The Next Nicea

Blogger Bonesparkle over at Scholars & Rogues asks a pertinent question: in light of the bill in NC to establish religion and recent survey that shows a third of Americans wanting to establish Christianity as the official religion, exactly which form of Christianity should we be establishing?

Bonesparkle throws out some some questions that will need to be settled, perhaps by acts of Congress, in the process of establishing Christianity. Most are timeless, like the virginity of Mary, others are modern, like the question of which race Jesus belonged to. Of course, no question are going to be more fraught than questions of ritual …

Should baptism be by sprinkling as an infant or by immersion once one is born again? And, how quickly can we set in place an emergency re-baptism program for all those people that had it done wrong the first time?

… except questions of power:

What the hell do we do about those damned Jews, who have made clear that they aren’t on board with Jesus as the Son of God? Do we wait and let Jesus deal with them himself or should we set about making them either believe what we believe or leave?

And don’t even get me started on Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Mormons, and other varieties of Satanist. If we’re truly a Christian land, is it right that their blasphemy should be tolerated, and worse, that they should be able to benefit from social programs paid for by Right-thinking Christians?

Should the Office of Homeland Godliness be a Cabinet-level appointment reporting to the President? Should the President be the de jure head of the Church? Should it be a separate branch of government insulated from the meddling influence of future secular legislators, and especially from Satanic minions on the Supreme Court? Or, for that matter, should we rework the government and Constitution so that we replace the democracy with a Christian theocracy?

The folks who are pushing for a return to Christian America are generally part of a community that is overwhelmingly evangelical – ironically, a group that was an excluded minority during the founding period. They can convince themselves that they represent the vast majority of Christians in America.

But in truth, the evangelical sub-culture represents just over a quarter of the population these days, and groups like the Catholics and the “nones” are swiftly gaining ground. If if really came down to a matter of defining which brand of Christianity was to become the new established religion, there’s gonna be a fight. The Christian church barely survived the first Nicea, I’m not sure that American Christianity can survive a second one.

  • Len

    If they call the Office of Homeland Security something like the Office of Motherland Security, then they can just cite “OMG” as the reason for all the daft stuff they try. The rest of us will then probably respond with “OMG” as well.

    • Len

      Forget that – got mixed up with another blog post and forgot how to spell for this one.

      • Len

        Should have been Office of Motherland Godliness. That’ll teach me to have too many discussions open.
        Time for a beer (if that’s still allowed – OMG).

  • Yoav

    They should go old testament like Elijah and the priests of Baal. Get each sect to sent a representative to the national mall and whoever can get their jesus to send magic fire and kill all the others wins.

    • trj

      In my experience, the more fervently someone advocates a “return” to some mythical Christian America, the more their beliefs tend to lean towards a restrictive, unsophisticated, OT version of Christianity.

      So yeah, good suggestion. Let them fight it out OT style. I’m sure it’ll be quite spectacular, with earthquakes, boils, burning clouds, and what have you.

      • http://theotherweirdo.wordpress.com The Other Weirdo

        I am all amazement to learn that there is a sophisticated NT version of Christianity. Primitive Belief 1.0 vs Primitive Belief 1.1.

        • Brian K

          I’m not sure Version 1.1 is “primitive” per se. it contains all of the nastiness of Greek sophistry and speculation, a soup of mystery cult silliness, and plenty of political gamesmanship and philosophical babbling.

      • Bob Jase

        Well, it looks as though Penn & Teller will be our new gods.

  • Silent Service

    “The Christian church barely survived the first Nicea, I’m not sure that American Christianity can survive a second one.” There’s something to hope for?

  • http://SeanAsbury.wordpress.com Sean Asbury

    Think we all need to change our thinking on this. Nothing will bring religion to an end quicker than the state sanctioning it. We should all cheer and support all states that try to institute Christianity as the “official” religion…

  • The Lonely Flower of Wisdom

    Well, that is just the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of. I can’t believe that America continue being the most ignorant country in the world. You had some good times with your friend Jesus, but now just fucking let it go man.

  • ORAXX

    Anyone who thinks breaking down the barrier between church and state is a good idea should imagine the religious faction they hate the most, having control over their life. That is exactly what is going to happen to someone.

  • Jesus Christ

    I demand more foot baths.

  • Meenakshi

    Something I found. It’s like a homework assignment for theists.
    http://carm.org/cut-atheism

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

      Let’s start at the very beginning, the very best place to start. “Atheism is an intellectual position. What reasons do you have for holding that position? Your reasons are based upon logic and/or evidence or lack of it. So, is there any reason/evidence for you holding your position that you defend?” With that beginning, we know this is going to be good. See, when someone makes a claim, ze gets to defend it. The more powerful the claim, the more evidence is required to back up the claim. The claim that a hyperpowerful being created the universe requires a great deal of evidence all on its own, evidence we simply don’t have. This also has no bearing on whether that hyperpowerful being happens to be the one someone worships, just whether a being of some sort exists.

      Claims about the fundamental nature of our universe should be evaluated scientifically. In experiments, we start with the null hypothesis and our hypothesis. Our hypothesis is what we think is true, or X. In the case of religion, the hypothesis would be ‘there is God’. The null hypothesis is what if this is not true, or not-X. The null hypothesis is the default (that is, we assume our hypothesis may not be true), and we’re trying to see if we can get enough evidence through experimentation and observation to reject the null hypothesis. Otherwise, we fail to reject the null hypothesis. In this case, the null hypothesis is the atheist position: there is no God. We must garner enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis in order to make the positive claim that there is a God. Thus far, that evidence has been wholly lacking.

      Then we get to objections to this position. Aiii is the claim that “[i]f you say that atheism is supported by the lack of evidence for God, then it is only your opinion that there is no evidence. You cannot know all evidence for or against God, therefore you cannot say there is no evidence for God.” This is a disingenuous claim. It is not my job, as the skeptic of your claim, to seek out your evidence for you. It is your job, as the person making the claim, to do so. You present your evidence, and I decide if it’s convincing to me or not. If what you have is insufficient, that’s not my fault. You are once again shifting the burden of proof from where it belongs (the person making the claim) to where it does not (the outside observer). Given that I have read tens or hundreds of different arguments for the existence of God of varying degrees of sophistication, I’ve done (more than) my due diligence in seeking evidence for God. I remain unconvinced. I have failed to reject the null hypothesis.

      Additionally, it is very bad science (actually, it falls squarely into pseudoscience) to argue that even though all the evidence or the preponderance of the evidence is against your hypothesis, there might someday arise a fact that backs you up. I can’t make decisions based on what we might learn in the future, especially if that counters all known available evidence now. I can only work off current knowledge, and asking me to make decisions or evaluate claims based on hypothetical future facts that don’t now exist is unfair, absurd, and illogical.

      Further arguments include the God of the Gaps, First Cause, laws of nature mean God must have created those laws (I think? I’m very confused about this argument, truthfully), laws of logic came from somewhere therefore God (again, what?), and an insistence that God is actually the Christian God (even though the arguments above are concerned solely with the presence or absence of any Supreme Being, not their specific Supreme Being). I find myself unimpressed.

    • Sunny Day

      WOW it even tells people to copypasta it into chat rooms. CHECKMATE ATHEISTS!!

      • Jabster

        How else can they defend themselves against aggressive secularism and militant atheists?

        Well sites like this do explain why some of the idiot theists turn up here – don’t worry about understanding what is being said just copy and paste some ‘killer’ one liners and you’ll have the nasty atheists bowing to the lord before they know what hit them. That’s how it normal turns out, right?

    • Troutbane

      Even more fun logical proof of God.

      http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/logic.php

      And not just God, the “Christian©” God. I love doing this test cause you can pretty much tell the exact moment they jump from the logical argument thought track to the “Shit We Made Up” track.

      • Sunny Day

        When you start your “proof” with a magicians forced choice trick, you know the result is going to be unintentionally ironic.

      • Jabster

        Besides the stupidity of the test – it won’t even let you answer with the answers it defined as wrong- it does do that somewhat large leap of faith.

        It’s an ‘argument’ that I’ve seen deployed many times. If you admit that it’s possible for “god” to exist (in this case the only really attribute of this god is that it would be impossible to prove or disprove its existence) then it’s perfectly reasonable to believe in the Christian version of god. Of course, as always, this argument only extends to the Christian god.

        • Troutbane

          Yep, I think many theists don’t realize that their theistic arguments are not religious specific so they are then forced into special pleading for their personal beliefs. Rinse and repeat.

          If you notice in that choose your own adventure above, at one point they specify Chrisitianity without ANY attempt at proof, just claiming it as is.

  • evodevo

    Most of the evangelicals/born-agains I am acquainted with wouldn’t have a clue what the Council of Nicea was, much less how the canon was decided on – lots of politicking and committees ….

  • Candy Floss

    As God invented logic but is also beyond logic, you will never never ever ever prove God’s existence by using logic. That’s not the way it works.

    • Jabster

      Firstly which version of god are you referring to and secondly if that’s not how it works how does it work?

    • Troutbane

      “As God invented logic but is also beyond logic”
      How do you know this? On what authority or assumption are you working from? I could just as easily say:
      “Invisible Pink Unicorns invented logic and are beyond logic, therefore you can never disprove Invisible Pink Unicorns logically”
      Circular reasoning is circular.

  • Candy Floss

    I am referring to the only God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
    Of course you’re entitled to say Invisible Pink Unicorns invented logic etc, but an invisible pink unicorn, even if it existed, cannot be compared in even the smallest way with the Creator of the Universe, who said “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
    I am not here to prove anything or have pointless debate, just saying that I KNOW that God exists. He operates at a level greater than logic, so to engage in “blind alley” debates is not for me.

    • Sunny Day

      Since all of us here are already aware of the ignorant claims theists make, and you are unwilling to even try to back up your laughable position, I have to wonder why you are here?

      People who claim to KNOW things, only say that because they are hiding their ignorance.

    • Troutbane

      How DARE you deny the existence of Invisible Pink Unicorns (hallowed be thy name)! For it is THEM who created you, yet you worship the FALSE IDOLS of this so called Abraham. Is it not written in the Book of Marshmallow 14:28-32 “Lo and behold and pity the worshipper of false idols, for IPU shall crush them all in the beyond and melt them in a lake of icky goo where they shall suffer for their unbeliefs and be forced to watch the entire final season of ‘Lost’”? This PROVES that not only are you wrong but you shall be punished if you do not repent NOW.
      I KNOW the Invisible Pink Unicorns exist in my heart for they have revealed themselves to me. All you need to see this TRUTH is to believe in them too. Your so called logic cannot be used to disprove THEY who created you for they are beyond such petty things.

    • Troutbane

      And BTW, Corinthians 1:19 is not spoken of by God, it was spoken by Paul. Please actually read your Bible before quoting it to us. Thanks.

    • Nox

      If your god invented logic he shouldn’t have to be afraid of logic.

    • Holly

      There are proofs of God with logic…

      • Jabster

        Love to hear them … just post them here.

  • Candy Floss

    Well, I’ll be off then lol.
    But we who claim to know God, actually DO know God by His grace, it’s not a case of hiding our ignorance.

    • Troutbane

      And I KNOW IPU by their grace, so you are obviously wrong and a teller of lies.

    • Sunny Day

      Before you go, could you explain why theists seem to need to make up new definitions of words instead of the common usage?

      • Sunny Day

        And maybe why the reply button eludes you so?
        Does “KNOWING” the supposed grace of god remove the vile taint of the reply button from your sight?

      • Candy Floss

        New definitions of words Sunny? Such as?
        By the way, something I’d be interested to know……given your approach to life based on logic how does logic work where events which clearly defy logic occur.
        For example, a miracle of healing in Rajasthan recently occurred where a man who had been bedridden for two years owing to having throat cancer was completely healed after prayer. His neck now has a long stretch mark where the cancer was. Today the man rides around selling ice-cream on a bicycle, and preaching about Jesus. The people that prayed for this man had themselves been healed miraculously of sickness when Pastor Patel, the grandson of one of the first christians in Rajasthan prayed for them.
        Please don’t just say “prove it”. Thank you. :)

        • Nox

          Pastor Patel lied (to make his ministry appear more powerful). Some christian websites repeated the story uncritically (to make their god seem more observable). You saw it on those christian websites and repeated it as fact here (you incorrectly thought it was related to what you were trying to say).

          None of those events defy logic. They are events which happen all the time. A priest lying makes as much sense as someone who is already defending a religion based entirely on uncritically accepting the word of priests repeating a claim they have no way of verifying.

          A person who wants to claim things with no evidence asking not to be asked for evidence is something else that could be predicted using only logic.

          You don’t want to engage in debates. You don’t want to be asked for proof. You just want to be able to claim whatever bullsh*t you like without anyone questioning it.

          No.

          You can’t have that.

          If you want us to believe god (let alone the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) invented logic or sometimes temporarily overrides logic, you need to give us some reason to think it is true. If you actually have any reason to think it is true and are not just repeating something your pastor told you, defending your claims shouldn’t be a problem.

          • Candy Floss

            Nox, I have no reason whatsoever to believe Pastor Patel and those who were healed were lying. There is no reason to lie. Especially because these miracles, alongside the preaching of the gospel in that area has resulted in some persecution of new christian believers. Why would anyone risk their own peace and security in this way? Furthermore Pastor Patel is working with Living Water International to bring clean water to villages, he clearly is a man who has compassion for the people of Rajasthan.
            You clearly have no sound basis to suggest he was lying; there is no need for him to make his ministry more powerful, or to make God more observable, the complete healing of the man of throat cancer actually happened, it is a plain as the hand in front of your face FACT.
            And I did not actually receive this information from a christian website, I received it from another very reliable source.
            I don’t need to defend my claims because God’s reality is evident in the world anyway if only you care to recognise it.
            And I really don’t enjoy pointless debating.

            • Jabster

              “And I did not actually receive this information from a christian website, I received it from another very reliable source.”

              … and that source would be?

              “I don’t need to defend my claims because God’s reality is evident in the world anyway if only you care to recognise it.”

              … so care to explain a) why that’s true and b) why it supports your version of god.

              ” And I really don’t enjoy pointless debating.”

              … whereas just saying something without being able to back it up is far more useful isn’t it?

            • Candy Floss

              Jabster, the source is the CWR magazine. CWR was founded in 1965 as a Christian ministry in 1965 by Selwyn Hughes. Website cwr.org.uk
              Information on the same subject on other christian websites is no less reliable.
              It appears that you and Nox, and no doubt everyone else who shares your way of looking at the world are unable to accept that people can be instantly healed in the name of Jesus. Whereas for thousands of people who have experienced miraculous healing, it’s just a part of their life, it’s not something you need to back up and defend.
              I have decided not to comment on your points a) and b) since I see it as a waste of both your and my time.

            • Candy Floss

              Jabster, the source is the CWR magazine. CWR was founded in 1965 as a Christian ministry in 1965 by Selwyn Hughes. Website cwr.org.uk
              Information on the same subject on other christian websites is no less reliable.
              It appears that you and Nox, and no doubt everyone else who shares your way of looking at the world are unable to accept that people can be instantly healed in the name of Jesus. Whereas for thousands of people who have experienced miraculous healing, it’s just a part of their life, it’s not something you need to back up and defend.
              I have decided not to comment on your points a) and b) since I see it as a waste of both your and my time.

            • Jabster

              “And I did *not* actually receive this information from a *christian* website, I received it from another very reliable source.”

              “CWR was founded in 1965 as a *Christian* ministry in 1965 by Selwyn Hughes. Website cwr.org.uk”

              … you were saying.

            • Yoav

              I have no reason whatsoever to believe Pastor Patel and those who were healed were lying.

              That’s because their claims supports your version of god, if they were claiming the same miracle happened after praying to some other god you would find reason to believe they were lying in a heartbeat.

              There is no reason to lie.

              Fame, power, money, all of the above.

              the complete healing of the man of throat cancer actually happened, it is a plain as the hand in front of your face FACT.

              Than producing some evidence to support it should be a simple matter.

            • Jabster

              “I have decided not to comment on your points a) and b) since I see it as a waste of both your and my time.”

              Translation: I can’t answer those – why won’t you just believe me.

            • Jabster

              “It appears that you and Nox, and no doubt everyone else who shares your way of looking at the world are unable to accept that people can be instantly healed in the name of Jesus.”

              … much the same as you wouldn’t if it was claimed in the name of a different version of god without any evidence. The thing is I don’t think you’ve ever thought of that as a problem.

        • Sunny Day

          New definitions of words such as Knowing.
          How does claiming to know something by the grace of something supposed to mean anything. It’s like claiming to know Batman by his Awesomeness.

          It’s funny that miracles always seem to occur when there’s no good medical documentation of before and after the miracle.

          Its also funny that you have no desire back up the silly claims that reinforce your preconceived beliefs.

          It’s tremendously funny when you hold up being persecuted as some kind of barometer to tell the truth of something.

          Its hilarious when you tell me that god is so self evident that all I had to do is look around in the world as if the presence of umpteen thousands of contradictory deities somehow backs you up.

          You’re welcome you fucktard.

          • Candy Floss

            Sunny Day I’m sorry but your language is obscene – I should think there’s a case for you to be banned from posting.
            There is just no need to resort to that kind of insult, it’s a really bad reflection on you and actually the whole website.
            I won’t be back.

            • Jabster

              “Sunny Day I’m sorry but your language is obscene – …”

              Here’s a little hint … if you don’t want to be called a fucktard then don’t act like a fucktard. I mean really are you this stupid in real life?

              “There is just no need to resort to that kind of insult, it’s a really bad reflection on you and actually the whole website.”

              You’ve insulted everybody’s intelligence with the posts you’ve made. Honestly a not very bright ten year old could make more convincing posts than you.

              ” I won’t be back.”

              Well that’s a real shame as you were just so close to convincing people that your god really exists with your ever so persuasive arguments.

            • Sunny Day

              CandiFloss, since you already said you were uninterested in backing up anything you told us, or even examining your own claims too closely, and you didn’t want to debate anything, just what the fuck are we supposed to be missing from you?

    • Troutbane

      Special pleading only applies to other religions?

  • wysiwyg

    Candy-
    “…a miracle of healing in Rajasthan recently occurred where a man who had been bedridden for two years owing to having throat cancer was completely healed after prayer”

    Why do you think an isolated example of what you believe to be a *miracle* should be viewed as evidence of some god’s intervention, especially when you reject the question of proof out of hand?

    Simple logic should tell you that hundreds of thousands of people around the world are afflicted by cancer, but despite the untold millions of fervent prayers being offered up for them, they do not recover. The logical proof that prayer is useless and there is no god to intervene is that without secular medical treatment they virtually all suffer and die. Why? Where is your claimed deific mercy for them? Please explain.

    Inb4 “Mysterious Ways” excuse pleading — that’s BS and you know it.


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