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About TheLyniezian

  • Rank
    Strong Minded
  • Birthday 05/05/1985

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  • Gender
  • Location
    North-East England
  • Interests
    Surfing the internet, playing Magic: The Gathering, reading sci-fi/fantasy, looking at trying to write it, too much introspecting and silly obsessions.
  • More About Me
    Thirtysomething guy from North East England, former member of Pentecostal church, just-to-say physics graduate with no job.

    Have mild Asperger's syndrome so sometimes given to introspection and obsessive behaviour and perhaps find it a little difficult to empathise, but try to work round it. (Still doesn't stop me having a bit of a sense of humour.)

    I do have a few opinions on things which are a bit odd or "way out" and can be a bit critical/contrarian but hope to try my best to work around this too. I like to try and see some sort of ideal medium between opposing POVs where things are polarised.

    Decided to leave Christianity after a lot of silly personal worries, feeling it made too many seemingly irrational demands and basically stopped making sense. Still have a lot of personal failings to overcome but feel now at least I can maybe sort them out on my own terms. Still have niggling doubts and guilt at leaving church behind, too. Main question for me is is: what are my goals, what meaning do I ascribe to life, what do I do with it and (now) how to do it without God or religion?

    (Note about my username: it relates to a fictitious country called Lyniezia I've been making up stuff about since I was a kid. Possibly it's symbolic in that I sometimes feel a little distant from the rest of society and don't identify with some aspects of my native culture, or used to, but...)

Previous Fields

  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    Not as such...

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  1. I'm really not sure. Probably when I went to university and started looking at all kinds of crazy websites. Not the best thing to consider being real when you're doing a science degree. I did for a short while fully believe it after joining the Pentecostal church I attended post-uni. as there were a few people there who took that position, but not all. Don't think it lasted long, but I was still thinking about the matter before I finally decided (with some difficulty) the whole religion was nonsense not just one or two particular theological positions.
  2. So, basically, thing we subjectively don't like is a "punishment" for other things we subjectively don't like.
  3. One additional thing to point out: I threw away quite a few books and other stuff when I was a Christian, and now regret doing a lot of that. Now I find it difficult to throw away books of any kind as a result.
  4. Most eventually either went to the charity shop or got sold to the bookshop I used to volunteer at if they had any value (I think a collection of John Wesley sermons, the journals of George Whitefield and the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties by Gleason Archer maybe). A few I have kept if they were given as gifts by friends or family but mostly as my name is in them or they were sort of "permanently borrowed" from a relative who lives in France.
  5. A lot of these points are fairly church and country-dependent, though some are not. I think even as a Christian (and even post-university when, despite having hitherto been pretty liberal, inclined towards pretty theologically and politically conservative inclined churches, with a lot of people believing in stuff like YEC) I still was troubled by the sort of bile that was being emitted stateside. Still heard lots of horror stories about churches which could be abusive, engage in "heavy shepherding" etc. so maybe I just went to the nice ones. And of course we still had the teachings against homosexuality etc. which made things very difficult. The amount of arguments I've had on online fora about that and other less pleasant aspects of Christianity are something I am pretty ashamed of these days. Defending homophobia, sexism, religious intolerance, quasi-historical accounts of genocide and other hairy historical issues like slavery is not much fun and something I was often inclined to think deep down were really wrong, but the Bible says this or that (at least according to our interpretation) so... And of course the doctrinal differences. Along with claims of prophecies, revelations etc. and knowing that some claims have to be wrong, it got me questioning towards the end- if X or Y is wrong, why not the whole thing?
  6. Worth reminding people of this. The UK has had both boys and girls in the Scouts for years as well. USA is just behind the curve. It's not that big a deal.
  7. This was not only one of the Biblical "contradictions" which I focussed on particularly when I first made the decision to deconvert, but also something I brought up when arguing with a Christian friend on Facebook. Obviously this is a pretty well-known one, namely the virgin birth as described in Matthew 1, which states: 'Now all this has happened, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall give birth to a son. They shall call his name Immanuel”; which is, being interpreted, “God with us.”' (Matt. 1: 22-23, World English Bible) This is quoting Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin will conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." (World English Bible) Obviously the most well addressed part of the controversy will be found if I switch translations: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel." (New Revised Standard Version) That is, that the Matthew quote uses the Greek word "Parthenos" from the Septuagint, whereas the Hebrew word is "almah" meaning young woman, as opposed to the word supposedly more used for describing one as a virgin, "bethulah". Of course apologists try to refute this by pointing to different usages of the words. And, not being an expert on the Biblical languages, I can't really see whether or not that is a concrete argument. Nonetheless, if it is, it seems to not bode well for the claim it was prophesying a virgin birth. It is, however, interesting that the apologists I've read give so much attention to this and not the more obvious problem I've seen with this. That is, whether the context of the book of Isaiah allows for it. Quite clearly this seems to be more of a sign given to Ahaz in the near future concerning his immediate predicament- that of the alliance of kings from Damascus and the northern kingdom of Israel making war with him, that they would eventually be wiped out: "He shall eat butter and honey when he knows to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child knows to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land whose two kings you abhor shall be forsaken. " (Isa. 7:15-16, WEB). The fact is that whilst it is possible to state that the events to follow would occur before Jesus was born and grown up sufficiently to discern right from wrong, it seems pretty obvious that that isn't very useful to King Ahaz or anyone else hearing the prophecy at the time. Moreover, there seems to be a pattern of children being given prophetic names as a sign of prohpecy about to be fulfilled, as Isaiah does the same with his own son Maher-shalal-hash-baz in the next chapter (v. 3-4), which also addresses "Immanuel" in v. 8 (could it be that they are one and the same person?) and mentions that the prophet and his sons are there "for signs and wonders" from God/Yahweh (v. 18). So there seems to be little in the book of Isaiah to suggest this is a far-future Messianic prophecy. Of course the apologists have two more tricks up their sleeve. One is to suggest based on the fact that Isaiah is by this point addressing the "House of David" in general and it is in the context of the northern kings wanting to dethrone Ahaz and put a puppet king in his place (thus threatening the House of David), this prophecy is about reassuring that the House of David will endure (and lead to Jesus, naturally). Another is to introduce the "dual/multiple fulfilment" concept, suggesting the prophecy had an immediate fulfilment and was later fulfilled in Jesus. For obvious reasons this isn't too satisfactory. So, questions are: 1. Is there any rational or at least halfway convincing argument that could be used to demonstrate that this could be a messianic prophecy, let alone pointing to Jesus? 2. Assuming as no doubt most of us do that this is not the case, is there any watertight argument which rationally proves this is *not* a messianic prophecy? 3. Can anyone with any knowledge of the original languages clear up the controversy surrounding the meaning of these words? 4. Assuming he is not Jesus, who might Immanuel be? The prophet's own son? The future King Hezekiah? Someone else? Can we even be sure? 5. What might be the author of the "Gospel of Matthew" be trying to achieve by linking the alleged virgin birth to Isaiah 7? Is he trying to make some sort of theological point? Or just pulling quotations from anywhere to make Jesus appear someone special, i.e. making stuff up? (Noting that later in the passage there is a mention of a prophecy found nowhere in Scripture, "that he should be called a Nazarene" or similar, and that it looks like even then the verse is misquoted, "they" shall call him Immanuel, not the child's mother as in the original text). It also seems obvious, that in the days before mass printed Bibles, computer software and the Internet, when there were only hand-written scrolls few people had their own copies of (or even access to) and most people were illiterate, there was no easy way any one person could cross-check to understand the original context, and there is all the reason to suppose the author could have pulled out some half-remembered quote to justify his position.) 6. Did this ever perplex anyone else when they were still believers? I recall it doing so for me. 7. Any other observations?
  8. It is not however to be taken for granted that elected leaders will uphold those rights even if they promise to. It is also not to be taken for granted that the people who actually wield the equipment will side with the ones who are supposed to make the decisions. Of course it is unlikely that a bunch of people with small arms are going to do much direct good against tanks and drones in open warfare, if it should come to that. If a modern US-level military really wanted to go all out it probably could, it doens't because of the implications. I dare say a government which has lost the support of the people almost entirely isn't going to be willing to go to any lengths to destroy those people at the expense of its own position.
  9. Constitutions are words on a bit of paper, which in practice can be ignored. To me, rights are social and moral constructs that exist because human beings, acting collectively, see the need for them in order to maintain a fair, just, and free society. That in practice they happen to be codified by laws and administered by governments as commonly understood is a matter of practicality. Well, undermined at any rate. "Taken away" implies to me that they can be made to not exist even in principle.
  10. I don't know too much about America but issues do seems to be rather more polarized over there than I would feel comfortable with. It happens over here too though; look at the issue of Brexit and how on the one hand some fanatical Brexiteers are up in arms about any suggestion about not having the Brexit they want, to the point of not caring that it is still possible to be part of the single market or customs union without strictly speaking being part of the EU, the only thing the referendum actually asked being EU membership not those other things. Then there are the passionate Remainers who think the EU is so great and wonderful and would probably try to get the process reversed if they could. And those in the middle who just wish they could get on with the whole business of securing the best possible deal and preventing an economic crash. And me, who wishes the first two groups would just shut up because either way is by the by; ordinary people are still going to get screwed by the rich and powerful and if only we could do away with the lot of them in favour of something better. But the point remains that some issues are black and white; some (most) issues are far more complex and there are no obvious answers.
  11. "Rights come from the government" is somewhat debatable.
  12. To me? It will always be a very difficult topic for which there are no easy answers. I am not less concerned about private people having a right to bear arms as I am about representatives of the state (i.e. police, armed forces) having weapons and using them for immoral purposes. It is a clear fact that as long as there is some need for guns of some sort (hunting, pest control purposes, etc.) then these guns will be misused, and there is a limit to how much gun control measures will work. At the same time the level of mass shootings we see in the UK is pretty small, though violent crime is not non-zero. The problem is not so much ultimately guns as with people's propensity to be violent. It is also true that governments by and large, however nominally democratic, are run by and large in the interests of the rich and powerful, sometimes at the expense of the rest, and often commit egregious abuses. There may well come a time when revolution to overthrow those governments by means of a popular revolution becomes necessary and an obligation. And one is unlikely to do that without weapons of some kind. but it is not a situation I think most would relish. In the meantime, I see nothing wrong with some sensible legislation to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and nutcases, whilst not removing the right to bear arms entirely. And ideally if (as here in the UK) police officers could not routinely carry firearms too; I worry for the time that starts to change.
  13. KT Tunstall- "Still A Weirdo". (Went to see this lady back in November. Was not disappointed.)
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