A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
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21-11-2012, 05:05 PM
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
Hey, One.

Continue on your path but always know that your mother is a highly intelligent and very thoughtful person who clearly has a lot of love in her heart for you. Believe whatever you feel is right, but never forget what you have in her.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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21-11-2012, 05:14 PM
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
(21-11-2012 01:59 PM)onedream Wrote:  I told my mother recently that I was doubting the existence of God. We've had some good conversations.

She's reacted well. She's a smart and compassionate woman. You can read her previous response to me here: http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ring-faith

I sent her another letter yesterday. Here is the letter:

Mom,

Ok...question for ya.

The First two commandments are "You shall love The Lord Your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

And the second is 'You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself."

Then, the God of the Old Testament instructs the Israelite's to
completely wipe out entire people groups. He also instructs them to
enslave others. He also gives the Jews permission to keep virgins of
conquered peoples "for themselves." I think we can assume this wasn't
for their sewing skills. See: Rape.



Later in the New Testament, the Pharisees RIGHTLY asked "Who is my
neighbor?" Jesus says "EVERYONE is. Even your enemy." I understand this
question from the Pharisees and their confusion in the light of
Israel's history. Their God told them to basically commit genocide. He
also told them to rape and pillage their way across the land he had
promised them. The pharisees were confused. "This guy (Jesus) says
EVERYONE is my neighbor and I have to love EVERYONE. But our God told us
to kill everyone in the way of God's will. What the heck? This guy's
not from God. He doesn't even talk like our God."



I understand their confusion and their assumption that Jesus was just a trouble maker who had come to stir the pot.



What's
your thought on: A: The brutality of the old Testament Jehovah. B: The
apparent contradiction between "Love your neighbor" and "Kill them all,
and rape the young virgins." And C: The seeming contradiction between
Jesus' message of "Love everyone" and Jehovah's Old Testament behavior?

================================================================================​================

Below is her response to me:

Son,

Okay - let me preface my answer with a few points:


First, when I was younger, I thought about these things and eventually I
had answers that were satisfactory to me, but I'm probably a bit rusty.
I'll do my best.




But second - keep in mind that you and I will never come up with answers
that people who WANT to argue won't be able to argue with. It will not
be "prove-able" and people are going to believe what they want to
believe.




And third, I hope that you're talking to God and listening to His
answers, too. They will be much better than mine. :-) His thoughts are
not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. Just the fact that there
is no "time" in eternity and He doesn't experience existence in time
demonstrates to me how very, very different His reality is from ours.




I don't think any of us (or any group of us) has all the answers, but I
believe that we're each called to walk in the light that we're given.
And ultimately, I know this one thing: God is love. It is his very
nature. My Bible has a note on Hosea 2:19 that elaborates on God's
"hesed" - his loyal loving kindness. It is his central character (even
in the O.T.) and His desire is to share it with us.




So more to the point now: I think the "human race" was a whole lot
different in the O.T. times, and I think the reason is that the Holy
Spirit was not present upon the earth. Therefore evil was unrestrained
in Old Testament times and life was pretty much what we now call
"barbaric."




I understand the Bible to say that everything God did in the O.T. was to
prepare the way for Jesus. If God had not prepared the tribe of Abraham
and turned it into the nation of Israel, how would the world have been
ready to receive Jesus and have any understanding at all of who He was
and what His significance was ? But God chose a man and gave him a
promise and that promise was passed down as the family grew into a tribe
and, eventually, into a nation. Then they were taken through a whole
process to become formed into a new nation with a way of living and
viewing life that was profoundly different than the rest of those around
them. (And Jesus arrived right at the time that Greek culture and the
Roman empire were spreading over the continents of Europe, Asia, and
Africa - very interesting timing)




Back to the point - I think that in spite of some of the horrific things
that God told the Israelites to do, they were still "less barbaric"
than the groups they were driving out of Canaan. When you consider what
all we DON"T know those times and all that God DID/DOES know, I'm
content not to second guess the wisdom of His course of action. It's a
whole other world and culture to me - I haven't a clue what "right" and
"wrong" were in that world, and i don't believe that any human being
does.




But after Jesus was crucified and risen, the Holy Spirit was poured out
upon the earth in way that had not been before, bringing about a
fundamental change in human existence. The story of the New Testament
is, thus, vastly different from the old.




Now about the Pharisees and the Saducees - a lot had gone on in their
history since the time God had told the Israelites to kill all the
Canaanites, and that was no longer their direction from God. The New
Testament makes it clear that these guys were the politicians of their
day and they were using God's laws to feather their own nests and to
take advantage of the people. The leaven of the Pharisees was hypocrisy.
Notice that the religious leaders were the ones that Jesus spoke
harshly to and about, not the Romans or the common "sinners." THEY had
the WORD and THEY were supposed to be God's representatives, but they
were using it to their own advantage. They were not seeking to know God
and walk with him in his hesed and demonstrate it to those put in their
care.




Like I said in the beginning - I don't know everything (that's for
sure), but I am convinced of this- God is love. You and I have been
lucky enough to see that manifested in the life of your grandpa.




So there are some answers - I don't know if they're of any help, but they're sent with much love.




First of all, I must say, you seem to have a wonderful loving mother.

Secondly, her answer to you was an answer based upon her faith and knowledge. It was a very good answer from a Christian, and much better than we would see from most Christians.

But let me explain something to you ...

You, apparently, are one who has chosen to not believe in religion. You seem to have taken the road towards reason as opposed to the road less traveled. Your mother, on the other hand, is a religious person. She's doing the best she can do to get through this life with a hope and a prayer.

Obviously you love her, as she loves you. So, why challenge her and her beliefs if she is happy? If she finds hope that those who passed on before her are in a better place, why not let her have those hopes? Having those hopes are one way to cope with such things in life.

If she brings no harm to you or anyone else with her beliefs, then let her enjoy the beliefs and hopes she has. In due time, the beliefs in these religions will fade off as the human race better learns to distinguish fact from fantasy, but at this time just let her be.

It's what you do with yourself that will help bring the world into the realm of reason. It's what you do with your future children that will bring a new hope to the human race. The beliefs of your mother serve as a crucible to your intellect that will only serve to strengthen your determinism to pave a new road to the future of humanity.

So give her a hug, and tell her you love her. After all, that's all that really matters between you and your mother, isn't it?

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were ...
Born This Way
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21-11-2012, 05:35 PM
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
(21-11-2012 02:31 PM)onedream Wrote:  "Mommy, please talk me out of not believing in God. Please Mommy?"

Really, it's that sort of thing.

Oh, well then, it's alright my sweet Son. Sometimes books have nasty characters and great characters who get themselves into all kinds of predicaments while giving us various glimpses of human nature. Just learn from it what you can of human nature to help you decide how you wish to govern yourself in your world. Don't let this be the only book you read for examples of human nature. And always remember: it's just a book - it's fiction. I see you are realizing this my wonderful Son... you are my favorite, you know?

Now, how long will you be staying for Thanksgiving? Shy

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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21-11-2012, 05:46 PM
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
I disagree Free.

Every belief can be, and should be, challenged, especially I feel if a person is happy because of their belief. One should be happy because of their life, independent from their beliefs.

The people closely associated with the namesake of female canines are suffering from a nondescript form of lunacy.
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21-11-2012, 05:55 PM
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
The "Purity" of the Messianic Line? Huh?

So God will use genocide and racism to purify the land for his purpose?

Sounds like Nazi Germany to me.

Well thought out and well constructed argument. However, it puts my logical "spider sense" to buzzing. It seems like a bit of assumption and semantic acrobatics.




(21-11-2012 04:33 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  Okay, addressing commandments:

What you said was from Jesus. That wasn't from the 10 Commandments. Jesus consolidated these into two.

You mom was right about OT events paving the way for Christ. All the brutality and murder was a cleansing of the land to ensure the purity of the Messianic line. Like I've mentioned before, these actions are "good" in accordance that they serve a purpose; not that they are moral by human standards.

As for rape: Moses commanded rape. You never see God commanding rape. He does give instructions for those that do rape or have been raped. Men are also commanded to take the women "that they burn for" as wives - meaning they have to care for them. Even if men give these forced wives their freedom, God commanded them to not enslave them; however, it gives the women a crappy deal because now they have to fend for themselves and are now defiled.

As for what I just mentioned: yeah, that's a crappy, crappy deal, but it's a better deal than slavery or death. God commands of that time also followed society. In society, women weren't very highly regarded. In any other group, those women would either be killed or enslaved once the man decided to not want them anymore as a wife. This wasn't the case with what God commanded - He commanded a level of mercy.

Now, as for Jesus... Jesus came along and changed things. The law was the foundation of His teachings, so the law had merit; however, Jesus ushered in a new era since the Messianic line was no longer in need of preservation.

His teachings were about the love and grace of God and how it was all types of people. The Pharisees hated this because they had their livelihood and popularity because of the law and because of the Jews. Any opposition to this was considered a threat.

Jesus was fulfilling God's plan of love for His people... now, in order to reach that love there had to be all kinds of other collateral damage because of sin.

There is a stark difference between the OT and NT portrayal of God because of how God's plan was enacted. God didn't change; He simply used different ways to have His plan come to fruition.

The question for this, though, is "Why?"

I don't know if I can answer that. Maybe it was because God wanted others to know the power of Him and His people... and then know the power of His love. Or, it could be simply because of "because". Or, it could be something that I could never comprehend because His plan is still coming into fruition and I'll never see the end of it. Don't know.

Hope this makes some semblance of sense.
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21-11-2012, 05:57 PM
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
(21-11-2012 05:46 PM)Free Thought Wrote:  I disagree Free.

Every belief can be, and should be, challenged, especially I feel if a person is happy because of their belief. One should be happy because of their life, independent from their beliefs.
Of course they should be challenged, but more-so by those who have them. The OPs post reflects a delicate family situation between a mother and her son. To me, love and respect must be the order of the day between them as a family unit, as opposed to the challenges you and I face when theists come here anonymously on their own.

This family situation is not what we commonly see as atheist here on our forum. Generally, we see theists coming here, and we must ask, why are they here?

They come here, I believe, because they may harbor some doubts about their faith, and may be quite unaware of it. They think they are coming to "save us," and may be moved by compassion or any number of emotions.

We treat them quite differently, and we challenge them because we are quite unattached. They can shut down their PCs and leave if they have had enough.

But in a family situation, it's not that simple. So I encourage both of them to simply respect each other's point of view, and not challenge each other the way we would challenge others who we are not familiar with.

Sure they can ask questions to each other, but I would never challenge my mother with the kind of veracity that we employ here.

It's apples and oranges.

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were ...
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21-11-2012, 05:58 PM
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
I'm in the process of sorting this all out for myself.

I'm not trying to convince her. I'm asking her to help me understand "our" faith.

And the evidence is mounting against faith.


(21-11-2012 05:14 PM)Free Wrote:  
(21-11-2012 01:59 PM)onedream Wrote:  I told my mother recently that I was doubting the existence of God. We've had some good conversations.

She's reacted well. She's a smart and compassionate woman. You can read her previous response to me here: http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ring-faith

I sent her another letter yesterday. Here is the letter:

Mom,

Ok...question for ya.

The First two commandments are "You shall love The Lord Your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

And the second is 'You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself."

Then, the God of the Old Testament instructs the Israelite's to
completely wipe out entire people groups. He also instructs them to
enslave others. He also gives the Jews permission to keep virgins of
conquered peoples "for themselves." I think we can assume this wasn't
for their sewing skills. See: Rape.



Later in the New Testament, the Pharisees RIGHTLY asked "Who is my
neighbor?" Jesus says "EVERYONE is. Even your enemy." I understand this
question from the Pharisees and their confusion in the light of
Israel's history. Their God told them to basically commit genocide. He
also told them to rape and pillage their way across the land he had
promised them. The pharisees were confused. "This guy (Jesus) says
EVERYONE is my neighbor and I have to love EVERYONE. But our God told us
to kill everyone in the way of God's will. What the heck? This guy's
not from God. He doesn't even talk like our God."



I understand their confusion and their assumption that Jesus was just a trouble maker who had come to stir the pot.



What's
your thought on: A: The brutality of the old Testament Jehovah. B: The
apparent contradiction between "Love your neighbor" and "Kill them all,
and rape the young virgins." And C: The seeming contradiction between
Jesus' message of "Love everyone" and Jehovah's Old Testament behavior?

================================================================================​================

Below is her response to me:

Son,

Okay - let me preface my answer with a few points:


First, when I was younger, I thought about these things and eventually I
had answers that were satisfactory to me, but I'm probably a bit rusty.
I'll do my best.




But second - keep in mind that you and I will never come up with answers
that people who WANT to argue won't be able to argue with. It will not
be "prove-able" and people are going to believe what they want to
believe.




And third, I hope that you're talking to God and listening to His
answers, too. They will be much better than mine. :-) His thoughts are
not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. Just the fact that there
is no "time" in eternity and He doesn't experience existence in time
demonstrates to me how very, very different His reality is from ours.




I don't think any of us (or any group of us) has all the answers, but I
believe that we're each called to walk in the light that we're given.
And ultimately, I know this one thing: God is love. It is his very
nature. My Bible has a note on Hosea 2:19 that elaborates on God's
"hesed" - his loyal loving kindness. It is his central character (even
in the O.T.) and His desire is to share it with us.




So more to the point now: I think the "human race" was a whole lot
different in the O.T. times, and I think the reason is that the Holy
Spirit was not present upon the earth. Therefore evil was unrestrained
in Old Testament times and life was pretty much what we now call
"barbaric."




I understand the Bible to say that everything God did in the O.T. was to
prepare the way for Jesus. If God had not prepared the tribe of Abraham
and turned it into the nation of Israel, how would the world have been
ready to receive Jesus and have any understanding at all of who He was
and what His significance was ? But God chose a man and gave him a
promise and that promise was passed down as the family grew into a tribe
and, eventually, into a nation. Then they were taken through a whole
process to become formed into a new nation with a way of living and
viewing life that was profoundly different than the rest of those around
them. (And Jesus arrived right at the time that Greek culture and the
Roman empire were spreading over the continents of Europe, Asia, and
Africa - very interesting timing)




Back to the point - I think that in spite of some of the horrific things
that God told the Israelites to do, they were still "less barbaric"
than the groups they were driving out of Canaan. When you consider what
all we DON"T know those times and all that God DID/DOES know, I'm
content not to second guess the wisdom of His course of action. It's a
whole other world and culture to me - I haven't a clue what "right" and
"wrong" were in that world, and i don't believe that any human being
does.




But after Jesus was crucified and risen, the Holy Spirit was poured out
upon the earth in way that had not been before, bringing about a
fundamental change in human existence. The story of the New Testament
is, thus, vastly different from the old.




Now about the Pharisees and the Saducees - a lot had gone on in their
history since the time God had told the Israelites to kill all the
Canaanites, and that was no longer their direction from God. The New
Testament makes it clear that these guys were the politicians of their
day and they were using God's laws to feather their own nests and to
take advantage of the people. The leaven of the Pharisees was hypocrisy.
Notice that the religious leaders were the ones that Jesus spoke
harshly to and about, not the Romans or the common "sinners." THEY had
the WORD and THEY were supposed to be God's representatives, but they
were using it to their own advantage. They were not seeking to know God
and walk with him in his hesed and demonstrate it to those put in their
care.




Like I said in the beginning - I don't know everything (that's for
sure), but I am convinced of this- God is love. You and I have been
lucky enough to see that manifested in the life of your grandpa.




So there are some answers - I don't know if they're of any help, but they're sent with much love.




First of all, I must say, you seem to have a wonderful loving mother.

Secondly, her answer to you was an answer based upon her faith and knowledge. It was a very good answer from a Christian, and much better than we would see from most Christians.

But let me explain something to you ...

You, apparently, are one who has chosen to not believe in religion. You seem to have taken the road towards reason as opposed to the road less traveled. Your mother, on the other hand, is a religious person. She's doing the best she can do to get through this life with a hope and a prayer.

Obviously you love her, as she loves you. So, why challenge her and her beliefs if she is happy? If she finds hope that those who passed on before her are in a better place, why not let her have those hopes? Having those hopes are one way to cope with such things in life.

If she brings no harm to you or anyone else with her beliefs, then let her enjoy the beliefs and hopes she has. In due time, the beliefs in these religions will fade off as the human race better learns to distinguish fact from fantasy, but at this time just let her be.

It's what you do with yourself that will help bring the world into the realm of reason. It's what you do with your future children that will bring a new hope to the human race. The beliefs of your mother serve as a crucible to your intellect that will only serve to strengthen your determinism to pave a new road to the future of humanity.

So give her a hug, and tell her you love her. After all, that's all that really matters between you and your mother, isn't it?
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21-11-2012, 05:59 PM
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
Thanks, Mom. Pass the giblets.

(21-11-2012 05:35 PM)kim Wrote:  
(21-11-2012 02:31 PM)onedream Wrote:  "Mommy, please talk me out of not believing in God. Please Mommy?"

Really, it's that sort of thing.

Oh, well then, it's alright my sweet Son. Sometimes books have nasty characters and great characters who get themselves into all kinds of predicaments while giving us various glimpses of human nature. Just learn from it what you can of human nature to help you decide how you wish to govern yourself in your world. Don't let this be the only book you read for examples of human nature. And always remember: it's just a book - it's fiction. I see you are realizing this my wonderful Son... you are my favorite, you know?

Now, how long will you be staying for Thanksgiving? Shy
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21-11-2012, 10:02 PM
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
(21-11-2012 04:33 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  Okay, addressing commandments:

What you said was from Jesus. That wasn't from the 10 Commandments. Jesus consolidated these into two.

You mom was right about OT events paving the way for Christ. All the brutality and murder was a cleansing of the land to ensure the purity of the Messianic line. Like I've mentioned before, these actions are "good" in accordance that they serve a purpose; not that they are moral by human standards.

As for rape: Moses commanded rape. You never see God commanding rape. He does give instructions for those that do rape or have been raped. Men are also commanded to take the women "that they burn for" as wives - meaning they have to care for them. Even if men give these forced wives their freedom, God commanded them to not enslave them; however, it gives the women a crappy deal because now they have to fend for themselves and are now defiled.

As for what I just mentioned: yeah, that's a crappy, crappy deal, but it's a better deal than slavery or death. God commands of that time also followed society. In society, women weren't very highly regarded. In any other group, those women would either be killed or enslaved once the man decided to not want them anymore as a wife. This wasn't the case with what God commanded - He commanded a level of mercy.

Now, as for Jesus... Jesus came along and changed things. The law was the foundation of His teachings, so the law had merit; however, Jesus ushered in a new era since the Messianic line was no longer in need of preservation.

His teachings were about the love and grace of God and how it was all types of people. The Pharisees hated this because they had their livelihood and popularity because of the law and because of the Jews. Any opposition to this was considered a threat.

Jesus was fulfilling God's plan of love for His people... now, in order to reach that love there had to be all kinds of other collateral damage because of sin.

There is a stark difference between the OT and NT portrayal of God because of how God's plan was enacted. God didn't change; He simply used different ways to have His plan come to fruition.

The question for this, though, is "Why?"

I don't know if I can answer that. Maybe it was because God wanted others to know the power of Him and His people... and then know the power of His love. Or, it could be simply because of "because". Or, it could be something that I could never comprehend because His plan is still coming into fruition and I'll never see the end of it. Don't know.

Hope this makes some semblance of sense.


Hi KC, I know you genuinely believe what you've written here, but I can't let it go by without comment.

Christians often claim the OT was just a prelude to the so called "New Covenant," as allegedly propounded by Jesus. This is baloney, as anyone who has more than a superficial understanding of the real history can tell you. Any modern Jew will tell you too.

Paul invented the "New Covenant." It sprung entirely from his imagination. He stole the beliefs and traditions of an ancient religion and tried to shape them into something new (what became Christianity). Jeebus and his disciples were Jews, and didn't have a bar of it. Paul represented the gentile, or pagan world, not Jeebus.

The OT god was a violent, primitive entity. The Roman/Greek world was comparatively civilised, more modern and more rational. Christianity just pinched Judaism's god and reinvented him to make him more suitable. They used a manufactured spiel about Jeebus to help do that. If you get your head around that idea, you will understand the true essence of Christianity, and you'll be embarrassed by your old beliefs.

You have repeatedly failed to grasp this concept....that's ok....but could you try again? Have a read through the post on saint Paul. It's a cathartic realisation worth making.
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21-11-2012, 10:14 PM
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
I wish you the best in your search for answers, OneDream. In challenging your previous way of thinking, you are getting to know yourself more, becoming more in touch with yourself. It's normal to find yourself going back and forth, and getting confused sometimes at how you got from one conclusion to the next. It may at some times feel like pulling teeth. This journey was never meant to be easy, but it's not always meant to be hard. The more you discover about yourself, the better the chances you'll be easier on yourself, more relaxed and more content, knowing what is right and wrong for you. This is the Journey of You. It's not wrong not knowing, but it's wrong not wanting to know. In taking this challenge, the biggest challenge of them all in my view, you're being true to yourself. Never stop being true to yourself; you're number one.

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