Celsus

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About Celsus

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  1. Celsus

    Living With A Fundamentalist Spouse

    You have two basic choice at this fork in the road. Run now, run fast, run far and start a new life, or Continue to live in misery
  2. All, I run an all volunteer Search & rescue unit. We are asking for anyone who would like to help, to donate to us and help us pay for fuel, food and other stuff so we can continue the search & recovery operations. This event was/is so large and widespread that it is hitting our meager funds hard. Here is the link to the donation form and more information. http://ushero.chipin.com Thanks, Bruce
  3. A Christian poster in another thread asked Ex-Christians what our opinions of Jesus were and/or are. This is an interesting question, but the possible answers are much more interesting. The Christian poster appears to have a fairly narrow and doctrinaire perception of Jesus, which is all too common for most believers. He presumes that there are only a small subset of answers to his question. I would posit that there are in actuality three general answers to his question, with subsets underneath each. It is important to understand that in terms of the person identified as Jesus, there are three general categories, these being: Theological Jesus Historical Jesus Ahistorical Jesus Theological Jesus The theological Jesus refers to the concepts, doctrines and beliefs that have been inputed to Jesus in relation to his divinity. The original Christian poster approaches this as there is only one theological Jesus; that being the common concept that Jesus was a deity, which is the standard belief of orthodox western Christianity. This common concept of the Roman Catholic Church and most Protestant Churches (reformed RCC) is not and has never been a universal concept of Christianity. It was developed over centuries, through conclaves and much infighting in the western Christian traditions. This belief was established as an orthodox (right belief) by the ecumenical authorities and enforced by pain of death or imprisonment for centuries. Competing beliefs were deliberately suppressed, with hundreds of thousands of people holding contrary beliefs being killed. Examples are the Cathars, Gnostics, Monists, etc. This orthodox belief of the theological Jesus goes hand in hand with other aspects of orthodox Christianity such as the belief in original sin and substitutionary atonement. This is often referred to as a legalistic interpretation. It is not universal and has never been universal. Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Marionite Christianity, Coptic Christianity and earlier forms of Christianity all had or have different theological Jesus's and doctrines. Historical Jesus Much effort has been expended by theologians and historians to try and understand who the real person of Jesus was. Unfortunately, there is no mention of Jesus in any contemporary historical record outside of the New Testament and Apocryphal Writings. Thus, all of the people involved in the search for the historical Jesus have had to try and locate the real person by stripping away the purely theological concretions around him, which are found only in early Christian writings. The reality is that if there was a historical Jesus, he is lost to myth and legend. From a logical and historical point of view however, things do not add up. The New Testament and some extra-biblical Christian writings, claim that thousands of people followed Jesus and that his fame spread all through the Levant during his lifetime and ministry. However, not one contemporary religious or secular historian (I use this term loosely as the modern concept of a historian did not exist at the time) wrote about him, his followers or made any reference to any of the stories later written about him or his movement. This lack of any corroboration leads to the third possibility concerning Jesus, that being: Ahistorical Jesus This concept is that there was not a real Jesus - that the person is a character of fiction, urban mythology which developed out of the already theological concepts. The total lack of any contemporary, extra-Christian corroboration is telling. Most modern believers are operating in their belief with a a bare minimum of understanding of the basics of the religion they profess. The language, concepts and even the meaning of names are lost on them. To give an example; Judas Iscariot is the traitor in Christian belief and most Christians never understand the deeper meaning conveyed. This is due to a number of reasons, to include not being educated, changes in human culture, the inherent problems of translation between 2 - 4 languages and the evolution of language in general. In Latin, Judas Iscariot literally means "The Jewish Assassin". This is not the name of a real person, but of a character in a novel. It would be like the assassin of Abraham Lincoln being named "John President Killer". Likewise, take the name of the person supposedly freed by Pontius Pilate, "Jesus bar Abbas". In Aramaic, this name literally means "Jesus son of the father", with Abbas meaning father. Later translations spell the name as Jesus Barabas, but this is an intentional means to try an hide the name meaning. Read with an understanding of language and name-meanings, the New Testament and other early Christian writings are clearly meant to be morality tales, not to be taken literally. Interestingly, this is how many early proto-Orthodox Christian groups saw and still understand it. Summary In my estimation, there was never a real Jesus. There are many variations of theological concepts of Jesus and several concepts of who a historical Jesus was. The characterization of "persons" in Christian mythology point unmistakably to the conclusion that the Jesus believed in by different Christians has never been a single person, but was and is a theological construct based upon doctrines developed over centuries within a particular ecclesiastical structure. In effect, there are different Jesus's believed in by different Christians and how each person believes is dependent upon their particular faith structure. The lack of any contemporary extra-Christian evidence to his existence also mitigates against him being a historical person. The characterization of Jesus and others in the Christian stories also point to them being fictional characters in a morality play, not actual flesh and blood humans. So who is or was Jesus? In my opinion, nothing more or less than any other character in a work of literature. The only difference is that a lot of people have been convinced that he was real and take the stories on faith, never investigating the reality and/or evidence to substantiate their beliefs.
  4. Celsus

    I Really Don't Believe Anymore

    You will probably find that this story is without definitive provenance. These kinds of stories are not just common with Christianity, but with other religions as well. Usually these stories are passed around, urban legend or deliberately fabricated for a purpose....the suck the gullible in. Without, independent, third party verification of each and every aspect of the claim, it would be irresponsible to extend belief in the claim.
  5. Celsus

    Who Threatens You The Most?

    I will agree only to a point. One thing that is avoided is the shared responsibility, that in my opinion was abandoned by the majority of Americans. Our republic was designed on the precept that the individual citizen is sovereign, and that collectively we rule the nation through our elected representatives. Who is ultimately to blame for the massive pork barrel spending, the wild expansion of the federal government and the fiscally irresponsible behavior of our society in general? I would posit that the citizenry of our country abandoned the principles of a democratic republic in exchange for things like safety, wealth and unrestrained behavior. Being a citizen of a republic requires the balancing out of liberty and responsibility. The ironic thing is that as responsibilities were devalued for the sake of "rights", those very rights have come under attack, because no one is powerful enough or willing enough to fight for them. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in his book called "Democracy in America", written in 1831, "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Unfortunately this bribing of the public has always been prevalent, but really took off after World War Two. Now, after 60 years of being bribed by Congress, we find that only multi-millionaires can get elected, that they are in the pockets of those who can finance them (big business) and that in name of security, our rights are being whittled away. In my opinion, we are doomed as a country, at least in the short-term. The majority of American's are apathetic; s long as the comforts and infotainment are provided, the majority of people could care less. The lessons of history do not provide a pretty picture. Like Rome before us, our republican ideals will be consumed by the greed, apathy and the people will be distracted by fiction (religion, sports, TV, etc.).
  6. Celsus

    I Really Don't Believe Anymore

    De-conversion is a process, more drawn out and/or painful for some than for others. For a person who was a long time believer, was seriously committed or involved in church, or that comes from a very religious upbringing, it is my experience that the process is more painful and drawn out. In my experience, this process pretty much follows the general process that one goes through after a serious loss in life, be it a death of someone close or a life changing event like cancer, termed the process of grieving . This is to be expected, because in a very real way, there has been a death. Consider that as believers, we were living in a make believe world, where invisible, magical beings were our friends, could intervene during difficult times and there was always some purpose behind anything that happened (God's will). Here is a link to a pretty good description of the grief process, http://www.uiowa.edu/~ucs/griefloss.html. If you notice, almost all the reactions you listed are listed here and for pretty much the same reasons. In my experience, each Ex-Christian goes through this process in relation to the de-conversion process. Unfortunately, as I found in my life, even after I had abandoned my belief in magical sky beings, religion and Christianity in particular, still dominated my life. I would hazard a guess that it is still dominating yours as well. Once you get past most of the grieving process, past the hurt, the anger, the blaming, the guilt etc., you will still need to "find yourself". This can be any number of things, from finding a new focus in your life, to new friends, developing a coherent philosophical framework for your life and various combinations of things. In short, look at it this way. You have left a fictional world view, one which offered neat, concrete answers for life's questions. Even though most of those answers were baloney, they did provide an emotional support. What I had to realize was that along with the baloney, Christianity did have some good things to offer. I came to realize that I could accept some of the good things (Golden Rule, care for the less fortunate, etc.) and leave the rest behind. What you are feeling is not unique, nor are you alone. Dave created Ex-Christian.net for this exact reason. All of us here are on the same journey that you are on. Some of us are farther along the road that you have just entered upon.
  7. Celsus

    Nenlow77 And Kuriokaze Peanut Gallery

    I would call foul on Nenlow's last post. It was not an argument or refutation, it was a sermon.
  8. Celsus

    Men Are Redundant

    As long as spiders, snakes and bugs exist....women will have a NEED for men.....not to mention taking out the trash and working on the car.
  9. The ruling boils down to one salient point. If a child is home schooled, they must meet the same educational requirements as public school students. This means they have to be taught things like actual science, not talking snake in the garden science, as an example.
  10. A Boy and a Car (PDF file)
  11. Celsus

    The Boy Scouts Of America

    I was involved in Scouting for more than 30 years. First as a Cub Scout, then Boy Scout (Eagle) and Explorers. later I was my son's Cub Master, Scout Master then Explorer Advisor. The religious oath and to a degree the issue about homosexuals, is driven by a large demographic that arose in Scouting in the 1970s. Few people know and the BSA does not highly publicize it, but fully 40% of all Scouting units and members are sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day Saints (Mormons). When membership declined badly starting in the 1960s and 70's, the BSA worked on ways to bolster membership...for a survival thing. The Mormons adopted Boy Scouting as the Official Youth Organization of their church. The stress on belief in a creator stems from the blackmail of the Mormons. The LDS leadership specifically threatened that if the BSA adopted the inclusionist policies of other like groups Other Boy Scout organizations in Canada, UK and Australia, the Girl Scouts, etc, that they would drop sponsorship of Boy Scout units. Losing almost 50% of their membership and units would be catastrophic to the organization both financially and operationally. The BSA made a proverbial compact with the devil, in agreeing to the adoption of Scouting as the Youth Org, for LDS. In terms of homosexuals, it partly stems from the same source, as well as from other conservative groups. It also stems from the highly publicized molestations of boy by leaders over the years. Note to folks: I know that being a homosexual is not the same as being a pedophile, but I am talking about the reactionary, misinformed decisions of the powers that be in BSA, Inc. Church groups, other non-profit groups also get discounts on rentals, etc. Public places can be used by community groups. Being able to meet at XYZ School does not constitute public funding. You can argue it philosophically, but that is not the point. The legal definition of public support is the point. Whether a person agrees with it or not, the US Supreme Court has ruled, several times that such use of facilities and/or equipment does not constitute public (tax payer) support and trigger constitutional issues. I have found, that most local units do not stress or care about an individual's (boys or leaders) religious beliefs and do not make it an issue. Only if a person flagrantly refuses to say the oath, does it get the paid staff involved. Some units are sponsored by churches, which do make it an issue, some more so than others (LDS or Fundamentalist sponsors). That being said, the official definition given in the scout literature is belief in a "higher power", it does not have to be any specific god(s) or religious doctrine. Hence, there are Buddhist units and awards, even though technically Buddhism is a denial of the existence of gods as illusions of the mind.
  12. Celsus

    Talpiot Tomb Update

    I think there are a number of reasons why Christians would want to suppress this. The first is obviously that it completely undermines the orthodox fairy tale that has been spun these last 2,000 years. A huge amount of people are financially dependent upon the propagation of the myth, from evangelists, to preachers to large universities. Perhaps as important, is that millions of Christians have a personal psychological investment in the claims of orthodoxy. I know when I left Christianity, it resulted in feelings of betrayal, of wasted efforts and emotional reorientation. Likewise, the discovery of the tomb of Jesus would also undermine Islamic claims, wherein they claim he was physically taken to heaven and will return, like Ezekiel. Jewish people obviously fear the potential Christian backlash. All three faiths, as represented by various businesses, make and have always made a huge profit from feeding the appetites of faithful by selling relics, tours, etc.
  13. Celsus

    Talpiot Tomb Update

    Since then, a rather startling event has occurred on this subject. The Princeton conference on the Talpiot tomb has just concluded in Jerusalem, with some surprising revelations: -- The widow of the original excavator, Dr. Gat, gave a speech accepting a posthumous award honoring her husband. And she revealed, to everyone's shock, that her husband (who'd been silent on the matter) had always believed it was the tomb of Jesus -- but that he was terrified of speaking out because he expected anti-semitic attacks. -- the statistician whose calculations supported the contention it was indeed the tomb of Jesus's family, Dr. Audrey Feuerverger (sp?), has had his paper peer-reviewed and accepted by "Annals of Applied Statistics," to be published February. -- a source within the Israeli Antiquities authority claims that when the tomb was first opened, there was an agreement to suppress the results for fear of an anti-Jewish backlash from the Vatican. Time Magazine, the Jerusalem Post, and other publications have more below at links. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=120107078858... http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release.do?id=811301 http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/945672.html http://www.jpost.com/ it is appalling the way both Christians and Israelis have completely closed their minds to what this tomb might mean. They are all terrified. You'd think that mere curiosity would have them all anxious to investigate further.
  14. Celsus

    Life After People

    Kevin, I kind of had a similar experience once. The USAF Base I was stationed at closed in 1992. In 1998, I went back to the area to interview for a civilian job at the museum, which was an USAF museum, but had turned into a state museum. Whilst I was there, I took a drive and a walk through base housing. No one had lived there at all since the base closure. When I left, it was only about 25% occupied, but base civil engineering was still mowing the grass and doing other maintenance things. When I drove up to the house I had lived in, the entire street was knee high in weeds, everything was deathly quiet. It was like everyone just died and I was the last man on Earth. It was really weird because I remembered it as a thriving community with friends around, kids (including mine playing), etc. I then drove over to where the BX, Commissary, Credit Union, movie theater, etc was all located. It was just the same, except all the windows were boarded up. All in all, it was a spooky feeling. The only life was in the greatly reduced aircraft area where the reserve unit hangered their aircraft and the museum.
  15. Celsus

    Life After People

    I just watched this special on the History Channel. While the special effects were pretty decent, what struck me was how tenuous and temporary almost all of what we as humans have created. Almost none of the things that record our history in modern times would even survive 200 years, due to a lack of human maintenance. It really struck that disaster movie chord with me, but also touched a nerve about a lot of things in my mind. On a realistic note, there are so many humans on the planet, that outside of the planet itself being destroyed, I don't think we as a species would wiped completely out. Somewhere, a small group or groups of humans would survive. I don't really have a point to make in this, it just struck an emotional point with me and got me thinking. Did anyone else see this?