R. S. Martin

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R. S. Martin last won the day on December 26 2014

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About R. S. Martin

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    I do my own thinking

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  • Location
    Ontario, Canada
  • Interests
    learning why people believe what they do and normal stuff like birds, dogs and music
  • More About Me
    Born in a horse and buggy Mennonite community. Unable to find the intellectual stimulation I needed, at age 40 I broke with tradition and got myself a university education. This resulted in alienation from family, friends, and the only lifestyle I knew. I am now trying to find my way in "the world."

Previous Fields

  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    I have yet to see the evidence
  1. Christians stealing donated food

    Would fresh food be better off donated to shelters and soup kitchens with facilities to prepare food?
  2. Christians stealing donated food

    This definitely discourages me from ever again donating to a church, even for goodwill, if it just ends up as a free meal for the well-fed.
  3. Christians stealing donated food

    I can't sort truth from untruth. We've had one more email exchange, which was friendly. What Lucy said above about food banks in small towns having to give away food probably applies.
  4. Christians stealing donated food

    Thanks everyone, especially for picking up on the line about being the stupid one in the family. MOHO, I loved your story. I don't see how you stand it. Helps me to realize there's others in just as bad or worse situations. ag_NO_stic, yours sounds so very familiar. At least I now have my own space and can invite or not invite who enters.
  5. Christians stealing donated food

    What really frustrates me is that they rebuff the critical thinking I propose! It's like they cover their eyes and stuff their ears in order not to see or hear about the beggars on the street I'm telling them about. It's the age-old line, "We don't take Ruby and her crazy ideas seriously" because obviously we are the intelligent ones and we know better than Ruby ever will. I HATE being seen as the stupid one in the family. Maybe that's what's eating me.
  6. Christians stealing donated food

    Lucy, just now at the grocery store I donated a box of crackers about the same size and quality of what they gave. The store has a box for the food bank. How did they get their hands on it? I don't know. They're into some whacky fringe group stuff that has its own faith healing house. For all I know they also have their own version of a food bank. I don't ask too many questions. I feel better not knowing what they're doing and I think over the years they've learned that I will challenge every crazy thing they tell me so they don't tell me anymore. Maybe this is just their latest twist of evangelizing me. There's something about the whole thing that disgusts me and I'm not sure what. I do like the crackers.
  7. Christians stealing donated food

    Here's the follow-up email I got this morning that sends me over the edge: hi there, sister! I appreciate the homegrown lettuce with my eggs this morning. Not because I had need of it, I could have bought some myself. but because you wanted to give me something and had extra I gladly took it. I heard that you weren't as grateful for the 'gift' M____ offered to you, and I can well understand why, because of the way it was presented. But it just struck me as I was eating the lettuce that there is a similarity between the two situations. So I would say, go ahead and enjoy those crackers if you like them. But on the other hand I am glad you feel the liberty to do that which will give you peace of mind. Love you! S_____ I decided--and let them know--that I will get crackers and donate them to the foodbank in exchange for the ones they "stole," since I can't very well donate their package. I had already opened it when they told me where it's from. That's what she means by her closing.
  8. I'm being criticized for not "gratefully accepting" and "enjoying" the box of crackers my sisters picked up at their local food bank as a gift for me. I may be under the poverty line but I have all the basics of life, plus a great deal more. My sisters know this. They won't accept the fact that they stole food out of starving children's mouths, that soup kitchens and shelters are in need of food. I told them that I see the homeless on the street, that if there aren't enough needy in their own small town they should send the food to my city. It's less than an hour's drive. All they did was make excuses! I'm seething!
  9. Do you expect me to read that!

    It's one way of avoiding the accusation of "making an assertion" and meeting the atheist demand for making an argument with supporting documentation. I take it you don't like to read, especially not Christian apologetics. That's not their fault. You can choose your correspondents; ignore those people who write more than you can read. That means you won't like reading my posts, either, because I tend to make in-depth arguments and cite authors/websites to support my argument. I'm an atheist and ex-Christian.
  10. Originally posted here on Quora in response to the opening questions. Question: Is it religion that determines the morality of a nation? How does it affect the lives of secular individuals of such nation? Answer: Before we go anywhere with these questions we need to define some words: religion, morality, secular. Religion In my opinion, religion is life lived with belief in some kind of supernatural entity or reality, be it deities or reincarnations or Karma or Higher Powers, etc. Important life decisions and values of right and wrong centre on how they impact—or are impacted by—this supernatural reality the believer holds to. A word on “Higher Power,” since it is effectively used in Twelve Step Programs. If a person simply draws on a Higher Power for strength to resist something detrimental to self or others, such as the abuse of drugs or alcohol, I think it’s secular. However, if the person thinks the Higher Power will leave or get angry, or in some way be impacted when he/she fails to “obey,” then it becomes religion. The reason: At that point it becomes the centre of life decisions and values re right and wrong. Substance abuse is wrong for its own sake, not because some Higher Power will punish you. NOTE: I am not saying that religion is bad; if it helps a person be a better person then it is good. I am simply clarifying my position for those who want to know. Morality In my opinion, morality is doing that which will improve this world and the life of its inhabitants. I think the following two slogans neatly sum it up: My rights end where yours begin. You can do whatever you like so long as you don’t hurt self or others. Just to clarify, every day in every jurisdiction in the world, lengthy courts are held to untangle exactly what is meant by “hurt” and “rights.” I won’t mess with that. Churches, temples, mosques, and other places of worship are also places of discussion or preaching regarding the definition of these two words. Obviously, there are major differences of opinion around the globe. Secular To those who have read all of the above, it should be fairly clear what I mean by secular. I mean a primary focus on this material life on this planet before death. Most thinking people, I believe, have some kind of life philosophy regarding their understanding of the nature of reality beyond what can be seen and experienced immediately with the senses. Here’s a very rudimentary example of something about which most of us hold a “life philosophy”; that is we have beliefs but cannot experience it immediately with the senses: What happens to the sun after sunset? For eons of human history people couldn’t answer that question. Some of them worshipped the sun. Living in such a way that the sun would not be offended and fail to reappear in the morning was a central value and platform for life decisions. Though sun worship may have been out of fashion for many centuries, I remember in my childhood hearing exaggerated exclamations from the adults with regards to something despicable, “The sun would be ashamed to shine on that!” I doubt they believed the sun would die or fail to rise in the morning, but that statement smacks of sun worship or religion. Superstition is the more common term. However, I agree with the person who said “One person’s religion is another’s superstition.” In reality, on a secular level, we know that the earth is a sphere that revolves around the sun in such a way that the spot on which we currently are (if we are not moving on a jet) will be away from the light for a predictable period of time. That period of time has been measured in every way possible for all parts of the planet and times of the year. That is secular. Believing that the sun might “hide its face” because of someone’s behaviour is what I in this post call religious. Having established the difference between religious and secular, let’s look at the questions. Is it religion that determines the morality of a nation? As shown above, morality regards: personal rights what hurts a person Religion is concerned with the supernatural and its impact on human life now and after death. Each religion has its own view on how humans and the supernatural interact and impact each other. In those nations where religion is allowed to rule, obviously the religion of that nation will determine the morality of that nation. If I correctly understand it, this is where ethical differs from moral. To be ethical means not to violate another’s rights or hurt them on the physical, emotional, intellectual, and material levels. In other words, ethics and ethical are used in a secular way, while morals and morality is used any old way by anyone. How does it affect the lives of secular individuals of such nation? As you can see, if you read everything so far, “secular” do not equal non-religious or atheist. If secular ethics form the basis for your values and important life decisions, I think you can be considered a secular person while believing in and performing religious duties and rituals. Religion probably does not seriously affect such a person. I suspect you meant “atheist” when you said “secular individual.” Atheists who speak about their life philosophies routinely find themselves tortured and killed in some countries, and railroaded in job interviews in others. If they already have jobs, they get fired on some pretext. Families shun them, businesses turn them out, society ridicules them and refuses them public office. There are very few countries in the world in which atheists have complete immunity to live as full freely-speaking human beings the way Christians take for granted throughout much of the world. Canada is not one of them, the USA even less. We can save ourselves the persecution by choosing to lie. But that means living with lack of inner peace and personal integrity. Now you know how religion impacts atheists and why some atheists say religion is immoral. Religion hurts people who hurt no one and it violates the rights of people who violate no one else’s rights. **************************** Comments welcome. How do you agree or disagree? And why?
  11. Sh** christians have said to you

    "Wisdom issues." That's a new way of putting it but yeah, I've been told that, too. And I'm the one that left...they would say due to this lack of wisdom and insight.
  12. Christies fail their own standard

    Geezer, I love what you're saying about Bart Ehrman and the historical/mythical Jesus. Somewhere online I met a person who argued that Jesus has to be historical because even Bart Ehrman does not argue for a mythical Jesus. I didn't trust it for the very reasons you state, i.e. he might lose his teaching position. You basically confirmed it. Christies are the persecuted batch (if you accept their claims) but it's atheists who have to lie in order to live decent lives and hold onto their jobs. Or suffer the consequences. It used to be the other way around. Not so many centuries ago, when people were persecuted in the true sense of the word they lost their right to freedom or even their right to live. In some countries this continues to be the case for Christians as well as for atheists or anyone else who challenges the politico-religious status quo.
  13. Christies fail their own standard

    Whew! Thanks for sharing. Now I'll feel better whenever these pretend bible-fuckers accuse me of not asking the right questions or not fully researching my stuff before "rejecting" God/Bible. (No one asked more questions than I did though a few people probably read the OT more thoroughly but not a lot of Christies.)
  14. At last I found measurable evidence that Christians do not measure up to their own standards. For the last several months I've been spending time on a question-and-answer board Quora. It's for all topics but I read and write a lot for the religion and atheist section. Christians keep asking crazy stuff like: Atheists, have you read the entire Bible before dismissing it? Over a hundred people answered. LINK Finally an atheist asked: Christians, have you read the entire Bible before accepting it? Only eleven people answered and half of those said they don't understand the Bible. The reasons they gave for embracing it were emotional. A philosophy prof, who should have the intellectual skills to understand the Bible if anyone does, admitted to fanciful interpretations of the Nicene Creed rather than accepting the Bible. Wow! I conclude that if anyone is genuinely seeking the truth of life, the universe, and reality, it's atheists and exChristians--NOT the followers of Christianity regardless of breed or brand.
  15. Case for Christ answers no hard questions. It was recommended to me when I was asking hard questions of a friend who was also a baptist minister's wife. I couldn't understand it; these people supposedly had lots of education about the Bible and all (this was before I had my seminary degree) but they could not answer simple questions about why the Christian principles work as they do or how we know God exists--questions that had been burning in my brain since childhood. Jesus had said we should become as children; I was sticking to the unanswered questions of my childhood and no one would answer them. Then I got this recommendation. And found it disgustingly irrelevant. It said nothing that the Bible and the sermons didn't say. Skysoar, your description of the movie sounds like the movie capitalized and sensationalized Strobel's conflict over his wife's conversion. I've watched him speak on video and I remember no mention of a conflict regarding the marriage. If I remember correctly, he did have some questions regarding the validity of Christianity's claims but he seems to have found answers (that satisfied him) rather quickly and easily. He is (or was) a lawyer, hence the title "Case for Christ." He approached the Christian religion as a legal case to see if it made sense. I forget what question he was seeking to answer but he obviously answered it positively, Christianity made sense to him.