You can be skeptical and friendly at the same time.
Follow Patheos Atheist:
Seen at PostSecret:
The first step is admitting religion is a problem.
The next step is walking away from organized religion while still, perhaps, believing in a higher power.
The final step is admitting there’s no higher power, either.
Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.
THIS is who all of the atheist billboard campaigns are trying to reach!
This might actually make a good billboard itself…
It would make a good billboard. I wonder how it would look written on a church bulletin.
It would look great on a tie or a hat.
EDIT: Also on a T-shirt would look great.
“Amen” to that. Walking away however can be difficult. I am a pastor and while I don’t believe anymore, walking away is a bit complicated! Hopefully soon.
Have you joined “The Clergy Project”?
Yes, thank-you. I am a member of The Clergy Project! Great place to be.
If you don’t know it, the Clergy Project’s web address is:
Welcome to the side of reason and logic Steve! I hope all goes well for you!
I go to the Unitarian Universalists of Transylvania County. Our pastor was a Methodist who “saw the light”. My father was a Baptist minister, and I’m an agnostic. I understand a little of how complicated your situation is. I wish you comfort.
Hope you find a way out soon.
I do too.
Have you told your congregation that you no longer believe? If so, than I applaud you for your forthrightness.
Implicit: And I condemn you if you didn’t. Did you not already read that “Steve” is a member of the Clergy Project? That in itself indicates that he’s still in the closet.
I understand here that most don’t see a problem with non believing atheists taking money from congregations under false pretenses. I understand that it is a tough situation, but when is taking money under false pretenses ever easy. It shouldn’t be. Trying to rationalize it doesn’t make it better. Most people here say that it is actions that should subject someone to criticism. How is this any different?
Because it is a job and supposing the person still does the job he was hired to do, and he doesn’t believe what he’s saying, but he still says it, why does sincerity have to enter into it? Why is clergy so specifically required to sincerely be “into” the job they do? Do all teachers teach grimy kids they don’t like until they have something else to be hired to do, are they supposed to quit their jobs because they found out they don’t like kids and they hate teaching – more likely they hate something about the job but they still do it. EVERYONE has had a job they keep and hate doing. I don’t know what it is about you people and being a preacher where the guy is lying about believing any of it, so he has to quit his job.
On the other hand if there were an atheist kind of preaching job, and someone became a Christian and was beholden to god for that sort of lying, I would expect him to be a better person and not keep his job. Christians are just humans who lie and cheat all the time and get forgiven by a third imaginary party. No preacher is telling the truth up there, only some of them believe what they’re saying anyway. This is absurd. Christians are no better people than anyone else, stop making this a specific kind of job you MUST QUIT if you no longer believe what you’re talking about.
It is not like any job. When a preacher takes a calling in a church he affirms that he believes the church’s faith statement. It is part of the installation of a new pastor. This profession of faith is also part of the preachers teaching and ordination. Every Sunday he gives sermons on God and what He can do for you to people who trust him to be telling the truth. Rationalize it all you want but it s a lie and taking money through false pretenses.
They may trust their pastor to be telling the truth, but the truth is that he is never telling the truth. Sincerity is the only difference here, and you Christians seem to take a huge offense that anyone can get a job in any profession and not actually be passionate at it – but you really only care if he thinks he’s telling the truth. You don’t care if it’s the truth.
I’d like to add here that my father was a practicing Baptist minister for most of my childhood, and as I once told Teresa McBain, I can’t imagine what it must be like for anyone in a situation like hers or “Steve’s.” My father had the benefit (or struggle, depending on the perspective) of being bivocational, so we wouldn’t have starved if he would have left the ministry, but not everyone has that benefit. What you are forgetting is that some people are stuck, and while it might be praiseworthy for someone to be entirely honest even when it comes at the expense of their livelihood, it is by no means ethically required for a person to do so. (In ethics, that’s called a supererogatory action.)
I don’t see it as “atheists taking money from congregations”; I see it as a preacher continuing to do his/her job despite not holding to the philosophy of the job anymore. What is really missing from your analysis is an ounce of sympathy for someone who has not only discarded their previous beliefs but who now has to find another way of supporting themselves. Whatever happened to extending a little grace to your fellow human?
Until the positive claim that a god exists is proven, all religions that include a deity are false. Aren’t then they all collecting tax free moolah under false pretenses then. Maybe not. The difference is pretending to believe in something pretend vs believing something pretend.
He’s still doing his job and being paid for that work. you’re the only one who thinks he’s disqualified for what’s in his head vs what he does from the pulpit.
Let me ask you a question? What if you found out that Dawkins was a Christian all along and sold books, got paid to give speeches and otherwise held himself out as an atheist when it was all a lie. Are you telling me you would not feel like you had been deceived?
If all the words and meaning in the God Delusion stood on their own, then what goes on in your hypothetical Dawkins’ mind doesn’t mean much to me. Similarly, I could not careless that my math teacher felt numbers were the work of the devil so long as I actually learned algebra or that my English teacher was really a frankophile and couldn’t stand the English language. I really care much more about folks who carry out their duties than I do what’s in their head and less than that about what’s in their heart.
I have been known to recite arguments that I don’t believe on behalf of others. With some substantial zeal in some cases (and without lying to the trier of law). You must be a very lucky attorney to only have clients who you believe fully.
What a well crafted insult. That should make you feel superior for what? A whole day, an hour? It’s a good thing you got that auto-forgiveness app going for you, else you’d be worrisomely close to going to that Hell place of yours.
Pointing out someone else’s taking money under false pretenses and engaging in a fraud is a problem they have, it is no reflection on how I think of myself. If you point out a criticism of another person’s actions and do it to make yourself feel better, than you must have a self esteem issue.
The whole church is built a fraud upon the parishioners to take their money.
No , the church is built on like believers. If you don’t believe what the church teaches, not join. And if you don’t believe, don’t lead one.
The church wants to everyone from church to tell other people why they need to join the church and believe it. Bottom line is for the money. All only for the money. They don’t have an active participation in the saving of souls. The church is people who go out among their friends and proselytize salvation because they are brainwashed. If the church told them it’s their job to make money for the church, they might, possibly not, but might, wise up. They think they are doing good deeds and frightened overly to save others’ souls by having them join the church but it’s all about the money. It always has been. Why, otherwise, build buildings and have people gather once every week? If they are Christians, they don’t need an interpreter. If they have a relationship with god, they don’t need to find out what to think 52 times a year. I could be up there. They would listen because they have built a habit of coming to church and paying dearly for the entertainment of being told what to think, and the invented obligation of saving other people from going to hell so they can pay the church too.
If you believe the church is only about money then it is obvious you know very little about the church or Christianity. Read the bible and you will get some insight about the church and what it is about.
That’s only what it purports to be about. Are you kidding me or what? Of course I know what that’s about. That’s just not what it’s actually about. Not my problem.
Reading the Bible will only give you an idea of principles; whether those principles are adhered to is a matter of empirical observation and cannot be discovered through reading the Bible. (I say that despite disagreeing with the sentiment as a whole; I’ve seen churches who were sincere and principled, and I’ve seen others for whom money really did seem more significant than principle. I also don’t think you can make useful generalizations about “the church.”)
RW has nothing useful to his side to say, he was being insulting to change the topic of discussion (derail).
A biblical understanding of what the church is is more than in principle. It is the very essence of the body of believers who are Christians. it is not the physical building or the independent congregations. But I agree with you that some of the independent congregations do not follow these biblical idea of the church.
Thank you for your reply. Now, would you care to reply to what I have sad elsewhere about empathy and compassion?
I don’t not equate empathy and compassion with condoning. I feel empathy for the pain he is in but will still condem his actions and will not condone him taking money under false pretenses.
That is a theme in our society- in order to have empathy you must agree with one ones actions. Not true.
Yes, you can just feel the empathy exuding from your comments. </sarcasm>
The ‘read the bible’ line is offensive when recited to readers of this blog. I take it as a sign that you give up and don’t even have your usual zealous representation of christian supremacy to fall back on.
Not at all. The Bible describes what the church is and what it should be. It is a body of believers. It came about at Pentacost and is the body of believers in Christ.
When a pastor gets a call to accept an appointment at a church, he is making the public affirmation that he believes what the church believes and will kind them in their statement of faith. He also joins as a leader in the larger universal Christian church and is held to that standard. Churches within Christianity have different beliefs on the details, but a belief in God and Jesus as his son is a basic one that is universal. If the pastor doesn’t believe anymore, he is taking money from a congregation that he knows believes and trusts that they believe the same. They are paying him to lead them in those beliefs. If he ever got out of line with those believes and tried to lead the congregation in a direction they did not want to go, they would fire him and find a new pastor. This pastor knows that and that is why he is keeping silent.
So you hold that creationists who are also science teachers should quit their jobs?
I don’t equate teachers to preachers. Teachers did not take an oath or profess their belief in what they were teaching when they accepted the job, nor is that a requirement for their continued employment.
If the church is not only about money, then why are you so worried about this guy taking their money? Obviously, he is doing an acceptable job (or the community would have already kicked him out), so he should get paid for it. Actually, he should get bonus pay, since it must be much more difficult for him to do the job than it would be for somebody who still believes in the fairy tales.
That is quite a mis connection on the point I made. Just because a church has a purpose beyond earning money, you assume that they do not have the right not to be defrauded by the person they are paying to lead them?
And if you find out after a while that it’s a giant lie, hoax and fraud on the public? then what?
Have you alleged that he’s not competent to do his job or that he’s failed in his job duties? I could probably be the priest for an entire Mass even though it’s been 25 years since I’ve been to one. I memorized the entire everything except the words that are muttered quietly over the host during the magic transubstantiation bit.
As an attorney, you know that it’s not a fraud if the party ‘defrauding’ actually performs the contract – here, holds services.
As an attorney I know you are wrong in your understanding of the law. Fraud occurs in the inducement of a contract or the continued payment, not in the breach of that contract. That is two separate causes of action. This fraud occurs when he accepts money and continued employment under false pretenses every time he cashes his paycheck. He knows it otherwise he would not be concerned about losing his job if he spoke up.
And for the harm element? It’s not enough to allege a lie about a material fact.
The harm is accepting the salary that he knows he is doing under false pretenses. The damages start with the salary. The harm is also preventing them from calling a new pastor that shares in their beliefs. From there we can only speculate if there is additional harm being done.
Staying in the priesthood after a LIFETIME of having the belief system hammered into you, is not “fraud”. Maybe if religious people weren’t so dedicated to filling the heads of CHILDREN with their fear-based myths, then it might be easier for grown people to come to terms with the realization that none of it is true. Instead, religion encourages the rejection of science-based facts and threatens eternal torment as a consequence for doubt or questioning, squashing most people’s drive to find a “truth” other than the one that’s been force-fed to them for years. This essentially TRAPS people into positions that they no longer support. This is not a failing of the person in question, it’s a failing of the church. The “false pretenses” are the airs of righteousness that religion uses to convince children that they have no choice but to accept church doctrine, leading to a lifetime of self-deception supported by a community of rigid dogmatism, with social ostracism the only escape.
So yeah, your “backhanded compliment” is a real testiment to the prison that religion crafts for some people.
Its not that he no longer believes that is his fraudulent actions. It is his continuing to take money under false pretenses from people who he knows trust him to be a fellow believer. That is the fraud.
By the way, I believe it to be true and am steadfast in that belief as an adult then I ever was as a child. Your theory is false. And this is after investigating the claims on my own, doing my own study and questioning my faith. how does that fit in with your theory?
“how does that fit in with your theory?” You came to the non-rational conclusion (both meanings).
I would hazard a guess that most pastors don’t go into their line of work for the money, but because they believe they’re helping people. Leaving the pastorhood because of the social ostracization and loss of livelihood has got to be hard enough, but it’s probably even harder when you think you can still help people despite the mythological BS. None of these people are committing “fraud”, but instead they’re STUCK. This is the only life they’ve known, the only skill they’re trained for, and they’re well aware of the climate of hate they would face (from their Christian fellowship) even if they were honest about their beliefs from day one.
The people who stand up at the pulpit and tell you that their supernatural stories are “true” are the ones committing fraud.
When you were “investigating” the claims of religion, did you find any evidence to back up your pastor’s claims? Did you run across many talking animals? Did you interview any angels or demons who gave you their own testimonials about Heaven and Hell?
I don’t even want to begin to wonder what convinced you that Christianity is true and every other religion that ever existed is just myth. I’m sure I couldn’t wrap my head around whatever led you to choose one Christian denomination over all the others.
But my theory is not “false”. Whatever mountains of irrefutable evidence you obviously have access to, MOST people come to their religion through familiy tradition and pressure, and the freedom to happily leave their religion is simply not available.
Walk in their shoes first, THEN accuse them of fraud.
Unfortunately I have not done that yet and it does cause me much grief. It is a daily struggle I have to live with for the time being. I’d love to come right out and be forthright. While not all would agree, and I can understand why, at the moment staying silent is the choice I make in order to provide for my family while I figure out a way forward.
Good for you, for protecting your family. It can’t be easy when your values conflict with your job requirements. I think most of us have been in situations with no good alternatives; sometimes you have to suck it up and do the work to keep a roof over your family’s heads and food on their plates. Make sure you have a place to land before you jump!
If you aren’t willing to pay for his family’s needs until he finds another line of work, please STFU!
You are worthless filth. I hope your children die before they can breed.
When you’re peddling lies what does it matter wether you believe them or not?
You are despicable.
Do you remember that parable with the Adulterer and the casting of the first stone? The one that probably wasn’t in the NT to begin with but somehow ended up there anyway? Well, original or not, it’s one of the few great teachings in that book. You just cast the stone hasshole.
Quit being a dick, BamaJack.
It’s not that painful, what is your real name and what job do you have BamaJack? Have you always quit your job the second you feel you’re not suited for it and then have no income “BamaJack”?
You think everyone in America believes whole-heartedly what they do for a living? You think everyone is required on top of everything else to have integrity? I didn’t expect you to provide your personal information, but you are throwing the word “coward” around like you aren’t one. ALL preachers lie. Some of them believe their lies, but they are all feeding people whatever they want to hear. Why should anyone quit the only job they are suited to do and have you pissed off at them for feeding their family? Is your threat just because they are passing as clergy? Are religious people too special to be lied to?
Being judgmental of others is a religion’s stock in trade.
Oh, ok, just you then? Just BamaJack is the only judgmental Christian? Ok. Watching you be judgmental and making all the other Christians look judgmental. I’m sorry I said that about all the other Christians. I am sorry I generalized the whole faith when all I had to go by was you.
You want to pretend you’re not being judgmental? You are a liar then. You are a coward who pretends you’re not a liar.
If you’re going to be honest and preach others be honest, own how judgmental you are.
We have no evidence of your moral superiority. For all we know, you could be a slave trader living a fake online life where you act superior to everyone else to compensate for the guilt of your job.
I am not interested in knowing about your identity or your job, but by coming here and starting flame wars you are also being a coward and acting improperly. There is no right to trolling. By criticizing the action of someone else but not sharing what your present occupation is and whether you like it or not, you critique a third party while hiding who you are. That’s cowardice.
At least the preacher is doing it to spare his family undue hard times. What’s your excuse?
I’ve down voted the death wishes but you are a terrible person. Living a lie is not always something you can avoid and it is hard on the person doing it. Steve is working on getting out and that’s noble. You have to know that you’re harassing a decent guy who is in a tough spot. That’s shitty. It’s really normal for us understanding folks to have trouble with what you are doing.
“I’ve NEVER, and will never purposefully lead people to believe I’m something I’m not.”
Do you introduce yourself as a total asshole?
Bravo to you Steve. I think your obligation to feed, clothe and house your family should certainly come before any promises you made to a non-existent god that you actually believe stuff.
Plus, in most churches I’ve been familiar with, the pastor is also supposed to visit the sick, perform weddings and funerals, manage the office staff, etc, etc. A non-believing pastor is still doing all of this, and that’s a lot of what the congregation is paying him for.
The sooner you can be out the better, or course, but the tricky thing about non-belief is that all the easy black-and-white answers religion provided turn into difficult real-world dilemmas with no simple answers. (Wish I were in a field and position where I could hire some ex-clergy! One of the best answers to this problem would be having jobs readily available for those leaving the clergy.)
Maybe he should preach to them atheism. He is still doing the job he was hired to do, who is he stealing from?
He would not have to steal, he would be fired.
If he has any forthright integrity, he can tell them whatever he thinks is true instead of what they’re bottling up to sell. If someone is “called” to preach, why should they have to change jobs? I thought I was called once to be an interior designer – if that were my job, I would still do it, but hate every client, especially the rich ones keeping me employed. You seem to think being a clergy is special.
Clergy is different. You don’t see the difference because you are an atheist. I don’t expect you to understand. But this preacher knows the difference and that is why’ve feels guilty. As he should.
It’s not different. You don’t see how it’s the same because you are blinded by your prejudice and special treatment. I don’t expect you to understand.
I imagine he feels conflicted because he doesn’t want to have to lie but is pulled between two opposing forces. As I’ve been saying to you pretty incessantly (all of which you have yet to respond to, which might be uncharitably be characterized as cowardice), you can judge when you’ve walked in the shoes of someone like “Steve” or at least honestly considered what it would be like. Until then, you can just shut your sanctimonious trap.
You can lie intentionally or you can lie through negligence. The Clergy is negligent about the Truth. If they weren’t, they’d be atheists.
Fired for telling the truth, thanks for pointing out the crux of the issue.
RW – you and Bamajack there are shockingly awful people. It’s bad morally to harass folks who are in a tough place.
We didn’t go and harass this pastor. He acknowledged that he was keeping quiet about his non belief so he could continue to accept money from his congregation without them knowing. I am confident in my morals. It is his and those who defend him that should be worried.
When you are in a tough place is when your true character appears. I am not saying it is easy for him, I’m sure it isn’t. But to act with integrity and do the right thing seldom is.
“We didn’t go and harass this pastor.” but you did. Here, in this thread. I don’t see how being compassionate and having sympathy for this pastor should leave me worried. It’s not like I’m going to burn in a mythical hell.
You act like he’s just taking their money out of greed. He’s still performing the duties of the job he was hired for, and he said himself he stays so that he can support his family while he figures out where to go from here. I don’t get the impression he plans to do this indefinitely, and I don’t fault him for wanting to keep his kids fed in the meantime.
Are you going to pay his family’s bills? Do you even care if his family has a roof over their head and food in their stomach?
Good luck on, well, life and things!
I can defer to your expertise on what a coward is. You clearly excel at being one.
It was harder for me to reject belief in a higher power than to realize Christianity was false.
It’s interesting how religion (at least Christianity) promises to offer its adherents freedom and peace of mind, yet so many of them seem trapped in a cycle of endless shame, guilt, and repentance.
Jesus promises freedom, and He delivers in spades. If however all you’ve got is the religion that developed around His teaching, then all you’ve got is religion.
You may be satisfied with your beliefs, but the person who made that PostSecret is someone who feels trapped, not freed, by belief in your deity.
What I see when I look at evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity is people who feel terrible about themselves, who proclaim that they are inherently broken and worthless. People who feel the need to repent for every little thing they think or do that they imagine offends their deity. It’s not enough to be “saved” once. They seem to have a continual need to be cleansed from what they believe to be their “sinful’” nature, hence the neverending cycle of guilt, shame, and prayers of repentance.
“You may be satisfied with your beliefs, but the person who made that PostSecret is someone who feels trapped, not freed, by belief in your deity.”
Anna, neither you nor I even knows what s/he’s talking about. Does s/he mean h/his congregation? Does he mean the teachings of that congregation, the Pastor? The denomination, or as you put it, the deity? You atheists
just lash out in all directions and hope someone won’t examine what’s actually being said. Hemant just assumes that he knows what the person is talking about because to Hemant all religion is bad. And his answer? Do away with religion. Get out. Run away, with the end game of all religion simply die a natural death.
We ARE “inherently broken.” If you can look at the world and not see that there is something fundamentally wrong with humans then, well, we must live on different planets.
As to worthless, as one atheists told me, “A person has value if someone values him.” That’s a natural consequence of atheism. And the rest can and are thrown by the side of the road, or into garbage pails by the millions, every year.
On Christianity, God doesn’t love me because I have value. I have value because God loves me. God does not love me because I am good. God loves me because He is good.” That is the kind of love I can count on. It’s not based on something that I might have today but lose tomorrow. I have everything good today and only better awaits me tomorrow. For the atheists, this life is as good as it gets. For someone in a healed and forgiven relationship with Jesus, this life is as difficult as it gets.
“It’s not enough to be “saved” once.”
It most certainly is enough to be saved once. Not according to the Roman Catholic Church but according to what Jesus taught. I don’t need to dwell on my imperfections and I don’t have to pretend that they aren’t real. I’m accepted as I am, loved as I am, forgiven as I am. I am a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven not because of striving or doing or working. Rather, I am saved once and for all time because of what Jesus accomplished during His death and resurrection. I am free like I’ve never experienced freedom before and this freedom is
available for every single person who places h/her faith in Jesus. He is real. He is living and He loves you. All you have to do is reach out and accept His offer and then lean back into the greatest Love in the universe.
There isn’t enough money in the whole world that could induce me to go back to my former way of life.
Amen very well said.
Your god is the most immoral personage to ever exist.
For some value of exist.
As a study in power politics and human psychology, the Bible does put humans in a very bad light. The writers and editors often revealed quite unpleasant things about themselves. The gullible masses only come off a little better for tolerating the yoke placed upon them.
How do you convince your followers to commit genocide, killing everyone except the virgin females? Tell them YHWH ordered it.
Funny, I would say the same thing about my deconversion. Now I’m not stuck believing falsehoods like the ones you just posted, the kind of stuff that I heard spewed mindlessly out of the mouths of so many Christians. Tell you what: You can tell me how God is so loving when 1) you demonstrate his existence in some meaningful, non-abstract way and 2) you tell me that people who don’t believe won’t be tortured eternally. Then we can talk.
“We are inherently broken”. I’m not.
No one can read the mind of the person who put up that PostSecret. All we have is his/her comment, which is “I feel enslaved by my religion” superimposed over a Bible. Incidentally, the Bible verses are all about who’s going to hell. I think it is reasonable to conclude that the person feels enslaved because he/she feels compelled to believe what is written in the Bible. There is no mention of pastors, congregations, or denominations.
The problem is that you think Christianity is right for everyone and that it should make everyone happy, as long as it is practiced the “right” way. But that is not true. Many people are miserable within Christianity. They are not happy. They do not find the peace and freedom that you do. I’m willing to accept that you are happy with your belief system, but it’s wrong to say that what works for you should work for everyone.
As for the rest of what you wrote, if it’s enough to be “saved” once, then why do fundamentalists continually work themselves into a frenzy of guilt, shame and repentance? It’s not just enough to accept Jesus. They have to pray and repent every time they do something that they imagine might displease their deity. It’s a neverending cycle.
And the “inherently broken” stuff. I am not broken. I am not worthless. I do not have value because a deity gives me value. I can give myself my own value.
“if it’s enough to be “saved” once, then why do fundamentalists continually work themselves into a frenzy of guilt, shame and repentance?”
I have no idea what you’re referring to. In our forty years of marriage we’ve been in five different evangelical, fundamentalist (my definition) congregations and I’ve never seen anything like a frenzy of guilt, shame and repentance. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, but I’ve not seen it. And I don’t know why anyone would do that, for
we’re told, “So we can come boldly and with confidence to the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.”
“It’s not just enough to accept Jesus. They have to pray and repent every time they do something that they imagine might displease their deity.”
Yes Anna, it is enough. Look my wife loves me and I love her. She accepts me and I accept her. When I do or say something hurtful, she is not going to renounce her love for me. She is not going to reject me. My position is secure. But you know what? If / when I do something
hurtful, I ask her to forgive me precisely because I love her. I want to honour her by showing my sorrow for failing in my commitment to treat her with love. It’s the same if / when she doesn’t something unloving to me AND it’s the same with our Creator.
I love Jesus. He has given me a new life. I want to please Him because of that. And when I fall short, all I do, all I’m expected to do is show some respect and ask for forgiveness. And yes, for both a good marriage and
a good relationship with my Creator it is a never ending cycle. I’m a retired marriage counsellor and I can tell you that the most successful marriages are where two people living in a perpetual state of forgiveness.
“I do not have value because a deity gives me value. I can give myself my own value.”
That’s exactly right. On atheism the only value you have is that which you attribute to yourself. If you give yourself one unit of value and your neighbour says you have no value, on atheism he’s just as correct as you are.
Really, so you’ve never seen an altar call at an evangelical church where previously “saved” people go up to be cleansed from whatever horrible thing they think they’ve done?
Those children are weeping because they’re trapped in the cycle of guilt and shame. It’s not enough that they believe in Jesus. They have to (as the woman is telling them) be cleansed and repent for their “wicked ways.”
As for value, I’m not sure why saying that your god gives me value is any better or less arbitrary than saying that I give myself value or that society gives me value. After all, if your god wants to kill me and torture me, you think it would be justified in doing that. I don’t see the difference in being killed and tortured by a deity vs. being killed and tortured by a fellow human being.
My kids are home from school so I don’t have time to watch the video but I’ll take your world for it from your description and tell you that I find it pretty disturbing. Gotta go.
Perhaps they are more common in some churches than others? I’m sure someone who was raised fundamentalist could chime in here, but such altar calls are all over YouTube, and many people have related experiences of feeling the need to get “saved” over and over again.
If you give yourself one unit of value and your neighbour says you have no value, on atheism he’s just as correct as you are.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Values are things that individuals hold subjectively. I value education – that is, education is important to me – but the fact that someone else doesn’t value education does not mean that education suddenly lacks value: It merely means that it lacks value to them. (If you can’t understand this, think about how people have different standards of beauty. That is another form of valuation.)
Even if it were true that his deity was the only thing capable of giving people value, that doesn’t mean much. Considering that said deity plans to kill and then torture me for all eternity, I’d rather take my chances with my neighbor! At least if my neighbor tortures and kills me, society as a whole will condemn his actions, put him on trial, and lock him up. He won’t be given a free pass for his crime.
Can’t really disagree with you there. I suspect that people like thesauros would tell you that hell is actually a supreme example of how God values humans (just like it’s a great example of his love, *eyeroll*) because God isn’t forcing anyone into heaven. This is, of course, complete bullshit.
Have you ever tried reading what you write? The mindlessness of it surprises me. It’s almost like you’re,,, sheep..
“proclaim that they are inherently broken and worthless.”
I had a friend who proudly proclaimed this to me when she tried to convert me to her brand of Christianity. I was really shocked. I told her that she was most definitely not worthless. She looked at me like I was crazy for calling her not worthless.
I never even heard of such a thing until I started running across evangelicals online. To a person who was not indoctrinated in that system, it’s pretty shocking.
I would also imagine that it’s foreign even to a lot of Christians, ie: the “normal” ones who were raised in more milquetoast congregations. I don’t think most of the mainstream denominations decide to hammer the “inherently worthless” and “totally depraved” mindset into their adherents.
I was raised Methodist and that religiously-derived sense of worthlessness and depravity is, indeed, foreign to me. (Thank goodness; I have a hard enough time just dealing with myself.)
He doesn’t deliver to the person trapped in it. I don’t think you would understand what I’m saying, but Christianity is like a diet – it just doesn’t “deliver” for some people. It doesn’t promise anything to everyone. It just promises if you believe it, and you’re dumb enough to go along with everything it says, then you don’t have any complaints, do you. It’s not real. It’s just one way to set up your program for living, and I won’t say it doesn’t work for some people, but it’s still not real and it neither promises nor delivers whatever you think it does to everyone. You have to shut your brain off and not challenge it, then it will be fine. If you don’t shut your brain off and you do challenge it, it’s a lot of false promises that do not deliver anything.
“but Christianity is like a diet”
What do you mean when you say, “Christianity”? And how would that trap someone?
“I won’t say it doesn’t work for some people,”
I would. I teach Sunday School and I tell the young people, “While a Christian will try to follow Jesus’ guidelines, following His guidelines does not make one a Christian.”
If freedom is your goal, keeping rules won’t “work” for anyone. On the other hand, telling me that Jesus does not provide freedom is like telling me what my orange tastes like. You have no idea what you’re talking about.
Again when you say, “it” doesn’t deliver,” What do you mean by “it”?
I can’t help you further with the English language if you don’t know what my words mean. Perhaps you are entangled in Christianity that you can’t decipher what people outside of it are talking about, you don’t know what’s false or “not freedom” about your beliefs. Good luck!
I ask because a lot of people define a “Christian” as someone who tries to be a good person, or in fact IS a good person. I’m trying to find out if that’s your definition. Usually people like it when someone tries to understand them better.
Regardless, the difficult reality is, trying to be a good person does not make someone a Christian. If that were the case, then there would be Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and even atheists who were Christians. There is no logic to that kind of thinking.
I would say, “A Christian is someone who believes to the point of agreeing with and acting upon what Jesus Christ taught about Himself, about life, death, sin, forgiveness and the resurrection (His and ours). Jesus taught that a follower of His is a person who depends upon Jesus
alone for salvation. He taught that a Christian is someone who depends upon what Jesus calls His Word (The Bible), and upon His Spirit for guidance and strength in daily living.
Beyond that definition, the single biggest difference between what Jesus taught and what other religious leaders have taught, is that Jesus made it perfectly clear that there is nothing that we can DO to merit salvation. If we could earn our salvation, then Jesus died for nothing!
So you’re saying you don’t have to be a good person? You can be a shitty asshole person as long as you’re saved, then you can be a piece of shit on earth to other people and still expect your reward in heaven?
Sort of lets you off the hook, then doesn’t it? You don’t know that when you die, your brain dies and your body decomposes and there is nothing of a reward except you don’t have to worry about anything, like eating or sleeping or working or even trying to be nice to someone who doesn’t deserve your patience, in your humble estimation, not worth it – just so long as you get yours, Jesus died for “something”!!!! Just as long as people get to be shitty to each other because they all believe a certain fable, then that makes dying on the cross worth it, even if you don’t have to be nice to your neighbor and they could really use some attention – you leave that to an actual “Jesus” but you are free to ignore them because otherwise Jesus would have died for nothing!!!!
What a warped faith you have. It’s even worse than I formerly understood.
What he is saying is that you don’t earn salvation through works. But you know better then to argue that Christianity doesn’t teach that we should be good people.
No, he or she is saying that Jesus died for nothing if anyone believes it’s about helping others. I know better than to believe it is about helping people. I know that evangelists try only to save people from ending up in hell and don’t care if they have anything else they need as long as it might provide an opportunity to shove Jesus down their throats. I understand perfectly well what they meant. Jesus did not die so that humans could be humanitarians and none of that figures on the ledger for positive salvation. They are saying that Jesus died for nothing if anyone helps another human in need unless they also guide them in mind toward praising Jesus and salvation. They are defining “freedom” to mean not serving obligations to others but only to Jesus, so as not to dishonor his sacrifice, one must not think being genuinely humanitarian is enough. I am not saying he or she said never to offer aid to another human, but I get the message loud and clear, so don’t try to speak for the other person.
“So you’re saying . . .”
No, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that no one can be good enough to earn salvation. In fact, we who claim to be Christians became Christians because we recognized that we aren’t good. Unlike Anna we’ve come to realize that there is no way to justify our wrong behaviour. We recognize that we need forgiveness. So while being good
to others does not save us, being good to others is proof that we are saved. Are we perfect? Far from it. Will we ever be perfect? Not a chance. However, our wrong actions are no longer deliberate, planned, intentional.
Sort of lets you off the hook, then doesn’t it?”
Not hardly. My Lord, my Saviour, the only perfect human being to ever walk the earth died so that I may live. He died so that I may be free from real guilt and freed from the power of sin. The gratitude and appreciation that comes with that realization compels me to strive to obey Him, to give my life for Him by loving my neighbour as myself. It is no hardship.
Strange how in the same sentence you argue that heaven doesn’t exist and at the same time you rage that you can’t be good enough to get there.
“even if you don’t have to be nice to your neighbor . . .”
Perhaps it’s the two world-views that block us from
understanding each other, but I’ll try to explain it again. Jesus puts it this way, “If you say you belong to Me but hate someone (aren’t nice to your neighbour), you are a
liar and your religion is worthless.” Once more, “While
followers of Jesus will obey Him, obeying Him does not make you a follower of Jesus.”
You say my faith is warped. Faith, as the term is used in Christianity is an action word. Our faith is proven by our actions. The following is a description of the behaviours expected of someone who calls h/herself a follower of Jesus. I’s be interested to know what you think is warped about this.
. Blessed are the poor in spirit.
. Blessed are the meek
. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
. Blessed are the merciful
. Blessed are the peacemakers
. You’ve heard it said that you shouldn’t murder but I’m telling you to not even be angry.
. Treat women with respect instead of just sexual objects
. You have heard it said and eye for an eye, but I tell you, don’t resist an evil person.
. Turn the other cheek
. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
. Forgive others as you have been forgiven by your Heavenly Father
. Don’t judge others in a hypocritical manner
. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is
. So that we may not offend [the rulers] go and pay our
. Don’t forgive the person who sins against you only seven times, but every time.
. Love your neighbour as you already love yourself
. Whoever wants to be great among you must be your
servant and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as I did not come to be served but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many.
. I will welcome everyone with open arms, no matter how evil they have been or what wrongs they have committed if they will only turn from their sins and follow me.
. Why are you harassing this woman [a prostitute]? I will
forgive her sins.
. On the night before He was killed, Jesus washed the feet of all His disciples, even the one who He knew was
about to betray Him and have Him killed and even though He knew that all of them would desert Him before the night was over.
. Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honour your father and mother.
. Love your enemies, do good to those who hate
you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even pagans love those who love them back. And if you do good to those who are good to
you what credit is that to you? Even pagans do that. Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.
. Do not judge in a hypocritical manner. Do not condemn.
. Do to others the kind of things you would like others to do to you.
. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love
. “Put your sword away [Peter]. Shall I not go through the very thing for which I came to the world to do?” Jesus
allowed no one to fight for Him.
These are just a few of the things that Jesus taught regarding peace. But what of His closest followers? These are an example of Peter’s writings, one of Jesus’ closest followers
. Don’t conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
. Rid yourselves of all malice and slander of every kind.
. Live such good lives among the pagans that though they
accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God.
. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority
instituted among men.
. It is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.
. Do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil.
. Show proper respect for everyone.
. Husbands, be considerate as you live with your wives
and treat them with respect.
. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult but with blessing because to this you were called.
. Whoever would love life must seek peace and pursue it.
. It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than
for doing evil.
. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Hmm. Looks like being with Jesus caused quite a transformation in Peter’s life.
Well, how about John, the one that used to be called the ‘‘Son of Thunder.’’
. Love one another
. If anyone has material possessions and sees his
brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him.
. Let us not love with words but with actions.
. Whoever does not love does not know God because God is love.
. Whoever loves God must also love others.
. [Jesus'] command is that you walk in love.
How about James, one of Jesus’ brothers and former sceptic?
. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble
. The wisdom that comes from Jesus is peace-loving, considerate, full of mercy.
. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
. Do not slander one another
. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility
that comes from wisdom.
. Love your neighbour as you already love yourself.
. Do not show favouritism.
. Mercy triumphs over judgement. If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
. Everyone should be slow to become angry for man’s
anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
How about the writer of Hebrews?
. Do not forget to do good and to share with others
. Make every effort to live in peace with all people.
And of course, how could this close without quotes from the most diligent follower of Jesus, a former sceptic, a man who, before Jesus came into his life was a violent torturer and killer of Christians, the great apostle Paul.. Warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
. Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
. You know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God.
. We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children
. Do not lie to each other
. In Christ everyone is equal, none better than another.
. Therefore as God’s chosen people, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and
patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
. Fathers, do not embitter your children or they will become discouraged.
. Let your conversation be always full of grace.
. For then in Christ, be overflowing with thankfulness.
. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And if you do this, the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your
hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is praiseworthy, think about such things and if you do this, the God of peace will be with you.
. This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless.
. We preach the gospel of peace
. Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
. Each one of you must love his wife
. Fathers do not exasperate your children
. In your anger do not sin for anger gives the devil a foothold.
. Be completely humble and gentle; bearing with one another in love.
. Love your neighbour as yourself. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
. The outcome of living by the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we
can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always
protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
. A husband must not divorce his wife.
. The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?
. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we all stand before God’s judgement seat.
. Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
. Do not take revenge, my friends.
. If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This is my faith. I think it’s an awesome world-view. You see it as warped. Why?
Ick. We can never be good people, ever, and our bad behavior is due not to our own agency or straight-up mistakes, but because we’re inherently bundles of evilness. God forgives, but people don’t have to- if I screw someone over and ask God for forgiveness (and mean it), I don’t have to actually make amends or apologize to the person I screwed over. God forgave me.
Ew ew ew. Telling everyone they’re bad people and giving disincentives for taking responsibility for one’s screw-ups. That is NOT the basis for a healthy society.
“I don’t have to actually make amends or apologize to the person I screwed over.”
I think I must be very poor at explaining myself. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than this. Our salvation is not based upon good works. However, the proof that we’ve been saved IS found in our good works. There’s a saying, “Where there is no holiness, there is no Holy Spirit.”
Are you just being obtuse or do you really not get this? Can you have actually read my long response to Kodie, above and not get the importance of how we treat others?
Making amends for the wrong that we do to others is so important that Jesus gives this example. “If you are standing at the front of the Church, in front of everyone doing something really important like getting married or baptized etc. and you think of someone that you’ve hurt, go and make amends. Right then. Don’t wait. And after you’ve reconciled with the person you’ve wronged, then come back and finish what you were doing.”
That seems really clear to me. Does it not make sense to you?
>There’s a saying, “Where there is no holiness, there is no Holy Spirit.”
Just suppose you made a loaf of bread. Suppose the bread you made was poisonous. Suppose, even though you could have made good bread you knew that this bread would be poisonous, but you made it that way intentionally. Suppose that after you made it, you resented the fact that your bread was actually poisonous. What do you do?
a) Blame yourself for the whole fiasco, because undeniably, the bread is exactly what you made it to be, it could not be otherwise.
b) blame the bread for being poisonous.
c) insist that the bread stop being poisonous.
d) do things to the bread to damage it for being poisonous.
e) Destroy the entire poisonous loaf, saving a crumb for a starter.
f) use the starter to make a new loaf with the same ingredients, knowing it was still poisonous.
g) blame the new loaf of bread for being poisonous.
h) Put a slice of good bread in with it to appear to absorb the poison, but not to actually remove it.
i) blame the bread for remaining poisonous and unable to be like the good slice.
j) Threaten each slice of the still poisonous bread with destruction if it is not able to become non-poisonous, despite being made that way by you.
If you don’t want something to be unacceptable, why make it unacceptable?
If you make something innately flawed, how can you possibly expect it to be otherwise?
Unless, of course, you are unable to do better.
Or…you are the product of flawed communal imagination …better known as religion.
Those are pretty good questions. Ones that I’ve pondered for years. I can’t of course give you a definitive answer because I don’t know the definitive answer. But here’s what I think.
“If you don’t want something to be unacceptable, why make it unacceptable?”
This is what came to mind when I wondered to myself, Why Has God Created Billions of People Who Are Destined for Eternal Separation From Him? I began with, “IF God is real, and IF what the Bible says about Him is true (and those were huge IF’s for me in my pre Christian days) then, I “reasoned” it would go something like this.
. I Am God.
. I Am before anything else.
. I Am above and beyond anything else.
. I Am perfectly Pure, Holy and Righteous. There is nothing imperfect or “wrong” in Me.
. Anything that is in rebellion to My perfect Purity, Holiness and Righteousness can never come into My presence.
. I Am completely and utterly Just.
. I Am slow to anger; filled with great patience. I Am merciful and filled with grace.
. I Am Love.
. Just as there cannot be the perception of up without a down, in without an out, hot without cold and light without darkness, there cannot be real Love without the option or the free will choice to reject that love. This rejection of love, this misuse of what is good is called evil. This
is a spiritual reality or law.
. Because I Am Love, there is evil rebellion against My love.
. This evil has been allowed to exist first in the presence of rebellious angels.
. I Am One and I Am plural with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
. In My Spirit, I love My Son.
. Love is the greatest entity to ever exist. As a gift and a blessing, I want something special for My Son to love and I want that special something to love My Son.
. That something, like the angels, must be created by
. It is My right to declare and uphold the terms and
conditions of My creation.
. The special part of My creation will be human beings. They will be made in My image, possessing portions and degrees of My attributes and My characteristics.
. I will make My justice and mercy known in and through human beings. I am going to create beings that are intelligent, rational, free-willed and holy.
. I want humans to love (Obey) My Son because in doing
so, humans will enjoy their highest, most fulfilling, most abundant state of being.
. I want to reward that love with eternity in paradise, i.e. eternity in My presence.
. For their love to be real, I know that humans must have the choice to not love My Son.
. For their love to be real, I must allow humans the chance to rebel against My love.
. If the first humans that I create love and obey Me, that love will be passed on to their offspring. That love will be
inherited. It will not be a choice. “Love” will be robotic.
. If the first humans that I create, rebel against My love by
disobeying Me, they will reproduce after their kind and the spirit of rebellion will be passed on to their offspring.
. In order for any humans to find fulfilment in truly loving Me, I must accept that all humans must first have the option of not loving Me.
. No one will be able to love My Son without the help of My grace and mercy.
. I will provide those of my choosing with an opportunity to love Me and to obey Me.
. Through this plan I will demonstrate that I Am Love and that I Am Just.
. Because of who I Am, I cannot create in humans a spirit of Love and then draw them to evil to create real choice. I can only allow rebellion / evil to enter the human race in
order to create real choice, and then save those who wish to be delivered from evil.
. I will draw back my hand of protection and allow this course of history to unfold.
. It is My right to declare and uphold the terms and conditions of My creation.
. Love causes growth. Evil and rebellion cause death and destruction.
. Because I love humans, I hate the rebellion that causes their destruction.
. Those who continue in a spirit of rebellion will be objects of My anger.
. Objects of My anger cannot and will not be tolerated in My presence.
. For the very survival of the gift to My Son, My justice, mercy, grace, love and patience, MUST be clearly displayed to humans:
a) So they will know that they should repent of their rebellion
(b) To show them that they have a place to turn to for rescue from their rebellion.
- Humans will know My JUSTICE because they know in their hearts that rebellion against Me is wrong. Those who continue in their rebellion will die spiritually and eternally.
. Because all will be born into a state of rebellion, it is only My GRACE that will ensure that some humans get what they don’t deserve (life in eternal paradise) while My MERCY y will ensure that those same humans don’t get what they do deserve (eternal separation from Me).
- They will know My PATIENCE because I will persist in
blessing those who continue in evil, until all those who are going to receive My merciful salvation have turned from their rebellion.
- They will know My LOVE in that I, in the form of My Son, will forgive evil by taking my own punishment and
suffering my own wrath for the horrible act of continued rebellion against a Creator God who is perfectly pure, holy, righteous, just, merciful, slow to anger, filled with great patience, filled with grace and abounding in Love.
. I will rescue those who are not looking for Me, love those who hate Me, and make peace with those who are My enemies.
. The rebellious cannot complain because they are
in fact guilty of rebellion.
. The saved cannot boast because they have done nothing to deserve salvation.
. It is My right to declare and uphold the terms and conditions of My creation.
The real question then is not, “Why did God create billions of people who are destined to be eternally separated from Him?” The real question to be asked is:
Why Did God Create and Then Save For Eternity In Paradise, Billions Of People Who Should Have Been
Eternally Separated From Him.
“If you make something innately flawed, how can you possibly expect it to be otherwise?”
Because He gave us the choice to choose otherwise.
“Unless, of course, you are unable to do better.
Well, that’s a sort of reasonable response, unless this:
“I’m making a chocolate cake.” The term “cake” to you means something soft to the touch, covered with icing and yummy to eat. You observe that all I have is a bowl containing a sloppy mixture that I’m stirring and which tastes slightly bitter. You recall my statement that I’m making a cake and say, “Either Rod is not able to make a cake, or by the term “cake” he means something much
different than what I mean by cake.” The problem is, you’ve spoken too soon.
So too, if we were at the end of history and things remained as they are, I would tend to agree that it appears the presence of evil must mean that God either can’t or won’t do something about it. However we are not at the end of history. God tells us that until that time, His
plan is to use the reality of evil agents (that’s all He has to work with) for His own plan and purpose. He’s still mixing the cake batter. On the other hand, by bringing good out of all things, at least for those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose, God demonstrates that He can and does defeat the plans of evil at each and every turn, even prior to the end of history. He let’s us lick the spoon from time to time.
Also, it’s important to remember, God has not just created a universe. God has created a certain type of universe and He uses it to raise up a certain type of being: an intelligent, rational, moral, free thinking being who is
able to exist – more than that – who is being groomed to exist within a mutually loving relationship with h/her Creator, for eternity.
In reality the problem Epicurus created for himself (as it is for all atheists), need not have been a problem at all. Without an anti-God bias, this could have been seen quite clearly.
. God is powerful enough to remove all suffering from our experience.
However at present He has sufficient moral reason (to bring about a greater good) to allow this amount of suffering in our lives. You may think it’s excessive but He disagrees and I think He knows better than you.
. God is good and loving and He does want suffering to be eliminated from our experience. However at present He has sufficient moral reason (to bring about a greater good) to allow this amount of suffering in our lives. You may think it’s excessive but He disagrees and I think He knows better than you.
Three facts remain:
- Most of the suffering in our lives is created by us and our plans.
- The suffering that occurs from natural disasters is essential for the existence of life on this planet.
- We can change the former but not the latter.
. Obviously there is pain and suffering but as pointed out above, it is not pointless or unnecessary suffering. The only way that suffering would be pointless is if Creator God does not exist.
. Therefore there is no proof from suffering that a good and all-powerful God does not exist.
Because God is all powerful, He CAN rid the universe of evil.
Because God is all good, He WILL rid the universe of evil.
Yes, there is still evil present in the universe. Nevertheless – at the end of history,
God CAN and WILL rid the universe of evil, and all those who side with evil against their Creator will be banished for eternity.
He promised to do that and He showed us His bloodied corpse as a deposit and guarantee that He will fulfil that promise.
“Or…you are the product of flawed communal imagination …better known as religion.”
No, in my mind there is too much evidence for a Creator and zero evidence that materialism is an acceptable explanation for the existence what what we see and experience.
I don’t have time (or, quite frankly, the desire) to read all this but I’ll just comment on this one small bit: “I want humans to love (Obey) My Son…” You equate love with obedience. Obedience is not love. I love my parents; yes, as a child I obeyed them (for the most part); but now I’m an adult and I am not expected to do things just because they tell me to. I’ve loved boyfriends, we had mutually caring relationships and neither of us “obeyed” the other. I love my friends, we don’t expect obedience. If the alternative to “obedience” is eternal punishment, that is tyranny, not love.
I don’t know if your intent is to drown us in yards of apologetic rhetoric, but you must know most of us have seen all of these platitudes hundreds of times and find them to be unoriginal and lacking in reliable factual substance.
>” I Am God.
. I Am before anything else.
. I Am above and beyond anything else.
. I Am perfectly Pure, Holy and Righteous.
There is nothing imperfect or “wrong” in Me.”
If so, then accordingly, unless evil is an integral component of perfection, it cannot exist, or if it does, it is pure, holy and righteous and there is nothing “wrong” with it.
>”. Because I Am Love, there is evil rebellion against My love”
If “I Am before anything else” is true then god must have created evil for the purpose.
>”. Because of who I Am, I cannot create in humans a spirit of Love and then draw them to evil to create real choice. I can only allow rebellion / evil to enter the human race in order to create real choice, and then save those who wish to be delivered from evil.”
A “spirit of love” is created but rebellion/evil is not? It just mysteriously shows up? Evil comes from nowhere to pervade humans so they can be saved from it (or not)? If god created everything, then humans did not create evil.
And you can’t see the conflict and the nonsense? There can be no true choice because evil is created by god and humans are created as evil beings. They have no choice.
If this were true, it could only be the cruel game of an outrageous fiend.
It assumes the other person will forgive. That’s not healthy. Some things aren’t really forgivable. Some things are, but not forgettable and the relationship (whatever it was) won’t recover. You really think disrupting an important rite by going up to someone you’ve wronged, especially if they’re still angry, is going to be helpful? It’s more likely to make the other person feel trapped (making a scene is frowned upon) and put undue pressure on them to “forgive” even if they really haven’t, letting you go on your merry way and leaving them feeling doubly victimized. That’s not nice, that’s being a self-centered jackass.
If you fucked up, you don’t get to “feel forgiven” unless the person you actually hurt forgives you- anything else is both unjust and ridiculous. Now, if you make reasonable efforts to make amends and the other person doesn’t forgive, you can stop. You’re still not forgiven though; that’s something only the wronged party can do. When someone is raped or murdered, the wronged party is not God. It’s also unreasonable, petty, and cruel to expect the victim and/or hir family to forgive just because the perpetrator said “I’m sorry”. What kind of religion lets people off the hook like that? And yes, people can change. They can turn their lives around. It’s wonderful when that happens, but it doesn’t negate the pain their earlier actions caused, and nothing forces anyone to forgive previous harm done.
“It assumes the other person will forgive. That’s not healthy.”
Actually no, it doesn’t assume that. I’m not responsible for how you or anyone else behaves. If I do wrong to you, my job is to attempt to make amends. You can accept my attempts or not. My job is only to try. The writer of most of the New Testament says, “As far as it is up to you, live at peace with everyone.” You can’t get any healthier than
“Some things aren’t really forgivable.”
On Christianity, there isn’t any that isn’t forgivable. Jesus
commanded, “Forgive others as I have forgiven you.” I’ve
actually written a book on this for my counselling clients who are Christians. It’s call “Hard Core Christianity.” When Jesus said, “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for those who persecute you,” He wasn’t fooling around. He was deadly serious and He proved it by how He lived and died. “Father forgive them, for they don’t know Who they are killing.”
“and the relationship (whatever it was) won’t recover.”
That’s true, but if it doesn’t recover, it must not be the fault of the one claiming to be a follower of Jesus.
“You really think disrupting an important rite by going up to someone you’ve wronged, especially if they’re still angry, is going to be helpful?”
Well, Jesus often used hyperbole and I believe He was using it here to make a point. He is describing how desperately our world needs people who take responsibility for their actions and who work non stop for peace and reconciliation. It’s been my experience that I was only willing and able to do this after Jesus came into my life. Do you know that I was once a person who a friend said to me once. “You don’t give a fuck about anybody do you?” And the sad thing is, he said it in a
tone of admiration. I’ll never forget that. And I’m eternally
grateful to Jesus for changing me.
“If you fucked up, you don’t get to “feel forgiven” unless the person you actually hurt forgives you”
That’s true, but I’m not out to either get your forgiveness nor to sooth my feelings by “feeling” forgiven. My job is, to the degree that it’s possible, to restore what I have broken. To pay back what I’ve taken. To show genuine love where I’ve harmed. To show kindness where I’ve hurt. I can’t change how you feel. You may hate me for the rest of my life. I can’t help that. I can only do what I can do.
As to forgiving the perpetrator:
. Forgiving is not intended to mean forgetting, although that should happen to a degree over time.
. Forgiving is not intended to erase strong emotions, although that too should come with the passage of time.
. Forgiving is not intended to mean reconciliation with the offender as that would require his/her input.
. Forgiving is not intended to mean condoning the abusive behaviours.
. Forgiving in not intended to mean that you begin to trust the offender.
. Forgiving is not about what’s fair or unfair.
Now for what forgiving is. I suppose the simplest definition of forgiveness is “When I give up my supposed right to punish, or to resent you for hurting me.” While that’s
a nice start, forgiving is much, much more than that. For one thing, forgiving is not the result of emotional health. Forgiving is the beginning of emotional health.
Forgiving is about entering into a deeper, healed relationship with God.
“When someone is raped or murdered, the wronged party is not God.”
Oh yes He is, for it is only if God exists that we have objective morals, obligations and duties, two of which are, Do not rape and Do not murder. If God does not exist, all rapists and murders have done is flout social convention.
“and the relationship (whatever it was) won’t recover.”
That’s true, but if it doesn’t recover, it must not be the fault of the one claiming to be a follower of Jesus.
“and the relationship (whatever it was) won’t recover.”
That’s true, but if it doesn’t recover, it must not be the fault of the one claiming to be a follower of Jesus.
Well, isn’t that convenient. If the Good Christian does something terrible to Someone Else, and Someone Else doesn’t feel they can forgive the Good Christian, or at least not to the point of continuing the relationship, it’s not the Good Christian’s fault that relationship ended because the Good Christian did something terrible in the first place. It’s all Someone Else’s fault because they can’t forgive and forget the something terrible.
Forgiving is about entering into a deeper, healed relationship with God.
I have forgiven plenty of people in my life (some I still maintain relationships with, some I don’t). God had nothing to do with it.
If God does not exist, all rapists and murders have done is flout social convention.
Why is that not enough? We are social beings, we live in society. Evolution is enough to explain why purposely doing things to hurt others in society is not a good survival strategy. Sure, some people get away with it, which sucks and we do our best, as a society, to minimize that, but if everyone was out there raping and murdering society would break down pretty quickly. (Never mind your implication that the victim of the rape or murder is unimportant. You may not have intended to imply that, but you did.)
“Well, isn’t that convenient.”
Is this a joke? I’m agreeing with you! You said, “the relationship might not recover” and I said, “That’s right. It might not.” And then you say, “Well isn’t that convenient.”
“If the Good Christian does something terrible to Someone Else, and Someone Else doesn’t feel they can forgive the Good Christian, or at least not to the point of continuing the relationship, it’s not the Good Christian’s fault that relationship ended because the Good Christian did something terrible in the first place.”
What is this with the “Good Christian”? What is that supposed to mean? Again, where have I ever suggested to you that I’m a good person? Most of us become Christians because we realise that we’re NOT good
people; that we need forgiveness. So what’s up with that mantra of yours?
As to the rest, of course it would be my fault if I did something to you that you found impossible to forgive. But, once the deed is done, and once I’ve done everything I can to restore and reconcile our broken relationship then it becomes your decision to either allow reconciliation or to end the friendship. Or we can mutually decide to end it. But I as a Christian cannot absolve myself from attempting to undo as much damage as possible. But I can only do what I can do. It would be the same if you did something to me. You could come to me and ask for forgiveness. That would be the right thing to do. But once you’ve done that, you’re obligation to the relationship is over. You’ve done as much as you can do. Now it’s m choice to either
forgive and restore or spend the rest of my life in bitterness and resentment.
“It’s all Someone Else’s fault because they can’t forgive and forget the something terrible.”
Right, that’s their business. If they want to live with resentment, they’re free to do that.
“I have forgiven plenty of people in my life (some I still maintain relationships with, some I don’t). God had nothing to do with it.
Ya, I get that. I was talking about a Christian.
“If God does not exist, all rapists and murders have done is flout social convention. Why is that not enough? We are social beings, we live in society. Evolution is enough to explain why purposely doing things to hurt
others in society is not a good survival strategy.”
Well, I think there are a fair number of criminals, dictators and world-savvy politicians who would disagree with you on that one.
Why is that not enough? Because we all demand justice and demanding justice presupposes an objective standard of right and wrong. Something that on atheism simply does not exist.
Is this a joke? I’m agreeing with you! You said, “the relationship might not recover”
No, I didn’t, I was responding to your response to someone else. You wrote: “That’s true, but if it doesn’t recover, it must not be the fault of the one claiming to be a follower of Jesus.” Forgive me (pun intended) if I’m reading it wrong, but that says to me if someone who claims to follow Jesus wrongs someone else and asks for forgiveness from the wronged party, and the relationship ends because the wronged party can’t or won’t forgive the follower of Jesus, the relationship ending is not in any way the fault of the person who committed the wrong in the first place but rather entirely the fault of the person who won’t grant forgiveness. Perhaps the relationship’s end is partly because of the lack of forgiveness but it is at least as much because of the initial wrong (or there wouldn’t be anything to forgive). And for the record, I have been wronged by someone in the past who I don’t feel deserves my forgiveness, not least of all because he’s never asked for it or apologized in any way, and I don’t go around being bitter and angry over it. Not forgiving doesn’t mean spending all your time dwelling on what went wrong.
where have I ever suggested to you that I’m a good person?
Frankly, this kind of thinking just makes me sad for you. One of the things that bothers me most about (some flavors of) Christianity is that they make people believe that they are worthless without some supernatural validation. I may have my flaws and insecurities, even hate myself sometimes, but I know at the end of the day I’m a decent person. I don’t need religion to save me.
Most of us become Christians because we realise that we’re NOT good people; that we need forgiveness.
I’d say most people become [insert religion here] because they were raised that way by their parents. I used to be Methodist and that is exactly the reason why.
“When someone is raped or murdered, the wronged party is not God.”
Oh yes He is, for it is only if God exists that we have objective morals, obligations and duties, two of which are, Do not rape and Do not murder. If God does not exist, all rapists and murders have done is flout social convention.
“When someone is raped or murdered, the wronged party is not God.”
No. So many times no. By your logic, either there is objective Good (in which case God isn’t necessary because Good is objectively defined) or what is Good is defined by what God says. If Good is defined by God’s decrees and sayings, rape is not condemned in any way, shape or form. It is actually mandated and condoned in several Old Testament passages and implicitly condoned by the submission passages in the New Testament. The only way to call rape inherently not-Good is by ignoring what God has to say about the matter. God also orders killing non-believers- is that an objective Good, then? If God ordered you to stalk me in order to find my address, then go there and kill me, would you do it?
You forget that some morality and ethics are so universal they might as well be objective no matter their actual state. A basically universal underpinning of legal and moral codes is “don’t hurt people”. Don’t hurt them by killing them, attacking them, or taking their stuff. That’s pretty basic and objective, don’t you think? And it has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with God.
EDIT: I found the quote I was looking for. “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but…will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” -Marcus Aurelius
EDIT #2: And the Euthyphro dilemma: Do the gods love piety because it is pious, or is it pious because the gods love it?
free from real guilt
Guilt from what? If you’ve done something wrong, why does someone dying 2000 years ago absolve you of that? And if you haven’t done anything wrong (aside from being a perfectly normal, imperfect human being), why should you feel guilty?
“Guilt from what?”
Well, you’ve answered it. “from being a perfectly normal, imperfect human being.” According to Jesus, some day He is going to banish evil from the universe. “discord,
jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:20
Those things and people who do those things, “for all have sinned and fall short of God’s expectations for us,” will not be allowed into His presence – UNLESS – we have accepted His offer of forgiveness. When we do accept that offer, Jesus says, His perfection will be imparted to us. We will be made righteous. That is something that we
cannot do on our own. Justice demands that a penalty be paid for the wrongs that we do to each other and to our planet.
Evil, which could be described as the misuse of our freewill, is so offensive to a perfectly Holy God that even an eternity of separation from God doesn’t come close to paying the price. So out of His great love for us Jesus, at His own expense, paid the penalty for us. Jesus has made it possible for our sins to be forgiven.
To suggest that “you haven’t done anything wrong,” is preposterous. No one on the planet could describe themselves as someone who has done nothing wrong. Look at the news for even one day and you can see
that there is something fundamentally wrong with human beings. You and I and everyone else needs forgiveness for real guilt, for it is God’s rules that we have broken. Yes we have not loved our neighbour as ourselves. And that broken relationship we can repair ourselves. But it’s God’s rule that says that we must love our neighbours as we love already love ourselves. That relationship, the one between our Creator and ourselves is broken and it’s that relationship that we cannot repair ourselves. We can only accept His offer of forgiveness. Or, be separated from His presence for eternity.
It makes me wonder, What kind of a person would reject an offer like that?
Well, you’ve answered it. “from being a perfectly normal, imperfect human being.”
If God made me the way I am, a normal human being, why should I be made to feel guilty about that? Yes, I do things sometimes that hurt other people; I ask forgiveness from the person I’ve hurt. I try to do better, but it doesn’t mean I’m “inherently broken” and needing some invisible being to fix me.
What relationship? We can’t see this “creator.” He/she/it does not come down here and talk to us. I don’t have relationships with people I never see or hear from. Why should it mean anything to me that I’ll be “separated from his presence” after I die when I don’t see any evidence whatsoever of his presence while I’m alive?
We don’t need forgiveness from space. We’re social animals who compete and cooperate with one another over resources like other animals do. We fuck like animals, we birth like animals, we eat like animals, and we shit like animals. There is no part of us that’s special in the image of perfection – that’s pure fantasy.
There is nothing more selfish to me than imagining you have a special place in the universe according to a deity. You have a particular place in the universe only in context of how you treat other people, and even if you treat them all shitty, you are not going to hell. Even if you bombed all the cities and capitals in all the countries and murdered 10s of thousands or millions or billions of people with your head full of ego, spite, and violence, there is no hell. You won’t be very popular on earth, but that should go without saying. The universe will not judge you poorly for being a fanatical genocidal imperfect piece of shit, neither can you ask the universe to forgive you because after all that, you found Jesus, and go on a pleasant vacation after you die. That is a fairy tale. You don’t get any points for believing that this is “freedom” if you do it right. There is no reason to flog yourself daily over how imperfect you are. There is no righteousness in believing because you can’t trust any human to love you forever that there is some steady rock of love in the sky who loves you just because you’re alive and kneel before it and fear separation. That is illogical and childish. “He” doesn’t have the power to forgive you because he doesn’t exist. You live on earth and that’s all there is for your past, present, and future. Babbling on about how forgiven you are for being imperfect tells me you are obsessed with yourself and your beliefs make you feel terrible for no very good reason, and make you feel better about yourself for having done very little.
All I get from you is how deliberately you’ve been made to feel like a very bad boy, that life on earth is a wash, and you have put yourself on hold until the next life you get. I’m glad for you that when you die, you won’t be disappointed. You are, by your beliefs, exceptionally arrogant, despite, I’m guessing, your ignorance and defiance that you are. It’s not all about you. It’s not all about being saved or loved or driving yourself toward some delusion that perfection is “natural” and “sacred” or that there is such a thing that’s different than how things actually are. There is no separation from your savior other than he doesn’t exist. It is ridiculously impossible for a fictional character to forgive you for anything, no matter what you’ve done.
I would like to know your impression of other superstitions, by the way. How you describe what you do and how it all works sounds like an elaborate neurosis and superstitious rain dance of some sort, lucky shamrocks and black cats crossing and all that. You use different words, but it doesn’t sound any functionally different to a non-believer.
Another commenter said you’d just ignore what I’d written in response to your comment that my faith was warped. I’m sorry that he’s correct. Nevertheless –
“That is a fairy tale.”
I think you’re going to find, too late, that materialism is the fairy tale. You know of course what your faith entails:
. Material things don’t need a cause to begin to exist
. Material things can just pop into existence at any time
. Nothing actually means something (re: the beginning of matter)
.Something actually means nothing (re: vacuum and quantum events)
. An infinite regress of cause explains things
. Life can come from non life
. Inanimate and inorganic gases can evolve
. We atheists don’t believe anything that isn’t scientifically proven. However we do believe that matter has always existed.
. We believe you can’t prove a negative (God doesn’t exist). However we believe this negative that can’t be proven.
.The universe is Necessary
.There is no truth and that’s the truth
Don’t you crave even one shred of evidence for what you believe Kodie?
“There is no reason to flog yourself daily over how imperfect you are.”
I agree. I accept who I am. I rejoice that I’m forgiven and that my salvation is sure. I have peace, and joy that I never dreamed possible when I was living as you live.
“He” doesn’t have the power to forgive you because he doesn’t exist.”
Again Kodie. Where’s the evidence that this is a material universe only. I’ll settle for just one example where science tells us that this the existence of this universe is explained by materialism.
You have given no shred of evidence for a non-material world. All you said is that gives everyone freedom if they only ask. No evidence, just unsupported assertions that what you believe is true, such as a dead guy can forgive you by dying and then reanimate himself because he’s magical and go someplace that can’t be found with a telescope to continue to have a one-sided relationship with the peoples of earth and judge where they go after they die.
Why is any of that true? I don’t have any reason to believe it not least of all the way you explain it (or materialism).
You are a tool used by the church to make money.
Kodie, I’m not asking you to share my beliefs. I asking why you are satisfied with not one shred of evidence for what you believe. On atheism, the things I listed above are givens of the atheist world-view. for example, if atheism if true, then material things can just pop into existence without any external cause. Inanimate and inorganic gases can evolve into life. You seem satisfied with those suppositions.
Read your Bible. Noah was perfect, therefore Jesus is not the only one.
You can also be perfect. Just do what jesus said and sell all your possessions and give to the poor. Matthew 19:21. I’m sure you won’t just like you won’t have no care for tomorrow.
You are wrong. Noah was righteous he was not sinless. Matthew 19:21 doesn’t teach that selling our posessions to the poor will make us perfect. You really should understand the bible before you quote it.
I’m sure your interpretation of a translation is the right one. Reading mythology can be difficult.
Very well done. You will find that your question will be ignored unfortunately. Christianity is a beautiful worldview and you have shown why.
I could show you how communism is a miraculous economic system if I cherry-picked as badly as thesauros did.
And it boggles the mind that you read the arguments on this board made directly to your points RW and still think you’re a decent person. If we were to judge christianity based on your and bamajack’s comments, we’d junk it even faster than it is going currently.
You will find that your question will be ignored unfortunately.”
Yes it probably will be ignored. But thank you nevertheless. Sometimes I’m not so sure that what I’ve written or even the evidence for Creator God is ignored as much as bringing the presupposition of atheism to the evidence simply keeps the person from seeing and hearing the truth. It makes it so we cannot talk to each other. We cannot communicate. Even simple questions like, “What does the term Christianity mean to you,” comes out “leiemobue ehoiome ib meioihne.” It’s very strange.
Well, I’m not ignoring it. No one has ever claimed that every single thing written in the Bible is pure evil. At least, I’m not aware of anyone who has. The things you quoted are not what I find warped about your religion.
Here’s what I find warped: the concept of sin, the concept of hell, the idea that anything your deity does or commands is moral (including slavery, genocide, and torture), the sexism, the homophobia, and the general attitude towards sexuality.
“Christianity is a beautiful worldview”
We can agree to disagree, since ultimately, your religious views are irrelevant to those outside it.
If you ignore everything that’s wrong about it and don’t care if it’s not true, a person could think anything is a beautiful worldview. Don’t let the truth wake you.
TL;DR. Besides the fact that you have pretty clearly misrepresented points (e.g. Matthew 5:27-28 is a condemnation of lustful thoughts, not of treating women like sexual objects), you are pretty clearly ignoring the ugliest parts involved, such as the doctrine of hell.
I define a Christian as someone who says they are a Christian. Really, what other criteria can I use?
You’ve asked a very good question and I’m sorry but I cannot give you a short answer.
Since a Christian is someone who follows the teachings of Jesus the Christ, it might be wise to use Jesus’ definition of His followers. “You will know them by their fruit” (characteristics that come from being with Jesus,) i.e. love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
You might say, “Well then there aren’t many Christians,” and I’d be tempted to say, “You’re right. Many if not most people who go to Church are not followers of Jesus. As this post shows, there are even Pastors who aren’t Christians.” However, to say that with confidence we’d be making several assumptions that may very well be wrong. Let me explain it this way.
Every once in awhile, someone claiming to be a Christian does something very un Christian and he does it in a very public manner. I can’t remember the guy’s name now, but not too long ago we had a good example. Some leader in the Christian movement in the U.S. turned out to be
cheating on his wife, with a male masseuse no less. If I’m not mistaken, I think they were doing Crystal Meth together as well. Regardless, it had gone on for a very long time. It was not, by any estimation, a momentary lapse of judgement. True to form many Christians, horrified that people might start to think less of them,
trotted out the well known, “Well, he was certainly no Christian. If he was a true Christian, then he wouldn’t have been doing something like that.” And, true to form, the atheists rightly accused us of using the No True Scotsman defense.
So what is a Christian? Can you or should you be able to identify someone who believes in God based upon that person’s behaviours, i.e. what s/he typically does or typically doesn’t think, do or say? Most people think so.
Even atheists show an uncanny ability to agree with God on this point. They too have a standard by which they allow someone to identify as a Christian. The atheist’s standard for accepting our claims of being saved is perfection (which ironically, without a forgiven relationship with Jesus in place, is God’s standard for His acceptance of us – atheists included). While the atheist’s standard
for us is just a tad impossible to live up to, even they know there should be something different about those who claim to follow Jesus.
Jesus said, “You will know My followers by the motives, thoughts and behaviours they produce.” These motives, thoughts and behaviours have been described as the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, or the result of having the Holy Spirit abide in a person – It’s a sign that salvation has
taken place. I’ve listed these “symptoms of salvation” above. Again, “Where you see no Holiness, there
is no Holy Spirit.” In other words, the pattern of a person’s
actions and character traits do indeed give you a clue as to whether that person’s claims of being a follower of Jesus are true or if that person is just an imposter. Jesus also said, “Not everyone who calls Me their Lord will get into heaven. On Judgement Day, I will say to many [of those who claim to be my followers], “Get away from Me. I never knew you.”” *
So we have two teachings of Jesus that tell us
(1) If someone is making a HABIT of behaviours that go against the teachings of Jesus, there is a good chance that s/he isn’t a Christian. If it doesn’t quack like a duck and if it doesn’t walk like a duck and if it doesn’t look like a duck, what you’re looking at probably isn’t a duck.
(2) Just because someone calls h/himself a Christian doesn’t necessarily mean a thing as to whether that person is or is not in a healed and forgiven relationship with Jesus. Words are easy. Behaviours are something else.
The main point here is that I (each of us who claim to follow Jesus) need to make sure that I am living a life that
brings glory to my Creator. I admit that how I interact with atheists is a demonstration of perhaps my worst post Christian conversion character. Nevertheless, in my mind,
a Christian is someone who believes to the point of acting upon what Jesus Christ taught about Himself, about life, death, sin, forgiveness and the resurrection (His and ours). Jesus taught that a follower of His is a person who depends upon Jesus alone for salvation. He taught that a Christian is someone who depends upon what Jesus calls His Word (The Bible), and upon His Spirit for guidance and strength in daily living.
Does that mean that true Christians never sin, that they never do things contrary to the teaching’s of Jesus?
. Obviously not because our sin loving nature is the
very reason that Jesus came to “seek and to save” the lost.
. Obviously not because Christians are told to confess their sins and to ask for forgiveness.
. Obviously not because, ‘doing what we shouldn’t do, and not doing what we should do’ is an ongoing moral struggle
that is addressed in the Bible.
In his letter to the Colossian Christians, Paul says – “. . . you have taken off your old self with its practices and
have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
In addressing the No True Scotsman
argument, the Bible, in many places emphasizes that while true Christians will disobey God on occasion, they will no longer make a practice of a particular sin(s). One exception to this rule would be if the person is not aware of any given sinful behaviour. That may sound like a flimsy excuse, but we humans are astonishingly blind to the nature of our own character. Even when we’re told of our problem it might take years for us to accept the reality of our situation. Look at Anna and those like her. They truely believe that they are good people. Anything wrong they do is just a mistake. I remember, early in my Christian walk, one of my wife’s friends asked me, “Rod, are you an angry person?” It took me less than the
blink of an eye to reply, “No.” I smile as I write this. I am
such an idiot. I actually believed it when I said “No,” but as I processed that question over the next several months, I came to see that I was a young man who was a seething, roiling mass of anger. Thankfully God used that woman to get my attention on an issue that needed to be resolved. I’m still a long way from being where I need to be but, I’m coming.
So, upon being made aware of this un Christlike behaviour, one could expect the true Christian to begin bringing this behaviour under the Lordship of Jesus. Another exception would be where a person was at when s/he became a Christian. “To whom much is given, much is required. To whom little is given, little is required.” About a decade ago, our oldest daughter (of seven adopted children) found the man she thinks might be her
biological dad. To this day, neither are certain. She lived with him for awhile trying to get to know him. She nursed him through alcoholic binge after binge. She put up with far more verbal abuse than I cared to see. The relationship finally broke down when, because she held a full-time job he said she was “too white,” and ordered her out of the house. My point is, this desperate alcoholic
says that he is a Christian. He’s been in jail so many times for so many violent crimes that he’s one or two arrests away from being committed under the dangerous offender act. Is he a Christian? I don’t know, but I think it’s possible that because he came from less than nothing, spiritually, while in comparison I came from everything spiritually, he may – he may – be further along in his relationship with Jesus than I am in mine. This daughter I’m referring to comes from a family where not only were four uncles
murdered, her own mother was murdered in a drug deal gone wrong. All four of her grandparents died from chemical abuse. I just don’t think we can know for sure how to assess if a person is where they should be with God when we don’t know the start that they had. That’s
between him and his Creator. Regardless of one’s starting position in life, a Christian is “being renewed in knowledge in the image of h/her Creator.” Bottom line is, believing in Jesus and the Christian world-view should, will and does influence how a person thinks and behaves.
Finally, I think it is far more important to make sure that we are in a healed and forgiven relationship with Jesus rather than worry about someone else.
They too have a standard by which they allow someone to identify as a Christian.
I don’t have any such standard because it is not up to me to “allow” anyone to identify as a Christian (or any other religious identity). All your examples (and I believe the pastor you are referring to is Ted Haggard?) show me is that being a Christian is no guarantee of being a better person than anyone else.
The atheist’s standard for accepting our claims of being saved is perfection
This is not my standard, either. For one thing, no one has demonstrated that being “saved” is a thing that can happen in the first place. You can claim you have all you like, you can list the “symptoms” of such, but that really doesn’t mean anything to me and I have no opinion one way or the other on what it requires. (You might want to keep in mind, there is no such thing as “The Atheist”… I am an atheist; that doesn’t mean I agree with every other atheist.)
Tell that to all the evangelicals out there who think it is their mission and duty to proselytize to everyone else. And again, I can’t have a “relationship” with someone who isn’t there.
I missed it yesterday but – I definitely do not think of “good person” when I define a Christian. I define a Christian as someone who believes that god thinks they are soooooooo special that they get a different more special and perfect life than the rest of us do, after they die, they are invited to this huge gala with cake nobody can make on earth and all the shrimp cocktail you can eat and it never attracts flies or turns rancid. All because some doof a long time ago said he was god and then got killed because he was doofing around, and he had it all planned so that he could forgive you for being a goddamned human being. Deluded people who think there is some alternate perfect universe that we all were deprived of thousands of years ago because some lady listened to a snake’s advice on what to eat. I don’t think any of that makes you a good person. I think what it makes you is a pathetic deluded person. Being a good person is exclusive, though not mutually exclusive to being a Christian. Christianity is all about receiving private radio signals from your best friend who thinks everything you do is the right thing and lets you off the hook for listening to actual humans and determining what’s best for them by human interaction. Christianity is all about shoving every square human into a round hole based on a list of what’s predetermined to be pure and perfect behavior, and it’s about deciding in your own imperfect human brain who gets the ticket to heaven and who doesn’t. You think if you “find” Jesus, it changes everything about you to perform the list of behaviors nearer to perfection, and if you haven’t “found” Jesus yet, you are just rebelling. I think of Christianity as a superstition and a fairy tale, and I define Christians as anyone following this superstition and fairy tale. I think of Christians as defining the word “good” to mean anything they want it to mean instead of actually things that are good.
For example, if god “does” something, like let children starve or throw a tornado over some area, it is “good”. If gay people love each other and want to get married and raise a family, then that is “not good”. By its roots, it determines good and bad not from looking and feeling but from memorization of categories. The memorization of categories triggers feelings of guilt or judgment on other people, how they should feel, and how far from “Jesus” they behave according to how well you have memorized the categories. If god wants to kill all the fetuses, it’s his prerogative, but if a person goes to a clinic to plan her family size, she is called a murderer! Christians decide good or bad by who does things, not by what they are. I think of Christians as children, really mentally stunted by abuse to hold onto childish notions of wrong and right. The tattle tale who tells teacher that Johnny got out of his seat without permission – regardless that Johnny had a good reason. His reasons do not matter, he defied stone-engraved rules that you can’t get out of your seat and little tattle tale is watching everyone else’s business and not minding his own. That’s what Christians do, that’s who Christians are. I would not say Christians are good people who feed the hungry and donate a lot of time and energy to benefit humanity. They have spent far too much time sorting people into “deserve” and “not deserve” and then by the time they get around to helping people, they spend most of the time patting themselves on the back for giving bibles to children who need sandwiches.
If you thought I think Christians are good people, I mean synonymous with the concept of what a good person is, you would be mistaken. I’m so fucking glad you take comfort that you can be that self-centered and god still wants to be your friend.
“If you thought I think Christians are good people, I mean synonymous with the concept of what a good person is, you would be mistaken.”
I don’t mean to offend but I’m laughing as I read, after that long post, this final sentence. I promise Kodie, I will NOT make that mistake.
Ah, you’re a precious spunky young lady. And I’m sorry that we who call ourselves Christians have made such a poor impression on you. The sad part is, I understand why you think the way you do AND we’ll probably continue to behave in an obnoxious manner. Like you say, It’s who we are. And like Jesus said, “I came to save sinners, not those who think they’re good.”
Anyhow, good luck on your journey. I mean that. I hope life goes well for you.
Aww, the precious Christian has descended into condescension and thinks he’s so clever for it! Isn’t that cute?
Seriously. “Precious spunky young lady”? Are you going to pat her on the head and pinch her cheek next? What the fuck is wrong with you that you think this is an acceptable way to talk about anyone, ever? Especially someone over the age of five?
Hmm, while my first impression was that you’d like people to think of you as a Class A Bitch, I actually find your anger appealing, attractive in a non sexual / relational way.
I’m not being condescending. I think anger is often appropriate and while I can’t say for sure because I don’t know your story, you might fall into the category. I’m giving you the benefit of doubt. I’m a retired counsellor so when I hear people flailing about and see them spitting in all directions at once, I feel compassion and interest.
Do you push away all attempts at kindness?
You know, when I first started seeing you post here you seemed like a reasonable person, but you’re really starting to come across as an asshole right here.
I wonder if he would talk to a man the same way he’s talked to some of the women here. I bet he would not.
Maybe because I gave him nowhere to go, he resorts to diminishing my rant to a wrong-headed naivete. I don’t think Christians are or try to be any better than anyone else. They only like to think that they are, and they like to judge others who don’t do what they do. Minimally, that’s how I define persons of any and all faiths. If they think something is the right way, then it’s god’s way, and if they think something is the wrong way, then it isn’t; while if they thought something was right and now it’s wrong, they change the definition of right and also change what god prefers they do to agree with what they now changed their own mind to think is right or wrong. I don’t think of Christians or anyone as good people or trying to be good people, I see them as defining good and bad for everyone and then at most attempting to define by example how everyone else should be, according to them and by extension, their god. Following a rule and being good are two different things.
I’m not Kodie. We’re two very different people. I’m offended on her behalf by your obvious condescension. I’d actually prefer not to be seen as a Class A Bitch, but I’m resigned to the fact that people often do see me that way (or as intimidating or scary, which confuses me more than anything).
Precious is an adjective used for cute young children. Spunky is as well (cute, irrational defiance), combined with a connotation of “ze is wrong but will grow out of it”. When you refer to an adult as precious or spunky, you demean her and tell her that she’s a child, you don’t have to take her seriously, and that you’re just older and wiser and “better” than she is. That’s a completely unacceptable attitude towards fellow adults (and should be completely unacceptable towards children too, but we as a society accept a lot of condescension towards children).
EDIT: Push away kindness? If your version of kindness is “nice soul you got there, be a shame if anything happened to it”, that’s not nice.
@thesauros, you are not kind.
Well, yes, I know that. I’ve never claimed to be kind, or good or some kind of wonderful. I am curious though. What have I said that causes you to make that statement?
a few posts above?
allein, is there some reason you can’t allow Kodie to speak for herself. Some maternal drive that causes you to pat her on the head or pinch her cheeks and says, “It’ll be alright. You just let me speak for you.”?
I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware that only one person was allowed to respond to you.
And there are millions of North Koreans that find liberation in knowing they are not a part of the totalitarian government.of the United States.
To them, Christianity is the enemy, the state is the friend. Hence they feel liberated when the state bans Christianity.
My point is that one who claims their belief system liberates them should take a step outside their belief system to asses what exactly they are being liberated from, and at what cost. Does the believer have to give up certain freedoms to achieve this liberation, such as the ability to not have some celestial being constantly monitoring your thoughts?
Are there aspects of the belief system that are anathema to liberation, like those who say you are not really saved unless you eschew evolution and gay marriage?
To me, there is nothing more liberating than being able to say whatever I want without fear of some invisible sky person punishing me for it. But that’s just me.
You diligently studied a philosophy about an imaginary being, an imaginary figure, and an imaginary transmutation of blood for salvation in another realm that doesn’t exist.
You are very harsh and unforgiving! Must be because you, like religious people, think they have consumed god’s powers on earth, where god is impotent. It has to be your job to label people coward if you don’t like how they live their life, and are not actually made free of the religion you consume, they are not free. They can’t make a living and they have assholes like you calling them a coward. What kind of abusive bullshit do you believe that allows you to cast judgment on other people so harshly? Who do you think you are because you believe what you believe? What powers of authority does it give you over other human beings?
You are one of the dirtbags god hath made in his image. Go fuck your holier-than-thou self, ok? I hope your preacher is an atheist and lying his ass off to you every Sunday, you fucking wad of shit.
I don’t think it’s your business. I think if there’s a god, it’s between the atheist who maintains his job in clergy and god. Nobody needs to hear a word out of your mouth. Nobody.
That’s awfully Christian of you to say. I hope I give you nightmares.
Your pic is really creeping me out.
I don’t know why you’re being paranoid, shit-stirrer. The last time someone fucking got up in your shit because you stirred their shit. Don’t be so paranoid, you’re just a maggot who stirs shit and pretends to be a sanctimoniously honest Christian of high integrity. Nobody takes you seriously or wants to bite your neck.
Is that what all Christians think or just you?
So you are a liar and deny having said anything by your name in this thread? You just don’t own your behavior, you think judging pastors and being an all-around dirtbag is exempt from also being judged? It’s YOUR job to stop all the pastors who become atheists from keeping their jobs by calling them a coward? Why do you lay all that stuff on yourself if that’s god’s job? Maybe you don’t really believe there is a god, and you have to go around being the religion police? What the fuck do you think your role here is? You just insult people and then insult more other people and then pretend we’re coming to find out where you live? Is that a thing? You are weird and it’s because you have been warped by your beliefs to always be the victim, even when you’re offensive as all shit with no back, no reason why it’s wrong. You just stand for something without saying why and it’s everyone against you – because you thrive on being a troll. I have seen you before, you can’t stand it when someone else is right. If you said something earlier, you think some comments made by someone else magically erase it, or that you’re immune from criticism because you’re a Christian, or you welcome it because you’re a Christian, and any time you can engage the public in some kind of fake persecution of whatever you believe to be true is a “win” you fucking loser. You have to stand by what you said and yes, you stand by, you own, you have said, you have admitted, you “BamaJack” are a fucking maggot, holier-than-though shit wad” in your own words, not mine. I didn’t call you all those names in a row, or even in one post. So you lie to pretend I’m harassing you. You’re a coward. I don’t have to say why, you just are. You lied about everything, and you lie now. You lie that you said anything to harass other people, and you lie that you’re the victim here. Fuck off, you asshole. You don’t have any more integrity than anyone else here, especially Steve the bishop. You are the lowliest of the low – the Christian hypocrite who pretends to believe god handles all this shit, but instead of laying by, you instigate and you meddle in god’s stead. Who should be ashamed of themselves here? I think it’s you. And maybe me, but mostly you.
Vaffanculo, pezzo di cazzo.
There, it’s time you get exposed to a more varied multicultural experience and since trolling seems to be your thing, those are the only words I could find in my other major language to proper define you and exhort you to leave and take your hate elsewhere.
I have never seen a post where you actually made a interesting, debatable point. Everything I have read so far you carefully crafted to piss off this group, as I am sure you do elsewhere under other names. That’s trolling. If I did it in a Christian blog, it would be trolling too, but I don’t do it. I find no pleasure in it and it is a despicable behavior.
And stop claiming “I was an atheist”. So what? You know hopw many assholes atheists are there? Scores. And at least we share some basic belief with them. But you, if you ever where one, don’t really move me with your claim. To me it means you were once on the right path and then you chose to negate who you were to subscribe to a confusing, hateful, broken philosophy. What you were means nothing to me, what you are means even less. At least I can justify the other nutcases with the fact they were born into their hateful bigoted religion. What’s your excuse? You actually picked it and I believe it is more satisfactory for you because it makes you feel superior to anyone else, heck, it commands you to go out and convert everyone, but this well is very dry for you.
I stepped on some dog shit earlier while taking a walk and I had to clean my shoes on the grass before getting into the house. That left a lasting impression on me tomorrow I am much more likely to remember the dog shit than your posts. That’s how memorable you are.
Now go to hell (figuratively speaking) and I hope I never read another post again “Bamajack”.
“Name calling”? That’s not name calling lying fuckwit troll, now that’s name calling.
Hmm actually just read a little further “fucking wad of shit” not bad.
You appear to be a liar. You are not a “prior atheist” (whatever the fuck that means). What you are is a part of a belief system that is eroding with each passing minute. The “truths” that your myth book (and other myth books) have claimed for nearly two thousand years are fading as skeptical, agitating and analytical minds have moved swiftly passed your bullshit and on to things that matter. The vast majority of western industrialized countries are losing their religious chains faster than even I could have hoped for.
So you were a “prior atheist”, eh? And somehow you came to believe in a 1st century Jewish caricature of a Jewish priest in an evolving Judaism that became the basis for hundreds of new religious sects, eh? Cool. I suppose what is so “liberating” for you is that now you don’t have to think anymore. Kind of like the folks in North Korea.
Eres un súper-idiota mi BJ. Yo soy
Hispano y mis hijos (5) todos son ateos y no porque les exigí ser lo. No ha
contrario mi querido BJ, porque les enseñe ser pensadores libres y que
corrieran cuando alguien les pidiera que tuvieran “fe”. Fe mis pinches hu—s!
And so you know, in case you do not read Spanish, Like my five
kids (the youngest born in Guadalajara, Jalisco), Latin Americans are jumping
the god-ship like never before. So you know BJ, your bullshit myths are no
longer going to be met with apathy, fear or resignation. Latinos are leaving
the ranks of religions as fast as they are leaving the ranks of the homophobes.
And like their counterparts in western industrial countries like Sweden,
Australia, Denmark, UK, New Zealand, Norway and many others, educated and
upwardly mobile classes in Latin America are leaving ALL religions in
But my concern is not trolls like you. My concern is the
hundreds of millions of non-Christian religious fanatics who are ignorant,
loyal to their faith and angry. Some
of these “believers” are still living the crusades. Oh, they may not believe
YOUR god, but they have one of their own that many of them are willing to die
for. This is the kind of shit that religions do well.
Why don’t you check the facts about Catholicism in Latin America and get back to us? (While you’re at it, brush up on your grammar. I mean, “more and more less Christian”? Not even my high school students make that kind of mistake.)
“I’m a prior atheist” I’m of the camp that says we don’t doubt people their positive assertions w/o evidence to the contrary* but I’m having trouble believing you actually didn’t believe in supernatural things including god(s).
*yes, it know, it’s a terrible bumper sticker
I’m having trouble understanding why people think saying “I used to be an atheist” somehow gives weight to the bullshit that tends to follow.
They don’t have to denounce all religion. They must worship the Kim family instead. Literally. Kim il-Sung is the “Eternal President” (his descendants are only the leaders of the party) and there are portraits and shrines to him all over. It’s the most extreme form of a personality cult ever created. And very much like a religion.
Right. So what you’re saying is there must be truth in numbers. So here’s what I say to you … “eat shit” … ten billion flies can’t be wrong.
I saw this this morning and my first thought was, “So leave…”
I know it’s not that easy for a lot of people but I really wish it was.
Oh, help, what has happened to Disqus? They have started the endless nested comments again. It’s impossible to read the conversations anymore.
I’m on IE right now; it’s not doing that, though the more comments there are the boggier the page gets. I tried loading it in Firefox and I did notice it was doing the nested thing. It was also scrolling really slow so I quit and came back to IE. I might try Chrome next though last time I did that Disqus wouldn’t even recognize that I had logged in so I ended up back in IE again anyway. Pick your poison, I guess. :-/
OK, that’s weird. Out of curiosity, I went to Chrome. Comments are endlessly nested but it remembered my login from before. I give up. :b
I only have Internet Explorer, and it’s doing the endless nesting. I didn’t change my browser or even log out/log in, so it must be Disqus. Everything was fine one moment and then it suddenly reverted to the squashed format from several months ago. I can’t imagine they would go back to that on purpose?
That’s really weird. I’m only seeing the usual 3 layers of nesting on this thread, even after reloading.
Hmmm, I think I’m going to try logging out and clearing my cache to see if that helps. What version of IE are you using?
I’m using IE9. I’ve seen one or two other people mention the nesting issue tonight, too.
I’m also using IE9. This is really strange! I cleared my cache and restarted my computer, but I’m still seeing the endless nesting.
Y’know, I just realized it is doing it on another thread I have open in another tab, but it’s not enough to be unreadable… but I’m still not seeing it on this page. Maybe I opened the other page since I last reloaded this one. Weird.
It’s fixed itself for me. Weird. I only use Chrome.
Fixed itself for me, too. Thank goodness. It must just have been a temporary bug.
@ Feminerd – I don’t know what you’re screen looks like but I won’t
try to read comments that have turned into slivers down the side of
the screen. So, I’m replying here and hope you see it, so we can
“No. So many times no. By your logic, either there is objective Good (in
which case God isn’t necessary because Good is objectively defined) or what is Good is defined by what God says.”
What you’ve posted is a very poor description of the Euthyphro dilemma.
Here’s where you miss the mark.
. If God does not exist, then objective morals, values and obligations (def.
below) do not exist.
. But we know from our interactions with other people that objective morals, values and obligations DO exist. We know, and we know absolutely when someone does something “wrong” to us. We don’t have to wonder for one second what our community or society thinks about what the person did to us. When we’ve been wronged our mind immediately appeals to a moral law that
both the victim and the offender know transcends both of them. So why
does that point to God being the source of objective morals?
Immanuel Kant showed that just as physical laws can be fully known by examining the physical world, objective moral laws are fully realized in Jesus and
Father God. Objective moral obligations are as much a part of our real world as are the laws of physics, mathematics or logic. But if objective morality is real, then so too is freewill. If we “should” do something, then it stands to reason that I am able to do that thing. We tell our children to not lie because we fully expect that they are able to choose to not lie. Our governments set before us laws of behaviour because they and we fully expect that we have the ability to choose to obey those laws. As I stated before, our daily interactions with others shows we know beyond doubt that objective moral order is as real and independent of our recognition as is the natural order of things. Our perceptions of natural and moral laws are givens of our experience.
. Objective moral Goodness and Obligations are based on God’s character. God’s commands are not arbitrary, for they are the inevitable expression of His Just and Loving nature. And, since our moral obligations are grounded in the
Divine commands that come out of His Divine character, moral values and duties do not exist independent of God. Since it’s the very character of God that is the basis of morality, it is only those things that are consistent with His character that can be considered objectively moral and good.
. What God commands or permits is good and what He forbids is wrong, bad, evil, self-destructive. Therefore examining what is truly good and right gives us a glimmer of the very character of Creator God. This may sound like an overconfident statement but this is our reality. The best explanation of what we experience, especially regarding morality is not atheism but theism, specifically, Christian theism.
This is what it means for morality to be objective vs. subjective, selective or
relative to the situation. Objective morality is not based on the individual’s character or personality or level of empathy. It is not based upon that person’s likes or dislikes, sanity or insanity. Nor is it based on the ebb and flow of the community’s likes / dislikes etc.. Objective morality flows from God’s very nature. It is not an arbitrary or capricious decision of His that constitutes the standard of morality. The only things that are “good” are those things that cohere with Creator God’s character. The laws of logic, the laws of mathematics and objective moral realities, which exist independent of humans, do not exist independent of Creator God. For that reason, to examine these laws and to examine objective morality is to examine God Himself.
Why choose God as the source of morality as opposed to you or me or Hitler?
God by definition is the least arbitrary stopping point, the least arbitrary point of final authority. That too is what it means for morals to be objective. They have a grounding in a final and ultimate authority. And why should Creator God be the final authority? Because Creator God is the Greatest Conceivable Being. There is nothing beyond Him. He is the ultimate power. What He says is what goes. He
has the knowledge to establish moral authority. Creator God is omniscient. There is nothing that He doesn’t know about morality or about how we humans were created to work best.
Creator God’s character is impeccable, without fault.
God doesn’t just exemplify goodness. He IS goodness.
God doesn’t just exemplify justice. He IS Justice.
God doesn’t just exemplify love. He IS love.
Creator God has the moral authority to hold us accountable for the moral obligations that we obey or disobey.
Almost everyone is willing to recognize an ultimate standard of goodness. Choosing another person as the ultimate standard of good and bad, right and
wrong sets up obvious and irreconcilable issues of conflict. Any moral construct (don’t rape, don’t discriminate etc.) that is “invented” or adopted by mankind and that is truly good for society, will BE good for society because it coheres with an
objective moral principle that exists independently of humans. Objective means it is right and true regardless of whether you agree with it or obey it or even know that it exists. Again, “objective” (not arbitrary, relative or even absolute) because it comes from the Ultimate source of Truth, Goodness, Justice and Love – our Creator.
If “man-made” moral constructs work across time and culture:
. They will work because they are objectively and ultimately right.
. They will work because they are based upon standards that are objectively and ultimately sound.
. They are objectively and ultimately sound because they originate from the
character and command of our Creator who is the ultimate source of Truth, Goodness, Justice and Love.
The Christian base for objective morality is based on Truth. In our interaction
with others, when wronged, you and I know in an instant that it’s based upon Truth. Because it’s based upon Truth it helps in the survival of the collective.
The atheist base for morality is based upon it’s “perceived” ability to aid survival. It may or may not work over time. It is something that will change with the ebb and flow human desire, likes and dislikes, current ideology and the ability to meet our immediate need. As such, at any given time, atheist morality may or may not entail truth.
Now, if a moral personal Creator God does exist, then we could expect to find clues of His existence within our relationships. If a moral personal Creator God exists we could expect to find that objective morality makes sense. We could expect to find within ourselves the sense of powerful moral obligations: guilt for not obeying these obligations and feelings of fulfilment when we do obey these demands. And because a moral, personal Creator God does exist, this is exactly
what we do find to be true deep within our being and in our relationships with others.
If Good is defined by God’s decrees and sayings, rape is not condemned
in any way, shape or form. It is actually mandated and condoned in
several Old Testament passages
“and implicitly condoned by the submission passages in the New Testament.”
Preposterous! The submission passages are talking about two people who out of love for one another defer to the wishes of the other. I’m appalled by the ignorance upon which atheists reject their Creator.
Soooo long a post! And yet, nothing new.
Get thee to the google, go! This has just been discussed on a different blog here at Patheos very recenly. Here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2013/06/william-lane-craig-doesnt-believe-in-objective-moral-values/. I refuse to reinvent the wheel, when Bob Seidensticker did it already.
If there is objective good, then we don’t need god(s) to tell us about it. If we define Good as what gods like, then good includes, rape, genocide, and slavery.
Rape in the Old Testament: http://www.evilbible.com/Rape.htm It would take far too much space to copy/paste them all, so I’ll just leave you the link.
As for submission- you’re just wrong. Men love, women submit. There is nothing about mutual submission. Men feel an emotion (or fake one), but there is no way to fake the action of submitting. It is not an equal relationship, and part of “submit to your husband” is to, uh, lie yourself down when he asks/tells you to. We call that marital rape.
If we define Good as what gods like, then good includes, rape, genocide, and slavery.”
But that is NOT the definition of good.
Feminerd, in the Bible men are told to submit to their wives more often than women are told to submit to their husbands. The extra bit being that men are told to be ready to die, physically and psychologically for their wives. Why do you ignore that fact?
I’m a retired marriage counsellor. For my clients who are Christians, the following is from a handout that I give to both partners.
The Man is the Spiritual Leader of the home. What that means is, we husbands are to model for the family:
Patience and so on.
Do you know what “model for” means Feminerd? It means to take the lead. To do first. To show how its done. Submitting to one another is an act of love. In a marriage that is working, you’ll find two people trying to outdo each other with kindness.
I don’t expect either you or Kodie to know anything about that – not now, not ever. You’re both too busy building up an image of being hard and impervious to love. And what’s worse, you think that’s a great quality to have.
Yeah, I’ve seen that sort of BS before. And you know what else I’ve seen? The consequences of it. Beaten women, beaten children. “I do this for your own good, because I love you”. “This hurts me more than it hurts you”. “I’m the leader, so you do what I say!” “I have to die for you, so you have to cook, clean, bear children, care for children, and have sex with me because in the unlikely event that one of us has to die, I am theoretically obligated to do that”. Do you see why that is not good? One is a future obligation, one is a current obligation with consequences for everyday life, every day of a woman’s life. So tell me- what was your advice to women who were isolated by their partners, emotionally and possibly physically abused? Did you tell them to submit better or to leave the abusers? Or did you just tell them they were imagining it and you’d have a nice chat with their husbands about love?
Shouldn’t both partners be responsible for their own love, mercy, kindness, gentleness, and patience? No one should ever submit to the other, ever. Work with and compromise, yes. Obey? Oh fuck no. Marriage is a partnership between equals. There is no leader and, conversely, there is no follower. Submission is what slaves do; partnership is what adults do.
EDIT: Also, in what universe is “die for” equal to submission? What kind of word-fuckery do you do to get that definition of submission? Submit means obey. Die for means, well, die for. They’re two entirely different concepts.
Yeah, I’ve seen that sort of BS before.
Bull shit? Bull Shit!!!?? Words like love, and kindness and patience and forgiveness, these words have absolutely no meaning for you, do they? Have you never seen it? Did you grow up in an abusive home so you think that’s the norm? Like what is going on with you?
How can you possibly think that the home that I described would be an abusive home? Mutual submission means exactly that. Two people giving their all to be good to each other. Have you never seen that? Never?
So tell me- what was your advice to women who were isolated by their partners, emotionally and possibly physically abused?
I tell them to leave. I tell them that it is not love to allow their husband to think that abusive behaviours are acceptable.
“No one should ever submit to the other, ever.”
I think that perhaps you’re confusing submission to subservience. The former comes from a position of strength while the latter comes from a position of powerlessness. When I said “die for” I also said, the “extra bit” beyond the other places where the husband is told to submit. Submit most certainly DOES NOT mean obey. Submission is the willed, volitional, desire to do good to another person. What kind of crappy relationships have you been involved in, anyway. Where do you get this stuff from?
Did I use the word “Obey” somewhere? Because no where in the Bible is a woman told to obey her husband. Just as you say, “Marriage is a partnership between equals.” Did you know that the term “helpmate,”
as it’s used to describe the woman’s role in Genesis, is the same term that God uses to describe Himself in His relationship with us? It’s hardly a one-down position.
There is no leader”
Well not in your world. And for what it’s worth, neither God nor the Bible is talking to you. You’re on your own. What the Bible says it says to those of us who want to follow Jesus.
No. The will to do good is the will to do good. I have every volition to do good to other people in the world, but I do not submit to anyone. This volition has nothing to do with submission. Submission, by definition, does mean subservience. The fact that you’re twisting words and giving them your own definitions to elide how horrible the actual command is really shouldn’t be my problem, except that then you go tell people to submit. And they do. Except you didn’t take the time to explain that you’d redefined what it means, so they do subservience, because that’s what submission means.
If a marriage has a leader, it is by definition not an equal partnership. Leaders have followers, unless they have co-leaders, and I’m not getting a co-leader vibe from you. A follower is, by definition, not as powerful as a leader and is accorded less respect and autonomy. When you call the man the leader, what you’re saying that he is more powerful, worthy of more respect, and worthy of greater autonomy than the woman. How can you miss these basic implications of your teachings?
EDIT: At least you do support abused women leaving their husbands. There is at least a glimmer of hope for you.
EDIT 2: The bullshit isn’t the positive traits (except for submission which isn’t positive). The bullshit is saying that men are spiritual leaders, so women have to submit to them.
“I do not submit to anyone.”
No one is asking you to. So relax. If you’re certain of how to have a good marriage, then go for it. The definition of submission that I use is how it is used in the Bible. If you wouldn’t like a husband who takes the lead in submission, Love Mercy Forgiveness Gentleness Kindness Patience, then don’t pick one like that. Actually you’d probably find someone like that boring. My wife and I have been
married for 40 years and she rates it a 9/10. We weren’t Christians when we got married and I am certain that if we hadn’t become followers of Jesus our marriage wouldn’t have made it past year 7.
“except that then you go tell people to submit. And they do. Except you didn’t take the time to explain that you’d redefined what it means, so they do subservience, because that’s what submission means.”
You have quite an imagination. First of all, I would never suggest to a secular couple that submission be part of their marriage. Like you they couldn’t figure out what I was talking about. And second, their corrupt self-love would make them abuse the notion. Christian couples already know what Biblical submission means so I don’t need to
explain. In fact, most every couple that comes in does so because they refuse to submit to each other. They are battling for control of each other. They are saying, “I will never submit to anyone, not even the one I claim to love.”
“If a marriage has a leader, it is by definition not an equal
partnership. Leaders have followers,”
Your presuppositions are keeping you from understanding what you’re reading.
In a Biblical marriage the man is the Spiritual Leader – period. He is to take the lead in showing love for his wife in Submission, Mercy Forgiveness Gentleness Kindness Patience, etc. You are the first person that I’ve met who finds a man like that offensive. I suspect Kodie would feel the same.
After that, there is no leader. Whoever is the best at finances generally “takes the lead” in managing the finances. Whoever is best at cooking generally takes the lead at fixing the meals. If people are equally “gifted” at cleaning, they both do the cleaning. How can this be News to you? Have you ever been married to a man who treats
you with love and respect?
“How can you miss these basic implications of your teachings?”
The implications of following Jesus teaching in a marriage is a wonderful marriage. Here’s another example.
“You must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.”
Pretty awful huh? Makes you go eeew eew eew? Do you feel lucky that you’ll never meet anyone who will treat you like that?
So, yeah, I’m just going to point you to Love, Joy, Feminism. Also Quivering Daughters and No Longer Quivering. Go read about Christian love and submission there. I hope you have a barf bucket handy, though, because the mental and sometimes physical torture these women went through is hard to read through.
I’ve never suggested that abuse doesn’t happen. Nor that abuse that is somehow justified in the name of God happens. Just last week I was dealing with a “Christian” husband who was extremely controlling. And when I asked him how he justified such behaviour, he looked at me
like I was the village idiot and pointed to Genesis 3:16. “Your husband will rule over you.” I could feel his world begin to tilt when I pointed out that what he was pointing to was a curse. God was saying, Now that sin has entered the world, because you are now filled with sin, because of the consequence of sin, this is how men WILL be tempted to treat their wives. It is not saying how we SHOULD treat our wives but how we will be tempted to treat our wives. It’s a curse, not a prescription. And it follows with, “Because of sin your wives will want to rule over and control you.” it’s not what they should do but what they will be tempted to do.
What you are describing is just more proof of what I’ve been saying all along. We humans are deeply, deeply flawed. We are in need of forgiveness.
Pointing to what’s wrong however, is no excuse for avoiding what’s right. You’re not going to have to answer for me and I’m not going to have to answer for you. Jesus has told Christian husband how a leader should behave. And to make sure the point hit home He gave a
Please pay attention to this. It’s important. On the night before He was killed, Jesus was having a meal with His closest followers. And He said to them, “Leaders in the world (as you Feminerd has observed) lord it over their subjects. But it is not to be that way with you.” Then Jesus, the Creator of the universe, their teacher, their master, took the lowest position in that society. That of an old Gentile slave. The bottom of the ladder. And He, their leader, washed their feet. They were shocked and repelled but Jesus insisted that they allow Him to do this for them. And then He said, In My kingdom, to be the first you must be the last. To be the greatest you must become the least. I
have shown you what I expect from you. Now do as I say. For I did not come into the world to be served, but to serve others and to give my life as a ransom for many.”
This is how a Christian home is to work. The husband takes the role of servant leader. Only Jesus teaches this. Only God’s kingdom works on a system of Grace, Mercy and perpetual forgiveness demonstrated and modelled by the husband. I don’t care what doesn’t work. It’s my job and the job of every Christian husband to make sure that we are leaders in the fashion that Jesus mandated for us. And I
can tell you that our wives are thankful that we do.
When you tell people to submit, you open the door to abuse. When you set up a partnership as a leader/follower relationship, you open the door to abuse. When you tell people to obey God without question, and then set up that relationship as the ideal for marriage as well, you open the door to abuse. Isn’t what you teach that as Jesus is the head of the Church, the husband is the head of the wife? And unconditional obedience to Jesus is a good thing? The logical conclusion is, then, that women should have unconditional obedience to their husbands. And then there’s the story of Job, who never ever left God even though God killed his whole family and afflicted him with diseases (ie, abused him horribly). What lesson is a woman in an abusive relationship supposed to draw from this?
What you don’t seem to understand is that your ideology doesn’t have to be abusive, but it opens the door to and condones abuse. It’s an unhealthy way to approach relationships. You’re right that the “husbands will rule wives” bit in Genesis is a curse, but it’s also a description of what will happen (and should happen because God commanded it to happen), not what people will be tempted to do. It’s part of the same passage that describes childbirth being painful, and I assure it’s not that people are “tempted” to have childbirth be painful. It actually hurts. Yet another example of how the Bible is an awfully immoral book, and thanks for pointing that out.
“When you tell people to submit, you open the door to abuse.”
Not in a Biblical marriage. I don’t know if you own a Bible or not, but in a letter that a man named Paul wrote to Christians in a city called Ephesus, he was speaking to people who were struggling in their marriage. And he wrote, “ Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her”
Do you notice something important? No? Here it is. He is NOT saying to the wife, “Make sure your husband loves you.” And he is NOT saying to the husband, “Make sure that your wife submits to you.”
I think I’ve said to you before that in Christianity, none of us are going to have to answer for how someone else behaves, certainly not our spouses. How my wife treats me is between her and God. My job is to treat her with love – Period! No excuses.
In marriages that are in trouble, it’s almost always because one or both are trying to change and control each other. If I had to pick one word for why people come for counselling, any counselling, the word would be “control.” They want control, they feel controlled, they are out of control. Jesus takes this completely away because the only thing that I’m asked to do to and for my wife is treat her with love. There is no room for abuse. No invitation for abuse. No excuse for abuse. You are still, wrongly, equating worldly subservience with Biblical submission. The are not the same.
“When you set up a partnership as a leader/follower relationship . . ”
Did you read what I wrote about what Biblical leadership looks like? Did you read any of it? How can servant-leadership possibly lead to abuse?
“The logical conclusion is, . . .”
It is not logical. Because of our corrupt self-love it may happen, but it is not justified by Jesus’ teaching.
“but it’s also a description of what will happen”
Yes, because we are deeply flawed people we are given a description of what we observe happening on a daily basis. What’s the problem?
“(and should happen because God commanded it to happen),”
He has not commanded sin to happen! Are you serious? God told Adam and Eve, right now you only know good. Do not disobey Me or you will open your spiritual eyes so that you will also know about evil. satan convinced them that God was not trying to protect them but in fact trying to withhold something good from them. They did what they wanted instead of what God want and the rest is history.
“not what people will be tempted to do.”
Because Jesus is the only one who never gave in to temptation, in reality, being tempted is effectively the same as doing.
“Yet another example of how the Bible is an awfully immoral book,”
What? Pain in childbirth shows the Bible to be an immoral book?
Love is an emotion. Submission is an action (or series of actions). They are not, and never will be, equal in what the command to men and women are. “Feel something” and “do something” are inherently unequal- especially when the feeling is pleasant and the task at hand is not.
Basically, I’m saying your ideology is too easily turned abusive. It’s too easy to find Biblical passages that support abuse. Any easily abusable situation needs a whole hell of a lot of looking into; not all homeschoolers are abusive, but homeschooling is easy to abuse, thus homeschooling needs oversight and should be subject to immediate, additional scrutiny. Same goes for “Christian marriage”; it’s not always abusive, but it’s really easy to abuse, and thus it needs oversight and really should be subject to immediate, additional scrutiny. Also, if you advocate something so easily abusable, maybe just maybe your ideology is justification for abuse?
And being tempted is the same as doing? No. A million times no. Being tempted to steal a shiny bauble is not at all the same thing as stealing it. Being tempted to punch my sibling is not the same thing as actually punching my sibling. If I were given jail time for being tempted to steal, that would be immensely unfair. And actually, according to the story, God created Adam and Eve innocent of all knowledge. The tree is called the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil; not Knowledge of Evil. They learned instead of staying ignorant of everything; they learned of Good and they learned of Evil. Only abusive parents “protect” their children from knowledge- Jews actually tell the story as God knowing that Adam and Eve would eventually eat the fruit, and that knowledge cast them out of the innocence of childhood and into the hardships of adulthood. The angel with the fiery sword shows that you can’t regain innocence and ignorance. It’s a story of growing up, not a story of sin.
spunky, feisty, spirited, I don’t see those as childish at all.
Precious, cherished, valuable, loved. I don’t see those as childish either.
Perhaps you two need to hang with different people where those those things
aren’t lost as you get older.
Precious spunky young lady.
I’ve only ever heard that phrase in two ways. 1) A five year old girl who said/did something cute, that only children can get away with. 2) A way to dismiss a grown woman’s point of view by conflating it with a five-year-old who said something cute in a way only children can get away with.
Connotations matter more than denotations sometimes. Would you ever refer to Kodie as a precious spunky young gentleman (were she male)? If you wouldn’t, why not?
Actually I’ve used exactly those terms for men that I know. When I say someone is precious to me, I mean they’re important. I like who they are. I appreciate the characteristics they display. They have value. I’m glad they exist. What word would you use?
Why do you two assume that people can’t / won’t like you? Why do you push away a show of kindness?
I don’t assume that people can’t or won’t like me. Most people like me fine. But I know I can get intense when discussing things that matter to me (feminism, patriarchy, rape culture, atheism, anti-science bullshit, education policy, politics in general, etc) and I have somewhat uncommon interests (D&D and variations, other tabletop games, video games), so a lot of people respond negatively to the intensity, the subject matter, or the nerdiness. I’m not always polite or nice, which are cultural requirements for petite young women, and I have called out large men for (mostly unconsciously) trying to use their bulk to intimidate me. I’m smarter than most, more educated and informed than most, and I don’t see any reason to hide it. If someone says something stupid, I’ll tell them it was stupid. Call me arrogant- you won’t be wrong. Some people don’t like that, and thus they respond fairly negatively to me. C’est la vie.
I don’t push away kindness. I push away false kindness, I push away condescension, I push away threats. I can see through the bullshit enough to tell the difference between them. Note I live in the South, home of “Isn’t s/he precious!” and “Bless hir heart!”. We all know what those really mean.
Also, note a key difference in usage for men and women. “S/he is precious to me” is very different in meaning and connotation than “How precious s/he is!”. The connotative difference is all in the tone. You didn’t say Kodie was precious to you- indeed, she couldn’t be, because you don’t know her and have no relationship to her (as far as I know). You said Kodie was a precious young woman, which has an entirely different meaning.
“I don’t push away kindness.”
So why do you push away my attempt at kindness? I try an exchange of ideas and all I get is snark.
“I can see through the bullshit enough to tell the difference between them.”
Except that you’ve just proven that you can’t – or at least not all the time.
“The connotative difference is all in the tone.”
Which you have no hope of discerning in print.
The order of the words matters, as seen in my examples. As for the exchange of ideas- I did that in the appropriate thread. When you dismissed Kodie in a separate comment, I took that up with you there. At no point did I attempt to alter our exchange of ideas about whether God is necessary for morality or not.
As for your kindness- you may think you’re being kind. However, you’re offering me what I consider a poisoned pill (Christianity). So you’re offering me this delicious awesome glorious pill that’ll make my life great from your perspective; from mine, you’re offering me a combination of deadly nightshade and amanita mushrooms. Thus, I respond poorly to your “kindness”.
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