So I went to church today...
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17-08-2015, 06:42 AM
RE: So I went to church today...
(16-08-2015 08:44 PM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  The miscarriage story sounds like a friend of my wife's. Her and her husband actually carried their son to term but he died shortly after birth. It really, really screwed her up. I think it sort of makes my wife uncomfortable when, in casual conversation with a new person, she will say that she has 2 kids and that one is with god (considering most people wait to get to know someone before laying that on them). The positive side of this is that they started a nonprofit that pays for funerals for children who die and the parents can't/won't pay for it which minus the proselytizing part, is a quite honorable thing to do (some fetuses are from DNC's and whatnot). The part that bothers me is that from what my wife says, they think that god wanted them to make a foundation as a ministry. Fair enough, but did he really have to torment them like this? Other people got dreams, visions, toast, or whatnot but apparently, god loves them so much that killing their child hours after it was born was the best way to inspire them to form a ministry. I guess you can justify anything by faith but what a dick if it is true.

One of the things that I find interesting/annoying about Christian's reasons for suffering in their lives is how it changes to fit the situation. Concerning your wife's friend, it looks like that she is taking the stance that their child's death was a part of God's divine plan, so that others could be blessed through their charity (obviously this doesn't answer the question of why God couldn't have just given them a vision or something...). Other times, if nothing good comes about because of the suffering, then its just because we live in a fallen world/sin nature/the devil did it. I have actually heard Christian's try to work this into God's plan though, saying that maybe a child/young person died because they were a Christian at that time, but maybe they would deconvert later and be sent to hell. Thirdly, there is the confusing combination of the two views above, where evil in the world caused a bad thing to happen, but the God used that to bring about his 'perfect will'. These are all just another example of how Christian's change their views on things in order to fit any possible situation so that they "make sense" in regards to their faith.

Bart Ehrman's book God's Problem addresses these inconsistencies well, as he goes through all of the biblical reasons for suffering in the world, and details how none of them are suitable to explain why an all-loving and all-powerful god would allow for human suffering. Of course, you also get the side-bonus of learning some more higher-level inconsistencies in the bible.
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17-08-2015, 08:36 AM
RE: So I went to church today...
(16-08-2015 10:03 AM)Cozzymodo Wrote:  The second point she made that pissed me off was about giving God control of every part of her life. Basically, she was trying to get control of her career after the miscarriage, and felt that she had a pretty good shot at getting two different job offers from a company, which doesn't sound prideful to me, if she actually was a good candidate for both jobs. But nope! God told her 'who do you think you are for thinking that YOU are good enough to get two job offers on your own? You need my help for that!' How does this make any sense? Why can't someone succeed in this world due to their hard work and skills that they've acquired? Is God so jealous that he must be given credit for everything good that happens to someone in their life?

This is something that pisses me off. Not giving credit where it's due. I had a guy call me earlier this year that I use to work with 5 years ago and haven't talked to him since, congratulate me on my success that he had heard about from other coworkers. But after he congratulates me he then goes on to tell me that good has blessed me and there was no way I could have done it without him. So I guess it wasn't my hard work or anything I did to get me where I am. I guess I should just stop trying because it doesn't matter god can take care of everything. I'll just kick back and sip on some Mai Tais and god can pay my bills.
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17-08-2015, 08:43 AM
RE: So I went to church today...
(17-08-2015 06:42 AM)Cozzymodo Wrote:  
(16-08-2015 08:44 PM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  The miscarriage story sounds like a friend of my wife's. Her and her husband actually carried their son to term but he died shortly after birth. It really, really screwed her up. I think it sort of makes my wife uncomfortable when, in casual conversation with a new person, she will say that she has 2 kids and that one is with god (considering most people wait to get to know someone before laying that on them). The positive side of this is that they started a nonprofit that pays for funerals for children who die and the parents can't/won't pay for it which minus the proselytizing part, is a quite honorable thing to do (some fetuses are from DNC's and whatnot). The part that bothers me is that from what my wife says, they think that god wanted them to make a foundation as a ministry. Fair enough, but did he really have to torment them like this? Other people got dreams, visions, toast, or whatnot but apparently, god loves them so much that killing their child hours after it was born was the best way to inspire them to form a ministry. I guess you can justify anything by faith but what a dick if it is true.

One of the things that I find interesting/annoying about Christian's reasons for suffering in their lives is how it changes to fit the situation. Concerning your wife's friend, it looks like that she is taking the stance that their child's death was a part of God's divine plan, so that others could be blessed through their charity (obviously this doesn't answer the question of why God couldn't have just given them a vision or something...). Other times, if nothing good comes about because of the suffering, then its just because we live in a fallen world/sin nature/the devil did it. I have actually heard Christian's try to work this into God's plan though, saying that maybe a child/young person died because they were a Christian at that time, but maybe they would deconvert later and be sent to hell. Thirdly, there is the confusing combination of the two views above, where evil in the world caused a bad thing to happen, but the God used that to bring about his 'perfect will'. These are all just another example of how Christian's change their views on things in order to fit any possible situation so that they "make sense" in regards to their faith.

Bart Ehrman's book God's Problem addresses these inconsistencies well, as he goes through all of the biblical reasons for suffering in the world, and details how none of them are suitable to explain why an all-loving and all-powerful god would allow for human suffering. Of course, you also get the side-bonus of learning some more higher-level inconsistencies in the bible.

Our church choir when I was 24/25ish had about 100 members, and a member would be asked to lead a devotional before each practice. This is the topic I chose for my devotional - why does God allow His children to suffer? To bring ourselves closer to him, to help bring someone else closer to him, or - actually, I can't remember the third reason, it was probably something like "for his glory." It was what I always struggled with, and I chose that topic hoping I'd somehow make sense of it all through study and prayer. Towards the end of it I started crying. A loving God wouldn't have taken my 26 year old dad from me and my brother and my mom just so we could love him more or to strengthen the unity of his church (the church my dad founded now has several thousand members) - that's completely nonsensical. We depended on him. That devotional marks one of the last times I attended church on a regular basis. The answers just weren't good enough.

"If there's a single thing that life teaches us, it's that wishing doesn't make it so." - Lev Grossman
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17-08-2015, 09:48 AM
RE: So I went to church today...
(17-08-2015 08:43 AM)Nurse Wrote:  
(17-08-2015 06:42 AM)Cozzymodo Wrote:  One of the things that I find interesting/annoying about Christian's reasons for suffering in their lives is how it changes to fit the situation. Concerning your wife's friend, it looks like that she is taking the stance that their child's death was a part of God's divine plan, so that others could be blessed through their charity (obviously this doesn't answer the question of why God couldn't have just given them a vision or something...). Other times, if nothing good comes about because of the suffering, then its just because we live in a fallen world/sin nature/the devil did it. I have actually heard Christian's try to work this into God's plan though, saying that maybe a child/young person died because they were a Christian at that time, but maybe they would deconvert later and be sent to hell. Thirdly, there is the confusing combination of the two views above, where evil in the world caused a bad thing to happen, but the God used that to bring about his 'perfect will'. These are all just another example of how Christian's change their views on things in order to fit any possible situation so that they "make sense" in regards to their faith.

Bart Ehrman's book God's Problem addresses these inconsistencies well, as he goes through all of the biblical reasons for suffering in the world, and details how none of them are suitable to explain why an all-loving and all-powerful god would allow for human suffering. Of course, you also get the side-bonus of learning some more higher-level inconsistencies in the bible.

Our church choir when I was 24/25ish had about 100 members, and a member would be asked to lead a devotional before each practice. This is the topic I chose for my devotional - why does God allow His children to suffer? To bring ourselves closer to him, to help bring someone else closer to him, or - actually, I can't remember the third reason, it was probably something like "for his glory." It was what I always struggled with, and I chose that topic hoping I'd somehow make sense of it all through study and prayer. Towards the end of it I started crying. A loving God wouldn't have taken my 26 year old dad from me and my brother and my mom just so we could love him more or to strengthen the unity of his church (the church my dad founded now has several thousand members) - that's completely nonsensical. We depended on him. That devotional marks one of the last times I attended church on a regular basis. The answers just weren't good enough.

This probably could have been tied in with your possible third reason, but this is another one of questions that Christian's tend to apply the "mysteries of God" answer, which basically is not an answer at all. While I obviously no longer buy into it, I can see why Christian's seek so hard to rationalize why bad things happen to them. In their minds, God is what keeps terrible things from happening to them all of the time, as well as the reason for blessings in their life. Therefore, for them, it is easier to rationalize why God allows for something tragic to happen in their lives every once in a while, rather then to come to grips with the fact that there is no divine sky-daddy looking out for them as a part of his "perfect will" that we as mere humans must take on faith has our best interests in mind.

Something else that I think is part of the problem is that it is much easier for Christians to see the "benefits" of suffering in God's will when they were not severely impacted by the suffering. For example, while you, myself, and freethinkers in general that cannot reconcile how a loving God would allow such needless and tragic suffering, I'm fairly confident (please correct me if I'm wrong) that most of the current members of that church would say that the sudden death of your father, while tragic, ultimately worked out for the better for the "kingdom of God", since in their eyes, the church grew, and he's in heaven anyways. However, if it was their father who died suddenly, I have a strong suspicion that they would not find it so easy to say that the benefits outweighed the suffering.
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17-08-2015, 09:57 AM
RE: So I went to church today...
(17-08-2015 08:36 AM)Ocean theRAPIST Wrote:  
(16-08-2015 10:03 AM)Cozzymodo Wrote:  The second point she made that pissed me off was about giving God control of every part of her life. Basically, she was trying to get control of her career after the miscarriage, and felt that she had a pretty good shot at getting two different job offers from a company, which doesn't sound prideful to me, if she actually was a good candidate for both jobs. But nope! God told her 'who do you think you are for thinking that YOU are good enough to get two job offers on your own? You need my help for that!' How does this make any sense? Why can't someone succeed in this world due to their hard work and skills that they've acquired? Is God so jealous that he must be given credit for everything good that happens to someone in their life?

This is something that pisses me off. Not giving credit where it's due. I had a guy call me earlier this year that I use to work with 5 years ago and haven't talked to him since, congratulate me on my success that he had heard about from other coworkers. But after he congratulates me he then goes on to tell me that good has blessed me and there was no way I could have done it without him. So I guess it wasn't my hard work or anything I did to get me where I am. I guess I should just stop trying because it doesn't matter god can take care of everything. I'll just kick back and sip on some Mai Tais and god can pay my bills.

I've always found it interesting to see Christian's wiggle there way out of the question of "well, if God's in control, why should I work hard to do anything? Isn't his perfect will just going to happen regardless of anything I do?"

I'm still actually attending a fundy evangelical college (my last year, I only deconverted 6 months ago), where many of my friends are Calvinists i.e. God pre-picked who's getting saved, and if you're not one of they, you're just screwed, sorry 'bout your luck. Previously, I was a free-will type Christian, since I couldn't morally justify God doing something so heinous (oh the irony now...). However, something I would always ask my friends is that if God has already picked who is going to be saved, then why go about evangelizing? Isn't God just going to make sure that the people on his list get saved, regardless of what anyone else does? I always found their answers to make little sense, as they basically boiled down to "well Jesus said to go evangelize, so we're going to do what he says". This obviously didn't answer my question in any meaningful way, and I would leave thinking that I had superior critical thinking skills compared to them... Lets just say that I don't view my previous intellect in as high a regard now...
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17-08-2015, 10:57 AM
RE: So I went to church today...
It's not your intellect that was at fault. I know some very smart people who have trouble purging their brains of such carefully-laid programming. The Christianity meme (as in, mind-program) has built-in defensive mechanisms specifically to stop that from happening... see, for instance, the stuff about "trust not in man's knowledge" that my church used to push.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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17-08-2015, 11:08 AM
RE: So I went to church today...
(17-08-2015 10:57 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  It's not your intellect that was at fault. I know some very smart people who have trouble purging their brains of such carefully-laid programming. The Christianity meme (as in, mind-program) has built-in defensive mechanisms specifically to stop that from happening... see, for instance, the stuff about "trust not in man's knowledge" that my church used to push.

I started to notice that construct which helped lead to my deconversion. Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit being a major one

(22-08-2015 07:30 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  It is by will alone I set my brows in motion it is by the conditioner of avocado that the brows acquire volume the skin acquires spots the spots become a warning. It is by will alone I set my brows in motion.
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17-08-2015, 11:16 AM
RE: So I went to church today...
(17-08-2015 10:57 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  It's not your intellect that was at fault. I know some very smart people who have trouble purging their brains of such carefully-laid programming. The Christianity meme (as in, mind-program) has built-in defensive mechanisms specifically to stop that from happening... see, for instance, the stuff about "trust not in man's knowledge" that my church used to push.

Good point, Proverbs 3:5-6 used to be one of my favorite passages. Now... not so much. Something that I do find interesting in my own experiences is that I often used critical thinking when debating theology with other Christian's (although I couldn't phrase it that was, see Proverbs 3:5-6...). Looking back now, I think that in the context of the arguments that I would have about theology, I was applying critical thinking in a practical way in that context (for the most part anyways). However, the problem was that it wasn't until later that I applied critical thinking to the whole of my Christian beliefs, and not just bits and pieces.
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17-08-2015, 11:38 AM
RE: So I went to church today...
(16-08-2015 10:50 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  How about creating a plan that doesn't involve killing a baby?

A baby? Doh! Let's not start that again!!!

Facepalm

Check out my now-defunct atheism blog. It's just a blog, no ads, no revenue, no gods.
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Atheism promotes critical thinking; theism promotes hypocritical thinking. -- Me
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18-08-2015, 08:55 AM
Re: So I went to church today...
I went to church with a shy relative who was trying to join for social reasons. There was a large youth group in there (at least 200+ people.)

The guy up front was talking about missionaries and glory. And god needs money for missions. Give before you leave.

The creepy part: guy got all riled up and started ranting about needing volunteers (to travel to a dangerous, war-torn country) that were brave enough to go hand out Bibles. A few folks ran to the front and signed a paper (to go, I suppose.) Then, guy started in on the glory of martyrdom. How those killed would be trice-blessed by god, how dying on a mission was the ultimate gift to god and sooo much better than living out your life. People around me were crying and praising Jesus while doling out cash and volunteering to go.

I got up and left.
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