Oh, for gods’ sake… Religion does no harm. Oh really?

The very clever, Bill Maher. For all my religious friends(sic)  who may be just a tad confused about the effects of their religion on themselves and on society … and especially one or two who might just be wondering if what they believe has any veracity, hmm?

You know who you are, right?

Grab a coffee and chill for ten minutes.

 

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312 thoughts on “Oh, for gods’ sake… Religion does no harm. Oh really?

      1. I think Bruce once had his hands full to worry about such intellectualism, Victoria, his forte was more internet T & A …. until he encountered … drum roll Yahweh. … and the crowd goes wild!!!!!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I haven’t yet viewed the vid. But just in the last few days I’ve noticed more and more the ‘foul mouth’ of modern youth; and as I’ve said before “I pity modern kids—they have no swear words!”

          And after another coffee I get to view the vid …

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      2. What that study ignored is that the swearers are more honest because they lack the intellect or vocabulary to dissemble effectively. They suffer from a shortage of adverbs and adjectives.

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        1. “The use of obscene or taboo language – or swearing, as it’s more commonly known – is often seen as a sign that the speaker lacks vocabulary, cannot express themselves in a less offensive way, or even lacks intelligence.

          Studies have shown, however, that swearing may in fact display a more, rather than less, intelligent use of language.”

          http://www.sciencealert.com/swearing-is-a-sign-of-more-intelligence-not-less-say-scientists

          Liked by 2 people

          1. On average, those freely using profanity are limited to a very few constantly-repeated words. The study is referring to imaginative and fluent swearing, using a wide vocabulary of profane language. I still maintain, however, that it would take even more intelligence to use more meaningful adverbs and adjectives.

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            1. There’s something I’ll say about swearing,
              For which I have no truck,
              If only I was more caring,
              Or even gave a,
              Duck which visits our swimming pool,
              And loves it every bit,
              But if he ever takes a fish I’ll murder the little … twit

              Liked by 2 people

                1. But that’s because you only venture out on to the duck-pond and as one oar is shorter than the other, you always end up rowing in circles!
                  😉

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                2. I think you dinghy is pretty dingy
                  While your Yard Arm’s all of two feet,
                  If you didn’t sail in your pool,
                  You’d soon look a fool,
                  And pretty soon be up queer street.

                  Liked by 1 person

  1. She wasn’t a Palestinian WOMAN, she was a 12 to 15 year old girl. Priests aren’t “fucking” boys, they’re RAPING them. I don’t normally care for Bill Maher. I’m more of a Jon Stewart fan. I think Maher’s usually too mean. However, he was actually really nice about religion in this segment. Maybe I’m just staying woke more. I am ever growing tired of religion’s influence in PUBLIC schooling and government, our laws, medicine, science and its sadistic cruelty of child indoctrination and abuse. Nothing/Noone else automatically gets away with that kind of enslavement and oppression of children, except “faith”.

    I shared this on Neil Carter’s blog on his more recent article about hell. This place was my church a long time ago. Talk about child indoctrination. Pretty harmful, huh?

    YouTube

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    1. Scientists say that children are a bit like sponges soaking up the culture which is around them. I think we see ample evidence of that here.

      I might add, that theologically the idea of the little girl pulling people out as they are about to enter Hell is the sort of thing that the Pentecostal faithful love to hear but raises so many theological problems I would not even know where to start.

      I have an idea we could refer it to our friend Tiribulus over at VioletWisp’s blog. Funny thing is that we might just agree with him on this video.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We also know that the human brain isn’t fully developed until we’re in our 20s. Children are so easily molded. They’re also innocent and take everything we say quite seriously. As a child and even as an adult, I often defended my parents. Children long to believe that most people are good, even as people treat them horribly. I agree with you on the theology aspect as well. However, at the time I’m sure I saw this sweet girl as an intercessor.

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        1. Charity, although I grew up in the Anglican church, I dived headlong into Pentecostalism for around five years and lapped up all of this nonsense. Partly that led me to exit Christianity quicker than I might otherwise would have because after around five years you realise that the same prophecies and predictions keep getting made each year and fail to materialise.

          In particular I fell into the web of a home group leader who was very ‘spiritual’ and made some very specific predictions about what was going to happen in my life going forward. Well I wrote them down and found them to all be wrong. Sort of broke the spell really.

          I even went along to a special presentation by the Bethel School of supernatural ministry who were making a ministry trip from the US to my town of Hobart. These guys were into the serious crazy stuff: This video from their English trip says it all:

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I remember a group from Bethel (Redding, CA) visiting my church at the time (an AG church in San Diego). Maybe I had been through too much between leaving Brownsville AG (Pensacola,FL) in 2003 and that group’s visit in 2007, I don’t know. I just found myself unaffected by their laughing and shouting. What was once somewhat normal to me, began to seem so distant. Of course, I thought I must have had hidden sin in my heart. I even talked myself into believing that my becoming a wife and mother caused me to fall out of love with Jesus. No matter what I did for the next four and a half years, my struggle to make Jesus number one (through constant prayer, the Bible, worship and various churches) again led to my ultimate break up with him instead.

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            1. THe Bethel folk had some of the laughing going on the visit to my neck of the woods. Even at the time I was somewhat skeptical of that aspect.

              Late in the evening they formed a prayer tunnel where the team would pray en masse for audience members as they passed through the tunnel. Aside from waiting in line for what seemed an eternity I felt nothing when they prayed for me and decided to go home after that (casting an ‘envious’ eye at those who seemed to be writhing on the floor under the ‘power of the Spirit’).

              Looking back I conclude now I never had the right personality type to get these ‘power of the Spirit’. A friend of mine who had a more extroverted and emotional personality was always getting ‘slain in the Spirit’. It starts to make more sense to me now in retrospect. Psychology and personality has so much to do with it.

              At least we did not have the ‘glory’ cloud at our meeting:

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              1. That looks like paint specks flaking off the gold trimmed overhead light. Yeah, we were into that glory cloud and glitter stuff at Brownsville too.

                It’s also said that when one smells fresh baked bread in corporate worship it’s god doing a new thing.

                There was a smell at Brownsville that my dad considered to smell like the “new wine” of god. After some thought, I concluded it to be grape room deodorizer/air freshener.

                I remember seeing Cindy Jacobs a few times at BAG (mentioned above). She prophesied something, I don’t remember what now. I told a friend that she said the same thing at “The Call” in Kettering (?) when I lived in England in the summer of 2002. It kind of bothered me. She said in response “But isn’t god doing the same thing for all his followers across the globe?” I just shrugged my shoulders and left it at that.

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          2. Examples: In Maryland and New York, 3,853 minors were married between 2000 and 2010, according to State Health Department data.

            In New Jersey, 3,499 minors were married between 1995 and 2012, including 178 who were younger than 15. Ninety percent of them were girls.

            In Virginia, more than 4,500 minors were married between 2000 and 2013, including about 220 who were 15 or younger, according to state health statistics.

            “Worldwide, child marriage is a reality for millions of girls. Though the practice is most common in developing countries, critics who argue it exposes many girls to emotional and even physical harm say it poses a largely unseen threat in the United States as well.

            “We think we’re so sophisticated, so progressive and ahead of the times, and yet we still see this barbaric behavior,”

            Religion!

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            1. If human ‘rights’ apply equally to all humans, and are irrevocable, they may indeed be considered Rights.

              Otherwise they are merely privileges granted by the current ruling power. And we all know that brute force triumphs over reason.

              So: what is the answer?

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      1. I understand the demographics, I just don’t agree with them. A child is still a child. Right now I’m concerned for a teenaged girl from Tennessee who’s been kidnapped by a middle aged school teacher. Women here are actually asking “did he kidnap her or did they run away together?” Tennesseans………

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      1. The blonde haired lady is the pastor’s wife, that’s how they all are. The dark haired guy is the pastor, John Kilpatrick. The woman in the glasses is the girl’s mother who is (was) also the children’s pastor along with her husband (the little girl’s father).

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        1. The videos—I gave them all away—seen it all, heard it all, before in other times and places.
          Sadly it all boils down to Power.

          I love being the ‘lone reed’ but nobody agrees (or disagrees, which is worse) when I say that “the answer has to lie in teaching people (most especially the young) how to Think”.

          Thinking requires freedom. And there’s the root of all evil, no? Might is Right.

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          1. I truly believe that a child’s mind expands without religion. I’ve been Hope Chapel, Foursquare, Southern Baptist, Baptist, Assembly of God, Full Gospel, Missionary Alliance, House of Prayer, Non Denominational, Methodist and Calvary Chapel. I even have a theology degree from the early 90s. At the end of the day, it’s all bull shit. Now in my mid forties, I’m actively rewiring my brain with secular trauma therapy through EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing)/CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).

            I think I have gotten rid of all religious paraphernalia in our house and cars. As time went on, I quit giving it away. I began throwing it away, Bibles and all.

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              1. I get what you’re saying, Ark. I just feel like it’s a waste of time talking to Christians about my experiences both on line and in person. They’re in their Jesus bubble and can’t hear anything I say. I’ve tried and their responses are so ridiculous I feel as though I’m better hanging out with just my secular family. I’m often told that I’m bitter or I didn’t know the right god, faith or denomination like they do. I’m also told that some parts of the Bible are literal, but other parts are metaphorical. When I ask them which is which they don’t seem to know themselves. I avoid a couple of deconvert blogs altogether because I feel the hosts give way too much space, time and permission to apologists to dominate their blogs in circular talk. I tried that route for a few years and I now see it as a waste of my time. I know I’m mouthy, particularly about child indoctrination/abuse. People can believe they weren’t brought up anything like that all they want. If they grew up in a religious home, I guarantee you they were indoctrinated/abused at home, in church or in their education to some degree. If not as a child, they were as an adult. Religion is so normalized we often miss just how much it’s oppressed our lives.

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            1. You’d do well to get back to basics—starting with that dreaded Law of Contradiction.

              You seem rather hyper, Ma’am—I sense a well earned fury against stolen youth.

              Advice from an old dog?

              Please don’t replace one indoctrination with another, one set of rituals with similar-but-different. (And never forget that loving compassionate religious people burn free-thinkers at the stake.)

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I’m pretty mouthy about my experiences because women deconverts in particular don’t say much. So, that’s not going to change. I feel by me speaking up about it encourages other women to at least understand it’s not all in their heads. For instance, it’s taken me about five years of serious research to find three secular graduates from my Bible school. They’re all men. I have yet to find one woman, from any of their campuses, who is an out secularist.

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                1. Out loud giggles, Argus. I like you and your doggie gravatar too! Yes, my dear, it seems a bit suicidal. Although I’m incredibly open on line (when I’m actually online for spurts that is), I’m somewhat quiet about my thoughts in the real world because it could mean trouble for me and my family. I have come out a bit more, especially if a Christian corners me because they need to understand personal space and boundaries.

                  Man, I really like you!

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        2. I have no need to go further.

          The only answer that I can see is “absolute Freedom of discussion” … and that ain’t gonna happen.

          Until free to listen to all sides the young are doomed to eternal indoctrination.
          Until free to Think, and provided with the Tools of Thought … everyone is vulnerable.

          I quote often an American Civil War general who when asked how did he win so often, replied “I just get there the firstest with the mostest”. Hallelujah~!

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      1. I totally get your frustration. I’ve seen it more times than I can count. The thing is, I’m sure the mom thinks that this is legitimate and this is how god operates. This is from 1995, I think. Unfortunately, there’s still a good bit of this out there.

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  2. As Maher mentioned, society has been conditioned for 2000 years, and people submerged in the conditioning don’t see just how idiotic the Christian story really is. I lmao at his comment to the guy wearing the sweater vest. 😂😂

    As far as the harm religion does, the evidence is all around us. Where I live, I see the evidence every damn day,

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    1. That conditioning for 2,000 years comment is incredibly spot on. I’m just five years out and cringe when I watch an altar call. It’s so bizarre to me now, especially seeing people running down to get saved. As Maher and you said, this has been normalized for far too long and as a result, many of us don’t even question it. My last few years of Christianity was a lot of standing back and evaluating people in church, church services and even how incredibly cliché Christians can be. I often told hubs that churches/many Christians were missing these three things: common sense, common courtesy and common decency. I didn’t understand why churches were so out of touch with basic human principles. I mean, they didn’t even try at these things, to the point to where they didn’t even seem to know that those values even existed at all!

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      1. Charity I agree with the idea that we have been so immersed in Christianity as individuals and as a culture that we don’t see how bizarre it all is.

        One of the subjects I studied at Seminary with Christian mission. It was observed that the more fundamentalist a church was the less they focussed on helping the material needs of non Christians and the more they focussed on getting people ‘saved’. It always bothered me that so much of the Church ‘good works’ were done with an ulterior motive rather than out of a desire to genuinely help people.

        Ironically the churches that are most accepting and living are the liberal churches that most fundamentalists look upon with disdain.

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      2. ‘Religion’ isn’t about morals, common sense, courtesy, decency or any of that rubbish.

        Religion is Big Business.

        Wealth and power, nothing else.

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  3. @Bruce AKA godsmanforever. Hello Bruce, I have a couple questions if you will indulge me. If you do answer me please don’t be a Kellyanne Conway and just pivot to a non sequitur platitude as that does nobody any good at understanding or informing. Thanks.

    Seeing the video of the child above, hearing the statistics, looking at the harm that has come to children in religious homes, churches, schools, and camps…. would you say that children should be shielded from religious commitment and indoctrination until an age they can better understand the subject and protect themselves from harm? We could say maybe children should be in a non religious setting while the parents are at church. Their home life would still give them access to their parents example, so they wouldn’t be denied religion, just not have it forced on them.

    Also looking at the way that religions of all stripes are personal in nature with everyone having a different view on what is the “truth, the path, the light of god”, do you support a strong separation of religious and secular government. Even two people sitting next to each other in a church have different views of what god(s) are / is with a large group of people not believing in any of the religious dogmas, we should honor everyone by keeping that which is personal faith out of our public governance and the school system to name just two secular activities.

    Thanks. Scottie. Hugs

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    1. Scottie:

      You cannot shield the children of nutters from nutty intake. Can’t be done unless you remove them to a safe place.

      The best you could ever hope for is a child that will think for itself—which means you’d have to provide the Tools Of Thought (some do come naturally, others must be acquired). My favourite of which is always The Law of Contraction, which states unequivocally that—

      Contradictions do not—can not—exist. If you find an apparent contradiction, look the premises, one at least of which is wrong.

      A loving omnipotent God, and hellfires? (Yeah … sure.)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hello Argus. I agree. I know that you can’t keep kids with parents who drink from the actions of drinking. They see it everyday. I still wouldn’t want to have them taken to a bar once a week for several hours while someone talks about how great it is to drink. Life has sharp edges I know , I just would like somehow to find a way to let kids know the edge is there while not seeing them get pushed into it. Thanks and be well. Hugs

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  4. Thanks for referring me to your site, Arkenaten. As I told you before, I think Bill Mayer is genuinely funny (at the expense of my faith, of course). This video was no exception; several parts cracked me up! And I would actually agree with most of his comedic objections. I think it would do well for Christians (whom I am one) to take these things to heart. There is no excuse for the evil things done in the name of religion. As Blaise Pascal once observed, “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” That’s been one of my pet peeves, too.

    This is why I don’t usually debate with atheists. First, I don’t have the time. Second, I usually find myself more in agreement with them than not. Of course, since I’m a so-called believer, I don’t agree with their conclusions about the existence of God. And, no doubt, that would be an endless debate here. 🙂 And fair enough. I can appreciate why people reject “religion.” Interestingly enough, I reject religion, too, but I don’t reject God.

    Either way, it’s good for us to put our polemic rocks down and hear people out who don’t agree with us. We can all learn from each other when we seek to understand rather than trying to prove we’re right.

    To quote Nick Lowe (via Elvis Costello), “What’s so funny about peace, love, and understanding.”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Welcome ….

      I have never got the whole, ”Interestingly enough, I reject religion, too, but I don’t reject God.” thing, especially as it was the Church that ostensibly put together the bible.
      Seriously, how does it work?

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      1. Fair question. I obviously view “religion” negatively. As Robert Capon once said, “Christianity is not a religion; it is the announcement of the end of religion.” Technically, I suppose you could call it a religion, especially how it’s been traditionally practiced. Religion (as it’s practiced) is more about following ritual and agreeing to dogma, etc. I see it more about being invited into a relationship; we enter into a cooperative process where we potentially become more like Him. This is also more in line with the ancient church before Constantine high-jacked it in the fourth century and changed it into a state religion. We can trace most “Christian” atrocities to this change.

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          1. Haha…since I’m a pastor, I probably attend church meetings. The word for “church” means the “assembly of the called out ones.” The New Testament describes the believers in Christ as the “church.”

            Another change after Constantine, btw. We only started “going to church” when the Roman state religion decided to separate the people from the “clergy.” The institution became the church. I would argue that this was to maintain control over the people. Another ugly side of “religion.”

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              1. I preach in the building but, personally, I think a pub would probably be more fun. 🙂 However, it wouldn’t be very kind to do to some of the people in our church family since they’re former alcoholics.

                The tenets we officially adhere to are probably considered traditional, but many of them are not obligatory. As Augustine once said (probably not originally to him), “in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity.” Our “essential” is a love for Jesus, loving others with His love, and a commitment to follow Him. Of course, doing so with as much grace and other-centered love for each other as we are capable of.

                But I don’t like certainty like a lot of evangelicals and Fundamentals do. I think it makes us prideful, arrogant, and ungracious. I’m comfortable living in the mystery and enjoying the adventure.

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          1. I don’t think I’ve ever been called that before. A new one I can add to the list…. 🙂

            I’m not a wiccan but I get what you’re saying. I’m not promoting my own designer faith either, but seeing that Jesus is a lot bigger than the box we’ve put Him in. And I’m not alone in this. There a growing number of Christians seeing this. Of course, this is my belief, you’re free to disagree, but I believe I’m grounded in the foundations of the historic faith (more so than a lot of popular modern Christianity). But the church is an organism rather than an organization, which means we should be constantly pruned back from anything toxic and, hopefully. stay true to Jesus’ life and teachings. To the degree we do that, we actually act and look like we’re following Christ.

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            1. Stay true to the putative ‘teachings’, yes indeed.

              But it’s a mistake to think that the ‘Christ’ said them first, or even at all. Other brands of religion hold many of them in common—the basic rules for communal living, no? (If you leave out the ‘God’ bits …)

              Dammit—I’ll keep blogging as long as I can but am well aware that my mind isn’t what it was. Mel, for what it’s worth … do you really need an invented intercessor twixt you and The Divine? Can you not stand up on your own two feet and find your own answers?

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              1. Argus,
                It’s true Jesus used a lot of common stories, and even confirmed “worldly” wisdom (Code of Hammurabi, etc.) There’s honest debated who said what first. But Jesus would often put an interesting twist to these stories, like the so-called story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15). As it was traditionally told, the father (and the village) chastised and shamed the son when he returned. In Jesus’ story, the father runs out to the son, kisses him, restores everything back to him and throws a party! Jesus was directing this story at the Pharisees, They were the retributive “elder brother” in the story (typical of religion).

                Could I stand up on my own? Sure. There’s a lot I could do without God, I’m fairly smart and know how to learn. But what would be the fun of limiting things to my own mind when I can be in His, too. 🙂 Plus, you would not have wanted to know the cold, judgmental, ungracious, and self-absorbed me before I knew Christ. I’ve finally learned how to love people, even if they don’t love me back. Most important for me, though, is the joy I feel (state of well-being) and love I have for everyone. I don’t love because I’m supposed to anymore; I love because I feel His love in me.

                After 60 years of trying to act like a grownup, I’m finally starting to enjoy life like a child (not childish, I hope). To quote the great prophet Bob Dylan, “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” I wouldn’t trade it for all the gold or fame in all the world.
                Blessings to you.

                Liked by 1 person

      2. Another interesting point on the Bible. It wasn’t put together until centuries later, as I’m sure you know. The earliest church had the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) and various letters circulated, including many letters that aren’t in the “Canon.” Many of these early believers were illiterate, either poor or slaves, so they probably couldn’t read it anyway. My point is, their “faith” was based on relationship, not on the printed text. We didn’t elevate the Bible to God-status until the Reformation, and that was done for political reasons (against Catholicism’s claims of authority) that go beyond a comment here. But all of this stuff was done after Christianity became the formal state religion of the Roman Empire.

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        1. Yes,I know… but maybe some of my readers are unfamiliar with the history so feel free.

          Many of these early believers were illiterate,

          Including the character, Jesus of Nazareth and his itinerant entourage, I’ll venture

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  5. @ Mel Wild. Hello Mel. I understand the idea of personal faith compared to organized religion. What I was wondering was about your statement “I see it more about being invited into a relationship; we enter into a cooperative process where we potentially become more like Him.”. How do you become more like him? What guide or instructional material do you use to find, understand, and come closer to god? Thanks. Hugs

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    1. Hi Scottie. Becoming more like Christ would look like the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), meaning being forgiving, not seeking revenge, loving your neighbor as yourself, blessing those who persecute you, loving your enemy, not using people like objects (lust vs. love), not judging others, giving the same grace to others as you would want for yourself. The fruit of this relationship would be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

      How are we doing? 🙂 This is why religion (as I have defined it) doesn’t work. And, of course, no one does these things perfectly, but that’s the general idea. And if we truly do love others as ourselves, we won’t throw them under the bus for not always behaving well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If I may …
        How do you square away all this nice stuff with the how Jesus was in the Old Testament before he metamorphosed into a human?

        Why do you think he was nothing but a meglomaniacal prick in the OT and seemed to have calmed down a bit by the time some unknown people began collecting hearsay stories and writing them down?

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        1. How Jesus was in the Old Testament? I would disagree with the premise.
          Jesus makes a statement (Matthew 11:27; John 1:18) that no one really knew God before Him. Jesus contradicted and deconstructed a lot of their view of God. My contention is that we cannot read the Bible indescriminately, as if Jesus never happened. He’s the one who “explains God to us.” (John 1:18)

          If we view the Old Testament as written by a bunch of omniscient folks who always understood God (theocentric) instead of a bunch of primitive people relating to God from their ancient worldview and culture, we will end up with a “flat,” hopelessly convoluted picture of God. That would be the Fundamentalist view (inerrancy, which was borrowed from Islam, btw). This is the question Marcion brought up in the second century; God looks different in the OT than Jesus. Good question, he just came up with the wrong conclusion, which is his theory is considered heretical.

          As I’ve told you before, within OT Scripture there’s an internal debate going on between the priests and scribes, who held the political power (who always write the history) and the prophets (embedded reporters, if you will) who are constantly telling them they’re full of it! You really don’t see this kind of pushback in other works of religious antiquity.

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            1. “The same god of the old and new with just a different hairstyle and more up to date sandals?”

              Very good. Can I use that in my future teachings. 🙂

              Seriously, I thought I made the point that some of the depictions of God in the Old Testament was THEIR view of God, not God as He actually was. This is why so much of the text (creation myths, etc.) is borrowed from other cultures. Because Israel thought about God pretty much like every one else…you know, throw the virgins in the volcano so he doesn’t burn their village. A careful reading shows that Jesus pretty much refuted this view. But, we as a culture, are so deeply entrenched in this conflicted view of God that what I’m saying will sound strange, even to a lot of Christians.

              But we do see glimpses of the real God in the Old Testament. He brought them out of Egypt, according to the narrative, and wanted a personal relationship with them. They refused and wanted Moses to be a priest for them instead (like everybody else), so God gave them what THEY wanted…a religion. Then He hangs an albatross of suffocating micro-managing, rules and punishments for infractions around their head that no one could live up to (but, being religious, they thought they could!) Then, as I said before, we have the embedded reporters, prophets like Jeremiah, who said God never wanted their bull and goat prayers. All He ever wanted was that they would respond to His love and love Him back. Of course, this would be like me showing my two-year old son how I love him. Humankind has “grown up” since then, so it would be very different than the way God would relate to us today.

              So, no, a lot of depictions of God in the Old Testament are not Jesus nor God. They are an ancient people’s understanding of Him, distorted at best. But like a flat earth and throwing virgins in the fire, Jesus upgraded their view. He’s always upgrading our view of Him as we “grow up.”

              I know I just opened a whole can of theological worms here. Today was my day off so I had more time but I probably won’t have time to treat this exhaustively. Sorry, but I only have time for very general statements.

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              1. I did ask for a straighforward answer, sorry to be blunt I do not need another Christian’s interpretation.
                Is your god, Jesus of Nazareth the creator god of the Old Testament.
                Yes or No?

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                1. Thank you! That wasn’t so hard, now was it?
                  Here’s where the difficult questions begin … feel free to bail. All the other xians eventually do.
                  Why did Jesus/Yahweh endorse and lay down rules for slavery?

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                2. Why are you making this so easy for me, Arkenaten? 🙂

                  Again, these are examples of God acquiescing to where they were at in a very primitive culture (or in many cases, not God saying it all). Of course, there was a form of slavery in those days that was more like an indentured servant than the way we understand the term.

                  I believe if we would’ve actually followed Jesus’ teachings, slavery would’ve been abandoned by Christians very early on. It totally contradicts what He taught us.

                  If I had more time I would expound on that. Maybe other time. But, for now, thanks for inviting me and for playing nice. 🙂

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                3. You think I am playing, Mel?
                  It is in many cases because of the bible that so much of the more despicable aspects of society as we know it is the way it is.
                  As the bible was cited as reason for the eventual abolition of slavery by so- called Christians (although it had been abolished long before by several Eastern cultures) so it was cited as reason for validating slavery, including the justification for Apartheid in South Africa where I now live.

                  I thought you had a little more integrity that that.
                  So, please do not think you can palm that indentured servitude crap on me.
                  I have heard it all before…
                  Remember, I have already told you I am NOT some wet behind the ears rookie atheist and none of my regular visitors are either and you are not preaching to some of your more credulous flock. Most of those here have been through the mill in no uncertain terms.

                  If your god was capable of revealing the Ten Commandments then why do you think he did not add an eleventh forbidding slavery?

                  Liked by 3 people

                4. Sorry…it was a figure of speech. I promise to behave. If you knew me better you would get my sense of humor. 🙂 Again, no disrespect intended. I simply meant that everyone has been gracious to me here.

                  And, seriously, I would never call you ignorant or assume you don’t know what I’m referring to. You seem very well informed. I respect that. And I’m not wet behind the ears either. We may disagree but we can have a respectful dialogue.

                  You are bringing very big issues that have been argued and debated by theologians, too. Not just the skeptics find these passages troubling.

                  But here’s where I’ve landed (and a lot of scholars have landed). I don’t believe they represent God at all.

                  Let me put it this way. Jesus summed up all the Law and the prophets in one commandment (two-parts): Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. That’s in the Old Testament, too. But Israel obviously didn’t get it. And if we are to agree with Jesus, then slavery must be condemned, for it is not loving our neighbor as ourselves, it’s cruelly subjugating another human being, no matter who said it in the Old Testament. This is how we interpret so-called views of God in the Old Testament. Through the “Jesus” lens, as I described before.. But this doesn’t mean that slavery wasn’t still deeply embedded in the culture, as it still is today in some parts of the world.

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                5. That is not answering the question, Mel.
                  If Jesus/Yahweh was able to dish out Ten Commandments, how difficult would it have been to issue an 11th – though Shalt not Practice Slavery.
                  So, once again, why did Jesus /Yahweh endorse slavery?

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                6. He could’ve added a lot of other cruel things we’ve invented since, too. But you would think, “love others as yourself” would pretty much cover it.

                  Just shows you how we don’t get it (at least, get the implications), even when something is plainly stated.

                  And, again, I don’t think Yahweh endorsed slavery. They put those words in His mouth.

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                7. Yes, he could have included many, I agree.
                  However, you have absolutely no right to make the assumption that , ”They put those words in His mouth” because in doing so you are undermining almost the entire basis of the biblical story concerning the foundation of Israel.
                  Also if Jesus/Yahweh was so concerned about humans only worshiping one god why, as a supposed omniscient deity did he not include the 11th concerning slavery?
                  Seriously, why do you believe you need to make excuses for your deity?

                  So again …why did Jesus/Yahweh not outlaw slavery?

                  Liked by 1 person

                8. I don’t have this right? Actually, I do. In fact, if I am going to properly interpret what’s being said, I must. I can because the Old Testament prophets constantly undermined some of the things that God supposedly told them to do. I can because, over and over again, even in the Old Testament, God tells them to care for the marginalized, the poor, the widow, the orphans, etc., and slavery would be the very opposite of this. I can because Jesus undermines those words. I can because the whole point was to love God and love others as I love myself.

                  So, unless I’m sociopathic, living in total cognitive dissonance, I must vehemently refute these passages. God is not schizophrenic, although some theologians seem to think He is.

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                9. Therefore, in the interest of intellectual integrity we must surely apply the same criteria to the New Testament?.
                  I would ask, how do you know that anything claimed to have been said by the character, Jesus of Nazareth was not simply from the imagination of the unknown authors of the gospels? That these writers did in fact ” … put those words in His mouth”..

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            1. I think I answered this in the other comment. A qualified yes. Yes, He was the same God, but often not in the way they understood Him in the Old Testament, And certainly not in the way Jesus explained Him. Jesus radically changed everything about how we see God, but God, as He really is, didn’t change.

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                1. “How could Jesus explain Him(sic)?
                  He was him and you have just said so, for goodness sake!”

                  I don’t have much free time today so I will have to give you a relatively short (probably inadequate) answer.
                  The theological term is hypostatic union, meaning fully God (Son) and fully human (Jesus).

                  By way of analogy (which is all we have with spiritual things outside of ourselves), Jesus is no more the Father than an electron is a proton in an atom. Yes, they exist together (in one another, if you will) but they are very distinct. This the thought behind Trinitarian theology.

                  Another analogy for “Jesus explaining Him…” (John 1:18). It would be like Hamlet searching all over his “world” trying to know Shakespeare, or prove he exists. Hamlet may not even be aware of anyone named Shakespeare, but he’s heard stories. He could assume and make speculation about some reality outside of himself, but He would never really know Shakespeare because they are from two impassible realms (in this case, fiction and real worlds).

                  Staying with the analogy, what the New Testament tells us is that Shakespeare (God-Father, Son, Spirit) wrote Himself into the play by becoming a human being. He traversed worlds to our world. Thus, Jesus is called both the son of man and the son of God. As The writers declared, now we have seen Him, touched Him, and heard speak. Jesus put a human face on this mysterious, invisible God we only intuit and speculate about before.

                  Thus, as François du Toit translated John 1:18: “Until this moment God remained invisible to man; now the authentic begotten son, the blueprint of man’s design who represents the innermost being of God, the son who is in the bosom of the father, brings him into full view! He is the official authority qualified to announce God! He is our guide who accurately declares and interprets the invisible God within us.”

                  That’s my short answer. 🙂

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                2. Yes … another drawn out mini treatise on the Trinity. How many times must you be asked not to consider I have just fallen off the turnip wagon?

                  I must be honest, I am beginning to get weary of your theological snow jobs, they really are becoming tiresome, Mel and merely demonstrate the level of credulity you have allowed yourself to succumb to.
                  Not a single response has demonstrated a willingness to go beyond your indoctrinated beliefs and engage on any level that does not involve superstitious clap trap or on the face of it seeming to be disingenuous.
                  You claim to abhor much of religion and are not religious in the strict sense but rather a Christ follower yet you espouse this stuff as might a professional apologist like Wright or even William Lane Craig or one of his ilk.
                  I am anticipating a soft approach to Divine Command Theory some time in the not too distant future.

                  You have carefully avoided directly answering the slavery issue and the 11th Commandment, couching your answers, and now you are trying to whitewash the character Jesus of Nazareth in light of the megalomaniacal monster Yahweh. Who you have already admitted were one and the same.

                  Maybe you should rather acknowledge Marcion and ditch the ”Jewish God”?
                  Marcion’s solution sounds right up your street.

                  Frankly, I’m beginning to find your approach verging on being dishonest.

                  So, once again.
                  Why did Jesus … or Yahweh not condemn Slavery either in the Old in the New?

                  Liked by 2 people

                3. Whatever…we can talk about snow jobs another time when you’re not so condescending. Yes, I’ve heard all your arguments before, too. I am not some ignorant dullard. I have been respectful about your position and have been open about what makes sense to me. I expect the same respect from you. Otherwise, I’m wasting my time here.

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                4. I asked you not to assume I was a wet behind the ears atheist.
                  Yet, time and time again you write reams of apologetic stuff in the hope of ” baffling them with bullshit”, or maybe you will think I will be satisfied with all your non answers?

                  If you cannot explain something as simple as Why did Jesus not condemn slavery in no more than two paragraphs then you either don’t know or you are trying to ‘sell’ something to assuage guilt or ignorance.

                  Genuine honesty appears thin on the ground when push comes to shove with discussing such matter with religious people. Why do you struggle to offer a simply straight forward answer?
                  Did you never consider the question of slavery or was your pre-conversion life so crappy that you simply ignored all the evidence and shied away from the awkward questions and allowed your mentors to heap the sinner guilt trip on you as with every other Christian?

                  And you still did not answer the question, which, unsurprisingly speaks volumes.

                  But if you feel a touch of succinct clarity coming on then please, tell us why Jesus of Nazareth did not condemn slavery?

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                5. You asked me why Jesus could explain God. I gave you my theological answer (the only one I can give), with analogy.
                  You keep coming back to why didn’t God specifically tell them not to have slaves. I have tried to answer that anthropologically and you call it “baffling them with bullshit.” Well, aren’t you the final judge of God and how the world should work according to you! If you don’t like my answer, fine. Fair enough. We can leave it at that. But I don’t call your “fantasy” that the universe came from absolutely nothing, that there’s no initial cause baffling me with bullshit. So, again, if we’re respectful without having to resort to dismissive, intellectual bullying, I can respond when I have time. Otherwise, I have better ways to spend my time. Again, I respect your position, even if I don’t agree with it. I ask the same as you.

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                6. Yes, Jesus explaining himself i… oh, sorry… Himself to himself is just one more in a list of simple questions you seem to revel in serving up a supernatural apologetic feast .
                  You believe in a supernatural creator who just happened to be able to impart ten commandments to an octogenarian atop a mountain and he didn’t think to include one about not keeping slaves
                  And you have no honest answer and even tried to fob the indentured servants argument on me.
                  Apologetics 101 Mel, really?
                  Yet after a thousand years or more decided to pop down to earth, commit supernatural rape and knock up a 12 or 14 year old Jewess and three decades after the most amazing birth in the history of evolution, Yeshua spent three years traipsing round Galilee cursing fig trees, turning wine into water, sending pigs over cliff faces and STILL didn’t find the time to mention anything about condemning slavery.

                  As for your pre-Big Bang nothing from nothing side swipe ….

                  I am an atheist.
                  Atheists do not beleive in gods.
                  And for me that’s it.
                  ”I don’t know” is a perfectly honest answer for the rest and I am not Sean Carroll who is a very, very clever bloke.

                  Never mind my position, the real difficulty with your position is you don’t respect it enough to be brutally honest with yourself.

                  Liked by 2 people

                7. You can’t believe anything you can’t see. If certain things don’t make sense to you, it can’t be true. That’s your opinion, which is fine. I respect that.
                  But if you were honest when you say “I don’t know” about initial cause (which is also an acceptable answer), then I would ask why you so easily dismiss the possibility of a creator? And never mind the God of the Bible…any creator? You are the one not being honest here; at least, not rational.

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                8. Because a ”cause” could be anything and it could also be nothing.
                  For you to simply insert a god into your argument, which has more holes than a Galilean Fisherman’s net, by the way, and not just any god but your meglomaniacal offspring from a supernatural pedophile rape he himself committed, is not only the absolute pinnacle of preposterous stupidity but also arrogant beyond belief.

                  So, back to slavery.

                  Why did Jesus of Nazareth not condemn slavery?

                  Liked by 1 person

                9. Read My Lips.
                  I Don’t Know.
                  As far as my scientific and cosmological knowledge goes it currently ends with the Big Bang.
                  If you want a scientific/cosmological explanation based on science then maybe you should engage Sean Carroll?
                  However, so far there is no evidence whatsoever that any god was involved and most certainly nothing to suggest a smelly little itinerant eschatological 1st century rabbi was the be all and end all of it.
                  However, I am always open to hearing a non apologetic response , complete with evidence.
                  Are you the man with the answer to sway me?
                  Maybe … but I honestly doubt you have the ability to even conjure a worthwhile metaphysical explanation.
                  But then again …. you do converse with the Lord, do you not?
                  Have you asked him … blast!, I did it again ….Him.

                  So, why did Jesus of Nazareth not condemn slavery, and in fact, actively endorsed it.

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                10. Fair enough. I’m probably not the person you need to talk to either. I’m not a scientist nor am I into apologetics beyond my own personal need to know.
                  But if I get any better answers for you, I will share them. Right now, my time is very limited on these types of arguments.
                  And Jesus actively endorsing slavery? Not a chance. But He was directly dealing with a different kind of slavery and a different kind of prison. He left the rest of the world problems for us to solve. God lets us participate like that. Of course, that’s not a scientific answer, but the best I can do with about 45 seconds to respond.
                  Peace.

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                11. Jesus is Yahweh is Jesus is Yahweh.
                  You told me so yourself!
                  So yes,Yahweh /Jesus did not condemn slavery and yes he actively endorsed it.

                  You are now being either willfully ignorant Mel, in an effort to avoid some sort of cognitive dissonance or blatantly dishonest.

                  You tell me?

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                12. I don’t believe any form of God condoned slavery, any more than He necessarily condoned animal sacrifice, even though it’s all over the Old Testament.

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                13. Then why did Jesus-Yahweh issue instructions pertaining to the keeping and treatment of slaves in the Old Testament?

                  And if he had a change of heart regarding slavery why did he not condemn it when he metamorphosed as a human.

                  So, once again … why did Jesus -Yahweh not condemn slavery?

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                14. Okay, I will try to answer this one more time, then I really do have to go…
                  The premise of your question is based on me believing that the Bible text is inerrant, as if I was a Fundamentalist, which I am not. I DON’T believe every time it says “God” in the OT that God actually said it.

                  God did not condone slavery. Period. God did not say anything about condoning slavery, or any other evil in the Old Testament (genocide, child sacrifice, etc.) Period. I can’t be any clearer than that.

                  And I can prove this with the Old Testament’s own internal argument against it. This is why Scripture must be interpreted, not just read flatly.
                  Again, why did God allegedly allow any evil thing? Why did He allow the crucifixion of Jesus? Let’s not stop at slavery.
                  Got to go.

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                15. No, it is not based on such a thing, as you previously said you did not think it was inerrant . Please stop trying to manufacture things that I did not say or imply and for once, simply answer the damn question.

                  Why did Jesus-Yahweh not condemn slavery, and in the Old Testament Jesus-Yahweh gave instructions for the keeping and treatment of slaves?

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                16. I would like to give you opportunity support that with biblical evidence, but first, do you believe there was such a thing as the Mosaic Law found in the Old Testament?
                  Simple answer please, yes or no?

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                17. Okay. Yes.
                  But there’s not one Mosaic Law, so it can’t be a simple answer. There are two distinctly different legislations.

                  So, yes, on the Law, as Paul referred to it, if we’re talking about the ten words (Ten Commandments). No, if we’re were saying that everything written in Leviticus through Deuteronomy as being verbatim from God. According to the Bible, the only thing God ever wrote were the Ten Commandments, and Jesus summed them up with love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself. Everything else is commentary.

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                18. I believe He did. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Can’t enslave people and follow that one. God doesn’t have to micro-manage our behavior in order for us to know His will.

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                19. In answer to the question about something from nothing (fast becoming your Go To response when pinned down about an incompatible belief you maintain by – gasp! – a non believer, I can only recall Ark saying something like, “I don’t know.” So I’m left wondering why you couldn’t answer with at least that much honesty when it comes to the question of Jesus apparently endorsing slavery?

                  I think you’ll find honesty is rather toxic to theology because it raises legitimate questions that cannot be answered by the very theology it represents, and so I can understand why you would prefer a pseudo-answer that is equivalent to soothing baffle-gab than to be honest about your ignorance and puzzlement in this matter.

                  But isn’t that an interesting thing about theology; it always pretends to have answer informed by ‘a different kind of knowledge’ than, say, facts and/or evidence. Funny kind of knowledge, that; it’s equivalent in all ways I can determine to what constitutes at the very least a misrepresentation but closer I think to a rather transparent falsehood… and I’m almost sure that ‘falsehood’ is not synonymous with ‘knowledge’. In this case we can clearly see that a falsehood that masquerades as an ‘answer’ is really a substitute for ignorance. You haven’t a clue why Jesus didn’t condemn slavery but seemed ot endorse it done in the ‘right’ way And you know that’s immoral if this man was a divine entity here to teach us lesser mortals about morality. Foot, meet mouth.

                  That’s what theology seems to be: a means to elevate ignorance to be a virtue and expertise and reason to be the doors to unbridled vice, hatred, and general immorality.

                  Liked by 2 people

                20. So I can’t dismiss your non-answer to what is the initial cause. I should just accept that and call my own beliefs a total myth? Whatever…
                  And as far as the slavery question, while you think you smell blood here, we might as well ask, why didn’t God condemn all evil directly? For that matter, why does He allow evil at all? Why does my imaginary god (sic) allow free will? I mean, why stop at slavery? Why didn’t He force us all to treat each other with other-centered love and compassion? Why did God allow…(gasp)…atheists?

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                21. Yet again, a hand-wave deflection of an answer.
                  I asked my mother this very question about Jesus not condemning slavery and she answered,
                  ”I don’t know”.
                  Like her, I also believe that honesty is the best policy.

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                22. If you were actually interested just how far back we can successfully model an explanation, you’d quickly realize how you frame your question about origins is what is determining your god-centered ‘answer’. You’re substituting your beliefs right into the premises. This is ALWAYS a thinking mistake… if you’re trying to find out something OTHER than your beliefs. The clue is your use of ‘First’ causes. This is indicates to me you are using Aristotelian physics, which is metaphysics, which is full of premises that do not connect by evidence to reality but are assumptions. That’s why it doesn’t lead to knowledge.

                  If you seek knowledge, then you’re going to have to leave your beliefs behind. You need to understand, for example, that using the term ’cause’ indicates a universe that already has time (because entropy is what allows us to connect a latter event to a former ’cause’).

                  So presuming a ‘first’ cause makes no sense. It only makes sense if you presume 1. there was a time and place of ‘nothing’ and then – POOF! – there was something brought into being by your god (who apparently was part of nothing), which is the criticism you’re throwing at atheists who say no such thing AND leave out the god bit, and 2. that time was already in play. In fact, part of the Big Bang theory is that that is when time started. What ‘preceded’ when you have no time is not rational. This is why you are making no sense with your ‘first cause’ approach.

                  Look, education is what you have when you’ve forgotten everything you’ve learned. In other words, an educated mind uses disciplined thinking. I’m not seeing that from you when it comes time to strip away the relgio-speak and describe what ‘it’ is you say you believe in regarding this divine agency. It makes no rational sense because your thinking about it is so sloppy and undisciplined and filled with rationalizations that it actually explains nothing. It’s really difficult to have a conversation about faith-based beliefs comporting with reality when, in fact, they don’t every time it comes to actually explaining what these beliefs are.

                  But I do see non stop long debunked apologetic nonsense being offered by you and, when challenged, see you switch several times now to a pseudo-representation of what you think non believers must use. Well, you’re wrong. For physics – regarding the beginning of the cosmos and the modeling we use for it – I don’t use religious apologetcis like you do because, unlike you, I don’t think faith-based beliefs do the job; I use – Gasp! physics! That’s where some knowledge resides and not in my faith-based beliefs about agencies of Oogity Boogity causing some mangled explanation about POOF!ism. These two models simply are not compatible, yet I know physics successfully lands stuff on tumbling asteroids millions of kilometers away… which is far more than any faith-based belief has ever produced.

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                23. Okay, what caused the realm outside of time and space? We can peel back as many “non-local” dimensions as you want. The question is still the same. And physics is fundamentally based on cause and effect. This doesn’t require any of my “religious” presuppositions. Only pure logic.

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                24. But only back so far. That’s where the honest, “I don’t know and you don’t either’ comes into play. Whereas I recognize my ignorance, you carry on into this fictional setting and claim ‘god’.

                  To many non believers, this is an absolutely typical run-of-the-mill god of the gaps argument. Religious apologetics 101. You don’t know. But you won’tr admit that; instead, you’re passing along stuff you’ve been taught to fit a theistic narrative and told that you must accept it as if true, as if explanatory.Oh… and as if pious, too.

                  It’s only pious. It explains nothing. It doesn’t fit either logic or evidence. Using this kind of apologetic tactic is not thinking, Mel; it’s regurgitating apologetic bullshit and then being offended if someone else calls you on it. What’s worse, you’ve spent a great deal of life passing this on to others as it was passed on to you in the form of an authority… not from good physics and successful modeling that accounts for the evidence we do have, but from your religious beliefs that YOU think empowers your Just So story to be another kind of knowledge… even though it does not comport to physics. Good grief, man, but this line of defense does nothing but close your mind one painful step at a time into a bubble world to keep your belief in its compatibility with science alive. What’s being lost one step at a time is your respect for what is true and your ability to know.

                  Liked by 1 person

                25. Okay, fair enough. But, again, even though it’s admittedly a mystery to us, it’s still irrational to totally dismiss the possibility of a “creator” (whatever you want to call it).

                  One more thing. My faith can be informed and adjusted by better science because it’s still, as far as I’m concerned, on a trajectory toward answering the question, where in the heck did all this come from? Again, if I’m wrong, so be it. I will take my dirt nap ignorant and totally happy.

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                26. You are entitled to your belief that a deity is responsible.
                  What irks most everyone else is the emphatic Christian insistence that this deity is the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth, and that you also insist in inculcating others with this untenable belief, and primarily target those who have not developed a level of critical thinking skills to offer up any sensible defense.
                  This is little more than child abuse and it is primarily this aspect that many non-believers consider to be disgusting and immoral.
                  Furthermore, if your god, Jesus-Yahweh truly is the one and only then you should have absolutely no problem whatsoever
                  rejecting any form of religious indoctrination for kids.

                  Oh, and you could also campaign for religious organisations to pay some tax. That would make a nice change, don’t you think?.

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                27. As I said over on Paul’s blog, I probably agree with most of what irks you guys. And I do teach people to think critically about what the Bible text is saying. Most of disgusting and immoral garbage you describe, and rightfully abhor, comes from reading the text indiscriminately, which then gets manipulated by people’s own insecurity, greed, fear, need for power, etc..
                  My only answer to this is that if every “Christian” actually followed Jesus, there would be no more wars, no slavery, no abuse of any kind…it would be loving your neighbor as yourself, unconditionally, including our enemies, treating others the same way you would want to be treated, etc.. I don’t think that’s a bad delusion to hang on to.

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                28. So you do not agree in the standard doctrine of Christianity of the necessity of being born again and of confessing that one is a sinner?

                  How does one think critically about a dead man supposedly coming back to life who is also the creator of the universe and not arrive at the conclusion this this is palpable nonsense?

                  How do you get children to accept this without indoctrinating them?

                  I am very interested in how you tackle this especially as you are called to proselytize.

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                29. Probably not. The issue of “being born again” is not a question I can answer non-theologically, nor do I time to nuance it properly other than a quick response. Quick answer: there’s nothing outside of Christ (Col.1:16-17), in any realm or dimension, visible or invisible. You are in Christ right now (according to what I believe), whether you want to acknowledge it or not. You’re not asking an absent Jesus to come into your heart; you’re consenting to entering into a dynamic relationship with Someone who’s already in you. I’m sure that’s quite upsetting to you. 🙂

                  As far as children go, maybe we should not indoctrinate them on evolution in school either. We can teach them all the theories without bias or comment and let them make up their own mind.

                  I will be away from my computer now for quite awhile. Talk to you later…

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                30. And that’s why I have little truck even with your supposed liberal take on Christianity.
                  You do not address specific issues in any genuinely honest fashion.
                  You claim you are open to science … bit of a Geek was the term you used, then you comeback with a pathetic immature, and thoroughly asinine little jibe about not teaching kids evolution.
                  Sorry, Mel, whatever credibility you may have had, you just flushed it down the toilet.

                  Just like your biblical mate,Pilate.
                  I am accomplishing nothing,so I’d rather wash my hands . “You shall bear the responsibility.”

                  And I hope the kids see through your vacuous nonsense quickly.

                  Liked by 2 people

                31. I was not speaking against evolution, I was simply addressing your hypocritical idea of indoctrinating children, which is absurd. Everybody indoctrinates children! They learn to think for themselves later on.

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                32. We teach evolution because it is fact.
                  Children have to be indoctrinated into god belief because it is not fact, but palpable nonsense and in many case simply bald face lies.
                  And they also have to be threatened with hell in many cases.

                  This is why people like Hugh Ross are arse-holes of the first order, and in reality when it comes to god belief of no practical difference from Ken Ham.
                  And at least Ham believes it all … literally.
                  People like Ross … and you, I am disappointed to note, are little more than manipulative cherry pickers.
                  If you don’t understand the difference between teaching and indoctrination then you should not be entrusted with children at your ”church”.

                  Liked by 1 person

                33. You are showing your prejudice and dismissive arrogance. You don’t know for certain that belief in a creator is “palpable nonsense.” That’s an opinion. And I wasn’t even talking about teaching them religion. Sheesh! So stop with the vitriolic rant. I was simply saying to include all ontological theories, including the possibility that there is a creator. But they don’t get this actual open and honest discussion. They are fed evolution without criticism. Again, I don’t have a problem with teaching evolution, but isn’t that the very definition of indoctrination?

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                34. You stated:

                  As far as children go, maybe we should not indoctrinate them on evolution in school either.

                  Another one of your little side swipes.
                  Please do not think for one second any of us non-believers here have not experienced this level of asinine approach more times than you can throw holy water at.
                  We do not indoctrinate evolution into children … we teach it.
                  Religion is indoctrinated into children because it has to be as it is built upon a foundation of faith with no verifiable evidence to back a single claim it makes and it generally requires the threat of punishment to make it stick.
                  The approach of religious people toward children is unethical and immoral and in many cases is nothing but child abuse, even if they beleive they are ”doing good”.
                  I stand by this and always will.

                  If you wish to see a broad spectrum religious program that teaches kids about world religions in a similar manner as we might teach global farming methods introduced into mainstream education, then campaign for it.
                  But the hell (sic) we will see any form of god belief held up as the equal of evolution or any form of science.
                  That is abuse.
                  And if you are presenting it as fact to kids then you are also guilty of abuse.
                  It is this simple.

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                35. Mel reveals his true colours and not the liberal theist he pretends to be.Although he says he’s not religious but a kind of deist, he sure knows his very Christian apologetics; he’s used one trope after another thinking these are valid points in his favour not realizing their use reveals him as just another fuzzy and confused evangelical wing nut who doesn’t care whether his arguments have any truth value at all; he serves his god using fallacies, misrepresentations, willful ignorance, and falsehoods and wants people to think well of him for doing so. Not this camper.

                  Liked by 2 people

                36. “You are in Christ right now (according to what I believe), whether you want to acknowledge it or not. You’re not asking an absent Jesus to come into your heart; you’re consenting to entering into a dynamic relationship with Someone who’s already in you. I’m sure that’s quite upsetting to you.”

                  Yes, it is upsetting. It took me many years to get over the betrayal from clergy like you who over-stimulated oxytocin in trusting people. Now, perhaps you had trauma in your life, and perhaps you are simply unable to face your finality, but that is no excuse to seduce people into believing there is a romantic father figure inside you wanting to pursue an intimate relationship with you. I think it’s immoral and unethical, and especially when you tell children this, whose brain isn’t fully developed. Your beliefs are based on archaic writings with no original manuscripts.

                  Believe whatever you need to believe to help you get through life, but keep it to yourself, and don’t profit, financially, from it.

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                37. NeuroNotes, I am truly sorry for the experience you had with clergy betrayal. There is no excuse for that. I myself have been betrayed by people I trusted, both in the church and out. But, in the end, it was those people who were to blame, not God.
                  As far as “over-stimulating oxytocin” and a “romantic Father,” I personally wouldn’t put it that way. Intimacy and agape love are not talking about romance as we know the word. The love is other-centered, self-giving. The intimacy (in-me-see) is open and honest vulnerability and exposure to the one we’re learning to trust. It’s mutual interpenetration (not sexually, but relationally) in which no person is diminished or absorbed. We participate in the divine nature (2 Pet.1:4).
                  I was traumatized before I was a Christian, I was traumatized by Christians, but then I finally found what the Father’s love really is.
                  Anyway, I don’t mean to preach or in any way diminish your experience. I was just trying to clarify what I’m talking about. Blessings to you.

                  And as far as financially profiting, I can assure it has cost me financially to do what I do (which I gladly do). I would say that most of the rank-and-file “clergy” (not the big celebrities) are underpaid and under-appreciated.

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                38. But, in the end, it was those people who were to blame, not God.

                  How would someone such as yourself, Mel advise Victoria, or anyone in actual fact, on how to recognise a genuine Christian, Mel?

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                39. As Jesus said, you know them by their fruit (how they interact with other human beings). He also said that the world would know we are His by our love for one another. It would look like love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Then, understanding that there is no perfect specimen. That’s where having grace for one another comes in. But this should be the goal of every Christian.

                  And believe me, I am just frustrated and angry about how Christians have treated people than anyone else. I have to deal with the mess on a daily basis, things like what your folks have been saying here. I can’t shoot ’em, so I must patiently do what I can to help them. 🙂

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                40. So how would I know that you are a True Christian and all the other Protestant Denominations are not?
                  After all, my mother considers she is devout.
                  So how does a true seeker figure out that you and your message are the real deal and not the usual crock of fundamental creationist bullshit humanity has been mutually interpenetrated with since Jesus-Yahweh hung from the cross and yelled; (translated into the local vernacular)
                  ”All right dad, enough already. Stop mucking about.”

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                41. Intimacy and agape… a deep loving relationship with… yourself, Mel, identified as an external agent living inside you?

                  Well, partly right. We have a bicameral brain, after all.

                  The difference between what you believe and what Victoria presents is that you simply believe the internal company you keep isn’t just the two hemispheres in your brain communicating with each other by physical and chemical means but a divine male figurehead whom you have invited into your heart.

                  Wrong organ.

                  So criticizing that ridiculous religious belief is not because of an emotional motivation resulting from harm done by representatives of that ridiculous belief to the criticizer (although god only knows just how many millions or billions of people could fall into that category of being harmed by them); the criticism about that superstitious belief you promote and teach is due to it being ridiculous…. in the face of better explanatory models that don’t include magical and mystical and nebulous and transcendental divine super-spy Thought Police creative… agencies who love you, with whom you can a special emotional and revelatory relationship, an agency exercising the power of POOF!ism to bring into existence something from nothing and who will stand in judgement of you after you die to assign you to an eternal vacation spot.

                  What NN does is provide a constant stream of new data not from the wishful and imaginative and delusional minds of the religious who think they are recipients of some god’s whispered insights about reality into their privileged ears (“Lord, I’m not worthy of You and this special attention but am and remain your humble but dedicated beyond reason servant willing to follow your orders, Dear Leader… shhh.. don’t tell anyone that I really am quite special to be paid such loving attention from the creator of the universe… and so I must pretend to be ever-so-humble…“) but from real world explorations that can demonstrate the links between physical and chemical causes for the claimed effects that you attribute to the pious form of the Great White Rabbit, Harvey, and explanatory models that have no need for such superstitious nonsense.

                  Victoria does that here because this explains so much of what the religious mind attributes to be evidence for their creator god. It’s like a public service, but one that you malign – intentionally or not – to be because she has had her feelings hurt and so responds with this data for emotional reasons.

                  No.

                  This is false.

                  This data is not emotive and should not be falsely painted to be based on anything other than an honest and factual inquiry into reality that has absolutely nothing to do with the emotional motivation you falsely attach to it, Mel.

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                42. tildeb, you assume I would be against what Victoria is talking about, or the bicameral brain, or anything else we find out about how the brain works. I am not trying to offend, or discount any pain Victoria felt because of bad religion, and I applaud her work, and I applaud any advancement in neuroscience. I thank “God” for people like Victoria who are helping us understand how we think. It’s a gift to us all and it should be honored and appreciated.

                  But you assume that this totally discounts the existence of God, as if it were automatically mutually exclusive, or that He would not be all for it, too. If you were honest as you say you are, you couldn’t possibly say that a “God” cannot possibly be involved in this advancement. I cannot prove it either.

                  We both have a right to what we believe. And if we are doing harm to others, we should own up to it and make it right.

                  But not only do you misrepresent my views, but you constantly lump me in with the worst offenders of Christianity and resort to dismissive and condescending insults. THAT is offensive. I really have no time for this kind of conversation. I am not a doormat for you to wipe your feet on. I hope you have a good life, and I do mean that.

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                43. If I may, Mel …. do you tell children that Jesus of Nazareth is real and s the creator of the universe?
                  Do you, no matter how tacitly, refer to sin in any of your preaching either to adults or children?

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                44. Okay, I see where you’re going with this. Let’s see both sides of this. Are you ever telling your children that believing in God is idiotic, asinine, and a mental illness. To me, that would be just as disturbing and abusive.

                  Every parent, theist or atheist, will influence their child through what they believe. That’s neither good or bad, in and of itself.

                  Yes, we teach our children that we believe there is a God. And that it’s a faith issue. But we’re not abusive about it. We also don’t keep them out of school or tell them not to learn science and biology, etc. We also teach them to love and care for other people. They will grow up and get a mind of their own, anyway.

                  And what is sin? It’s any act where we are not loving others as ourselves. Is that abusive? I don’t think so.

                  If the statistics are any indication, millennials have been leaving the traditional church in droves. So it’s self-correcting. We’re not immune to the need for self-inspection and to adapt how we do things and deal with our messes.

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                45. Do you think for once you could spare me the thesis and simply answer the question/s I ask?
                  do you tell children that Jesus of Nazareth is real and s the creator of the universe?
                  That is a Yes or No question.
                  And second …
                  Do you, no matter how tacitly, refer to sin in any of your preaching either to adults or children?
                  This also is a Yes or No answer.

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                46. Am I in court? Yes and no, please? I thought we were having a conversation. If you don’t care to understand why I believe what I believe. I will go. Thanks for inviting me. I truly wish you the best.

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                47. I prefer to keep some comments on the point. You tend to veer off track when asked direct questions as if you are afraid of your answer.
                  I already have a fair idea of what we are dealing with here.
                  But try to appreciate that we all work and even if that involves being at the laptop, dissecting your long convoluted comments becomes difficult to concentrate -for me at any rate.

                  I can ask follow ups afterwards no probs.

                  So, Do you tell children that Jesus of Nazareth is the creator of the universe? Yes or No?

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                48. That’s not a “yes” and “no” answer. I have no idea what you know already about what I’m going to say or not. I’m trying to save you the thesis.

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                49. That would be a work over several years. First, we teach them that they have intrinsic value to God. And that God is love, not selfish, thinks of others, etc. We teach them to be respectful to all people. As they grow older, those values may be more nuanced.
                  We don’t specifically teach science, but cosmologically speaking, we teach that God created it all and gave us a brain to figure it out.
                  Some of our kids are now scientists, teachers, doctors, counselors. They don’t see their field in a dualist (right/wrong) way. At least, that’s not what we taught them. In every argument, there’s value on both sides.
                  Sorry if there’s too much commentary. Just trying to clarify.

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                50. No, no, no! Not the whole philosophical nine yards please.
                  Kids might naturally ask something along the lines of ….
                  ”Who made all the stars, Dad?”
                  Now, to the young child you will likely say ”God”, and this will lead you to either having to explain properly ( and I use that term loosely under the circumstances) or offer the ”By Miracle” method.
                  So let’s cut to the chase….
                  I am an adult … trust me on this.
                  Please explain to me how Yahweh, prior to metamorphosing into the biblical character,Jesus of Nazareth created the universe?

                  BTW, ”He thought it into existence” is not a valid response.

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                51. Yes, I would tell them simplistically, “God made the stars.” Now do they understand things like the Big Bang, etc. Probably not. Would we deny it if they asked? No! I’m sure if kids are taking cosmology or quantum mechanics in school, they’ll get a more nuanced answer. Hopefully, we have not confused them.

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                52. Cosmologically speaking, probably the Big Bang. I’m open to other theories as we advance.

                  The Bible simplistically says, God spoke” because it uses language to appeal to the lowest common denominator. If every one had Stephen Hawking’s brain, it no doubt would’ve been written quite differently.

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                53. So you are unable to explain how Jesus Yahweh created the universe yet you feel confident enough to state as fact that he did and indoctrinate this belief into children.
                  And you cannot see why this is abuse?
                  Why then would you consider Mohammed flying to heaven on a winged horse a lie?

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                54. I thought I explained myself. I’m puzzled how my answer is abusive to children.
                  Can you prove without a shadow of a doubt that He didn’t initiate the Big Bang, or whatever theory we may have?

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                55. God, Jesus. If I said George, or Tom, or Sally (God is not a male), it wouldn’t make any difference to the main point. All language is an attempt to describe something we probably don’t fully understand, even though we think we do.

                  You’re trying to discredit, dismiss, and deny me what I believe when I have not tried to do that with you. If this is where it’s going to continue to go, it will be a big waste of time for both of us. I didn’t just bounce off the turnip truck either.

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                56. A waste of time?
                  A large part of the basis of your life is to convince people that the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth is the creator of the universe. You are called to do so. Otherwise we go to hell and according to your doctrine it matters not if I do not beleive, for you it is real and there are souls to be saved.
                  I am an atheist, therefore I should be the target of the most patience and most understanding and the most empathy when it comes to teaching about your god.

                  And if you can’t bloody well explain it in a such way that even you can fully grasp then how the hell do you expect me to?

                  Are you expecting me to simply accept your answer without you demonstrating the veracity of your claim?

                  First off you can please demonstrate the historical veracity of the biblical character Jesus of Nazareth.

                  That is your first task if you have the integrity to try.

                  Well … do you?

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                57. Yes, my task is to tell people about the love of God, it is not to “save” them. And clearly you are not open to anything I have to say about it. And, like you, I also have very little time, and other people who are open. I’m not interested in debating these things endlessly. I didn’t even come here to “win you over.” Simply to understand you and try to be understood. If you can’t accept what I’ve said, you are free to disagree. No one was ever argued into faith in God anyway. And science has not proven or disproven His existence. So, no amount of evidence is going to change that. I do thank everyone who has expressed their view. It has truly been very helpful to me.

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                58. So no evidence whatsoever, then. Just blind faith, apparently based largely on your own traumatic experience (whatever that was) to which you attribute your recovery to an unevidenced entity you claim is (a) ”God”.
                  Or, the supposed divine biblical character Jesus of Nazareth-Yahweh for whom there is no verifiable historical record and no contemporary evidence at all.
                  And now you should realise why we believe children should not be exposed to this and we consider it is child abuse.

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                59. Yes, I do understand why you say this about children’s exposure. Point made.
                  I hope you understand my point, that telling children that the possible existence of God is idiotic and asinine would be just as abusive.

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                60. Telling them there may or may not be a creator deity but there is no evidence might just past muster in some circles. Just …
                  Telling them that your god, the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth is responsible and all the other baggage that goes along with this statement is child abuse and a flat out lie as much as teaching creationism as fact is also lie.

                  You don’t, in point of fact have a point, only indoctrinated creationist dogma.

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                61. People have a brain. If they don’t want to believe in Jesus, they won’t. I don’t need to control them. The “child abuse” angle you’re trying here, and applying it to me, is what doesn’t pass the muster, and comes off a bit hypocritical.

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                62. Really? Then maybe you should ask Victoria, and Zoe if they think what you preach to kids is child abuse. After all, they both experienced christian fundamentalism at its most potent so they should have a far better handle than me.

                  Go on…. ask them.
                  Let’s see if they agree with you that I am a hypocrite?

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                63. Mel, you say, “But you assume that this (one hemisphere of the brain communicating with the other) totally discounts the existence of God, as if it were automatically mutually exclusive, or that He would not be all for it, too. If you were honest as you say you are, you couldn’t possibly say that a “God” cannot possibly be involved in this advancement.”

                  Well, consider what this understanding and evidence does to the three pillars of faith-based belief (revelation, personal experience of God, and scripture); it explains the first two and removes them from any so-called evidence theists try to bring forth to demonstrate the existence of this God.

                  Now, what do we have left?

                  Scripture. And I’ll get to that.

                  But first, let’s look at what you do with alternative explanatory model describing revelation and personal experiences of this god.

                  Well, what you do now is again typical apologetics; you don’t think. You attribute to me this idea (that you then criticize) that I am saying that a god (your God specifically) cannot possibly be involved in this advancement (the bicameral brain).”

                  I never said that. You’re not increasing the merit or truth value of your claims by criticizing what you think are mine. This isn;t an either/or discussion.

                  What I am pointing out is that the cumulative data that explains the source of revelation and personal experience of this interior companion you believe resides with each of us – one that you claim to have relationship with that is of divine origin – has absolutely no evidence from reality beyond mis-attributing these experiences to be evidence for some god. Because I am a Bayesian thinker, the likelihood or probability of your thesis being correct is approaching zero once revelation and personal experience is ruled out. And it is approaching zero not because of what I may or may not believe but because reality independent of our beliefs about it does not provide any evidence at all to suggest such a likelihood or probability is reasonable, is rational, is supportable. So a lack of belief in this likelihood or probability is not mine that I import but a reasonable conclusion any reasonable person should readily admit to. And this means a contrary belief is held for reasons OTHER than what reality has to say in the matter. Hence, a point in favour of determining why faith-based belief in the form of religion poisons everything… including your ability to think well. Hence, the apologetics.

                  That means it’s not me that is discounting the existence of a god – a charge you continuously raise as if it had merit – but reality. It does not support this god hypothesis.

                  That’s why Ark and many other non believers who grasp this important distinction you continue to miss between adducing conclusions and imposing beliefs on reality inevitably turns to the last pillar of your religious faith, namely, scripture and demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that it is work of men. Every point raised by theists who try to use scripture to demonstrate divine properties tries and fails. It is a compilation of human writing about human understanding of human concerns that is full of inconsistencies, incorrect factual claims, second a third hand reporting of extraordinary events for which there is no compelling evidence beyond these testimonies. Yet scripture continuously makes references to events and phenomena that is contrary to how reality works in practice. We don’t empower such unsubstantiated testimony in human courts of law for the very same reasons we don’t invest confidence in your faith-based belief in such scripture: it is demonstrably untrustworthy without other compelling independent evidence to support it. Because independent verification is missing and theists produce a model that refuses any means to arbitrate its descriptive value, we dismiss your claims on a lack of merit and not because we’re ‘mad’ or because we’re been ‘hurt’, or because we ‘hate’ your god. We dismiss your faith-based claims on the basis that we have no good reasons to believe otherwise.

                  The reason why I am holding you accountable for presenting your faith-based beliefs as if compatible with scientific understanding and knowledge about reality is because you continue to misrepresent them as if they were a reasonable alternative, a different ‘kind’ of knowledge, an equivalently likely or probable model that is explanatory. as if they really can and do comport to reality, as if they have been adduced from reality. They aren’t. Att all. They are beliefs you import and then impose of reality. That’s the sum total of their merit. But they are not descriptive or an equivalently likely, or probable, alternative model. So presenting them as such is dishonest. And using discredited apologetics to defend the indefensible is incredibly dishonest of you and it needs to be shown WHY it is dishonest of you. Hence, my commenting about your ideas. It’s not about Mel. You’ve been fooled. And you won’t stop being fooled until you take responsibility for your faith-based beliefs and stop pretending you get them from some god.

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                64. What if everything you are saying isn’t an either/or? That’s what I’m actually saying. In other words, what if these brain chemicals or other neuro-impulses are exactly how God designed us to communicate with Him, others, to intuit, to have cognitive awareness.

                  The reason I believe I can maintain this position is that is that you have not answered the question of initial cause (in any dimension of the cosmos), no one has. So, to separate God from these things is just as irrational to me as it is to believe in the Easter bunny
                  So I’m probably not even disagreeing with a lot of what you’re saying. I’m just saying that it doesn’t automatically eliminate God in the equation. You said that yourself.
                  As I said to the others, I don’t think it’s dualistic problem at all. Now, we people of faith articulate that is another story. We need to advance as much as the sciences needs to advance. I don’t argue against that.

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                65. Why does what you teach cause you to be legitimately charged with being deceitful? Because your model not only has NO evidence of tinkering or designing or influencing but stands incompatible to the models that do have compelling evidence for naturally occurring unguided physical and chemical mechanisms. Your beliefs in this matter are factually wrong and do not comport with reality.

                  By assuming one model (godidit that has no means to link this divine cause with any of the selected effects) is equivalent to another (the scientific method that links proposed causes to established effects) IS the disservice because it causes great confusion and disbelief in the next generation. Teaching creationist beliefs has the effect of increasing gullibility ina vulnerable population – children – and harming their ability to think critically and with appropriate skepticism they will have to develop later in life. And the false equivalency of presenting these two incompatible models has the effect of forcing children to choose between them!

                  You know this perfectly well. That’s why nearly four in five Americans endorse creationism and either reject outright or completely misunderstand evolution and all the science that has gone into synthesizing this foundation of modern biology with genetics… irrefutable proof of the theory’s explanatory power. To teach this false equivalency as you do requires the vast majority of Christian and Muslim children to choose to reject, belittle, and malign scientific expertise and elevate ignorance to be equivalent. This is what you’re teaching. (I shudder to think of this long term effect in scientific advancements by nations that meekly go along with teaching this kind of drivel, but suffice to say, not enough Americans understand that the top 5% of Chinese students outnumber ALL US students. But that’s another topic waiting to explode in the face of the pious.)

                  Now, I know you like to think you offer a middle ground that is not incompatible with our best method to do honest inquiry into how the universe operates and what it contains. You are fooling yourself, which is disappointing enough, but you are willingly fooling children,, which is really quite unforgivable when you know better. You are in fact going along with replacing reality and imposing faith-based beliefs on it as if this were an equivalent way to gain knowledge about how the universe operates and what it contains. That’s a lie. Plain and simple, you are being deceitful – not a shred of knowledge are you advancing with your model – in the name of trying to present yourself as a reasonable and kind person. But a reasonable and kind person does not set out to intentionally deceive children with falsehoods! I don;t care if you think this is pious and therefore virtuous. it isn’t. It’s deceitful and equivalent to lying

                  As Sesame Street taught us long ago, one of these things just doesn’t belong here. And it’s your deceit. .

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                66. Mel, with all due respect, I just find it hard to believe that with all the information available today from distinguished biblical scholars, that you’re still clinging to this belief that Jesus was divine, or that the bible has credibility. Yet you still quote scriptures.

                  Like I mentioned previously, I don’t have a problem with people believing in a creator, but I do take issue with people promoting their version of religion as truth, which you certainly do.

                  Clergy should know better in this day and age, if they actually study. The Clergy Project was founded to support clergy who actually did study and came to the same conclusion as the rest of us deconvertes. The question is, what is taking you so long to figure this out? I can explain why. If you’re really sincere in your faith, if you really, really believe that you have this very special bond with your deity (representing a bridegroom, nurturing mother, and father figure), then what’s happened is that when you bond with someone you love deeply, neural circuitry associated with critical assessment (towards that deeply loved one), deactivates, due to the release of oxytocin and/or vasopressin. This is what is meant by “love is blind.” It’s a fact, neurologically speaking.

                  As far as most rank-and-file clergy being underpaid and under-appreciated, I understand that it has its ups and downs, but they wouldn’t be doing it if there wasn’t something in it for them. By putting yourself in a position of authority, you believe you’ve been “called”, which is very dopaminergic, and it also serves to reinforce your belief that heaven and eternal life await you.

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                67. Thanks for your insights, NeuroNotes. I am not against what you’re saying about the brain. As I said in another comment, I applaud the advancement. But my love for God has helped to love others, love my wife, it didn’t diminish it. Maybe love is blind, the Greeks called it a form of insanity. But it’s not something to be dismissed or reduced down to a biological level. Love does not need to be explained. We only need to know how to do it in a relationally mature way.

                  Most people are very simple. They will never understand the workings of the brain, nor do they care to understand it. They will just want to go on with their lives, seeking love and some sense of purpose and fulfillment. They’re not dumb; they just don’t care about the kind of things we like to argue about. Yet, simple faith helps many intuit some of what you’re talking about, without having to understand it. My responsibility as a Christian leader is not to betray their trust and help them grow relationally.

                  On the clergy question, I forgot to add that many pastors of small churches get paid absolutely nothing. They work another job to support their families. Yes, they have a reason why they do it. Many (not all) do it out of love for God and wanting to help people, just like anyone in counseling or teaching professions wants to do the same. Except many aren’t getting the pay or respect these other professions receive. But they don’t do it for that. The work has its own reward.

                  I am not in the science field; my field is Christian faith. My basis of what I believe is not because I studies a book. My relationship with God is just as real to me as with my wife. You can dismiss that as delusional or ignorant. That’s your right. It won’t change what I believe. Again, I can respect that.

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                68. Basically, what you are saying, Mel, is that you are using your belief to help you love others, otherwise, it seems apparent to me that you think you are not capable of loving and being prosocial unless there’s a divine reason. Is my understanding correct?

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                69. Not quite. I think people can love very well without any relationship with God. They can learn to love through proper counseling. But, as I said, I believe that ultimately it all comes from God. I believe that God is love. I don’t see any separation between so-called sacred and secular.

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                70. I specifically targeted you. I think you do a great disservice to humanity by assuming that our capacity to love and be prosocial is divine, not human. Everything good gets credited to your cultural god, not humans. “God did it, I was just his vessel.” You devalue and demean humanity with such beliefs.

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                71. I don’t believe they are mutually exclusive. I don’t separate man from God. I don’t believe it to be a dualistic food fight here. One has to be wrong for the other to be right. I can credit man’s achievements without having to discredit God. And I don’t demean humans by including God. Quite the contrary, in my view of course. I seek to elevate the worth of every single human, even if they have nothing of value to contribute to society. They intrinsic value.

                  I believe I would do the ultimate disservice by saying that God has nothing to do with the marvelous workings of humankind. So, we can agree to disagree.

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                72. And disagree I do. You can’t see it, Mel, but you do not elevate people’s worth by teaching them that they are incomplete without a god — your god. What you are doing is manipulating people, and I’m guessing you target those who are vulnerable, and susceptible to such a message.

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                73. You are putting words in my mouth. They ARE complete in God whether they know it or not. You are free to disagree but I believe you are misjudging what you don’t fully understand. So, yes, we disagree.

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                74. So, they are complete already (according to your belief), but you are the god-ordained spokesperson who has more understanding than the rest of us, and therefore it is your duty to inform those less informed, or less”enlightened.” What you are saying here is so common among the very religious who have promoted themselves to position of authority and knowledge solely based on feelings and faith. Your only recourse is to tell us we don’t fully understand.

                  You forget, we’ve been there, done that, and we do understand, which is why we are having this conversation in the first place. 😉

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                75. I agree. But I don’t think I have been irresponsible in my “duty.” Again, I understand the bad experiences that people have experienced here. I agree and fight against that myself. But, quite frankly, I get tired of all the dismissive and condescending seeing-through everything that atheists and former converts throw at me, as if your judgment is perfect and I somehow just haven’t matured enough to see it as you have. This is just as irritating and offensive to me. So, again, we can disagree. Respectfully, I hope.

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                76. If you were able to demonstrate the veracity of any of your claims you might garner a little bit more sympathy.

                  Also, if you had genuine trust in your god you would not feel in the least compelled to assume the role of earthly medium for it.
                  That you do feel compelled to usurp your god in this regard also smacks of the highest arrogance and aptly demonstrates that without human intervention and within probably one or two generations children would remain naturally atheist and grow to have no place for Christianity or any god belief or for that matter any other supernatural claptrap in their lives.

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                77. Fair enough. You wrote: ” I get tired of all the dismissive and condescending seeing-through everything that atheists and former converts throw at me, as if your judgment is perfect and I somehow just haven’t matured enough to see it as you have, and I somehow just haven’t matured enough to see it as you have.”

                  Now, that’s projection. 😉 I don’t see you as someone who just hasn’t matured enough to see it as we do. I think you just haven’t studied enough, and are relying on the feelgood neurochemicals as evidence that what you are feeling inside is the presence of your interpretation of god.

                  The more you believe it, the more you stimulate those chemicals. If you were prescribed a fairly potent dopamine antagonist, the pleasure you derive from your god belief would soon diminish. Neuropharmacological studies show dopaminergic activation as the leading neurochemical feature associated with religious activity.

                  Again, I think you do humanity a great disservice by preaching that love, compassion and empathy are supernatural.

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                78. “I think you just haven’t studied enough, and are relying on the feelgood neurochemicals as evidence that what you are feeling inside is the presence of your interpretation of god.”

                  You say I’m projecting and then go and say the answer is more study, thus making my point. My real problem is ignorance and misguided reactions to chemicals. Okay, whatever. Thank you for your educated prognosis. I do appreciate your perspective and hopefully will stay open to greater understanding. I hope you do, too.

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                79. What you are telling me is that I don’t get it, that I don’t understand, and I’m telling you, I do. I just think you are deeply in love with your interpretation of god, and this has clouded your critical judgement.

                  People who have experienced trauma find tools to help them cope. I understand that. But, you have taken this to another level, and are reinforcing your coping mechanism by telling people that you have the truth — that you are a “true Christian™”, and they should take your word for it, because, well, you’re right. As you mentioned in a previous comment, you are on a mission to make Christians out of Christians. How original. Lol

                  I’d like to say I appreciate your perspective, but that would be disingenuous. I do, however, appreciate the fact that you’ve stuck it out, here, and said that you will stay open to a greater understanding.

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                80. In case Mel does not ask, do you and Zoe consider what you experienced to be (child) abuse? ( I am not sure if you were exposed from childhood…. I can’t remember your testimonies, sorry.)

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                81. Ark, let’s put fundamentalism aside for now, because I was not raised a fundamentalist. But I was raised to believe in the biblical god, and because I trusted people I loved, and people in positions of authority, I dedicated most of my life to this belief, putting my own dreams and desires aside to “be about god’s business.”

                  I took my faith very seriously, so when the rug was pulled out from under me, by my own accord, I felt deeply betrayed that I’d been duped and wasted most of my life on a cultural myth. I take some of the responsibility, but indoctrination is powerful, and when you live in a very religious state and region of the country, chances are, those deeply indoctrinated will continue to believe in this cultural myth.

                  So, to answer your question, based on how far up the proverbial mountain I went, and how hard I fell when I realized it was a facade, yes, I would consider it abuse.

                  Liked by 1 person

                82. “Again, I think you do humanity a great disservice by preaching that love, compassion, and empathy are supernatural.”

                  Again, you are projecting an opinion here from your field of study perspective. I don’t believe in any such separation or mutual exclusivity. I thought I made that clear before. You cannot prove that these chemical reactions were not designed. I cannot either. So neither one of us are necessarily doing humanity a disservice here. We have honestly held but differing perspectives. My view is admittedly philosophical. But I think my wife would prefer to call our relationship based in love instead of chemicals.

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                83. “But I think my wife would prefer to call our relationship based in love instead of chemicals.”

                  Yeah, there’s nothing more romantic than loving your wife because an archaic book commanded you to do so. 😀

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                84. Indoctrinate children with knowledge about a scientific theory?

                  Good grief, Mel, there really isn’t any discredited trope you won’t serve up in your apologetics, is there?

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                85. What you’ve effectively done is cut yourself off from pursuing these questions because you think you have an equivalent answer. This is why the ‘religion poisons everything’ idea has legs. For you, it may cut off your search regarding why the Big Bang is a really interesting model. For 45% of Americans, it stops them from understanding evolution; for another 35% it stops them from understanding why evolution is NOT guided by some peek-a-boo divine fiddler.

                  You don’t understand why your false equivalency matters but I will guarantee it informs a whole bunch of areas where you’ve unthinkingly replaced ignorance with a pseudo-answer that causes you no discomfort, which leads you to falsely assume science and religion are compatible means to find out stuff about the real world while easily dismissing with an intellectual wave of the hand all contrary evidence. That’s why you don’t see the anti-vaccine movement uses exactly the same method of informing false assumptions that theists do… and which puts all of us at increased risk for all kinds of diseases that kill real people in real life. You don’t see the climate change denialism uses exactly the same method of informing false assumptions that theists do… and which puts all of us at increased risk for creating another Venus, increasing the frequency and rates of extreme weather events that kill real people in real life. You don’t see the harm that is accrued by Christian Science parents on their powerless children. You don;t make these connections because you don’t want to. You don’t want to examine the small part you play in advocating for a method of believing that is toxic to acquiring and respecting knowledge and that elevates ignorance to the real detriment of real people in real life. You presume your ‘relationship’ model in fact is beneficial and reason enough to not want to see what’s right before your eyes. Faith-based belief is pernicious and the mother ship is religion. You can’t maintain intellectual integrity by privileging religion on the one hand that relies on it and claims it to be a virtue, while criticizing ignorance and bad ideas that uses the identical method to support their faith-based beliefs on the other. Doing so makes every ‘reasonable’ and ‘nice’ religious person at the very least a hypocrite.

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                86. You assume I’m not open to evolution, the big bang, etc. I, and many Christians, have no problem with any of it. I’m a quantum physics geek wannabe. I love and appreciate technology, medical advances… So, I say, bring it on! Let’s take human knowledge as we as we can go. I’m not afraid of where it will take us.
                  You are creating a straw man here with me, making cliché generalizations about some fundamentalist/ evangelical version of Christianity you can’t stand. Fine. I probably can’t stand a lot of whoever that is either.

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                87. Mel, you say, “You assume I’m not open to evolution, the big bang, etc. I, and many Christians, have no problem with any of it.”

                  Yeah, you do. You just don’t realize it. We’ve gone over this already. And see? You haven’t changed your opinion even a little… just stuck with what you believe is true without altering your beliefs to fit reality and make a false claim that you presume is true because you believe it is true… regardless of contrary evidence that I have already provided you explaining how you do not understand and why this matters.

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                88. Mel, since Ark’s comment section is getting so long, I have posted this question on my blog. Please visit there and offer your input.

                  BTW, everyone is invited! 🙂

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      2. Mel the things you mention are good things. They are what we would advise kids to aspire to, and adults to follow in life. These things are good for society in general. But you referred back to bible verses. Mel what is confusing me is the idea that you can come closer to something you reject the instruction manual for. In this case the bible and christianity. or the other seemingly endless “holy books” in the world. Forgive me if what I write next is insulting as that is not my intent at all. I am thinking that if you reject and do not use any other religion’s scripture then the god you feel and follow is one you made up for yourself. I can see how you can come closer to being what your god wants you to be if you create the god for yourself first. It is not a bad thing to dream up identities to help us in life, and to do better. However to me it is no more a deity than the small dragon I see who comes to play sometimes with my cats. I can’t prove the dragon, I can’t call it to come , I can’t show you the dragon, I have had friends here who claimed they could feel the little dragon playing around their feet, but it still is a creation of my mind interrupting my feelings and my friends being susceptible to emotional manipulation. Thanks for the talk, it is interesting. Hugs

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        1. Scotty, to clarify my position, I don’t reject the Bible as total fiction. I think I’m reading it as it was indented, which is what I tried to explain in answering Arkenaten’s question about Jesus in the Old Testament. It’s “inspired” in that it teaches us a lot about human nature and man’s relationship with God. Of course, that’s if you believe it and want to benefit from it.

          At the risk of ticking off my evangelical “Christian” friends, I don’t think we can even put Christ in our little “Christian” box (religiously speaking). What I mean is, I believe that God communicates to us through many different writings and ways (allegedly, including jackasses). Actually, a lot of these non-Christian religious leaders in history (like Gandhi) pointed to Christ. The apostle Paul said that everything in the cosmos is contained in Christ (Col.1:16-17), which means no one is left out. I understand that’s a crazy concept, but my point is only that He can potentially influence all people for good. Theologically speaking, I do think that people need to embrace a relationship with Jesus to get the benefit I was talking about, but if they find it outside of the official “Christian” dogma, they are believers in that sense.
          This was how Jesus recognized “faith” in His earthly ministry, commending many “sinners” for their faith and condemning the religious leader’s hypocrisy. Not much has changed there. 🙂

          Thanks for the great questions. Blessings.

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      3. Hi Mel. I appreciate your candor and willingness to answer our questions. I was curious, after you quoted scriptures — would you say you are likely to cherry pick? How would you explain scriptures such as noted in Revelation 19: 11-19, where an angel of the god you worship calls for the birds to gorge themselves on the dead flesh of unbelievers — and Revelation 20:15 where it states that anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire?

        Also, while I can understand that it’s a good thing to teach and practice the Golden Rule (not original to Judeo-Christianity), do you think that there are people who need constant reminding about how to behave prosocially, hence, your preaching/teaching this over and over, week after week, year after year?

        Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong stated that “the church doesn’t like for people to grow up.That’s why we talk about being born again. When you’re born again, you’re still a child.”

        Besides, if people grew up, you’d be out of a job, right? 😀

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        1. Hi NeuroNotes. And thanks for throwing me a softball question. Haha.. 🙂 Unfortunately, the rank-and-file Christian perspective on eschatology (study of the end) is about 150 years behind the scholarship. There is an excellent book, “Compassionate Eschatology” (edited by Ted Grimsrud and Michael Hardin) where different scholars give an alternate view of Revelation to the violent, bloody-Rambo God version. Generally speaking, their perspective is that Jesus isn’t the one doing the bloodshed; it’s the kings and armies, etc. (Obviously, Jesus doesn’t have a sword-mouth or some wine vat somewhere to make wine out of sinners either!) It’s highly metaphoric and allegorical and very hard to end up with a dogmatic position.

          There are so many interpretations of Revelation it would make anyone’s head spin! I think the problem comes when people read it literally. It was written symbolically, using many Old Testament idioms (like “birds of the air feasting on the flesh…”, bloody moons, etc.). This book would fit the apocalyptic genre of Jewish literature at the time. It’s probably more like interpreting a dream to us. A majority of the worldwide church views this book in a Preterist sense (already fulfilled), that it was a veiled and highly symbolic message to the first century church suffering against Nero’s persecution. But again, there is honest disagreement there, too.

          It’s embarrassing to see influential Christian leaders butchering this text and making millions on their books using fear-based tactics to manipulate people. On the lighter side…I once heard a joke, Jesus would’ve already come back but He got confused by our charts!

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          1. Mel, thanks for replies. They are pretty common explanations within Christian circles, e.g., ‘it’s down to interpretation, those particular scriptures are highly metaphoric and allegorical, — here’s a book that will explains it.’ This helps explain why there are 10’s of thousands of Christian denominations and sects. It’s enough to drive a sane person mad. Haha

            “It’s embarrassing to see influential Christian leaders butchering this text and making millions on their books using fear-based tactics to manipulate people.”

            Am I to understand that you believe you have the right interpretation of Christianity? Do you believe you’ve been given special insight by your god as to what is meant to be taken as symbolic – metaphorical, and what should be taken as literal?

            There are people throughout the world who are prosocial and have never had a “relationship” with your god. I think a lot of people are simply afraid to face their finality, and the finality of their loved ones, so they cling to beliefs propagated by clergy, etc., to help them cope with death anxiety.

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            1. I certainly don’t think I’m right about everything I believe, but I do think my view of Christianity fits Jesus’ model more consistently than some of the popular ones we see today. My view is constantly being addressed in my heart of hearts. I believe in “faithful questioning” (not for a reason not to believe, but to improve) instead of unquestioning obedience. But that also doesn’t mean that I don’t consider other “versions” of Christianity by brothers and sisters in the faith. Jesus said we would be known for our love for one another, not by our doctrinal correct-ness. Unfortunately, we’ve made it all about doctrine, which is why there is so much division (as Monty Python would say, “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!”)

              “There are people throughout the world who are prosocial and have never had a “relationship” with your god. I think a lot of people are simply afraid to face their finality, and the finality of their loved ones, so they cling to beliefs propagated by clergy, etc., to help them cope with death anxiety.”

              Very true. I think we all need to be at peace with what happens to us when we die. And even if what I believe is a total fable (I don’t believe it is), I think it can still help in that regard. And, for me, it’s been the most effective fable I’ve ever experienced! I can die blissfully in my happy delusion. 🙂

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                1. Six points that are worth bearing in mind about Revelation are:
                  1) It certainly was not written by the same person who wrote John’s Gospel. (this is the scholarly view because the Gospel of John is well written grammatically and stylistically whereas Revelation is anything but);
                  2) In every generation Christians have considered that the the prophecies of Revelation relate mainly to the time that they are living, in every case they have been proved false, except perhaps for the first generation, in parts);
                  3) Revelation almost did not make it into the Bible at all, it was one of the disputed books;
                  4) The theology of Revelation is at odds with that of PAul. Paul says to cooperate with the government, Revelation says not to;
                  5) most likely virtually all of the prophecies of Revelation are intended to speak to the current conditions of the recipients;
                  6) the genre of apocalyptic literature developed as a direct result of ‘God’ failing to follow through on his promises. As it became clear that ‘God’ lacked power in the temporal realm, the apologists of the day focussed on the spiritual realm where it is was harder to show they were wrong.

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                2. Yes, that’s from the original Greek word, apokalypsis (or ἀποκάλυψις, if you want to get technical). It means the uncovering, unveiling, or disclosure. It’s called “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” because of the first line of the letter.

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                3. Peter, you are right about the six points. It didn’t get in the early versions of the canon (what they considered inspired). Some of the Reformers actually thought it was an insane book! Calvin didn’t even include it in his commentaries. And the apostle John probably didn’t write it. The Greek is much better in Revelation; probably written by someone who had a lot more formal training.

                  Revelation does seem to be at odds with Paul’s writings about government on a surface reading but the wording is so metaphoric and symbolic, it’s hard to be certain that the writer was writing about a literal government at all. I think he’s dealing with the corruption, both religious and political (detailed in Rev.18). But most do seem to think it was pointed at Nero.

                  But these are some the reasons why scholars scratch their head on that one.

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        2. “Besides, if people grew up, you’d be out of a job, right? :)”

          I would hope so!

          Seriously, my “job” is actually to help people “grow up” as quickly as possible. My perfect scenario would be that no one needs me at all in their relationship with God. Then we could all just be friends doing life together. I spend a lot of time “slapping the religion off of them” (metaphorically speaking, I don’t do physical violence!).

          People come with all kinds of emotional baggage and issues, superstitious faith, plus, they don’t know how to participate in the “Divine Dance,” as Catholic friar and author, Richard Rohr puts it. But the biggest benefit of coming together is being like a family, learning how to love in relationship, encourage one another, and care for one another.

          We’re all brilliant and “all that”…until we get into an open and honest relationship with other people. 🙂

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          1. Mel, I haven’t read everything you’ve written here today, but I have read a few of your comments. First, I want to thank you for coming to this blog and being apart of the conversation. Secondly, thank you for not being too terribly preachy.

            I admit, I’m past the point of agreeing with you on any scripture or doctrine. However, I still don’t mind people worshiping whoever or whatever they want. I just sincerely take issue with anyone coercing children and/or anyone else in a vulnerable state into their belief system.

            I have shared with others here the story of my oldest boy calling himself an atheist at nine years old. I actually debated with him about it extensively. I told him that he was too young for labels. He insisted and I had to let it go. I just think children need to be free. I tell both my kids to enjoy being kids. Then when things like religion, relationships, business and furthering their education come up down the road, they should do their research. Any important decision should be made as soundly as possible.

            Have a great night. And because I’m about to break from blogs again beginning tomorrow, have a great rest of the month as well!

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      4. And becoming all those good things would open one up to every snake-oil salesman on the planet.

        For myself—I do extend my goodwill to all, but my Love has to be earned.
        My goodwill provides the opportunity—opens the window, if you like—for folks to demonstrate why they could be loved.

        I judge.
        I judge left, right, and centre, with a cold hard sizzling fury.
        Judgement is survival.
        Survival is judgement.
        As the cliché oriental might put: “No judgee, no livee”.
        Without judgement (and exercising it) you are simply a doormat, a plum ripe for harvesting, an organic robot blindly following its instructions—

        “Judge not, lest thou be judged”

        —to which I reply PFFFFFT~! Go ahead,dammit— judge me! I dare you! (So far, no takers … why is that?)

        Polonius to Laertes:

        “And this above all, to thine own self be true …”

        Yes, I do know the rest. So does old Willie Shakespeare clash head on with the Sermon? No … but certainly smacks against the (parasitical) Church.

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        1. First, I would disagree with the survival paradigm. I do understand it, though. It would be my natural reaction. But this is the “world” (construct) Jesus came to free us from. I also don’t need to retaliate or get even. That’s what Walter Wink called “The myth of redemptive violence.” We’ve been drinking the “eye for an eye” Kool-Aid for a long time! Of course, the definition of insanity is…
          Of course, people may take advantage of me, even slaughter me. They did Jesus. But the good kind of judgment (same word in Greek) is discernment, so I’m not advocating being a doormat or a fool. I’m saying I’ve given up on seeking revenge and holding on to unforgiveness, instead, choosing to love others and show them grace. I am not their judge. I’m not yours either. 🙂
          Blessings and peace.

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      5. Bugger … by your very own definitions I’m a Christian. Sheesh, I didn’t even know that—I just carried on trying to be nice.

        Now, if only we can get the great mass of Christians to do that …

        It’s been some time since I posted on ‘Jesus 78′ so I guess I can fish it out of the ol’ memory banks, dust it off and repost what has survived. Quite entertaining to nonnies but good Christians will never see or concede the point …

        (Nonny = a non-believer)

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        1. “Bugger … by your very own definitions I’m a Christian.”

          Ha…that’s good. Jesus is pretty sneaky that way, btw. Seriously, I would say a lot of “non-Christians” act a lot more like Christ than Christians do. We have some very bad theology to thank for that (thanks to fear and ignorance).

          When I first came to Christ, I had nothing but love and grace in heart for everyone. I had to be taught who to be against, and who to fear, and make sure I knew what was wrong with everyone else.Thankfully, the love of God pulled me out of that nasty ditch when I found out what Jesus was actually about.

          That’s why my main mission in life is probably along the lines of getting Christians “saved.” 🙂

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          1. “Thankfully, the love of God pulled me out of that nasty ditch when I found out what Jesus was actually about.”
            I don’t know, Mel, but you sound like a pretty sensible, intelligent guy to me. Sensible and smart enough to pull YOURSELF out of a nasty ditch.

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            1. Fair enough, Carmen. But the last thing I wanted when I was in that ditch was God! I knew all the theology and had all the intellectual answers up to my ears. I was fed up with the “Christian” hypocrisy, including my own, and everything else. This was after being a “sincere Bible-believing Christian” (ha!) for 23 years, and a leader for 10 of those years. That’s when the God I never imagined in my wildest dreams met me in my deepest pain. No way else to explain it. If it’s a delusion, it’s a very effective and happy one! 🙂

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              1. “If it’s a delusion, it’s a very effective and happy one!”
                You’ve just stated the reason for hanging on to it. 🙂 It certainly works for an awful lot of people.

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                1. I’m assuming you think that the disbelief in any gods is a delusion, as well. Which would explain why so many of us are very happy too. 🙂

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                2. Good point. But I don’t believe it’s delusional not to believe in a “Christian” God. I fully understand the baggage there and why those who were abused by “religion” feel freedom. But I do believe it’s irrational to totally dismiss the possibility of a “creator” (initial cause), given that no one knows how it all started. So, whatever makes you happy. I have no control over anyone’s life except my own anyway (nor would I want it). I can only explain why I believe what I believe. And if I’m wrong, I have lived a very good life. I have learned how to love and be loved, and I have nothing to lose. I will just join everyone else who went before me in the dirt, to be repurposed for something else useful in the cosmos. 🙂

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                3. It must be difficult to field off half-dozen inquirers on this thread, so I’ll sign off. I have to tell you, though, that your diplomacy is admirable; I’ll have my antenna up for the wild man in future. 🙂

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                4. Haha…thanks! I don’t mind being ganged up on, but I appreciate your gracious comment. I’ll tried to squeeze in a comment or two when I can. Blessings on your happy life. 🙂

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              2. Mel,

                Is the God you never imagined the same as the “sincere Bible-believing Christian” God that you believed in for 23 years?

                If it is a delusion, is it okay to bring others into the delusion with you? Is it okay to say that your delusion is the truth and that your effective and happy delusion can be theirs too?

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                1. Zoe (means “God’s life”) in Greek, btw. I don’t actually believe I’m following a delusion; I was merely stating that even if it was…”
                  We all lead or influence people according to what we believe to be so, or don’t believe to be so. So, is it okay to deny me the same right I give you? .

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                2. Did you miss my first question Mel?

                  As for the name Zoe, I chose it because it means “life” in Greek.

                  And I was asking you, “even if it was.”

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    2. Btw, Bill Maher once said that Gandhi was so “F***” Christian that he had to become a Hindu! I thought that was funny, and painfully true, considering the examples he was given of “Christianity.” He once said, I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. That’s a very sad commentary to me.

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      1. Which Christians? Same God, same book, same Redeemer … oh, I see.
        Different fortunes to be made by different franchises.

        To not digress, I was told by a guy (ex Royal Navy) who did a stint in Belfast during the wee squabbles there that the most frightening thing that could happen to anyone (guaranteed instant trouser-filler, he said) was to be leaving the pub and feel a gun barrel at the back of the neck and a Belfast accent ask “Catlick, or protestant?)

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        1. There is no doubt whatsoever that there’s been more wars and violence in the name of religion than anything else. If you believe the story, the first murder was religiously motivated. Cain killed Abel, and off we go…

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          1. If you define the beginning of the human race as Adam and Eve, perhaps. But only last week I read a few articles claiming that modern man has a fair percent of Neanderthal; and articles that suggest we didn’t originate in Africa after all … Cain was a Denisovan? Abel perhaps a Neanderthal—no wonder they didn’t get along …

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  6. Mel, you continue to imply elsewhere and say here that your religious belief is about ‘relationship’ and that “The fruit of this relationship would be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

    Well, who is against love, joy, peace,m and so on? No one that I know.

    What I simply don’t get from all of your writing is how (or why) you connect these desirable elements of a healthy relationship to some necessary belief in a divine male figurehead. The two (some god on the one hand and these elements on the other) – if we look at human behaviour that reflects these elements of a good relationship – seem to be much more correlated to populations of non believers than populations of those who profess a similar belief that such a divine Commander-in-Chief is real and active and intervening in the world.

    What you’ve done over and over is simply assume or import a connection that I think isn’t true and then have used this connection as if it were a meaningful and important aspect to belief in a Dear Leader to reach the conclusion that such a belief is helpful and beneficial to real people in real life… because the belief promotes these elements!

    But that’s not what reality tells us is the case.

    In population studies that actually looks at rates of consequences of human behaviour between believers and non believers, we see a negative correlate between exercising the elements you list and religious belief that you tell us promotes it (all kinds of studies indicating higher rates of all kinds of social dysfunction correlated with increased religiosity). This correlate makes no sense in your hypothesis. Yet it is robust enough to remain the case in even smaller and smaller population units studied (and I suspect would continue right down to the family unit).

    So to presume what you do about improving human relationships by improving a ‘relationship’ with an invisible divine figure I think stands contrary to actual data we have about exactly this claim. I think your assumption is flat out wrong and, in fact, continues to be a root cause of real harm done to real people in real life because the belief to include the invisible deity (busy as so many are figuring out from second and third hand dubious sources which bits are the bits that promote these elements and which bits to disregard because they not… like slavery, for example, which caused more than a thousand years of moral confusion about the practice) actually interferes with exercising these elements. In other words, I think your assumption is actually a denial of reality: to improve relationships, I think the evidence is compelling to first get rid of these imaginary relationships with imaginary divine Harveys because they are very much a part of the problem impeding love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in real world relationships.

    I would think this to be self-evident. For example, in a marriage between two equal partners, the relationship is direct. We can ascertain cause and effect that promotes or impedes these elements directly. In a marriage that includes a fictional third party – say, Harvey/Jesus – the relationships have to be less direct and more complicated when everyone’s concerns – including The Six Foot White Rabbit – now plays a part.

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  7. Hi Ark. I hopped over from Nan’s blog regarding the “Holy Trinity.” She thought it a good topic there, I commented, and will copy/paste my comment here, if you don’t mind. Thanks.

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

    Well, well, well. This is a subject [the Holy Trinity] we studied hard and thoroughly at seminary for… well, my full 3-years there. 😮 I’ll see if I can tackle it here with brevity and hopefully convey it understandably.

    Because I’m sure that Mel and others, i.e. some Xians and some ministers, over on that blog will answer it from a purely Xian theological POV, I will approach it from a purely broad historically chronological POV. And I must emphasize broad; i.e. non-Christian sources and by expanded inference from Paul’s epistles, Acts, and the popular growing Gnostic Movement of the time.

    Essentially, and perhaps the most BASIC contextual backdrop to the counter-measure of or need for the Trinity, was the major Judaic problem and function of the “Messiah” after Yeshua’s/Jesus’ death — and because there were MANY claiming Messiahs before during and after the life of Yeshua, this became an even bigger Jewish-Messianic conundrum! Everyone had their own independent interpretation of exactly WHAT the Messiah would be and do. There is no debate whatsoever amongst most of the various 1st-century CE Jewish sects (and Diaspora) of the time: ‘the Messiah was going to be a literal Earthly King!’ Why is this important? Because in order to make all the Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah to work in fulfilled harmony, Yeshua/Jesus MUST BE something MORE than just a dead unfulfilled Messiah! He must also be MORE THAN HUMAN!!! In order for the the Messianic prophecies to be valid, Yeshua has to be both God (the spiritual) and Messiah (the Earthly king of the Jews). Between the Apostle Paul (later after Yeshua’s death; in his epistles) and even later the rising controversy with Peter (in Acts), various teachings of the now dead Messiah/Yeshua spreading throughout the Synagogues, and the earliest Followers of “The Way“, and including Gnostics (N. Africa) and the Jerusalem Council (James brother of Yeshua)… there still persisted a major problem amongst Xian leaders and followers!

    During all of the current misguidings, different and valid interpretations of the Messiah/Yeshua as no longer the long long held function of Earthly “King of the Jews” (he’s dead), then in order for it all not to go to waste and be just another “false dead Messiah”… the 3rd- and 4th-century church leaders invented methods and theology to TURN Yeshua/Jesus into a spirtual King, heavily using Paul’s epistles throughout Asia Minor and west to Rome (eventually to become the Vatican/RCC) to make the new religion available for ALL Gentiles, ALL Romans. But not so much for the orthodox Jews in and around Jerusalem and the north African coast — the Gnostics. These followers and churches would be wiped out for they knew WAY TOO MUCH about the Judaic teacher/messiah. Once wiped out, then the next order of business was to teach the Roman/Gentile masses that “the one God” still lives and communicates via the dead and risen Yeshua (the Son of the Gospels)… who is NOW the Holy Spirit, all three very much alive: hence the Holy Trinity.

    All of this “theology” is supposedly backed up through the 4th-century Canonical Scriptures.

    That’s my initial attempt to explain the NEED (function) of the Holy Trinity. Hope that helps. LOL 😉 I will be happy to refine and answer any questions.

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  8. “For all my religious friends(sic) who may be just a tad confused about the effects of their religion on themselves and on society … and especially one or two who might just be wondering if what they believe has any veracity, hmm?”

    More please! Despite laughing along with some brilliant observations and perfect timing, some sadness. Great humour can have great impact.

    One observation of my own. Conversations like this are encouraging me to wonder why “religion” seeks out those who will accept without wonder – but who usually avoid like the plague those (like here) who ask questions that are hard for those of faith-based-beliefs to answer.

    I am learning that for me to differentiate between “I am not religious because I believe … ” and “religion” as discussed here is less than respectful (or even relevant). And has less to do with “who is right” than than “what is right” (if that makes sense). What it means more and more, for me, is that it is important to embrace questions and conversations like this. Because avoiding those who ask hard questions changes me not one bit. And as for it changing you – that is down to you not me.

    Thanks for bringing this conversation thread and post to my place, Ark.

    Like

    1. My pleasure.
      I write on religion out of fascination – I told you how it came about re: the whole Moses thing – and an enjoyment of history and to educate myself, primarily.
      And I have learned an awful lot, make no mistake.
      I have learned things such as: Catholics are not real Christians, Divine Command Theory is okay, because if Yahweh-Jesus gets pissed off there is nowhere you can hide.
      I discovered archaeology and Ken Ham and vegetarian dinosaurs who grew long pointy teeth after Eve made Adam eat an apple and he suddenly realised what he’d been missing , got an erection and sinned.
      I encountered Creationists who swear the earth is no more than 10,000 years old and Yahweh-Jesus can slow down light to fool us and he hid dinosaur bones in the earth. Or was that fossils?
      And I came across proponents of Intelligent Design,which is in no way Creationism, honest, and atheists are just being downright mean to people like Hugh Ross who is sincere, genuine, has most of his own hair and talks to Jesus -Yahweh every night before he goes to bed. In fact, Jesus-Yahweh has asked Hugh to stop nagging the crap out of him for a while as he has a serious migraine.
      But most importantly I found out that I mustn’t let witches live, I can stone all the vile homos, as they will corrupt my kids and destroy the fundamental fabric of society. I can also stone my own kids if they give me too much lip!
      And even smack the gardener and the housekeeper around as long as they don’t die.
      And Yahweh is down with all of it. He’s the man , right?
      I mean, how cool is that?
      I discovered there are chariot wheels on the floor of the Red Sea …. thanks awfully to Ron Wyatt. What a genuine, stand-up guy. And of course he knew where Noah’s Ark is …. Turkey wasn’t it? Sadly he died before he could rip off accept any serious donations from serious-minded believers.
      But that’s okay, as it seems those nice , thoroughly honest people over in Israel, with lots and lots …. and lots of money from the Americans, primarily American Evangelicals are steaming ahead with the Nazareth Village Project to prove once and for all to those frakking soft in the head believers devout True Christians where Jesus-Yahweh lived and where his mum lived and probably his other dad’s workshop (because his real dad was Yahweh who was Jesus too and he supernaturally raped his mum when she was around 12 or 13) and the house where he had his last meal before those nasty Romans nailed him to a piece of wood. And where he was buried too!
      Maybe you can even get T-shirts decorated with real lambs blood – you know, Lamb of God and all that, yeah?

      And there is so much more you won’t hardly believe!

      I also learned another term for a more modern form of diagnosable mental illness.

      God-Belief.

      Like

  9. “I write on religion out of fascination – I told you how it came about re: the whole Moses thing – and an enjoyment of history and to educate myself, primarily.”

    I find I write – as I mentioned to you – about a personal journey and those I meet along the way. That is my fascination. And this staging post is no less valuable than any other.

    What I am beginning to comprehend )listening between the lines of your words – tildeb is far easier on my ear 🙂 ) is stuff worth hearing – stuff that is relevant – and stuff of reason. I am learning to un-teach my (unspoken) “religious teaching” that “atheists” should be tolerated (but “loved” because we are commanded to love).

    I am learning that when I put down that what I should and shouldn’t do – you offer much I can learn.

    I think that applies to everyone on this planet.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Joking aside …

      At some point I feel it should be incumbent on all of us to ask ourselves honestly, not necessarily if there is a creator but do we really need one anyway?

      If we are the product of some deity’s fancy … so what?

      If he really exists and is omniscient why did he only appear in human form in some grotty little Middle Eastern hick town amid mostly illiterate, superstitious goat herders?
      Why not manifest in China where more of them could at least read and write, they had nice silk outfits and … hot women. and you could get Chinese Takeaway every day!
      Let’s be honest, after all those years in the desert brisket, quail, and goats milk is going to get boring pretty quickly.

      And if he is that cool why are we supposed to ”confess our sins”, when one would presume he already knows them and couldn’t really give a shit based on evidence.

      And why would he expect a bunch of puny humans to pass on some super vital message that has so far achieved sweet eff all toward the moral and ethical improvement of his ‘toys”.

      You see, Paul, the more you ask run of the mill, common sense questions, the type of questions you would ask a deity if you were having a face to face, the more you realise that it really is all bullshit.
      The entire concept of religion is so human and UN-god like that even if there were a deity behind it all he would have to be such a patent dickhead you would be disgusted – mostly with yourself for being such a credulous dingbat in the first place.

      When your grand-kids come round to visit, you don’t hide in the broom cupboard and yell vile imprecations through the keyhole, about how they are evil sinners for not clearing away their toys or doing the dishes, now do you?
      So why the hell would you expect the same grand-kids to worship a 2000 year old deity on the supposed promise of eternal life based on the say so of some delusional half-wits who didn’t even have the nous to wash their hands after having a crap, and never would have put the toilet seat down even if they had had the brains to invent it?

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      1. As I said – we have much to learn from each other if …

        I hope that what I am learning might be of interest to you as well. Not for your “saving” or mine. But because I see the same clinging to certainty in your (repeated) points that I was taught to have (and am now shaking – in no small measure because of you).

        “Am I the Untouched” – if I had the ability to dump loads of thinking in one comment box I would. Except that would stop any conversation dead. Because these posts-to-be will not be “proof” of anything.

        What they might be is an agreement with you on religion, and a moving beyond that to something not requiring compliance or consequence.

        And please watch the “unkindness” factor. You can easily make a point worth listening to without needing to scratch (because you can). I only mention it because you use very different language under your beautiful pictures.

        Like

        1. And please watch the “unkindness” factor

          Sometimes, even the Big Old Pussycat needs to exercise his claws on the furniture.
          But I will try not to rake them across the back of your hand, how’s that?

          Liked by 1 person

            1. I sincerely hope you are following Mel’s comments and how he is slowly but surely revealing just how fundamental he truly is, singing all the tried and trusted apologetics we have all come to ”know and love”.
              Of course he will reject this notion out of hand as he is a True Christian and not religious at all … honest!
              Though I must admit, his phrase, mutual interpenetration caught me by surprise!
              Kiddies will love this, I’m sure!
              I wonder if he could get me Hugh Ross’s autograph?

              Like

  10. Well, in effect what Mel is attempting to do is have cause to just wave this huge compilation of causal data away on the basis that it’s motivated for emotional reasons.

    Again and again and again Mel demonstrates all the usual tactics of Christian apologetics while claiming not to be ‘relgiious’ but still a ‘believer’ in all the central tenets that define a Christian. Waving away contrary and incompatible data to his ongoing faith-based beliefs on the basis of misrepresenting it to be a direct product of hostile motivation is Denialism 101. We see this tactic used to affect weaker and less critical minds in order to imply doubt about its truth value.

    That’s what Mel is doing.

    And so I thought it important to identify this bullshit move – avoiding the substance of the evidence neuroscience is producing – by going after a supposed (and fictional) motivation he attributes to those who raise it. It’s really quite dishonest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He states it plainly… it’s not ”God”, it’s bad people who screwed up who are obviously religious… unlike him of course, and therefore they cannot possible be True Christians.
      It is simply amazing how each and every Christian will say exactly the same thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Mel Wild March 22, 2017 at 17:48 wrote:

    You are putting words in my mouth. They ARE complete in God whether they know it or not. You are free to disagree but I believe you are misjudging what you don’t fully understand. So, yes, we disagree.

    How best can you help Victoria to understand Mel?

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  12. Ark, the comment section is long and I don’t know where to put this response to your question up-thread.

    To answer your question, I’m a generational Christian, who simply knew nothing else but Christ. My church raising is not what I would consider abuse. It became abusive when at the age of 13 I attended church camp and was told that my belief in Jesus wasn’t enough and that I had to be born again. The legalistic conservative fundamentalist journey began at that time. I believe I was very vulnerable at that time in my life and was ripe to have hell scared into me as I had a deep need to be with Jesus when I died. Though not raised in Christian fundamentalism, there were many cracks in my foundation. Jesus filled them.

    As a child, teenager, young adult, I simply had no reason to doubt my elders. After all I was raised to obey them and to admire them and to look to elders as those who are educated. I trusted what I was told. I trusted my heritage. I trusted that each and every elder in my presence knew what they were talking about. I trusted that they each knew the truth.

    Does that help?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ark, I don’t think Mel sees anything remotely like child abuse in his approach to his personal life, that of being a parent &/or as a spiritual leader to both adults and their children in his church or community. I suspect the mere mention of it in his regard is audacious and beyond comprehension.

        Now he may agree that their are abusive Christians and some teachings within a variety of churches that are abusive but to think for a second that he is himself abusive in any fashion, no. And pointing out the belief in and of itself is abusive, including the Bible, doctrines, theology doesn’t work either as there’s a lot of verses one can pull out to assuage concern and enough to keep it simple, love.

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        1. I agree, and no doubt every Muslim parent feels the same…
          But of course we all know the Muslims are all worshiping the wrong god so they probably are guilty of child abuse in this respect, right?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I suspect Mel believes that Muslim parents also love their children and believe they are worshiping the right God. He just believes they are wrong and he is right.

            Like

              1. I’m not sure that I ever knew that I was right. The belief is, God is right. That helps one keep it simple.

                The other stuff? God’s problem, not mine.

                So keep it simple. Just love, just preach, just teach, just serve, just pray, just study, just give, just trust, just wait . . . and one day at the feet of Christ himself, there is eternity to answer all that other stuff. In the meantime, keep it simple.

                That’s the standard response given my many leader’s who minister to the needs of their flock.

                I had a preacher say to me:

                “No wonder men in the church don’t like you.”
                I asked, “Why?”
                He responded: “You know your Bible and you are intelligent.”

                I spent most of my life in a faith that wanted me to keep it simple.

                Don’t ask those questions Zoe? (Translate: we can’t answer them.)

                Why are you doubting me? (Translate: Doubting me is doubting God.)

                Careful Zoe. Satan deceives. (Translate: She’s getting close to the truth. Threaten her.)

                You are not yet enlightened. (You don’t understand.)

                Don’t question me. (I am called by God. I love God. He has commissioned me. Your questions are an affront to God.)

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Zoe, your comments regarding questions and keeping it simple reminded me of something evangelist Joyce Meyer said.

                  Oh, and this, too:

                  “Don’t reason in the mind just obey in the spirt. Satan will attempt to fill your child with worry, reasoning, fear, depression, and discouraging negative thoughts. Satan frequently steals the will of God from us due to reasoning. The Lord may direct us to do a certain thing, but if it does not make sense- if it is not logical- we may be tempted to disregard it. What God leads a person to do does not always make logical sense. Don’t reason! Just Obey.” -Joyce Meyer

                  And this one reminded me of . . . *wink*

                  Liked by 4 people

                2. So true, Victoria.

                  And before people associate this point with only some fungelical wingnut, remember the entire protestant branch descends from Martin Luther, who thought of reason as the Devil’s whore when speaking in context about the need for scripture as the final authority in all matters (scientific or not, Mel, and sorry about your perfectly acceptable state of slavery, slaves, but, you know, god wants you to remain <i.well behaved slaves… se the Jesus memo on this matter): “But since the devil’s bride, Reason, that pretty whore, comes in and thinks she’s wise, and what she says, what she thinks, is from the Holy Spirit, who can help us, then? Not judges, not doctors, no king or emperor, because [reason] is the Devil’s greatest whore.” From wikiquotes.

                  See? No incompatibility issues whatsoever, right Mel? If there’s a problem with the truthiness of a biblical claim, then the right scripture (yeah, Luther wanted to dump some of it from the Bible, like Job which was known even then to have at least three authors) is to be the final authority. Not reality. Scripture. Again, sorry for your confusion about this fundamental principle upon which your Protestantism – and the right you presume to have to ‘interpret’ scripture to make the incompatibilities it presents to reality just go away by definition – is based, Mel.

                  You don’t see it, believers, but by thinking about your interpretation of scripture to have any validity (vs though wingnuts who claim to be Christian but are dealt with by the Not a True Scotsman fallacy) means you must elevate scripture about reality to be the final authority over reality.

                  And that makes your religious beliefs equivalent in all ways to a delusion and one that constantly pumps poison into the pursuit of knowledge and claims it to be a vice. That’s what religious belief is in effect: a substitute for reality.

                  Liked by 2 people

                3. I think this is what’s behind “simple faith” Victoria, which on the outside can look to be the more palatable way of preaching about God &/or living the “Christian” life out in practical terms.

                  Joyce Meyer has put herself in the Seat of Moses. She speaks from a position of authority. She speaks to God and God answers her. Not unlike the claims of leaders in the Bible. It’s not okay for the sheep to reason but those “called by” “anointed” by God get to do the reasoning. We are to respect their authority and their admonitions. Usually without question. Should a question be asked then the leadership can very easily point one to just obey God (whatever that means.)

                  Love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. Mind? The mind of Christ? Christ? As found in the Bible. Bible? 66 books inspired by the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit? God. God? And so it goes.

                  As for Satan, what would Christian apologetics look like without Satan?

                  Liked by 2 people

    1. ‘As a child, teenager, young adult, I simply had no reason to doubt my elders. After all I was raised to obey them and to admire them and to look to elders as those who are educated. I trusted what I was told. I trusted my heritage. I trusted that each and every elder in my presence knew what they were talking about. I trusted that they each knew the truth.’

      I know exactly what you mean Zoe, and I suspect many others can relate.

      My mother was a passionate Christian. She never went along with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy or the like. Her reasoning was that if she had then it might cause us to doubt her when she told us about Jesus. We would have visiting missionaries stay at our house. My mother cooked at the Christian youth camps, which meant my brother and I always attended.

      My father died when I was around 10 and my mother would tell how Jesus brought him to visit her and his way to heaven on the day he died. She would tell me about how Jesus appeared to her in a vision and how she could never doubt Jesus as she had met him.

      Yes Zoe, I know exactly what you mean. To reject belief was to rebel, and I was never the rebellious type.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. There’s never been a time in my life where I would use the term “reject belief” Peter. I think it’s more that I reject simple faith in my former belief. I saw maintaining a simple faith in Christianity as far too complicated. I think it’s more that I reject simple trust. Maintaining a simple trust in those who profess their Christian truth as truth; far too complicated.

        In a strange way Peter, my rebellion started when I as born-again. It’s complicated. 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes simple trust. Like why would my mother who was a ‘true believer’ suffer from cancer over the last 13 years of her life with numerous bouts of Chemotherapy and all that entailed.

          When we have been Christians over a long period of time we learn that the promises in the Bible are not fulfilled. So we sort of hedge our bets, we pray, but we make other plans. After all God might have something better planned for us. We see that God can use the suffering for the greater good. Perhaps God is calling us to trust more to build our faith. Perhaps it is all a test.

          Zoe I was reflecting on a hymn that the folks in the aged care homes loved when I conducted services for them. Just thinking of what the words really say. They say it is always our fault, not the fault of God:

          ‘What a friend we have in Jesus
          All our sins and griefs to bear
          What a privilege to carry
          Everything to God in prayer
          Oh, what peace we often forfeit
          Oh, what needless pain we bear
          All because we do not carry
          Everything to God in prayer’

          If only we had prayed more and trusted more it would have been all righ?. But no, we know the reality.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Of course Maher he’s not a believer. Believers are believers. That’s why so many believers are examples of why religion poisons everything. And that’s why so many believers practice a fallacy of saying that all these believers who demonstrate why religion poisons everything are then put into a special category of not being a real believer, a real Christian or a real Muslim or whatever. So, just as a reminder, the Not A True Scotsman fallacy is the method many believers use attempt to protect a universal generalisation – my religious beliefs are not poisonous – from counterexamples by changing the definition of what constitutes a real believer from some hypothetical model to exclude the counterexample.

    Like

  14. This comment might not ‘land’ in the right space.
    Tildeb, your comment, “That’s what religious belief is in effect: a substitute for reality.” is what I was getting at with my first response to Mel. It’s the persistent statement that I keep returning to. WHY do so many people need a facsimile? I have read that often among the religious – their assertion that they are good people because they believe in (a) god. I have, just as often, tried to remind them that – no – in my own mind, it’s the other way ’round. They are good people who choose to believe in the supernatural. If I could just figure out why. . . 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I think they’d say “why not?” Carmen. They say know one knows so what harm can come from a God loves you message? And then, when the discussion starts, you get a thread like this. :mrgreen:

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Indoctrination answers a lot of the why, Carmen. But I agree that there is a prevalent assumption that they are good people because they believe in (a) god. This is why such beliefs lend to the stigma towards unbelievers, considering them to be the untrustworthy and the most hated according to studies. Of course, now we have studies showing that their prejudices also stem from death anxiety. Nevertheless, it is clearly noted in the NT that unbelievers are compared to darkness and wickedness. 2 Corinthians 6:14

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Hello Carmen. If I understand you correctly , you are touching on a subject that is confusing to me. Why do so many religious people insist they get their morals, the instructions on how to treat others from their holy book and that without that, they would be and act immoral. Why? Are they so horrible inside , so rudderless that they feel no need to be a decent law abiding person. My point is they say they “have morals because of god”. I say they should instead say they “have morals in spite of god”. I don’t want to know people that have to have a invisible imaginary friend to be good people, that is mentally ill. Be well. Hugs

      Liked by 4 people

              1. You’re a good man, Ark. 🙂 Oh, and I perved over at the ‘Sojourn’ site – it appears that he can’t drum up much conversation without you ‘starring’.

                Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there, Chicagoja. Been a while since we’ve seen you in this neck of the woods!

      I do not believe in gods … plural. Period.

      Can you offer a shortlist of ”good things” that religion is curently directly responsible for that any non-religious person/organisation could not take up the slack if religion was not around?

      Like

      1. The question is not if religion is good or bad. People will never agree on that question. The larger question is: Does God exist? Contrary to what you might think, the answer to that question has nothing to do with the question about religion.

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        1. If I believe or don’t that is my belief and I base it on the total lack of verifiable evidence for every single god presented so far.

          You made this statement …

          although there are some good things about it as well.

          I am simply asking you to qualify it.

          Like

          1. Of course, there is no verifiable evidence to prove that God exists or that he doesn’t. So, your statement is illogical. You could never prove a negative anyway.

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            1. Not illogical at all. I am open to be shown evidence that any god exists. But to make a positive claim one should at least have the integrity to demonstrate you have some means to support the claim.

              I am still waiting for you to offer any examples of the good that religion is currently doing that could not be done without it.
              Are you going to support your claim for this or not?

              Like

              1. You seem hung up on the absence of evidence when you know that it does not demonstrate evidence of absence. As for your continued question, I’m always amazed by the human species that think that they can make a definitive reasoning based on little to no evidence.

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                1. I am not hung up about anything and I stand by my post that religion does poison everything.
                  The existence of gods was not part of the post.
                  So ….
                  Once again. you stated that;

                  Of course, religion causes harm, although there are some good things about it as well.

                  Now, if you are prepared to do me the courtesy of answering my question regarding some examples of your statement then , by all means, we can move the dialogue forward and have a philosophical discussion about gods … or whichever particular god it is you are referring to.

                  So, examples, yes or no?

                  Liked by 1 person

                2. I understand that that is what the topic of your post was. However, it doesn’t interest me. I’m more interested in why you’re obsessed over knocking religion. Could it be that you have a “religion” of your own that you’d like to propose – after you’ve dispensed with all other religions?

                  Like

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