A question for those who have been believers... (or still are)...
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24-05-2011, 12:47 PM
RE: A question for those who have been believers... (or still are)...
Thanks for the input everybody, as I've been a lifetime atheist (basically) and have only been around a few theists long enough to debate superficially I'm really confused sometimes as to how people can twist a belief system out of all these apparent inconsistencies. I guess hundreds (or thousands) of years of apologetics can do 'miracles' when you want to clarify the impossible.

What is also interesting is the believers will respond to this by saying there are no inconsistencies if you study the Bible etc..., however each believer you talk to or read about has their own view about it so there is no consistent set of beliefs. Yet another part of the puzzle I find frustrating.

We all enter this world in the same way: naked; screaming; soaked in blood. But if you live your life right, that kind of thing doesn't have to stop there.
Dana Gould
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24-05-2011, 09:40 PM (This post was last modified: 25-05-2011 11:25 PM by Lilith Pride.)
RE: A question for those who have been believers... (or still are)...
Generally those who say that they don't read the bible. there are certain passages they look to on their own and then they do bible study in a group with a spiritual leader in charge who helps them see the story's meaning. For them there are no inconsistencies, because everyone for the most part agrees with the pastor. Christians are often well aware that other churches think differently, but mob mentality tends to gain ground within each church as the whole congregation accepts the pastors word whether they agree or not.

Check out the podcasts if you haven't as Seth talks about being an apostate often. He'll be a view you don't know. Or if you haven't check out evid3nc3 he makes a very compelling display of christianity for those who don't understand it.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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25-05-2011, 10:46 AM
RE: A question for those who have been believers... (or still are)...
(24-05-2011 12:47 PM)Fear Culture Wrote:  Thanks for the input everybody, as I've been a lifetime atheist (basically) and have only been around a few theists long enough to debate superficially I'm really confused sometimes as to how people can twist a belief system out of all these apparent inconsistencies. I guess hundreds (or thousands) of years of apologetics can do 'miracles' when you want to clarify the impossible.

What is also interesting is the believers will respond to this by saying there are no inconsistencies if you study the Bible etc..., however each believer you talk to or read about has their own view about it so there is no consistent set of beliefs. Yet another part of the puzzle I find frustrating.

I grew up with fundamentalist parents who read the Bible every day, they knew it by heart, and even then they seemed to be perfectly capable of rationalizing themselves out of the contradictions and inconsistencies. The mental gymnastics they went through amazes me to this day. See they weren't 100% Bible literalists, so they could always wiggle their way out of a sticky spot. For example, if the Bible says "don't eat pork and shellfish" they would immediately point at its divine origin because only god could know about E.Coli but if the Bible says whales are fish, they'd say "oh well, at the time the people who wrote it didn't know the difference". Sometimes, like in the case of the sun standing still in the sky, they just called it "figurative language". In the case of the differences between the Gospels, they'd just say the truth was a blend or mix of all the various versions. In general they'd just brush the whole thing off claiming the core message was untouched by these pesky details.
What I learned is that if you believe in something desperately enough, you'll be able to rationalize and justify pretty much anything.

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
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25-05-2011, 08:07 PM
 
RE: A question for those who have been believers... (or still are)...
(19-05-2011 12:47 PM)Fear Culture Wrote:  I've asked this elsewhere and not gotten a good answer. Do believers literally define terms like truth, love and fairness through their faith?

[...]
So... if god is love and god brutally kills his enemies is it loving to dehumanize your enemies and is it acceptable to kill them without conscience within the religious definition?

Hi, is there any chance you live in Brisbane, Australia? You (and others) may be particularly interested in coming to this forum that'll be of Christians discussing the exact issue you've brought up here. I'm a student in the middle of preparation for exams so I don't have time to respond online myself, but I believe there are reasonable answers to your questions that are often better to discuss in person.

If anything, I just thought it would be good for you to know there are intelligent Christians who are thinking through these issues - and we don't actually live in fear of asking the hard questions. Here's the blurb about the event (it's on the 5th of June):

Osama may be gone, but reli­giously motiv­ated viol­ence still shakes the world. Many people rightly won­der if the real issue traces back to reli­gious texts them­selves. Per­haps ter­ror is in the mind of God? The Bible — espe­cially the Old Test­a­ment — is replete with divinely sanc­tioned viol­ence. So, what are we to make of this? How do God’s justice and mercy relate? How can any­one trust this seem­ingly bi-​​polar God, for­cing one minute and for­giv­ing the next? How do we integ­rate Joshua con­quer­ing Jericho with Jesus for­giv­ing Jer­u­s­alem? Fol­low­ing the 5pm mes­sage, there will be an open forum at which any ques­tion can be asked, start­ing around 7pm. So come along, and join the dis­cus­sion as we explore how God’s got the whole world in His hands, both the right hand of power and the left of grace, together in the full­ness of love.

If you're interested in coming, just reply and I will send you the details (like I said, it's in Brisbane). Otherwise, in a week or two, a video of the message will be posted online and I can send you a link.

I am suggesting this because you sound like you would genuinely like to know how Christians reconcile these issues. This is probably the best way to find out.

Peace and respect.
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26-05-2011, 12:22 PM
RE: A question for those who have been believers... (or still are)...
(25-05-2011 08:07 PM)katawat Wrote:  
(19-05-2011 12:47 PM)Fear Culture Wrote:  I've asked this elsewhere and not gotten a good answer. Do believers literally define terms like truth, love and fairness through their faith?

[...]
So... if god is love and god brutally kills his enemies is it loving to dehumanize your enemies and is it acceptable to kill them without conscience within the religious definition?

Hi, is there any chance you live in Brisbane, Australia? You (and others) may be particularly interested in coming to this forum that'll be of Christians discussing the exact issue you've brought up here. I'm a student in the middle of preparation for exams so I don't have time to respond online myself, but I believe there are reasonable answers to your questions that are often better to discuss in person.

If anything, I just thought it would be good for you to know there are intelligent Christians who are thinking through these issues - and we don't actually live in fear of asking the hard questions. Here's the blurb about the event (it's on the 5th of June):

Osama may be gone, but reli­giously motiv­ated viol­ence still shakes the world. Many people rightly won­der if the real issue traces back to reli­gious texts them­selves. Per­haps ter­ror is in the mind of God? The Bible — espe­cially the Old Test­a­ment — is replete with divinely sanc­tioned viol­ence. So, what are we to make of this? How do God’s justice and mercy relate? How can any­one trust this seem­ingly bi-​​polar God, for­cing one minute and for­giv­ing the next? How do we integ­rate Joshua con­quer­ing Jericho with Jesus for­giv­ing Jer­u­s­alem? Fol­low­ing the 5pm mes­sage, there will be an open forum at which any ques­tion can be asked, start­ing around 7pm. So come along, and join the dis­cus­sion as we explore how God’s got the whole world in His hands, both the right hand of power and the left of grace, together in the full­ness of love.

If you're interested in coming, just reply and I will send you the details (like I said, it's in Brisbane). Otherwise, in a week or two, a video of the message will be posted online and I can send you a link.

I am suggesting this because you sound like you would genuinely like to know how Christians reconcile these issues. This is probably the best way to find out.

Peace and respect.

Unfortunately I wouldn't be able to make it to Brisbane, I live in Canada. But please do send me a link to the clip when it's available.

I know there are intelligent Christians and I also know they are thinking these things through and I appreciate that. And I'm sure that the very fact that they are taking the time to think through the issues means they can see the viewpoint from the outsider that there is a lot of confusing aerobics going on when believers try to use reason to justify the worship of their God. I truly question my own stance on everything continually, it's a complicated confusing existence.

Honestly, on this one point, the morality of religion, I really wouldn't care so much except for the fact that theists often consider non believers to be less moral by default when statistics and life experience don't provide evidence of that. (Some will claim the opposite citing studies etc but I think both sides can cherry pick this issue in their favor.) The one way in which non believers are continual and habitual 'sinners' is that they don't believe and don't follow the religious code, whichever one the believer follows. To claim that another person is immoral and less deserving of trust or less deserving of holding a political position on these grounds is downright insulting.

I don't know where you stand on these issues and I do appreciate your offer as it's nice to see what certain Christians are saying about these confusing matters. Of course as I said in a follow up answer to this question there are so many denominations and interpretations within these denominations that it's hard to get an idea of where Christians (!) stand... or even where Methodists (!) stand. (I use an explanation point to mark the group as a categorical entity.) So much depends on the information that was given to the people at their particular church under a specific pastor or by their parent or friend or TV program etc...

Please do send me the link though and I'll be interested to see what they say. Cheers, James

We all enter this world in the same way: naked; screaming; soaked in blood. But if you live your life right, that kind of thing doesn't have to stop there.
Dana Gould
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09-06-2011, 03:57 AM
 
RE: A question for those who have been believers... (or still are)...
Quote:Please do send me the link though and I'll be interested to see what they say. Cheers, James

Thanks for your openness and honesty Smile

The link to the message is here: http://www.kbc.org.au/media/message-logo...two-hands/

Please let me know any questions or feedback you have after watching it. It goes for just under an hour. For your interest I've posted the verses and quotes from the beginning of the presentation below:

Genesis 6:5-8
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually... So He said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Daniel Dennett:
"Part of what makes Jehovah such a fascinating participant in stories of the Old Testament is His kinglike jealousy and pride, and His great appetite for praise and sacrifices. But we have moved beyond this God (haven't we?)."

Deuteronomy 7:1-2
"When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you - the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you - you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them."

Christopher Hitchens:
"[The forgotten Canaanites were] pitilessly driven out of their homes to make room for the ungrateful and mutinous children of Israel. ... The ground is forever soaked with the blood of the innocent."

Psalm 2:10-12
Be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

Richard Dawkins:
"The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."

Don't forget to watch the presentation Smile

Thanks, Kat
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