Posted by: Jim | May 26, 2009

Why Christianity is Bad for Society, Part Two

 I truly wish this weren’t true. George Bush betrayed his real motivation for invading Iraq to then Prime Minister Jacques Chirac in 2003 : he believed God had called him to defeat the Biblical (mythical) enemies of Gog and Magog.

Bush is believed to have told Chirac: “This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins”.

To my Christian readers: this is why it is unwise to believe that the Bible is a magic book. You will do crazy, incoherent things because you will compare reality to a book written by crazed prophets thousands of years ago. And I’m not just talking about the lunatic fringe of Christianity—this was the President of the United States! A man YOU prayed for on a regular basis. A man YOU voted for (probably). A man YOU believed was placed in authority over us BY GOD. YOU gave him his power. You should give account for 4,600 coalition deaths in Iraq. You should give account for over 36,000 coalition wounded. And worst of all, You should give account for the deaths of over 100,000 Iraqi civilians.

Do any of you really believe that Iraq is Magog? DO YOU?

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Responses

  1. Settle down, Mulder 😉 To be fair, I believe anyone who is elected to and sworn into the office of President of the United States was aided by God to the degree that I believe in fate. Your continuing wild-eyed, capital-lettered assertion that Bush was/is somehow responsible for all that is bad in this world (at the present day) continues to make me chuckle. Come on, Jim – let it go already.

    I believe the foundation of this fair Nation is good and pure, and was based on Godly things. This is obvious in the imagery and iconography in our history. Atheists (seem to) wish to strike down all of what our founding fathers stood for and believed in. Are you saying that they were wrong by incorporating their beliefs into the fabric of our heritage? Just because they were persecuted for their religious beliefs does not mean they had to abandon their beliefs to solve their problem.

    They simply moved.

    I’m truly sorry for your traumatic religious experience, but understand that this does not mean that religion treats us all the same, nor do I lay the blame on religion. You and I have agreed in the past that more often than not, religion is not nearly as dangerous as those who wield it with reckless abandon. I’m perfectly happy with my faith, and while your discourse riles me from time to time, I have to view your writing as rants that fall short on my front as a Scud missile did during Desert Storm.

  2. I’m pretty sure that the whole United States government would not allow that reasoning alone to go to war. I don’t know a lot about Gog and Magog, but know that there are a lot of prophecies in the Bible.

    To think that W would consider himself the vehicle to carry out Biblical prophecy is one thing, and then to think that he could actually persuade the people around him to make it happen is another.

  3. I think people can get into trouble by trying to pronounce the fulfillment of future Biblical prophecies.

    Since you brought it up, I read a little on the Gog & Magog references in the Bible. There is considerable speculation as to who the players are concerning Ezekiel 38 and 39 and to what it all really means. People speculate as to the meanings and have a lot of theories, but it is still speculation that only God really knows.

    For a president to act on this is irresponsible at least and extremely disastrous at worst. He needs to layout all of his thought processes with the people who should know, so that there is a committee (Congress and the Supreme Court) of people who can weigh the facts, weigh the consequences and weigh the options.

    As far as I know, we do not live under a king in this country, and it is still a democracy. If Bush thought that this was a spiritual battle and manipulated the facts to support his hidden agenda, then I agree with you.

    Instead of him trying to fulfill prophecy, he should just do the job that he was given to do as best he can, and let the prophecy fall where it may, otherwise it would be a self fulfilling prophecy.

    I think that is why it is vague to begin with. If God spelled it out so plainly, either people would want to *make* it happen or want to *make sure it doesn’t happen*.

    In regards to whomever you elect as a president, you and I know that you are electing a man or a woman, not an ideal or a perfected being. Whomever is elected will have “baggage” that they bring to the office. That “baggage” will be complex and not easily (correctly/rightfully) judged by the electorate.

    It’s too easy to say, Obama went to this church so he is a racist! Busch believes in the Bible, so he will be __________. Obama was raised this way, so he__________. This particular president is an atheist so he __________. and on it goes.

    There are all kinds of prejudices that we could bring into the voting booth, but that’s why we have records and experience and intense questioning before we vote.

    Even then, we will not know enough about who is elected. Good thing we don’t have a dictatorship, and good thing that we have so many checks and balances built into our system. The system is flawed, but does seem to work.

  4. Todd,

    You’re really not correct about our heritage. The founders were almost entirely secular, but made allowances for religion out of necessity. (The Pilgrims were most definitely religious, but they weren’t really the founders.)

    Anyway … I do wish I could “settle down.” But to do that would mean that I have resigned myself to despair. I see religious people coming into power and starting wars for delirious religious reasons, killing hundreds of thousands of people … no one cares. I’m told to settle down.

    But do you see that I’m protesting because I love my country? Aren’t Todd and Ted angry over this? If you aren’t angry, why not? Do you not love humanity? Do you not see that this crazy person lied to us because of his personal hallucinations, and killed 100,000 people for no reason?

    Why should I care? When TMOTM stops, it will because I have concluded my efforts with despair.

    I’m very close to it.

  5. Jim,

    I am mad! I voted for Bush and he let me down big time. I don’t want any president ruling with a renegade swagger based on his own personal agendas! No way! The same is true for Obama.

    We need a system of checks and balances. What do you think of the government owning up to 70% of GM (Government Motors)?

    Another good example is the leadership in North Korea! Did you know that they threatened an attack on South Korea and it was reported just 8 hours ago?

    Kim Jong is irreligious as is 65% of their population. They persecute Christians there as well. Do we denounce atheism because of this? Of course not.

  6. That’s all I wanted to hear, was a Bush supporter say they were disappointed in the face of these new facts. Thank you Ted! You have helped me restore my faith in humanity.

  7. Well, Jim, can’t you see Ted’s point? If Bush had not been religious, that number could be double!

    There’s a bluff here. While Bush may have been inspired by God. Besides, calling Kim an atheist because he crushes Christians, etc, isn’t correct. There is a religion in North Korea and it involves devoting oneself utterly to the worship of Kim, etc. Devotion to a supreme ruler, in effect, a living God, if you will. The Wikipedia article supports this:

    “Official biographers claim that his birth at Baekdu Mountain was foretold by a swallow, and heralded by the appearance of a double rainbow over the mountain and a new star in the heavens.”

    So, Ted’s category of ‘atheist’ is revealed as questionable. This is the problem with simply accepting things at face value. As I have pointed out with re: Ted, when Christians fail, they do not invalidate the principles of Christianity, whereas Ted portrays each action undertaken by those he labels atheists (or who identify themselves as atheists) as proof of the destructive nature of atheism itself.

    It’s a double-standard that I will repeat each time Ted repeats his offence.

  8. Yes yes … Kingfelix is absolutely right of course. But I was truly happy to see an erstwhile Bush supporter (presumably) do the reasonable thing by distancing himself from Bush in the light of these facts. Ted’s response came in an hour when I was battling (on Facebook) with Christians who were being much more dispassionate about it, and I was utterly frustrated with their complete lack of compassion.

    I’m getting really sick of Christians using Kim Il Jung, Chairman Mao, Stalin, etc. as examples of what happens with atheists achieve power. However, as you say, 99% of the world makes judgements based on face value. I often do it myself. This truth is way too subtle for most people, but I will be writing about it eventually.

  9. I’m glad your really sick of Christians using those people!!! Finally. I’m really sick of you using the bozos that you use on the other side. That is the double standard. You pick wackos on the fringe and say that they are examples of why Christianity is dangerous, etc.

    Please read this closely… I point to atheist rulers who are destructive, and who are on the fringe of all things acceptable in *response* to you pointing out Christians or religious people in power, etc.

    Life before this blog, and life in general, I don’t care what someone’s religion or lack thereof is! My point on this blog is that you shouldn’t either. Some people are religious and are idiots. Some aren’t. Some are atheist and are idiots and some aren’t. Don’t just point out those that are religious and clap and back slap to one another and say religion is stupid and dangerous and don’t use them as your supreme examples to the world.

    The fact is, there are great people who are religious and great people who are not. It doesn’t matter. You don’t need to be a Christian to be a great person or have morals, etc. You could be though! You don’t have to be atheist to be a great person, or have morals, etc. You could be though!

    I think the subtle truth is what really should be talked about, not the face value that you are referring to.

  10. kingfelix,

    My point was NOT that if Bush had been irreligious the number would have been double! I think you just don’t ever give me the benefit of the doubt, or you are just hyper negative regarding anything I say.

    I don’t like the fact that Bush had a personal agenda! That’s what I said, clearly!

    SO clearly.

    When I said the thing about Kim, I said and I quote ” Do we denounce atheism because of this? Of course not.”

    Of course not!! I’m making the point for both sides. Do we denounce Christianity because a Christian does something bad or wrong or horrible?? Of course not!! Do we do that if an atheist does something bad or wrong or horrible?? Of course not!

    Why do you twist my words constantly?

  11. “Kim Jong is irreligious as is 65% of their population. They persecute Christians there as well.”

    The point is, as I demonstrated, this statement is false and to link North Korean society, which is not atheist, with atheism, and then say:

    “Do we denounce atheism because of this? Of course not.”

    Is equivalent to: “20 men flew airliners into the Twin Towers, but do we denounce the German people for this? Or course not.” Right, because the German people had no link to it, although your statement now asserts a link. You are aware of the mistrustful nature of such assertions?

    ***

    If you quote numbers of dead produced by your ‘atheists’ each time a number appears of dead produced by the God-inspired, then you have to be ready to be poked fun at, and to be seen to be a moral relativist. Your way of treating each Christian crime by citing an ‘atheist’ crime is moronic, and it’s time that your use of the atheist tag is challenged each time, as is the case here. You acknowledge subtlety, then show none.

    Lastly, I am not twisting your words, it’s just that you have a twisted perspective.

    ***

    Jim, do not give up!

  12. Ted – Cheney’s type of religious wacko, with his false links between things.

  13. There can be no tit for tat because I’m sure that you will find equal numbers for crimes on humanity and that was once again the point. —

    Quoted from Wikipedia which quotes from other sources… “According to a ranking published by Open Doors, an organization that supports persecuted Christians, North Korea is currently the country with the most severe persecution of Christians in the world.[109] Human rights groups such as Amnesty International also have expressed concerns about religious persecution in North Korea.[110]

    Religion
    Main article: Religion in North Korea
    Both Koreas share a Buddhist and Confucian heritage and a recent history of Christian and Cheondoism (“religion of the Heavenly Way”) movements. The North Korean constitution states that freedom of religion is permitted.[96] North Korea is officially Juche and according to the Western standards of religion — the majority of Korean population could be characterized as irreligious. However the majority are definitely religious from a sociological viewpoint[97] — the cultural influence of such traditional religions as Buddhism and Confucianism still have an effect on North Korean spiritual life.[98][99][100]
    Nevertheless, Buddhists in North Korea reportedly fared better than other religious groups — particularly Christians, who were said to often face persecution by the authorities, and Buddhists were given limited funding by the government to promote the religion, given that Buddhism played an integral role in traditional Korean culture.[101]
    According to Human Rights Watch, free religious activities no longer exist in North Korea as the government sponsors religious groups only to create an illusion of religious freedom.[102] According to Religious Intelligence the situation of religion in North Korea is the following:[103]
    Irreligion: 15,460,000 adherents (64.31% of population, the vast majority of which are adherents of the Juche philosophy)
    Korean shamanism: 3,846,000 adherents (16% of population)
    Cheondoism: 3,245,000 adherents (13.50% of population)
    Buddhism: 1,082,000 adherents (4.50% of population)
    Christianity: 406,000 adherents (1.69% of population)

    Human rights
    Main article: Human rights in North Korea
    Multiple international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, accuse North Korea of having one of the worst human rights records of any nation.[21] North Koreans have been referred to as “some of the world’s most brutalized people”, due to the severe restrictions placed on their political and economic freedoms.[22] North Korean defectors have testified to the existence of prison and detention camps with an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 inmates (about 0.85% of the population), and have reported torture, starvation, rape, murder, medical experimentation, forced labour, and forced abortions.[23] There is a national mandated work dress code.[23]
    The system changed slightly at the end of 1990s, when population growth became very low. In many cases, where capital punishment was de facto, it was replaced by less severe punishments. Bribery became prevalent throughout the country. For example, years ago[specify] just listening to South Korean radio could result in capital punishment. However, many North Koreans now illegally wear clothes of South Korean origin, listen to Southern music, watch South Korean videotapes and even receive Southern broadcasts.[24][25]

    I don’t know the man personally, so I can’t attest personally that he is an atheist. http://www.freebase.com/view/en/kim_jong-il

    and.. “North Korea’s Stalinist system is based on total devotion of the individual to an ideology promoted by the late leader Kim Il Sung and his successor, Kim Jong Il. Many outsiders say the ideology largely resembles a religion or cult, and refugees’ accounts say those who oppose it are dealt with severely, often ending up in prison camps. Despite the risks, some Christians practice their faith – sometimes with official sanction, often at great risk.”

    http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2005-11/Despite-Tremendous-Odds-Religion-Survives-in-North-Korea.cfm

    If he IS a theist, what god does he believe in?

    “Kim Il Sung, the man recruited in 1945 by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to found the Communist North Korean state, stamped out Christianity and the traditional Buddhism and Shamanism. He installed in their place an ideology resembling a state religion, which rejects any outside influence and which critics say promotes hatred and distrust of outsiders.

    That ideology, which preaches self-reliance, is known as Juche, of which the late Mr. Kim is the central figure – so much so that the North Korean calendar begins with the year of his birth in 1912. One of the tallest structures in Pyongyang is the Juche Tower, built in Juche 70, or 1982. Guide Choe Hye Ok explains the ideology to a small group of American reporters.

    “Each letter has its meaning, so ‘ju’ stands for master and ‘che’ stands for body,” said Choe Hye Ok. “So, Juche means ‘master of one’s self.'””

    I think he is Not a Theist and that he believes in self.

  14. I wonder why the great people of christianity did not stop Bush. I didn’t know that those christians who reelected him are “idiots”.

  15. Why didn’t the great people, of any world view stop Bush?? No one could tell the future. People believed in him and believed him. He let us down.

  16. There can be no tit for tat because I’m sure that you will find equal numbers for crimes on humanity and that was once again the point. —

    Quoted from Wikipedia which quotes from other sources… “According to a ranking published by Open Doors, an organization that supports persecuted Christians, North Korea is currently the country with the most severe persecution of Christians in the world.[109] Human rights groups such as Amnesty International also have expressed concerns about religious persecution in North Korea.[110]

    Religion
Main article: Religion in North Korea
Both Koreas share a Buddhist and Confucian heritage and a recent history of Christian and Cheondoism (”religion of the Heavenly Way”) movements. The North Korean constitution states that freedom of religion is permitted.[96] North Korea is officially Juche and according to the Western standards of religion — the majority of Korean population could be characterized as irreligious. However the majority are definitely religious from a sociological viewpoint[97] — the cultural influence of such traditional religions as Buddhism and Confucianism still have an effect on North Korean spiritual life.[98][99][100]


    Nevertheless, Buddhists in North Korea reportedly fared better than other religious groups — particularly Christians, who were said to often face persecution by the authorities, and Buddhists were given limited funding by the government to promote the religion, given that Buddhism played an integral role in traditional Korean culture.[101]


    According to Human Rights Watch, free religious activities no longer exist in North Korea as the government sponsors religious groups only to create an illusion of religious freedom.[102]

    According to Religious Intelligence the situation of religion in North Korea is the following:[103]

    
Irreligion: 15,460,000 adherents (64.31% of population, the vast majority of which are adherents of the Juche philosophy)
Korean shamanism: 3,846,000 adherents (16% of population)
Cheondoism: 3,245,000 adherents (13.50% of population)
Buddhism: 1,082,000 adherents (4.50% of population)
Christianity: 406,000 adherents (1.69% of population)

    Human rights
Main article:

    Human rights in North Korea
Multiple international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, accuse North Korea of having one of the worst human rights records of any nation.[21]

    North Koreans have been referred to as “some of the world’s most brutalized people”, due to the severe restrictions placed on their political and economic freedoms.[22]

    North Korean defectors have testified to the existence of prison and detention camps with an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 inmates (about 0.85% of the population), and have reported torture, starvation, rape, murder, medical experimentation, forced labour, and forced abortions.[23]

    There is a national mandated work dress code.[23]
The system changed slightly at the end of 1990s, when population growth became very low. In many cases, where capital punishment was de facto, it was replaced by less severe punishments.

    Bribery became prevalent throughout the country. For example, years ago[specify] just listening to South Korean radio could result in capital punishment.

    However, many North Koreans now illegally wear clothes of South Korean origin, listen to Southern music, watch South Korean videotapes and even receive Southern broadcasts.[24][25]

  17. I don’t know the man personally, so I can’t attest personally that he is an atheist, although I found a freebase site that has him classified as such.

    I found this also:

    “North Korea’s Stalinist system is based on total devotion of the individual to an ideology promoted by the late leader Kim Il Sung and his successor, Kim Jong Il.

    Many outsiders say the ideology largely resembles a religion or cult, and refugees’ accounts say those who oppose it are dealt with severely, often ending up in prison camps.

    Despite the risks, some Christians practice their faith – sometimes with official sanction, often at great risk.”

    http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2005-11/Despite-Tremendous-Odds-Religion-Survives-in-North-Korea.cfm

    If he IS a theist, what god does he believe in?

    “Kim Il Sung, the man recruited in 1945 by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to found the Communist North Korean state, stamped out Christianity and the traditional Buddhism and Shamanism.

    He installed in their place an ideology resembling a state religion, which rejects any outside influence and which critics say promotes hatred and distrust of outsiders.

    That ideology, which preaches self-reliance, is known as Juche, of which the late Mr. Kim is the central figure – so much so that the North Korean calendar begins with the year of his birth in 1912.

    One of the tallest structures in Pyongyang is the Juche Tower, built in Juche 70, or 1982. Guide Choe Hye Ok explains the ideology to a small group of American reporters.

    “Each letter has its meaning, so ‘ju’ stands for master and ‘che’ stands for body,” said Choe Hye Ok. “So, Juche means ‘master of one’s self.’””

    I think he is Not a Theist and that he believes in self.

  18. “If he IS a theist, what god does he believe in?”

    Persecuting religious belief IS NOT de facto an indicator of ‘atheism’ – You’ve not got hold of the logical fallacy yet. Keep trying.

    Here – not everybody who cuts down a tree is a lumberjack – see?

  19. You tried to refute the comment about 65% being irreligious, and I showed you the statistic.

    He does not publicly follow a religion other than the philosophy of Juche which has no deity. No deity, no god; no god — atheist.

  20. Kim is a monotheist. He believes in one god – HIMSELF

  21. Your statistic is meaningless.

    Irreligious 1) does not mean atheism – if you can’t understand this, I can’t help you further.

    just as 2) religious persecution does not mean that it is atheistic in origin. All dissent is punished in Kim’s N Korea, however, you can’t seem to understand this, either.

    and 3) it is not accurate to equate your ‘irreligious’ with ‘atheism’. North Korean people worship a leader whose birth was greeted by a new star in heaven, ie: rather like the Nazarene. This is rather clearly why rivals to Kim’s crown as King and Divine Leader are unwelcome, and why Christians are a good fit for some persecution (and why Buddhism is perhaps a little easier to permit, as it does not have a deity)

    But, keep repeating your statistic, maybe it will become true, just like your biblical ‘truth’

  22. In 2000 years, that is

  23. What we might conclude instead is that any culture / belief system that places a King at the top, be it Christ or Kim, leads to persecution of others.

    Kim and your church have more in common than they both share with atheism.

  24. It doesn’t even matter what religion he is. The point was the same. You are just argumentative.

  25. OK let me step in here …

    Ted is calling my argument “Ad hominem” … and if that were true, then to refute the argument by showing what an atheist regime was doing would be a logical rebuttal.

    But my argument is not ad hominem. Korea’s Kim has absolutely nothing to do with my argument. My initial premise is this: if you take a fundamental approach to the Bible (and believe it is God’s word) it will lead you to crazy things.

    You can’t refute that by saying “but other people do crazy things too.” I’m not saying that the Bible is the ONLY path to insanity–but it is A path.

  26. Jim,
    Thanks for your clarification.

    “If you take a fundamental approach to the Bible it will lead you to crazy things” may be true depending on your definition of crazy.

    I think that this is at the heart of most of our discussions.

  27. Ted is a bastard and he continually uses a tactic known as “What about X?” where X is never related to the matter at hand in any meaningful way.

    It’s a variation of “Clinton did it, too”

    “Atheists did it, too”

    Ted is an asshole.

  28. Ted employs the m.o. of right wing trolls everywhere and Jim has actually tolerated you way more than you deserve.

  29. Kingfelix … should I tolerate you posting comments using Ted’s handle?

  30. Jim,

    As it had the Barney pic, I thought it’d be obviously a joke, and I was saving Ted pointing out that atheists kill people too.

    Was a one-off

    Jason

  31. You say Ted employs the m.o. of right wing trolls everywhere and that I have been tolerated more than I deserve?

    What do you do with those who can’t be tolerated anymore?

  32. Ted, I tolerate everyone with earnest intent. It’s the only way.

    I actually haven’t had a problem with real trolls here at all. Real trolls are people who purposefully cause dust ups with fighting words, and are disengenuous about it.

  33. I know you do Jim. I was asking kingfelix because he is the one who said it.

  34. kingfelix, I agree with you that religious persecution does not mean that it is atheistic in origin. Of course, that would be stupid to believe this. There are muslims who want to persecute all other religions. There were Christians who wanted to persecute other religions as in our Inquisition discussions. I just looked up information on Kim and saw him listed as Atheist.

    Yes, he persecutes people of religion and like you and I both mentioned ANY dissension.

    What more do you want me to say?

    Do you have proof that he is not an atheist?? Like it was stated before, it doesn’t really even matter what he is, the point is still the same that people of all faiths have done dastardly things.

    I realize that you think I’m employing some sort of trick of pointing to atheist atrocities, but I’m not. Jim was right when he wrote about ad hominem.

    His point was that if you follow the Bible, it will lead you to do crazy things…

    He says it is one of many paths to insanity. I’m guessing that he believes that naturalism and atheism is the only path to sanity.

  35. Ted, atheism is definitely NOT a path to sanity, because people can arrive at the conclusion of atheism using very unreasonable means!

    The only sane path is one of total reasonableness. Fundamental religion of any sort is not reasonable. Some atheists are not reasonable either. You don’t have to be an atheist to be a reasonable person–all you have to do to be reasonable is to stop believing anything that has disproven by scientific observation, or is completely illogical. For example, a reasonable person would make the following conclusion:

    Premise: The Bible is 100% accurate
    Fact: The Bible says Jesus was crucified on the day of Pentacost in Matthew, but that he was crucified on the day BEFORE Pentacost in Luke.
    Conclusion: The premise is false.

    An Unreasonable person will find some way to justify this and still be able to make the claim that the Bible is 100% true.

    There is a thin sliver of “people of faith” who I would still consider reasonable. They tend to be very liberal, and considered “not truly faithful” by fundamentalists. However, these people are not my concern.

  36. “What do you do with those who can’t be tolerated anymore?”

    Oh, clearly, I take my cue from anti-abortion campaigners and I will cut you down in a hail of gunfire after your Sunday service.

    I figure that is what you would like to hear.

    When asked why I did it, I will say that “One man had to die so that others might live free of an admittedly unquantifiable amount of cognitive dissonance. Had you heard this guy talk about science?”

    Usually, for trolls like you, I would make use of the God-like power of Blog Administrator and simply edit your comment, peppering it with more outlandish lunatic outbursts and insults directed against yourself, etc. “I am Ted, a clown…” etc

    If that didn’t discourage you, I would consider blocking you. I don’t equate that with censorship, if you want that debate, because to refuse you access to one tiny corner of the web is to not seriously impinge upon your freedom to express yourself, but rather, to encourage you do that expressing elsewhere, anywhere.

    But, go ahead, if you think you can make a charge of totalitarianism stick, and compare such a course of action to the censorship practiced in East Germany or Red China, try.

  37. The fruits of faith:

    “Biblical history is the key to understanding dinosaurs. Explore many of these amazing creatures along with fossilized dinosaur eggs, a triceratops skeleton casting, and much more!”

    http://creationmuseum.org/whats-here/exhibits/

    Beyond parody. Fundamentalist belief packaged as historical truth.

  38. The faith in this instance appearing to be a faith that there is no limit to the credulousness of humanity.

    A faith built upon Barnum’s dictum:

    “There’s a [religious] sucker born every minute.”

  39. Jim,

    What you say sounds reasonable on the surface, understandably. But to understand/explain the Bible completely you may have to use science, geology, geography, culture study and language study among others.

    I already think I know what you are thinking, “Why would God make it so complicated, why wouldn’t he have created a book that is easy to understand, etc.

    That of course is a great question, and I don’t know for sure although I have my ideas on the matter and we could take that tangent if you so desire.

    But, from a reasonable standpoint, one would have to know the culture and language to be able to say if something is reasonable or not when you are talking about ancient books and artifacts. Atheists tend to believe that they have the intellectual high ground when talking to theists, yet they will not consider Bible interpretation historically and methodically, through the lens of culture and language and time frame.

    There is a science to interpretation of ancient documents where there are very intelligent scholars who do great intellectual work.

    The example I heard the other day was that if you and I were having an email conversation and I told you that I was so hungry that I could eat a horse.

    Then a huge earthquake happened and 10,000 years from now.

    What if the first people on the scene were to uncover my hard drive, they might say “Wow, American’s ate horses 10,000 years ago.” It would not be until they uncovered more hard drives and other artifacts that they would discover that it was a cultural figure of speech and they would know that they indeed did not eat horses.

    It is this type of analysis that is important to the understanding and meaning of the Bible. Is this reasonable to you?

    http://hermeneutics.kulikovskyonline.net/hermeneutics/hermeneutics.htm

    http://www.equip.org/articles/taming-bible-discrepancies

    http://www.bobsiegel.net/index.html?menu.html&0

    http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/bible.htm

  40. Jim,

    According to your definition of troll, I think that kingfelix is walking that precipice.

    “Real trolls are people who purposefully cause dust ups with fighting words, and are disengenuous about it.”

  41. kingfelix,

    For you to even write what you did about the abortionist murder is disrespectful and makes light of a very serious and horrible event.

    I know you hate me so much, but that is low, even for you.

    I heard from someone that perhaps if I dished out a little of what you were serving I might gain respect back from you, but I don’t really want to go in that direction.

    That museum looks like a cool place. I would like to visit it one day with my kids.

    For the record, I don’t think that if you (kingfelix) would block me from your sight (if you had one) that it would be a terrible crime. My feelings won’t be hurt. I would expect you to do that actually given your track record for tolerance and respect.

    I wouldn’t have thought that you would have edited my words however. That is just plain wrong. You would make it appear that I wrote things that I didn’t actually write?

    I guess I should have known since you tried to do that on this blog already anyway. Did you KNOW that your little purple dino would show up on your entry, or did you just come up with that excuse after you saw it?

  42. “For you to even write what you did about the abortionist murder is disrespectful and makes light of a very serious and horrible event.”

    I am not making light of a serious event. That is your view, try to remember that your views do not constitute universal truths, merely opinion. The tone of your question was clearly demanding to know what extreme form my intolerance would take. I gave you your fix and then moved on. I can’t legislate for the boundaries of your notion of good taste. Sorry.

    “I guess I should have known since you tried to do that on this blog already anyway. Did you KNOW that your little purple dino would show up on your entry, or did you just come up with that excuse after you saw it?”

    Of course I knew, and it would have been no problem to duplicate the abstract pattern.

    For the record, I don’t hate you, I just don’t like you.

    “That is just plain wrong.”

    That is the moral component again. I thought God would be the judge? My morality does not extend in that direction. The power is there, it is used upon my whim.

    The only thing that would gain my respect is if you were able to stop with the repeated cries of “Atheists do that, too” and to concede the point on moral relativism being the norm that has prevailed throughout human history. So far, no sign of either thing happening.

  43. You just accused me of making light of the abortionists murder. Please show me where I did so.

    I believe the tone you are talking about came as a direct result of your own insults and aggression. I seriously wanted to know, and you actually told me.

    In so many words, you said your morality does not extend in the direction of honesty. (You would forge my handle to slander my name and try to incriminate me or embarrass me or worse).

    If the power is there, then you would use it. You would use it on a whim as well.

    To me that is a scary proposition. When we don’t have universal morals, or even agreed upon morals (Jim has stated on his blog the “guidelines” and etiquette) then it is very difficult for me to see any real progress. It appears to be a waste of time to devote energy and thought and feeling toward a seemingly hopeless endeavor of meaningful dialogue.

    I suppose it is never a waste of time to explore and to give someone the benefit of the doubt, but I think that I’ve reached a personal conclusion.

    When you keep writing that I cry atheists do it too, you are showing your ignorance. It has been explained to you several times, but you keep beating on it anyway. Are you thinking that if you keep saying it, it will appear to be true?

    I have pointed out that there are atheists who do horrible things. Big deal. Is that really a surprise to you? Do you think atheists, or atheist rulers are not capable of atrocities? The same is true for Christians and Christian leadership.

    Jim explained about the ad hominem argument where:

    “Person A makes claim X.
    Person B makes an attack on person A.
    Therefore A’s claim is false.

    The reason why an Ad Hominem (of any kind) is a fallacy is that the character, circumstances, or actions of a person do not (in most cases) have a bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim being made (or the quality of the argument being made).” http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/ad-hominem.html

    I was thinking that Jim was attacking ” Christianity” not on the merits of it’s premise (being Christ like), but by attacking specific Christians and their bone head maneuvers.

    So I was attempting to show that regardless of religious background, people are the same, and that the same could be pointed out with atheism.

    I am not a parrot who just keeps saying the same thing when it does not make sense to do so. I don’t even think that argument is good to begin with, so I don’t want to keep going there. It was meant to *stop* more straw man attacks on Christians.

  44. Jim, regarding your specific comment

    Fact: The Bible says Jesus was crucified on the day of Pentacost in Matthew, but that he was crucified on the day BEFORE Pentacost in Luke.

    Where in Matthew do you get that Jesus was crucified on pentecost? Clearly it talks about the passover supper Jesus enjoyed on Thursday and then he was crucified on Friday. Pentecost was the second major annual feast that was celebrated 50 days after Passover.

  45. chargersboltman is me Ted. Didn’t mean to mix the name up. Accident.

  46. Pentecost is 50 days after Easter. Were you thinking Passover? I don’t know of any contradictions in that specific place, but there may well be.

    The bible has plenty of other holes, so the argument remains the same whether the gospel writers had there stories straight over what exact day Jesus was crucified or not. Considering the gospels were basically all copied off Luke, is is unlikely that their writers would have made such an obvious error.

  47. Yes thanks CRL … Ted corrected me on that too (in e-mail). I meant passover.

  48. your right on what you said

  49. 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

  50. Hey Rick! Great to hear from you. Yes, we did have some great times. 🙂

    It would not be unfair to say that I was wounded, disillusioned, and angry. However, I was silent about my beliefs for over 10 years after leaving the church, and the state of affairs in the country led me to realize that silence and tolerance were no longer an appropriate response to the rising tide of Christianity in our culture and government.

    I don’t like that what I write about hurts the good friends I used to have. It’s not my intent to smear or belittle anyone. All the people from my Christian past are well-meaning, good folks who are just not thinking straight. I have no beef.

    The ones who are mesmerized are those who begin with a conclusion and abandon their reason in order to force their observations to conform to that conclusion. What is non sequetur about Hitchins, Harris, et all?

    By the way, none of those four authors (nor I) declare with absolute certainty that there is no God. In fact some of them even wrote in their books that such a thing is unknowable. I would guess you haven’t read them–so your criticism of them is based on assumption?

  51. Jim,

    Good to hear from you!

    I must say that I do agree that your words seem not to intend ridicule or harm of anyone from the past, and for that I am grateful. So often we muddy the waters of our argument so as to discredit our assertions. What I sense from you is a desire to explain (and at times indoctrinate, but this is normal), to bring wholeness to others who have likewise been disillusioned about Christianity.

    What saddens me is that it appears there was no opportunity at COTW for you and others to discuss what you were feeling without receiving the “let’s cast demons out of you” or “just get over it” response. I could be conjecturing here. Fortunately I did have many fruitful discussions with our peers regarding everything from struggles with homosexuality to existentialistic concerns, and always beleived there was a freedom to work through these things with intellectual and spiritual integrity. I tried to be a good listener, and offer advice that would reasonably convey the heart of God.

    As for Hitchens, Harris, Dawkins and the like, I have read, and will continue to read, all of them. Like these authors, you seem to presume that my perspective stems from “right-wing” ignorance rather than being truly informed. One example of a typical faulty argument would be Harris’ following assertion:

    “Of course, the Church’s position on abortion takes no more notice of the details of biology than it does the reality of human suffering. It has been estimated that 50 percent of all human conceptions end in spontaneous abortion, usually without a woman even realizing that she was pregnant. In fact, 20 percent of all recognized pregancies end in miscarriage. There is an obvious truth here that cries out for acknowledgment: if God exists, He is the most prolific abortionist of all.” (Letter to a Christian Nation, p. 38)

    If Harris is serious about making a case for the ludricy of the Christian faith as he defines it (myopically, the Christian “Right” with whom even I have serious problems ), he and others like him should stray from such silly assertions filled petitio principii arguments (he assumes Christians do not consider abortion from a biological perspective or are blind to human suffering), non sequiturs (does it logically follow that miscarriages are an act of God?), and faulty assertions (where does he get such statistics…they aren’t footnoted in the book). This is typical of baseless and often ad hominem arguments on BOTH sides of the equation; Christians can easily be just as stupid.

    And with regard to these authors and others acquiescing to the possible existence of a supreme God, one could hardly make that claim in the context of their writings.

    Yet my intent in communicating with you was more focused on the acknowledgment that the brand of “Christianity” so often made public is a far cry from authentic biblical Christianity – of which I write extenisvely in my book, Who Do You Say I Am? Comparing Your Jesus to the Christ of the Bible. I wish we would have had an opportunity to discuss these matters while at COTW; not to suggest I would have offered anything better than you received, but at least letting you know that someone actually cared. I never rejoice in another person’s pain.

    Thanks for taking the time to communicate. I hope my schedule permits me to check in once in a while to see how you’re doing!

    Rick

  52. Rick, I agree that Harris, et al, approached their topic with a certain amount of bias. I could pick apart some of your criticism, but in spirit you are right. I’m essentially pro-Life, by the way, but from a completely secular line of reasoning. It’s a topic that I think some prominent atheists have yet to think completely through.

    I stopped writing this blog about a month ago. I’m not sure I will continue. It came to my attention that the reason I’ve been compelled to help others through the trauma of leaving their faith was because I still needed to heal *myself* from the same.

    A different experience with people at COTW (or elsewhere) would not have prevented me from losing my faith. You’re right that the environment was not condusive to doubt, (however I remember having some great discussions with you about it that I felt were extremely atypical) but even a church that nurtured people in doubt would not have saved me. 🙂 All that happened was that I stopped placing the conclusion before the analysis, and placed it after where it belonged.

    I am glad you are confronting Christians with the Biblical Jesus. It is a worthy comparison. I would love to read it. Is it on Amazon?

  53. I agree and believe everything that is written. Anyone that has seen the movie “Fahrenheit 9/11” will understand what this country has gone to. People out of fear vote and agree with corrupt leaders for a sense of false security and guidance, when really they’re being taken advantage of.


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