Don't Theists ever think about how insanely out of proportion their beliefs are?
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16-11-2013, 07:38 AM
RE: Don't Theists ever think about how insanely out of proportion their beliefs are?
(15-11-2013 03:21 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  Shouldn't you be encouraging those on this forum to trust Jesus for salvation--and then later, you can explain to those who do about the predestined nature of their "choice"?

If he did, he'd be lynched right quick. We have separation of church and state here.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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16-11-2013, 10:38 AM
RE: Don't Theists ever think about how insanely out of proportion their beliefs are?
(16-11-2013 04:14 AM)Yasmin Wrote:  
(16-11-2013 02:02 AM)freetoreason Wrote:  As for the Arminian here, he can never answer why there is so much inequality in the 'light' given to individuals, billions of whom never had a realistic chance to believe in Jesus. He also has to ignore all those crazy versus about how wicked all people are, and you can only believe if you are elected for belief. At least Calvinists have a biblically consistent position, though absurd.

The Arminian here, and it's a she, actually. While I would agree in criticism of Calvinism, I really struggle to see how it's Biblically consistent. I would appreciate it if you could give me some of these verses and why you think they're more consistent with Calvinism so I could respond. But take away free will in the choice and you remove the ability of people to respond to God freely. Having people predestined as either saved or damned to hell not only violates that free will but denies God's grace. I think you're asking here what the Arminian does with the question of people who have never heard of Jesus? And that the Calvinist position at least levels the playing field a little? Actually I do have an answer. Huge topic, but I'll be as brief as possible.

Basically the answer comes from the OT and Paul. First of all you have through the OT God having a chosen people who were to be an example to the nations of how to have a relationship with Him, and through being a witness bring them to Him. So fast forward to the NT and we have Jesus, the Messiah, who would replace the sacrificial system and make a final reconciliation of man to God. But because man had free will, God made the offer, and man is free to accept or not. But it wasn't confined to one people now, but a final revelation to everyone. Paul recognised this and hence his mission to the Gentiles.

So what to do with the person who has never heard about Jesus? There's a great quote I once heard (can't remember where off the top of my head) but it was along the lines of 'when you go to a foreign land to preach to gospel, when you first arrive you should take off your shoes, for the ground on which you stand is holy' (a reference back to Moses and the burning bush). Well Paul recognised that man has an inherent knowledge and sense of God which influences how he will relate to the world around him and it is on this basis that God will judge. However if you have heard the gospel of Jesus you've heard the full revelation of God and this will change things.

But at the same time, I agree with the mathematician and thinker John Lennox when he referenced this in a debate I saw. We have to be very careful in that while Christians may believe that the gospel is true and that it has merit for everyone, no one can presume to judge on God's behalf. Even in OT and NT times the Jewish people would recognise 'God fearers' who weren't of the faith but recognised God's existence and authority.
Bit long and a bit rushed, but hope I've stated my position a little more clearly. Smile

Hi Yasmin, sorry about not paying attention to the gender. You're obviously a thoughtful and well read Arminian. Smile I've read Lennox. The trouble I have is even when you attempt to reason your way to some sort of supernatural creator/lawgiver, you'll never be able to decide whether it's Yahweh/Jesus, Allah, FSM or any of the other proposed deities. If you're wondering why I no longer believe, in a nutshell I had to acknowledge that not only is there zero evidence for Yahweh, there is a mountain of evidence against the claims of his Bible.

Since you are such a thoughtful lady, I'd like to pass along that I have two young girls. One of the things I'm most thankful for is that I'm no longer required to hold them to a worldview that views women as servile and second class at best. I want them to be strong, confident and equal partners with their future mate. To strive to contribute to the world in as meaningful way as any man can, not only as mothers but also as intelligent capable citizens. I'm not suggesting you don't want these things for yourself, only that your Bible would deny you them.

Thanks again for being more gracious than I was in my post.
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16-11-2013, 11:09 AM
RE: Don't Theists ever think about how insanely out of proportion their beliefs are?
(16-11-2013 02:02 AM)freetoreason Wrote:  Calvinism is frequently a way station to atheism for Christians. Oh, and you should consider how dishonest it is that you can't spring predestination on candidates for conversion until after they've gone through their Arminian stage. You have to crazy them up first before they are ready for the 'meat' (i.e. the really crazy stuff). It's all utter nonsense! Come on over, the water's warm, and logical!

I might imagine this as well. It looks to be just a step away from the edge of the gigantic cliff of ego. Nothing like a good egotistical abyss to keep one on the religious edge. Wink

I thought it was hysterical that PJ was distressed enough about it and actually felt the need to suggest to Kingsy that sucking in people here with scripture, before subjecting them to doctrine of election, might be a "better sell". So so so telling.

Thing is, Kingsy walks the edge while PJ has no idea he's even walking the earth.

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17-11-2013, 01:20 PM
RE: Don't Theists ever think about how insanely out of proportion their beliefs are?
(16-11-2013 10:38 AM)freetoreason Wrote:  If you're wondering why I no longer believe, in a nutshell I had to acknowledge that not only is there zero evidence for Yahweh, there is a mountain of evidence against the claims of his Bible.

Since you are such a thoughtful lady, I'd like to pass along that I have two young girls. One of the things I'm most thankful for is that I'm no longer required to hold them to a worldview that views women as servile and second class at best. I want them to be strong, confident and equal partners with their future mate. To strive to contribute to the world in as meaningful way as any man can, not only as mothers but also as intelligent capable citizens. I'm not suggesting you don't want these things for yourself, only that your Bible would deny you them.

Thanks again for being more gracious than I was in my post.

Hi, thanks for your reply. I would like to know where the evidence against the Bible comes from, because if we're talking about evidence for the God of the Bible in my opinion it's different from the textual reliability of it; which there is plenty of evidence to support it.

What you want for your daughters is of course what every parent wishes. But I struggle to see how it's denied in the Bible. From Deborah in Judges to Ruth, Esther, Sarah and Rahab in the OT, we see the ministry of Jesus which constantly affirms the worth of women and even how they have better faith then the men around them (like the samaritan woman at the well, the adulteress, Mary and Martha, etc). Paul I admit can be a bit of a struggle. But I don't think he puts down women- the opposite in fact- but I think it's more from not understanding the entire context of what he's saying. And punctuation. I was Bible shopping the other day and was pleased to see that one translation actually put in the proper punctuation, meaning that some sentences that have been used to say 'Paul has a problem with this' was actually where he was simply quoting the letter he had received (a couple of centuries problems cleared up right there). I often wonder how much hardship could've been avoided if people preached what the Bible said and not what they wanted it to.

It's funny how people on the opposite side of things can still agree on things isn't it? What you want for your daughters is exactly what my parents instilled in me- to contribute to the world, to realise my own worth as a person, but because first of all I was of worth because God saw me that way. And don't worry, I saw nothing ungracious in your post Smile
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17-11-2013, 03:07 PM
RE: Don't Theists ever think about how insanely out of proportion their beliefs are?
In reference to talking above about society putting women down, I know churches haven't always been a shining example, but on the other hand I love this quote from William Booth, methodist preacher and founder of the salvation army. 'don't instil, or allow anybody else to instil into the hearts of your girls the idea that marriage is the chief end of life. If you do, don't be surprised if they get engaged to the first empty, useless fool they come across.'
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17-11-2013, 11:01 PM
RE: Don't Theists ever think about how insanely out of proportion their beliefs are?
So you don't see misogyny throughout the Bible? It starts right away with Eve being blamed for deceiving Adam and being cursed to have her desire for her husband and pain in childbirth, on through Righteous Lot offering his daughters for rape to save two male angels and his wife being killed for looking back while he gets to go on and commit drunken incest with his daughters. Abraham prostitutes Sarah, women owned as property, killing witches, unclean childbirth, unclean menstruation, burning prostitutes, women's vows invalid, women lumped with oxen and donkeys in the 10th commandment, women taken with livestock as plunder, rape victim must marry rapist. That's just the Pentateuch. Then there's Paul with women keeping silent and submitting to husbands and keeping hair long and the rest. No, I don't want my girls learning biblical womanhood.

The fact is that Christian Fundamentalists are the ones being true to the Bible's prescription for women. Visit a fundie church and ask whether you want your daughter to have those expectations. Yasmin, with all due respect, the bible is presumably yahweh's word, and it is an absolute mess.
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18-11-2013, 02:53 AM
RE: Don't Theists ever think about how insanely out of proportion their beliefs are?
I would never expect my daughters to have the expectations of wrong teachings imposed on them. I would suggest fundamentalist interpretation is more of a mess than the actual material. But, and I'm going to focus on Paul here, I don't think Paul's teachings are understood properly and they shouldn't be judged on how they can be imposed today, or the half a dozen lines every critic knows at the expense of anything else. Why would Paul refer to deaconesses or commend them in his letters if he didn't think they were worthy of the authority? Or Galatians 3:28 (The 'In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile' passage)?

I'd need the full passages you have issues with in regards to Paul, but I can give you a very brief, general answer to your issues with him:
1. Keeping silent and no authority. My first questions would be: who is he writing to, what's the social context of the church (cultural demographics, persecuted?) and what issues are they bringing to him to answer. What's possibly going on in that church that he writes this advice (which doesn't exclude every authority) when other churches appear to have no issues like this that need to be addressed? Once those questions are answered, we can start to understand the passage better.

.2 Authority over the husband. Are you reading this passage through the eyes of roman society or 21st century western eyes? And I don't say that as having a go at you, but this has been something that has been not only misinterpreted but also unfortunately used to oppress women in the past. Women were not without value or completely powerless back then, but the family unit was still headed by the males. The fact is that the the early church was trying to show that they were still respectable citizens, coupled with the fact that they were dealing with the internal issues of an inclusive religion working within a class society. So you had slaves attending worship with their masters and then still serving in the household. So you have these passages which goes a lot further than 'wives submit to your husbands.' It deals the issue of mutual submission in a loving relationship ( eg. husbands love your wives like your own bodies. Funny, I'm yet to come across a criticism that says 'how dare Paul tell an husband to love his wife!), family dynamics and the slave/owner and employer/employee relationship.

.3 The hair and clothing, I think I know the passages you're referring to. It's back to that trying to live in the early church and not seem like fools or threats to society in general. So Paul is constantly in all his letters coming back to Christian behaviour and the kind of qualities they should be cultivating (both male and female). Paul really wants them in their behaviour to distinguish themselves from the world and part of this is being more concerned with your spirituality and character rather than the fashions of the world. Worrying about who you are as a person and not being pressured to follow the fashions or questionable behaviour of others - sounds like a message we try and get across to ourselves a lot these days.

Look I know at the end of the day what I say may have little impact on your opinion (and I haven't been having a go at you personally, but the popular interpretations of these passages) but I'm just trying to say that just because we surface read something doesn't mean we properly understand it; that requires studying the text, not just pulling out a verse here or there.
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18-11-2013, 03:53 AM
RE: Don't Theists ever think about how insanely out of proportion their beliefs are?
(18-11-2013 02:53 AM)Yasmin Wrote:  I would never expect my daughters to have the expectations of wrong teachings imposed on them. I would suggest fundamentalist interpretation is more of a mess than the actual material. But, and I'm going to focus on Paul here, I don't think Paul's teachings are understood properly and they shouldn't be judged on how they can be imposed today, or the half a dozen lines every critic knows at the expense of anything else. Why would Paul refer to deaconesses or commend them in his letters if he didn't think they were worthy of the authority? Or Galatians 3:28 (The 'In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile' passage)?

Is that one of Paul's authentic letters, or one of the forgeries? It's no surprise that Paul would contradict 'himself' when he's only believed to have authored half of the letter attributed to him in the Epistles. And yes, that is the consensus of mainline Christian scholarship.


(18-11-2013 02:53 AM)Yasmin Wrote:  I'd need the full passages you have issues with in regards to Paul, but I can give you a very brief, general answer to your issues with him:
1. Keeping silent and no authority. My first questions would be: who is he writing to, what's the social context of the church (cultural demographics, persecuted?) and what issues are they bringing to him to answer. What's possibly going on in that church that he writes this advice (which doesn't exclude every authority) when other churches appear to have no issues like this that need to be addressed? Once those questions are answered, we can start to understand the passage better.

Simple sexism, treating women differently because they are women. There doesn't appear to be any greater reason than that. Women simply were second class citizens, and that was a cultural norm then as it is now in many parts of the world. It does nothing to speak for the divine inspiration of any writing attributed to Paul.


(18-11-2013 02:53 AM)Yasmin Wrote:  .2 Authority over the husband. Are you reading this passage through the eyes of roman society or 21st century western eyes? And I don't say that as having a go at you, but this has been something that has been not only misinterpreted but also unfortunately used to oppress women in the past. Women were not without value or completely powerless back then, but the family unit was still headed by the males. The fact is that the the early church was trying to show that they were still respectable citizens, coupled with the fact that they were dealing with the internal issues of an inclusive religion working within a class society. So you had slaves attending worship with their masters and then still serving in the household. So you have these passages which goes a lot further than 'wives submit to your husbands.' It deals the issue of mutual submission in a loving relationship ( eg. husbands love your wives like your own bodies. Funny, I'm yet to come across a criticism that says 'how dare Paul tell an husband to love his wife!), family dynamics and the slave/owner and employer/employee relationship.

Yes, thanks for reminding me that Paul also endorsed slavery instead of speaking out against it. Paul could have told them to free their slaves and treat them as equals worthy of all human dignity, and not own and treated like farm equipment. He did not. I expect better from someone claiming divine inspiration from on omni-benevolent being, and I daresay you should too.


(18-11-2013 02:53 AM)Yasmin Wrote:  .3 The hair and clothing, I think I know the passages you're referring to. It's back to that trying to live in the early church and not seem like fools or threats to society in general. So Paul is constantly in all his letters coming back to Christian behaviour and the kind of qualities they should be cultivating (both male and female). Paul really wants them in their behaviour to distinguish themselves from the world and part of this is being more concerned with your spirituality and character rather than the fashions of the world. Worrying about who you are as a person and not being pressured to follow the fashions or questionable behaviour of others - sounds like a message we try and get across to ourselves a lot these days.

Except all you're doing is swapping cultural pressure with religious pressure! How do you not see this? Their culture says it's okay to have their head uncovered, yet their religions says it is not (and only for women!). It's a horse a piece, but somehow the pressure of Paul's opinion gets a pass because? That right there is classic confirmation bias.


(18-11-2013 02:53 AM)Yasmin Wrote:  Look I know at the end of the day what I say may have little impact on your opinion (and I haven't been having a go at you personally, but the popular interpretations of these passages) but I'm just trying to say that just because we surface read something doesn't mean we properly understand it; that requires studying the text, not just pulling out a verse here or there.


Yep, try studying your text at the very beginning; with the pagan polytheistic origin of your religion. Or how about with the multiple authors and revisions that formed the basis Christianity/Paulinity was built upon?
















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18-11-2013, 12:19 PM
RE: Don't Theists ever think about how insanely out of proportion their beliefs are?
(15-11-2013 03:17 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  
(15-11-2013 12:21 PM)kim Wrote:  Wow, lot of projection going on there but I appreciate the need and willingness to unload. Shy So to speak.

What a coincidence you should allude to this subject of sexual obsession. I was just reading an exchange between a couple of our forum members about sexual obsession and repression as a part of indoctrination, and the outcome of enduring such a life.

I find this a very interesting and hopeful exchange:


A couple of weeks! There is hope for you PJ. Shy

Some of the dam is good. Dam good! Have you never heard "abstinence makes the heart grow fonder"? Smile

By the way, this line of thinking is itself soon a double standard. The same culture that says it's wrong for Christians to encourage other Christians with homosexual desires to abstain from fulfilling those desires, since they are "damming" (no pun intended) a natural course of action itself condemns adultery as it destroys marriages and children.

Wow, you really have an unhealthy obsession with other people's sexuality.

Quote:In other words, where do we draw the line? Should paedophiles and polygamists and etc. in our modern (and don't waste your time quoting the Bible to me apart from its true context) day give reign to their desires or just masturbators and homosexuals? i'm being serious here, not flippant.

Slippery Slope fallacy much?

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


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18-11-2013, 12:33 PM
Don't Theists ever think about how insanely out of proportion their beliefs are?
(18-11-2013 02:53 AM)Yasmin Wrote:  ...But, and I'm going to focus on Paul here, I don't think Paul's teachings are understood properly ...

Not understood properly by whom?

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