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JadedAtheist last won the day on September 5 2014

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About JadedAtheist

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    The one and only

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    Typical nerdy/geeky things.
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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?

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  1. Missed replying to this earlier, other's have given a good synopsis of the gnostics. I just wanted to point out that you might have heard a little about them previously (depending on the type of church you went to I suppose) as certain epistles are thought to have been trying to combat a "proto-gnosticism" (off the top of my head I believe they were Colossians and perhaps Ephesians - been too long now). Whenever you see passages emphasize Christ's physicality (like when Jesus says "touch my sides"), this is the writer trying to discredit this type of Christology.
  2. To touch on the main part of the question first, that is "why has Christianity managed to spread if it isn't true?" I'd simply point to other religions. Why are there billions of Muslims in the world, and hundreds of millions of Hindus and hundreds of millions of Buddhists? Your family would acknowledge that these religions are "false" and really any explanation for their spread is just as able to be applied to Christianity as it is to them. There's also some false assumptions here. Christ wasn't widely talked about. Tacitus and Pliny the Younger mention him to the extant that that's who Christians believe in, and Josephus' mention is likely a later Christian interpolation. A couple of mentions about some dude literally dying and then being raised from the dead seems highly suspicious, no? We also have to keep in mind that this was also a time where historical figures were later mythologised (such as Alexander the Great, among many others). Roman emperors were even deified. As time passes on stories have a tendency of becoming grander. If Alexander the Great can go from being a mortal to the son of a god, then why can't Jesus? Ultimately, the more I read about ancient history (especially primary sources) the more I realised how absurd it was for me to have believed in Christianity. As others have mentioned, Ehrman is a good starting point. I also recommend both volumes of "The Story of Christianity" as it gives you a nice readable history of it and will probably serve as a good foundation to anything else you read. Misquoting Jesus and Early Christianities are probably Ehrman's best books on this topic. Robert Price's "The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man" is also a good book, he is somewhat "radical" in that he doesn't believe Jesus (or even the apostles, including Paul) existed but he provides pretty compelling evidence why. When you see how so many of the tales of Jesus in the gospels have equivalent pagan stories featuring different gods it makes it harder to accept that he ever really existed, and if he did then everything recorded in the gospels is made up and really gives us no insight into who he was, and only really tells us of the agenda the gospel writers were looking to push, but I digress. Ehrman and Price are good for looking at 2 different perspectives of Jesus and will probably help you formulate your own opinion. In summary, Christianity's spread can be explained by simply looking at how other religions spread. Nothing fancy there.
  3. You're probably overthinking things. The guy was obviously nice enough that you didn't want to hurt his feelings which is why you participated in saying grace. It's always a bit awkward to be put on the spot like that, but you didn't do anything wrong. If the situation pops up again, you'll be more prepared this time round. Just let him know that you're not really religious and would prefer not. He'll either understand, or he won't. Not much you can do about that. Anyways, point is you handled it fine. It's been a long time since I've been put in a situation like that, but usually I don't mind participating so long as they don't ask me to pray.
  4. So God's nature required people to be saved one way (really multiple ways, depending on whether or not you're a dispensationalist) in the OT and another in the NT? If his nature was consistent, why was the method of salvation inconsistent?
  5. I understand the argument, but I tend to be wary of conspiratorial thinking. This is what conservatives will use to argue against climate change, and what Christians use to argue against evolution. I personally find his arguments compelling, but like yourself I am not a scholar and probably don't have the background necessary to see why his views aren't mainstream which is why I just wanted to note that.
  6. Just keep in mind that a lot of Price's theories are more on the fringe side of things and are generally not mainstream. For example, he doesn't believe Jesus existed (as you somewhat alluded to) nor did Paul both of which are pretty much a given in that sphere. I do enjoy Price's work, but thought I'd note that his theories are not the majority view.
  7. While I understand the contrast you're attempting to make, one needs to keep in mind that just because you don't have to bribe every official you meet to get things done doesn't mean that the system isn't corrupt, nor does it mean that it doesn't contain room for improvement. The set up in the US is seen to be pretty corrupt by comparison to other western democracies. For example, the fact that money equals speech means that you guys essentially have legalised bribery. You also see that with little exception, the candidate with the most money is the one that wins and that there is no correlation between policies and the will of the people, but there is significant correlation between policies and donor wishes. Happy to link to sources to these claims (hammering this one out at the moment and couldn't be bothered finding them right now - but they should be easily searchable). Aside from the issues I've outlined above, there's a lot more to be said about having a government representative of the people. I'm sure most of us have seen an interview with some senator who was against abortion being asked why does he think women have abortions and he simply replied with "No idea". A government with a better representation of the sexes, ethnicities and classes of the people would help prevent many of the issues that occur now. I have nothing against "old white men" but if you were to class things as "good" now with them, I would say a government that is more representative of the people would be "better". As for your comments about white people and their overrepresentation as first world countries: While no one would disagree with this fact - I think most would also question why. Reducing an incredibly complex situation down to people being white and having a "superior culture" is absurd.
  8. So I decided to actually crunch the numbers a bit, and worst case scenario isn't as bad as I had thought. Powering my desktop all day every day would work out being about $5 a day. Still, that means I'd need to earn > $5 per day to cover my electricity costs. Of course, the real benefit here is the future valuation of the money you earn so immediate pay off isn't necessary and working at a loss now could pay out in the long run.
  9. Our campaigns are short in Australia. Generally a couple of months from start to finish. There's a lot of ads on TV. It's been a while since I regularly watched TV so I'm not sure what it's like now, but I'd say that during ad breaks you would probably get 1 or 2 political ads during ad breaks while campaigning. Another difference is the way things are financed. Campaigns are partially subsidised by the government (~50% if I'm not mistaken). We're basically 2 party like the US, but the divide between the 2 parties isn't so big as it is in the US. People mostly believe the same things and being liberal or labor (republican or democrat) is more often tied to class (as in "this is the way we've always voted" type of mentality). There aren't really many issues that really seperate them IMO. I think the biggest difference is that voting is compulsory here and we have weighted votes (so your votes always count) which I think helps foster a more representative government.
  10. I've got a pretty powerful rig. I know nowadays GPUs are the main driving force, but I'm curious about the cost/benefit here. I have an NVIDIA GTX 1080, and cranking that out 24/7 would mean I would need to be earning double digits per day to make I profit since electricity is so expensive here. That said, I wouldn't mind doing it for a little while just for some shits and giggles. EDIT: missed the word "mind"
  11. Some interesting perspectives here. As for my 2 cents, I grew up poor, and I am now in the middle class. Given my occupation and the average wage we can garner, I'll probably be upper middle class in a few years. I am somewhat conflicted being in the position that I am in. You see, on one hand I grew up poor and I know that very few poor people have what it takes to take themselves out of poverty. It takes a very strong person to be able to do it (and I realise how that sounds with me saying it, so do forgive me if I come off very self congratulatory). These are people I think we should give a lending hand, and by that I mean give them an affordable minimum wage because not everyone has what it takes intellectually to work a white collar job. Australia for the most part does this, and I am thankful for it. I also believe in free education, and that's partly why I am where I am today. I don't know if I'd have ever gotten to this point without it. Equal opportunity can mean a lot of different things. For some people to be given the opportunity to do certain things, you have to have a lot of government involvement to help boost people up - but most people who say equal opportunity vs equal outcomes don't want that, as another poster said it's usual code for "fuck the poor". For example, are we interested in children having equal opportunity to be able to thrive at school - or just equal opportunity to attend a school and they're on their own from there? One involves a lot of intervention, the other is essentially a goal that means nothing. Anyways, when you are poor it's very easy to say let's tax people to help support all these initiatives. You haven't got much anyways, and the rich are going to get taxed more and for you the cost/benefit analysis looks AMAZING. It's basically nothing but perks all the way up. HOWEVER, now I am in the position where I am earning a quite decent amount of money it's a bit of a tougher pill to swallow. A third of my pay goes to income tax now. I am paying more in taxes a week than what I was earning for many years on a weekly basis. It seems somewhat dreamy to live in a place like the US where some states don't have an income tax. That change would have a dramatic impact on my life. That said, if you were a poor person it'd be absolute shithouse. Which is my general impression of the US, great place to live if you're well off - but you're fucked otherwise. Australia is a much better place to be poor in, and it's tolerable to be more well off. Because I've reaped benefits off of the system, it feels wrong for me to now burn the bridge behind me - but it is very tempting I have to be honest.
  12. Makes me think of Casting Crowns and their song Praise you in this storm (Prodigal also right up there). I feel similarly about them.
  13. It's funny, I never really saw myself as a foster kid - though it's probably accurate to say that I was since I spent so much time there. I don't mind sharing it, these sorts of topics are important i feel for people seeing that they're not alone in their story. A lot of parallels are probably to be found here.
  14. It took me a couple years to fully get over all the ways Christianity fucked me up, some things were easier than others and death was surprisingly one of them (the fear of going to hell was an issue for a while, and getting over that was the key to me not worrying about death). My advice isn't advice as it is telling you the saying "time heals all wounds". It's been like 7 or 8 years since I left now and it feels like it all happened to a different person. This is quite the contrast to when I was first leaving and thought that God hadn't elected me to salvation (I was a Calvinist) and that he was going to go all Hebrews 8 on my ass. As for what happens when we die and to the validity of NDEs: I don't think anything happens when we die, I think once we're dead that's it. We popped into existence out of the ether, and back into it we go in death. That said, since I've left Christianity I've felt a deeper connection to other people and other lifeforms in a way that I guess like I feel like we're all interlinked. I sometimes feel like I am getting the hint of "there's more", but I know this is more the emotional side of my brain coming into play here. As for NDEs, maybe there's something to them, but I think not.