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Brother Jeff Debates Brother Neil


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I haven't officially announced that I'm back with another glorious site, but I have begun work on one. And already, because of a comment I made on his blog earlier today, I am participating in a glorious debate with a fundie named Neil. Here's the link to his post and my comment:

 

http://kgmin.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/video-did-jesus-exist/

 

Over on my glorious site the debate so far has been civil and I hope it stays that way. Bashing fundies and their absurd beliefs is fun, but not overly productive. This particular blog I plan to keep pretty tame so my message will be better received, but it's not the only blog I have. :wicked:

 

Brother Neil responded to my post identifying fundamentalist Christianity as a cult:

 

http://dangerouschristianity.com/2011/07/01/fundamentalist-christianity-cult/

 

The conversation so far:

 

The Spook of Kryasst who is also somehow magically Him magically caused Brother Neil to say:

 

I disagree with many of the points of this article (At least from within MY church building, but it would not surprise me that it is used in some churches) but I do agree with you in one area:

 

Critical Thinking and reflection

 

I think that lack of critical thought from church members is very discouraging…and I am saying this as a Christian. The “unquestioning” and “blind faith” that some Christians display is one of the reasons I think that so many “Christians” fall away from the faith when hard times come. They don’t understand that the end goal of our faith is to glorify God, not to make our own lives “better” or “easier”. Their “fair weather faith” is simply evidence of a salvation and faith that was never present to begin with.

 

Many professing Christians are not even saved: Jesus said this himself in Matthew 7:21-23, so I think that judging the truthfulness of Christianity on the behavior of it’s “adherents” is superficial and illogical (not that I am saying you are doing so necessarily, but many people do).

All of these criticisms of the Church and Christians aside, either Christianity is true or false, but we should base it’s objective validity on the evidence from science, archaeology (history), philosophy and textual criticism while recognizing that, like a murder investigation, investigation into a religious faith is NEVER 100% provable (due to the truth lying outside of the naturalistic realm). Our opinions about what we are investigating merely slides to and fro on a true/false scale based on the amount and how convincing the available evidence is (meanwhile the objective truth about the issue remains constant regardless of our opinion at any given time).

 

I hope this was received with kindness, as that was my intention. I appreciate your kind and honest comment on my blog.

Take care,

Neil

 

My response:

 

Hi Neil,

 

I agree that the amount of damage inflicted on believers varies from denomination to denomination and from church to church as well. Generally speaking, the more fundamental and authoritarian the church is, the greater the damage inflicted by the cult will be.

One interesting thing about the process of religious conversion is that it does not occur after a thoughtful and reasoned weighing of the available facts and evidence has taken place from both sides of the fence. It occurs in very emotionally charged settings after a tremendous amount of (in reality, baseless) guilt, shame, and fear have been preached from the pulpit. Once conversion has taken place, then there is a natural and understandable desire by the one converted to justify and validate the emotional experience as having a solid basis in reality. At least, that’s true for those who don’t rely on blind, unquestioning faith. But that is precious few fundamentalist Christians, for understandable reasons.

 

I addressed the issue of the authorship of Matthew in a comment I left on your blog. But to repeat it here for the benefit of others who come across this post, the reality is that the authors of the gospels are unknown.

 

http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net/jesus.html#sources

 

http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net/bibleanalysis.html#author

 

What Jesus may or may not have said is highly debatable and can generally never be known with any certainty, and that’s granting that he actually lived in history to say anything at all.

 

If you talk with many ex-Christians, I think you’ll find that most of them will tell you that their faith started to fall apart *when they began asking questions* and the answers given by Christian apologists didn’t satisfy. As far as the alleged quote from Jesus in the book of Matthew goes, it is essentially meaningless from my point of view since there is no such thing as “salvation.” Nobody on this planet is, in reality, either “saved” or “lost”. Those are false distinctions made by a demonstrably false religion.

 

I do completely agree with you that the truth or falsity of a religion should not be based on the behavior of its believers. Christianity stands or falls on the validity of its claims, and that’s true of any religion.

 

Science, archaeology and textual criticism are generally not friendly towards the Bible or the Christian faith in general. There is ample proof of the falsity of the Christian religion without even addressing the supernatural aspect of the question, so I would have to respectfully disagree with you that 100% certainty cannot be reached. I believe it can be as I am 100% certain that the Christian faith is untrue. I base that certainty not on a rejection of supernatural claims or possible or alleged realities, but on years of careful research done on both sides of the fence. The simple fact is that the answers coming from the Christian side are severely lacking and unconvincing — in my opinion — when compared with those coming from the skeptical/atheist side of the fence.

 

Take care.

 

Comments (and participation) welcome. :grin:

 

Glory!

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You're doing a fantastic job! I'm always impressed by people who can debate this subject without emotion. My husband is one of them . I guess I'm not as recovered as I'd like to be, because I find the claptrap spewed by Christians to be utterly enraging and frustrating. :)

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You're doing a fantastic job! I'm always impressed by people who can debate this subject without emotion. My husband is one of them . I guess I'm not as recovered as I'd like to be, because I find the claptrap spewed by Christians to be utterly enraging and frustrating. :)

 

Thanks, Sister Scifi! Glory! :)

 

I find it difficult to keep my temper in check sometimes, but to an extent I can stay on an even keel when dealing with fundies. The rage and frustration are there for me too though, just below the surface.

 

I've had to proofread the last two sentences I wrote several times. I think it's time for bed. :grin:

 

I may yet lose my temper with Brother Neil...

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You're doing a fantastic job! I'm always impressed by people who can debate this subject without emotion. My husband is one of them . I guess I'm not as recovered as I'd like to be, because I find the claptrap spewed by Christians to be utterly enraging and frustrating. :)

 

Thanks, Sister Scifi! Glory! :)

 

I find it difficult to keep my temper in check sometimes, but to an extent I can stay on an even keel when dealing with fundies. The rage and frustration are there for me too though, just below the surface.

 

I've had to proofread the last two sentences I wrote several times. I think it's time for bed. :grin:

 

I may yet lose my temper with Brother Neil...

 

 

While I admire people who can hold their temper, I get a vicarious thrill when they can't, so I'll be reading either way. Sleep well in the arms of the magical sky man. :D

 

 

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You're doing a fantastic job! I'm always impressed by people who can debate this subject without emotion. My husband is one of them . I guess I'm not as recovered as I'd like to be, because I find the claptrap spewed by Christians to be utterly enraging and frustrating. :)

 

Thanks, Sister Scifi! Glory! :)

 

I find it difficult to keep my temper in check sometimes, but to an extent I can stay on an even keel when dealing with fundies. The rage and frustration are there for me too though, just below the surface.

 

I've had to proofread the last two sentences I wrote several times. I think it's time for bed. :grin:

 

I may yet lose my temper with Brother Neil...

 

 

While I admire people who can hold their temper, I get a vicarious thrill when they can't, so I'll be reading either way. Sleep well in the arms of the magical sky man. :D

 

Thanks, Sister! I'll be leaning on His Everlasting Sky Arms... :grin:

 

Headed that way... *yawns*

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Go - Brother - go! I'm behind you - you know that! :woohoo: The holy spook and the sky god will help you with what to say...........:vent:

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I appreciate the comments and encouragement! Brother Neil hasn't shown back up, but today was a holiday in the USA, so we'll see what happens... :shrug:

 

Been working on the site quite a bit today, but mostly on "behind the scenes" stuff.

 

Glory!

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Brother Neil appears to have possibly left the building but... I posted some new info and a question for him. If he responds, it will be interesting to see what he has to say... :HaHa:

 

Glory!

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