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Saviourmachine's Anti-testimony


Saviourmachine
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Anti-testimony

This anti-testimony is an abstract of the change I experienced over the last four, five months. I’ve been around this board for quite a while now, and able to give a little bit coherent view of the change of my worldview.

 

Childhood

I was raised up quietly; not allowed to do read cartoons/fairy tales, listen music/radio, watch television, go to a pub/disco/theater and so on. Hi, dad/mum, if you ever read this, I’m not mad at you, because I know you love me; you lived like you thought you should, it’s a pity that it turned out to be fiction for me.

 

Life

With 11, 12 year I was able to lay hands on some secular literature, and I knew of contradictions in the gospels that I found myself. It was mostly because out of emotion (I didn’t want to give up my sexual feelings) that I became atheist (for myself, I didn’t tell my parents at that age). With the age of 18/19 I had the guts to tell my parents and stopped going to church. At age 22 – when I was traveling through South America – I heard a lot of stories about God acting in human lifes, read stuff from Lewis, Bonhoeffer, Augustine and ‘modern mainstream’ evangelical writers. I chose to confess my sins (collected over 10 years of atheism), and to use prayer as if it should work. And it worked amazingly well! I was so excited, feeling a particular sensation in my chest (like being in love) and it spread out over whole my body. I was talking to God, singing, babbling in ‘different’ languages.

 

Literal truth

When I came back from my sabatical year, I started again with my study and had enough time to survey evolution for example. I read already about degeneration theories, I had heard about the “inreducible complex problem”. Now I became aware of the other side of the coin. About simularities between faults in human and ape DNA, about factual evolution in the field (nylon digesting bacteria), about advanced murder weapens of many animals, about fossils. I decided for myself that evolution really happened. I decided for myself that the creation story wasn’t literally true.

When I was still a xian, I wasn’t aware of intellectual sidesteps I had to take to believe the core of what xianity teaches. I wasn’t into the it-has-to-be-literally-true because-it-is-from-God thing, and I certainly didn’t want to speak for God and correct his writings by providing solutions (e.g. the doubling technique: Six Denials of Peter or Jesus Entering Jersusalem).

 

Inspiration limited

That the bible wasn’t literally true, wasn’t very difficult to swallow, because many errors in the bible are easy recognizable. But this kind of error was more grave. It couldn’t be an error that was due to faults by copying. Moses wasn’t inspirated such that he wrote down the exact story: how it precisely happened. He could only be inspirated by choosing the "most appropriate story that was at hand at that time". Maybe it had some symbolic meaning, but until now nobody had discovered it.

 

No inspiration

It’s just around the corner to make the ‘jump’ that the writers of the bible doesn’t have to be inspirated at all. That the person ‘behind’ Matthew was interested in proclaiming his new message, in stead of revealing a new truth. On this board you can find how I searched for answers regarding the prophecies that Jesus in Matthew and the other gospels seems to fulfill. This lead me quickly to questioning his method, regarding for example the two animals involved in riding Jesus into Jerusalem (be it that he sat on them both or on one of them). I became aware of the position and influence of Paul and his manners. [ask for more information if you need it]. From a certain distant it’s very difficult to keep believing in the bible and its inspiration. I ceased to be a believer of the bible at all.

 

What do I still believe?

I’m at a loss what I should believe of the scriptures. Most easy is to suggest that every supernatural event and reasoning is fiction. At the moment I distrust the writers of this ‘holy’ book so much that I can’t rely on anything they said. I don’t want to say that I’m an atheist, but to be honest, I don’t see any reason to assume that there is a God. A lot of philosophical problems exist e.g. the concept of ‘forgiveness by god’:

Let's suppose you have a friend, Paul, who you've sinned against and you didn't have the opportunity to make it right cause he died suddenly.

Can God forgive you? No!, god doesn't have that right!!! Paul should forgive you. He is the one you sinned against.

Summarized: God can only forgive sins commited against him. God can’t forgive ‘ad interim’. God can not forgive every sin.

And now?

I eagerly want to know what actually happened at that time, and so I’m reading lots of stuff. If I find interesting things I’ll post them here, probably. Sorry that this post isn’t that personal, but I myself find ‘cold intellectual reasoning’ quite fascinating. Thanks webmaster, for this opportunity, you can publish it, if you want. Thanks everybody for sharing thoughts with me, I am still enjoying my stay overhere.

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I’m at a loss what I should believe of the scriptures. Most easy is to suggest that every supernatural event and reasoning is fiction. At the moment I distrust the writers of this ‘holy’ book so much that I can’t rely on anything they said.
Same here. But, it is interesting to read the bible without the christian goggles on, and I am finding that some things may still be true, if not more true. Many teachings have been drowned out, flat out ignored, or distored by the religion. I would suggest that if you are inclined to learn from the bible, to read the bible as a story of how ancient people delt with their problems.

(Wow, I sound much more knowledgeable than I actually am)

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  • 2 weeks later...
Same here.  But, it is interesting to read the bible without the christian goggles on, and I am finding that some things may still be true, if not more true.  Many teachings have been drowned out, flat out ignored, or distored by the religion.  I would suggest that if you are inclined to learn from the bible, to read the bible as a story of how ancient people delt with their problems.

(Wow, I sound much more knowledgeable than I actually am)

I read "God, a biography" [Jack Miles] at the moment. God as protagonist, like Shakespear's Hamlet. The author aims to discover how God is and is developing over time. He's not pointing at character flaws, but trying to understand him. I find it very refreshing.

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Saviourmachine, I catch the whiff of excitement just from your summary. A wonderful post, the way you lay the steps out there.

 

The problem of the historical Jesus is a lot like the problem of the historical Socrates - the analysis of the texts seems to get a lot further under the assumption that Jesus or Socrates is a literary character, constructed differently by different writers, than under the assumption that every assertion in every writer conveys the "facts as they happened." Even freakier and more eye-opening when you apply this orientation to texts about God!

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  • 5 months later...

I will try to add coherent posts - if I have them - to my blog.

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Interesting post, Saviourmachine. I, too, have begun reading

about the history of that period of time. I'll be interested in seeing

what you discover.

 

:)

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I was raised up quietly; not allowed to do read cartoons/fairy tales, listen music/radio, watch television, go to a pub/disco/theater and so on.

 

May I know in what Region of Holland you grew up?

 

I thought most was fairly 'normal'.

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May I know in what Region of Holland you grew up?

 

I thought most was fairly 'normal'.

You are right. I used to live in the province Zuid-Holland (South Holland). That's of course in the west of the Netherlands. ;-) The green area on this map [Encarta]. In this area live mainly 'secular people', except for the cities in which more and more moslems make their living. Only on the islands in the southwest (that belong to Zeeland (Sealand) except for the island of my parents: the only 'green' island) there are many calvinists. Remains of the huguenots that came from French when they were persecuted. In the middle of Holland there is a small strip of land where evangelical people live. So, we do also have a Dutch equivalent for the 'biblical belt'. There is also a protestant newspaper called Reformatorisch Dagblad (Reformed Daily Newspaper) and the churches overhere do have some bonds with churches in Canada and some reformed churches in the USA.

The majority of the people overhere are no church goers and don't even believe in a god. But it's still more religious than Danmark or Sweden. There the percentage of believers falls beneath the 10%, in Holland it's somewhere between 15% and 20%, if I do remember it well.

 

So, I'm happy that I don't live in an environment like you do in the USA. Where it does have social advantages to be xian. It's already difficult enough at times to have many xian friends. I would hate it when also strangers would expect me to defend my atheism. Usually it's so boring and quite embarrassing to discover how much effort people make to see through theories or belief systems they don't adhere themselves. "None at all", is often my conclusion. And that's a pity.

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Well, I'm Dutch myself (Amsterdam) so I can find South Holland. :) (My post didn't sound like that, I know)

 

I thought the percentage of believers was higher...(Otherwise CDA wouldn't get that many votes) Maybe 15-20% are practising believers? :shrug:

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Well, I'm Dutch myself (Amsterdam) so I can find South Holland. :) (My post didn't sound like that, I know)

 

I thought the percentage of believers was higher...(Otherwise CDA wouldn't get that many votes) Maybe 15-20% are practising believers? :shrug:

Aha! :) I got the number from an article in Onze Wereld (Our World). That used the World Values Survey data. I checked it and you're right. Cool access database on that site! The amount of churchgoers (weekly and more often) approaches 14% [1999]. So the amount of believers is still higher. The amount of believers is even 45%! By the way, homosexuality can always be 'justified' according to 47,4% of us, the Dutch. Nice map: The Inglehart Values Map.

 

The article in Onze Wereld was quite interesting. The more religious a country the less money they give to aid developing countries. They also had some figures about how much a civilian gives individually and indirectly by taxes (per day in $ cent).

Country: Gouvernmental donations - Private donations

  • Denmark: 89 c - 1 c
  • Japan: 19 c - 1 c
  • Holland: 67 c - 5 c
  • USA: 15 c - 6 c

The USA gouvernment is stingy, that's sure.

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Aha!  I got the number from an article in Onze Wereld (Our World). That used the World Values Survey data. I checked it and you're right. Cool access database on that site! The amount of churchgoers (weekly and more often) approaches 14% [1999]. So the amount of believers is still higher. The amount of believers is even 45

 

Yeah...But they keep quiet most of the time. :)

A Quest(Some magazine) survey said 40% of the Dutch were Agnostic Atheist...Than we must have 15% of 'others'..

 

Very intresting data and map. I never saw that before..You can see holland being more a Scandinaviam country than somethng else...

Thanks for posting that link.

 

The more religious a country the less money they give to aid developing countries.

 

Maybe less religious countries are richer? And the USA is quite religious too...Still they give a LOT.

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Maybe less religious countries are richer?
That can be the case.

 

And the USA is quite religious too... Still they give a LOT.
That's not true. Relatively they give not much. I gave you the numbers!
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