Atheistic Bias & It's Angry Troll Cousin
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Indeed we shall.
I'm not angry at you. I'm just amused by your incoherent rants. So far you've called me a "foolish boy" and threatened me with decapitation in some imagined future religious cataclysm. You are a blustering, self-important clown, and it takes a lot more than what you have to make me angry.
Congratulations. You are a real credit to your religion. If you'd read your King James Bible thoroughly, the "trivial" grammar points I raised would have been obvious even to thee.
Thanks MasterBlaster! I almost forgot. September 30th is International Blasphemy Day. All the talk about bias and anger brought this to mind. Show solidarity with those victims of violence and persecution by religious fanatics globally. Remember , blasphemy is a victimless crime!
Evolution is a grand theory , not "just" a theory. It is the cornerstone theory of biology. It is an awesome and inspiring explanation of why we see all the diversity of life around us. I think about it everyday and am ever amazed. So much more rewarding than allowing preachers to shrink my intellect with iron age myths and fairy tales.
Wow, I really didn't know that there was such a day, but I did look it up to confirm. Interesting.
I can't disagree with you that the goal of some religious figures may be to "shrink the intellect" of their listeners, in order to gain more control and power over them.
One time some years ago, I argued with a preacher (who also happened to be a dear family friend) over the phone, with a three hour time difference between us, concerning a lifestyle issue we had disagreed on a number of times before. Suddenly, during our conversation (heated debate) I heard a loud 'crash' and tumbling on the other end, then silence. What was probably just a few seconds seemed like an eternity, as I knew something terrible had just happened and I could not cover any distance to even get to the man. But shortly thereafter, much to my relief and amazement, a somewhat shaken and obviously defeated voice finally emerged from the other end of the phone.
This seventy some year-old Baptist preacher had apparently just fallen off his chair.
I am ashamed to admit that after my initial relief upon learning that he was perfectly alright and still physically intact, I felt a momentary vindication and even victory that such a serendipitous or perhaps even poetic misfortune had befallen this man. After all, I felt as if he was trying to "shrink my intellect" and I would be damned (in this life or the next!) if I was going to let him get away with it.
To my surprise, the next words he uttered once we had both determined that he would be ok and of course that we (our friendship) were still ok, have haunted me to this day.
He said, "God just punished me for arguing with you...".
I kind of chuckled, told him not to worry about it and tried to reassure him that I didn't believe that to be the case. But I could tell by his tone of voice that maybe, just maybe, he did.
We spoke many times after that but never on that particular subject again. He went on to continue to serve in his church, help the poor, council the drug and alcohol addicted, and volunteer at the local hospice center somewhere in Northern California, although he himself and his devoted wife were ailing and winding down both with age and sickness.
Honestly, I don't even know if he is still alive. What I do know is that most of the anger and angst that I had back then was not due to any kind of religious oppression, insidious agenda on the part of others in my family, the Church, or society in general for that matter. But it was in my failure to realize that sometimes people really do believe in something that is bigger and more important than themselves, sometimes including their very own life. And that they believe in this so deeply and passionately that they are willing to sacrifice everything - everything just to make a difference for that someone or something bigger and greater than themselves. Even in spite of their own brief and seemingly insignificant time on this earth.
So, you want to use that time to celebrate IBD on Sept 30th, marvel at creation's diversity, biology, and perhaps the miraculous prospect of chimps eventually turning into people...that's alright and I won't fault you for that, not even for a second.
As for me, I choose to marvel at the Creator, the people he created, and the awesome and inspiring explanation that we are all here for a higher purpose. Not just to indulge in Iron Age myths and fairy tales.
@Algebe Haha...good one!
Ok, it's official, "phase one" is finally complete.
I only assimilated the self-important tone and clownish behavior as a provocation. Just to, shall we say, stir the pot a bit.
The exchanges thus far seem to indicate that the Atheist position is first and foremost a defensive one, whereas the Christian position seems to be culturally just the opposite (especially for Evangelicals and perhaps that dastardly group who did perpetrate the Spanish Inquisition). Of course, no parallels are being drawn here between the two groups as I am the former and, who like the Atheist, would also despise the latter.
So, now that we can dispel with the anger and bias and hopefully have gotten that sufficiently out of our system, I would like to introduce myself.
I am a Christian who is offering to give true insight and honestly answer any questions an Atheist has the courage to ask, and promise not to argue with any opposing position, but to only enlighten with my personal life experience and whatever knowledge I can share.
Please limit your questions (which are all fair game by the way) to 5 sentences and I will limit my responses to 3. Thank you and I'm really looking forward to this opportunity, so have at it!
Perhaps the most important question of all is: Why even inquire about anything?
I've inquired to Christians, I've inquired to Muslims, I've inquired to Catholics. Shinto's. Bhuddists. Hindus. Rastafarians.
And they all give the same basic answers. Sure, there are differences. Christ becomes Muhammad, which becomes Kami, which becomes Buddha. Then it turns to (state Hindu avatar here).
But those are the only differences. The (excuse my calling them this) loanwords are the only thing that change.
So, honestly, why should I(or anyone) keep asking?
I think Shinto's in a different category. The word "kami" is often translated as "god," but it's really more like a quality in things that engenders a sense of awe. So it could be the feeling you get when you see a rainbow over a waterfall or walk in an ancient forest. It might be the shape of a rock, especially if its phallic, or the power of a sumo wrestler. (Sumo is actually a Shinto religious observance. The referee is a priest.) The Japanese say that there are eight million kami in Japan. I guess Shinto is mostly a way of celebrating the wonders of nature, of having a good time in the here and now. It's also linked to ancestor worship, which as far as I can tell is mainly a way of remembering those who went before, reflecting on how they have contributed to our lives, and emphasizing family continuity across generations. I've never met anyone in Japan who described themselves as a "Shintoist." The Japanese tend to be fairly eclectic and mostly easy-going about religion, though most seem to love ritual and ceremony.
State Shinto was another matter. That was Shinto warped to support ultra-nationalism, miitarism, and fascism. I think that was Japan's reaction to the major powers in the mid-19th century. After two centuries of national isolation, they saw that every Asian country except Japan and Thailand had been colonized, and that they were next on the menu. They noted that all the colonial powers had battleships, cannons, armies, industrial technology and state religions. They weren't sure which of those were essential to survival and power, so they adopted the lot, including the "god on our side" idea.
Perhaps I spoke to the wrong ones, then.
Well, I can tell you along those lines that I was baptised Methodist shortly after birth, raised Baptist which of course included Sunday school and another baptism in my teens, later converted to Catholism in my twenties, studied years with Jehovah's witnesses, and briefly worked at the Church of Scientology, before I finally found Christ in my early thirties. So, eventually I also found in retrospect that no one individual (not even Mother or Father) or religious organization can give or bestow a relationship with God unto you. However, if you truly seek Him I believe you will not only find Him, but you will know it when you do because you will stop seeking and instead have a relationship that you can experience every day of your life and even look forward to thereafter.
It sounds like you've tried all the horses on that merry-go-round. Perhaps it's time to join the adults on the roller-coaster of real life.
Lol, perhaps, and don't think I haven't considered it from time to time. After all, I'm only human and this life sure seems to offer more darkness than it does light. But the problem is that I've already been to the puppet show and have seen all the strings, so I can't go back now because life is more like a long path or journey, and less like a merry go round for me.
"Ok, it's official, "phase one" is finally complete.
I only assimilated the self-important tone and clownish behavior as a provocation."
So what are you now, Superman or Clark Kent?
Not Horse feathers, nor Angel's wings. Just a guy whose willing to tell you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help me..well you know the rest lol.
" nothing but the truth so help me"
I'm afraid I have to shake a stick at that. This is more or less due to my own personal philosophy that one person alone cannot be the holder of the correct answer or truth. Nor can the "truth" be limited to one specific group. If the "truth" can only be found and given by one individual or group, it cannot be the truth.
I just meant that I will be completely open and honest as a Christian, about what I have experienced and what I have come to understand and share it with you if you like.
As opposed to taking a more argumentative or adversarial position, which seems to just make us all a bit more tired and useless by day's end.
"As opposed to taking a more argumentative or adversarial position,"
Set the 16'' gun batteries to 35°!
That's a good yardstick! No one owns the truth, but we may search for it in the right places, get closer to it, if we have a good tool kit. The tools in that kit are the rules of good reasoning, both technical and about maintaining a proper attitude, and the skillful use of those tools must be mastered. We are not born with those skills.
The man who inherits a plot of land and declares that truth is buried therein has about as much chance of sitting on truth as he has of sitting on gold nuggets. You have to search a lot of ground if you expect to find either.
And using an old book to try and dig through the ground won't help much, either.
Masterblaster21 - "honestly answer any questions an Atheist has the courage to ask"
Why does god/faith healers/whatever refuse to heal amputees?
And why do churches have disabled parking spaces and wheelchair access?
I struggle as a Christian with the whole faith healing schtick, because there are so many frauds and charlatans out there who know how to exploit faithful, well-meaning, and very sick (like amputees) people. In my heart of hearts, I believe Jesus did much greater physical healing (like making a man who was born blind to see or a paralytic to walk); but then I would ask, "Why not do that now for amputees, and if you are God then why limit yourself to healing someone's hang nail, back pain, or even stage four cancer, when you could just as easily make an arm grow out of a stump", right? Healing while Christ walked the earth was just a foreshadowing of his Kingdom to come which will have no amputees, no sickness, no imperfection, and no death...so it all starts with the spiritual realization that that Day will come and this day we must remain physically sick and even die until we are given new physical bodies in the Resurrection (when Christ comes again), but I can not explain why some people claim to be healed today by God/faith healers/whatever and not a single amputee who may have had even more faith and asked to be healed only to be denied.
You said you would give us an honest answer, and I think you kind of wandered off there. Let me rephrase the question a bit:
Of all the people who claimed to have been heal by god/religion/whatever; why are none of them amputees? You guys believe this supernatural effect takes place; so why is this supernatural effect never reported to have regrow peoples severed limbs? What makes amputees different than say someone on crutches? Why does god hate amputees?
I was being honest, but perhaps instead needed to be more direct:
1. I don't believe in physical "faith healing" in the way you are describing, especially since amputees are conspicuously absent from the list, and since many people fraudulently "perform" this type of healing; also, it's a well known psychological and physiological phenomenon that people can temporarily make themselves well through the laboriously documented "placebo effect".
2. However, I would not call anyone a "liar" who has claimed to be physically healed by their faith, but would be just as skeptical as you might, and perhaps even inquire of that faithful individual, "Then why do you think God hasn't healed your amputee friend, as they have been praying and asking too for such a "supernatural effect" - so does this mean He hates amputees?"
3. Jesus' profound physical miracles were a mere foreshadowing of his Kingdom to come and essentially left with him, but will return again to an even greater extent that we will be given new and perfect PHYSICAL (very important) bodies in the Resurrection; also, remember that the famous Saul of Tarsus (Apostle Paul) testified that he himself had asked 3 times to be healed of his physical affliction, but was finally answered by God that, "My grace is sufficient for thee", so instead of being disappointed, Paul later testified that he joyfully anticipated his own physical resurrection to come.
Yes, if God can heal someone's back pain but not regrow a limb for the faithful, then he would truly be an unfair, if not impotent God - I don't believe He is either.
I've never seen someone regrow a lost limb, so he has to be one of the two.
However, thanks to the scientific area of stem cell research, it may become possible to regrow lost limbs. Science seems to be either one step ahead of god, or more benevolent than him.
"What are you babbling about? No one is forcing anything on anyone. We all have the power of 'choice' concerning our beliefs and the way we think"
When you've been indoctorinated from day 1, you would have to be pretty darn lucky to have the mind to break away fron that. Take the people in North Korea for example. They believe all of these CRAZY things such as their older leader never pees. (Which sounds as crazy as some bible stories, no?) I woud LOVE to see you convince them otherwise about their obviously not true beliefs. All because they've been trained to think that since day 1. Also, you don't really have the right to choose what you think if you believe in hell unless you want to go to hell for some whatever reason.
So no, you very rarely have the choice to choose what you think. That's what religion does.
Interesting that North Korea is ranked as the worst Country in the whole wide World when it comes to Christian persecution.
Bibles are illegal and possessors of such a religious item are severely punished and some have already been executed for this supposed crime.
North Korea portends a certain tolerance of "religious freedom" which is supposed to include Buddhism and Confucianism, but is officially an "atheist state".
You are backing the wrong horse here it seems, but I do understand where you're coming from. However, this is precisely what I meant by the "vacuum" in my earlier posts. Take away the God or gods you don't like, and I promise you an even more formidable and ferocious entity will take their place...and perhaps one who even pees excessively to drown you just for sport lol.
Once atheism reigns supreme, we will be the ones doing the bug squashing. The day will come when religion fully dies.
North Korea is not an atheist state. They have a pantheon filled with Kims, and an actual living god called Kim Jong Un. I'm sure their objection to Christianity is based on the notion that there could be no lord but Kim. Japan went through the same process in the 17th century. There could be no lord other the Daimyo and his lord the Shogun, so Christians suffered persecution that would have boggled even Nero's imagination.
However, Christianity has just as much potential for tyranny as communism and Kimism. When they can't take over a nation directly, the churches snuggle up to the nearest despot, such as the Russian Czars, Franco in Spain, Pinochet in Chile....
So I don't see how Christianity is going to protect us from this vacuum that you're worried about.
North Korea IS officially an atheist state.
The Wikipedia page for the DPRK does indeed confirm what MB is saying.
However, I hope he is not going to make like one of those "Hitler was an atheist" people and claim that an atheist world would be like North Korea.