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Well, Antlerman, I guess the "half full, half empty" metaphor comes into play. Of course you are right in many ways. There is so much good and beauty and love and order and bliss in the world. But there is, also, the opposite. I don't know which tips the scale. Likely, it's a close call. But there are so many suffering, so much pain, so much misery. The balance (Buddhist "middle way") is found in rejoicing in all that is good and wonderful while doing all we can to alleviate the suffering that arises from that which is not good and not wonderful. (But, as you wrote, it is that which is not-good that helps us see better and appreciate more that which is good!)

 

Of course everyone has their view of what Christianity does, but for me it offers not an escape, but hope that all will be fixed. Faith does not teach me to hate myself; in fact, love of self is necessary if we are to love others. Faith does not teach me to hate this life, but to cherish it and hope for another one when this one is over. Faith does not cause me to pray to be non-human, but to be a more perfected human, a more compassionate, kind, patient, loving human. I suppose faith might teach some to do what you wrote, but in my view it should not.

 

I suppose it's a matter of perspective and a personal issue as to how one makes use of religious energy.

 

-CC in MA

I was thinking of the half full, half empty metaphor, but I didn't use it because I don't see it as a 50/50 sort of thing. Let's take your own life for instance. Would you say that you are miserable 50% of the time? I'm not. However, I could be miserable 50% of the time, or even higher, if the way I perceived things framed it in such a way as to spell: m-i-s-e-r-y. However an outsider might look at it and say it's good. In a less depressed viewpoint, so might the person who is viewing everything so negatively.

 

I just don't see that life is half misery. However, when we feel bad things, our psychology tends to magnify it way out of proportion. This is where philosophies kick in to change how we look at things, but Chistianity takes that and turns it into a whole thelogy about a "fallen world" instead. It's not a fallen world. Life is moving forward. Life is dynamic. Life seeks life. The Christian looks at life and sees death. It promises a fix to something that isn't broken. To say it needs to be fixed, is to call something that is good, bad. A philosophy that does this is unhealthy, IMO.

 

Example: "That's OK honey, I know you're unhappy about not being a smart or as pretty as others, but when you meet a good man he will love you and make you feel good about yourself! You will become Mrs. John Perfect, and that's who you will then be, not the faulty creature that you are now". That's the Christian message. You're broken, and you need Jesus (your husband) to give you self-worth and a love for being alive. Phooey! It's fine if he's a teacher to help impart a healthy philosophy, but save you? Never.

 

Life isn't broken. It works.

 

Powerfully stated.

 

If I look at my little life I've been happy probably 95% of the time. But I've never had an illness, suffered deprivation, gone hungry, been hurt or persecuted, had a child die of cancer, suffered an enormous loss. I've had a great life. But not all are so fortunate. Nearly 40,000 children around the world will die today as a result of disease and malnutrition that we in the West never encounter. Over 100 died today in Baghdad alone in sectarian violence. Upwards of 200 million died in war during the 20th century. I could go on and on. There is much suffering. While my life to date has been peachy, a real rose garden, woe is me if I assume that my experiences are universal.

 

The Christian message I embrace is this: That which is broken will be fixed. The weak will be strengthened. The sick will be made whole. The blind will see. Prisoners to addiction, abuse, crime, war and fear will be set free. And lions will lay down with lambs.

 

Not trying to convince anyone this is true, just defining my understanding of the Christian message.

 

-CC in MA

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If I look at my little life I've been happy probably 95% of the time. But I've never had an illness, suffered deprivation, gone hungry, been hurt or persecuted, had a child die of cancer, suffered an enormous loss. I've had a great life. But not all are so fortunate. Nearly 40,000 children around the world will die today as a result of disease and malnutrition that we in the West never encounter. Over 100 died today in Baghdad alone in sectarian violence. Upwards of 200 million died in war during the 20th century. I could go on and on. There is much suffering. While my life to date has been peachy, a real rose garden, woe is me if I assume that my experiences are universal.

 

The Christian message I embrace is this: That which is broken will be fixed. The weak will be strengthened. The sick will be made whole. The blind will see. Prisoners to addiction, abuse, crime, war and fear will be set free. And lions will lay down with lambs.

 

Not trying to convince anyone this is true, just defining my understanding of the Christian message.

 

-CC in MA

 

So...that would make christianity obligatory guilt then....wouldn't it? On one hand, if life has you down...run to jesus to make it better.

 

But if your life has been relatively good or great, then you are BOUND to help the less fortunate because you could have been born somewhere really cruddy....and of course that isn't "luck" or "coincidence" if you got to be born, raised, and educated in a First World country....God could have put you in a shit-hole, so in gratitude for God's Will putting you someplace that doesn't suck ass, you really should show your gratitude by aiding those people god decided (and who can understand His Will?) to have born deformed and crippled in Africa. And if you don't try to help, then you are just one more selfish asshole making the situation worse.

 

So.....in Christianity you are either a needy victim, a guilt-ridden volunteer aid worker, or a jerk who doesn't care if everything goes to shit (and you are probably a dreaded atheist too).

 

Nice.

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If I look at my little life I've been happy probably 95% of the time. But I've never had an illness, suffered deprivation, gone hungry, been hurt or persecuted, had a child die of cancer, suffered an enormous loss. I've had a great life. But not all are so fortunate. Nearly 40,000 children around the world will die today as a result of disease and malnutrition that we in the West never encounter. Over 100 died today in Baghdad alone in sectarian violence. Upwards of 200 million died in war during the 20th century. I could go on and on. There is much suffering. While my life to date has been peachy, a real rose garden, woe is me if I assume that my experiences are universal.

 

The Christian message I embrace is this: That which is broken will be fixed. The weak will be strengthened. The sick will be made whole. The blind will see. Prisoners to addiction, abuse, crime, war and fear will be set free. And lions will lay down with lambs.

 

Not trying to convince anyone this is true, just defining my understanding of the Christian message.

 

-CC in MA

 

So...that would make christianity obligatory guilt then....wouldn't it? On one hand, if life has you down...run to jesus to make it better.

 

But if your life has been relatively good or great, then you are BOUND to help the less fortunate because you could have been born somewhere really cruddy....and of course that isn't "luck" or "coincidence" if you got to be born, raised, and educated in a First World country....God could have put you in a shit-hole, so in gratitude for God's Will putting you someplace that doesn't suck ass, you really should show your gratitude by aiding those people god decided (and who can understand His Will?) to have born deformed and crippled in Africa. And if you don't try to help, then you are just one more selfish asshole making the situation worse.

 

So.....in Christianity you are either a needy victim, a guilt-ridden volunteer aid worker, or a jerk who doesn't care if everything goes to shit (and you are probably a dreaded atheist too).

 

Nice.

Right White! They have you losing every way!

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Please, I just do not understand how a 2000 year old book can claim to be inspired directly by "god?"

 

Books don't claim anything, the people who write them claim it.

 

Where did the initial idea arise from? I mean, did god give an interview with a Barbra Walters type?
I'm assuming that the initial idea arose from people who claimed that God was speaking to them.
I don't mean to be blith, but how could such a book be so fuckin revered?

 

People who want to believe something will believe it for any reason.

 

Also, the garden of eden was a set up if god knows everything.

Everything's a set up if God knows everything.

 

Did he not will evil into existence?

 

Possibly, I don't know how he did it.

 

This is the chief reason I am a proud atheist today. What god creates an evil,,,only to later save we poor sinful fuckers from eternal hell!!!

 

You're an atheist God created evil? Wouldn't that mean you believe in God?

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That's part of the problem with Xianity of any literal stripe - humans always suck and always need Jebus to tell them what to do or "fix" them in the end.

 

And it's part of why I (and others) reject Xianity.

 

Humans are born fine as we are. We don't need to believe we're worthless without some god to handhold us or some demented cult leader to "justify" us in the sight of some deadbeat deity. We're capable of fixing our own messes and capable of transcending into greatness and making our own paradises, all on our very own.

 

mannaz.jpg

 

It's always been all about us, anyway.

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If I look at my little life I've been happy probably 95% of the time. But I've never had an illness, suffered deprivation, gone hungry, been hurt or persecuted, had a child die of cancer, suffered an enormous loss. I've had a great life. But not all are so fortunate. Nearly 40,000 children around the world will die today as a result of disease and malnutrition that we in the West never encounter. Over 100 died today in Baghdad alone in sectarian violence. Upwards of 200 million died in war during the 20th century. I could go on and on. There is much suffering. While my life to date has been peachy, a real rose garden, woe is me if I assume that my experiences are universal.

 

The Christian message I embrace is this: That which is broken will be fixed. The weak will be strengthened. The sick will be made whole. The blind will see. Prisoners to addiction, abuse, crime, war and fear will be set free. And lions will lay down with lambs.

 

Not trying to convince anyone this is true, just defining my understanding of the Christian message.

 

-CC in MA

 

So...that would make christianity obligatory guilt then....wouldn't it? On one hand, if life has you down...run to jesus to make it better.

 

But if your life has been relatively good or great, then you are BOUND to help the less fortunate because you could have been born somewhere really cruddy....and of course that isn't "luck" or "coincidence" if you got to be born, raised, and educated in a First World country....God could have put you in a shit-hole, so in gratitude for God's Will putting you someplace that doesn't suck ass, you really should show your gratitude by aiding those people god decided (and who can understand His Will?) to have born deformed and crippled in Africa. And if you don't try to help, then you are just one more selfish asshole making the situation worse.

 

So.....in Christianity you are either a needy victim, a guilt-ridden volunteer aid worker, or a jerk who doesn't care if everything goes to shit (and you are probably a dreaded atheist too).

 

Nice.

 

I don't see it this way at all. As far as we know, circumstances of birth are a lottery. Predestination and pre-ordination of circumstances is not a doctrine to which I subscribe. Excuse the French, but sh*t just happens. It just does. God is not involved, as far as I can tell, with the reproductive process. Sex happens. Sperm and egg meet. New life is formed. Where, how, etc. just are. (Of course some suggest that we have a say in a pre-birth existence regarding our incarnation, etc., but I don't see it this way.) So we should feel no guilt about being born where we are. We should, of course, recognize our fortunate status -- whether or not there is a God. We also should recognize the unfortunate circumstances of others and lend a helping hand -- whether or not there is a God.

 

Being grateful (even if to no higher power) for good circumstances and being empathetic with those suffering are not Christian virtues, but human ones.

 

Seems to me.

 

-CC in MA

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Humans are born fine as we are. We don't need to believe we're worthless without some god to handhold us or some demented cult leader to "justify" us in the sight of some deadbeat deity. We're capable of fixing our own messes and capable of transcending into greatness and making our own paradises, all on our very own.

 

Have you ever watched a child throw a temper-tantrum? If the child had access to an AK-47, they'd blow away everyone in the room. We are born animals. Culture, schools, parents, religious organizations, etc., tame our animal nature. This has nothing to do with belief in a deity. This is developmental psychology. Plain and simple.

 

And I don't know about fixing our own messes. Of course, we can do much. But we can't do it all. And this, too, has nothing to do with belief in a deity. It's just the way it is.

 

-CC in MA

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Powerfully stated.

 

If I look at my little life I've been happy probably 95% of the time. But I've never had an illness, suffered deprivation, gone hungry, been hurt or persecuted, had a child die of cancer, suffered an enormous loss. I've had a great life. But not all are so fortunate. Nearly 40,000 children around the world will die today as a result of disease and malnutrition that we in the West never encounter. Over 100 died today in Baghdad alone in sectarian violence. Upwards of 200 million died in war during the 20th century. I could go on and on. There is much suffering. While my life to date has been peachy, a real rose garden, woe is me if I assume that my experiences are universal.

 

The Christian message I embrace is this: That which is broken will be fixed. The weak will be strengthened. The sick will be made whole. The blind will see. Prisoners to addiction, abuse, crime, war and fear will be set free. And lions will lay down with lambs.

 

Not trying to convince anyone this is true, just defining my understanding of the Christian message.

 

-CC in MA

If anything is broken it’s human governments, not life. Nature is not fallen. Animals eating animals is in fact part of the “design”. This whole mythology of the fall of man and nature along with him, if taken literally is bizarre to say the least in the light of a complete lack of any indication whatsoever that fully formed T-Rex’s were ever once vegetarian! :HaHa: Nature in fact is not “fallen” from a day when the Lion and the Lamb lay together in tranquil paradise. This is all it ever has been, and that system in fact works. If it was “imperfect”, then why does it work so damned well?

 

Human society on the other hand is a creation of our own will. That human will has created working, functional societies that do in fact aid in the survival of our species. Society is a tool. Tools can be improved and made to work better. But I want to make it clear the difference between adapted tools and nature itself. The faces of various societies and governments are creations of humans and are in various states of functioning, to broken. But nature as a system is not broken.

 

The things you mentioned about children dying in the world from disease are in fact how the world works. First, I notice you singled out children, whereas all sort of humans are dying. Nature is no respecter of your emotions, and in this sense you reflect your dissatisfaction with life. This then gets to the heart of where I see Christianity calling something bad that ultimately isn’t, leaving the believer separated from their participation with life. I’m not saying the death of offspring is good. I also won’t call it bad either. I will just call it what “is”. Christianity sets us up to call it bad. I consider that an unhealthy philosophy.

 

You then contrast this with how we in the West have temporarily staved off this fact of nature, and seem to imply that this is “blessed”. Up until the last century, going all the way back to the beginning of life and which is evidenced everywhere in nature, biological organisms historically have multiple offspring for the purpose that out of those multiple offspring some will survive to have offspring of their own. Our being “blessed” here in the west is in fact interference in this system. Our desire to prolong life is having a profound impact on the system of life and will in fact ultimately collapse.

 

The very results of our being “blessed”, will spell an increase in strains of disease that will bypass our bodies' abilities to develop natural immunities in time to ensure a higher survival rate for our species. Our being “blessed” is causing over-population of the planet and an increase in the pollution of the world, directly causing the extinction of species that have survived on this planet for millennia, now gone forever as a direct result of our being “blessed” in the West.

 

I could go on and on, but the point is that this perception that the world is broken, that it is ours to dominate and tame being given to us by a god of our own creation, is in fact what is broken. Our outdated belief systems are what are broken. The wars you mentioned? Again, a broken belief that somehow one tribe’s god is better than the next.

 

What we need is healthy philosophies and good leadership, not some dreams of a savior-god from a mythical heaven to come fix things for us by uniting religions into the one true one. Diversity and cooperation, moderation and balance, these are the philosophies that we will save ourselves with, not praying to the god Jehovah and his Son to save us from life.

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Powerfully stated.

 

If I look at my little life I've been happy probably 95% of the time. But I've never had an illness, suffered deprivation, gone hungry, been hurt or persecuted, had a child die of cancer, suffered an enormous loss. I've had a great life. But not all are so fortunate. Nearly 40,000 children around the world will die today as a result of disease and malnutrition that we in the West never encounter. Over 100 died today in Baghdad alone in sectarian violence. Upwards of 200 million died in war during the 20th century. I could go on and on. There is much suffering. While my life to date has been peachy, a real rose garden, woe is me if I assume that my experiences are universal.

 

The Christian message I embrace is this: That which is broken will be fixed. The weak will be strengthened. The sick will be made whole. The blind will see. Prisoners to addiction, abuse, crime, war and fear will be set free. And lions will lay down with lambs.

 

Not trying to convince anyone this is true, just defining my understanding of the Christian message.

 

-CC in MA

If anything is broken it’s human governments, not life. Nature is not fallen. Animals eating animals is in fact part of the “design”. This whole mythology of the fall of man and nature along with him, if taken literally is bizarre to say the least in the light of a complete lack of any indication whatsoever that fully formed T-Rex’s were ever once vegetarian! :HaHa: Nature in fact is not “fallen” from a day when the Lion and the Lamb lay together in tranquil paradise. This is all it ever has been, and that system in fact works. If it was “imperfect”, then why does it work so damned well?

 

Human society on the other hand is a creation of our own will. That human will has created working, functional societies that do in fact aid in the survival of our species. Society is a tool. Tools can be improved and made to work better. But I want to make it clear the difference between adapted tools and nature itself. The faces of various societies and governments are creations of humans and are in various states of functioning, to broken. But nature as a system is not broken.

 

The things you mentioned about children dying in the world from disease are in fact how the world works. First, I notice you singled out children, whereas all sort of humans are dying. Nature is no respecter of your emotions, and in this sense you reflect your dissatisfaction with life. This then gets to the heart of where I see Christianity calling something bad that ultimately isn’t, leaving the believer separated from their participation with life. I’m not saying the death of offspring is good. I also won’t call it bad either. I will just call it what “is”. Christianity sets us up to call it bad. I consider that an unhealthy philosophy.

 

You then contrast this with how we in the West have temporarily staved off this fact of nature, and seem to imply that this is “blessed”. Up until the last century, going all the way back to the beginning of life and which is evidenced everywhere in nature, biological organisms historically have multiple offspring for the purpose that out of those multiple offspring some will survive to have offspring of their own. Our being “blessed” here in the west is in fact interference in this system. Our desire to prolong life is having a profound impact on the system of life and will in fact ultimately collapse.

 

The very results of our being “blessed”, will spell an increase in strains of disease that will bypass our bodies' abilities to develop natural immunities in time to ensure a higher survival rate for our species. Our being “blessed” is causing over-population of the planet and an increase in the pollution of the world, directly causing the extinction of species that have survived on this planet for millennia, now gone forever as a direct result of our being “blessed” in the West.

 

I could go on and on, but the point is that this perception that the world is broken, that it is ours to dominate and tame being given to us by a god of our own creation, is in fact what is broken. Our outdated belief systems are what are broken. The wars you mentioned? Again, a broken belief that somehow one tribe’s god is better than the next.

 

What we need is healthy philosophies and good leadership, not some dreams of a savior-god from a mythical heaven to come fix things for us by uniting religions into the one true one. Diversity and cooperation, moderation and balance, these are the philosophies that we will save ourselves with, not praying to the god Jehovah and his Son to save us from life.

 

I don't necessarily disagree with most of these well-stated points and those I disagree with I do so moderately, not at all vigorously. Much you have written is, in my view, quite correct.

 

Still, I seek the fullest redemption of the world to come.

 

-CC in MA

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Have you ever watched a child throw a temper-tantrum? If the child had access to an AK-47, they'd blow away everyone in the room. We are born animals. Culture, schools, parents, religious organizations, etc., tame our animal nature. This has nothing to do with belief in a deity. This is developmental psychology. Plain and simple.

 

And I don't know about fixing our own messes. Of course, we can do much. But we can't do it all. And this, too, has nothing to do with belief in a deity. It's just the way it is.

 

-CC in MA

 

Yes, I have seen children throw temper tantrums, I have three. However, I have also seen the wonderment at which they experience the world, the unconditional love they effortlessly pour out, and the uninhibited manner of enjoying the moment, that culture, schools, parents, religious organizations, etc. tame. Children do not believe they are bad unless they are conditioned to believe they are. They have no prejudices unless they are conditioned to have them. The very first emotion that children experience is love. They have to be taught to hate.

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Have you ever watched a child throw a temper-tantrum? If the child had access to an AK-47, they'd blow away everyone in the room. We are born animals. Culture, schools, parents, religious organizations, etc., tame our animal nature. This has nothing to do with belief in a deity. This is developmental psychology. Plain and simple.

 

Very true - we're capable of great evil and great good. But whereas that has nothing to do with a god, neither does the solution. A solution can be worked into Theism, but the solution can exist independently of Theism - and perhaps for the better. Good morals should be unclouded by religious superstition.

 

Those institutions can help us to overcome and learn to be better humans, but they can also lead us astray. To blindly or implicitly trust any entity completely is unwise.

 

But I don't know if every child who threw a temper tantrum would kill everyone to get his way. That's making a big leap, and also doing so in the "fine" Abrahamic tradition of assuming the worst in regards to human beings.

 

And I don't know about fixing our own messes. Of course, we can do much. But we can't do it all. And this, too, has nothing to do with belief in a deity. It's just the way it is.

 

Exactly; the fact that we need to fix our own messes has nothing to do with a god. A solution can be worked into god-belief as it can be worked into non-belief, again. To me, it even seems so much easier to just forego the superstition and cut right to the chase of trying to improve humanity's moral lot. Especially since all religious writings are recorded in the hands of human beings and spread solely by human beings, we can but conclude that we were behind all moral development all along.

 

I think that would help us cut a lot of the crap out, and help us to not get bogged down in religious in-fighting or other such entanglements.

 

If we want humanity "redeemed" from its mistakes and guarded against future ones, we need to realize that we are our own gods, that no gods can be expected to appear out of nowhere and do the hard work for us, and that no higher power of any sort (except that which is within us) is going to guide us or tell us what to do, so we'd best stop sitting around waiting for the "second coming" or whatever and hop to it. It's a typically Atheistic sentiment which I heard expressed once in regard to Atheistic moral outlooks, and I found it very moving. Like a spash of cold reality in the face.

 

We may be all we need to screw up the world, but we're also all we need to fix it and improve upon it.

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Have you ever watched a child throw a temper-tantrum? If the child had access to an AK-47, they'd blow away everyone in the room. We are born animals. Culture, schools, parents, religious organizations, etc., tame our animal nature. This has nothing to do with belief in a deity. This is developmental psychology. Plain and simple.

 

Very true - we're capable of great evil and great good. But whereas that has nothing to do with a god, neither does the solution. A solution can be worked into Theism, but the solution can exist independently of Theism - and perhaps for the better. Good morals should be unclouded by religious superstition.

 

Those institutions can help us to overcome and learn to be better humans, but they can also lead us astray. To blindly or implicitly trust any entity completely is unwise.

 

But I don't know if every child who threw a temper tantrum would kill everyone to get his way. That's making a big leap, and also doing so in the "fine" Abrahamic tradition of assuming the worst in regards to human beings.

 

And I don't know about fixing our own messes. Of course, we can do much. But we can't do it all. And this, too, has nothing to do with belief in a deity. It's just the way it is.

 

Exactly; the fact that we need to fix our own messes has nothing to do with a god. A solution can be worked into god-belief as it can be worked into non-belief, again. To me, it even seems so much easier to just forego the superstition and cut right to the chase of trying to improve humanity's moral lot. Especially since all religious writings are recorded in the hands of human beings and spread solely by human beings, we can but conclude that we were behind all moral development all along.

 

I think that would help us cut a lot of the crap out, and help us to not get bogged down in religious in-fighting or other such entanglements.

 

If we want humanity "redeemed" from its mistakes and guarded against future ones, we need to realize that we are our own gods, that no gods can be expected to appear out of nowhere and do the hard work for us, and that no higher power of any sort (except that which is within us) is going to guide us or tell us what to do, so we'd best stop sitting around waiting for the "second coming" or whatever and hop to it. It's a typically Atheistic sentiment which I heard expressed once in regard to Atheistic moral outlooks, and I found it very moving. Like a spash of cold reality in the face.

 

We may be all we need to screw up the world, but we're also all we need to fix it and improve upon it.

 

Even Jesus said that we are gods (John 10.34). There is so much we can do, with and without God, as all (in my view) comes from God anyway. You are right, therefore, that we have a "god" within, inherent, innate, and with that "god-power" accessible to all we can do so much!!

 

-CC in MA

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