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Celsus

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About Celsus

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
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  1. J.G., Like you I was boarn and raised in Texas as a Southern Baptist. I finally left the faith at around 30 years of age. The first few years, the occasional grip of fear would return. There were two things that had been so drilled into me that I feared. (1) I feared going to hell and being tortured for eternity and (2) I feared never seeing my loved ones again. These lingering fears is what first drew me to the old Ex-Christian.net, as I was searching for other people who felt as I did. Christianity is a powerful memetic programming that uses this combination of positive and negative reinforcements and expecially if you were raised in it, it is hard to break. As you quite aptly said, logically we know the whole thing is preposterous. In my experience, that was the key to slowly getting past it. When that fear strikes you, you have to confront it head on with hard, cold logic. Let me offer two thoughts. On death: "When I am, death is not. When death is, I am not. Why should I fear that which can not exist when I do?"....Epicurus On life: "No one is ever truly dead. As long as humans shall survive, the ripples a person made in the stream of life will continue down through family, friends and people they touched."....Me Bruce
  2. I am against Christianity and all religions or superstitions. The reality is that in the USA, Christianity's claims are given a pass on being true by the overwhelming majority of people. This results in public policy being hamstrung by beliefs which are inherently absurd and/or unsubstantiated. An example is a former Secretary of the Interior who opposed evnironmental regulations because "It doesn't matter, Jesus is coming soon and will make a new Earth". Other examples are the almost halt to stem cell research and reproductive health issues. Not to be forgotten, raising an entire generation of people who cannot distinguish proven science from mumb-jumbo. In short, I oppose Christianity because I value truth and reality over superstition and lies. It is only by being factual that we as individuals and society can make rational decisions that impact our very survival. Bruce
  3. Scott, Were the Christians who slaughtered Blasphemous Jews throughout history "True Christians"? If not, why not? Scott, I have nothing I value less or more than a fictional, middle-eastern demi-god. Perhaps you missed the point that we are Ex-Christians. Even supposing there was an actual man that Jesus was based upon, the reality of the theological demi-god Jesus has not been proven.
  4. According to the "Scriptures" the Earth is also supported by pilllars, windows exist in the firmament of the sky from which water pours down, a man can live in the stomach of a fish for three days, snakes and donkeys can speak human languages, etc. et al. Afraid your argument only works if a person believes in the validity of your little book of fairy tales. As a counter claim, there are no "True Christians" at all; just a lot of people who tend to prefer fantasy over addressing reality. There are Ex-Christians, Never-been-Christians and Fantasy Prone Christians, but no such thing as "True Christians".
  5. The world is filled with injustices and things that could be done better. Two hands working does more than 1,000 hands praying and believing that a magical being will make it all right.
  6. Dario, One cannot prove or disprove the existence of something outside of nature in general. However, one can prove or disprove a specific claim. I confidently proclaim that the Abrahamic diety (Yahweh/Jesus/Allah) cannot exist and is an imaginary creature. An axiomatic truth is that nothing which has self-contradictory attributes can exist. Hence, there are no such things as spherical cubes. In like manner, the Abrahamic deity is attributed as being: (1)Omniscient (2)Omnipotent (3)Omnipresnt and (4)Omnibenevolent. I will focus on the first two. If the Abrahamic deity is omniscient (which the Tanakah/New Test./Qu'ran all state) , then he cannot also be omnipotent. If god know everything, past, present and future perfectly, then he cannot also be all powerful, for this encompassing knowledge constrain his oen power. The Bible, for instance states in several places that he changed his mind, thus demonstrating that he could not be omniscient. Thus the very attributes that define the Abrahamic deity are evidence that at an axiomatic level, he is an imaginary being and thus the Abrahamic religions are built upon imagination/fantasy. Bruce
  7. Mythra, I would posit that Josephus' failure to discuss Jesus/Yeshua is a stinging indictment from silence as to Christian claims. It is clear that historically what we would term as proto-Christians existed when Josephus did, during the latter first century of the common era. However, even by the time of Josephus, the majority of proto-Christians did not live in Judea, but lived in many diverse communities, just like the Jews did. It is also pertninent to address the failure of Philo of Alexandria and other historians who were living in the Judean area of the early to mid first century to also mention jesus/Yeshua or Christianity. At this stage, history shows that proto-Christianity was not a singular belief system, but had various teachings, which were all apocalyptic. In brief these were: 1. Jewish Christianity (Essenes/Ebionites) - which was made up of Jewish believer and converts had to also follow Jewish law. The surviving documents by and about them show that they did not consider Jesus/Yeshua to be divine, but an annointed person, like other Jewish mosiachs. These tended to teach an immanent end of the world system and the advent of the Kingdom of God. 2. Gnostic Christians - These typically believed that Yahweh was not the high God of the universe, but was a deluded and flawed being who created a flawed material universe where beings with the divine spark of the true high God of the universe in them were trapped (humans). They taught that knowledge was found inside and that the material universe was all evil or flawed and that only by denying the physical can a person obtain gnosis (knowledge). Jesus/Yeshua was thought of as a very good man, in whom the Christ spirit had taken up residence (as signified by the dove descending when he was baptised) and brought this gnosis (knowledge) to those who sought it. 3. Proto-Orthodox Christians - these were the Christian who eventually emerged as the main Christian churches and seem to have harmonized the various beliefs. It is interesting to note that none of the early Christian documents discuss in any detail the supposed historical aspects of the life of Jesus/Yeshua. The earliest Christian writings, generally thought to be the authentic Pauline writings and some of the Apocrypha do not discuss the historical life of Jesus/Yeshua. Rather he is talked about as one who lived at some point in the past and what he taught is never detailed. it is only when proto-orthodox Christianity is competing with other mystery religions and other versions of proto-Christianity, that the historical stories are developed. These gospels attempted to place Jesus/Yeshua in a specific place and time, becuase this would seem to establish that Christianity was not just a mystery revelation, but based upon a real person. None of the gospels, either the connonical or the apocryphal ones, were written by Jewish/Palestinian believers, but were written by Greek speaking believers up to a century after the supposed life of Jesus. It is theorized that these all were based upon oral traditions and a probable early common document(s). While there may have been a person that the Jesus Christ of Christianity is based upon, it is clear that he was not an important figure when he lived and that the stories about him and his deeds are later ancient urban legends. In summation, the silence of history is damning to the claims of Christianity, regardless of the various sectional versions of it. Jesus appears in history as a mythological being like Hercules, because that is exactly what he is. Bruce
  8. http://www.geocities.com/alma-geddon/index.html
  9. Luck, what is it with you? Is everything bad caused by white supremacy, anti-semitism, etc. Read carefully what you wrote above. How is your statement any different than the prejudicial statements or beliefs that you claim to be disgusted by? As MLK said, he had a dream where people were judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. I firmly believe in what he said and I hope it will someday be the norm for all differences of people. I just am perplexed at why you seem to exhibit the same types of prejudicial attitudes. Bruce
  10. I am reading Wilber's "Quantum Questions" right now. In this he debunks the new age, Tao of Physics type of extrapolation from physics to mysticism. At the same time, he presents an anthology of the writings of the giants of physics, who specify why they disagreed with the attempts of religious people to use quantum mechanics to prove spirituality, but at the same time were all mystics themselves. Bascially, what I am getting from the book is this; we do not truly understand the universe (not the material universe, but the underlying reality) and all science or other methods of interrogation provide is a close analogy, the "shadows in Plato's cave". None of these physicist believed in a personal deity (Yahweh, Allah, etc), but all did posit that there is no way to account for the regularity of reality in a purely materialistic manner. Bruce
  11. As of February 2005, I am 40 years of age and have been out of the Christian cult for about 10 years. I was born in 1964 into a very Christian family in Texas. Paternally, my family was staunch Southern Baptists and my Great-Grandfather was the oldest living SBC Home Missionary from the time I was born until he died at 98 in 1985. Maternally, my family is staunch Church of Christ, and my first cousin is currently a major CoC preacher. Like most children born into a seriously Christian family, I began attending church immediately, although in the nursery. For the rest of my childhood, we attended Southern Baptist churches and I committed myself to Jesus and was baptized in 1976, at the age of twelve. Like most kids, I believed in the religion and I had a major admiration for the heroes of the Old Testament. I belonged to the youth groups, was a Boy Scout in Baptist sponsored troop, and attended the obligatory revivals and camps. When I was in my senior year of high school, I met a young lady who I became very interested in and began dating exclusively. Like me, she had been raised as a Southern Baptist and was a member of the Bible Verse Team and the Hand Bell Choir. I began attending church with her and things were just peachy. Flash forward two years and I am standing at the altar and we are getting married. I had just finished my freshman year of college at a Methodist University and she had just finished high school. Things went along pretty normally, I continued in college and she worked and we attended church and were a "good Christian couple". In 1986, the oil market collapsed and Texas about dried up and blew away. Jobs were scarce, with lots of layoffs and business failures. I could no longer afford to pay for college and we had to move back to our home town. I enlisted in the US Air Force and had to wait 8 months on delayed enlistment. Finally, I went in the USAF and completed all the training. We were posted in Indiana and my wife, dog and myself moved up there. After we got settled in, we found a Southern Baptist Church and joined it. It was a bit different from what we were used to, as the church we belonged to in Texas had around 5,000 members and in the little community where we now lived in Indiana, the church was very small and rural. The new church had a distinct fundamentalist bent and was less than progressive, in that it was a KJV 1611 only, "hell fire and brimstone" type of church. Around this time, the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention happened and the "liberty of conscience" aspect of the Baptist philosophy was drowned in the fundamentalist insistence to adhere to specific doctrinal interpretations that were controversial. Examples of these are: female submission, anti(everything worldly), emphasis on women staying at home, etc. We soon left and began attending the military chapel on base, which was a non-denominational protestant service and continued for the length of my assignment. During this time, I attended college part-time to finish my degree from a Baptist University on base and earned my bachelors in 1992, with the delay being caused by my deployment to fight in the First Gulf War. My degree was a major in Information Tech and a minor in ministry. We also brought into the world, our two children at this time. In 1991, our base was closed and we transferred back to Texas. The new base was much larger than our previous base and we also purchased a home in the city. Because of the turmoil in the Southern Baptist Convention and our joint disagreements with some of their new tenets, we decided to not join a Baptist Church. We visited many churches and finally joined a Presbyterian Church that was in general very much service oriented and not "hell and brimstone". I can truthfully say I really like this church and the people, and except for the religion part, I would still associate with them. During this time, I engaged in my Masters degree at a local Baptist University, which had an on-base campus. My degree major was in Christian Counseling with a minor in IT. (I changed it to an MBA in Information Management Systems). As a rational person, I had always had questions with the unanswered questions, the mysteries, of the Bible. Like most believers, I had read the various apologetic books, attended the seminars and revivals and engaged in cognitive dissonance. However, when taking graduate apologetics (a mandatory part of a ministry program degree), I found out things that would put me in a dilemma and force me to make serious choices that would effect my plans, life and my families life. Here is the meat of the matter on why I am an ExChristian. In apologetics, the purpose is to train a minister to be able to defend the faith and to reinforce the faith of believers. In order to do so, a student is exposed to the various arguments used against Christianity, and this includes the very ancient ones from the 2nd century. I learned that many of the arguments used by modern skeptics and enemies of Christianity were not new, but had been formulated and delivered by ancient skeptics and philosophers who were first hand observers of the things that they were criticizing. The church, in various councils and Imperial Edicts, tried to refute these arguments and then tried to destroy any evidence of their existence. Moreover, it is and has been known to Christian Theologians from the beginning, that many of the early church fathers deliberately redacted things into scriptures, secular documents and even forged documents. Moreover, it is known to Christian Theologians that many contrary views of the Christian message were termed heretical and the scripture used and the people believing them were hunted down and destroyed. The surviving documents were only unearthed in the 20th century (Nag Hammidi and Dead Sea Scrolls) and conclusively showed that the beliefs that constitute Orthodox Christianity only gained dominance due to Imperial power supporting a small minority view, and in fact, most of the Orthodox doctrines evolved and were voted on in councils. Furthermore, as the official religion of the Roman Empire, only those texts and doctrines that supported the Imperial polity were accepted, all others were suppressed. What was I to do, as both a believer and a basically honest person? What I found out was that the faith I had believed in for 29 years was based upon fraud and no basis in reality. Like Jefferson, one of my personal heroes, I began to discard that parts of the Bible and doctrines that I felt were mythical or absurd and tried to find and cling to the hidden truth that Jesus seemed to teach. I will be honest, the threat of hell had an enormous influence on me and kept me from being able to toss it all away, but that was why the concept of hell was invented anyway. I continued to attend our Presbyterian church and was the leader of the Cub Scout Pack, (son was a Cub), but I resigned as an Associate Youth Minister. We remained members of the church until I was discharged from the USAF and we moved. (As an aside, I remained a member because this church actually did good things, such as helping poor people, assisting the sick and dying and did not force Christianity on others). In 1996, we moved to Austin, TX (where we still reside) and I had a "come to myself epiphany". I just could no longer attend and play like I was a believer. I refused to attend a church or join one. I finally admitted that I no longer believed in Christianity and walked away. At time, the fear of hell would overwhelm me, my mother would cry and preach to me, and I still doubted. My wife's and my extended families are still serious Christians and at times I had to and still have to play the part. I told my family that I no longer believed and was not a Christian. My wife asked me to not reveal my lack of beliefs to hers, and I agreed. However, in the last couple of years they figured it out when trying to get my kids to believe and my son argued with them and refuted their claims like Thomas Paine. My children have been raised to be skeptical and to think for themselves. When I walked away from my life plans and the faith that had been core to my life, I felt very lost. As most ExChristians know, there are very few resources or support groups for former Christians. We are treated like lepers in our predominantly Christian society. Christianity is still a major player in my life, but as something to be countered. It is my personal belief that evangelical Christianity is a bane upon civilization, particularly the fundamentalist strains. I believe that the "Religious Right" is seeking to destroy the very freedoms that have made America what it is. I will fight with words, with reason and if I have to, sacrifice my life to prevent their totalitarian tyranny from being implemented. I will close with my favorite quote from Thomas Jefferson, "Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear". //Bruce// If I wanted to play follow the leader, I would be a Christian....
  12. Open theism is not restricted to various segments of Christianity. As a deist, I also hold to a sort of open theism, in that no one can know the future absolutely, not even a deity. Now to address your questions about Satan: The analysis of the evolution of Judaism and Christianity prove to my satisfaction that this is nothing more than an artificially created boogeyman, a means to scare people into conforming. The issue that I have with the Bible and Christianity in particular is that claims are made about God, about God's actions and about other things that are clearly contradictory, mutually eclusive, absurd and are disproven by the sciences (hard and soft versions). So to anwer your question, open theism in a Christian context solves none of the propblems of Christian theology and in fact, I would poist they engender more. Bruce
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