What does the Christian faith looks like under the lens of "normal people"?
By "normal people", I mean the ones who don't really assert any strong views on anything. He/she could just be a normal Christian who goes to church on Sundays out of tradition without any extreme fervour, or an atheist who'd rather pretend he's/she's a Christian just to avoid unnecessary conflicts.
I was fortunate enough not to be indoctrinated with pure Biblical teaching. I came to the Christian faith (of which I've at least temporarily left with agnosticism, of which I might as well stay in forever) through people who talk about it in the angle of philosophical and scientific thinking. My original fascination with this God thing was my discovery (as a teenager) of the cosmological argument. But as I dig deeper into my studies, I'm starting to see that this God that people talk about seems merely just a glorified Jupiter. Seriously, the concept of God being "outside of time" and "beyond our understanding" and "eternal" is the conception of Thomas Aquinas. It's not Biblical. The actual, Biblical God is incredibly similar to any other pagan deity. I don't feel the need to give an illustration for that.
My question is, among "normal people", is that the way they see Christianity (and its God)?
Because if that's the case, I am so embarrassed to have identified myself as a Christian.
However, if these normal people see this particular faith (and its people) the same way that I see the protagonist of a fantasy RPG when I play it, then I would be proud of calling myself a (former) Christian regardless of its truth or lack thereof.
All these questions I'm posing are my attempts to form my own worldview. So please take them seriously even if you may find them silly. I will likely internalize whatever answers I perceive to be sensible.
Much appreciated, fellow thinkers.
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Okay, for the moment, I will press the pause button on my typical sarcasm and briefly give you the benefit of the doubt, despite my instincts telling me otherwise. And the only reason (just so you know) is because you mentioned the term "normal." Just so happens I have a strange interest in that word and its uses, especially as it relates to people and society/cultures in general. So, with that in mind....
What is a "normal" person? Who (if anybody) is "normal", and by what standard is it measured? Sure, you can take a specific group - a pro basketball team, for instance - and say, "It is normal for the members of that team to be very tall, usually near seven feet or more in height." Outside the realm of their team, however, the excessive height of those individual players tends to be NOT normal in the general population. In other words, "normal" is an incredibly subjective term that can vary greatly and is dependent on many different factors and circumstances.
Therefore, when you try to use "normal Christians" as an example in your OP, that honestly makes no sense to me. I have no idea what you mean by it. I grew up in a Christian family, in a Christian town, within a Christian society. And during all those years and throughout all those that followed, I do not recall ever knowing/meeting a "normal Christian". Because even those folks who were members of the same church did not always believe, behave, or think in the same way in regards to their respective faith.
Not trying to be an ass here (believe it or not), but you might want to consider using a better example/term. Could save you some headache.
Instead of asking what Christianity looks like to "normal people", why not simply ask what it looks like to non-Christian people? Because even if I were to tell you I am a normal person, and even if some other person(s) were to agree I am normal, it is a damn good bet there are plenty of other folks out there who would share a different opinion of my "normality". As it is, there ARE some aspects of myself I do consider to be normal. At the same time, though, there are just as many things about myself I consider to be way NOT normal. But here is the real mind-fuck.... Those things I might consider to be normal about myself may seem incredibly strange and abnormal to some people, while some of what I consider to be abnormal about myself may actually appear quite normal to others. But, hey, who am I to judge what others think of me and what I think of myself?... *shrugging shoulders*...
Perhaps the mosts common theme among those who call themselves 'Christians;' is the alacrity with which such use the no true Scotsman fallacy to dismiss others as "not real/true Christians"
I worked out a simple way of telling how many eggs make six: Ask a self described Christian tell me the things he/she is FOR. Don't want to know what or whom they're against. This tends to be harder for them than it might first appear.
Our little friend Maxos has gotten off to a really shaky start by asking about" normal christians" . The clear inference is that he sees himself as a special or unusual kind of christian, when in fact he's boringly ordinary and predicable.
Ordinary and predictable?
Napoleon Bonaparte is my role model in life before I abandoned Christianity. And at that time I considered myself to be an Ubermensch.
I'm weird by Christian standards.
You're the one who is common with your petty insults about other people. But hey, what can I say? Atheists don't believe in moral absolutes so what is insulting a developing philosopher have against the atrocities you committed that you somehow justified with your relativism?
I didn't come here to be insulted.
Some do. That is not a requirement for being an atheist.
I understand. I was making a point.
RE: "Atheists don't believe in moral absolutes?" First of all, Atheism says nothing at all about moral absolutes. If you did not come here to get insulted, you should probably try to avoid writing things that sound totally idiotic. Atheism is a lack of belief in God or gods. IT SAYS NOTHING AT ALL ABOUT MORAL ABSOLUTES.
What you completely fail to recognize is that Atheists are a whole lot of other things in addition to being atheistic. They are humanists, Buddhists, democrats, republicans, preachers, (Reference the Clergy Project) Maoists, Socialists, Monarchists, nihilists, Satanists, and on and on and on.
If you plan on using terms, about which you know nothing, you are going to get some flack. It's probably best to ask people what they mean or why they have made such a comment, and if you can't do that, just shut the fuck up. After all, it is better to be thought of as a fool than to open your mouth and prove it.
????? IS THIS SHIT JUST MISSING PUNCTUATION?
Atheists don't believe in moral absolutes so what is insulting a developing philosopher have against the atrocities you committed that you somehow justified with your relativism.
Edit: Atheists don't believe in moral absolutes. (Fallacious) What does insulting a developing philosopher accomplish? I am against the atrocities you commit but somehow justify with your relativism.
Hmmmmm? Not only do I believe in some moral absolutes but there is nothing relativistic about my moral position once a clearly established goal has been set?
Of course, NOTHING IN ANY OF THIS HAS ANYTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH ATHEISM. ARE YOU A FUCKTARD?
Seriously dude, you have dug your hole so deep that getting respect around here is going to be an uphill battle. Why not just ignore your first post and this thread and try again?
For an aspiring philosopher, you do not understand atheism, you do not understand agnosticism, you have no what moral absolutes are or how you could possibly get to one. You are thin skinned, whiny, and basically a wasted of breath.
I strongly suggest you let this thread die, stop pretending you know shit when you don't, and try again.
I doubt I fit in what you would consider "normal" but, by the tiny definition you used, i
I pretend I am religious every so often to avoid unnecessary conflicts.
Lots of people like to avoid religious and political debate. But when ever it does come up, to me quite often the sensible best possible outcome approach is to avoid conflict. Certainly if the the person is in any agitated state, which usually they are.
I am well aware I can not convince someone deeply embedded in religion to give it up in one conflict. Or even a bunch of conflict unless I used force/fear, which has its own obvious consequences.
But I do feel real strongly about my atheist position? I might be what you could call "an angry atheist" I think every major religion I heard of is horrid, and humanity would do much better without these religions.
If you are still interested, Maxos Goober I will respond to the rest of your questions.
Maxos Goober: AWWWW Fuck! Another misuse of "Agnosticism." Is this guy going to turn out to be is fucktardy as the rest??? Why don't they read books? I'm not doing this again. Someone else explain the difference to him..
Okay, even though you haven't a clue what the word Agnostic means, you do get points for seeing through the magical first cause bullshit. Not only is it not Biblical, but it is not scientific, cosmological, natural, or even philosophical as it is fallacious from its core. What it is, is a waste of breath.
Lucky for you... as you have identified "Normal People" in a way that attempts to eliminate the majority of atheists from the set, you are probably safe. Normal people as you have defined them, just don't give a shit. They have real issues to worry about in their lives. If they have time to think about atheism and god at all, it's just easier to believe whatever the idiot behind the pulpit says. Why think about shit when you don't have to? Better to let the Church do it for you.
RE: "However, if these normal people see this particular faith (and its people) the same way that I see the protagonist of a fantasy RPG when I play it, then I would be proud of calling myself a (former) Christian regardless of its truth or lack thereof." As I said in the statement above.... THEY DON'T THINK ABOUT IT. They just listen to the bullshit and believe. Talk to them and all you get are pre-recorded apologetics with excuses and unfounded assertions in attempts to justify their delusions.
IMO: Most who have escaped the grasp of Theism are in fact embarrassed to once have been a part of such a delusion. On the other hand, they are equally as proud of themselves for recognizing the delusion and standing up to it and eventually against it. I once believed God was the daddy I never had. It was a way of creating love in a life that was devoid of it. Mom was an abusive bitch and while I left home when I was 16, mentally I had been gone since the age of 8. Religion saw the victim in me and filled it with bullshit. I'm not embarrassed to have been taken advantage of. Who couldn't take advantage of a lonely parent-less kid. I was an easy target. What made you such an easy target?
Please stop using the word Agnostic when you don't understand it.
There's a lot I have to say to you but right now I don't have the time. I'll address some things though.
You are an extremely hostile person. All the negative things you called me were VERY uncalled for. You said I was thin skinned. How did you expect me to react? You were probably incredibly privileged and sheltered in your youth and don't know how the real world works. Where I grew up, if you allow others to step on you and insult you, you're a coward.
You said I don't know what agnosticism it. Although I am not completely sure about this, I'm betting you misread my message. I am currently agnostic, fully accepting that I don't know everything. You probably don't have a lot of experience deciphering meaning from sophisticated composition. Check this phrase out: "Strength does not a fighter make." It's the same concept as the way I worded myself with agnosticism. That's okay, we all can learn from mistakes.
When I get the time, I'll go ahead and survey your previous posts to see if you were the same way amongst others who hold a different opinion as yours. I will decide if I should completely ignore you from now on.
I admit you succeeded in hurting my feelings, yes. If that was your goal, good job. But outside of that you've accomplished nothing. I can only grow from this experience and come out a better person.
Look to the others in here as examples. Many of them were respectful.
Let me say it again!
1. You are thin skinned. (You're the one who is common with your petty insults about other people. I didn't come here to be insulted.) WAAAAAAAAAAAA!
2. You don't know what "agnostic" means. (I came to the Christian faith (of which I've at least temporarily left with agnosticism, of which I might as well stay in forever) NOW YOU JUST LOOK IGNORANT! "I am currently agnostic, fully accepting that I don't know everything." And do you believe in a god or not?
3. You didn't just call that crap you posted a "Sophisticated Composition." Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. You would not have made it out of my English class.
4. I can't wait for you to argue that you are "NOT thin skinned." (I admit you succeeded in hurting my feelings, yes. If that was your goal, good job.)
How is it you do not understand that you have just agreed with everything I said? You agreed with it all!
The worst thing you can accuse me of, after your last post, is..... BEING FUCKING HONEST!
I'm sticking around. Stay annoyed with me. I'm pretty tenacious.
You're a coward.
@Maxos Goober: Perhaps you will learn something. I recommend you stop making assertions and ask questions instead.
"I'm a coward?" Thank you for sharing your ...... ummm ..... errrr........ insightful opinion!
@Biggus Dickus Re: To Cog - "You're a coward."
Cog?... A coward?... *puzzled look*... That can't be right. Cog is a very non-discriminating flinger of poo. He ain't skeert. Cog flings poo at people no matter how big of a dick they are. And based on your own name, you are quite a large dick.
@Green Goober Dude Re: To Cog - "I admit you succeeded in hurting my feelings,..."
Doggonnit, Goob... *frowning*... You poor thing. That mean ol' mange-infested Cog just don't have no manners, does he? Are you hurt really bad, or do you think you might be able to recover without too much residual scarring? I almost feel really bad about this, like maybe I should do something... *tapping chin with index finger*... Hmmmm.... Uh, how about this...
On behalf of myself and the other regular AR members, I would like to offer our most sincere condolences for your hurt feelings caused by that deplorable poo-flinging primate we know as Cog. And we want you to know you have a Safe Space here should you find your fragile feelings once again unduly affronted by the opposing views expressed here by others as they challenge your expressed views.
There. I hope that helps. Now, here's a lollipop. Get back out there, Tiger, and tell the others I said they need to be nice to you.
Safe Space?!?!?!!! Where the fuck is the safe space?!?!?!!! Is it that “safe room” that Cog’s crying in and I’ve had to prove to him that he’s no coward?!?
Goddamn it! Gotta buy me a new rolling pin...
@White Re: "Where the fuck is the safe space?!?!?!!!"
You know. It's that big closet next to the laundry room where we keep all the safes for the regulars here to store their valuables to keep Cog's sticky paws off of them. Speaking of which, Cog's safe combination is 6969 if you need some money for a new rolling pin.
For me, in a sense yes:
I see Christianity, and its particular mostly vague definition of its "god" idea. as similar to any other pagan deity.
I was fortunate to never have been indoctrinated into any religion at all really growing up. (A few small brushes into religion but really quite sheltered from them all.) The fact all the religions were similar yet each one claimed they were the "true" correct one was one of the first big clues I figured out even as a child something was "off" with these god/religion concepts I would hear about.
As for the cosmological argument, feel free to read some old threads here, or perhaps if you want, ask someone will explain why that is deeply flawed, but your own conclusion that it is a "glorified" jupiter is quite correct. My response to folks asking about cosmological argument has always been similar: Why not just call "space" and all that it is, just "space" instead of trying to call it god, and give such a broad thing human like traits. And if it is "outside of time and space" you just defined it out of existence. If it affects our reality, then it is NOT outside time and space.
Don't be embarrassed. We are human, we are not infallible. It is helpful to learn from our errors though to improve ourselves.
I do not know how you "see" the protagonist of a fantasy rpg when you play it. To you take it literal? (you are using controls, to effect trillions upon trillions of 1's and 0's that make up and represent a fantasy rpg story (if you are playing it on a computer) if you are playing with pens and dice, then you see the math along with random factor first hand, interacting with your strategy of play.
By the way I have played a lot of fantasy rpgs back in the day, both the pen and paper kind and the digital/computer kind.
An interesting risk taking these answers from people you never met, and have near total anonymity here, (if they so choose.)
You should always do that. Hopefully what is sensible to you is stuff driven by facts, measurable results, and repeatable/sharable observation/testing.
Big green dude... I’m only focusing in on one statement (there were so many):
“I am so embarrassed to have identified myself as a Christian.“
Embarrassment is an emotion based on a belief. Look at the belief you hold to get to the root of “embarrassment” ....maybe your idea of “normal” plays apart of it?
Your internal talk, pay attention to it and don’t let it “get away with anything”. For eg. (My experience). I believed I would have a lifelong partner to grow old with. I married someone I believed wanted the same and loved and could “grow” with (I also believed said mate was from Jehovah).
I failed. I am divorced. Embarrassed (self talk
- why didn’t you “see this or that” or “know this or that” or “be this or that” ...what will others think?!?!)
Not embarrassed at all. I didn’t “know” or “see” because it wasn’t “known or shown” to me. I am who I am and accept that “why should I “be” anything other than that?” AND finally, “who gives a fuck what others think”...I can’t control that and I don’t live with them and I rarely engage with them - these “others” have no meaning in my life or my choices.
Embarrassment for the most part is a self-inflicted judgement.
I can't speak from the realm of "normal", lol. But I do hear what you are saying.
Why bother, why not just jettison the idea of an an archaic superstition that conflicts with a liberal modern view that encompasses science and contemporary ethics over the patriarchal bronze age morals of Abrahamic religions? You are trying to ice skate uphill, to preserve a belief you cannot rationally justify or evidence, and that you admit makes no rational or moral sense in a contemporary setting, unless you subjectively interpret and cherry pick it.
Hardly worth the effort.
I think this is where you respond to my accusation you hold an unevidenced irrational belief, by repeating it back to me, with the "yet I still believe" mantra. Or more accurately..yet I still believe, despite the belief being unevidenced and irrational.
You could mention fruit as well for good measure, though it won't matter of course, as we all already know what a placebo effect is, and how powerful they can be.
The OP was asking, I believe, if there were Christians who were closer to how he thought. He used the interesting word "normal", but from the rest of his post, it sounded like he was describing what I linked to. I thought it might help with his search.
I apologize to the OP if this digresses into a debate about my beliefs.
All the threads deviate along a meandering path, this is not a formal debate after all.
If you're going to apologise for anything it should be your shameless evasion...;-)
Seems to me that they deviate towards an obsession.
Well they revolve around irrational beliefs, held despite a complete absence of any objective evidence, so perhaps that unavoidable.
Hey Homer! You are a “Christian” after all!!!!
See “weakness” in person. Zero in. Sell form of god/Christianity to “suite” person.
A superficial fix.
Re: “ they deviate towards an obsession.”
Likewise, my friend, likewise...
So I'm taking the OP's question and forwarding a link to a Wikipedia article that doesn't apply to what he was asking about? He asked, I answered.
And your answer was subjected to critical debate, in an atheist debate forum, by an atheist. Which you rather oddly tried to evade by labelling it irrelevant, and now obsessional.
Yes you did... through your worldview, bias and belief.
It’s not a “judgement” (what I wrote) and it is a “Christian” quality or identifier.
I do the same fuckin’ thing.