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I didn't realize this board existed until recently, and decided to check it out. What I have seen so far:

It appears that there are more non-Christians posting here than Christians. I don't get it. Why?
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It appears that there are more non-Christians posting here than Christians. I don't get it. Why?

When this board started, it was a great place to come to discuss the Christian faith. Just go back from post number 1 forward. There is some very good stuff. Then the liberal "christians" started to get more involved and they were joined by their liberal atheist brethren who think they know more about Christianity than Christians and most of the good folks got run off and don't post here anymore. This board now is a liberal haven and mishmash of Christian bashing and hating and their obsession with calling Christians hypocrites and how stupid one is for being a Christian.

It's not a fun or edifying place anymore. There are a tiny minority of folks who post on this board who have anything meaningful to contribute. The rest of what is posted here you can find elsewhere, in spades, on Political Asylum and Atheist Fools. They really despise Christianity and Christians and they like to come over here and strut around acting like they actually know anything about Christianity.

If I were you, I'd stay away from this board.
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Sharkbait....JoshRandall,
JoshRandall....Sharkbait.


Welcome, Sharkbait!!! I see you have met our favorite poster!!! Don't mind him/her. He/she is a raging liberal/atheist that is posing as a conservative christian that posts really loony things to make conservatives and christians look silly (which he/she is really really good at)
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It appears that there are more non-Christians posting here than Christians. I don't get it. Why?

It makes for an interesting mix.
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It appears that there are more non-Christians posting here than Christians. I don't get it. Why?

That's a tricky one. How do you define "Christian"? There are some Christians here who other Christians declare to be not-Christian (usually due to politics, not due to anything scriptural). The first response you got to your question was from an individual who has said that if you are a liberal you aren't really Christian, for example. If you agree with that sentiment, then I can see why you would think there aren't many Christians here.

Then there are some deists, agnostics, and even atheists here. Yes. Each has their own reason(s). Most were at one point Christian.
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He/she is a raging liberal/atheist that is posing as a conservative christian that posts really loony things to make conservatives and christians look silly (which he/she is really really good at)

I never looked at Josh that way. It all makes sense now... ;-)
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Inquiring minds want to know what Christians/christians think on a variety of topics..... other more opinionated minds want to tell Christians/christians what they think on a variety of topics.... sometimes both! :-)
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<<
If I were you, I'd stay away from this board.
>>

Or you could be like JR and post a lot and read little..... if JR ewads any? You are obviously not on his banned list yet... but it likely will not be long... there are few left that are not in JR's grey zone...
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s a tricky one. How do you define "Christian"? There are some Christians here who other Christians declare to be not-Christian (usually due to politics, not due to anything scriptural


that might be it.
doesn't seem to me there's fewer Christians than non
( might make an interesting poll)

do think there's way more non-Christians than one
might expect
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If I were you, I'd stay away from this board.



There is always room for good discussion. The person I am quoting is not known for good discussion, and has deep seated hatred towards people who do not follow their view of what a Christian is. I say start a topic, be thoughtful, and stay away from the flames.

Personally I think there is room for all POV as long as there is good civil discussion.

Charlie
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He/she is a raging liberal/atheist that is posing as a conservative christian that posts really loony things to make conservatives and christians look silly (which he/she is really really good at)




You forgot they are a closeted self-hating transsexual to boot.

Charlie
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Personally I think there is room for all POV as long as there is good civil discussion and hot water.

FTFY. :)
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Thanks, everyone, for the input. Here's what I'm wondering.

Definition of Christian from Wikipedia (please forgive the source):

"A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. "Christian" derives from the Koine Greek word Christ, a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term Messiah.

Central to the Christian faith is the gospel, the teaching that humans have hope for salvation through the message and work of Jesus, and particularly, his atoning death on the cross and his resurrection. Christians also believe Jesus is the Messiah prophesied in the Hebrew Bible. Most Christians believe in the doctrine of the Trinity ("tri-unity"), a description of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This includes the vast majority of churches in Christianity, although a minority are Non-trinitarians."

I don't disagree with the definition above, and I personally believe that the Bible is the error-free work of God that a Christian should look to for instruction, reproof, and inspiration.

So, again, I'm wondering why any non-Christian would come to this forum regularly? I can understand an occasional glance, but there seems to be non-Christians, atheists, people that like to divide the body of Christ, etc.

Please understand, I don't mean that I want anyone to leave, I'm just trying to get a grasp on it mentally, I guess.
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So, again, I'm wondering why any non-Christian would come to this forum regularly? I can understand an occasional glance, but there seems to be non-Christians, atheists, people that like to divide the body of Christ, etc.

I can only speak for myself; As an atheist living in the United Statess, Christianity is an unavoidable and ever-present element of my life. Christianity is the dominant religion in this country with considerable influence socially, politically, and economically.

The Christian religion is at the heart of many political issues which divide our nation and is the driving force behind laws that I am subject to. It is an unavoidable aspect of life in this country whether I believe the Bible stories or not.

As a consequence of American politics Christianity has a lot of influence over my life -- from small things like not being able to buy beer on Sundays to big things like my gay friends not being allowed to marry. Often it is very difficult for me to understand why Christians behave how they do, and why they think the things they think. I hang out here because I want to better understand this framework of beliefs and the people that hold them.

I am thankful because despite a few dyspeptic posters (who I happily ignore) most of the people here have graciously helped me better understand their religion and I've developed a more balanced understanding of their/your beliefs as a result.
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Please understand, I don't mean that I want anyone to leave, I'm just trying to get a grasp on it mentally, I guess.

If it helps, there is also an Atheist Fools board. Not everyone that posts there is an atheist.

It appears from your profile that you've been a member of TMF since 2006 but have made less than 100 posts. So I assume you're not on the boards very much.

I guess the way I think of it is that TMF is like a big community. As in any community, most people have their favorite hangouts and then there are other places they drop into occasionally, sometimes depending on who else is hanging out there at the time or what they want to talk about.

A lot of people who have non-traditional views on Christianity spend a lot of time discussing various religious concepts. Sometimes, it is helpful to talk to other individuals that have a different viewpoint than your own.

So you go to where you might have individuals with those characteristics hanging out.

Maybe that helps?

GSF
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MacNugget - "Often it is very difficult for me to understand why Christians behave how they do."

Thank you for your thoughtful response. That helps a lot. And I know what you mean about some Christian's behavior. Sometimes I wonder myself, but then I realize that I see odd, and sometimes hateful, behavior out of all kinds of people. I just wish some Christians wouldn't behave as they do and then tell the world who they think they represent. Anyway...

Thanks again
Mike
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"If I were you, I'd stay away from this board."

Josh,

I know that you rarely follow the teachings of Christ, but the words in the all of bibles I have read would lead a reader to think that Jesus's words encouraged Christians to seek out non-believers (as well as believers) and invite them into their lives.

The words and actions of people like you, Norm, and Kat have driven far more people I know away from Christ than any atheist could ever hope to convert with sweet logical and scientific arguments.
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It appears that there are more non-Christians posting here than Christians. I don't get it. Why?

Read Acts 17:10-33 . Of particular note is verse 21 !




... James ....
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It appears that there are more non-Christians posting here than Christians. I don't get it. Why?

I used to be an active and dedicated Christian, I am now an Atheist. Being a former Christian I am familiar with a lot of the issues that Christians face, and I enjoy discussing them. Being an Atheist, I hope to bring a different perspective to the conversation.
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So, again, I'm wondering why any non-Christian would come to this forum regularly?

MacNugget expressed my reasons for posting here very eloquently. The christian right has become a political force rather than a religious one, and I live in country founded on a belief in religious freedom and tolerance, whether the tea party agrees or not.

Occasional dust-ups are unavoidable. I don't delude myself and think anyone here is changing their mind. At best, we can hope to find some areas of understanding.

At the end of the day, most regular posters here are good, decent people. A few, maybe not so much. Only way to find out is to participate. If you have questions of faith or scripture, I think you'll find most of we heathens will stay out of the way. If you make bold assertions that we feel are individual rather than universal, you'll hear a chorus of responses.
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The tea party and the religious right are not identical sets.

I know tea party members that are not believers, I know some on the religious right that only agree with the tea party on a few issues.
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As a consequence of American politics Christianity has a lot of influence over my life -- from small things like not being able to buy beer on Sundays to big things like my gay friends not being allowed to marry. Often it is very difficult for me to understand why Christians behave how they do, and why they think the things they think. I hang out here because I want to better understand this framework of beliefs and the people that hold them.

I understand your point of view, I really do, but I take strong issue with the link to Christianity.
Gay people can't marry in many middle eastern nations. Is that due to Christianity? There is almost no Christianity in China or Russia yet there are strong anti-homosexual laws.
I argue that if there were no Christianity here, there would still be strong, ignorant opposition to gay rights.
Ray, pro rights for everyone.
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...most of the people here have graciously helped me better understand their religion and I've developed a more balanced understanding of their/your beliefs as a result.

I sometimes wonder about this. I think I have a better understanding of people like Lawrence and Ray, but I'm not sure they are really representative. I see a LOT of people like JR and Norm (i.e. rigid and/or judgmental and/or hateful). One thing I do understand better is that Christianity is not monolithic (even within a given sect). Can't say I have a better understanding of "faith", however. That may be unattainable.

1poorguy
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I argue that if there were no Christianity here, there would still be strong, ignorant opposition to gay rights.

Probably. But Christianity IS here, and it IS dominant, and it often is used to justify laws against gay marriage. In fact, it is an active participant in pursuing such laws (e.g. the LDS and prop 8, the Council of Bishops, various instructions and admonitions from clergy that make the news, and probably a lot more "low profile" I'm not aware of).

Sometimes I really think you are one of the exceptions to the rule, Ray. You seem so atypical of Christians, or at least those I encounter routinely (in real life, and in the news, and on the boards). Tolerance, acceptance, and understanding is not in their vocabulary, but it appears to be how you live your life.

1poorguy
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<<
Can't say I have a better understanding of "faith", however. That may be unattainable.
>>

Something might not be attained that is attainable.

Hard to prove something is unattainable unless every effort is made to attain it. An understanding of 'faith' may only be possible by having faith. Can a person who does not love understand 'love'?
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<<
Probably. But Christianity IS here, and it IS dominant, and it often is used to justify laws against gay marriage. In fact, it is an active participant in pursuing such laws (e.g. the LDS and prop 8, the Council of Bishops, various instructions and admonitions from clergy that make the news, and probably a lot more "low profile" I'm not aware of).

Sometimes I really think you are one of the exceptions to the rule, Ray. You seem so atypical of Christians, or at least those I encounter routinely (in real life, and in the news, and on the boards). Tolerance, acceptance, and understanding is not in their vocabulary, but it appears to be how you live your life.

1poorguy
>>

Christianity is here, it is far from dominant. Divorce is allowed and encouraged in many cases.
Religion is not allowed to be taught in our public schools as was the case for the early history of our country. Catholic schools were started because Catholics were being taught protestant theology in public schools in many cases.

Christianity is not our dominant religion. Our dominant religion is the worship of Mammon. The words on our money...'In God we trust' should read 'In This God we trust'!
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Probably. But Christianity IS here, and it IS dominant, and it often is used to justify laws against gay marriage. In fact, it is an active participant in pursuing such laws (e.g. the LDS and prop 8, the Council of Bishops, various instructions and admonitions from clergy that make the news, and probably a lot more "low profile" I'm not aware of).

Sometimes I really think you are one of the exceptions to the rule, Ray. You seem so atypical of Christians, or at least those I encounter routinely (in real life, and in the news, and on the boards). Tolerance, acceptance, and understanding is not in their vocabulary, but it appears to be how you live your life.


You can get rid of all the Christians (many societies tried) and still have the issues you hate. The problem is conservatism, not Christianity. Those two things have a strong overlap right now, but it isn't always the case and in my opinion it is a mistake to attack one thing with a strong correlation and miss the cause. As a scientist, you know this.
Conservatives are the problem. That isn't the same as Christians being the problem.
Ray
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Tolerance, acceptance, and understanding is not in their vocabulary, but it appears to be how you live your life.
---------------------------------------------------
You can get rid of all the Christians (many societies tried) and still have the issues you hate. The problem is conservatism, not Christianity. Those two things have a strong overlap right now, but it isn't always the case and in my opinion it is a mistake to attack one thing with a strong correlation and miss the cause. As a scientist, you know this.
Conservatives are the problem. That isn't the same as Christians being the problem.
Ray

==========================================

Giving all the attributes of a group to all the individuals within that group is the problem.

Can anyone of you name a group that you think represents all that you believe/think? I can't.
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Can anyone of you name a group that you think represents all that you believe/think? I can't.


No. That's my point. You have to deal with the problem and not the way it is easy to attack, or you don't treat the problem. You treat your perception of the problem. Christians have been covered in wax and lit on fire, and fed to lions historically, so it is an important issue for me.
Ray
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The problem is conservatism, not Christianity. Those two things have a strong overlap right now, but it isn't always the case and in my opinion it is a mistake to attack one thing with a strong correlation and miss the cause.

Agreed. Right now it's hard to separate the two. But it isn't always, and we should keep things in the proper perspective.
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No. That's my point. You have to deal with the problem and not the way it is easy to attack, or you don't treat the problem. You treat your perception of the problem. Christians have been covered in wax and lit on fire, and fed to lions historically, so it is an important issue for me.
Ray
=====================================

I thought you said Conservatives were the problem not Christians.

Isn't that putting all Conservatives into the same lump?

The media wants the contraversity, they get better ratings.

People talk about why Christians and others like you don't speak up. How can you? The media is not going to pay any attention to a position that doesn't get them better ratings.
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I understand your point of view, I really do, but I take strong issue with the link to Christianity.
Gay people can't marry in many middle eastern nations. Is that due to Christianity? There is almost no Christianity in China or Russia yet there are strong anti-homosexual laws.
I argue that if there were no Christianity here, there would still be strong, ignorant opposition to gay rights.
Ray, pro rights for everyone.


First, using the framework of American politics, I would say that yes, it is Christianity that has championed the opposition.

Second, Russia used to have extremely strong Christian roots. It changed, but the basic mental framework that put that mindset into place was absolutely based in Christianity.

I can't speak for China, but that's an interesting question. In an extremely hierarchical culture in a tyrannical situation, I'm sure the roots of it will be really fascinating to research.

I would say that if there were no Christianity here all of a sudden there would likely still be opposition, because it's become ingrained in other areas of our culture (the word "gay" as a slur, for example).

But I'll bet it could be overcome a lot more quickly in that circumstance. "Culture" is not considered inerrant or divine, and things change rapidly.

However, if there never had been Christianity here, and whatever was here instead didn't have that anti-homosexual bent, then there would likely be no opposition to gay marriage.

As for Middle Eastern nations, a lot of people forget that Islam is also an Abrahamic religion and therefore shares common roots with Judeo-Christian beliefs. Given the lengths to which sexuality is controlled in the Middle Eastern cultures, it's not exactly a surprise that just like controlling women's sexuality is taken to an extreme, so is homophobia.

GSF
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An understanding of 'faith' may only be possible by having faith. Can a person who does not love understand 'love'?

An interesting question. I don't know.

And we also have to worry about definitions again. When I was little I had faith. I didn't know any deity, or the history, or anything else. I was told, I believed without evidence. I had faith. As I grew, and learned (facts and how to think), I found I could not have faith. I needed evidence. Data. It wasn't a conscious choice, it just was who I became.

So did I have faith and lose it, as I assert; or did I never really have it?

1poorguy (notes that sometimes people think they love when they really don't, but they have no way of knowing that...how many times does someone think they are in love only to find out later when they "really" fall in love?)
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I understand your perspective on money-as-deity, and I don't disagree.

But I think it is clearly incorrect to say that Christianity does not permeate this nation and this society. There may be aberrations, things you would say aren't "really Christian", but overall it's everywhere. It's so pervasive that unless you actually stop to think about it you might not even notice it. It's just accepted as we accept the sky appearing blue.

Atheists probably notice it a bit more because it is is such stark contrast to our beliefs. I imagine Hindus and others may notice it a lot too.

1poorguy
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"You can get rid of all the Christians (many societies tried) and still have the issues you hate. The problem is conservatism, not Christianity."

Well said Ray. Very well said.

In my opinion there would be many, many more Christians in the world and the world would be a much better place if more Christians were like you.

Thanks.
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Conservatives are the problem. That isn't the same as Christians being the problem.

I do concede that it would be ideal not to conflate 'conservative' and 'Christian', as you concede there is a large amount of overlap between the two. I assume you would also concede that different (conservative) Christian groups have been very active in attempting to legislate Christianity (or at least their version of it).

But I was serious when I said that most Christians I know are VERY conservative (in a right-wing sort of way). Abstinence-only education, prayer (God) in school, gun rights (still not sure how that works its way into Christian thought, but apparently it does), no gay marriage/union, etc. So when I say that you seem to be an exception, I'm not just trying to flatter you. In my experience, you are.

1poorguy
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it may be 'conservatism' driving
the anti-gay movement, but their
only argument is the Bible

which is why it seems from the outside
that it's Christianns
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Read Acts 17:10-33 . Of particular note is verse 21 !

I always liked verse 28:

28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’

In him. Interesting.
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First, using the framework of American politics, I would say that yes, it is Christianity that has championed the opposition.

My point is that the opposition seems to be widespread in places where there aren't Christians.

Second, Russia used to have extremely strong Christian roots. It changed, but the basic mental framework that put that mindset into place was absolutely based in Christianity.

This seems like a very convenient way to say that everything bad in Russia is due to the Christian roots. Russia has done everything they can including mass murder to eliminate religion, and they are behind the United States in gay rights.

I can't speak for China, but that's an interesting question. In an extremely hierarchical culture in a tyrannical situation, I'm sure the roots of it will be really fascinating to research.

I predict someone here will blame Christianity for the lack of gay rights in China. China is way, way behind human rights and has been materially Christian free forever.

I would say that if there were no Christianity here all of a sudden there would likely still be opposition, because it's become ingrained in other areas of our culture (the word "gay" as a slur, for example).

But I'll bet it could be overcome a lot more quickly in that circumstance. "Culture" is not considered inerrant or divine, and things change rapidly.

However, if there never had been Christianity here, and whatever was here instead didn't have that anti-homosexual bent, then there would likely be no opposition to gay marriage.


There is no evidence of that. Civil rights in this country (for slavery and in the 1960s) was both led and opposed by Christians. It isn't the common denominator. It just isn't.

As for Middle Eastern nations, a lot of people forget that Islam is also an Abrahamic religion and therefore shares common roots with Judeo-Christian beliefs. Given the lengths to which sexuality is controlled in the Middle Eastern cultures, it's not exactly a surprise that just like controlling women's sexuality is taken to an extreme, so is homophobia.

I don't know anyone who forgets that. And you are making my point. the problem isn't Christians.
Ray
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But I was serious when I said that most Christians I know are VERY conservative (in a right-wing sort of way). Abstinence-only education, prayer (God) in school, gun rights (still not sure how that works its way into Christian thought, but apparently it does), no gay marriage/union, etc. So when I say that you seem to be an exception, I'm not just trying to flatter you. In my experience, you are.

This is not scientific. It is the wrong way to attack the problem.
Ray
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Sometimes it shows up on "best of," and then I read it. Otherwise I really don't care and don't read it. Not my religion...
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I'm not attacking a problem. Non-Christians were asked why they hang out here. I simply answered that question. I am not going to get into a fight about "real" Christians (with you or Lawrence).

No, personal anecdotes are not scientific.

And, yes, we can use logic to determine that not all Christians are against (for example) gay marriage. The fact that this country is majority Christian but gay marriage support is now the majority opinion tells us that. However, as another poster pointed out, the opponents of gay marriage use the Bible as justification for their position. And, yes, I would expect (but can't prove) that they all are conservatives.

This does not negate my original point that, in a heavily Christian society where elements are attempting to legislate their religious beliefs, it is not inappropriate to try to understand the group better.

1poorguy
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This does not negate my original point that, in a heavily Christian society where elements are attempting to legislate their religious beliefs, it is not inappropriate to try to understand the group better.

I did not dispute that. Trace the thread. My opposition is to the idea that is widely held that Christians are responsible for things like the lack of gay rights. That can be largely true but it is also a prejudice to oppose Christianity because 'most Christians' are conservative. You throw out the Christians who agree with you in the process.

I have what might be a sinus infection right now and there's a lot of pain in my nose. I could solve the problem by cutting off my nose. However, I refuse to cut off my nose to spite my face.

We could largely solve the illegal immigrant problem by carpet bombing Mexico. However, we would miss the fact that 45% of illegal immigrants are not Mexican.

My point is that there is correlation, and there is also prejudice.
I chose to fight prejudice against gays and prejudice against Christians as well.
Ray
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...it is also a prejudice to oppose Christianity because 'most Christians' are conservative.

I'm curious where you think "opposition to Christianity" was first introduced into this thread.
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I chose to fight prejudice against gays and prejudice against Christians as well.
Ray


I know I should keep my mouth shut, but I never do......

Since I've joined this board, this has been a hot button with you, and I can understand. I'm sure there are atheists groups that would ban religion. I would not want to be included with them simply because of my shared world view.

Broad perspectives don't define individuals.

So, I don't lump you and any of my christian friends into my perspective of US politics today.

I have a question: How many of the Christian Right aren't christian?

If the answer is none, how do I discuss the issue without referring to them as christian?

I get politically active and vocal when the pendulum swings too far to either the right or left. Extremes tend to be dangerous. We are in such a time right now.
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I know I should keep my mouth shut, but I never do......

I welcome your input.

Since I've joined this board, this has been a hot button with you, and I can understand. I'm sure there are atheists groups that would ban religion. I would not want to be included with them simply because of my shared world view.

It is a hot button issue. Jesus Christ wasn't anti-gay, therefore those who are literally called "Christ like" shouldn't be.

Broad perspectives don't define individuals.

I think we are all glad for that. Such is the root of racism and many kids of evil that lead to genocide.

So, I don't lump you and any of my christian friends into my perspective of US politics today.

I appreciate that.

I have a question: How many of the Christian Right aren't christian?


I don't know. Jesus Christ wasn't a conservative. I think smart people can do the math.

If the answer is none, how do I discuss the issue without referring to them as christian?

I guess you are in a pickle, aren't you? It merits a lot of thought considering you yourself admit they don't represent all the Christians.

I get politically active and vocal when the pendulum swings too far to either the right or left. Extremes tend to be dangerous. We are in such a time right now

I'm very politically active. I'm fired up about this. I'm not angry or aiming it any any poster here, I just like to fight it because it really hurts the cause. Not of Christianity (that too) but modern civil rights.
Ray
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How many of the Christian Right aren't christian?

I think we have to say they all are. If they self-identify as Christian, and we accept that Christianity is not monolithic, then what other choice do we have? That doesn't necessarily imply they are "Christ-like" (insert famous Gandhi quote here). However, not every conservative is Christian. That said, I don't know that every conservative is concerned about gay marriage either. I know the vast majority of conservative Christians are.

Ray is not wrong about other nations and beliefs. Yes, homosexuality can get you killed (by the state!) in some countries. But that's really a non-sequitur to this discussion in which we clearly have been talking about the effects that we (Americans) see on our society due to conservative Christians. And they are profound in their scope (e.g. one near and dear to Ray is the difficulty in many science classrooms to talk about real science, especially evolution, and sometimes even dinosaurs...it wasn't conservative atheists who were at the center of that!).

1poorguy
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I predict someone here will blame Christianity for the lack of gay rights in China. China is way, way behind human rights and has been materially Christian free forever.

Looks like it's going to be me, actually.

I've been doing some reading and research, and apparently, imperial and dynastic China was actually quite tolerant of homosexuality and it was very commonly depicted in arts, poetry, culture, etc. There was no issue with homosexuality in Confucian ethics, so long as an heir was produced. So essentially, it was fine to be gay so long as you got married and produced an heir, you could have as many gay relationships as you wanted on the side.

In this case, the dynamic was that the family was completely essential and as long as you were producing the traditional family, homosexuality was not intrinsically problematic at all.

That actually did change with the impact of Western culture on China. Westerners who came to China to influence trade were horrified at the casual acceptance of homosexuality and began to strongly condemn it in no uncertain terms.

A couple of the emperors took the criticism to heart, and since they were trying to emulate many of the Western cultures, began to change the culture of China. Emperors can do that, unfortunately. This started around 1800 or so, and became entrenched in modern Chinese culture to the point where it was actually outlawed (changed in 1997, it is now legal) and considered a mental illness (removed from that list in 2001).

The homosexuality issue in China is now exacerbated by the one-child policy. As mentioned, Confucian tradition places the emphasis on the family and producing appropriate heirs. It flies in the face of Chinese tradition to have the one-child policy now, can you imagine the implied criticism of a family who produces a child that will never themselves produce an heir? The strict culture causes the vast majorities of homosexuals in China to marry simply in order to bear the weight of tradition and the need to produce that child.

So, it was Westernism that is the root of homophobia in China, as it had a long and rich tradition of tolerating it before that.

And yes, likely, that Westernism was rooted in Christian values.

I'm not disagreeing with you that the problem isn't Christians, as a monolithic force.

However, the "official" faces of the most prolific of the Christian sects (the Catholic Church) is pretty straightforward about its condenmnation of homosexuality, as are a bunch of other branches.

When the clergy is the mouthpiece of the church, and their message is definitely not one of tolerance, it is difficult to separate the Christians from the way that the Christianity is portrayed.

I do appreciate the opportunity to educate myself and do some research, though, it was very interesting reading.

GSF
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<<
But I think it is clearly incorrect to say that Christianity does not permeate this nation and this society. There may be aberrations, things you would say aren't "really Christian", but overall it's everywhere. It's so pervasive that unless you actually stop to think about it you might not even notice it. It's just accepted as we accept the sky appearing blue.

Atheists probably notice it a bit more because it is is such stark contrast to our beliefs. I imagine Hindus and others may notice it a lot too.

1poorguy
>>

We do have judeo-christian teachings that permeate our society... but greed permeates it more... love of money/wealth is much more prevalent than love of any other god or religion.

I never state that christianity does not permeate our society... I states the christianity does not dominate our society....
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"It is a hot button issue. Jesus Christ wasn't anti-gay, therefore those who are literally called "Christ like" shouldn't be."

The OT law certainly was anti-gay, and Jesus is reported to have said that the whole of the law was valid. Paul appears to be anti-gay in some of his writings.

It is a hot button issue. The episcopal church has spent over $22M in legal costs fighting breakaway congregations, pretty much over the gay issue.

The Jesus I would like to see would be loving and accepting of all people. I don't think that he is depicted as such in the scriptures.
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"It is a hot button issue. Jesus Christ wasn't anti-gay, therefore those who are literally called "Christ like" shouldn't be."
================================
I don't really agree with that. Jesus said next to nothing about sex, one way or the other, at least that was recorded. The closest he got to the subject was when they brought him the woman who was caught in adultery. After her accusers had backed away, he told her to go and "from now on, avoid this sin". That's hardly controversial advice from anyone.

And the church's puritanical anti-sex attitudes really came from St. Paul, who was as influenced by the stoic Greek notion that the spirit and the flesh were naturally opposed. (Which is very different from saying the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak, which Jesus did say.) And it's thanks to that attitude that the Catholic Church eventually decided that priests should be celibate, because they were called to a higher sort of life. (As was St. Paul.)

Bill
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And it's thanks to that attitude that the Catholic Church eventually decided that priests should be celibate, because they were called to a higher sort of life. (As was St. Paul.)

I remember that differently. As I recall, the Church implemented that rule about 1000 years ago because they were having a problem with priests willing church property to their heirs. So they eliminated the problem by eliminating any legitimate heirs.

However, I am unable to substantiate that quickly. The wiki doesn't mention it. Though it does say the topic shows up as early as the 4th century. So perhaps my high school teacher was wrong.
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"It is a hot button issue. Jesus Christ wasn't anti-gay, therefore those who are literally called "Christ like" shouldn't be."

On reflection, I'd like to change the last line of my previous post to:

The Jesus I would like to see would be loving and accepting of all people. I don't think that he is always depicted as such in the scriptures.

And some further thoughts - A couple of options:

1. Jesus didn’t talk about homosexuality because it wasn’t important to him, and therefore we can conclude that he thought there was nothing wrong with it.

2. Jesus didn’t talk about homosexuality because it was very clear to everyone that, being a Rabbi, he would agree with Torah.

2 seems more likely than 1.

The woman caught in adultery is a nice story. It’s very late, though. It’s not in the early manuscripts. It sounds like the Jesus I would like to see.
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I predict someone here will blame Christianity for the lack of gay rights in China. China is way, way behind human rights and has been materially Christian free forever.

Looks like it's going to be me, actually.


I'm not surprised someone tried to make the case, but I am a bit surprised it was you.

A couple of the emperors took the criticism to heart, and since they were trying to emulate many of the Western cultures, began to change the culture of China. Emperors can do that, unfortunately. This started around 1800 or so, and became entrenched in modern Chinese culture to the point where it was actually outlawed (changed in 1997, it is now legal) and considered a mental illness (removed from that list in 2001).

True. But during this time they went far to eradicate Christianity.

So, it was Westernism that is the root of homophobia in China, as it had a long and rich tradition of tolerating it before that.

And yes, likely, that Westernism was rooted in Christian values.


Its a stretch. To this day they'll drag you through the streets until dead if you preach Christ too much. Back in those days they'd tie missionaries to two horses and send them in different directions.
I spoke with a Chinese coworker here. He underscored what I've read previously, which is that in modern China homosexuality is seen as a byproduct of Western influence. By your logic, that's a Christian influence.
Bottom line - I'm not sure there is a society that has fought Christianity and its influence more than China. I've spoke about this with many Chinese immigrants through the years. There is not the historical bent that you portray here.
It convinces me that on this board there is no opinion, no matter how far fetched, that people won't take to paint Christianity as the root of evil.
This is the first time I've read that anti-homosexuality in China is caused by Christians. Its a silly take.
Ray
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The Jesus I would like to see would be loving and accepting of all people. I don't think that he is depicted as such in the scriptures.

And with that I'll bow out of this thread.
Jesus was loving, accepting, and simplified the law to mean "love your neighbor" and He didn't qualify it.
Your mind is closing, Adrian. I don't think you'd have painted Jesus as a conservative gaybasher a year ago.
I know I'm right on this issue, and a bigoted Jesus is wrong. I'll never be convinced otherwise.
I'm sure I'm seen as cranky on this board, and the two posts I've just replied to are why. I assure you I'm not cranky in real life.
You have to look at things as they are, and not group the things you oppose into nice buckets. It is impossible to solve a problem if you misidentify it.
Ray
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I did change my wording slightly in a subsequent post to:

The Jesus I would like to see would be loving and accepting of all people. I don't think that he is always depicted as such in the scriptures.

You likely know the passages I'm thinking of. Eternal torture does not sound all that loving.

I don't think Jesus is depicted as a bigot. I never said that he was.

He quoted Torah a lot. He reinterpreted some Torah. He could have said, "Hey, that bit in Leviticus (20:13), that's a misinterpretation. Really, it's OK. Don't worry about it".

He did say in Matthew 5:19 “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.20 These are what defile a person."
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Yeah, that change helped. Granted I'm not Christian, and I don't know my verses as well as (for example) Lawrence, but I don't ever recall Jesus not being depicted as accepting of everyone. He had his moments which I vehemently disagree with (e.g. "if you don't hate your family you can't be my disciple") and some less-than-tolerant actions (e.g. going postal on the money-changers), but never (ever) do I think he opened the door to (made-up quote) "go ahead and hate those guys over there". Not for gays, not for tax collectors, not for women, not for anyone.

It's the one redeeming thing in the Bible, IMO.
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1pg: Granted I'm not Christian, and I don't know my verses as well as (for example) Lawrence, but I don't ever recall Jesus not being depicted as accepting of everyone. He had his moments which I vehemently disagree with (e.g. "if you don't hate your family you can't be my disciple") and some less-than-tolerant actions (e.g. going postal on the money-changers), but never (ever) do I think he opened the door to (made-up quote) "go ahead and hate those guys over there". Not for gays, not for tax collectors, not for women, not for anyone.
==============================
I would suggest one passage, where He is quoted in a somewhat contrary manner.

Gospel Mt 15:21-28

At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
"Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!
My daughter is tormented by a demon."
But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her.
Jesus' disciples came and asked him,
"Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us."
He said in reply,
"I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, "Lord, help me."
He said in reply,
"It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs."

She said, "Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters."
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
"O woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish."
And the woman's daughter was healed from that hour.

Of course in the end He changed His mind and the woman's daughter was cured. Maybe the dialogue beforehand was to prove a point?

Bill
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<<
Of course in the end He changed His mind and the woman's daughter was cured. Maybe the dialogue beforehand was to prove a point?
>>

I have found that many of the teachings of the Christ and the stories in the Gospels can be twisted in diverse ways and still be true.... there is a lesson in the actions of the woman as well...
possibly Jesus learned the lesson and applied it to this parable.....
Luke 18

New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Persistent Widow

18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
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The episcopal church has spent over $22M in legal costs fighting breakaway congregations, pretty much over the gay issue.




What a waste of money. Such a shame.

Charlie
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1. Jesus didn’t talk about homosexuality because it wasn’t important to him, and therefore we can conclude that he thought there was nothing wrong with it.




Jesus didn't discuss homosexuality, because there was no clear notion during his time. The notion of homosexuality as a sexual orientation did not take place until the 19th century. What is constantly referred to in the Bible is same sex sexual acts which were rituals of the time, and those were condemned.

Charlie
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Jesus didn't discuss homosexuality, because there was no clear notion during his time. The notion of homosexuality as a sexual orientation did not take place until the 19th century.

True. I was using "homosexuality" as an abbreviation for persons who engage in same sex sexual acts. I'll try not to do so in future.

What is constantly referred to in the Bible is same sex sexual acts which were rituals of the time, and those were condemned.

That they were all rituals (temple prostitution and the like) is debatable, of course.

There's a wiki on the topic, looks like it needs a little work:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_and_homosexuality
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I appreciate everyone's input to my questions. What I have found is that this is not a place for Christians. I'm afraid JoshRandall was right.

Good luck to all.
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I'm afraid JoshRandall was right.

Josh gots doppels.
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Sorry, I wasn't clear there. Josh was right in that this board is not the place for me.

Take care.
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I appreciate everyone's input to my questions. What I have found is that this is not a place for Christians. I'm afraid JoshRandall was right.,

Good luck to all.

*************************************************************************

Thanks for checking in , Sharkbait100 ! It seems that most everyone wants to get caught up in endless debates here . I've allowed myself to get caught up in it , too . It is better to stay away from this board . If you ever feel the need to check in again , put up a positive message in the Lord and move on . Don't even look back to see the replies that others may come back with . Well now , I'll need to follow my own advice ... lol .

may all go well with you , Shark !!!


... James ....
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<<
What I have found is that this is not a place for Christians.
>>
Matthew 11
16“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children,17and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’18“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’19“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
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It is better to stay away from this board . If you ever feel the need to check in again , put up a positive message in the Lord and move on . Don't even look back to see the replies that others may come back with . Well now , I'll need to follow my own advice ... lol .

You are wise.
Ray
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What I have found is that this is not a place for Christians.



Wow....well then I guess you aren't much of a Christian. There is nothing easy about our faith. We have issues and differences within our faith. If you can't handle that in a constructive manners, then I wonder about what kind of Christian you claim to be.

Josh has issues, because he/she only believes that you follow his/her faith view only then you are a Christian. It's a mental thing.

Charlie
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Wow....well then I guess you aren't much of a Christian.

Are you kidding me? You put down this brother for not wanting to hang around here, as you take yet another shot at someone else, and wonder why people move on.

Blows the mind.
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Are you kidding me?


I was being ironic. Irony doesn't translate well online.

Charlie
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I appreciate everyone's input to my questions. What I have found is that this is not a place for Christians. I'm afraid JoshRandall was right.

Good luck to all.
=========================================

Let's see if I have this right.

You start a thread stating that you just discovered this board recently and asked why non-Christians post here.

http://boards.fool.com/chirstian-fools-30501133.aspx?sort=us...

I didn't realize this board existed until recently, and decided to check it out. What I have seen so far:

It appears that there are more non-Christians posting here than Christians. I don't get it. Why?


However, your first post to this board was in 2008.

It was probably long enough ago that you forgot.

That said, what in this thread leads you to believe this is not a board for Christians?

What did you expect from a discussion about why non-Christians post here?

I thought it was an interesting discussion.

What do you want from this board?

If you wanted a discussion on a different topic why didn't you start a thread on that topic?

What is interesting to me is the difference between this board and the atheist fools board. There the posters discuss various topics, most of them, IMHO, has little to do with their belief or lack thereof. I don't see much of that here, I wonder why.

Jean
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What is interesting to me is the difference between this board and the atheist fools board. There the posters discuss various topics, most of them, IMHO, has little to do with their belief or lack thereof. I don't see much of that here, I wonder why.

There is a lot of overlap between the skeptics who post here and there.
Ray
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(Jean, to "Sharkbait100":)

Let's see if I have this right.
You start a thread stating that you just discovered this board recently and asked why non-Christians post here.
http://boards.fool.com/chirstian-fools-30501133.aspx?sort=us......
I didn't realize this board existed until recently, and decided to check it out. What I have seen so far:
It appears that there are more non-Christians posting here than Christians. I don't get it. Why?

However, your first post to this board was in 2008.
It was probably long enough ago that you forgot.


No, it just indicates that "Sharkbait" is a doppel for "Josh", a/k/a Cathy. (CatherineCoy, banished from TMF back in around 2008 for abusive language email attacks.)

That said, what in this thread leads you to believe this is not a board for Christians?

That Sharky/Josh/Cathy don't regard anyone but his/her/its/kind of Christian as Christian.

What did you expect from a discussion about why non-Christians post here?
I thought it was an interesting discussion.
What do you want from this board?
If you wanted a discussion on a different topic why didn't you start a thread on that topic?


Just throwing a rock, and letting "Sharky" give "Josh" a plug for being right. That's what doppels do.

Bill
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There is a lot of overlap between the skeptics who post here and there.
===========================

I realize some of the posters are the same. They put their $.02 in on both boards. Why should that stop someone from giving a different view. I thought that was the point of a discussion board.

Jean
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<i.There is a lot of overlap between the skeptics who post here and there.
===========================

I realize some of the posters are the same. They put their $.02 in on both boards. Why should that stop someone from giving a different view. I thought that was the point of a discussion board.

I didn't mean that diminutively. It was an observation. If you watch the 'Christian' or believers around here, we post on a lot of boards, and we come here to talk specifically about our faith. It isn't that Christian posters discuss less various issues. We just funnel specific topics here.
We also post here less. Most of the threads here are started by the same four or five posters.
Again, just an observation.
Ray
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Thanks Bill.

I don't know if I agree with the CC/JR doppel thing. Sharkbait/JR maybe.

It doesn't really matter. I try and listen to each poster as an individual.

I wasn't really writting to Sharkbait alone....but to others that may lurk or feel the same as him.

It's really to bad when we block out people just because they don't think like we do.

I had to look to see if my personal quote was still the same...yep, from Spock....

Personal Quote:I seek not to know all the answers, but to understand all the questions.

When my kid was little he put together a great lego model. I told him how wonderful it was. Then I went to fix dinner, reminding him to put the legos away before dinner.

Later when I went to look at it again. It wasn't there. When I asked what he had done with it, he told me I had told him to put them away. I just meant the loose ones...not the model.

I'm not sure why that story came to mind, except that I think often there is misunderstandings that could be cleared up with more discussion not less. There may never be agreement, but sometimes just understanding is more important.

Jean
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I didn't mean that diminutively. It was an observation. If you watch the 'Christian' or believers around here, we post on a lot of boards, and we come here to talk specifically about our faith. It isn't that Christian posters discuss less various issues. We just funnel specific topics here.
We also post here less. Most of the threads here are started by the same four or five posters.
Again, just an observation.
Ray
====================================

Thanks Ray. Maybe that's a large part of it. I didn't realize that you only come here to talk specifically about your faith.

I started reading this board to see what the discussion on some issues would be on a Christian board....totally different from discussing faith itself.

Jean
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except that I think often there is misunderstandings that could be cleared up with more discussion not less. There may never be agreement, but sometimes just understanding is more important.

Boards allow us to become familiar with approaches to life that we don't embrace personally. Ignorance operates best in the dark.

I know I can get a tad combative at times, but I love everyone here. We hippies don't have to be christian to know how to do that.
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I decided that this isn't a board for Christians because of the types of posts, and the abrasiveness of the posts.

"Wow....well then I guess you aren't much of a Christian."

Thank you for making my point. You don't know what type of Christian I am. If I were a weak one, or not really a Christian, this type of statement could run me off, instead of build me up or point me in the right direction.

As a strong Christian, I don't see anything here that is very edifying, and that's enough for me not to spend time reading this board.

This board is named "Christian Fools." If it isn't doing anything to further the cause for Christ, then Christians are better off not being here.
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And, no, folks, I'm not Josh, or Cathy, or whoever. I come the TMF for investing, and tend to read WAY more than I post, just because I learn more by listening than talking. I just thought that this board was something different than what it is, but that's ok. This just means that I'll remain on the investing side of things on TMF.

But, regardless, I wish everyone well, Christain or not. See, that proves I'm not Josh, right? ;-)
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I decided that this isn't a board for Christians because of the types of posts, and the abrasiveness of the posts.

<snip>

As a strong Christian, I don't see anything here that is very edifying, and that's enough for me not to spend time reading this board.

This board is named "Christian Fools." If it isn't doing anything to further the cause for Christ, then Christians are better off not being here.


All legitimate reasons not to waste time here. But such is the nature of unmoderated discussion boards open to everyone. Anonymity brings out the worst in some people.

I don't think it is possible to create a healthy Christian environment with those limitations. It's hard enough face-to-face every week in a particular congregation.

I find enough value here to read many of the posts and jump in if something is interesting to me.

-Bryan
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<<
I know I can get a tad combative at times,
>>
I knew that!

<<
but I love everyone here.
>>
I did not know that.


not good to be ignorant.....
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<<
As a strong Christian, I don't see anything here that is very edifying, and that's enough for me not to spend time reading this board.

This board is named "Christian Fools." If it isn't doing anything to further the cause for Christ, then Christians are better off not being here.
>>

Try doing a little edifying so that we can see how it is done? I normally try to post comments that edify but obviously I need to do a better job cause you did not notice.
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As a strong Christian, I don't see anything here that is very edifying, and that's enough for me not to spend time reading this board.

This board is named "Christian Fools." If it isn't doing anything to further the cause for Christ, then Christians are better off not being here.
==========================================

Who's responsibility is it to make sure this board is furthering the cause for Christ?

Did you think the thread you started would do that?

What do you see as the "cause for Christ"?

I guess I expected posts from people about what God was doing in and for their lives or the people around them.

Jean
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This board is named "Christian Fools." If it isn't doing anything to further the cause for Christ, then Christians are better off not being here.



i ,for 1, have a better understanding of Chirstians
and more complete understanding of Christianity



[ though few will believe me
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But, regardless, I wish everyone well, Christain or not.

I'm so confused. Is it Christian (board title), Chirstian (thread title), or Christain (post)?



See, that proves I'm not Josh, right? ;-)


True. Josh wishes many of us would get mental help for a disorder that only he sees listed in the DSM. :)
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"Blows the mind."

Yes. It does blow the mind how you only take offense at the response and not the initial attack.
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"I decided that this isn't a board for Christians because of the types of posts, and the abrasiveness of the posts."

Hmm, somehow I am not surprised that you don't see the abrasiveness of your own words. Josh never does either.
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Thanks Ray. Maybe that's a large part of it. I didn't realize that you only come here to talk specifically about your faith.

I started reading this board to see what the discussion on some issues would be on a Christian board....totally different from discussing faith itself.


The other advantage of a message board environment is that we get to pick and chose which discussions we join. Some of the lack in conversation and interaction is because some of us just get tired of discussing things like "free will vs. predestination" and "why did Jesus tell us to hate our family" the third time around the block. Once should be sufficient. Twice is understandable. The third time it comes up it might be masturbatory.
Ray
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you only take offense at the response and not the initial attack.

What was the initial attack?
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As a strong Christian, I don't see anything here that is very edifying, and that's enough for me not to spend time reading this board.

You could see this board as an opportunity to share your faith and your experiences.

"but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;"

Then again, that's what I thought I was doing when I first came here, and look where that got me... :-/
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Then again, that's what I thought I was doing when I first came here, and look where that got me... :-/

Hey, I'm trying really hard to be good here! Don't leave me such wide-open space to be snarky!! :-)

I find it interesting, on a more serious note, that you came HERE and ended up in a crisis of faith. Most folks go to AF for that. ;-) JamesBrown went over there to convert the heathens, and now is a staunch atheist. For example.
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I find it interesting, on a more serious note, that you came HERE and ended up in a crisis of faith. Most folks go to AF for that.

Not much difference if you ask me :-/
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Well, I'm prepared to alter my opinion. My problem was, I came here with certain expectations, instead of reading enough to form a broad understanding of what goes on in this board. My apologies.

I appreciate the responses to my questions, and even the ones that might seem at a glance to be abrasive are educational if looked at objectively.

The reason why I tend to read much more than post is that I seem to have trouble putting exactly the spirit of my thoughts on paper, and written words can seem like a cannon shot if not taken in the spirit they are meant.

Thanks, everyone, I think I might stay a while...
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Hey, I'm trying really hard to be good here! Don't leave me such wide-open space to be snarky!! :-)

I laughed!

I find it interesting, on a more serious note, that you came HERE and ended up in a crisis of faith. Most folks go to AF for that. ;-)

You, 0x, Ben, Nigel, VUC, FMNH, Beridian and others challenged me.
Ray, Lawrence, Brian, Norm and others helped me.
I'm very thankful to all of you, and to those that I didn't name.

I went to find the answers I thought would be there and so far have found them lacking. That's a very short version of events.

The journey is the destination...maybe.
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I went to find the answers I thought would be there and so far have found them lacking.

You'd be better served to read some good books on the subjects that you are dealing with, written by experts in the field. My impression is that you've read some, but only one side.

Keep studying the questions, it's worth it.
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You'd be better served to read some good books on the subjects that you are dealing with, written by experts in the field. My impression is that you've read some, but only one side.

Keep studying the questions, it's worth it.


I disagree, a bit.
I think this board is full of people who have read lots of books and studied a lot of evidence.
Jesus said to go find His people. I was an atheist. My friends used to farm churches and clown people who believed.
I went to the starving. I went to the poor, the downtrodden, the needy.
I found Jesus there. Not in politics or old church records. I don't think you can fill a spiritual hunger with a book.

If you are passionate about something, you might be wired that way for a reason. Go fill a need. Feed the hungry. Clothe the homeless. Give favor to the lost and stepped on.
I found God. You might not. Whatever you find, it will be lived and far beyond what you have already learned in the books.
Ray
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I don't think you can fill a spiritual hunger with a book.

That's right. But if someone is wondering how he can believe whats written in the NT, and only reads one side of the case, a book can give balance.

I certainly didn't find Jesus in a book. But he's answered a lot of my questions through them.

"The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him." (Proverbs 18:17)
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<<
If you are passionate about something, you might be wired that way for a reason. Go fill a need. Feed the hungry. Clothe the homeless. Give favor to the lost and stepped on.
I found God. You might not. Whatever you find, it will be lived and far beyond what you have already learned in the books.
Ray
>>

James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
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That's right. But if someone is wondering how he can believe whats written in the NT, and only reads one side of the case, a book can give balance.

I certainly didn't find Jesus in a book. But he's answered a lot of my questions through them.

"The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him." (Proverbs 18:17)


Jesus knew the scriptures well, and it was a starting point.
Many Christians (and atheists) read the bible all the time and do nothing. That's not how the plan is supposed to work.
Believe, and DO. DO, and believe. If you don't do what is says, how can you be surprised you don't believe?
Ray
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The journey is the destination

I think you've seen the light, brother.

Crap. I was being so good and not posting anything.
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I went to the starving. I went to the poor, the downtrodden, the needy.
I found Jesus there. Not in politics or old church records. I don't think you can fill a spiritual hunger with a book.

If you are passionate about something, you might be wired that way for a reason. Go fill a need. Feed the hungry. Clothe the homeless. Give favor to the lost and stepped on.
I found God. You might not. Whatever you find, it will be lived and far beyond what you have already learned in the books.
Ray


See sharkbait? There is wheat amongst the chaff here.

Well put.
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Not much difference if you ask me :-/

Thought about it a bit, and I mostly don't agree. I think I know why you said that, but the boards really are vastly different. Over on AF there is very little talk of religion, except as it makes the news (usually for attempts to legislate it in some manner). Otherwise it is mostly talk about politics, economics, sociology (there's a discussion about marriage and poverty going on right now). Theists and non-theists alike jump in when they please.

Over here, not so much. Here there is discussion about the Bible and various Biblical things (teachings, events, people). Some is about accuracy (science, history, inspired or not), some about meaning, etc. None of that would fly over on AF. Though, like AF, theists and non-theists comment as they choose. Here people can (and do) head off into very scriptural discussions (which I think Sharkbait was wanting to see). Politics does intrude on occasion, but it's not very common (and it often seems to be because JR found some article that he wants to sensationalize that leads folks into discussions (while telling him he needs help)).

I'm still thinking on Adrian's reply, though. AF challenged him, but CF did not? And CF helped him, but AF did not? There's probably some meaning in there somewhere... :-)

1poorguy
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Believe, and DO. DO, and believe. If you don't do what is says, how can you be surprised you don't believe?

Faith without works is filthy rags?
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Faith without works is filthy rags?

Everything without works is filthy rags.
Ray
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<<
Faith without works is filthy rags?
>>

He who is faithful in little things will be trusted with greater things.

If you are not faithful with worldly things why would HE trust you with true riches.
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"The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him." (Proverbs 18:17)

But to continue the quote:

"Casting the lot puts an end to disputes
and decides between powerful contenders." (Proverbs 18:18)

So...flip a coin and let God decide?
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I'm still thinking on Adrian's reply, though. AF challenged him, but CF did not? And CF helped him, but AF did not? There's probably some meaning in there somewhere... :-)

I meant the people challenged me. Mainly on here, on CvE and Dialogs. Some on AF too, but I haven't posted there much. Usually got shot down straight away and it wasn't much fun!

I was challanged to defend my faith and my ideas, and some people helped me make a defense. Does that make more sense?
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I meant the people challenged me. Mainly on here, on CvE and Dialogs. Some on AF too, but I haven't posted there much. Usually got shot down straight away and it wasn't much fun!

That's been my experience. Lots of unpleasant people. Everyone seemed unhappy and arrogant at the same time.
I remember thinking - if you are so great, why aren't you happy?
Ray
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Yeah, AF is full-contact posting. No doubt about it. ;-)

If you come with reasoned arguments you'll do fine there. If you come armed only with already-discredited notions and holier-than-thou preaching your reception will be terse (in part because so many have come there with those notions trying to convert the heathens...makes one wonder if they get bonus heaven points for converting one of us). Not unlike Ray's earlier comment about answering the same questions multiple times...you could tell he grows weary of it also. Same on AF when people show up with "well then where does morality come from, smarty pants?!". As if we've never heard, thought about, or discussed it before.

Odds are if you got "shot down straight away" that means it was something that had been thoroughly discussed and discarded at some point. Did you ever check out the FAQ there? The results of many such discussions were distilled into FAQ postings (most long before I arrived there, too...to give you an idea of how long the same topics come up with visitors).

But, yes, a lot of smart people over there to challenge you and your ideas. Doesn't hurt to wear a cup, though. :-)

The two posters I recall that came there to teach us all a lesson came well-armed, and they hung in there for a while. One is now fully atheist, and the other seems to still be in the midst of losing his faith (and it seems pretty wrenching for him). IMO, they were received better because they didn't preach excessively, and talked with us instead of at us.

And then there's Charlie and a few other non-atheists who just seem to like our company for some reason. :-)
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I remember thinking - if you are so great, why aren't you happy?

I think mostly we are, actually (happy, not great). Just because we don't post about rainbows and puppies doesn't mean we're miserable. With all the politics in particular that gets posted it is hard to be "happy", or at least to convey it. Politics is ugly, messy, and often humanity at its worst. It also does suck being a minority, and overlooked (even castigated) in most policy discussions.

But I think I can speak for many (probably even most) atheists who will say that they are generally quite content, and for those that de-converted, more so than when they were "believers". I know I've mentioned it before, so I won't belabor it, but when I stopped thinking "God did it" I suddenly had a sense of wonder and mystery about the universe that I didn't have before. I like wonder and mystery. It's fun. :-)

1poorguy
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think mostly we are, actually (happy, not great). Just because we don't post about rainbows and puppies doesn't mean we're miserable


ditto

not a lot of Puppies & rainbows here either


... at least since Katinga isn't as regular anymore
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I think mostly we are, actually (happy, not great). Just because we don't post about rainbows and puppies doesn't mean we're miserable. With all the politics in particular that gets posted it is hard to be "happy", or at least to convey it. Politics is ugly, messy, and often humanity at its worst. It also does suck being a minority, and overlooked (even castigated) in most policy discussions.


I meant deeply happy. Small things seem to send some of the regulars off on long winded rants that imply something aside from happiness. If you seethe about politics all the time but spend the time and energy making 30-40 posts a day, you might be writing a prescription for your own unhappiness. That's not unique to AF, but I don't go to political boards much so I don't see it there. I know a thing or two about being a minority, and one that is pitied and looked down upon.
I've said it before, if you guys are so much smarter than everyone else, you shouldn't be victimizing yourself. Go do something about it.

But I think I can speak for many (probably even most) atheists who will say that they are generally quite content, and for those that de-converted, more so than when they were "believers". I know I've mentioned it before, so I won't belabor it, but when I stopped thinking "God did it" I suddenly had a sense of wonder and mystery about the universe that I didn't have before. I like wonder and mystery. It's fun. :-)

I was an atheist, now I'm a Christian. I'm happier now. "God did it" doesn't take away your sense of wonder. Small mindedness does.
True story.
Ray
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Go do something about it.

We are. Organizing atheists is akin to herding cats, but there are numerous advocacy groups now. And they are speaking up. And, frankly, the Christian right (in the US...it's different in other countries, of course) does NOT like it. Which is tough noogies for them. We are citizens (even if Bush41 didn't think so), and the Constitution is there to protect our rights too.

"God did it" doesn't take away your sense of wonder. Small mindedness does.

I disagree. If you look around saying "God did it", it's almost a shoulder shrug. "Yeah, he did it." There is much more mystery (and interest) when you can look around and say "how does that work?". At least for me. If it works differently for you, then it does.

Also, glad you're happier. If belief does that for you, great. It didn't do it for me. I would say I'm happier now. Of course, for both of us part of that could be due simply to growing older and wiser. :-)

1poorguy
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disagree. If you look around saying "God did it", it's almost a shoulder shrug. "Yeah, he did it." There is much more mystery (and interest) when you can look around and say "how does that work?". At least for me. If it works differently for you, then it does.

I strongly disagree with this. I mean, flip it over and look at it:

If you look around saying "It just happened", it's almost a shoulder shrug. "Yeah, it did."

You either have a sense of wonder and curiosity, or you don't. I don't see how you can blame God.
Ray
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. "God did it" doesn't take away your sense of wonder.

Certainly not for many people. My wife was blown away by God's creativity when she studied microbiology, for example. Belief that God designed the cell took nothing away from what she experienced. I'd say it added more.
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Certainly not for many people. My wife was blown away by God's creativity when she studied microbiology, for example. Belief that God designed the cell took nothing away from what she experienced. I'd say it added more.

My wife is a biologist turned science teacher and my brother is an environmental engineer. Both have a tremendous sense of curiosity around science.
I do, too. I just don't have the education to go along.
Ray
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I don't "blame God". He just removes the mystery of it. I know how a fluorescent light works. No mystery. I don't even bother to shrug on that one. If I think God did everything, then there is no mystery. Why should I be curious because he just snapped his fingers and did it. Any contradictions, well he just made it that way (maybe to test me!). Add in "mysterious ways", and you have a trifecta of "so what". That explanation never led to anything positive because it doesn't explain anything, it doesn't further our understanding of anything, so there would be no way to get to the fluorescent light with that explanation.

It's probably why in my (admittedly limited) experience that theists tend to be much less curious about the world around them than non-theists. They think they already have the answer, so why bother working for it. My experience likely is not a truly representative cross-section of society. But I do know that a disproportionate number of scientists are non-theist.

The universe is much more interesting (to me) if I have to work for the explanation instead of taking the easy "God did it" path.

1poorguy
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I don't "blame God". He just removes the mystery of it. I know how a fluorescent light works. No mystery. I don't even bother to shrug on that one. If I think God did everything, then there is no mystery. Why should I be curious because he just snapped his fingers and did it. Any contradictions, well he just made it that way (maybe to test me!). Add in "mysterious ways", and you have a trifecta of "so what". That explanation never led to anything positive because it doesn't explain anything, it doesn't further our understanding of anything, so there would be no way to get to the fluorescent light with that explanation.


What you just described isn't Christianity, it is ignorance. Which you seem to equate.

You've read many times that I know many Christians in science and education. I've never heard that God removes the mystery. You're the first, and you aren't a theist.
Ray
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That explanation never led to anything positive because it doesn't explain anything, it doesn't further our understanding of anything, so there would be no way to get to the fluorescent light with that explanation.
------------------

What you just described isn't Christianity, it is ignorance. Which you seem to equate.


Not only that, but it flies in the face of established history. He'd have you believe that theists never discovered or invented anything. Baloney.
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I've never heard that God removes the mystery. You're the first, and you aren't a theist.

Well, it *is* his experience, both of his own attitudes and those he's interacted with.

I get it, I just don't agree that belief in God must lead you there. You need something else, like a belief in a creator that does things contrary to what science teaches.
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You've read many times that I know many Christians in science and education.

Me too. But the fact remains that a disproportionately large number of scientists and educators are not theist. The numbers vary a bit depending on which study you cite, but consistently over half do not believe in anything supernatural (no God, nor "universal spirit", nor whatever else you may conjure).

I've never heard that God removes the mystery. You're the first, and you aren't a theist.

Not anymore. But I was. I never questioned any of the stuff in the Bible until one day when I did. Sorta snowballed from there.

I don't know any other way to explain it. When I realized it was all myth, it felt like a great weight and been lifted from me, and a veil removed from my eyes. I saw everything in a completely different light. And for the first time I found it all amazing. And I felt totally free.

I certainly accept that you had a different experience. That was mine.

1poorguy (physicist...and for the sake of completeness, physicists consistently rank lowest in belief in the supernatural compared to other disciplines; but I was well on my way to becoming atheist by the time I chose physics as my major)
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He'd have you believe that theists never discovered or invented anything. Baloney.

Strawman. Never said that. Never would say that. Clearly not correct. Isaac Newton, for example.
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<<
But I do know that a disproportionate number of scientists are non-theist.
>>

How do you know that.... I was chemistry major in College and only a couple of my professors were non-theists! Several were of a very spiritual mind set. One of the things that encouraged me to look more closely at the spiritual and metaphysical things.
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You need something else, like a belief in a creator that does things contrary to what science teaches.
>>

That would be difficult since science is a study of what was created......
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Not anymore. But I was. I never questioned any of the stuff in the Bible until one day when I did.
>>

I have always questioned what was in the Bible, and what goes on in the world. Why? The difference is I began directing my questions at God and HE has the answers.
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That would be difficult since science is a study of what was created......

You'd be surprised
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My experience was only slightly different......

When I realized it was not all a myth, it felt like a great weight and been lifted from me, and a veil removed from my eyes. I saw everything in a completely different light. And for the first time I found it all amazing. And I felt totally free.
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Isaac Newton, for example.

... an many more.....
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Me too. But the fact remains that a disproportionately large number of scientists and educators are not theist. The numbers vary a bit depending on which study you cite, but consistently over half do not believe in anything supernatural (no God, nor "universal spirit", nor whatever else you may conjure).


The fact remains that most people who run homeless shelters are theists. What conclusions can be drawn?

Not anymore. But I was. I never questioned any of the stuff in the Bible until one day when I did. Sorta snowballed from there.

I don't know any other way to explain it. When I realized it was all myth, it felt like a great weight and been lifted from me, and a veil removed from my eyes. I saw everything in a completely different light. And for the first time I found it all amazing. And I felt totally free.


We've covered this ground before, but you were doing Christianity wrong. There is no room for doing what you're told and not thinking about it. Read the red letters in the bible. That dude rethought EVERYTHING.
Ray
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He'd have you believe that theists never discovered or invented anything. Baloney.
----------
Strawman. Never said that. Never would say that. Clearly not correct. Isaac Newton, for example.


You clearly implied this to me when you said: "That explanation [God did it] never led to anything positive because it doesn't explain anything, it doesn't further our understanding of anything, so there would be no way to get to the fluorescent light with that explanation."

What did you mean by "never led to anything positive"?
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It's probably why in my (admittedly limited) experience that theists tend to be much less curious about the world around them than non-theists.

My experience has been different than yours. There are very few fundies around here, and most folks are well educated.

Curiosity fuels the process, not beliefs.

Your experience equates to Religion = Authoritative, here's the answer. Now shut up and be a good person like we told you how to.

My experience Religion = I believe in a creator, but not so much in the authoritative dogma of my church/brand of religion.

I'm a lone atheist in a sea of believers. I have been accepted by all as I accept them. We're all curious, all want to know how things happened, believe in evolution, and can discuss the origins of the universe in non-theistic language.

Like Adrian said, the journey is the destination. I don't analyze the path taken if I respect someone I meet. The path they took is what got them there.

My two cents.
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My experience has been different than yours

... My two cents


That's been more like mine. Well said.
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bdhinton wrote "if someone is wondering how he can believe whats written in the NT..."

If someone is looking for answers, resolution of doubt, or is a confirmed atheist and just wants to experiment:

I always recommend trying to pray. Ask that God reveal things to you. Ask that He help and answer your doubts, instead of removing them like a sickness ("Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief!")

For the atheist, simply pray and ask God to reveal himself to you. It can't hurt (I understand meditation is very healthy), and He may very well introduce Himself!
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NigelGlitter wrote: "See sharkbait? There is wheat amongst the chaff here."

Nice!
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"See sharkbait? There is wheat amongst the chaff here."


I've been called worse
Ray
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What did you mean by "never led to anything positive"?

Fair question.

As a hypothesis it leads nowhere. It makes no predictions. It elicits no tests. Compare and contrast to, for example, the superluminiferous ether. That was proposed to explain how light (known to be a wave) could travel so fast, and yet we (material things) could move through it so easily. Two guys, Michelson and Morley, invented an apparatus to verify the presence of the ether. Today we call it an interferometer. (And they proved quite conclusively that there was no ether.)

The ether was a false hypothesis, but it generated testable predictions that furthered our knowledge. Saying "God made it that way" doesn't generate anything. What hypothesis can you draw from that? How can you test it? You can't. So using that as your explanation will not lead you to fluorescent lights or interferometers or anything else.**

That's all I meant. This does not imply that theists can't be, or aren't, scientists. But it does say that their theism isn't going to lead them to any answers in their research. It's a separate thing. The theistic scientists I have known all kept the two things separated. Maybe to preserve the integrity of their work, or maybe to preserve their faith, or maybe both. I never really asked them about it.

1poorguy (my grad adviser was Irish Catholic; most of the grad students I knew were either deistic or atheist)

**Worse than that, it often leads people to discount discoveries and data because "God deliberately made it look like that to test our faith." Yes, that is ignorant. No, I don't assert that most here hold such a position. But it is shockingly common nonetheless.
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Saying "God made it that way" doesn't generate anything. What hypothesis can you draw from that? How can you test it? You can't. So using that as your explanation will not lead you to fluorescent lights or interferometers or anything else.**

Except no one is saying anything close to that except you. You responded to bdhinton because you thought he created a strawman. But isn't that what you are doing?

**Worse than that, it often leads people to discount discoveries and data because "God deliberately made it look like that to test our faith." Yes, that is ignorant. No, I don't assert that most here hold such a position. But it is shockingly common nonetheless.

That would be shocking, were it common. You calling it common isn't evidence and you as a scientist shouldn't expect us to accept it as such.
Ray
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But it does say that their theism isn't going to lead them to any answers in their research.

Science has been described as trying to understand the mind of God. Nothing about belief in a Creator prevents someone from making scientific discoveries.

Certain beliefs about God can, however, prevent one from seeing the truth.
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Curiosity fuels the process, not beliefs.

Absolutely. But (again, in my limited experience) the fundies (in particular) aren't curious about the world. They think they have all the answers they need. They go about their little lives waiting for Judgment Day (or Tribulation or Rapture). With some exceptions. But in general, that is what I see.

My experience Religion = I believe in a creator, but not so much in the authoritative dogma of my church/brand of religion.

Interesting. My early experience (in Overland Park, KS) was very much NOT this way. "Be good or you get to sit in burning sulfur pits for all eternity". My later experience (in Colorado) was in a predominantly Catholic neighborhood. Most of the parents seemed to eye me with distrust because we weren't Catholic. But it was a bit more sane, overall (maybe because the RCC actually believes in science?).

College and grad school exposed me to really smart people from many backgrounds, many nations, many cultures. As you would expect it was much more open, much less authoritarian, not a lot of dogma.**

Then I hit industry, and here are the fundies again trying to tell me that science is a conspiracy against God. :-(

1poorguy

**Though there was a preacher (Methodist, I think) who frequently occupied a spot in the speaker's area (it wasn't really a 'corner') on the mall outside the student union. He was always exhorting us to put down our science books, forget about test tubes and machines, and pick up the only book that mattered(!!). As you might imagine, he was heckled all the time. Sometimes thoughtful challenges, sometimes snarky comments and criticisms. But he kept showing up in his black robe (even when the sun was baking), waiving his Bible around and telling us we were all wasting our time and energy. He was sort of a counterpoint to 666Israel, who was just nuts. He supposedly had a cable access program (I never saw it), and he'd come to the mall and rant, or once he tied his family up on crosses. It was almost worth stopping when 666Israel was there at the same time as the preacher.
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Oh horrors! I just realized I made a boo boo.

While not an answer derived from the hypothesis "God did it", nonetheless there is something that can be traced directly back to theism.

Clocks.

The first clocks were invented by monks who needed a way to make certain they prayed at the correct times.

Don't know why I spaced that.

So those accursed taskmasters that govern so many of our lives today were a direct result of theism. :-)

1poorguy
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