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About megasamurai

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    I'm a nerd and proud of it. I love doing nerdy things. I hope to make a lot of friends here.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?

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  1. The thought of the majority of people burning in hell did bother me. In fact, it bothers Christians enough that they reinvent it. Unbelief seemed like such a tiny offense and so human to do. At the same time, I was told that unbelievers all secretly believe in God and pretend not to in order to sin (Strobel's opinion of atheists). This was how I tried to rationalize the damnation of atheists even though some of them showed me kindness. I thought "She deserves it. She denies God's existence in order to smoke weed) Still, I hated God even though I thought it was the right thing. I cared more about people than justice. One major influence in my life was my parent's split between the theory of hell as justice and hell as a choice. In the latter, God is supposedly off the hook and it has nothing to do with justice, people only go to hell if they want to. I couldn't buy this with a literal burning hell as I doubted very many unbelievers, if any at all, actually desire such a fate. Of course, my mother believed that hell was separation from God and therefore, an agonizing separation from love. I thought about this and pondered if God gave everybody a choice between heaven and hell after death with both terms conforming to mom's definition and God clearly describing the agonizing effects of separation from God, would all non-believers really choose it? I doubt it. Part of me also pondered if it really would be compassionate for God to separate people from him even if they chose it as it is supposed to be agonizing. Putting myself in that hypothetical position, I would rather send people to heaven against their will in order to spare them that pain, making me a monster according to the theory of free will. There is an emotional reason why I left Christianity, finding it bleak that 2/3 of humanity will suffer and we have to worship the God who sent them to a place of suffering, but maybe having an emotional reason isn't necessarily bad. Now, I realize that hell seems to have the opposite of its intended effect of converting people and the Old Testament violence also is a notable deal breaker. Christians put lots of effort into solving both problems and most of Strobel's The Case for Faith tries to rationalize both issues, in fact codifying the voluntary damnation doctrine and making it mainstream. What I realize is that there's not much actual evidence for metaphorical flames and just separation from God as it seems like wishful thinking as Old Testament God actually has set people ablaze. Much justification for Old Testament violence is also speculation. Where's the rational reason? IN my case, I actually converted to misotheism rather than atheism as I found no rational reason to disbelieve yet. It wasn't until I found out how actual historians view Bible stories' historicity in college that I truly made steps towards not believing. I guess my experiences do cast doubt on this idea that unbelief has no intellectual basis.
  2. Unfortunately, Strobel and McDowell are seen as authoritative as popular non fiction will always be sold in bookstores unlike most scholarly nonfiction which is confined to university libraries. I personally believe that a preacher named Jesus pissed people off and got nailed to a wooden letter T. It seems like you don't necessarily have to believe in the Jesus myth theory to be an atheist or agnostic as Bart Ehrman and Maurice Casey seem to believe Jesus was a real guy, albeit just a man. One interesting piece of food for thought is that I have found exactly one semi-popular apologist with a degree in history, Gary Habarmas, although it doesn't seem like most history departments take him seriously. It's hard to find archaeologists or scientists either in apologetics. It looks like most of them have no idea what they are talking about, but Christians take them as geniuses.
  3. I have found several interesting accounts on Josh McDowell's origin story and I find it notable that he used the "angry at God because he had a rough life" cliche rather than Strobel's I just want to sin, https://jimdaly.focusonthefamily.com/josh-mcdowell-from-suicidal-to-salvation/. It is obvious that these two individuals sell tons of books and know the best way to defend Christianity is to attack its critics. The penultimate chapter of The Case for Faith pretty much is about how atheism leads to atrocities like Stalin but all the bad in Christianity is because of fake Christians. Okay, The Case for Faith is probably the single most stupid apologetics book I've ever read, but it is highly used by Christians (Case for Christ is basically exactly the same book as McDowell's New Evidence That Demands a Verdict). I think Case for Faith also made the voluntary damnation doctrine semi-mainstream, but I think the dominant position is still that God sends people to hell because they are deserving of it and that it's a punishment for sin, not that hell is a free choice. The voluntary damnation doctrine kind of goes hand in hand with the idea that unbelievers are self destructive. Of course, the hell chapter states that if God let unbelievers choose heaven or hell after death, 100% would choose hell. I have doubted this claim as I think most people are averse to pain and would prefer living in heaven. The final chapter about doubts actually states that it's okay to have doubts as long as you have faith. I don't know how much faith is needed, though. I have read two decent refutations of The Case for Faith. Tiny Frog's piece is excellent, but doesn't cover the whole book. https://tinyfrog.wordpress.com/the-non-believers-review-of-“the-case-for-faith”/. Case Against Faith covers all chapters, but not quite as thoroughly and also does not touch on one important aspect Tiny Frog does http://www.caseagainstfaith.com/critique-of-lee-strobels-the-case-for-faith.html. Christians seem to portray Hindus and Muslims as following false gods as an excuse to sin, even though their religions are stricter. The idea that they consciously choose hell seems strange. Tiny Frogs examination of the hell chapter is probably the best takedown, although his entire arguments are pretty solid throughout. Just some interesting notes to refute the whole idea that Strobel says unbelief is just an excuse to sin and has no rational basis, even though The Case for Faith is mostly speculation and doesn't even have Biblical basis and definitely no historical proof.
  4. Whatever Josh McDowell says. Mostly the "disciples wouldn't die for a lie," "because the Bible says so," and "people like Michael Behe believe in intelligent design."
  5. I do know that meeting unbelievers is what made me doubt my beliefs. I believed unbelievers were immoral monsters and was shocked in my teenage years that one of them showed me love. She did smoke weed, which did add to the stereotype, but probably a lot of Christians in my high school also smoked weed. My parents tried to comfort me and told me she wanted to go to hell so she could smoke weed and engage in premarital sex. The thing is that most versions of hell don't have any kind of joy and sex and drugs are hard to enjoy being set on fire. I really doubted that people would prefer being lit on fire to giving up premarital sex and thought that if God offered a choice after death, she would choose heaven. Found it to be BS and also thought that maybe atheism isn't primarily motivated by a desire to be a hedonist, but because the Bible's giants, talking donkeys, and 900 year olds are hard to believe. The thing is that people are damned for unbelief itself rather than the behaviors unbelief allegedly promotes. I was told that those who believe Jesus was a great moral teacher with no supernatural powers were evil people. It seemed like unbelief was more of an intellectual issue than a moral issue. The idea is that no doubt is sincere and that evolution was a conspiracy and excuse to sin. The idea seems to be that scientists are engineering excuses to sin and I have my doubts that scientists engage in 80s rock band levels of hedonism like I was taught.
  6. Been thinking about the ad hominem claim that non believers are insincere and have ulterior motives. Apologists, especially former atheist/agnostics of the Strobel/McDowell persuasion always portray unbelief as an excuse to sin. Atheism is allegedly an excuse to engage in premartial sex and smoke weed. The thing I've been thinking of, actually, the vast majority of Christians engage in it and many branches of Christianity believe you can sin if you feel really bad about it afterward. If this were true, can't the atheist just feel really bad and ask for forgiveness as soon as they settle down and marry? In the case of weed, Bible doesn't even mention it. Still, I really doubt every atheist is a wild hedonist and I wouldn't be surprised if ex-Christians still have lingering fears of premarital sex because of previous conditioning and the fact that churches contributed to sex ed in my schools. We looked at pictures of mutilated genitals and were told that condoms break easily and that you have a one in four chance of an agonizing and debilitating std for the rest of your life. From a non-Christian ethical perspective, premarital sex would be immoral if these details were true, but I have doubts that people would really try sex is odds were that high. I believe there were probably lots of lies in my sex ed. Granted, in my personal case, getting away from Christianity was partially motivated by a fear of hell, but it was actually for the sin of idolatry. The fear of loving my family or friends, or hobbies more than God. Not exactly hedonism. I did listen to hedonistic music and wasn't willing to give it up, proving my idolatry. It would seem my experience would prove Strobel and McDowell's point, but having an ulterior motive of avoiding the pain and fear of hell for idolatry does not prove the Bible true. In fact, I believed in maltheism, belief in an evil god, rather than atheism for many years because I believed Josh McDowell and his story as an agnostic trying to disprove Christianity and accidentally proving it. Much of the fear of hell and angst was for others as much as myself. Granted Strobel and J. P Moreland believe they prove that atheists are hedonists who would choose the agony of hell rather than live under the rules of heaven. Considering many old dead atheists are probably married, this wouldn't apply and you can't get any kind of nookie in most apologists' versions of hell. Atheists wanting to go to hell to sin makes no sense when you can't sin while in agony. I personally, if we go with Moreland's argument that people go to hell only because they want to go to hell, I'd give up sex if it spared me from fire and/or separation from God (which Moreland says is agonizing and Bill Weise elaborates why). The biggest issue is their argument boils down to, doubters doubt to engage in dirty deeds, therefore the Bible is without historical error. Ad hominem and x does not lead to y. I realize they may be right about me having an ulterior motive, but history and science speak for themselves. Josh McDowell essentially says historians are cowards and idiots for not supporting his position. Only the Campus Crusade for Christ is reliable scholarship according to him.
  7. I was as I kept hearing miracle stories proving Christianity real, yet hating how God can damn billions. When I believed, I tried to convince people to love a god I hated to save their souls. Unbelief was more comforting, but it was and is to an extent still hard with so many miracle stories about weird stuff happening when Jesus name is invoked. There are lots of Biblical stories that seem historically disproven and that gives me hope. Christianity would be nice for 33% of humanity, but not for the remainder. I was terrified of hell, but it started to be for others rather than myself.
  8. I always found the contradictions on gender issues interesting, and this seems to be proof that people tampered with these letters. I do not really believe the Jesus/Paul myth theory and I am a believer that there were people named Paul and Jesus who were Jewish teachers who had very high self esteem. My family is going through chaos as my uncle got a divorce from his wife and she wasn't the best person. My family believes she was evil because she didn't submit to her husband. The hierarchy allows for peace and can be justified with utiliterian ethics. Without this, fighting and chaos ensue. Submissive relationships are healthier relationships. Can anybody argue this point? I know they view feminism as evil and that damn dirty liberals want egalitarian marriages.
  9. Thinking about it, people in heaven have to go through judgement and take into account every word they say (that would take a while. How is anyone in heaven if it takes that long?). This is said by many churches to be immediately after death (see the Book of Life play many churches have). Then, they have to be yanked out of heaven to be judged during judgement day so everyone is judged twice. What's the point of that. Judgement is even less important to some Christians who say that hell has nothing to do with judgement. My mom believes that hell is a judgement and the only way to go there is to want to go there. What is the point of judgement in the "hell as choice, not a judgement" model?
  10. Getting hired somewhere else is probably best for me. Applying to jobs far away.
  11. Life can be just tough when you live in a place with heavy anti-atheist sentiment. I'm realizing just how bad it is. All my family knows of them seems to be the ones in the God's Not Dead movies (which they believe is based on a true story) and whatever TBN and Pat Robertson says. Pat Robertson callers seem to also report on atheists who reinforce negative stereotypes: I'm wondering where in Oklahoma I can go that's safe-ish. I don't think everyone here hates atheists, at least I hope, but it seems pretty strong.
  12. Major update: mom just talked shit about how awful people Hindus and Muslims are. Should I feel good or bad that I'm not the only piece of shit in her eyes? My self esteem has never been this low. When family thinks you're garbage, what is there to do?
  13. It seems like college is a place where people are immature and learning about the world. That's probably why there seems to be so many college kids with really radical positions. It was culture shock going back for a second master's degree and seeing how over the top strange generation Z college students' beliefs are compared to gen Ys when I thought my gen was overzealous about political stuff in college. When it comes to proselytizing, I have been tempted because I'm not bothered by those who believe in supernatural things, but the idea that those who believe in the wrong supernatural thing deserve a terrible fate. My mom believes that hell isn't about judgement, but because people who disbelieve want to go to hell (her version being an agonizing separation from god, similar to what Bill Wiese described in 23 Minutes in Hell). I did lose my temper a few years ago about her support of a god doing this to people, even if they allegedly choose it and the fact that she thinks that her hell is better than literal fire. After the intense verbal lashing she gave me, I learned to accept that you can't even make it halfway and convince somebody to believe in a god who doesn't send people to any version of hell.
  14. I felt like I had a gun to my head when "witnessing." Inaction could be sinful and lead you on the road to hell as well as action. That's why I ponder if some Christians who aggressively preach the gospel really want to or if they believe they will go to hell if they don't like I did. Another thing about aggressive Christian evangelism, it seems that college kids seem to be extremely aggressive at proselytizing and they cool off in their aggressiveness after graduation, sometimes going from person to person and harassing everyone. I did also have a very assertive atheist roommate who tried to demean and belittle my Christian and capitalist friends for not being communists who supported the hacker group Anonymous like he did. People like him aren't all that common, but it seems like he checked off every negative stereotype of atheists and reinforced the idea that we're all like that. Despite my beliefs, I sided with my Catholic friend, partially because she I was attracted to her, and partially because I think if you want to say that people can be good without religious belief, you should be a shining example rather than be full of hate. Being on this board for years, I've seen varying views on whether or not proselytizing to Christians is any good or not. I'm curious about other's thoughts on the benefits and drawbacks.
  15. That is why I ponder if proselytizing is more often good or bad. Christianity made me miserable and knowing that there isn't a reason to scrutinize every minor thing I do was a relief. For others, the possibility that somebody views Christianity as giving a purpose in life. That guy on Sufficient Velocity devastated my brother and made him fall into a deep depression. Granted, I think a good portion of atheist proselytizing is well intentioned yet misguided. It's probably best only done when you know that religion has affected a person's happiness.
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