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  1. 7 points
    Relevant, credible and probative evidence is a good start. To the extent the claimed evidence violates accepted laws or scientific theories of physics, chemistry, mathematics and/or biology, then it should, at a minimum, be empirical and capable of being observed and understood by any sentient human being. Whether it is repeatable is a strong consideration. When it comes to witness testimony, such as personal one-time experiences, it is helpful if the witness can be verified to be clear of cognitive biases, such as expectation and confirmation biases, deeply instilled religious indoctrination or other malady which would affect honesty, and, it is important to determine whether the witness is lying, delusional, etc. Of course, evidence from several congruent, convergent and/or disparate sources, all leading to the same (or similar) rational inference(s) is weighed heavily. In your presentations so far in this forum, you have only provided sparse and rather poor evidence. But you are quite good merely asserting. Mere assertions are not evidence.
  2. 4 points
    Welcome faithevoloved. Sounds as if you are starting the journey that many here have taken. And it leads to joy for most of us. 'Keep asking questions' is the best advice I can give.
  3. 4 points
    Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher and miracle worker whose goal was to reform judaism and the nation. (“I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”) Peter’s sermons in the book of Acts describe him as a man who was elevated to the right hand of god after his resurrection. As the gospels were written, he became the son of god at his baptism (Mark), then at his virgin birth (Matthew and Luke), then he became a pre-existent creator (John, and some references in the epistles). It was not clear to the early church whether or not christianity was something new, or just a super-judaism that still required circumcision etc. It was the apostle Paul who turned it into a universal religion, free of the old testament law. Christians were persecuted by the Romans for rejecting the Roman gods until Constantine altered the course of history by adopting the cross as his battle emblem; acceptance of the christian religion followed. Then, as the state religion, Constantine wanted uniformity and standards, hence the first council of Nicaea, and all the subsequent councils that invented things like the trinity, and picked the books that became the official bible. So in a sense, the Romans invented what most people today call christianity. It has come a long way from what christ taught. Believers call it “progressive revelation”; I call it “making it up as you go along.”
  4. 4 points
    Edgar, I think this is a come-on to get one or more of us to describe a scenario for belief so you can attempt to find something close and cut it to size, hammer it to fit, and paint to suit. That said, IF god/Jesus is really the creator of the universe and know(s) all things AND wants us all to be saved then he/she/it will already know what it takes to convince all and promptly go there.
  5. 3 points
    Matthew 16:4 New International Version (NIV) 4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away. So do tell, what is the sign of Jonah (not Jonas) and how is that relevant today? Okay, I'll tell you. You must believe on faith that Jonah was actually in the great fish for three days and then Jesus was actually in the tomb for three days. That is still not evidence, it is using one story to relate to another story. IOW, there shall be no evidence.
  6. 3 points
    Yes please! Is it too much to ask an all powerful, all knowing being? Some irrefutable documentation would be nice! An accurate cosmology is apparently too much to ask! Even for a divinity, apparently!
  7. 3 points
    In heaven they maintain the 'blacks with blacks', 'whites with whites'....
  8. 3 points
    I was born into a long line of "CofCers" on both sides of my family, but was fortunate to have a grandfather that didn't buy into all their quirky doctrine, and said that everyone had to work out their own salvation----and I eventually did, but in a way he probably never realized I would go, or as far as I would go. And the salvation I found was certainly not what he had in mind. I am thankful for his curious, critical thinking, and encouragement to study things for myself. The long story of my spiritual journey, "TRUTH: A GRADUAL AWAKENING......." is in the TESTIMONIAL section. I think you will find it helpful and validates most of what you are going through. My "journey" took me through two "Christian" colleges, and through 20 years of working for two CofC affiliated Children's and Family service agencies, commonly called Children's Homes. It took me much longer to find my way out, than it has you. CONGRATULATIONS!
  9. 3 points
    Biblical prophecies appear to be accurate but that’s because they were written, or modified, after the events have already occurred. Remember, historians have validated, peer reviewed, evidence the Bible has been edited, redacted, changed, modified, and rewritten countless thousands of times. Apologists are also very good at linking random events and coincidence with some obscure Biblical text and then claim some prophecy has been fulfilled, when in fact the events had nothing to do with each other. Apologist are experts when it comes to reinterpreting the Bible so that it appears to validate their agenda. Just as it is a defense lawyers job to reinterpret evidence in favor of their client, it is an apologist job to do the same thing with scripture. Defense lawyers and apologist have a lot in common when it comes to having the ability to manipulate and parse words.
  10. 2 points
    Not to me, it ain't. Edgarcito, the failure to communicate seems to be on your end of the line. We keep saying "physical evidence" and you keep insisting that there's something else that we might accept in its place. No. As I said, not negotiable. Is that communication clear enough, or do I have to increase the font size?
  11. 2 points
    I know what you mean. But I finally realized there is a lot in life we will never know, and nothing is totally guaranteed, HA! except taxes and death. I'll just live life the best I know how, try not to hurt anyone along the way, and take whatever comes at the end. LOL, If there is a life after this one, I'll do my best to come back and tell everyone! Anyone care to make any bets about me coming back? (excuse me for being in a funky mood tonight) Heck, why am I asking anyone to excuse me? I'M IN A FUNKY MOOD TONIGHT!
  12. 2 points
    I agree with @WalterP, evidence that completely excludes faith. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 KJV Hoped for: wishful thinking Evidence of things not seen: clear enough as it is.
  13. 2 points
    I actually get what you're saying here. Perhaps we have to trust that there is something out there that cannot be described in a way that we can understand. I certainly allow for that. But I also allow that my preconceived ideas about what/who "God" is are likely very primative and so, not to be trusted. I am open to possibilities that there exists a "higher power," but I have to trust that, if it exists, that higher power will somehow figure out a way to communicate with me. If we want a dog to learn algebra, it is not up to the dog to figure out how to do that.
  14. 2 points
    Are you sure it wasn’t because of the baptists’ totally wrong view of baptism?
  15. 2 points
    Funny that you mention that. SDA's have a belief that the devil, posing as jesus, will go around trying to prove to people that he is jesus returned at some point during the end times. Showing nail holes and other signs that it's really him! So we were taught from childhood that the bible says that when jesus returns, his feet will not the ground. As in he will arrive from space with the new jerusalem in tow and with a host of angels, but never set foot down on the physical earth. That's the big give away as to whether it's really jesus, or the devil pretending to be jesus. I would say you can't make this shit up, but, apparently, you can.....
  16. 2 points
    Welcome to ex-c WWOAC. So glad you found us! To answer you question, ''did anyone have anxiety''? Oh yes. This is the site that helped me out of the muck.They pretty much saved my sanity! I hate to keep posting my own testimonial but sometimes it's just easier for people and newcomers to see what others have gone through when they arrived here. This was almost 10 years ago. So here is my, ''Please Forgive Me'' letter to god. I want it to go in my urn when I die because if there is a loving christian god, I want him to read it and maybe have mercy on me. Lol Big (hug) honey. Go easy on yourself. Time will show you. Keep reading and keep posting.
  17. 2 points
    In 20-20 hindsight, if I thought she were in actual danger, I would have told the teacher, or her therapist; one responsible adult; then let it go at that. Not try to be a “helicopter” friend or some sort of savior. Like I said, 20-20 hindsight. Learn from it and move on.
  18. 2 points
    I can understand the conflicted feelings that you are having. If it makes you feel any better, people have certainly done worse. I would: 1) chalk it up to inexperience, and whatever developmental condition that you have; 2) consider it a learning experience; and 3) maybe get some therapy concerning boundaries with other people.
  19. 2 points
    Talking it out will certainly help considerably. I'd suggest not getting too caught up in finding the right answers (there are none); and don't concern yourself over-much about what the end result of your journey should look like, or be. Just follow the process and learn what you can along the way. You'll be fine.
  20. 2 points
    The Bible is full of threats of dire punishments in the form of eternal torture. The one unforgivable sin is rejecting Christ’s sacrifice and thus the Holy Spirit. Is that the same as blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? The Bible is clearly a collection of human writings. It is replete with inconsistencies, contradictions, and factually incorrect statements. There is nothing Holy or inerrant about it. Christianity is just another run of the mill religion created by humans. It’s based on rewards and punishments, neither of which can be proven to exist. Our knowledge of science and the laws of physics tell us, with a high degree of certainty, that neither the reward or punishment found in Christian doctrine and beliefs can possibly be true. Faith is required because the promised rewards and threats of eternal punishment cannot possibly be true. So, what does blasphemy of the Holy Spirit mean? Nothing, absolutely nothing at all.
  21. 1 point
    That's good news for the USA. We don't have all the loonies.
  22. 1 point
    And beer. I don't see any beer in the picture. Here's a clip from something I posted over in the humor section:
  23. 1 point
    Posted Tuesday at 12:38 AM Per our recent conversations.....the question in my mind is what types of evidence will a non-believer accept? ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Edgarcito, The question you began this thread with concerns what types of evidence a non-believer will accept. What you consider to be acceptable evidence plays no part in answering your question. What Christians generally consider to be acceptable evidence plays no part in answering your question, either. Only what non-believers will accept. So, unless you wish to change the wording of your own question, please confine yourself to ONLY what non-believers will accept. Thank you. Walter.
  24. 1 point
    And as I stated elsewhere, the phenomenon of sight can be demonstrated to even one who lacks the ability to see. There is proof available to anyone regarding sight, gods not so much. Not at all.
  25. 1 point
    A lot of clergy don’t believe in god. One in 50 Anglican clergy in the UK believes God is merely a human construct, according to a new survey today. Just eight in ten believe there is a personal God and a further three in 100 believe there is some spirit or life force. https://www.christiantoday.com/article/one-in-50-clergy-dont-believe-in-god/42082.htm Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/sep/18/archbishop-canterbury-doubt-god-existence-welby Are you a religious professional who no longer believes in the supernatural? Have you remained in vocational ministry, secretly hiding away your non-belief? http://clergyproject.org/
  26. 1 point
    HA! I didn't notice those until your post. Fantasies can be very interesting.
  27. 1 point
  28. 1 point
    Most of the churches I was associated with were considered mainstream, to liberal, and overall I never saw them as really toxic. Occasionally we had some toxic preachers, but they usually didn't last very long. They were often the "anties" whom we considered "uninformed." The thing I came to see as very toxic was the "age of accountability" (generally 10 to 12 years of age) concept, with the threat of Hell if you didn't get baptised. There is no way kids that age can sort through the whole convoluted process. And it is difficult for grownups who have been sheltered from, and threatened with Hell for critical thinking. So in that way, for some people, I guess it could be considered toxic. This is kind of a side issue, but definitely related. Something I see as extremely dangerous is the downplaying of higher education and critical thinking in the USA, and religions getting their foot in the door of government. The two go hand in hand. I recently started supporting separation of church and state movements.
  29. 1 point
    HA! I will say AMEN! To that. Once I made the leap, I have never been sorry.
  30. 1 point
  31. 1 point
    Thank you everyone for your responses. I don't have a problem with the idea of a creator at all which makes sense to me. I too certainly have a lot of questions for Christianity that I know I can't ask especially around here. Thank you for the link ficino. @ Geezer some book references would be great. I'm trying to learn more about the history of hell although I no longer believe in the traditional view of hell that most people have. How did you get over your fear of hell? What if we're all wrong, what am I supposed to say to God on judgement day? Have any of you had anxiety from your religious experience and if so how did you deal with it because I have times where I can't hardly breath and I started having panic attacks about 2 years ago.
  32. 1 point
    Okay, so I was born and raised in the Bible Belt of the United States. I was brought up in a deeply fundamentalist conservative christian home which was absolutely miserable for me. The church that my family are members of is the Church of Christ. Based on what I've learned so far, I know that at least one of the churches we were members of was without a doubt a cult. If the rest of the churches we attended weren't a cult, I would say that they definitely had many characteristics of a cult. But I've since realized that most denominations, not just the Church of Christ, in my of the country lean more toward a cult because of the culture here. My strict religious upbringing along with things that I was taught in school turned me toward atheism at a very young age and I never told anyone that I was an atheist all these years. But here a few years ago I was starting to question things and I was getting to where I was no longer agreeing with or believing more and more things that both atheists and scientists were saying although I still agree with atheists on some things and I think that atheists do have really good points that need to addressed by the christian world. In my search for answers, I came across a quote from I believe it was Gandhi that said something like it wasn't Christ that he had a problem with, it was his followers. The more I thought about that statement, the more it seemed to make sense and so that's when I started to think that maybe I was wrong about Christianity. I guess it was about 2 years ago that I became a christian. Now, I'm not so sure about that decision. My faith in Christianity has almost completely collapsed although I haven't renounced it just yet. Many things that I was taught by the church were very unhealthy and they ended up doing a lot damage to me. When I reflect on and study this issue, I've come to realize that many of the churches teachings is why I rebelled and did a lot of the bad things that I did. It's also the reason why I had and still have health problems that have resulted from religious trauma syndrome. I'm afraid that at some point It's looking like I may have to get on medication just to be able to cope. I can't really talk to any one around here about this. The more I read about the history of the bible, the church, Christianity, and religion in general I'm just not sure what to believe anymore. I've been reading a lot of deconversion testimonies lately and some of them are nearly word for word my life story. I'm not only psychologically exhausted but I'm physically exhausted from this as well. My whole experience has been based on nothing but fear ever since I was little. Honestly, I want relief and I just don't know where to even begin. I can probably go into greater detail on things but I'm trying not to make a book out of one blog post because I would say that this is just a basic overview of my experience and what I'm going through.
  33. 1 point
    We went over this a while back and there are some twists and turns. On the surface, blasphemy of god generally means claiming that you are god, when you aren't god. I would think that blasphemy of the holy spirit would allude to people who claim to be speaking on behalf of the holy spirit, who are not speaking on behalf of the holy spirit. This works out to a plain understanding if blasphemy of god and blasphemy of the holy spirit work out the same general reference. God and holy spirit, whether viewed in triniarian terms or just gods spirit, are pretty much the same thing any which way it's spun. They always boil down to one. Three in one, means one in the end. But people usually interpret it as rejecting the holy spirit, or making fun, and similar examples I've seen posted here. In my church I don't recall anyone taking the way I've taken it above, the same as blaspheming against god by falsely claiming to be god. It could be that blasphemy is not the best translation for the context of the unpardonable sin. I think we explored that last time, but I don't remember what the conclusion was. I'll look back.
  34. 1 point
    In the context of the phrase, Jesus indicated it was when his enemies attributed his miracles to the devil. He threw a hissy-fit and said they were essentially damned. He did something similar to a tree that didn't have fruit out of season, he could have caused it to make fruit, but instead killed it. But neither Jesus nor the devil actually exist, and the words and actions of Jesus were invented by someone writing the story.
  35. 1 point
    My adopted son is being raised by an agnostic, free-thinking Redneck.
  36. 1 point
    One can do heavy-lifting like building hospitals, schools, etc. only if one has resources. Obviously the Nepalese folks do not have those resources. On a smaller scale, consider a family that has a hand-to-mouth existence. They cannot obviously do financial charity since they have to feed themselves first. Now if they had surplus finances then it would be expected of them to give some to charity. The Western world has those surplus resources and so can do the heavy-lifting...which is a good thing. But should we go into how those resources came about? We will then have to tread into history. And there are many skeletons in the Western world's closet; think about wealth amassed through colonization, think about cheap/free labor through slavery, think about genocide of native indigenous people to grab their land and resources. From my perspective, this wealth wasn't truly obtained by fair means. A common theme through these skeletons of the past has been religion. Christianity was used to either subdue the indigenous people or to make their way of life similar to their conquerors. It is another thing that we get to enjoy the fruits of the ills that one group of people inflicted on another. The noble and rightful thing to do here was to do the heavy lifting selflessly. With the advancement and benefit of the other world in mind. But man is selfish and will not do it if there is nothing to gain from it. If the Nepalese were expansionists, like the Europeans were, they could have used force and perhaps their religion to do the same and we could have been in a similar position now with a different majority religion. Even today, the major heavy lifting that happens in the third world countries, has big religious undertones to it - Convert to enjoy the spoils. Something to think about.
  37. 1 point
    I think "White Conservative Jesus and His AR-15" would be a nice class for kids.
  38. 1 point
    @Pain if you haven't read THIS speech before, it's so worth the time. I reread it a couple times a year. It's by the linguist Daniel Everett who studied the Pirahã in Brazil. Here's a snippet for you: So I gave them my testimony and I told them about my stepmother committing suicide. When I got done telling them, they all burst out laughing, and I said, “What are you laughing about?” I was really hurt. “Why are you laughing?” They said, “We don’t kill ourselves. You people kill yourselves? What is this?” I realized they don’t have a word for worry, they don’t have any concept of depression, they don’t have any schizophrenia or a lot of the mental health problems, and they treat people very well. If someone does have any sort of handicap, and the only ones I’m aware of are physical, they take very good care of them. When people get old, they feed them. I remember one man who was too old to get around. He couldn’t hunt, he couldn’t even gather firewood anymore. They would bring him food every night and help him chew it, even helping him with his jaw. I said, “Does it bother you to give him food? I mean, he’s not doing anything.” They said, “When I was a little boy, he put food in my mouth and took care of me, and now he’s an old man and I take care of him.” @Sybaris your trip sounds amazing. What was your favorite part?
  39. 1 point
    You're going through a very rough time, with a lot of anxiety. At this point in time I would recommend a mental health professional that you can talk to. Preferably a secular one who will let YOU come to decisions regarding your beliefs instead of unduly influencing you based on their own. As for the conflicting feelings and not knowing what you think, my advice there is do a lot of reading, (and I don't mean Christian apologetics) it will eventually lead to more clarity but this is a long process. It's a process that can include grieving, a lot of denial, and a lot of temporary changes in opinion due to that. There's also other important factors in your life that could be making this very difficult for you. One is the fact that your spouse is a Christian and you possibly eventually holding other beliefs may put your marriage under a lot of stress. The other is all the Christian believers that surround you who will do their best to tell you that Satan is tempting you, god is testing you, or some other such explanations. At the end of the day your convictions and beliefs or non beliefs also have to be strong enough to withstand the many forms of abuse from such people that can occur with the loss of belief. It's a difficult time which is why I think you need professional help.
  40. 1 point
    All of what you said is understandable and, personally relatable, Fear and confusion and guilt. They are, in some way, normal reactions in your situation.You are not alone or the first to feel like that. Sending compassion via the internet web I cannot offer you all the explanations in the world, but might give some pointers. You speak of loving encounters. This would mean some sort of personal experience. There so many things that provoke personal experiences, and many have studied and replicated in laboratories. Many people experience loving encounters while on some drugs, because those drugs modify the brain chemistry and produce those feelings reactions. You must know that even alchohol can produce certain reactions like euphoria in some people, which can be interpreted. Second, certain events, or areas, like church gatherings where al the people sings and feel something can produce a rush, like in any crowd. That is why sometimes decent peaceful people can become aggresive in violent when in large crowds. Third, if one has a sincere conviction he is actually talking to a loving God, that sometimes produces an effect. Expectations condition experience. If you believe that behind your door there is a vampire, you feel fear no matter of the reality. Your body produces feelings consistent with your beliefs or interpretations of those beliefs. Fourth certain tehniques, like long prayer, repetetive prayer, certain positions in the body when held for long produce effects in the body. Yoga postures are a great example of this. Fifth, some people just have brain misfirings or an hyperactive imagination. I have one. I graduated Screenwriting so I even worked it. I was in the top of my class. These creative people are the most suggestible to hypnosis or guided imagery forms. Sixth, fasting, or certain diets produce these effects. I once ate once a day some green leaves for some while, after a strict diet already and felt that I was floating. These only a few and very general explanations, naturalistic ones that COULD be also true in those conditions. Fear of hell is programmed in you since a long time ago. Many people struggle years after they are deconverted, some no. It depends. But many cults, The Moonies, to the Manson family to many put this fear of leaving phobia on. Now, if this God truly exists, then I would suspect his idea of LOVE is very different from ours anyway. So what you describe is your own experience and expectation. I learned this from Orthodox theology. God DOES NOT have feelings, these are only metaphors.And Orthodox mysticism is very, I mean VERY skeptical about feelings in general. Not despise or rejecting them, but healthy skepticism as they are not by themselves true indiction and can often lead one astray. So I hope if this God exists, he will show you the Truth in due time. In the mean time, you have here some people that understand and have compassion for your experiences. It is not a lot, maybe only tiny bit, but it is something. And something real.
  41. 1 point
    If evil needs to be defined for you, religion isn't going to do you any good. How about we start with the example of the ten year old sex slave being discussed here. Since you won't be able to address that particular problem either, perhaps we could look at slavery in general, torture, genocide and Kanye West.
  42. 1 point
    Again, like with the pantheism example, christianity is a self contradicting religion which reveals that it's creators and contributors were unable to think their claims through very far. So many of them fall flat the minute they are investigated. Such as demonstrated above. A god who knows all possible outcomes curbs the assertion of the existence any real free will. So free will can be eliminated as an explanation for evil. Done, gone just like that. The most popular apology rendered meaningless. With free will gone, the existence of evil provides a logical contradiction as stated. Then what? The god isn't really all knowing, all present and all powerful? If that's the direction then the god ceases to be a god, basically. It's too bad that christians were foolish enough to present this self contradicting religion as the beacon of "love," in this world. That sort of degrades the love message, wouldn't you say? Because now a religion of "love" is exposed as a religion of "self contradiction." That's not very fair of christians to hijack "love" in such a way that it might go down with the ship, is it? The baby out with the bathwater? I think the best solution is to separate "love" away from the self contradicting religion and allow "love" to stand on it's own, as it is, as a human emotion that exists independently of any religions which try and attach themselves to the emotion. If someone wants to conduct themselves according to love, great! Feel free to do so regardless of religious affiliations. Especially the more unflattering religious associations such as the one's outlined above and throughout this thread of discussion. Christianity crashes and burns, love lives on regardless! Christianity is not a religion of love, it's a religion which hijacked the human emotion of love and mixed it together with the human emotion of hate to produce a religion that profess's to love everyone, while at the same time hating everything the might run contrary to it's assertions. It's about hating the world, hating the people who disagree and threatening them with hell fire damnation, and then back peddling to talk about love when the former becomes unflattering when they're called out on it.
  43. 1 point
    The problem of Evil. https://iwasfreeborn.wordpress.com/problem_of_evil/ This was first discussed by the Greek philosopher Epicurus The problem of evil proposes that the two main premises – that is 1) God is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good, and 2) evil exists – are logical contradictions. Note this problem does not argue against an evil or malicious God if such one existed. However this is not a particular concern as most people worship a God that they consider to be all good and the progenitor of objective moral values. This argument shows that reality is inconsistent with such a God given, and this is important, certain attributes. My response to any apologetic that may say well God might not be all good, or might not be our definition of good, or might not be all powerful is that why is such a God worth of worship if it existed? I also discuss in the Biblical Contradictions section the contradictory accounts of God being or causing evil or not. The logic problem can be summarised as this: God exists. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good. A perfectly good being would want to prevent all evils. An omniscient being knows every way in which evils can come into existence. An omnipotent being, who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, has the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence. A being who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, who is able to prevent that evil from coming into existence, and who wants to do so, would prevent the existence of that evil. If there exists an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being, then no evil exists. Evil exists (logical contradiction). (Source Why-do-atheists-think-there-is-no-god ) The logical conclusion there being that both evil and God as stated in the logic problem cannot co-exist. However I do expand this to cover another potential aspect which most Christians might not like to think about: 9. Therefore if God exists then God is at least part evil as per #2 you cannot have a God with evil existing if God is perfectly good. 10. If God is part evil then he is no better than humans as this reduces God to nothing more than an evil dictator who visits evil upon the world. 11. So why worship such a God? The free will argument is the most common and possibly the best argument for the possibility of their being both a perfectly good God and evil existing. This is summaried as follows: God’s creation of persons with morally significant free will is something of tremendous value. God could not eliminate much of the evil and suffering in this world without thereby eliminating the greater good of having created persons with free will with whom he could have relationships and who are able to love one another and do good deeds. Alvin Plantinga (1974, 1977) However what we essentially have is a God who intentionally orchestrated a divine master plan knowing of all the pain and suffering, in order to bring about an act of redemption and save his chosen. In order for this to happen you need free will so that people can choose to believe or reject God. However a just God would have to take account of those who truly searched but couldn’t believe due to lack of evidence. Laying aside the fact that there is a massive evidence problem, you have further problems of predestination and the concept of chosen ones which refutes the free will argument out of the problem. There is also the very real serious question of if God is all knowing, all powerful, then can you truly have free will? Free will implies that you can alter an outcome, but if its ‘God’s will’ then nothing you do or believe will change the outcome. Let’s face it – there are numerous Christian sects – most think that everyone else is wrong and are not among God’s chosen – and therefore not going to heaven. Which means going to hell. Speaking of hell – the mere conception of a place of eternal punishment by torture for infinite crimes related to lack of belief is an evil that defies comprehension. A final point. The argument that God needed evil in the world to produce a greater good is logically inconsistent when taken in context of the concept of Heaven. Heaven in the Bible is a place of perfect paradise where “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelations 21:4) If this is the case, and since Heaven is eternal, there is no reason why God could not have created Heaven for his ‘chosen ones’ without having to go through the tremendous agony of earths history first. Think on these things. For a thorough analysis of the Problem of Evil please visit Logical Problem of Evil
  44. 1 point
    Since recognizing the problems with traditional Christian theology, I have been through numerous phases; I've had neopagan leanings, made a transition from there toward Taoism and more recently identified with Deism. I haven't discarded any of these as patently false; it feels more like moving from room to room in a large house built of spiritual and philosophical possibilities. Some might dismiss this as the proverbial "cafeteria religion", but I would remind such critics that if they're going to compare spirituality to nutrition, they should concede that a balanced diet requires variety. Thus I now find myself mindful of what each of these spiritual directions has given me. Deism has provided me with an intellectual approach to metaphysics and a way to ponder the mechanistics of a material cosmos and the phenomenon of its existence. Taoism, from its Eastern approach, has shown me the universe as an organism in the flow and harmony of its being. Neopaganism has put personal faces on the transpersonal forces of life and given me a way to relate to the universe being-to-being. I consider all as having merit and none as mutually exclusive.
  45. 1 point
    Well I'm scratching my head wondering why you would have expected better from a Christian particularly a member of the clergy.
  46. 1 point
    I agree with the general sentiment expressed here, but not quite with the minutia. We all believe many things that we cannot prove. I believe you exist in the real world. I can't prove it. But we're having a conversation on the internet, and it seems to me most likely that you are an actual, real, intelligent human being. But this does not need to be the case. You could be a bot. I could be dreaming. The internet could be run by a cabal of aliens. Etc, etc. Nevertheless, it is logical for me to believe that you exist in the real world. On certain reasonable assumptions, it follows, by the usual rules of logic, that you probably exist. Again, I can't really be sure, but I think it's quite likely. And I'd hazard that you agree with me here. Proof is a tricky concept. Pretty much everyone I know who has studied science, philosophy, or mathematics (and that's not a short list, for what it's worth) agrees with me when I say that true proof is only really a thing in formal logic. In the real world, we make do with sufficient evidence. Which is a fancy way of saying that we believe things to be facts when we are convinced that they are facts. (Aside: this is one of the reasons why I've been maintaining for a while that knowledge reduces to firmly held belief. A topic for another conversation, perhaps.). But your original assertion was that "you are only gullible if you believe something that nobody can prove". And you called this a fallacy. I would contend that we all believe many things which no one can prove. Indeed, we all profess to know many things which no one can prove. No fallacy is necessary, and this does not make us gullible. This is completely normal human behavior. Fallacies come to bear when we claim to know something which contradicts evidence, experience, or logical argument which is based on evidence/ experience. And gullibility comes into play when we are willing to believe whatever anyone might say without any basis in evidence, experience, or logical argument based on such. But it is clear to me that this is quite separate from believing things which can't be proven. Now, please don't misunderstand me here. I'm not advocating for religious faith. Religions make specific claims which contradict evidence, experience, and logical arguments. To have faith in a religion is to maintain that the religion is true in spite of this. This is very different from normal truth claims. It may be the case that I can't properly prove most of the things that I believe, or even that I profess to know. But. These things don't contradict reality as we all experience it. Therein lies the difference.
  47. 1 point
    Welcome Mrs.Pearl! Typical assholes, the whole lot. Pastor not withstanding. At least you figured it out. It's one of those things that people have to figure out on their own. I've been watching a lot of Star Wars fan vids on youtube recently concerning episode 9, and fan theories. And they keep using the term, "canon." Such and such would make good sense for the next film because it's, "canon." And that's really it. That's a contemporary, real time example of how a complete fiction can become "canon," with what are considered "non-canon" little spin off's. The bible is Star Wars, the "canons," are the same. These assholes in church administrative counsels are nothing more than the equivalent of Stars Wars fans, where, they own or rent a facility, appoint leadership roles within the fan group, and use transcription of a fiction to dictate life to the fan club. All the arguments amount to the same thing as arguing about Stars Wars. What is a proper interpretation of a complete fiction. With some of the biggest assholes within the fan club at it's helm. Third world church members tend to be some of the most legalistic, I've found. As well as misogynistic. But seriously, "brainwave?" I can only imagine. At least you realized what BS the whole thing actually is and got out. Good on you.
  48. 1 point
    You're an inspiration mrspearl! You should be very proud of yourself. You have handled your bad situation perfectly! Is't it noteworthy how turning down that $300 a week that you needed so desperately at the time paid you such such huge dividends in terms of your selfrespect and resolve to succeed on your own. It's so good to hear how well you're doing. Glad to have you here with us and hopefully being part of our community will facilitate your continuing recovery. Thank you for participating on our site which I'm sure offers hope to others who find themselves in difficult situations.
  49. 1 point
    Glad you found your way out MrsPearl. Church is one of the strongholds of male dominion/oppression throughout the world. So. Much. Abuse. And all done in the name of Jesus, which makes it worse for those that think he's real. And as you discovered, there are women who are complicit with that abuse. Some of them look for kudos from the dominant males, others just like to participate in abuse because it makes them feel powerful (like the men). The men think they are led by "the Spirit" to do stupid shit to people, and I saw nice women reduced to shaking tears by accusations of homosexuality and more (a big deal to fundies), accusations that were untrue. But the men never apologized, they just assumed they were right because of their position. Religion is a disgusting tribal relic, a mere cult that claims to represent "love". Some of us here hope to help inoculate the public by exposing the church mindset.
  50. 0 points
    That is a great question. Have you ever considered that they are describing one thing yet in three different ways. For example, if one witness saw a red car, the second witness saw a late-model automobile and the third witness saw a cadillac drive away from the bank that was robbed, then which one was true, or did they see a red late-model cadillac drive away from the bank that was robbed. I believe you will find that they all three are true, however each one describes an electromagnetic sound wave, unlike the mechanical sound wave. However, this form of sound wave is produced by the acoustic radiation produced within the co-axial band of light that form the circuits of the electromagnetic field which created the expanse of space in which all physical matter inhabits.



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