In this corner ....Thread Started September 15 at 7:05AM
<< Thread Modifed September 15 at 7:12AM >>
I don't know what to respond to, so I'll just ramble a bit. HAAAAA!!!!!
I think the basic error being made in the debate is that there is a difference in the nature of the religious individual and the atheistic individual.
I will certainly grant that ALL religions have perverted their own teachings to pursue goals falling well short of any kind of Godly standard. ISIS is surely obvious. Christianity has a long history of its own. However, the perversions of religion or faith do not in and of themselves abrogate the veracity of faith.
Are there not as many examples of perversion with no foundation in religion. Has every despot held up religion as a justification?
In any case, the problem with a discussion of this nature is that this takes on the trappings of a contest. Once that occurs, the purpose of the discussion is lost. I studied philosophy and logic. ANYTHING can be ARGUED. But often, all TOO often, the argument becomes the thing.
I know ... tangent.
In any case, as the radical renegade Christian, shunned by my own kind, let me say this: NO, it is NOT a tenant of my beliefs that bashing baby's heads on rocks is a proper thing to do. NO, I don't think God thought so either. YES, I think there was probably an atmosphere amongst mankind at the time clearly considering such actions justified or necessary. Perhaps in the context of a barbaric kill or be killed, annihilate or be annihilated society, it WAS justified. I don't know, I wasn't there and I couldn't possibly attain the mindset to fathom it. Hell, I can't fashion the mindset to fathom DEBATING slavery in the Civil War days. Debating slavery? What the hell kind of society DEBATES slavery?
Secondly, is that the foundation and cornerstone of my belief system-- whether God condoned baby head bashing? Hmm ... maybe it's whether Eve was made from one of Adam's ribs. Wow, that's hard to believe. Can I believe that? Should I chuck the whole thing if I can't? Methuselah lived 969 years? WHAAAAAAAT? Looks like I must toss the whole thing out. No, all of that is what it is, a history, a story, or even exactly what happened word for word. It's up to the believer to believe what they will. I don't mind what they believe if they get and follow the gist of it all. I take is as a story and explanation of ancient history combined and not a literal account of events. That seems reasonable to me. The only time I'd have a problem with anyone's interpretation is if they read it and take it as a license to bash baby's heads against the rocks OR wipe out entire races BECAUSE IT IS IN THE BIBLE.
IF someone upon reading the Bible comes to the conclusion that we should all love each other and treat each other as we wish to be treated then I think they have a pretty good handle on what the book is about, the basic foundation anyway. That's a great couple of building blocks if you ask me. That is what Jesus taught, or what I think he taught. I can't see how anything but good can grow from that. It's all in the name, yes? Jesus CHRIST. CHRISTianity. I'm not a Noahian or a Paul of Tarsian or a John the Cool Baptisian. I'm a Christian. I dig Jesus.
I contend there is a force separate from us that is superior to us. It is accessible to us and we can interact with it. Every religion seeking such a force is seeking the same force as there is only one. That stands to reason. "God" is a good name for it. One can visualize it any way that suits them. I can't imagine what it might appear like. I would guess it is not visible and just pure energy. As we are able to connect with each other, so we connect with God. I've connected with people outside of my body more than once. I've FELT the presence of God in much the same way.
I see Jesus as the force that makes Christianity different from all other religions for he offers redemption. I love redemption. It's a second chance. I believe in forgiveness and a second chance. I believe in faith. I believe in patience and giving people every chance and giving them another chance if they want one. I like the idea of forgiving someone who is TRULY sorry. EDIT--YES, no question this is a belief an atheist can share. :))
Well, the problem with a post like this is that what I believe requires a book. This little off the cuff diatribe is full of holes and easy to assail. I am loathe to defend it honestly. I'm just trying to convey the gist of how I view things.
I believe there's a purpose and as a philosopher I was a hopeless romantic. Of course, I never won a single argument with a realist. Still, there IS a purpose because I say so.
Finally, the best teacher is one who can take something complex and simplify it in a way that the masses can learn it. (another tangent, what's new?)
Had enough? LOL
Jeesh, I'm sure I should've read this first ... oh well.
Reply on September 15, 2017 08:53 AM
Bravo to you dear Mr. Cahill
"Men will wrangle for religion, write for it, fight for it, die for it; anything but live for it." Charles Caleb Colton
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Reply on September 15, 2017 10:16 AM
I'm not going to respond to most of your well-written post, not because it doesn't deserve an answer, but because I've already written so much on the subjects that I'm even boring myself.
I don't share your admiration for the redemption idea. Anyone who has read more than a couple of my posts in this forum, or even my occasional poem or essay elsewhere on the site (and that's probably nobody) will know that in general I don't have a particularly lofty view of our species. I think in many ways we are a blight upon the planet, not to mention a major threat to its very existence. There are the occasional rare exceptions (from all walks of life) who from time to time give me hope.
To my mind, as negative as this belief might be, it is a far cry from the belief that every single human is born broken, and in need of fixing. That there must be some celestial authority figure to whom we must bow and scrape and from whom we must beg forgiveness. You can say it's pride or arrogance, if you want, to reject such a notion, but I see no reason to make any such assumption.
The idea that all people are responsible for the sins of another, and that one person can vicariously become the scapegoat for the "crimes" of millions of others is, to my mind, not only wrong, but a hangover from ancient superstitions and rituals.
You raise the issue of whether the "goodness" of religious teaching, and particularly that of Jesus is a bad thing. I think most of Jesus' teachings were fairly benign - though if you wanted to press me, I could probably bring myself to question that. Certainly compared to the OT, on the whole they are a bit less confronting. Of course, the really good bits aren't all that original.
In any case, I have no problem, as I said before, with what anyone chooses to believe, as long as it has no impact on myself or others besides the holder of those beliefs. Of course, if they want to parade those beliefs in public, and assert them as some sort of "wisdom" to which everyone really ought to adhere, then they invite discussion of those views - as we have here on this forum :)
Reply on September 15, 2017 10:38 AM
I'm sure you know I agree with more of what you say than disagree. Most of my views come from personal and practical experience. I spent a majority of my life NOT attending church for many of the reasons you set forth, the notions of servitude and paying for the sins of others ... being born worthless, etc. That never flew with me either and isn't how I took the Bible.
In any case, the little church I attend now is very welcoming and non-judgmental. Ha! They accept ME, that just about says it all. They have open arms for anyone who walks through the door. They constantly look for ways to help the community. The sermons are about love and helping each other etc. I think Jesus would dig us. I don't think Jesus would dig say a John Hagee or these preachers who get rich off of people who can't afford it. Well, enough said. :))
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Reply on September 15, 2017 11:41 AM
I've read your piece, and came up with some thoughts of my own...nothing earth shattering, just what came to me as I was reading you very thoughtful comments.
So I'm just going to voice my thoughts on parts of it...no particular order, just as ideas come into this old head of mine...and that can be rather slow..LOL
I love discussions, always have, but I don't necessarily believe a discussion has to turn into anything other than an exchange of ideas, thoughts, and feelings...
I do not believe there should be anything to prove in a conversation between differing points of view...I believe in learning, from conversations, discussions, of any kind.
There comes a time, when the reason for the discussion, conversation, looses its initial meaning, and turns into a personal attack on people of differing points of view...this I don't think is necessary...and I've said that before.
When we come to any discussion where religion is the subject, from its inception sides are taken, and those sides can take on the chance to insult, demean, and show distain for the ideals of the other...I sincerely find that to be the case, in my humble opinion...and so unnecessary...not only here, but elsewhere...and because of that, its difficult to have a civilized conversation sometimes...
There is clearly a difference in the nature of the religious individual and the atheistic individual...and there seems to be a distinct effort to make that point...however, that can only be done by the words used...thus...what else can we expect!
Condemnation is not a conversation, its not the exchanging of ideas, and most certainly not what any normal human being would be willing to accept.
From the beginning of time until now, we have had zealots, those for and those against the religious establishment...and both in my humble opinion are Wrong!
Day after Day I see perverted actions, having nothing to do with the religion I serve, yet being blamed on religion...the KKK claim to be Christians, and surely the horror of ISIS claim similar truths...well! to me the only way I, watch now!... as I said I, meaning me alone, only me, can describe each of them is that they are negative to MY understanding of what Jehovah teaches...
Does that mean that everyone has to come to that same conclusion...most certainly not, however, it doesn't mean that in my mind, I must accept the feelings of others that I am WRONG!
I use the KKK only as a perfect example of a renegade Christian, shunned by other Christians, denominations, congregations and the everyday ordinary decent person on earth..
Because there are people on earth that are appalled by the barbaric actions of some, in so many ways...and so am I...but would I be justified in using violence toward that man...In all honesty I would have to say "NO"...."Why"...simply because God says "vengeance" is His...alone!....and so already the thought of doing harm to any man is a sin.
All I know is what I read in scripture, and what I consider TRUTH, and the fact is that two people can read the same thing and come up with extremely different interpretations.
Does that mean that each of those persons have to change their minds, be "converts"...it most certainly doesn't ...BUT!..it doesn't mean we just can't accept that person as a reasoned intelligent person...
I definitely agree with you..."its up to the believer to believe what they will" and again I agree with you..."the only time I'd have a problem with one's interpretation is if they read it and take license to bash baby's head against the rocks OR wipe out entire races"..then they have lost me.
If anyone comes to the conclusion that ALL people should be treated as JESUS would treat them, that we should love each other, and be willing to treat others, just as they wish to be treated...I'd be so happy....I'm a Christian too, Michael, I may be an old lady, but I dig JESUS too!
Yep, " I contend there is a force separate from us that is superior to us...It is accessible to us and we can interact with it"....those are the kind of words that I hold dear to my heart.
Yep, "every religion seeking such a force is seeking the same force as there is only ONE"
and for those that call that force "God"...without having seen that force, are being Faithful to His word...(that's just my point of view).
How do we connect with God!... first by the belief that He is, then by mindset, I believe our conscience is often God speaking to us, reminding us of what He expects, and our promise to obey, yes I said Obey, His commandments.
My earthly father gave all of my sisters, and myself a set of rules, and to do what he asked...and believe me when I say this....if we failed to follow those rules, there were consequences...I loved my Dad, and I also tried to follow ALL of his rules...but often failed, because of my wish to do what I wanted to do...
Now!...if our heavenly father gave us a set of commandments, and Him being the creator of all things, Master of the universe what do you think should happen to us?
"I see Jesus as the force that makes Christianity different from all other religions for He offers redemption"...yes indeed, I believe that too...I believe in forgiveness and that second chance too...
But further than that, I believe in what everlasting life means, and how to achieve it.
I have to again say I agree with you, in that, what I say, feel, and know, is open to interpretation by those that cannot be expected to believe any of it.
I guess I'm more of a realist, but there would be those that say what I feel think and know isn't real...simply fantasy..
Faith isn't a complex excercise in futility...its a learned example of complete and full belief in a living God...whose name is above all others...and as noted in scripture His name is Jehovah....
Yet I can respect anyone that doesn't believe as do...I only wish they could do the same toward those believers.
This was a very honest, and thoughtful post speaking to "YOUR" ideas, and beliefs...
I enjoyed reading every bit of it...sadly I'd need page after pager after page, to simply get across just what I would like people to understand...but just using that word is found to offend.
God Bless You!
Just Some Thoughts!
Reply on September 16, 2017 12:10 AM
I can't really go along with this idea because I am a person who adheres to maintaining original integrity of a creative piece and if the bible is the word of God it must be taken wholly as that. If a person can't accept that as fact, which I cannot, then that is done and done. (That and many other things) Cherry picking is why Christianity is so hopelessly fractured plus the book has been translated, scribed, re-scribed, edited, reedited, printed, reprinted and photocopied so many times it likely bears little resemblance to the original.
I believe the KKK are Christians, as was Hitler as is Charles Manson. I also don't believe entire groups of people can be disowned just because we see them as undesirable and don't want them in our heaven.
Reply on September 16, 2017 01:03 AM
The Bible is open to interpretation as are many works. Is is a literal depiction of actual events as they happened? Is there metaphorical aspects to it? It's clear there is no consensus even among any two believers you might choose at random. What I think it means and how I interpret it is MY interpretation. Very true, it HAS been translated and many groups have congregated to determine its makeup AND its changed fro time to time. Just the name, "The King James Bible" speaks to that. Very few even speak the original language some of it was written in. Be that as it may and allowing for those who point out other books that are similar to undermine it, so what? None of that changes my belief. If people find that foolish or ignorant on my part, that's fine. I'm sure there's a good argument to come to that conclusion.
I don't believe that ISIS is a representation of the Muslim faith OR that ALL Muslims are out to kill the infidels ie us. I don't believe that all Christians are of a mind with the KKK or that the KKK espouse a single tenant of Christian belief. Maybe it ISN'T my call to make. That may be true. I can't help but make it anyway.
I'm just stating my views in as simple a way as possible. There's more behind them than what I've stated, but that's my affair really. I'm fine with leaving it as is. :))
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Reply on September 16, 2017 09:21 AM << Modifed September 16 at 9:27AM >>
As I have stated, it would take, page after page, after page to express myself in any discussion on the religion/God I serve.
I'm pleased to say that in my uneducated way of thinking, if that's what some want to call it, I do believe in the word of Jehovah God, in its entirety...
"if people find that foolish or ignorant on my part that's fine" but changes absolutely nothing for me.
Not one person, that I know of anyway, denies the right of people to believe as they wish, or that a book so often rewritten, may have changed in its meaning...its what one feels, after reading it that counts to Jehovah...I have several different Bibles in my home...yet my beliefs mean the very same no matter which one I choose to read, at any given moment...I use them for reference purposes...
If anyone chooses to believe that the KKK,(as a group) Hitler, or Charles Manson (a murderer) are Christians, again, that's perfectly fine with me...since Jehovah does say, "vengeance" is His alone.
One of the greatest Blessings given to man, by our creator, is free will, mainly because we will always have the right to believe, or not believe in the very idea of a living God...and if one is a follower of Almighty God, Jehovah, we also know...He and He alone, in the end, will judge the lives we have lived...I know perfection, no matter how much we might try, is not attainable...but using it as a goal doesn't hurt..
I'm glad for anyone that finds themselves in a comfortable place in their lives, that they have come to conclusions, that prove themselves correct in their understanding of all things, where religion is concerned...yet I am also quite comfortable in my way of life.
Pleasing Jehovah may not be so easy, in a world where He is hated by so many, where His very existence is questioned, but for me to say "I am a Christian" can never be challenged by any human being...call me ignorant, foolish, stupid, or any other designation one chooses to use, it only makes me sure I have chosen the right path for my life...because scripture does tells us, there will always be those that will deny Him...its all right there in the Bible, and I believe every single word of that book..
Just Some Thoughts!
One man's take on life told thru humorous short stories from his childhood on into his mid-50's; from feeling like an outcast in school to being an adult. His intent: hope. Hope in that you shall see, no matter how rough life can seem -and is- at times, that you may be able to enjoy it. Each story will bring a laugh, a smile, a tear, a lesson.
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