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Everything posted by JadedAtheist

  1. Like yourself, I wouldn't be comfortable placing all the blame on his PTSD. I had a friend who I feel got too much of a free pass because of his childhood for the things he done to his wife. I had a similar background to him, and I never so much as raised my voice to either of my exes. It goes without saying that a mentally healthy person doesn't do these kinds of things, but surely at some point we have to assign ownership to our actions and accept their consequences. Some people are terrible, and we don't always get to see them for what they are. Him killing his wife was all about control. If he couldn't have her, no one could. His final actions spoke volumes about his controlling behavior. No doubt there was more in the background. I'm sorry you had to deal with this, I know what it's like to have an incredibly dark side of a friend come out and splash itself all over the news. Thankfully for his wife she managed to escape, but she could've been your friend's wife. Once again, my condolences.
  2. At first I thought he didn't believe any of it and was just 100% a charlatan, I've come to realize it's more 50/50 after seeing him on Joe Rogan. He is crazy, but he does ham it up a bit.
  3. I think an argument could be made that it shouldn't. There's a big divide between male and female athletes, but that doesn't prevent women from competing in sports. You could argue that there's a difference between indirect and direct competition (with which I'd agree) but it's dependent I suppose on how "other" MTF are perceived. If people look at them as just another woman, perhaps it wouldn't be so much of an issue. Like I said, I'm not really into sports so I have no dog in this fight but I think doing what is "fair" here will at some point be seen more to be discrimination than anything else and will eventually become a reality for future female athletes to deal with.
  4. The problem is that when it comes to sports, women aren't even in the same ball park when it comes to performance. If you compare top male high school runner's with female world champions, the male high schoolers either beat, or closely match them. Serena and Venus Williams couldn't beat a rank 200 tennis player in the men's division, even despite the fact he drunk a few glasses of alcohol prior to their match. Any sort of handicap system you'd want to impose would need to be drastic enough to the point you might as well get them competing separately. The mitigating factor here is that the hormone therapy they undertake would limit a lot of the benefits they bring, but does not do so entirely, as shown by the fact some transgender athletes (like weight lifters) are still way ahead of the curve. The "issue" then becomes whether or not this is in fact even an issue. By that I mean, should we as a society see a difference between those who are born as woman vs those who transition to being a woman? In other words, should we consider the differences between these two kinds of women the same as the kinds of differences we may think of when we compare marathon runners from Kenya vs say Germany? Yes, a lot of marathon runners are from Kenya, and the African continent, but if that isn't a problem, why should it be for those who transition and go on to dominate women's sports?
  5. For me I think it's a pretty shitty situation to be in. There's currently not a way (that I am aware of) that'll help them be comfortable with their bodies (as in, removing their dysphoria) nor are the surgeries or hormone treatments used by them make them indistinguishable from "real" men/women (yes, some of them can "pass" but this isn't the norm) which causes them much grief as well. I feel bad for them and the situation they're in. I don't have much of an opinion when it comes to bathroom use. I don't think there's necessarily a need for gender based bathrooms anyway. When it comes to sports, MTF based athletes are shown to have an advantage. If they're allowed to compete as women, all top positions will no doubt be dominated by transgendered people. Whether this is really a problem, that's up to people who care more about sports than I do. With regards to military service, whoever meets all the criteria the military requires should be able to join so I don't see the need for discrimination there. Lastly, the issue of dating comes up. While I consider myself fairly liberal, I would not date some who is transgendered.
  6. This seems really interesting. Hope you share it with us here
  7. The fear of hell isn't something one can drive out of them by purely reasoning over it. That's not to say it doesn't help, but it's one of those things you have to take time to process. From what you've said, Zehn it seems to me that you have 2 things which you're giving credibility to hell. The first is that you've had, and have read of others who have had supernatural experiences and the second is that you view the Bible as having some historical credibility. Before I deal with these 2 points I'll say the following: If Christianity were real, you're already fucked. If salvation is dependant on faith, do you really think what you have now is faith? That God considers you only sticking around because of the fear of potential damnation in hell as the faith required of salvation? You're already damned in this system. I don't mean to come on heavy, I'm just pointing out how emotional aspect is keeping you from recognising the rational one. Onto the first point. People see all sorts of things. Depending on the region you're from, people have religious experiences based upon the dominant religion of the society they're in. Isn't that coincidental? Look up how near death experiences are dependant on the context of the individual. While the specifics differ in detail, the overarching themes are all the same. At best you could argue that some deity is manifesting itself in imagery best understood by the person receiving the message they want to give, but all that does is discredit all religions rather than confirming any of them as being the one true faith. Furthermore, people see all sorts of things, as mentioned earlier UFOs are now a thing with people saying they were experimented on and all that nonsense. As a Christian you might be tempted to say your religious experiences were valid, and those of other religions are invalid/satanic, but we both know this is a lame excuse. Whatever the answer is, it isn't "this proves Christianity". Secondly, just because the Bible deals with some historical figures and takes place in historical regions doesn't automatically make it a historical document. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is not a historical documentary for example. This is a big one to tackle, but there is so much evidence against the Bible being accurate. Read about higher criticism of the Bible, contemporary religions of the period and history outside of the Bible and you will see that it's just a bunch of garbage.
  8. I'm not an American, so I can't really speak for perceptions there but here in Australia I think it's somewhat similar. I'm not a sociologist (or a psychologist for that matter), but I think the negativity stems from the fact that crying is perceived as a weakness of character. For example, if you have a rough time at work and it upsets you enough to cry over it then you're seen as weak as your threshold for that response is seen as being too low. The threshold for crying is basically anything around death, serious illness or your life crashing down around you. Below that, and you're considered weak because you're not "strong enough" to process your difficulties "normally". If you're a woman, you don't have the same expectations of character. You're expected to be weaker, less resilient. Still, there's a limit and you go too far you're seen as hysterical. For women I think they are not perceived in terms of "strong" and "weak" but rather "cold" and "crazy". They need to do more balancing then men do I think. Men just need to go in one direction. As for how long it's been like this? I think this is just an extension of people judging others based on general norms. Whenever you don't toe the line, no matter how inconsequential there's going to be people out there judging you for it. I would be very surprised if men crying was ever considered acceptable except for times of great distress. As for my thoughts on crying? I try not to judge people for it, but I'll admit I get pretty uncomfortable when people cry. My mother suffered depression and schizophrenia for most of my childhood. Whenever she got bad enough to start crying (and she'd be crying constantly once she started) I knew my trip back to a foster home was imminent. So, if I see someone crying it fucks me up a bit, but that's more to do with me and my issues than it being them. Anyways, I think the problem here is that mental illness is an invisible issue, and like "invisible disabilities" people get unfairly treated and judged because people can't see the pain. It sucks, but people gonna people.
  9. For me it always seemed weird how the Bible was put together. God nowhere ever outlined how he put the Bible together and why. He didn't list the books and their purposes, and he allowed for a lot of contextual information to be lost to the ages. More bizarrely, he decided that he was going to start getting people to write letters to each other and use these letters to teach his values. Once again, he did not specify which letters were cannon. The apostles never stated which letters were inspired and it was left to the church to hopefully figure out how to separate the wheat from the tares. The points you brought up as well are ones that crossed my mind. For example, the death of Jesus on the cross and this being symbolic of the Jewish custom of sacrificing animals at the temple. Why was this symbolism needed? Wouldn't God know this symbolism would be lost on the vast majority of believers considering that the vast majority have been and will continue to be gentiles? Then you have to contrast this with the fact that the current evangelical and fundamentalist understanding of salvation differed from the early church. They believed in the ransom theory of atonement vs the substitutionary atonement most hold today. The above symbolism makes less sense when you consider the fact that Jesus died for completely different reasons than the original temple sacrifices (supposedly).
  10. I recently hit my 30s and I've realised over the last couple years a couple things have happened. Firstly, as I keep getting older the X that marks the left simply keeps moving to the left of me and secondly, not only was the X moving to the left as I stood stationary, I myself am now moving to the right of my own accord. I'm not even that old, and I feel in general I am losing touch with what's current. It continues to be a weird transition for me; to move from the "happening crowd" to the lepers on the outskirts of society. Right now I am at an interesting crossroads politically speaking. Political ideology is inherently selfish. When you're young, you tend to have nothing and policies that you give something for nothing sound very enticing. Yet, when you get older you now have something and those same policies you once liked now mean you get nothing, but something is now taken away from you. As an aside from that, I feel like as you get older your horizons tend to broaden. I know with myself personally that I once tarred all conservatives with the same brush. In essence, they're selfish, heartless and racist idiots. Now that I've spent some time getting familiar with conservative talking points "straight from the horse's mouth" so to speak, this characterisation no longer seems fair. But (and this is a big but), I don't think those claims are completely baseless either. We all prefer to see the world as black and white, and as I get older I realise that this is just as true of me as it is others. It's easy to switch camps, it's harder to sit somewhere in the middle disagreeing with both about some points, and agreeing still on others. This is where I am currently sitting. I guess if I were to summarise my current transition, it is to say that I've moved from a big "S" socialist to a small "s" socialist. Not earth shattering I know, but I am beginning to realise that not every government solution helps the people and that a paternal hand upon society can quickly turn into a yolk. For me I care most for looking after people and care for the economy insofar as it supports the goal of looking after people. Because of this I don't ever see myself becoming a libertarian or otherwise conservative due to this inherent focus of mine, but let's see where this goes. In closing, this quote was something I came across during an interview the other day and I find it rather apt for how I feel about where I am at currently: Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has no heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.
  11. The Christianity related bitterness took me a couple years. At first I didn't realise I had any, and then when I did it took a little while to process. I'd say maybe 2-3 years overall. I had a very hard time growing up, and I missed out on a lot of opportunities so I can certainly appreciate the general bitterness you feel towards life. This is still something I am working through but I am in a much better place now in my 30s than I was in my early to mid twenties. I feel some of this is simply the time you're given to process it, but it's also the opportunities that come to you in life. For example, I met someone very special to me, and having someone else love me helped me love me. I also started working towards things I always wanted (a better career, a college degree, losing weight) and making strides towards those goals helped me too. Lastly, I started focusing less on others and more on myself. Nothing kills joy in your life more than entering a dick measuring contest. There will always be people who are more social, more attractive, who have better jobs and interesting lives (and so on and so forth). For every 1 thing that you can find that you're good at, there will be 10 others where you'll lag behind. Focus on where you were 5 years ago and how far you've come now. It'll help with the negativity.
  12. What I am referring to specifically are these verses written by Paul in Galatians 1 discussing his conversion not what was said and done in Acts: 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother. He also mentions the twelve in 1st Corinthians 15. Price argues that these are interpolations and/or not to be taken literally. There's also passages where he's pissed at some of the apostles because they normally eat with the gentiles, but when James rocks up they quickly segregate themselves.
  13. One thing to keep in mind with the theory of Paul not being a historical figure is that people like Price are somewhat backed into a corner over it. Once you reject a historical Jesus, it makes it very hard to reconcile that with what's written in the Pauline epistles. For example, Paul talks about meeting with other apostles (such as Peter), and the brothers of Jesus. You then have to then take a more allegorical interpretation of these topics and you have to try and take as you can of Paul out of concrete history. That said, I think it's important to read works by people like Price because reading such a different opinion really opens up the debate and helps you look at the biblical texts in ways you wouldn't have ever seen them before.
  14. I've got a copy of it, I'll be reading it at some point in the next few weeks. I've listened to his podcast though so I've got an idea of what he'd probably say and I don't think he's right. Some of the arguments he makes (such as interpolations of interpolations) are really really stretching it. Still, I'll read the book and see what he has to say in detail.
  15. Thanks, I still have a bit more to go. I will update the post later tonight to finish the summary (It was getting late last night so I decided to save where I was at and continue from there). If you look here this time tomorrow there'll probably be a few more paragraphs (if that is of interest to you). I'm a fan of Price. I've spent a lot of time listening to his podcast the Bible Geek, and I've listened to a few of his debates and the biggest takeaway that I have of his is that he is like a fountain of knowledge. He's read extensively and it shows. With regards to what you said. I think that if you're completely unfamiliar with the subject matter he covers, then yes it's going to be an incredibly hard read (I'll update my summary to discuss this as well). I first read his book just after leaving Christianity, and having been to bible college so I was able to dive in easily. The only thing that makes him hard to read for me personally is that he likes to use his extensive vocabulary. I don't often have to look up words while reading a book, and I looked up probably 20 or so in the course of reading his. For me (and I'll expand on this in the post), the biggest criticism of him I have is that it often comes across that he's made up his mind, and is now trying to find facts to support his conclusion. Sometimes it's massive stretch the connection he tries to make, and other times he will say that a passage is the result of multiple very different processes which is hard to agree to. His biggest sin however is several times in the book he'll say that author X doesn't say Y, and then argues that the times they actually do say Y are interpolations or what have you. His bias is very evident. So while I don't agree with everything he says, he at the very least makes it hard to accept that there's a historical Jesus to be found in the gospels. He compelling argues that what we see of Jesus is the agenda of the various authors seeking authority through Jesus' name, as opposed to actual fragments of things he said and done.
  16. Many years ago now I purchased this book, you can get it on Amazon here. At the time of purchase, I read about a third of it, found it fascinating and didn't touch it again. This of course changed in the last week or two as I made it my mission to go through old books of mine (and books I've always wanted to read) and begin working through them. The first of these was Price's book and it's not exactly a light read, my Kindle estimated about 15 hours reading time, and it wasn't too far off that. So, what exactly is this book about? Quite simply, Price's mission here is to go through the NT (primarily the gospels, though he touches on some epistles to make certain points) and show that after separating the wheat from the tares you come to find yourself with no wheat, and nothing but tares. That is to say, once you're done stripping away myth you are left with no facts to pin to a historical Jesus. Price's methods (which he outlines at the start of the book) are the following: Consistency with Known History - Do the biblical accounts match the historical record? If not, then we obviously chuck them out. Price's initial examples of this are the census of Quirinius and the synagogues and existence of Galilee at the time of Jesus. Criterion of Dissimilarity - This is one of his more contentious methods, essentially if what Jesus said was dissimilar to what everyone else was saying at the time, it's potentially authentic, otherwise it's not. Pro tip: According to Price, nothing is dissimilar. Principle of Analogy - Essentially saying that if it's supernatural, it obviously didn't occur. Price explains that if we can find some contemporary examples of events that are recorded in the NT, then we can reasonably think there's potential for them to have really occurred, otherwise we can't. Principle of Biographical Analogy - If it walks, talks and acts like a duck; then it's a duck. If the gospels of Jesus look like other mythological tales, are told like them and include plot and story elements like them then why should we not consider the gospels mythological like they are? Price of course explains this points more rigorously and more seriously than I have here, but this gives you an idea of the tools he uses to dissect the NT. That said, what are Price's findings as he goes through the various elements of the gospel narrative? He covers so much ground that I don't know if I could do him justice in summarising with the few words I could be bothered writing on this topic. That said, let give you some snippets of the points and arguments he's made: Parallels between gospel stories and those outside the NT - Price spends a lot of time showing how various stories in the gospels are either similar or identical to other stories found elsewhere. These could be stories told in Jewish lore such as the OT, the Talmud or various midrash. They could also be in Greek/Roman mythology, or even in Buddhist/Hindu mythology. Some of these are very compelling, others I feel are a stretch. I feel like at times Price is looking to find something to match up to the gospel text, rather than it coming to him. Some compelling, or at least interesting examples are those tales told of Apollonius of Tyana as well as multiple midrash concerning various Rabbi and their saying and/or miracles. Hints of revisionism of various narratives - That is to say Price makes the argument in many places the narratives told were an attempt to correct previous authors or otherwise fix up embarrassing tales. Some of the compelling arguments I found were the deification of Jesus and how authors Luke and Matthew (and occasion John when covering the same material) toned down the human Jesus in Mark. For example, massaging Jesus' reply of "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God" into something else. Then there's the move of making John the Baptist subservient to Jesus. At first it was understood he was probably much older than Jesus, and weren't familiar with each other to him being Jesus cousin barely older than him who jumped in the womb upon Jesus' conception. Hints of later church disputes being retrofitted into Jesus' words - Price argues that certain actions or conversations Jesus has are actually issues the Christian authors at the time were facing and were looking to get final word by getting authority through Jesus. Price gives examples of what he believes are allegories to these disputes, as well as conversations that couldn't plausibly have happened amongst Jews. An example off the top of my head is from the Gospel of Thomas where the topic of circumcision comes up - an obvious anachronism. There is so much really, and I feel like in order to do it justice my summary would have to be 2 or 3 times longer than what I've written so far but I couldn't be bothered going back over the book to give some more thorough details so I will leave the snippets at that. What I will say now are my conclusions based on what he has written. Price is writing to those in the know. Unless church history and biblical criticism are of particular interest to you, you will feel like you've jumped into an ocean not being able to swim. As a Christian these topics were of immense interest to me and I felt right at home. In some ways it was a bit of a relief as I felt like he wasn't wasting time explaining himself which can be frustrating reading material written to the layman when you yourself tend to be already knowledgeable. That said, he likes to display his extensive vocabulary and I found myself looking up a lot of words which I don't generally have to do when reading books. That was probably the only "annoying" part in terms of communication and writing style. As for the arguments that Price makes, I feel like he is just blasting out theories and seeing what sticks. If it doesn't stick, he tries seeing if duct taping it on will give it a bit of a hand. This will put some people off and might make them view everything else he says with suspicion, but I believe with what he's wrote he is probably on the mark a good chunk of the time. I wouldn't even necessarily say the majority of the time but it's significant to the point that if you can forgive his stretches, it would be hard for you to continue to believe there was a real historical Jesus underneath the gospel tales.
  17. I'm not really in this sphere, but from your first paragraph it sounds close to what I've heard pansexuality being explained as. Maybe something to look into to see if that apples to you? As for the rest of your blog. I can't imagine how hard it is to grapple with this. At least it seems like you've put a "name to the face" which I guess for you is not an insignificant part of the battle. I'm not sure if you ever meet Babylonian Dream, but he was someone else who came to the position of realization that he had gender dysphoria. If he was still around, would have been good for you two to have a chat. It sounds like aside from the dysphoria, you two also had similar upbringings. That said, I hope that the "what" aspect of you starts being less opaque to you now that you've come to this point.
  18. Missed replying to this earlier, other's have given a good synopsis of the gnostics. I just wanted to point out that you might have heard a little about them previously (depending on the type of church you went to I suppose) as certain epistles are thought to have been trying to combat a "proto-gnosticism" (off the top of my head I believe they were Colossians and perhaps Ephesians - been too long now). Whenever you see passages emphasize Christ's physicality (like when Jesus says "touch my sides"), this is the writer trying to discredit this type of Christology.
  19. To touch on the main part of the question first, that is "why has Christianity managed to spread if it isn't true?" I'd simply point to other religions. Why are there billions of Muslims in the world, and hundreds of millions of Hindus and hundreds of millions of Buddhists? Your family would acknowledge that these religions are "false" and really any explanation for their spread is just as able to be applied to Christianity as it is to them. There's also some false assumptions here. Christ wasn't widely talked about. Tacitus and Pliny the Younger mention him to the extant that that's who Christians believe in, and Josephus' mention is likely a later Christian interpolation. A couple of mentions about some dude literally dying and then being raised from the dead seems highly suspicious, no? We also have to keep in mind that this was also a time where historical figures were later mythologised (such as Alexander the Great, among many others). Roman emperors were even deified. As time passes on stories have a tendency of becoming grander. If Alexander the Great can go from being a mortal to the son of a god, then why can't Jesus? Ultimately, the more I read about ancient history (especially primary sources) the more I realised how absurd it was for me to have believed in Christianity. As others have mentioned, Ehrman is a good starting point. I also recommend both volumes of "The Story of Christianity" as it gives you a nice readable history of it and will probably serve as a good foundation to anything else you read. Misquoting Jesus and Early Christianities are probably Ehrman's best books on this topic. Robert Price's "The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man" is also a good book, he is somewhat "radical" in that he doesn't believe Jesus (or even the apostles, including Paul) existed but he provides pretty compelling evidence why. When you see how so many of the tales of Jesus in the gospels have equivalent pagan stories featuring different gods it makes it harder to accept that he ever really existed, and if he did then everything recorded in the gospels is made up and really gives us no insight into who he was, and only really tells us of the agenda the gospel writers were looking to push, but I digress. Ehrman and Price are good for looking at 2 different perspectives of Jesus and will probably help you formulate your own opinion. In summary, Christianity's spread can be explained by simply looking at how other religions spread. Nothing fancy there.
  20. You're probably overthinking things. The guy was obviously nice enough that you didn't want to hurt his feelings which is why you participated in saying grace. It's always a bit awkward to be put on the spot like that, but you didn't do anything wrong. If the situation pops up again, you'll be more prepared this time round. Just let him know that you're not really religious and would prefer not. He'll either understand, or he won't. Not much you can do about that. Anyways, point is you handled it fine. It's been a long time since I've been put in a situation like that, but usually I don't mind participating so long as they don't ask me to pray.
  21. So God's nature required people to be saved one way (really multiple ways, depending on whether or not you're a dispensationalist) in the OT and another in the NT? If his nature was consistent, why was the method of salvation inconsistent?
  22. I understand the argument, but I tend to be wary of conspiratorial thinking. This is what conservatives will use to argue against climate change, and what Christians use to argue against evolution. I personally find his arguments compelling, but like yourself I am not a scholar and probably don't have the background necessary to see why his views aren't mainstream which is why I just wanted to note that.
  23. Just keep in mind that a lot of Price's theories are more on the fringe side of things and are generally not mainstream. For example, he doesn't believe Jesus existed (as you somewhat alluded to) nor did Paul both of which are pretty much a given in that sphere. I do enjoy Price's work, but thought I'd note that his theories are not the majority view.
  24. While I understand the contrast you're attempting to make, one needs to keep in mind that just because you don't have to bribe every official you meet to get things done doesn't mean that the system isn't corrupt, nor does it mean that it doesn't contain room for improvement. The set up in the US is seen to be pretty corrupt by comparison to other western democracies. For example, the fact that money equals speech means that you guys essentially have legalised bribery. You also see that with little exception, the candidate with the most money is the one that wins and that there is no correlation between policies and the will of the people, but there is significant correlation between policies and donor wishes. Happy to link to sources to these claims (hammering this one out at the moment and couldn't be bothered finding them right now - but they should be easily searchable). Aside from the issues I've outlined above, there's a lot more to be said about having a government representative of the people. I'm sure most of us have seen an interview with some senator who was against abortion being asked why does he think women have abortions and he simply replied with "No idea". A government with a better representation of the sexes, ethnicities and classes of the people would help prevent many of the issues that occur now. I have nothing against "old white men" but if you were to class things as "good" now with them, I would say a government that is more representative of the people would be "better". As for your comments about white people and their overrepresentation as first world countries: While no one would disagree with this fact - I think most would also question why. Reducing an incredibly complex situation down to people being white and having a "superior culture" is absurd.
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