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18-11-2015, 04:22 PM
RE: Email thread with pastor
(18-11-2015 04:15 PM)NolaToad Wrote:  My reply:

I think to a degree you may have missed my point (or, more likely, I didn’t express it well). I wasn’t arguing that what you did was not wrong or immoral. I don’t even know what it was. My argument was that it had to be something innate inside of you that told you it was wrong. Immoral actions are those that harm others, and that’s true independent of any book or commands from a god. Indeed, the bible lauds repeatedly actions that any fair-minded human knows to be immoral, like wiping out entire populations (genocide), enslaving individuals, etc.

I just don’t see where Christians find their basis for morality. To claim it’s the bible, in my mind, is disingenuous because of God’s ordination of that which is patently immoral.

I'm more comfortable with them claiming the Holy Spirit shows their hearts what is right and wrong. But an obvious question is, what about those who don’t claim to know God but still feel right from wrong? For instance, murder is wrong in nearly every society, whether it practices widespread Christian faith or not. It’s not only against the law, but people are horrified by it. Why is that, if they don’t know your particular god? Morality, in my view, transcends gods.

Moving on, you mentioned the “fact” that Jesus existed. Many notable scholars (Crabtree, Ehrman, et. al) argue that events discussed in the first three gospels could not have occurred the way they are discussed. The census that required everyone to return to the town of his or her ancestors, for example, is an impossibility in an impoverished society where people lived hand to mouth. Besides, the Roman record makes no mention of it. The story of the three wise men being led by a star to the birthplace of Jesus is unrecorded by other star gazers of the time, who kept meticulous notes. Also, the Zoroastrian religion tells the exact same story, and it far pre-dated the birth of Jesus.

But that’s not a hill I’ll die on. Whether a person named Jesus existed 2,000 years ago, I can’t say definitively one way or another. But for the sake of our discussion, I’ll grant you that he did.

The real question is whether he was a god. You mention, as evidence of the deity of Christ, that people have been martyred over the years for their faith in him. There’s no doubt in my mind that anyone who would pay the ultimate price for their god believes in him strongly. But their deaths in no way add veracity to the argument that their particular god exists. Humans have died for their religion since the dawn of man. I think we’d both agree that the jackasses who flew planes into the World Trade Center sincerely believed in their god. Would you argue their sacrifice is evidence that Allah is the one true god?

Perhaps these men also had “particular and peculiar” peace. Certainly their hands were steady enough to man the controls on the jets.

Christianity is the popular religion in our society, and you and I have both been raised (some might use the terms indoctrinated or brainwashed) to believe it is true. My parents got “born again” when I was 12, and from then on, I heard that Jesus was the way to salvation and the afterlife. I attended a Baptist high school where that was pounded into me every day. Finally, at age 18, after a falling out with my friends, I decided to submit and change my life. I was welcomed with open arms by the youth group at (previous church), fit in well and felt like I belonged. Did I critically analyze that which I had accepted as the new governing principle of my life? Heck no. I gobbled it up with both hands.

Don’t you think there are Muslim kids who do the same thing? Or Hindu or Taoist kids? Christians want those young men and women to question their faith when they’ve never even looked critically at their own.

Who wrote the books of the bible? Did they even think they were writing words that would be revered as coming from the hand of god by future generations? Who decided those particular books were the word of god? Why should we put so much faith in those men? Why are there so many blatant contradictions among the books? Shouldn’t that call into question their unity? Why does the scientific record not support the biblical accounts of the creation of man, global flood, etc.? Should that matter?

Most Christians can’t answer these questions, and they don’t care to. They just know they feel good when they go to church and are surrounded by like-minded individuals. “People have believed this for centuries,” they ponder. “It must be true.”

Would you have become a Christian if every influential person in your life had been a devout Muslim?

I can answer that question for myself. If all my life, I had been told Allah was the one true God and I needed to submit my life to him, I’m sure that’s where I would have turned in that season of disappointment and loneliness when I was 18. I turned to Jesus because that’s what I had been told was the right thing to do.

My parents would have served me better if they had cautioned me against falling for anything based on hearsay. No one should ever let their entire lives be ruled by anything without first researching the soundness of the claims being made by its proponents.

I’ll close with this: What evidence do you have the bible is the inerrant word of God?

By the way, I think you’ll enjoy this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB3g6mXLEKk

To whom is this reply directed? Can you quote the person you are answering?

Just hit Reply within their post.

Thanks. I am simply finding it hard to follow.

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
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18-11-2015, 04:28 PM
RE: Email thread with pastor
My most recent reply:

The worldview of everyone who’s ever been born was shaped by that individual’s nature and nurture, so I agree wholeheartedly that we approach life with certain presuppositions. On the subject of faith, you have the presupposition, just as I did, that the Christian God is real and the bible is his inerrant word, written by men and inspired by him. That being the case, you view the bible’s inconsistencies and apparent immoralities through a lens of faith, i.e. “Sure, it seems like a contradiction or an immoral action, but that’s simply because of my finite brain. I can’t always comprehend God, who exists on a higher plane.”

If, however, you separate yourself from your indoctrination and force yourself to view the bible clinically, like an outsider, its shortcomings become glaring. Or at least for me they did.

Among Christians, it seems to me, the god of the Old Testament gets a free pass because, well, he was just paving the way for the arrival of his son. But for millennia, the Israelites had nothing for a holy book but the Old Testament. That was their guiding document. Doesn’t it, at the very least, reveal the character of God?

Let’s look at specific examples from the Old Testament:

1) “Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” (1 Samuel 15:3). The god of the OT ordered genocide, the systematic murder of an entire population, including children. Our faith presuppositions have to be pretty entrenched to view that as anything other than a heinous action.

2) “Happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us, he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.” (Psalm 137). This scripture is part of the holy book clung to by those who claim non-adherents can’t possibly have a basis for their morality. That’s almost laughable.

3) “When men fight with one another, and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him, and puts her hand and seizes him by the private parts, then you shall cut off her hand.” (Deuteronomy 25:11-12). So someone breaks into my house in the middle of the night, and he and I struggle. It’s an even match, so Kristi jumps in, and happens to get ahold of the guy’s junk, which causes him to relent until I’m able to throw him out. Thanks for the help, honey, but now I have to cut off your hand. What an absurdity!

4) "Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. ‘Get out of here, baldy!’ they said. ‘Get out of here, baldy!’ He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled 42 of the boys.” (2 Kings 2:23-25). Seriously? God had 42 children mauled to death because they laughed at an insecure bald guy? I’ve heard about my follicle challenges from at least half the kids at church. Maybe I should call down curses and ask God to kill them all.

5) "Now, therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves.” (Numbers 31:17-18). What these poor girls, who had just watched their entire families get murdered, were used for is unclear, but at the very least, they were slaves, and at the worst, sex slaves. These were real human beings. Would a God of love consider them spoils of war? Disgusting.

6) “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.” (Exodus 21:2-4). Childhood slavery. How moral. At least the kids in Chinese sweat shops get paid something. Oh, in a later verse, God forbids the Israelites from owning Hebrew servants, a direct contradiction to this verse.

7) “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights.” (Exodus 21:7-10). The God of the bible, the world’s first proponent of human trafficking. God condemns all kinds of things in the OT, including sewing two unique cloths together. You’d think he could have said, “Hey, dummies, do you not see that it’s abhorrent to sell a young girl into slavery?” But, no, God apparently views her as a piece of property. Oh, and he’s also clearly not opposed to polygamy.

8) “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.” (Exodus 21:20-21) So, owning slaves is fine, and you can beat the crap out of them as long as you don’t kill them. An argument can be made that slavery is worse than murder. At least a murdered man’s suffering is over. The suffering of a slave lasts a lifetime. But God’s cool with it.

Bible verses like these — there are scores of others — always troubled me, but I’d read the explanations in concordances, and although I was never truly satisfied with the explanations, I’d sweep it all under the rug and focus on happier verses that inspired me — the ones we all can quote and celebrate in Sunday School.

I finally decided — about five years ago — to free myself from all presuppositions and explore the bible through a skeptic’s eye. In all honesty, I was 100-percent confident the bible would stand up, and I’d have a deeper, richer understanding of the God of the universe. What happened, however, was the opposite: The bible shriveled under the light.

If the god of the bible is real, the evidence for him and the veracity of his holy book should be all over the place. What I found is that it’s not. Believers must scale a mountain of evidence while blindfolded to reach fleeting faith in a book scribed by men. Beliefs can never change facts, but facts should always alter beliefs. I finally decided to look at the facts, and my beliefs changed accordingly.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am I took that step. As I’ve mentioned before, there was no "sin" going on in my life. My marriage was great, kids were healthy, job was solid, etc. I simply decided to take a step most Christians are scared to death to take: I actually had the audacity to try to verify what I believed.
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18-11-2015, 04:29 PM
RE: Email thread with pastor
(18-11-2015 04:22 PM)Banjo Wrote:  
(18-11-2015 04:15 PM)NolaToad Wrote:  My reply:

I think to a degree you may have missed my point (or, more likely, I didn’t express it well). I wasn’t arguing that what you did was not wrong or immoral. I don’t even know what it was. My argument was that it had to be something innate inside of you that told you it was wrong. Immoral actions are those that harm others, and that’s true independent of any book or commands from a god. Indeed, the bible lauds repeatedly actions that any fair-minded human knows to be immoral, like wiping out entire populations (genocide), enslaving individuals, etc.

I just don’t see where Christians find their basis for morality. To claim it’s the bible, in my mind, is disingenuous because of God’s ordination of that which is patently immoral.

I'm more comfortable with them claiming the Holy Spirit shows their hearts what is right and wrong. But an obvious question is, what about those who don’t claim to know God but still feel right from wrong? For instance, murder is wrong in nearly every society, whether it practices widespread Christian faith or not. It’s not only against the law, but people are horrified by it. Why is that, if they don’t know your particular god? Morality, in my view, transcends gods.

Moving on, you mentioned the “fact” that Jesus existed. Many notable scholars (Crabtree, Ehrman, et. al) argue that events discussed in the first three gospels could not have occurred the way they are discussed. The census that required everyone to return to the town of his or her ancestors, for example, is an impossibility in an impoverished society where people lived hand to mouth. Besides, the Roman record makes no mention of it. The story of the three wise men being led by a star to the birthplace of Jesus is unrecorded by other star gazers of the time, who kept meticulous notes. Also, the Zoroastrian religion tells the exact same story, and it far pre-dated the birth of Jesus.

But that’s not a hill I’ll die on. Whether a person named Jesus existed 2,000 years ago, I can’t say definitively one way or another. But for the sake of our discussion, I’ll grant you that he did.

The real question is whether he was a god. You mention, as evidence of the deity of Christ, that people have been martyred over the years for their faith in him. There’s no doubt in my mind that anyone who would pay the ultimate price for their god believes in him strongly. But their deaths in no way add veracity to the argument that their particular god exists. Humans have died for their religion since the dawn of man. I think we’d both agree that the jackasses who flew planes into the World Trade Center sincerely believed in their god. Would you argue their sacrifice is evidence that Allah is the one true god?

Perhaps these men also had “particular and peculiar” peace. Certainly their hands were steady enough to man the controls on the jets.

Christianity is the popular religion in our society, and you and I have both been raised (some might use the terms indoctrinated or brainwashed) to believe it is true. My parents got “born again” when I was 12, and from then on, I heard that Jesus was the way to salvation and the afterlife. I attended a Baptist high school where that was pounded into me every day. Finally, at age 18, after a falling out with my friends, I decided to submit and change my life. I was welcomed with open arms by the youth group at (previous church), fit in well and felt like I belonged. Did I critically analyze that which I had accepted as the new governing principle of my life? Heck no. I gobbled it up with both hands.

Don’t you think there are Muslim kids who do the same thing? Or Hindu or Taoist kids? Christians want those young men and women to question their faith when they’ve never even looked critically at their own.

Who wrote the books of the bible? Did they even think they were writing words that would be revered as coming from the hand of god by future generations? Who decided those particular books were the word of god? Why should we put so much faith in those men? Why are there so many blatant contradictions among the books? Shouldn’t that call into question their unity? Why does the scientific record not support the biblical accounts of the creation of man, global flood, etc.? Should that matter?

Most Christians can’t answer these questions, and they don’t care to. They just know they feel good when they go to church and are surrounded by like-minded individuals. “People have believed this for centuries,” they ponder. “It must be true.”

Would you have become a Christian if every influential person in your life had been a devout Muslim?

I can answer that question for myself. If all my life, I had been told Allah was the one true God and I needed to submit my life to him, I’m sure that’s where I would have turned in that season of disappointment and loneliness when I was 18. I turned to Jesus because that’s what I had been told was the right thing to do.

My parents would have served me better if they had cautioned me against falling for anything based on hearsay. No one should ever let their entire lives be ruled by anything without first researching the soundness of the claims being made by its proponents.

I’ll close with this: What evidence do you have the bible is the inerrant word of God?

By the way, I think you’ll enjoy this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB3g6mXLEKk

To whom is this reply directed? Can you quote the person you are answering?

Just hit Reply within their post.

Thanks. I am simply finding it hard to follow.
It is the dialog emails between him and his former pastor.
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18-11-2015, 04:35 PM
RE: Email thread with pastor
(18-11-2015 04:29 PM)Nishi Karano Kaze Wrote:  
(18-11-2015 04:22 PM)Banjo Wrote:  To whom is this reply directed? Can you quote the person you are answering?

Just hit Reply within their post.

Thanks. I am simply finding it hard to follow.
It is the dialog emails between him and his former pastor.

Oh I thought for a moment he was responding to one of us. Obviously I am still half asleep. Soon a shower and hopefully I will be fully awake.

Sorry to disturb the thread.

Thanks Nishi.

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
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18-11-2015, 05:36 PM
RE: Email thread with pastor
I find it interesting. So far you are doing great.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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18-11-2015, 06:13 PM
RE: Email thread with pastor
(18-11-2015 05:36 PM)Dom Wrote:  I find it interesting. So far you are doing great.

I second that. Excellent job presenting (y)our case.
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18-11-2015, 09:57 PM
RE: Email thread with pastor
(18-11-2015 04:28 PM)NolaToad Wrote:  My most recent reply:

The worldview of everyone who’s ever been born was shaped by that individual’s nature and nurture, so I agree wholeheartedly that we approach life with certain presuppositions. On the subject of faith, you have the presupposition, just as I did, that the Christian God is real and the bible is his inerrant word, written by men and inspired by him. That being the case, you view the bible’s inconsistencies and apparent immoralities through a lens of faith, i.e. “Sure, it seems like a contradiction or an immoral action, but that’s simply because of my finite brain. I can’t always comprehend God, who exists on a higher plane.”

If, however, you separate yourself from your indoctrination and force yourself to view the bible clinically, like an outsider, its shortcomings become glaring. Or at least for me they did.

Among Christians, it seems to me, the god of the Old Testament gets a free pass because, well, he was just paving the way for the arrival of his son. But for millennia, the Israelites had nothing for a holy book but the Old Testament. That was their guiding document. Doesn’t it, at the very least, reveal the character of God?

Let’s look at specific examples from the Old Testament:

1) “Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” (1 Samuel 15:3). The god of the OT ordered genocide, the systematic murder of an entire population, including children. Our faith presuppositions have to be pretty entrenched to view that as anything other than a heinous action.

2) “Happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us, he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.” (Psalm 137). This scripture is part of the holy book clung to by those who claim non-adherents can’t possibly have a basis for their morality. That’s almost laughable.

3) “When men fight with one another, and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him, and puts her hand and seizes him by the private parts, then you shall cut off her hand.” (Deuteronomy 25:11-12). So someone breaks into my house in the middle of the night, and he and I struggle. It’s an even match, so Kristi jumps in, and happens to get ahold of the guy’s junk, which causes him to relent until I’m able to throw him out. Thanks for the help, honey, but now I have to cut off your hand. What an absurdity!

4) "Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. ‘Get out of here, baldy!’ they said. ‘Get out of here, baldy!’ He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled 42 of the boys.” (2 Kings 2:23-25). Seriously? God had 42 children mauled to death because they laughed at an insecure bald guy? I’ve heard about my follicle challenges from at least half the kids at church. Maybe I should call down curses and ask God to kill them all.

5) "Now, therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves.” (Numbers 31:17-18). What these poor girls, who had just watched their entire families get murdered, were used for is unclear, but at the very least, they were slaves, and at the worst, sex slaves. These were real human beings. Would a God of love consider them spoils of war? Disgusting.

6) “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.” (Exodus 21:2-4). Childhood slavery. How moral. At least the kids in Chinese sweat shops get paid something. Oh, in a later verse, God forbids the Israelites from owning Hebrew servants, a direct contradiction to this verse.

7) “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights.” (Exodus 21:7-10). The God of the bible, the world’s first proponent of human trafficking. God condemns all kinds of things in the OT, including sewing two unique cloths together. You’d think he could have said, “Hey, dummies, do you not see that it’s abhorrent to sell a young girl into slavery?” But, no, God apparently views her as a piece of property. Oh, and he’s also clearly not opposed to polygamy.

8) “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.” (Exodus 21:20-21) So, owning slaves is fine, and you can beat the crap out of them as long as you don’t kill them. An argument can be made that slavery is worse than murder. At least a murdered man’s suffering is over. The suffering of a slave lasts a lifetime. But God’s cool with it.

Bible verses like these — there are scores of others — always troubled me, but I’d read the explanations in concordances, and although I was never truly satisfied with the explanations, I’d sweep it all under the rug and focus on happier verses that inspired me — the ones we all can quote and celebrate in Sunday School.

I finally decided — about five years ago — to free myself from all presuppositions and explore the bible through a skeptic’s eye. In all honesty, I was 100-percent confident the bible would stand up, and I’d have a deeper, richer understanding of the God of the universe. What happened, however, was the opposite: The bible shriveled under the light.

If the god of the bible is real, the evidence for him and the veracity of his holy book should be all over the place. What I found is that it’s not. Believers must scale a mountain of evidence while blindfolded to reach fleeting faith in a book scribed by men. Beliefs can never change facts, but facts should always alter beliefs. I finally decided to look at the facts, and my beliefs changed accordingly.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am I took that step. As I’ve mentioned before, there was no "sin" going on in my life. My marriage was great, kids were healthy, job was solid, etc. I simply decided to take a step most Christians are scared to death to take: I actually had the audacity to try to verify what I believed.

As others have mentioned, you are doing great. I wasn't raised with any religious beliefs so I'm amazed at the struggles people go through with religions.

Also, if god is a perfect being, he would have no wants or needs. This includes needing or wanting to create anything in the first place.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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19-11-2015, 11:54 AM
RE: Email thread with pastor
Way to go NT! You are doing great representing yourself. Your writing is a lot clearer and hits the mark more than his. I have enjoyed reading you posts and I look forward to reading your future posts.
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19-11-2015, 12:37 PM
RE: Email thread with pastor
(18-11-2015 04:28 PM)NolaToad Wrote:  I simply decided to take a step most Christians are scared to death to take: I actually had the audacity to try to verify what I believed.

This statement is simply outstanding. So eloquently stated. Well done, sir!!

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
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19-11-2015, 01:26 PM
RE: Email thread with pastor
(18-11-2015 03:23 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  This is one of those questions that drive me crazy! Does one actually need to believe in a deity to be compassionate? D

But Moms, don't you know that without Jesus, we'd be just as likely to kill and eat our spouse as we would be to hug them?
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