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 As such, any attempt at asking you questions would be a pointless exercise in your ability to regurgitate the interpretations of the Protestant Bible provided by Luther, Melanchthon, Chemnitz, et al. I can do that. I can read.

But it would not be unreasonable to assume that you haven't. Not even many Lutheran pastors have sunk their teeth into Chemnitz' Two Natures in Christ.

 

Furthermore, there are many things I believe which are not covered in the Lutheran confessions.

 

Tell us the real reason for the hope that is in you that doesn’t begin with “well, the Bible says…”

I have no hope outside of Jesus. God's word is the power of salvation. His word makes what is dead, alive.

 

 

So please, pretty please, with sugar on top, provide a defensible and reasoned argument substantiating your assertions and deal with the solid counter-arguments that have already been presented to you with something other than merely more scripture quotes.

Better, more qualified men than I have destroyed the arguments being re-offered here, sometimes centuries ago. I do not expect that re-offering those rebuttals in response is particularly useful. After all, you can read.

I know that all of you are comfortable pretending that you have deep levels of expertise in textual criticism, but I doubt any of you reads a single ancient language, or has any formal training. I do not have this formal training, nor am I an expert. I am comfortable admitting this.

However, I've also seen many false statements and widely discredited statements, that should not persuade a studied amateur. Instead what is offered is an avalanche of uncritical arguments and sometimes flat out distortions. It doesn't lend credibility to your extimonies when not a single person has done enough amateur investigation to recognize these. 

 

The fact that they are uncritically swallowed by the cult of unbelief feels a lot like when I was growing up in church and pastors would just make up random things, and then they would get passed around from church to church with no investigation.

 

You forget that I too have been an ex-Christian. I have felt my worldview crumble. My challenge to the bunch of you, if you are intellectually honest, is to go seriously evaluate these arguments, and start keeping each other honest on the ones which simply aren't true, or the ones that are simply mindless attacks. I am one person with a finite amount of time. So far I have only managed to respond to a few posts. Nobody has offered anything which causes me concern for the veracity of the text. However, people seem utterly convinced that they've made these perfectly damning arguments. Sharpen each others iron.

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Can I start quoting Lord of the Rings to start proving it now?

I would like you to respond to HA, in your own words: "Hi Ben,   I’m usually hesitant to engage in a thread that’s already 10 pages long, especially when one individual is having to respond to near

You've got to be kidding, Ben!  Did you not develop empathy at some point during your upbringing?  If not, I'll explain it to you:   Empathy is a mental state wherein one can imagine what another be

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Instead what is offered is an avalanche of uncritical arguments and sometimes flat out distortions.

 

I totally agree. Nonbelievers make bad arguments, too.

 

But I would point out, the burden remains with those proposing supernatural/magical/spiritual scenarios. Nobody is required to disprove anyone's extraordinary claim.

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"comfortable pretending that you have deep levels of expertise in textual criticism, but I doubt any of you reads a single ancient language, or has any formal training. I do not have this formal training, nor am I an expert"

 

You obviously don't know a lot of us I have at least an entry level understanding of the Hebrew used in the  old testament others on this board are even fluent in the greek and Hebrew used  in the bible. There is a phrase I  think is apt here "assumptions make asses of ourselves."

You don't know me you don't know my background and you don't know anything about the majority of the members here. I  would argue I have a deeper knowledge of the bible than what you have presented thus far. Not to mention many  people on this board have an even deeper understanding than me.

 

If you "You forget that I too have been an ex-Christian. I have felt my worldview crumble" than you could understand why you have been wasting your time quoting scripture please enlighten us as to what made you an ex-Christian what convinced you to deconvert and what convinced you to reconvert. I would suspect this could be a far more informative discussion than you making broad based assumptions of our scholastic understanding of the bible its history and the origins of Christianity.

 

"The fact that they are uncritically swallowed by the cult of unbelief feels a lot like when I was growing up in church and pastors would just make up random things, and then they would get passed around from church to church with no investigation."

If you understood what actually happens during deconversion you would understand why many ex-xtians who have deconverted recently just want something to latch on  to however, when given time to let their anger subside will begin a critical analysis of arguments involved. I admit I had at one point fallen victim to this behavior however, it is important to note that this is a relatively short and temporary state for many. The internet has a way of making outdated comments applicable to ones current world view while at the same time being far from the truth of their current ideology.

 

The likely hood of you answering any of my questions seems unlikely as you have not bothered to refute anything I have presented to you thus far.

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I have no hope outside of Jesus. God's word is the power of salvation. His word makes what is dead, alive.

 

 

That is a lie of Christianity.  Your religious leaders want you to be weak so that you will remain enslaved.

 

 

 

Better, more qualified men than I have destroyed the arguments being re-offered here, sometimes centuries ago.

 

lmao_99.gif   Very funny

 

 

I do not expect that re-offering those rebuttals in response is particularly useful. After all, you can read.

 

If you re-offered them then you would watch them be destroyed.  That would make it harder for you to use them as a crutch to prop up your faith.

 

 

I know that all of you are comfortable pretending that you have deep levels of expertise in textual criticism, but I doubt any of you reads a single ancient language, or has any formal training. I do not have this formal training, nor am I an expert. I am comfortable admitting this.

However, I've also seen many false statements and widely discredited statements, that should not persuade a studied amateur. Instead what is offered is an avalanche of uncritical arguments and sometimes flat out distortions. It doesn't lend credibility to your extimonies when not a single person has done enough amateur investigation to recognize these. 

 

Sour grapes?  Don't brag about how you could win if you wanted to.  Demonstrate.

 

 

The fact that they are uncritically swallowed by the cult of unbelief feels a lot like when I was growing up in church and pastors would just make up random things, and then they would get passed around from church to church with no investigation.

 

yelrotflmao.gif   Cult of unbelief?  You have no idea how much out of your depth you are.

 

 

 

You forget that I too have been an ex-Christian. I have felt my worldview crumble. 

 

Okay Biblebot.  The Bible says that you can't be an ex-Christan and go back to Christ because that would require Christ to be crucified again and be put to open shame.  So is the Bible wrong on this point or are you wrong?

 

 

 

My challenge to the bunch of you, if you are intellectually honest, is to go seriously evaluate these arguments, and start keeping each other honest on the ones which simply aren't true, or the ones that are simply mindless attacks. I am one person with a finite amount of time. So far I have only managed to respond to a few posts. Nobody has offered anything which causes me concern for the veracity of the text. However, people seem utterly convinced that they've made these perfectly damning arguments. Sharpen each others iron.

 

 

Have you refuted a single point made by anybody?  At all?  I'm sure every ex-C member makes mistakes but I must have missed it when you refuted anything here.  I would like to know what was said and how your countered it.  And no, don't show me your Bible verse regurgitation.  Don't even bother.  You lost those big time.

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I don't really care.. but some new people here can see how all Ben can do is quote verses. He is a demonstration of the uselessness of Christianity.

Christianity is not a pragmatic religion, particularly in the present. It is a call to believe something unrealized in this life. Not only do we hope and trust in someone unseen who seems foolish to others, but we put aside our own pleasures in light of that hope and live a life of suffering and discomfort for the sake of our neighbors.

 

In the wisdom of the world, it is not merely useless, it is tragic folly.

 

Yet it is presented as the only right way to live.  If you accept Christ, everything will be OK. Please don't deny it, because too many of us have it presented to us that way.

 

Oh yes, it is also a tragic folly.  That is because none of it is true.  Also, I question whether Christians actually "put aside our own pleasures" - this also has to do with the Christian idea that pleasure is evil... another stupid doctrine.

 

If Christians actually did live for their neighbors, considering how many professing Christians there are - this would be a different world.

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"If Christians actually did live for their neighbors, considering how many professing Christians there are - this would be a different world."

 

Bravo!clap.gif

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oh they do live for their neighbors alright there love is demonstrated by fucking them. Really hard in the ass as often and brutally as possible both physically psychologically and financially.

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The reality is most people live for the almighty dollar.  While I set my sights on a different spiritual path, I have to admit most of my time is devoted to survival, and that involves money, whether I like it or not.

 

I say to Ben, get real..

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The fact that they are uncritically swallowed by the cult of unbelief feels a lot like when I was growing up in church and pastors would just make up random things, and then they would get passed around from church to church with no investigation.

 

This business of the belief/unbelief dichotomy is something I find to be non-representative of reality.  And to be fair, it's something that both Christians and atheists do.  You talk about "belief" as though it is equivalent to being a Christian.  But mind you that there are a variety of contradicting religions.  My reason for "unbelief" in Christianity may simply be due to my belief in a competing religion (I shouldn't speak hypothetically, this actually is the case).

 

So that I don't equivocate, let me be clear that I do find many common atheist arguments against Christianity and the Bible compelling.  But just as your belief is not based on evidence (by your own admission), my lack of belief in Christianity isn't the result of actively rejecting Christian doctrines.  To put it simply, I already have a religion, and it's not compatible with Christianity.

 

Bhim, I looked for your post, but cannot find the other thread, it may have been deleted.

 

I agree that many Christians do not have an understanding of Christian teaching.

 

As for conversion, scripture teaches that Christians do not convert, God converts. Christians proclaim, and Christians baptize, but God, the Holy Spirit brings those spiritually dead in unbelief, alive. You are, no doubt, aware of some of the sowing parables. Christians are called to sow, not to force plants to grow.

 

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. (1Cor3)

 

Ben, here's the link to my post.  I bolded a few words in the section that I specifically wanted to call your attention to.

 

http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/57632-what-is-the-gospel/?p=878215

 

I'm quite familiar not only with the sowing parables but also with Jesus' many statements that belief does not come by human effort, rather by the will of God.  However it's Christians who send missionaries to other countries and sow discord in local communities by preaching Jesus, following a disturbingly similar model as cult leaders.  It's Christians who approach my fellow Hindus on college campuses and lead them away from the faith of their fathers.  I'm sure you'll agree that you can't show me physical proof of God's intervention.  All I can see is the actions of Christians, and what I see is that they poison peoples' minds and destroy families in the process.  Hence my many statements about the immorality of being a Christian.  On a moral level I see the practice of evangelical Christianity as no different than dealing in illicit narcotics.  I'm not trying to sound combative here, only honest about how I view Christianity.

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Reformed BAPTIST?!  Bhim, did you ever come across Al Martin?  Maybe that goes back too far in time.  I used to listen to his cassette tapes (! dates me) in the car when I was in college.

 

Heh, no sorry, never heard of Al Martin until you mentioned him.  But he's on monergism.com, which was on the top of my web browser favorites back when I was in college.  My church would definitely be classified as part of what Christianity Today referred to as the "New Calvinism."  So I read books and watched sermons by people like John Piper, Mark Driscoll, John MacArthur, and Tim Keller.  I read theology books by Wayne Grudem (I still have his systematic theology textbook), and downloaded music by Sovereign Grace Ministries.

 

While this brand of Calvinism preaches the most vile doctrines available in Christendom, I will say that it satisfies the intellect in ways that most forms of fundamentalist Christianity will not, because it has an utterly self-consistent system of belief.

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Not true. Without Christ, I sure feel free and the "sins" that don't hurt anyone when I engage in them are really fun. No slavery here. When I believed in your Christ, I was a slave, trapped in a cult, afraid that a sadistic god would torture me after I die.

Jeffrey Dahmer had a lot of fun even when he was engaged in sins that did hurt people, and yet the God he knows is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and relenting from disaster.

 

I don't understand why you are concerned if you hurt people. I can understand not breaking the law to avoid incarceration, and I can understand avoiding harm to people when there is a possibility of payback, but what apologetic can you offer against harming others when it is in your interest?

 

When I was an unbeliever, i couldn't unhinge my mind from the "vestigial" knowledge that harming others for personal gain(or spite) was wrong. Fortunately, there are philosophers who can help you overcome those leftover biological remnants of religion, like Michel Foucault. Foucault taught (and walked the walk) that only by transgressing socio-religious norms could we unfetter ourselves from the past and open the door forward to our morally-evolved future. Next to Heidegger's Nazi epistemology, Foucauldian Transgressionism is the most influential philosophy of the 20th century. I think Foucault was being a whole lot more intellectually honest about sin than you are. Why are you afraid of being more evil than you are?

 

Go on believing what you want barnacleben, I won't stop you, but it really won't matter what you say. Most people here have no intention of going back to your cult, sorry to disappoint you.

I don't expect anyone here to be interested in becoming a Christian. But as most of you know, that isn't how belief works. One minute you can believe something with all your heart, and the next minute you believe something else. You don't change your beliefs, changes in belief happen to you. If you're not sure what I mean, try unbelieving in gravity. Beliefs aren't something that you decide on. Even with someone in denial, they know deep down that they don't "believe" what they believe and often do anything they can distract themselves from thinking about it.

 

 

We already know that you worship an immoral thug and call it "God" and want nothing to do with it. Also, by calling your deity "God", you are saying that it created the universe and everything in it, while the other gods people believe in are false. That's a pretty arrogant belief.

Arrogance doesn't enter into it. Either God is correct in his claim that there is only one God, or He isn't. Is it arrogant for you to deny the resurrection of Jesus, while Christians believe it? If what you believe about God is true, then what I believe is false, and vice-versa.

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 As such, any attempt at asking you questions would be a pointless exercise in your ability to regurgitate the interpretations of the Protestant Bible provided by Luther, Melanchthon, Chemnitz, et al. I can do that. I can read.

But it would not be unreasonable to assume that you haven't. Not even many Lutheran pastors have sunk their teeth into Chemnitz' Two Natures in Christ.

 

Furthermore, there are many things I believe which are not covered in the Lutheran confessions.

 

Tell us the real reason for the hope that is in you that doesn’t begin with “well, the Bible says…”

I have no hope outside of Jesus. God's word is the power of salvation. His word makes what is dead, alive.

 

 

So please, pretty please, with sugar on top, provide a defensible and reasoned argument substantiating your assertions and deal with the solid counter-arguments that have already been presented to you with something other than merely more scripture quotes.

Better, more qualified men than I have destroyed the arguments being re-offered here, sometimes centuries ago. I do not expect that re-offering those rebuttals in response is particularly useful. After all, you can read.

I know that all of you are comfortable pretending that you have deep levels of expertise in textual criticism, but I doubt any of you reads a single ancient language, or has any formal training. I do not have this formal training, nor am I an expert. I am comfortable admitting this.

However, I've also seen many false statements and widely discredited statements, that should not persuade a studied amateur. Instead what is offered is an avalanche of uncritical arguments and sometimes flat out distortions. It doesn't lend credibility to your extimonies when not a single person has done enough amateur investigation to recognize these. 

 

The fact that they are uncritically swallowed by the cult of unbelief feels a lot like when I was growing up in church and pastors would just make up random things, and then they would get passed around from church to church with no investigation.

 

You forget that I too have been an ex-Christian. I have felt my worldview crumble. My challenge to the bunch of you, if you are intellectually honest, is to go seriously evaluate these arguments, and start keeping each other honest on the ones which simply aren't true, or the ones that are simply mindless attacks. I am one person with a finite amount of time. So far I have only managed to respond to a few posts. Nobody has offered anything which causes me concern for the veracity of the text. However, people seem utterly convinced that they've made these perfectly damning arguments. Sharpen each others iron.

 

 

Why make all this so complicated? I ask Jesus to appear to me in person and he doesn't. Adios belief system. Volumes can be written about what Jesus did and what he was like and what he wants but when it gets down to reality, he is non-existent and book knowledge is irrelevant because it doesn't make him appear right here in front of me. Christianity is a [futile] mental exercise. Nothing more. The same baloney yesterday, today and tomorrow.

 

Non-Christians are utterly convinced of their belief systems [or lack of] just as you are utterly convinced of yours. Nothing can make either of us believe what we don't want to believe. One difference between us though is I don't feel it is my duty to spread the word about my beliefs nor do I really care if anyone believes how I believe. So enjoy your Christianity and I will enjoy a bit of debate. :-)

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Jeffrey Dahmer had a lot of fun even when he was engaged in sins that did hurt people, and yet the God he knows is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and relenting from disaster.

 

I don't understand why you are concerned if you hurt people. I can understand not breaking the law to avoid incarceration, and I can understand avoiding harm to people when there is a possibility of payback, but what apologetic can you offer against harming others when it is in your interest?

 

When I was an unbeliever, i couldn't unhinge my mind from the "vestigial" knowledge that harming others for personal gain(or spite) was wrong. Fortunately, there are philosophers who can help you overcome those leftover biological remnants of religion, like Michel Foucault. Foucault taught (and walked the walk) that only by transgressing socio-religious norms could we unfetter ourselves from the past and open the door forward to our morally-evolved future. Next to Heidegger's Nazi epistemology, Foucauldian Transgressionism is the most influential philosophy of the 20th century. I think Foucault was being a whole lot more intellectually honest about sin than you are. Why are you afraid of being more evil than you are?

 

I find it's a common line of reasoning for Christians to say, "why do good (or refrain from doing evil) if no God will punish you for your bad deeds?"  Two points here: first, virtually all religions have a system of punishment for evil, so what you say really only applies to atheism.  Secondly, most atheists I know do have a sense of right and wrong which compels them to do good.  They'd probably say it's an evolutionary adaptation.  But in a way this could be seen as a more powerful motivation to do good.  I'm sure you'd say you do good because you love God and not because you fear punishment.  But ultimately, would you not say that your belief in objective good and evil originates from God's physical power over you?  This seems to me like a version of "might makes right."  I'm not saying that such a motivation is good or bad, only making an observation.

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Christians believe the resurrection without a scrap of evidence. Why would it be arrogant to deny it?  You are living in a fantasy world, Ben.

 

Not sure why you keep returning to Jeffrey Dahmer.  Did you know the man personally, or what the hell?

Foucauldian Transgressionism is the most influential philosophy of the 20th century

 

And citing this ism, that ism, ism, ism ism...  it doesn't get you anywhere.

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I'm not seeing much point to this thread... it's boring.

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Not sure why you keep returning to Jeffrey Dahmer.  Did you know the man personally, or what the hell? 

 

I think he's trying to get at the supposed redemptive power of Christ.  The idea is that Jeffrey Dahmer is a stand-in for "worst person in the world," and he's conveying that even such a man as this can be saved.  He might mentioned Hitler, except that Hitler professed Catholicism rather than evangelical Christianity.

 

I'm not seeing much point to this thread... it's boring.

 

I don't know, I find Ben to be better than other Christians I've talked to online.  At least Ben doesn't sound insane or write word salads.  True, he hasn't answered a lot of my questions, but we've all been hard on him and thus he has a large number of posts to respond to.  I'm hoping that at some point he'll get to the issues I raised.

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Not sure why you keep returning to Jeffrey Dahmer.  Did you know the man personally, or what the hell? 

 

I think he's trying to get at the supposed redemptive power of Christ.  The idea is that Jeffrey Dahmer is a stand-in for "worst person in the world," and he's conveying that even such a man as this can be saved.  He might mentioned Hitler, except that Hitler professed Catholicism rather than evangelical Christianity.

 

 

 Yes, Bhim. of course I know he is using Dahmer as an illustration of pure evil.

 

What annoys me is that he doesn't seem to comprehend the injustice of the damn fictional atonement.

 

Anyway, I would like to get Ben down to the real world and that isn't going to happen.

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I know that all of you are comfortable pretending that you have deep levels of expertise in textual criticism, but I doubt any of you reads a single ancient language, or has any formal training. I do not have this formal training, nor am I an expert. I am comfortable admitting this.

 

I have no expertise in textual criticism. I do have common sense, reason, and logical thinking which, when applied to the bible scriptures illuminates how ridiculous and absurd it really is.

 

I do not read any ancient languages. Why is it important that I learn one? So that I can have an emotional experience of speaking in the same language as our fictional savior Jesus? So I can think I'm doing [or being] something important for our fictional savior Jesus So I can do the ultimate waste of time and research a book of fiction in its original ancient languages? No thanks. I'd rather spend my time researching something 'real.'

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...try unbelieving in gravity. 

 

Your veneer of reasonableness is cracking and the troll is showing through. Better step up your game while you still have some people fooled.

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Not true. Without Christ, I sure feel free and the "sins" that don't hurt anyone when I engage in them are really fun. No slavery here. When I believed in your Christ, I was a slave, trapped in a cult, afraid that a sadistic god would torture me after I die.

Jeffrey Dahmer had a lot of fun even when he was engaged in sins that did hurt people, and yet the God he knows is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and relenting from disaster.

 

I don't understand why you are concerned if you hurt people. I can understand not breaking the law to avoid incarceration, and I can understand avoiding harm to people when there is a possibility of payback, but what apologetic can you offer against harming others when it is in your interest?

 

When I was an unbeliever, i couldn't unhinge my mind from the "vestigial" knowledge that harming others for personal gain(or spite) was wrong. Fortunately, there are philosophers who can help you overcome those leftover biological remnants of religion, like Michel Foucault. Foucault taught (and walked the walk) that only by transgressing socio-religious norms could we unfetter ourselves from the past and open the door forward to our morally-evolved future. Next to Heidegger's Nazi epistemology, Foucauldian Transgressionism is the most influential philosophy of the 20th century. I think Foucault was being a whole lot more intellectually honest about sin than you are. Why are you afraid of being more evil than you are?

 

Would a gracious and merciful god torture people in fire for disbelief while allowing a serial killer into Heaven for saying, "Please forgive me?" and becoming a total slave? In my opinion, no, a gracious and merciful god would not do that. Only a corrupt and sadistic god would do that.

 

I am concerned about not hurting people because I have the ability to feel empathy. I know what it's like to be hurt by others and don't want others to go through the same thing. I don't hurt people because I don't want them to hurt me. It is in my best interest not to hurt people, because by treating others the way I want to be treated, I am setting an example of the kind of society I want to live in.

 

I am actually intellectually honest about sin. First, I don't believe there is any such thing as sin, but you do. In this list of "sins" there are actions in it that hurt no one whatsoever, but somehow hurt your god, despite him setting all humans up to fail, so that they would be born with a sinful nature they could not resist. That is like programming a robot to kill and telling the robot it's evil for doing exactly what it was programmed to do. If you also program it to feel guilty, then what you get is a very depressed and guilty robot, but in reality, the robot is not responsible for its programming, the designer is. It seems as if your god wanted to be offended, just so he could punish humans in extremely cruel and sadistic ways.

 

The list of "sins" that do harm others, I don't do those because, as I said, it actually benefits me more to not hurt others than to hurt them. Besides, your Bible clearly contains instructions to harm others, in terrible ways. There are instructions in there to rip pregnant women open and tear out their fetuses. There are instructions to slaughter children and infants. There are instructions there on where you can buy your slaves and how you can treat them (beating them as much as you want, just as long as they don't die is acceptable).

 

 

 

 

Go on believing what you want barnacleben, I won't stop you, but it really won't matter what you say. Most people here have no intention of going back to your cult, sorry to disappoint you.

I don't expect anyone here to be interested in becoming a Christian. But as most of you know, that isn't how belief works. One minute you can believe something with all your heart, and the next minute you believe something else. You don't change your beliefs, changes in belief happen to you. If you're not sure what I mean, try unbelieving in gravity. Beliefs aren't something that you decide on. Even with someone in denial, they know deep down that they don't "believe" what they believe and often do anything they can distract themselves from thinking about it.

 

 

That I agree with, actually. Most people don't choose what to believe. They simply believe what's true based on the evidence and/or what they have been convinced to believe. I can believe that I'm Superman, but it won't make it true, just like disbelieving in gravity wouldn't mean it's not real. I could probably choose to believe those nonsense things, but I would be delusional.

 

 

 

We already know that you worship an immoral thug and call it "God" and want nothing to do with it. Also, by calling your deity "God", you are saying that it created the universe and everything in it, while the other gods people believe in are false. That's a pretty arrogant belief.

Arrogance doesn't enter into it. Either God is correct in his claim that there is only one God, or He isn't. Is it arrogant for you to deny the resurrection of Jesus, while Christians believe it? If what you believe about God is true, then what I believe is false, and vice-versa.

 

 

Actually, yes, arrogance does enter into it. Humans said, "God said, 'this and this and this...'" Some of them managed to convince themselves that a god actually said what they told people a god said and some probably knew that they were just conning people. Either way, the people who created Christianity, just like the people who created every other religion, wanted to have answers to explain what they did not know and all claimed their answers were true and that the other proposed answers were false. That is arrogance, to say, "I know these answers are correct and that your proposed answers are wrong. I know that my god is real and your god(s) are all false." This is precisely what you are doing and have been doing.

 

I don't deny the resurrection of Jesus, I just don't accept it because I'm not convinced of it. If I claimed to be absolutely certain that it didn't happen and that anyone who believes it did happen was stupid or deceived, yes, I would be arrogant, but I don't think like that and I haven't said that. I am convinced that you are trapped in a cult and that is why I believe that to be the case.

 

If your god is real and wants me to believe he is real, then he better prove it to me in a way that I can be absolutely certain that he is real and that some other god isn't. However, maybe your god doesn't see the point, if he is real. If he is real, he probably knows that I consider him to be an immoral, narcissistic thug and that I can't trust him at all, I don't know, but I am not convinced that your god is real or that any other gods people believe in are real.

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Jeffrey Dahmer had a lot of fun even when he was engaged in sins that did hurt people, and yet the God he knows is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and relenting from disaster.

 

Are you talking about the same God who killed a guy for preventing the Ark of the Covenant from falling over?  That is the God who is slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, gracious and merciful?  You mean the God who killed Lot's wife for turning around but found Lot to be a great man of God for offering his daughters up to be raped and then in turn getting raped by his daughters?  You mean the God who demanded a human sacrifice from Abraham?  "Go kill your son, your only son!"  Only to turn around and say "Just kidding!"?  That is the merciful God?  You mean the God who helped Japhte after Japhte offered a human sacrifice and then God didn't send an angel to say "Just kidding" but allowed the sacrifice to continue until it became a pleasing aroma to the Lord?  Is this the God who ordered "Judah shall attack first" so that 47,000 men of the Tribe of Benjamin would die along with all of their innocent wives and every single one of their blameless children - all to avenge the rape of two women?

 

Jeffrey Dahmer was following the example of the God of the Old Testament. 

 

 

 

I don't understand why you are concerned if you hurt people. I can understand not breaking the law to avoid incarceration, and I can understand avoiding harm to people when there is a possibility of payback, but what apologetic can you offer against harming others when it is in your interest?

 

I realize you were directing this question at another but I really want to answer.  When I do evil then I know that I caused evil.  When I do good then I know that I caused good.  The only meaning my short life has is the difference I make.  The atheist who does good on his own accord is more ethical then the motive of all the religious people trembling in fear of their God or desperately trying to earn a reward.  And yes I am aware of the dishonest Christian theology that denies that they are trying to earn a reward.  As if all those stories about eternal blis in heaven and eternal punishment in hell have no affect on anybody - it's the main sales pitch; the primary bait to the scam.

 

 

 

 

When I was an unbeliever, i couldn't unhinge my mind from the "vestigial" knowledge that harming others for personal gain(or spite) was wrong. Fortunately, there are philosophers who can help you overcome those leftover biological remnants of religion, like Michel Foucault. Foucault taught (and walked the walk) that only by transgressing socio-religious norms could we unfetter ourselves from the past and open the door forward to our morally-evolved future. Next to Heidegger's Nazi epistemology, Foucauldian Transgressionism is the most influential philosophy of the 20th century. I think Foucault was being a whole lot more intellectually honest about sin than you are. Why are you afraid of being more evil than you are?

 

You have no business talking about intellectual honesty.  What sin?  First you produce a God who is offended by anything.  Until you do that there is no real sin.  

 

As far as harming others goes religion isn't the thing suppressing it.  Humans are social by nature.  We survive only because some other person provided for us and protected us.  It's biology, not religion.

 

 

 

 

If you're not sure what I mean, try unbelieving in gravity. Beliefs aren't something that you decide on. Even with someone in denial, they know deep down that they don't "believe" what they believe and often do anything they can distract themselves from thinking about it.

 

Bravo!  Yes I agree with you 100% on that point.  However there is plenty of evidence for gravity and none for God.  Try this instead.  Pick a nice amputee or somebody who is blind.  There are plenty of nice people suffering with something like that in this world.  Then every day you pray to your God for a miracle for this person.  The miracle will never happen.  God always answers "no" when you ask for something that cannot happen on it's own.  God must hate amputees or else maybe God doesn't exist.

 

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I don't expect anyone here to be interested in becoming a Christian. But as most of you know, that isn't how belief works. One minute you can believe something with all your heart, and the next minute you believe something else. You don't change your beliefs, changes in belief happen to you. If you're not sure what I mean, try unbelieving in gravity. Beliefs aren't something that you decide on. Even with someone in denial, they know deep down that they don't "believe" what they believe and often do anything they can distract themselves from thinking about it.

 

 

 

Before someone told me what gravity was I experienced things falling.

After I learned of gravity things continued falling.

 

Before someone told me about Jesus I had never met anyone that I would now think was Jesus.

After I learned of this character called Jesus I never met anyone that I would think of as Jesus nor called himself as such.

As an ex-Christian I can say I have yet to meet this Jesus.

 

Slight difference between gravity and Jesus.

 

Someone might not "immediately" be able to flip an on/off switch to belief but with time it can fade away. I chose to be a Christian because my wife was. I decided I did not like it after a while because guilt was causing irritation. So I shut it off. Without the reinforcement of church, Christianity just fades away. At least that was my experience.

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I really couldn't read all of the posts in this thread. As several have said in so many words, it's going nowhere.

But as far as how much Xtians really believe in loving their neighbors, consider the Watergate mantra: Follow the money. I took one of those fast motor trips through Western Europe a few years ago, Rome was incredible. It's cathedrals, chapels, statues, frescoes. paintings, sculptures, artifacts, catacombs, sarcophagi must have absolutely overwhelmed the masses. A reckless display of wealth to the poor that made my stomach hurt. All at the expense of the poor, in every sense of the word. What an irony that still escapes the gullible: 

The money was extracted from the poor by fear and coercion by the church for it to buy, build  or make luxuriant, arrogant and condescending artwork and buildings for use by thieves pretending to to be the representatives of God himself and God's son, who humbly preached to eschew the things of this world and prepare for the next life by worshiping God, selling all their wealth and taking care of widows and orphans and the other poor. Indeed, it was the biggest scam of all time and it's still happening.  bill

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 Yes, Bhim. of course I know he is using Dahmer as an illustration of pure evil.

 

 

 

What annoys me is that he doesn't seem to comprehend the injustice of the damn fictional atonement.

 

Anyway, I would like to get Ben down to the real world and that isn't going to happen.

 

 

Ah, I see.  Apologies, then, if I appeared to be patronizing you.  I will give Ben this: a lot of Americans don't know the Bible very well.  As a Christian I used to lament this.  Now I feel it's not such a big deal, since I feel that people should spend more time understanding their own religions (if they have any) and less on meaningless interfaith dialogs with evangelicals.  I suppose it's a bad habit of mine, though, to always default to an assumption that the person I'm talking to knows nothing about Christianity.

 

Yes, I absolutely agree that the redemption found in Christ is in fact a gross injustice.  In principle I don't have a problem with the idea that Jeffrey Dahmer could be "redeemed" by God from his sins.  But I believe that a.) finite sin does not merit eternal punishment and that receiving fairness from God instead of mercy doesn't necessitate eternall hell and b.) divine reward (if it exists) is based on actions more than beliefs.  If Jeffrey Dahmer had dedicated the rest of his life in prison to doing good deeds rather than simply professing faith in Jesus, perhaps I could see this as mitigating his prior evils.  But the idea that he can be saved from any divine retribution by simple belief in Jesus is, frankly, revolting.

 

The basis for Christian forgiveness is that we should forgive others since their transgressions against us will either be punished in eternal hell, or lain on the crucified Christ.  This is as absurd as saying I should forgive a person for punching me in the face because Jesus will either send said person to eternal hell, or God will punch Jesus in the face as vengeance on my behalf.  Neither option is preferable to me!

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I have no expertise in textual criticism. I do have common sense, reason, and logical thinking which, when applied to the bible scriptures illuminates how ridiculous and absurd it really is.

 

I do not read any ancient languages. Why is it important that I learn one? So that I can have an emotional experience of speaking in the same language as our fictional savior Jesus? So I can think I'm doing [or being] something important for our fictional savior Jesus So I can do the ultimate waste of time and research a book of fiction in its original ancient languages? No thanks. I'd rather spend my time researching something 'real.'

 

 

Regarding this business of lack of expertise in textual criticism, I think it is a rather poor argument.  In principle Ben's basic idea is correct: someone who has no training in textual criticism really has no business speaking authoritatively on the subject.  We can, however, appeal to authorities.  Appeal to authority may be a logical fallacy, but it is a practical thing that we all engage in when we read go get our cars repaired or visit physicians (to give two common examples).  Most of us know very little about how our cars and even our own bodies operate, and we trust the authority of people who know better.  Even scientists do the same thing when we cite papers by other authors.  From a logical standpoint, appealing to a higher authority doesn't make an argument correct.  But we place a certain level of trust in those who are deemed experts.

 

Ben could quote textual critics who think that the synoptic gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  I could easily produce other critics who disagree.  How much do you want to bet that the critics I quote will be from real universities, while the ones he cites are from evangelical seminaries?  Enter the accusations of secularism in academia.

 

At the end of the day, we're going to do research on textual critics and find that the argument for Biblical veracity is not as ironclad as evangelicals would have us believe.  While I agree with Ben that most of us (certainly myself) are not qualified to argue textual criticism, we can cite trained textual critics.  And most of the real scholars I read do not support the arguments put forth by evangelicals.

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