your preference be the preferred preference?” at me for no coherent reason, so we’re done.

  • sushisnake

    Because the word “subjective” is not a synonym for open slather, free for all, do what you feel, hurt who you please, rape, pillage and murder, Nicole.

    Believe it or not, millions of us all over the world manage to be good without god or Objective Morality every day. We get along quite nicely with subjective morality. We don’t torture babies or put fluffy kittens in microwave ovens. We hold down jobs, raise families, contribute to society and manage to be good.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    “What was the scientific experiment that demonstrated that experimental science is the only way to know something for sure? ”

    I did not say experimental science is the ONLY way. But in matters of making discoveries in a robust and precise manner….so far…no other method has proven better.

    “Do you have a biblical quote and scripture verse?”

    Do I need one? If so..why?

  • TheMountainHumanist

    You just re-typed the same thing. I have nothing new to add…my previous rebuttal stands as is. Cheers.

  • dala

    So to be clear: you think it is right to slaughter innocent children in certain situations, but it’s atheists who lack a foundation for morality.

  • Dudespeaks

    “Sorry, but not sorry.” — Matthew Distefano [article’s author]

    May I at least suggest you stop lying then.

  • Lissie

    “The fear of God” has always bothered me… I really believe that when that word “fear” was used in scripture (if that was even the word originally used by Jesus), that it did not mean fear like we define fear now, or “afraid of”…but meant to respect/love. I do not believe that God wants us to fear him, but respect and love him. God is Love…not fear.

  • Jessica

    It’s not that God chose to honor the free will of the rapist over the free will of the victim, He chose to keep his word. And not only that, He came down as a the man Jesus to experience life and the pain of death to show us that He loves us.

  • Chari McCauley

    Wait, is there never personal responsability on our part? Are you saying “God” should make all the decisions for you?

  • paganmegan

    Any variation on “a Gospel-preaching church” or “a church that preaches the true Gospel.” I was told as a new Christian I needed to find one of these. And so I spent several years treating my religion like a shell game, convinced that maybe the next church was the ONE. I got tired of this game about a decade ago and left organized religion.

    Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about something Jesus said, “No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matt. 5:15) If you have to go to church to see the light, there’s probably not much to see.

    Likewise, the Gospel isn’t the message Christians have hidden in their houses of worship; it’s the message they’ve chosen to share with the outside world. If that message is about a living God, then that’s one Gospel. If that message is about dead babies, wedding cakes and the Founding Fathers, then that’s a different Gospel.

    No church that preaches a false gospel to the outside culture has the right to call itself “a Gospel-preaching church.”

  • Doubting Thomas

    I fail to see the relevance of your comment. God promised to let rapist rape?

  • Doubting Thomas

    I really discourage you from basing an argument in favor of Christianity on accountability. Christianity is the most unfair moral system ever derived and gives no accountability to serial killers, rapists, and any number of other horrible people as long as they think the right thoughts and say the right words before they die.

    When Jeffrey Dahmer can kill numerous children and goes to heaven because he converted to Christianity before he died while millions of decent people of other religions get tortured forever because they didn’t say the magic words your religion is in no way holding people accountable.

  • Are you replying to me? The argument I’m making is the exact opposite of that.

  • From that perspective, I would imagine not. But the progression from “God is a transcendent, almighty being that sits atop a throne ordering the universe around,” to “God is love,” is a powerful one. What I’m trying to do is move people away from the idea of God as an object to be loved, worshiped, and adored; and toward viewing God as that which we actualize in love towards each other and towards the world around us.

    My hope is that we can eventually do away with the term “God.” But we’re just not there yet.

  • That’s ultimately the goal, at least for me.

  • Chari McCauley

    Without the biblical God, right and wrong are reduced to mere personal preferences.

    Except when it causes physical pain. Can emotional pain lead to physical pain? Most people “prefer” not to feel physical pain. There are exceptions, because many learned to “manage” their pain.

  • Chari McCauley

    They saw it as spreading their seed. Today we see it as deeply immoral.

    Wait, do you assume the women who were raped were happy to oblige?

  • Pofarmer

    Not particularly.

  • BardicLiving

    The Bible would be easier to accept as authoritative if it demonstrated its truthfulness. After all, there are many different religious texts out there claiming ultimate authority. It isn’t unreasonable to subject the texts of the Bible to criticism.

  • I try not to. I try very hard not to, because I’ve been hurt so much by loving Christians like you. I don’t even make fun of Trump, as much as I disagree with him, and as popular as that pastime is. I don’t make fun of anyone. My heart grieves often for anyone, human or animal, being hurt for any reason.

    When someone tells me I’m hurting them, I apologize and do what I can to STOP hurting them. Do you?

    I also realize that I don’t have to hate someone, to hurt them. Do you?

    And I don’t believe that God would ever force me to hurt someone, as deeply as I have been hurt for being gay–something I know I would never have chosen for myself. Do you believe God forces you to hurt me and (much more vulnerable) others? I wouldn’t wish the pain I have been through on my worst enemy.

    It is the Christians who still kill themselves for being gay, not the heathens. It is the Christian ex-gay success stories (see Love In Action–their own founder killed himself for being gay, years later), and the teenagers in conservative Christian homes.

    If you tell them to go through this “therapy,” you have no idea what you are putting them through–not to mention a lifelong loneliness that you would probably never want for yourself. Or even saying in effect, “Marriage is sacred, so marry someone you don’t love.” (Can’t love, because we’re gay.)

    When I read the bible, I see a Jesus who cares more about people than about rules, and who believes in a God who does the same. But you believe that man was made for the law, and not the other way around–as long as it’s not Jewish law.

    The Pharisees were literally quoting Scripture. They were literally teaching people about God’s laws. Of course they believed it was God putting the heavy burdens on people, and not them. Did that get them off the hook?

    They were the pastors of their day. Jesus condemned them not for being non-Christian, but for hurting the people God loved. You and others are not immune from hurting people like they did, just because you’re Christians and they weren’t. I also try to keep that in mind in my daily life.

    Do you really believe it’s too good to be true, that God does not force you to hurt us? This hurt that you inflict is quite literally destroying us, especially those so young and vulnerable, or those who have tried so hard to be straight. Does that bear good fruit?

    Please stop hurting us. I don’t just ask this for myself.

  • Barrie Beaumont

    How come I have a photo ID. I have not provided a photo and the person shown here is not me.
    Please correct it.

  • Dom Saunders

    I’ll use your mouth as a toilet bowl.

  • Dieldson Valença

    Hey, guy, you put so great tips. I began to run a blog about religion in a critical aproach and you and your blog (as all about Pathos.com as well) will serve me very well. That piece in particular will be your first and introducing one about you on my blog. Since I had lauched it I wll let you know.

    Keep up the good work

    Greetings from Brazil!

  • Brandon Roberts

    as a nonchristian some of these are annoying

  • Chari McCauley

    I wish I could upvote this ten times.
    And, it applies to so many others who are hurt by people…who only pretend…to be devoted to Jesus.
    I left the church long ago.

  • Chari McCauley

    Not at all. However, AJ has generalized “Christians” hurt “us” as if he is not guilty of hurting others. I’ve never met a human being alive who hasn’t hurt someone at some point in their life, whether intentionally or not.

    There is a big difference between growing pains and the intentional infliction of it. If you say things to another person, because you know it will hurt or embarrass them, that is beyond learning that if they did it to you, it would hurt, so don’t do it.

    If you make assumptions about an individual, because “guilt by association” that is unwarrented judgement; which, we are not to do, because we don’t know all the facts..

    There is also a difference between the light that blinds you, and the light that helps you see. (Looking into the sun as opposed to allowing it to warm your back.)