TinMan

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About TinMan

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    South Korea (just living here temporarily)
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    Academics; knowledge; golf.
  • More About Me
    Became Christian ever since I went to Iraq in 2003 (fear of death and possible subsequent assignment to hell). It has only been recently (past year) where I started to question the validity of my worldview. I am on the slippery slope. I cannot seem to figure out where I fit in. I know I cannot go back to fundamentalism, it was just too crazy and nothing but a bad experience.
    ***Update*** I have definitely moved from "Christian Agnostic" to Agnostic/Atheist.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
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  1. @Geezer Do you have some resources to look at regarding the mythist theory of Paul? I have seen different stuff on Jesus from Richard Carrier, David Fitzgerald, and Robert Price, but I have not seen anyone make a good argument that Paul was made from whole cloth. Mythicism in general is confusing to me, in that, I don't understand the motivation of why someone would sit down and undertake such a task. I do understand it from a Midrash point of view, but some of the stories in the gospels don't appear to be Midrash.
  2. If you look in Genesis, Chapter Two I think (Chapter Two is a more robust creation account than Chapter One), it actually reads as if Adam and Eve had to eat from the tree of life to stay alive. It was the reason they were booted out, God was afraid they would live forever with their new found knowledge.
  3. Supposedly the wood used to make the ark. No one seems to really know what the word means because it is foreign to Hebrew and possibly a mistranslation.
  4. I understand the argument, but isn't obedience the dominant theme in the Bible? I mention this because I find the narrative of God wanting a personal relationship with people to be a strained inference of the Bible. The more obvious inference is that God wants people to obey him. His love is conditional so long as people are doing what he wants. This kind of relationship is more of a king and his vassels opposed to a loving being. If that is the case, and all God really wants are obedient servants, then it seems as if robots are actually what he desires. Free will to love God is then a superfluous attribute because all God wants you to do is give up your free will and obey him to the minute detail. In the end, what is really the difference between a human who gives up their identity to take on a role and a human who was programmed to always be obedient? Saves a lot of hassle for all parties involved. I would rather be a robot than have free will when it endangers the eternal fate of people.
  5. After my last discussion on this topic, I was able to have another conversation with the same colleague regarding the miracles he witnessed first hand: 1. The deafness was caused by a ruptured eardrum. After praying for his sibling over the phone, the eardrum was healed. His follow up was that the doctor called it a peculiarity. 2. Another person had vertebrae in the neck that seemed to be fused together. After praying over them, he could "literally" see them moving away from each other. (No medical records of before and after) 3. Another was that a person had plantar fasciitis and sciatica; both were healed instantly. (No medical records of before and after) Those three items I listed are at the top of his list as to why Christianity is true. After finding out details, I am not completely blown away. Ruptured ear drums are known to heal themselves, granted, if it happened to heal itself right when he prayed, that is highly coincidental. Number 2 is unusual, not really sure what to make of it. Number 3 could easily be psychosomatic. I am curious to hear what everyone else thinks of these "miracles." As I stated before, I have never gone down the rabbit hole of miracles happening around the world/other religions, so if anyone has done some research, I would be glad to hear it. We continued the discussion on Christianity for a while, and like before, he kept retreating to ambiguity, or would flat out deny he believed cherished church doctrine (this one surprised me, he said he is not sure he believes the Trinity, but accepts there is a God, there is Jesus, and there is a Holy Spirit, because the Bible says so - he is a Bible literalist when it suits his argument, but will retreat from it when it does not). I kept pinning down issues such as Paul in disagreement with James, Peter, and the others over what gentile Christians should do about Jewish laws. The fairness, justness, or reasonability of an eternal torture chamber. Through all this, and this is always the answer when I am able to argue people into a corner, "it is all about believing in Jesus, and who he said he was." I heard the same thing from our Chaplain whenever I was routing his arguments as well. So strange I keep hearing that argument, because no Christian actually believes it! It ends up being a bait and switch. They lull you in saying you just have to have faith, then it turns into a whole litany of demands depending on the denomination: no movies; no music; no sex before marriage; you should be celibate (according to Paul & Jesus); you should get married and pump out a 1,000 kids (Quiverfull); no taking communion from two or more cups; observe the Sabbath; it is Yeshua - not Jesus; hell is eternal; Jesus - I mean Yeshua loves you; Yeshua hates you; psychology is heresy; psychology heals the mind as medicine heals the body; hell is annihilation; God saves everyone; creationism; Bible conforms to science; science is the devil; when you should attend church: Saturday or Sunday; Paul was/is a false prophet; Jesus' teachings only; the whole counsel of God (Bible as we have it now is inspired - not sure what that means exactly); OT says the laws are everlasting, and Jesus said the law is forever; Jesus fulfilled the law; Genesis is literally true; Genesis is allegory; the Bible describes the past; the Bible does not make sense in historical context (Origen actually said this); our denomination has the truth - everyone else is deceived (why would Jesus let someone be deceived if they are earnestly seeking him?); God sends lying spirits (1 Kings 22); God does not lie; God believes in preserving life; God let Israel start cannibalizing their children - God ordered the slaughter of man, woman, and child; God ordered animal sacrifice (Exodus); God did not order animal sacrifice " For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices" (Jeremiah 7:22); God gives commandments that are good, and good for life; God gave commandments that were not good, nor good for life: "Moreover I gave them statues that were not good and ordinances by which they could not have life, and I defiled them through their very gifts in making them offer by fire all their first-born (emphasis mine), that I might horrify them; I did it that they might know I am the Lord." (Ezekiel 20:25-26). There are two serious passages I want to point out here: 1 Kings 22 and Ezekiel 20:25-26. In my opinion, these two passages (and no doubt there are more) are a dagger to the heart of any statement from evangelist saying carte blanch "God loves you, unconditionally." That is not even in the realm of possibility. Moreover, I would say it should cause concern to any believer because it opens the door to doubting any possible chance of assurance that they are saved, or will be saved. I know a lot of people maintain their beliefs because they convinced themselves they are right with God. By their own scriptures, I would say that is unknowable! We are talking about a God who has no problem letting people be deceived, or sending them a lying spirit, or quite frankly, giving commands to horrify them. Case closed.
  6. Oh yes, I have heard plenty of this over the years. There is a specific ring leader of this movement: Douglas Del Tonto He runs a website called jesuswordsonly. As usual, he disagrees with everyone else and that you should only read the gospels to hear what Jesus had to say. This, and every other website out there is exactly why I left Christianity. There is no consensus on how to read the Bible, the whole Christian movement is rife with conflict regarding what "truth" is. It is just so insane that you will lose your head trying to figure it out. I mean really, if God wants all man to come to the truth as is stated in 2 Peter, it should not be this difficult. You know what makes me do a double take with these guys? They will say that Paul is a false apostle, and his writings should not be in the Bible, but then they automatically assume everything in the gospels is an accurate snapshot of Jesus' ministry. Why do you believe that some of the Bible is false, but yet you believe everything from John back is true? How did you come to that determination?
  7. Baal can also mean "lord" in the old testament. It was a generic title used by the people in the area for various gods on the regions. To get some real insight into this discussion, pick up Henry Fosdick's "A Guide to Understanding the Bible." He was a liberal theologian who does a pretty good job breaking down all of the different ideas ancient Hebrews had about YHWH.
  8. No need to apologize. The first few steps out of religion are usually emotional.
  9. “You can love God all you want, it does not mean he loves you back.” ~The Author of this Topic~ Hell. It strikes fear in the heart of the believing and the unbelieving. This doctrine has to be the most terrifying aspect of any religion, but it is especially true for those who grew up in the Christian tradition. If I had to speculate, I would say everyone gets into, and stays in, Christianity because of the dread hell creates in people. During my time in Christianity, all I wanted was an assurance that hell would not be my eternal fate. If there is one thing I learned while I obsessed over dogma, it is this: there is no guarantee, and there never will be. I want to talk about the fear of hell because it is something that borderline debilitated me mentally as a human, and I know it has the same effect on others. Hell did not terrorize me just because of my own personal desire not to be in pain forever, but I could not stomach it for the sake of others as well. When I was a Calvinist, I got to a point where I could not mentally handle the idea of God firing people into the pits of hell. It was too troublesome, too grotesque, and too unmerciful. At some point in time, surely God’s blood lust should be sated; surely God would grow tired of sustaining his pure hated for others. Based on mainstream Christian theology, this is the only way hell could exist. If YHWH created, and therefore sustains everything, then hell cannot be a place absent of YHWH; therefore, for eternity, YHWH is displaying love for some, and active hate and malice for others. If this premise is true, then God does not love his enemies as he commands us to love them. How do we escape this fate? How can we find ourselves in God’s good graces? My conclusion is that no one could ever know, not in this life anyway. I want to go through a few different talking points to demonstrate that there is no resolution, no assurance, and definitely no guarantee that being a part of the Christian nation will prevent you from going to hell. I bring this up because I know a lot of people, myself included, waver in their decision to leave the Christian faith. The threat of hell hangs over our heads, and at times we want to run back to the illusion of the safety net provided by belief. Personally, I did not just decide to leave the faith one day. It is not as if I packed my bags and headed out the church to never return. What happened to me is that I wanted to know the truth. What is the truth of the reality I observe? How can I know what is true? My problem with religion is epistemological. Because only knowing what is true can I escape my true problem, which is avoiding hell, or rather, eternal suffering. This is the basic problem Christianity sets before us, and what we seek to solve. Christians will say that you can avoid hell by being saved. Well, what exactly is being saved, and how can we know if we are saved? What is the standard response to this dilemma? The sinner’s prayer. We all know it, get on your knees, accept the tenets of the faith (for the sake of this argument, we will assume the Apostolic Creed), beg Jesus (or Joshua, or Yeshua really) for forgiveness of sins, and accept the atoning sacrifice of Yeshua. As long as you petitioned, and believed, with your whole being, it took. Nine time out of ten, this is the standard answer I get when I ask the question. This theological concept runs parallel with the notion that salvation comes through faith, and not of works. For right now, we will just say faith is accepting the truths of the tenets of the faith, and trusting in the finishing work of the atonement. Seems easy enough, and overall, nothing too taxing of the believer. But is this really all there is too it? Does this really do the trick? Is there any way to back this up? Short answer: no. Naturally, the same Christians who told us that this is all there is to the faith will then say the Bible supports the simple plan of salvation. Yet, when I turn to the Bible, I see some evidence for this, but I see a lot of evidence pointing away from this simple plan of getting right with God. When Jesus was speaking to the crowds, and his own disciples, some key comments stick out in my mind. “Be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect.” “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.” I am sure I do not need to go on, just these few statements get the point across. What about other books of the Bible, what do they say about just having faith? “Faith without works is dead.” – James “…not to associate with anyone who bears the name brother if he is guilty of immorality, or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber – not to even eat with such a one.” 1 Corinthians There is a fairly consistent theme through the OT, and the NT, that it is not just about having faith. It is faith and living holy, being a living sacrifice, etcetera. I just do not see any other way around it. Then the question becomes, what is the threshold? How much do I have to sacrifice, how forgiving do I have to be, how can I know where I stand with YHWH? Even if you believe in Christianity, and want to live out the faith, you will never know how you rate with God. We can conclude that just having faith does not solve our dilemma in attempting to avoid hell. If we are to avoid our problem of hell, we must have faith, and we must be doing some other step-actions to satisfy YHWH. But what are they, and how do we figure them out, let us go back to the Bible. First and foremost, attempting to find a congruent thought in Christianity is quite frankly untenable. I find the Bible has more in common with Wonderland from Alice in Wonderland than it does with our perceived reality. For the sake of this discussion, let us say the 66 books of the Protestant Bible are all we have to work with. That being the case, we are going to attempt to make sense of it, as only humans are capable. No matter what, humans are bound by solipsism. The most basic assumption is that we know we exist, and the only tools we have to evaluate the world around us is our observations, filtered through our understanding of reason and logic. Even when evangelicals tell us we have to abandon our reason and logic when reading the Bible, it is an impossible task. Everything gets ran through our logic filters, it is not possible to just turn it off. Allow me to expand upon the various reasons I find that the Bible could only be true outside of our perceived reality. For the Bible to be consistently true, it could only be true in another reality, another universe that is bound by a different set of rules, it cannot be true in our reality. Consider the Gospel of John where it states, “God is love.” How can God be love and then he assigns his creation to eternal torment? Not even a few, but most of his creation is in hell – remember....narrow is the way. If hell is eternal torture, then in our reality, God is not love. The meaning of love is now meaningless to us. It takes on some definition that is outside of human experience and knowledge. But yet, how does the Bible define love? Paul has something to say of it in 1 Corinthians 13: “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Haha, what!!!!!??? If God is love, and love is what we just defined, then what is the deal with hell? I will go even further and say that is not a systematic definition of the God we find scattered through the Bible. What God is the author of 1 Corinthians 13 even talking about? Why does the evidence we find in our perceived reality not match up with the stories relayed in the Bible? If God created the universe in six days, why does our universe look old? Why doesn’t Noah’s flood match up with paleontology and geology? Why are we so close in genetics to apes? Why does it appear that all living organisms share common ancestry? Why aren’t miracles, or rather interactions with a god being, or angels, a part of our daily experience? Why doesn’t prayer work? 1 Kings 22 presents another problem, what if God sent you a lying spirit? For all those Christians who say the Holy Spirit is talking to them, guiding them; how do they know? Thousands of different denominations attest to the fact they cannot all be right, but they could all be wrong. Who has the Holy Spirit, who is deceived, and who is God purposely sending a lying spirit to? How could anyone know if they were actually following the right way? What method could we employ to figure out the "truth?" Apparently YHWH has no problem letting people be deceived, whether through their own actions, or he simply sent a lying spirit to throw them off track. If God wants all to repent and come to the truth, why allow us to be deceived? And the big question, why in the world would you let a spirit deceive us! Especially if the one seeking the truth has honest intent? This only further substantiates our inability to find a resolution for the stated problem: How do we avoid hell? To summarize the biblical issue, Protestant denominations state the Bible is inerrant, infallible, and true in every aspect, then that could only be true in some other universe where logical contradictions are all simultaneously true, and that quite frankly is outside of our ability to conceive. We are being asked to believe in something that is not possible for us to actually believe. I would argue we are physically incapable of doing so. Do with that what you will. The problem we have is that the most reliable method humans have to test what is true cannot be applied to biblical stories, and theological concepts. That method is the scientific method: Make an observation Create a hypothesis Test hypothesis with an experiment Record results Refine hypothesis if experiment did not yield conclusive results Application of the scientific method is how we know something can be demonstrated to be true in our perceived reality. Our knowledge of the demonstrably true then feeds our ability to construct logically true premises and conclusions. All of which are tentative based upon new evidence. By now, I am sure anyone can see there is no conclusive way to know whether or not you are going to hell. In this regard, I think the Catholics and Eastern Orthodox have something over Protestants. We may be in a universe where we have a god like Angra Mainyu, who is going to torture all of us just for kicks. We do not know, and right now, we cannot know. We do not have the ability to test such a thing. When it comes to Christianity, unless we actually went through some kind judgement day, had the sheep and the goats separated, and then ended up somewhere, it is all degrees of possibility. Personally, this is how I deal with it - I just accept that I cannot know. I would like to know, I would like to have an assurance that an afterlife would be eternal bliss versus pain, but I realized that there is nothing I can do to guarantee that. All I can do is weigh the evidence, and hold a tentative conclusion on what is probably true based upon the evidence. If there is a hell, then the god who created it put us in an impossible position; we were set up for failure. We have no ability to sift through the data and come to the correct conclusion. As shown already, saying a prayer, having faith, and apparently even performing miracles is no way to know where you stand with God (Recall those individuals on judgement day pleading with Christ because they did miracles in his name, "Depart from me, I never knew you" - Jesus). Only this god could give me the wisdom needed to one: figure out what he wanted; two: be okay with the majority of humanity suffering forever. I could not be in heaven having a good time knowing billions of others were suffering. I am incapable of it. That means God would have to change my whole framework of how I see everything. When I was leaving Christianity, I often prayed that God would just make me a spiritual zombie that believed whatever he wanted me to believe and do all the time. I was more than happy to give up my freewill because it just seemed that my personal freewill was a waste of my time, and God’s time. But that has not happened so if there is a hell, I am powerless to do anything to avoid it, therefore, why should I spend every waking moment dwelling on it? I am not the kind of person who dwells on situations I have no power over. If there is a hell, it is inevitable I am going there, and I will just have to deal with it when I arrive. What are you going to do? It is a hopeless situation. For those who are terrified of hell, I want you to consider what is it about hell that scares you? Is it the pain? Is it that you think you will never experience any good again? You will never stop being terrified of hell if you do not know what exactly about it that bothers you. I used to be afraid of the pain aspect of hell, of being on fire all the time. When I really thought about it, in some way, the pain might be so excruciating you do not even feel it. Perhaps it is so intense you are almost frozen in time. And, at some point in time, I would think the nerves would be destroyed so now you are on fire and you do not even feel it. I have heard some Christians say the body just keeps regenerating so you feel it all over again – so loving. Throughout history, some Christians have really painted a pretty grotesque picture of hell, and I can tell you they delighted in it because they did not think they were going there. I have bad news for them, they do not know that. I bet if more people really thought they might ended up in God’s Toyland of Torture, they would be trying to temper all of the horrific aspects. Even those in the holiness movement never actually think they will end up on the spit, it only holds true for everyone else. As I said in my quotes at the start of this, you can love God all you want, it does not mean he loves you back. Telling yourself you are one of God’s special kids is a statement you can never prove to be true. It is all speculation and wishful thinking. Knowing this is what really drove me to investigate the claims of Christianity, I wanted to know I was in God’s good graces. I wanted to know I was going to heaven. I wanted to know God was good, and merciful, and kind. For all the reasons stated above, I could not, and cannot, know any of it.
  10. If Christianity is true, quite frankly, it is beyond me to understand it. I was just listening to a debate involving Laurence Krauss and two proponets of intelligent design. One of the debaters advocating ID stated he was and evangelical, who believed the Bible was the word of God, and he finds the evidence for evolution overwhelming. I am perplexed how this man is able to hold so much conflicting information in his head at any one time. How can he say he believes the Bible, but definitely does not think Genesis creation accounts are literally true, but then evaluates other parts of the Bible as literally true. Exactly what method does he employ to know when to take the Bible literally, when to take it figuratively, and when it just becomes a divine mystery. In my experience, talking to people in the church is like taking a survey of the mentally insane. People believe all kinds of whacky ideas that sound like the ravings of a mad man. My reason for mentioning this is that the church, viewed holistically, cannot even agree on what Christianity even is. No two believers believe the same thing. There is no agreement on the "essentials" from one church to another. Before I could even question whether or not I find the claims of Christianity good enough, I would have to know what Christianity even is. Most popular answer you hear is "a personal relationship with God." I have no idea where that rabbit comes from, because nowhere in the NT does that little piece of theological magic make itself apparent. And let's be frank, a personal relationship with God is not what people believe to be the bottom line, the dogma takes precedence. Then we are back to square one, what is the dogma of Christianity? Nobody can agree, just have a heart to heart relationship with God......YAY!!!
  11. The three you listed were pretty good. I would take those. Number 2 and 3 especially hold true for me. When I was making my way out of Christianity, I would often beg the biblical God to give me one hour of his time to tell me what is orthodoxy, what is orthopraxy, and perhaps and a couple questions I had about moving forward. I was so desperate, I even asked for a talking deer or something similar, anything but another fallible human. Still waiting.
  12. It is coming up on a year since I left the faith and became agnostic in my view of religion, and specifically Christianity. In the past few months, I had a few conversations with family members and co-workers who are still in the faith about the cerebral problems I have with cogency of Christian theology, science versus biblical narratives, higher biblical criticism, as well as lower criticism, and through it, I have picked up a few trends I keep running into. Usually when I start honing in on various problems, the biggest rebuttal I hear is, “it is all about faith/trust in Jesus.” This is especially true whenever I start discussing church history regarding differing views on marriage versus celibacy, poverty versus riches, defining sin, and etcetera. I take issue when I hear it is all about just having faith, because all Christian groups do not actually believe this is the bottom line, there is always a catch. Let us be frank, after you “have a little talk with Jesus,” then you need to conform to a certain set of rules depending on which denomination you are dealing with. If it was really just about having trust in Jesus to save you, then why do people get so bent about sex, movies, language, ethics, and the rest of the gambit? At the end of the day, it cannot be just about having faith, and nobody really believes that. It is speaking out of both sides of the mouth. This kind of double talk is rampant when I am in these discussions with believers. My favorite times are when they retreat to ambiguity, or will start saying the Bible does not teach mainstream orthodoxy beliefs. For example, I have had a few discussions with a colleague at work who constantly contradicts himself sentence by sentence, to rationalize his belief system. The other day I had him cornered in his argument when I asked him why an all loving, all knowing, omnibenevolent, omnipresent, God who supposedly hates sin so much he is going to put sinners on a spit and roast them for eternity, would actually create the capacity to sin in the first place. My thought on this was that if we take a really high view of a constant theme in the Bible, it is that God is just super upset about sin, rebellion, whatever you want to call it. If that is indeed the case, I find it extremely myopic that said God would then create creatures even capable of committing sin. I know the typical apologetic response will be, “freewill.” Yeah, that is great, but surely a solution would be to create beings with freewill who are only ever able to make choices that fall in the domain of acceptable to YHWH. Considering this further, if YHWH created everything, then he also created the capacity for his creation to sin, then he must not hate sin that much; for if he did, then the capacity for sin would not exist. Created beings could only ever choose “good.” How would that not be a win-win for everyone? Whenever I bring this argument up, I can see the mental squirming. My colleague said, “The Bible does not teach that.” When I asked him “what,” he basically stated the Bible does not teach that God contains all those characteristics I stated above. I could only give him a blank stare because he knows that is not what he believes, nor any other Christian you talk to, and he only said it to get out of a tight spot. Maybe my argument is flawed and I have not considered other possibilities, but it just strikes me odd that the God of the Bible who hates sin so much that he is willing to torture people, who he supposedly loves so much, but he never took steps to make sure such a horrific scenario did not play out.
  13. Thank you for your quick interpretation of what this text means, and exactly my issue with all of it. @Thumbelina you are making a knowledge claim for which you have no evidence to back it up. And when I say evidence, I mean going all the way back and establishing point by point that the collective writings that compose the Bible are indeed inspired (whatever that means) by a diety in our universe. That quite frankly would just be the starting point, then we would have to have a systematic way of interpreting these text since everyone who reads it comes to different conclusions. Guarantee I could find ten denominations in five mintues that say you are wrong in your theology, your interpretation, orthodoxy and practice. And you are going to hell because of it. I know because I spent years trying to figure all this out and realized there is absolutely no way to actually know if any of this is true. Multiple passages in the Bible do not comport with our knowledge of the earth, or the universe, nor is it even internally cogent and consistent. A literal interpretation of Genesis is impossible unless all of our current scientific knowledge in every field is wrong on almost every account, and I am not sure how that would even be possible. Miracles, oracles from God, talking donkeys, angels, demons, etc. are not an obvious part of our lives, but these occurences are scattered through the NT and OT. If these things did happen and are real parts of our universe, why are they not happening for all to see? Too much to ask from a loving God? All I want is the same revelation these biblical characters supposedly had. Why can I not hear it from the horses mouth? Why should I believe the stories of ancients? The ancients had a pretty good track record of making things up. I know right now you think you have figured it all out, but your conviction of knowledge does not mean you have knowledge. You are making knowledge claims that are really just theology claims. You do not know if your claims are true, somebody either told you they were, you believe they are, or it just feels right. None of those equal actual knowledge. I am guessing you are from a Protestant background, did you know that Martin Luther thought very little of Revelation? He actually thought it should be tossed out of canon, quite literally into the Elbe river. I mention this because you are making claims with such confidence as if all the weight of church history backs you, and it does not. I recommend reading "Lost Christianities," by Bart Ehrman. Even the earliest known Christian movements did not agree about major theological issues. The divinity of Jesus just being one.
  14. @Blood Great reference. I heard Robert M. Price mention this a few times, but I always forgot the passage.
  15. Interesting topic. I am always frustrated by the lack of being able to know the answer. That was my biggest hangup in Christianity as well, I just wanted to know the answers, and to understand them. My initial deconversion started when all the various compartmentalized boxes of theology and reality started to overflow into each other. I could not mentally deal with so many contradictions coexisting at one time. I am still plagued by my desire to know. But more and more, I am trying to be okay with the fact that anything I may know is always tenative. This ties into the whole spontaneous healings. How is that accounted for in a strictly naturalistic world, it defies current science. As others stated, it could just be the brain doing something wacky, but how the hell does that happen? Wish I knew, like always.