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  1. You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
  2. You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
  3. You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
  4. Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
  5. You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
  6. You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
  7. You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
  8. While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
  9. You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
  10. You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.

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http://exchristian.net/exchristian/2007/05...ristian-if.html

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I laughed at this, it is funny.

 

Then I was afraid for a moment. "Oh my god. It's all true!"

 

Then I laughed at it again, because people take these things seriously.

 

Now, it's less funny and more disturbing.

 

Good post.

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JP Holding's attempted a rebuttal to this: http://www.tektonics.org/qt/tenton.html

 

That was an attempt? :lmao:

 

Not even good apologetics... I can come up with better rebuttals than that... which is scary :twitch:

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JP Holding's attempted a rebuttal to this: http://www.tektonics.org/qt/tenton.html

 

The bit where he says about love not having to be 'mushy sentimentality'.

 

Well, sure - a real-world, passionate love would sometimes have to be cruel to be kind.

 

But is it too much to ask that 'love' should in some sense involve looking out for the other person's best interest?

 

Eternity in Hell for having the audacity to think for yourself and ask questions and not being able to believe something when it makes absolutely no sense to you rationally? That's hardly love, is it? It's the behaviour of a sadistic maniac!

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Holding's the kind of xian whose neck I want to wring and whose face I want to bash in with my boot then leave to die in the ditch. He doesn't even know the meaning of the word reason or rational. Yet he preaches from the housetops what misinformed and intellectually deficient creatures we are.

 

I am deeply impressed with the accuracy of this list. It must have taken considerable time and effort. That's not just any list thrown together haphazard as ideas come to mind. It's a deliberate attempt at showing up christianity. And it does such an excellent job that a xian can't even think straight to refute it. The crap Holding came up with makes sense only from the perspective of a brainwashed indoctrinated xian who wouldn't think, even if his life depended on it. Yet he thinks he's superior to our own webmaster......*shakes head in disbelief*

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I can come up with better rebuttals than that... which is scary :twitch:

 

Okay, let's see what I can do. I don't feel very confident that I can refute the list but I'll try. Just be aware that I am not speaking for myself but as I think an intelligent Christian might answer. But what if I reconvert in the process??? Oh well, I think truth can stand no matter what.

 

1. You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

 

If we take the Bible as the definitive Word of God, we know that those other gods are not real. There is only one real God and that is the Christian God of the Bible. You are free to not believe in the Christian God but that does not make God less real.

2. You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

 

I don't know that I feel dehumanized; I just feel that the biblical account in Genesis 1 and 2 is accurate. What is gained by believing evolution rather than the Bible?

 

3. You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

 

The Triune God is one God in three persons. The ancient peoples, i.e. Greeks and Romans, had a god for every aspect of life. For example, there was the god of the hearth, and all the various aspects of daily life. They also had a different god for every stage and part of the growth of the wheat plant. The triune God is not like that. He is one God over the entire universe.

 

4. Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

 

I don't know the Bible well enough to be exactly sure what you mean here by trees that the Israelites were commanded to eliminate. I do know that there were phalic idols in the land, often translated in the KJV as "groves," which naturally leads one to think of trees. I think I read that explanation about phalic idols in one of the testimonies in Edward Babinski's Leaving the Fold. I don't understand why God commanded the "ethnic cleansing" of Canaan. I accept that the Bible was written by falible humans with personal agendas. This means we need to use common sense in translating it.

 

5. You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

 

I personally try to be respectful of other religions. I don't laugh at their myths. I don't believe a gracious God would condemn people for doing the best they know. Also, it is possible to take the story of Jesus as sacred myth and still be a Christian. [using my real voice here: Tom Harper is one example.]

 

6. You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

 

I can see where you get this impression. I have too many other things to do to spend my life worrying about the age of the earth. I accept the Genesis account but I also acknowledge that we don't know how long a day was. There are some inconsistencies in the Bible but I believe salvation does not depend on every letter of the Bible being accurate and infallible.

 

7. You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

 

I cannot convince myself to believe this. I believe that God is loving and gracious and that he will somehow have a way of saving those people who are genuine in their beliefs.

 

8. While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

 

No, I do not accept the "holy roller" theology. Paul says we must abstain from all appearances of evil. Rolling on the floor like a drunkard fails on that account.

 

I believe that the sciences and Christianity can co-exist. There are inconsistencies and difficulties that I don't know how to resolve but I trust that God in his wisdom and gracious love knows infinitely more than I can ever hope to know and that things do hang together when and if the sciences and technology become advanced enough to discover the seeming inconsistencies. Please do not judge all Christians by one person or even on denomination.

 

9. You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

 

This is a difficult one--I admit that. However, deep down in my heart I am convinced that, despite the inconsistencies, God exists and that I must seek to know and do his will. On this forum people express problems with attributing all good things to God and all failed attempts to human sinfulness and weakness. I think there is a misunderstanding here. When I happen to "get it right" I praise God for lending me insight, skill, and perseverance. When I "get it wrong," I think I must have missed his all-knowing instructions and insight. Or perhaps I needed a lesson in not being right all the time. It's just the way life is. I do not depend on step-by-step instructions from heaven for all my day to day dealings. The human intellect is a gift to be used to the honour and glory of God. The false impression that we Christians attribute all good things to God and all failures to human sinfulness is one indication that we have failed to adequately use our intellect to God's honour and glory. Your next question will be how do I avoid that in the future. I confess that I struggle with this one. I don't have an answer for you. Sorry.

10. You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.

 

I have been shocked at how little some people know about the Bible. All the same, salvation does not depend on knowing the Bible inside out. It depends on one's trust that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was sufficient for our salvation. I personally have been reading the Bible ever since I was about ten years old and I haven't stopped yet.

 

*************************

Okay, now I go back to being Ruby. I'm not sure who I was in those conversations. Some ideas I drew from things I believed while still a Christian. Other ideas come from actual answers Christians have given. It's maddening not to be allowed to go all the way and get at the bottom of the issues but Christians simply don't.

 

Every single Christian I have encountered and talked with indepth stopped short of thinking things through all the way. I don't know why. Maybe they can't due to intellectual limitations, or maybe they don't want to in order to retain their faith. I cannot determine which it is, or if it is something altogether different. My conclusion and observation has been that some of these questions have no answers. I think I would have found the answers by now if they existed.

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Ruby raises some interesting points.

 

I am aware that many of our criticisms against christianity seem to be targeted at fundamentalists. I was one of those liberal christians that could see certain Bible stories as symbol/metaphor and admitted that the Bible was written by flawed human beings and therefore needed to be read with allowances made for the historical context.

 

We need to respond to those kind of christians too. Many christians could say things such as "I don't take the Genesis creation stories literally" or "I don't agree with everything that was written in the Bible, God's message was chanelled through flawed human beings".

 

Also many christians are respectful of other faiths, even though they broadly accept the christian version of things and so think the other faiths are mistaken about some things.

 

I was one of those liberal christians - yet I still believed in Jesus and the crucifixion and resurrection at the time. Looking back I think I rationalised belief in Hell by thinking that the wicked soul by being wicked would automatically exclude itself from being with God and so would have to exist in a godless nightmare of its own design instead. I most categorically did not believe that those who followed other faiths went to Hell when they died, so I'm sure I would have applied the same reasoning to atheists if I ever bothered to think deeply enough about that subject (I honestly don't think I did though). I think I tended to view atheists as selfish materialists though - and so I thought their 'selfishness' would possibly leave them stuck in Hell.

 

The point I'm making is that if I was more reasonable than fundamentalists in my views when I was a christian then don't we need to concentrate on educating the liberal christians towards the light of true reason every bit as much as we concentrate on refuting the fundies' ridiculous views?

 

I guess liberals tend to rationalise themselves out of the faith in the end anyway (it's certainly what I did in the end) so maybe we don't need to bother too much with liberal christians. Once you subject the Bible to rigorous rational analysis, are open to learning about other faiths and have deep reservations about Hell and some of the things written in the Bible then it can only be a matter of time after all...

 

I love to get angry at christianity myself - there are so many fucked up things about it. And I have not been immune to the influence of fundamentalists myself (I was in a relationship with one - and there were a few of them in the Sally Army when I was growing up). So I understand the need to vent against fundamentalist nonsense. But some of those arguments (important though they are) are getting a little tired.

 

Just be aware that liberal christians (and for that matter non-christian theists) feel they can answer many of these questions easily without it denting their faith at all. These are theists that do use reasoning after all, and they can always appeal to historical context, flawed human beings writing the Bible and the need to take some things symbolically.

 

What do we say to them???

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"What do we say to them???"

 

"Get thee hence heretic!" or "Y'all not a True Christian!" ? ;)

 

How do you decide who is the heretic? What if there are more liberal Christians world-wide than fundy (which there are)? Originally politics decided who was the heretic--the xians who did not agree with Constantine, emperor of the Roman Empire. Do we let Bush et al decide who is the heretic today???

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"What do we say to them???"

 

"Get thee hence heretic!" or "Y'all not a True Christian!" ? ;)

 

How do you decide who is the heretic? What if there are more liberal Christians world-wide than fundy (which there are)? Originally politics decided who was the heretic--the xians who did not agree with Constantine, emperor of the Roman Empire. Do we let Bush et al decide who is the heretic today???

 

Sorry, I was being sarcastic about what to say to liberal Christians... Hell, I find I mostly agree with Bishop Spong. If someone had told me I'd EVER agree with a Bishop, I'd spit in their eye...

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Just be aware that liberal christians (and for that matter non-christian theists) feel they can answer many of these questions easily without it denting their faith at all. These are theists that do use reasoning after all, and they can always appeal to historical context, flawed human beings writing the Bible and the need to take some things symbolically.

 

What do we say to them???

 

One thing I'm trying to tell my prof at the moment is that humans are not inherently evil and therefore they are not in need of a saviour. That pretty much knocks the foundation out from under Christianity. Except for the ultra liberal that believe Jesus did not necessarily exist.

 

My prof does not think he is liberal yet it was under his tutelage that I learned some of the ideas I used to answer webmaster's questions. Some other ideas were taken out of my upbringing in an Old Order Mennonite community (a horse and buggy group similar to the Amish). What I am saying is that the ideas presented in my answers are not necessarily liberal Christianity; they're just not fundamentalist. There are other kinds of Christianity besides liberal and fundamentalist.

 

Evolution, I have a question for you. You say you used to be a liberal Christian. I understand you deconverted. Yet you ask what we can say to liberal Christians. What caused your deconversion? Whatever caused your deconversion can probably be used against liberal Christianity if there is a need to speak against it.

 

My own answer to "ultra liberal" Christianity is that if hell isn't real, and this life is all there is, and Jesus is a myth, I just haven't got the energy to relate to an invisible being. I think being a good person is the bottom line. I also think that is what "Jesus" (whoever is responsible for the writings and teachings in the NT) and the other philosophers and sages are saying.

 

Of course, I can just hear the fundies laughing harshly and saying, "Yep! THAT is EXACTLY the reason why it is important to stick to fundamental Christian beliefs. The minute you don't you ask what is the gain?"

 

What you fundies forget is that if I had not had to spend so much energy battling fundyism, perhaps I would have energy to believe in god or jesus. The extreme problem with fundamentalism is their willingness to annihilate unbelievers, with "unbelievers" being defined according to any fundy's own religious dogma.

 

The living hope of the world is the fierce divisions and mortal in-fightings among the fundies themselves. One group alone cannot do the world in.

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I find I mostly agree with Bishop Spong. If someone had told me I'd EVER agree with a Bishop, I'd spit in their eye...

 

Thanks for that link to Spong. On other forums I heard quite a bit about what a wonderful guy he is, or what an utterly despictable heretic he is, depending on who was talking. I got the idea he must be my kind of person more or less but never "met" him. This link is my first connection to him and I see there are lots of other links from that article. I'm beginning to think that perhaps the "ultra liberal" Christianity I tried to describe is "Spongian" Christianity, or follows Spong's ideas. I mostly agree with the thesis listed in that article.

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I find I mostly agree with Bishop Spong. If someone had told me I'd EVER agree with a Bishop, I'd spit in their eye...

 

Thanks for that link to Spong. On other forums I heard quite a bit about what a wonderful guy he is, or what an utterly despictable heretic he is, depending on who was talking. I got the idea he must be my kind of person more or less but never "met" him. This link is my first connection to him and I see there are lots of other links from that article. I'm beginning to think that perhaps the "ultra liberal" Christianity I tried to describe is "Spongian" Christianity, or follows Spong's ideas. I mostly agree with the thesis listed in that article.

I'm on his mailing list, and I've read a couple of his books... I can recommend them. Notice how they need 10 scholars to ry and dismantle him, and mostly it's tired nit picking and Ad Hom...

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Evolution, I have a question for you. You say you used to be a liberal Christian. I understand you deconverted. Yet you ask what we can say to liberal Christians. What caused your deconversion? Whatever caused your deconversion can probably be used against liberal Christianity if there is a need to speak against it.

 

I just rationalised my way out of the whole thing. Over many years I questioned and sought answers to the whole spiritual thing. Eventually christianity fell apart in my hands. Then even later theism itself came apart in my hands.

 

That's why I said maybe there is no reason to argue with liberal christians. If they are honest about asking questions and seeking answers then it's only a matter of time till they deconvert anyway.

 

But then maybe I'm an unusual example because I was clearly on a path of questioning that led me to atheism eventually anyway. There are many of liberal christians who manage to stay christians for years or their whole life because their rational and liberal form of christianity doesn't cause them too many problems. It is a less problematic thing to believe than fundamentalist christianity I suppose.

 

Maybe what allowed me to deconvert so easily was that, despite being liberal in my own beliefs, I was however exposed to plenty of fundamentalist types also. So I felt the tension between the two positions. I think it made me question a lot of the doctrines of conventional chrisitianity, being aware of the value of rational thinking but also being aware that some people took this stuff literally.

 

I very quickly saw that the Devil was not a literal being but was symbolic of mankind's rebellion. Then I toyed with the idea that heaven and hell might actually be code for reincarnational rewards and punishment (good and bad karma). This was while I still called myself a christian and was still part of christianity.

 

Then I stopped going to church. I started to believe that the forces of nature could act autonomously and so could be personified as many gods. Maybe there were many gods with the One God ruling over them all. So I was a cross between pagan and christian for a while. I was heavily into astrology and tarot cards at the time - and I was discovering little bits and pieces about hinduism and buddhism. I still thought that Jesus was in some sense God in human form, even though I now understood that human souls are like 'little pieces of God'. Somehow I thought that Jesus's divinity was because the connection between his soul and God was not severed like most of humanity's is. I believed in reincarnation at this time - with heaven as a release for those who became enlightened.

 

Needless to say, the belief that Jesus was divine was the next thing to go. At this point I stopped calling myself a christian since it seemed to me that I had finally questioned the very thing that is central to being a christian (at least as far as most of the world understands the term christian)

 

I tried my best to study different kinds of religion at this point. I held the view that they were all true and all false in different ways. Jesus was an 'enlightened human being' like the Buddha - that was my view of this time. I no longer believed in many gods (except in a symbolic way) and so I was monotheist again. I still had the idea of 'enlightenment' as central to my religious belief and had a very complicated view of the afterlife because of it. I believed those who were good and enlightened would go to be with God (kind of fusing back with him again). Those who were good but unenlightened would reincarnate to get a second go. Those who were bad and unenlightened would exist in a hellish nightmare of their own mind - unable to 'get' to God because they lack enlightenment. Those who were bad and enlightened (or partially enlightened) would be dangerous because of their psychic powers so their souls would need to be permanently erased (and the component parts reabsorbed by God).

 

I had some wierd ideas - it's quite amusing to look back at them. I viewed 'enlightenment' as some kind of awakening that involved psychic powers. I eventually realised this was quite a childish way of looking at it and that enlightenments happen to people all the time and merely mean that some important truth has been discovered. The question is - what is THE enlightenment, the one truth that is so important from a religious perspective.

 

I eventually realised that evil is a necessary evolutionary hurdle for the human race - and that to combat evil it doesn't make any sense to run away from it or to fight it - you need to 'embrace' the evil, in other words calmly study it to see what is causing it and how best to heal the evil and turn the evil into good (ie. find out how things are badly arranged so as to make an evil and rearrange them to bring things harmonious again). You can probably tell that this 'enlightenment' came to me when I was under the influence of LSD, right? But this seemed like the 'enlightenment' I had been waiting for - and I stopped believing in Hell at that point.

 

Later I questioned the whole idea of the human soul. So many aspects of personality and intelligence and decision making can be explained by the workings of the human brain. The only thing remaining was consciousness itself - that seemed harder to explain. Consciousness doesn't seem to have a personality - it is just an awareness of what's going on - a kind of impersonal observer. So I concluded that humans don't have souls - that instead 'God' is just pure consciousness and our consciousness is the result of God experiencing himself through us, much as he experiences himself through the entire universe. God was for me nothing more and nothing less than the consciousness of the Universe.

 

There was no Hell, and no heaven really either. We simply woke up to our true reality as the consciousness of the Universe experiencing what it was like to be us.

 

I was clearly almost atheist at this point anyway (most pantheists are). More recently I realised I had been looking at consciousness the wrong way. It doesn't need explaining - it is a natural consequence of creatures that are aware of their surroundings. It doesn't happen outside of living creatures, so the Universe itself is not conscious and there is no life after death.

 

This is a very recent change in my beliefs. And now I am an atheist.

 

However I think I was an unusual case because I have always been questioning and thinking about deep stuff. Many liberal christians are not so apt to come up with strange ideas and can probably settle in their own beliefs quite comfortably. But maybe that doesn't matter anyway. I'm just curious about what people on this site think of the more liberal christians.

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"Needless to say, the belief that Jesus was divine was the next thing to go. At this point I stopped calling myself a christian since it seemed to me that I had finally questioned the very thing that is central to being a christian (at least as far as most of the world understands the term christian)"

 

I think old 'Mad Jack' Spong would beg to differ ;)

 

As far as the rest... Did you ever watch Babylon 5? You remind me of the G'kar story arc...

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"Needless to say, the belief that Jesus was divine was the next thing to go. At this point I stopped calling myself a christian since it seemed to me that I had finally questioned the very thing that is central to being a christian (at least as far as most of the world understands the term christian)"

 

I think old 'Mad Jack' Spong would beg to differ ;)

 

As far as the rest... Did you ever watch Babylon 5? You remind me of the G'kar story arc...

 

I've never watched Babylon 5. I love scifi so maybe I should. Care to fill me in on what I'm missing?

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It's a good list that has been around for some time in various forms. Glad to see it pop up now and again to keep it fresh in people's minds.

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"Needless to say, the belief that Jesus was divine was the next thing to go. At this point I stopped calling myself a christian since it seemed to me that I had finally questioned the very thing that is central to being a christian (at least as far as most of the world understands the term christian)"

 

I think old 'Mad Jack' Spong would beg to differ ;)

 

As far as the rest... Did you ever watch Babylon 5? You remind me of the G'kar story arc...

 

I've never watched Babylon 5. I love scifi so maybe I should. Care to fill me in on what I'm missing?

 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%27Kar

 

Read.

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EB, thanks for sharing your deconversion story. You have obviously given much thought to deep matters.

 

However I think I was an unusual case because I have always been questioning and thinking about deep stuff. Many liberal christians are not so apt to come up with strange ideas and can probably settle in their own beliefs quite comfortably. But maybe that doesn't matter anyway. I'm just curious about what people on this site think of the more liberal christians.

 

Here's a thread you could look at and see if it answers any questions for you. Title: In Defense of Liberal Theology

 

If it doesn't, you can always start a thread asking that question.

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Here's a thread you could look at and see if it answers any questions for you. Title: In Defense of Liberal Theology

 

If it doesn't, you can always start a thread asking that question.

 

Thanks

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