Posted by: Jim | November 20, 2008

The NEW Meat of the Matter

Now that the Bush era is over, I’ve been thinking about what to do with my blog. My blog wasn’t purposefully focused on the Bush Administration, but it was a very common theme. I’ve been wanting to do something different for some time, so now is a good point to transition.

 

I’m sure that Obama’s administration will make huge, hilarious mistakes worth blogging about, but I will leave that duty to my conservative counterparts. I’m sure they will do their job well, and it is a job that I believe is necessary.

“The Meat of the Matter” will, from now on, specialize on Christianity in America, as told from the perspective of a previous insider. This probably won’t come as a surprise to many of you, and if some of you lose interest and decide to move on, I completely understand. I will be removing most of the links, and adding new ones to accompany the new theme.

I’ve updated the “About Me” and “About This Blog” sections. Stay tuned for more.

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Responses

  1. Welcome to the Atheist Conspiracy! Your secret decoder ring is in the mail.

  2. I’m staying on board. Of course.

  3. Oooooh, I can’t wait for the incoherent, rambling, irrational comments section from all the fundie troglodytes. This should be quite entertaining. Except for the death threats.

    * * *

  4. Umma prayin’ fer yer heathen souls…

  5. The Bush era over? The empire never ended.

    Wait for its next iteration.

  6. cnn.com, Wednesday evening, ten top stories, seven of them contain the word Obama. Come January 20th, THEN I don’t mind seeing more stories about him, but for God’s sake am so I sick and tired of how the media fellates him.

    I am glad you have chosen to abandon political blogging, but is awfully convenient when you admit that Obama will indeed make mistakes, and you will not be there to cover it.

    I look forward to agreeing with you sometimes, and offering differing points of view with respect to my faith, the faith you have such a problem with.

    After all, I did read the book you recommended (The End Of Faith). Can anyone else say the same?

  7. P.S. – Love what you did with the place!

  8. “but for God’s sake am so I sick and tired of how the media fellates him.”

    CODE: – Todd wants to be fellated (probably by Obama).

  9. Todd,

    I realize this is *really* convenient timing to bow out of political blogging.

    However, politics will be perfect now that the Dems are in charge. (NOT!)

    But seriously, the thought of continuing in politics makes me want to retch. I truly do have a passion for this new topic. While I expect there to be a lot of toxicity in the comments, I have more steam for it.

    If you want to bag on Obama, send me e-mails and we can talk there. 🙂

  10. I am reposting one tiny portion of Ted’s very voluminous number of comments to the “About this Blog” page. That page should not have had comments enabled.

    Ted, you will do better if you keep your comments limited to the topic that I post about. If you desire to start discussion topics, you can definitely create your own blog and invite me to participate.

    Here’s the comment made by Ted that I would like to repond to:

    —Begin Quote—
    “Let me post a brief explanation of someone else’s words that might shed light on the subject: “WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEBATE, DISCUSSION AND APOLOGETICS?

    Both debate and apologetics make use of logic. Logic provides us with a means through which we can determine the truth value of opinions and the arguments that arise from a difference in opinion. Even though both debate and apologetics make use of logic, there is a gross difference between them. Apologetics attempts to explain our faith; its goal is to promote understanding. Discussion is also an attempt to honestly understand another’s point of view while presenting one’s own view. Debate, on the other hand, is designed to promote one’s self. Debate is propaganda. The goal of debate isn’t to determine truth, but to win an argument and win an audience over to your way of thinking.”
    —- End Quote—–

    By your definition, Apologetics does not properly use logic. The correct direction of critical thinking goes from Analysis–>Logic–>Conclusion. By your definition, Apologetics goes from Conclusion–>Analysis. This is why there are so many Apologists who all think they are being logical, but who all adhere to radically different world views.

    You have to start from an honest perspective of knowing nothing before you have any chance of using logic and analysis to arrive at something true.

  11. Ordinary Girl, I was going to link you, but when I returned your URL was gone. Where is your blog?

  12. I’ll be sticking around too, of course, though I still may not comment often. I’m not an atheist, but I’m not a Christian either, since organized religion and the attendant dogma makes my skin crawl.

    However, the atheist argument has always made more sense to me than fundamentalism, so I’m definitely interested in your new direction.

    It’s going to be a fun ride! Whee!

  13. After blocking comments in the “About this Blog” page, Ted posted a comment in the “About Me” page, which is also not intended for comments. I’m starting to wonder about Ted’s motives. Anyway, here is his comment, and the “About Me” section also has comments disabled.

    “I’m sad that you deleted my comments. They seemed to be on topic to me. Jim, I sincerely hope that you find happiness and peace in your lifetime.

    It’s important that we all can feel that we are doing the right thing. That in itself is beyond some. Some people don’t care about right and wrong at all. Some people live for themselves and themselves alone.

    Wherever this road takes you, I hope you find what you are looking for. To know that you were once a Christian who loved Jesus gives me a hope that one day you will turn back to the lover of your soul and find rest.”

    Ted, your hope will be deferred. There is no chance that you will see me up there with Jesus after we’re dead.

  14. Debate is propaganda? Bullshit.

  15. Hi Jim,

    I’m still learning the blogging etiquette.

    Do you have any friends who are Christians? What happened that made you turn away from Christianity?

    T

  16. Jim,

    Don’t know why it’s so difficult to explain. It’s common sense. There are motives for “debating”, “blogging”, “discussing”…

    Apologetics is a term used for people who are describing and defending their faith.

    kingfelix was writing in such a way that he made me feel that he was not in these discussions to hear another persons point of view. It seemed to me that he just wanted to debate for the sake of debate. I’m not interested in that.

    I want to communicate with you and others who have been Christians, but are no longer Christians.

    I have come in contact with people with this situation, but I haven’t met anyone who is SO against it that they feel that it’s harmful to society, etc.

    Just trying to see how that happens, and what makes one take this particular path in life.

    In our discussions, people who find the site can learn.

    Ted

  17. I’ll refrain from saying “I told you so” about Ted’s motives and simply point out that I pegged him as disingenuous back when he first started typing here. (“Typing” very deliberately chosen as the verb.)

    I don’t believe that he’s here to “debate” at all — he won’t respond to direct questions and rambles off on his own odd tangents. He’s proselytizing, “witnessing” to us, but in a clumsy, not very persuasive manner.

    Personally, I think his term “Apologetics” for people “defending their faith” is a hilariously Freudian slip.

  18. Right there with ya, Chuck — I always LOVE the word ‘apologist’ in relation to people who defend the indefensible. LOVE it.

    And therefore I just want to apologize in advance for all the merciless abuse I am going to heap upon any apostolic apologists who appear, like our buddy Ted, to aspire to asphyxiate us with their empty proselytization.

    I would be open to debating them, but they rarely offer debate — in fact, they rarely even know what the term means. Instead, they usually just dance around in circles — their logic consisting of ‘the Bible says it so it’s infallibly true’ (or more honestly, ‘my particular spoon-fed interpretation of some ambiguous scripture of apocryphal origin seems to possibly imply it so it must be infallibly true’).

    Therefore, to all Christian apologists I say, please accept my humble apologies for the righteously apocalyptic crucifixion I’m about to lay upon your apoplectically apologetic ass.

    * * *

  19. Apologetics is NOT a “term used for people who are describing and defending their faith.” Apologetics IS the field of theology that attempts to give a rational basis for doctrine or faith. We’ve seen plenty of defensive assertion from the apologetically inclined in these comments pages but precious little reasoned argument. One is not the other.

  20. I always thought that the term apologist was for someone who describes and defends their faith.

    If that’s not the right term, then oh well. I don’t think it’s any surprise that I am a Christian. I haven’t tried to hide that fact. I don’t have some super secret mission or special motive on your site other than wanting to see why someone who was a Christian would turn from it, and turn from it in such a way as Jim has.

    I’m just a regular guy. Do you not want someone who is a Christian to talk with you about the issues? Is it really better for you guys to high five and back slap each other and preach to your own choir? You certainly do have a good old boys/girls club. It’s obvious you are just writing to score points with each other. Perhaps it’s better that you just talk among yourselves so that you can never hear another point of view.

    That way you can just live in your protective world safe from other opinions that bring spirituality to the forefront.

    If you look at the history of the world, spirituality exists and is prominent. To deny the human spirit of the aspect of spirituality is to deny a certain humanness that is intrinsically part of each of us.

    You guys must have really been burned to have such a negative attitude toward other people who are Christians. It’s like a jilted lover or a woman scorned. There seems to be a ton of bitterness, anger and jadedness.

    If you want to actually debate or talk or whatever you want to call it, let’s start with a question of your choice. One question. Then we can go from there and see where that takes us.

    I only ask that the question be a sincere one, not one to try to aggravate etc. I know I’m on your territory here, but is it possible to not cuss?

    Cussing or not cussing, I’ll continue, it’s just a simple request.

    Ted

  21. Ted, you bring up some good points.

    Stay tuned for an “Etiquette” post where I’ll address some of your issues.

    Also, I will start diving into the meat of the matter after that with answering your question about why I’m not a Christian any more.

    I just moved, and work is crazy so I have less time than usual to devote to my beloved blog.

  22. Thank you Jim.

    I appreciate your time and honesty, and your demeanor. Hope you like your new home. Moving can be stressful for sure. My work is crazy also, so I’m a little stressed out myself.

    This blog of yours keeps pulling me like a magnet however. I’ll be working, and then decide to check the blog to see what someone has said or done or erased. :o)

    Hope all is well with you and yours. Talk with you soon.

    Ted

  23. Hope you all have a nice Thanksgiving.

  24. Jim, where is the Ted post that equated debate with both sides posting their propaganda? Can’t find it, and it should stay, it was the first revelation of Ted!

  25. kingfelix,

    That quote was something that I found on the internet, not my own words, and I stated that. Also, the MEANING behind the words in my opinion was to say that you can debate things for the sake of argument, OR you can have a meaningful discussion where you have two people WANTING to UNDERSTAND each other.

    The first revelation of Ted? Please.

    By the way, Jim quoted the quote 14 posts above your last one.

  26. Ted,

    I’ve been given a word from the Lord for you:

    “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

    The Lord says to start by learning what the words discussion, debate, propaganda, and apologist/apologetics mean. He says not to take A.S.A. Jones’ ad hoc definitions seriously – she’s an unschooled idiot and she embarrasses Him. The meanings of these words are not a question of opinion.

  27. Sounds good to me. I’m always willing to learn. If however you can’t see the difference between trying to “win” an argument and trying to understand what another person is thinking, then it is you who lack understanding of a simple truth.

    Is it really necessary to mock me by saying that you have been given a word from the Lord for me? Really, did the Lord say to start by learning what the words discussion… mean?

    That is obviously condescending and not at all in the spirit of an actual, meaningful discussion.

    Your post reinforces the words from A.S.A. Jones.

  28. For sake of definitions, please look at the definition of Propaganda:

    Main Entry:
    pro·pa·gan·da
    Pronunciation:
    \ˌprä-pə-ˈgan-də, ˌprō-\
    Function:
    noun
    Etymology:
    New Latin, from Congregatio de propaganda fide Congregation for propagating the faith, organization established by Pope Gregory XV †1623
    Date:
    1718

    2: the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person
    3: ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause ; also : a public action having such an effect

    You see it is the PURPOSE that defines the term.

    If you want to have a discussion where the purpose is to talk and understand where each other is coming from, then that is what I’m interested in.

    If your purpose reflects this definition of propaganda, then I have many better things to do with my time than to waste it here.

  29. Ted,

    I think I’m seeing your point now, and it’s totally reasonable. You don’t want to take part in a dialog unless you have some level of influence. I agree that if this were merely a propoganda machine, what would be your point?

    Dialog can occur, but only when both parties have an open mind and a willingness to learn. I cannot speak for anyone but myself in this regard, but I would like to think that I have both. If YOU have both, then we can dialog.

    However, you must know that my mind is pretty firmly made up on the matter. It doesn’t mean that I’m unwilling to hear your perspective and maybe come a mutual understanding. However, do not expect this of the other readers. Some of them are guys I would definitely want in my foxhole if the shit hit the fan, but I would never expect them to display the fine art of negotiation and compromise with religious people. 🙂

  30. What you said, Ted (by quoting an illiterate), was “Debate is propaganda”. This is not true. You were misusing the word debate. To come back to me, then, with a dictionary definition of propaganda is to miss the point entirely.

    A discussion “where the purpose is to talk and understand where each other is coming from” BEGINS with a correct understanding of the meaning of words.

    You want to have a discussion in which you summarily dismiss opposing argument as propaganda – which, in your terms is a rather haughty and presumptuous questioning of others’ motives? In which the very words used to describe the ways in which we communicate are plastic? You are indeed wasting your time, and ours.

    And yes, Ted, that is mock-worthy.

  31. Jim,

    Is the exchange of ideas about the nature of reality really about negotiation and compromise?

    I think that’s an absurd suggestion.

  32. Curmudgeon,

    Reality is not negotiable, and that’s not what I was implying.

    Example: Evolution is a fact. That’s not negotiable.

    Another Example: Is Christianity bad for society? I have my opinion, but I could never say that it is as a fact. So that is where dialog can and should happen.

    I agree that Ted’s attempt at using the definitions of words to defend his point was fallacious. I just chose to ignore it and reframe the discussion.

  33. Jim,

    I would love to talk with you. Wherever you want the discussion to lead from and head is up to you. I’m easy.

    When you said that my using a definition to defend my point was fallacious, I’m not sure why you would say that. Why is that so?

    Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving.

  34. Jim,

    I have an open mind and I want a true dialogue to occur. I also have a willingness to learn. I’m not at all familiar with the art of debating or with the game/art of logical arguing.

    This is not to say that I don’t want to be logical!

    Sometimes these types of exchanges seem to be more of a game because there are rules. I’ve always been a guy who likes to just talk about what is on my heart and to have the other person I’m talking to talk from the heart. When you have rules of arguing and terms that I’m unfamiliar with, it seems more like a game than a discussion.

    I hope you understand what I’m trying to say? Like if you were talking to your mom about something, you wouldn’t say to her that’s an ad hominem mom! Mom, you’re Poisoning the Well and that statement is definitely Post Hoc!

    Then I wouldn’t put her down and belittle her, etc.
    I guess the other difference is that when I’m talking to my mom, all of my mom’s friends wouldn’t chime in with drive by comments to defend her and attack me.

    So, I’m willing to just talk man to man if possible. Like if you and me were on a desert island and had all the time in the world. We would talk like friends trying to understand each other, not adversaries in a formal debate.

    We’ll see if this is possible. I hope it is. I already admire your personality.

    Talk with you soon.

  35. Ted wants to be able to “debate” his beliefs without the constraints of having to support his argument, and with the ability to frame the discussion in terms of his own beliefs. Proselytize, in other words. The only thing missing is the coffee and cake as he Shares His Faith with you.

  36. Churk,

    Reminds me of the bums in Down and Out in Paris and London, Orwell writes of how they endured in abject misery the Salvation Army’s prosleytizing, questioning all the time if it was worth sitting through such stuff for the sake of a bit of tea and cake…

    Ted, you don’t appear to have posted anything to support your God’s existence, I am starting to wonder why he created such a poor spokesman.

    You did state quite clearly that debate is propaganda, and if you then claim that because these words are not yours that somehow they’re not to be confused with your, ahem, “position”, then why post them and add your name to them?

    If I post somebody saying that the moon is made of chocolate and then say nothing contrary to that, well, people are going to rather naturally assume that somehow this quote, whether your words or not, is valid, is pertinent, to the point you are advancing. Otherwise, in future, please simply say, “Here is a quote directly contrary to my own beliefs, that I have included simply to cause a storm of misunderstanding”

    Thanks. Now, your evidence, please, for your God.

  37. kingfelix,

    Jim understood where I was coming from. I think that you are just playing games if you say that you don’t understand what I was trying to say with propaganda etc. It has to do with the PURPOSE of blogging together back and forth.

    If I got the term wrong, then I apologize. I wanted to have a normal conversation, not a rules guided debate where people are pointing out fallacies, etc.

    This is NOT to say that if I’m not making sense that Jim shouldn’t tell me so. I’m not familiar with all of the nuances and terms of this way to discuss an issue. So, perhaps he would be so kind as to just explain why he feels that something doesn’t make logical sense. Say something like, “I think that you are confusing this or that, or It looks like you are just assuming this without evidence”, etc. instead of “You are an unschooled idiot…” or ” Your slippery slope argument is fallacious.”

    It’s funny how a lot of you peg me for a person who is witnessing. To tell you the truth, I’m fine with my faith. I don’t want to convince anyone here to become a Christian. I wanted to talk to Jim about his old faith and the circumstances of his reversal in judgment.

    It would be good to start another thread in this blog for evidences for God, but I tried myself to start that kind of topic and it was erased and I was told to stay on topic.

    If I’m wrong, please inform me. I thought that the topic is “The Meat of The Matter” which is what happened in Jim’s life that changed his heart from a lover and worshiper of Jesus Christ to someone who denounces him and thinks that Christ followers are either being duped or worse- hurting society and life on the planet in general.

    Again, if you want to start another thread, I’ll be happy to provide what I feel are strong evidences that God exists. But let’s not confuse the issue with that topic here. Save that for another thread?

    Don’t you think?

    Also, with all due respect, it is Jim’s story that I’m interested in right now. Sure I’m on a public blog but I’m trying to talk to the owner of this blog. It can be difficult to have multiple conversations at once and a bit confusing perhaps?

    Say what you want to, but I hope you don’t think it rude if I only respond to Jim’s comments from now on. If it becomes impossible that Jim and I cannot have a normal conversation in this medium then I suppose we could call each other on the phone, or directly email each other instead.

    Having it on this blog is kind of fun however, and if you want to stay on topic and provide some sincere questioning or substance to our discussion, then I’ll do my best to talk to all of you at once.

  38. Ted, if you want to have a private conversation with Jim, then this is certainly not the venue for it. You should perhaps consider an interesting protocol called EMAIL.

    If you really are interested in how he got to where he is today, belief-wise, then less typing and more reading would probably be in order since that is exactly what he’s been posting about, while your comments are actually distracting from that.

  39. churk,

    I mentioned the email and the phone call in my post.

  40. churk, thanks to your post I looked on the blog and found where Jim was posting on the subject. I can jump in there I suppose. Thanks for the tip.
    🙂

  41. “…I looked on the blog…”

    ***churk smacks forehead with palm of hand***

  42. I’m so unfamiliar with blogs and blogging that it took me a minute to figure out how to navigate.

    Your post is pretty funny though! I had to laugh at myself too.:)

  43. Jim,

    How I happened upon your blog was quite by accident, and I found your thoughts both compellling and tragic. More than a few people walked away from that season at COTW wounded, disillusioned, and angry. I certainly am not attributing any of these emotional states to you; only connecting you insofar as you no longer see that historical period as truthful.

    I was one of those who walked with you and others during our season at COTW. Having read through your blog, as well as the responses, I am reminded of the arguments made by Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, Hitchens et al regarding both the non-existence of God and the cognitive dissonance that naturally occurs when one attempts to deny one awareness for another. Rather than spend the time deconstructing those arguments from a rational perspective, it seems more prudent to acknowledge a truth that we may be able to agree upon–i.e., the westernized (Americanized) version of Christianity is fraught with contradictions, and in a real sense has kidnapped the very authentic, timeless truth expressed through the historical Jesus.

    Thus I can only pray that you are not likewise mesmorized by the often non sequitur tomes of the aforementioned philosophers and authors who subscribe to a belief that cannot be authenticated…for to know with absolute certainty that there is no God would require one to be transcendent!

    Despite the differences of belief today, we did have some fun times back then!

    Rick Allen


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