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Author Topic: Breaking Stereotypes  (Read 35002 times)
danrudeisevil
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« on: June 08, 2011, 09:04:43 pm »

My first post ever on this site got sidetracked a bit, for the full story you can read it. But I would like people to respond to the content of this (my second post or reply). The stigma regarding atheists are enumerated briefly below, and I would challenge you all to break the stereotype of christians. Namely that when presented with a well reasoned argument, you respond with pity (or disdain) at how broken I am or bitter or that Satan crawls inside me. I exhort you all, break this christian stereotype, and respond to the content of my argument, not your perception of my emotional state... and for god's sake don't respond with platitudes, pity, pandering or that I need God's cleansing. The full post is enumerated below:


Thanks for all the comments and considerations! You all seem to be extremely well intentioned and fair-minded individuals, and in my following response I must apologize if I generalize all of your individual comments since it is impractical for me to give each of you a specific response in turn. I will try my best not to cherry-pick or falsely generalize.
      It appears as though most of you fall under category number 1 of my 3 questions, and I do concede that if starting from the proposition that xianity is true, that one bad egg doesn't spoil the bunch. For example I 'believe' in education, and it would be wrong of me to assert that if a specific school or university is terrible at teaching, that education is not a worthwhile endeavor. There are two factors however that I take issue with: First is the assumption that the original proposition is assumed to be true, and second that there is only one spoiled egg. Indeed, if the assumed is true (say education) it doesn't matter how many eggs are spoiled. Sticking to my example, if all schools are terrible at education, then the entire system must be reformed since 'education' as an ideology is worthwhile and true. This is why I must assert the first premise of my disagreement as the most important.
      Before I continue I would like to rectify two specific concepts that in american culture are stigmatized and equivocated, and I do so because, wether or not you all believe this is the case, I felt a certain amount of pandering and disdain concerning these two concepts in most of your posts:
      First would be the definition of the word atheist. I will be brief. Theism=belief in god or gods; the prefix "a" meaning 'not' therefore atheism= not belief in god or gods. Simple as that, it does not necessitate any moral or ideological presuppositions per se, simply that you do not believe in god. I will amend that slightly in our current geopolitical context to say that all explicit atheists should consult reason and logic as the only processes for obtaining 'truth'. The stigma comes into play where atheists are portrayed as immoral, licentious, loud-mouthed haters of religion.
      The second revolves around the word 'hate'. I will explain myself by appealing to some rhetorical questions: Which of you would say, that if you were to see a Muslim brutally hacking away and dismembering a female's clitoris, it is his religious right (and which the fundamentalist muslim would consider morally praiseworthy and obligatory according to the Quran)? Or would you look with indifference at the systematic child rape rampant in the catholic church? It is utterly, inconceivably vile, and I feel no shame in saying that I 'hate' the aforementioned prospects. And those actions are only permissible because of the religious belief espoused by those individuals. I don't hate catholics, I hate catholicism because it is the psychological excuse for priests to commit such acts.
         As this is related to the stigma that atheists ridicule and hate religion, I point to scientology as an axiomatic example. All of us on this forum think that scientology is concurrently silly, absurd and dangerous (for a good chuckle, type 'space opera' into wikipedia; then to be morally outraged, look up what scientology really does fiscally and physically to its adherents). Is it wrong to get outraged and speak out against such atrocities? No, the only difference I've found between christianity in general and the above examples is the inculcation in our society that since it (xianity) is older and more widely accepted it deserves a pass from such scrutiny. In this I submit to you that I am not coming from what you (again I am specifically generalizing all of your comments, apologies for those who did not say this and I mean no offense) call an ideologically superior position, but rather that ANY reasoning creature should find atrocities like this to be 'hateful' and must be stopped. The only further thing to do is to ask why those specific atrocities occur and the answer I have found is specifically in religious thinking.
       I anticipate you flailing your arms up at the previous statement and shouting, "Stalin, Mao, Pott!". Yes those are atrocious, and yes they were 'secular' or 'atheist' regimes, but where they failed morally is the trenchant, totalitarian deification of either their leader or their government. I submit to you that currently, the most atheistic countries are democratic in nature (the government is a tool of the people, not the inverse) and also have the lowest crime rates in the world. I must apologize for this little rant, but I thoroughly think that the distinction between religious right and moral right is extremely important; that the nature of atheism and how I use the word 'hate' should not itself be derided by discrimination due to ignorance (ignorant in this specific etymologic regard, not insulting you as 'ignorant' full stop).

Whew! Now that that clarification is out of the way, let me explain why I think that leaving GCM excluded the possibility of remaining a christian, which, for the sake of brevity I will limit to very few examples. This is where the importance of the 'original assumption' I mentioned in the beginning starts to show itself. I posit that the GCM movement is actually a very good example of how christianity should behave. In order to be a 'true' christian, you must believe the bible to be inerrant. To admit that some part of the bible is metaphorical because it is historically or scientifically untrue (which most theologians do) is to admit that everything in the bible is metaphorical. (as an aside, I do think that parts of the bible are metaphorical due to the way they are written, like the poetic book song of solomon, genesis is written specifically as an historical account) Since the genesis myth is demonstrably false, that means that sin did not come into the world by means of one man, ergo Jesus could not have been the 'second Adam' since there was no first Adam; salvation is meaningless. Also to think that Hell doesn't exist, but believe in the God of love is intellectual hypocrisy of the worst kind. Punishment for sin IS so literally, implicitly and explicitly fundamental to christianity, that if you dismiss hell as unreal (the bible certainly proclaims it is) because you think a loving god wouldn't do that, you very simply aren't a christian; that is not who the christian god is. Modern liberal theologians have generally thrown out all the nasty or distasteful bits of the bible, reducing the xian god to a subset of complete unknowns. And since you cannot know the unknowable they are practically atheists.
       Now assuming that you do believe the bible is inerrant I still posit to you all that GCM is indeed doing the right thing. Forcing people to go 'sharing' is I believe the correct thing to do! If it is true that those who don't know christ are going to hell, every fibre of your being must be devoted to that charge logically following that if you don't, you are directly responsible for others eternal damnation. That weight of burden is so enormous that the end justifies ANY means, including mandatory 'sharing' missions.... or for that reason any other horrific negation of personal rights GCM is guilty of.
       All of you are right to say that GCM is wrong, but that moral standpoint actually originates outside of christianity. In fact, a large part of that is due to the acceptance of a hellenistic morality in the church several hundred years after christ when they realized that the morality of Jesus (abandon your wealth, you must hate your family, give no regard for the morrow etc. which makes sense if Jesus' return were imminent) is simply not sustainable in civilization. That is to say that deriding a religious belief specifically ordained by the same holy writ that you yourself believe in on moral grounds is tantamount to accepting a morality superseding that of your God.
      A personal aside with which I shall wrap up. The reason I picked "danrudeisevil" for my username is that I believed that (besides minor differences) everything GCM did was biblical and correct. Only once I left, did I see GCM and by extension (for some of the aforementioned reasons) christianity as an insidiously immoral totalitarian religion. The more I mused on this, the more I realized the detrimental effects of it. In the same way I hate muslims genital mutilation... I hate the effect xianity has on the human mind and behavior. Ergo Dan Rude, the spiritual dictator of my religious past-life, evil since he is the primary progenitor of the evils of xianity in my life. I also concede that I am to some extent grateful to him as well for illuminating these falsehoods, into which I doubt I'll ever fall into again. I also admit I made a mistake in saying "emotional healing" in my first post.... I need none. I fully understand GCMs impact for better or worse, I have moved on, I am content, yet though I am 'bitter' I realize that like... say any war it was tragic, people got hurt but it has also illuminated the path to truth and to what is important in my life. Also to hopefully prevent others from falling into the same malicious trap as I did. I came to this forum mostly because of curiosity, and also that since I left the church I have found very few people with a similar story to mine and hoped to find some here. I genuinely appreciate all of your inputs and willingness to help. This causes me to say that any appeal to regaining or restoring 'faith' will be utterly wasted: if your God does exist, he has not imparted on me the gift of faith. To you it is 'His' fault I don't believe, it would be hubristic to try and act against his will..... and seeing what evils faith has done to man, even if God gave me the gift of faith, I wouldn't want it.

Thank you all very much for your time!
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Linda
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2011, 09:20:11 pm »

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Since the genesis myth is demonstrably false
Huh Please demonstrate.
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BarryManilowisevil
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2011, 08:50:10 am »

My short answer is that GCx believes that one person can convert another person by winning an argument (often times an emotion packed one). This is not consistent with regeneration that occurs through true repentance which is initiated by God, but through a reliance on human efforts. That is why there are so many concerts and soccer programs etc. and why the people there are getting worn-out. If you were 'converted' by an emotional experience, you need emotional experiences to keep going and your only true connection comes through these experiences. The real stuff isn't appealing to you. What you are describing in your story seems to be something like that, where you were converted to a group and not to a loving God.

I use the word, "loving God" because that is how I see Him. As you mentioned in your post, you do not see the God of the Bible this way and thus, "wouldn't want it" even if you did see it. I'm not beating you up for your belief, but simply pointing out that according to what the Bible states, you are in line with what it describes as the fallen condition of man. This is a great offense to people and an even greater offense to many in GCx.

To clarify, I am trying to answer your question as to why I continue with Christianity. It is because the GCx and Walnut Creek understanding is flawed and is not as a whole representative of Christianity. In understanding this, I still "evangelize", or tell people of the hope that I have. I desire for all men to know God and to repent and turn to him, but I do so with the understanding that if Christ himself were to appear as he did a few weeks ago (joking), people in their current spiritual positioning before God would not embrace him as Lord. This allows me to still plead with people, but not go into the whole manipulative side of, "let's trick people into going to a coffee house or to a concert and then love on them and then spring the gospel" methods that do not produce true regeneration.

I don't think atheists are all "haters" in one sense. I say in one sense because I know many people who are atheist and in my family who have loved me very much, but they do not love God and when presented with the offenses of the Bible, they do seem to have a hatred of God (so in a sense, there is hatred). There are some atheists who carry their ideology to extremes. I could argue that many people who have committed so many atrocities did so being consistent with atheism. Because of where I stand in my Christianity, I would argue that the people who have committed atrocities in the name of Christ did so in contradiction to Christ. If a person shows hatred towards me, I can forgive and move on. If my government isn't "Christian", I still see the leaders as God's servants. If a person is placed in my life, I have a desire to tell them about the things that make me who I am and about what I love. Therefore, I wish to share the gospel of Christ with them because I am most thankful for it. Since it is (from my position) a spiritual issue, I do not rely on manipulation, but plead with God first and foremost for inroads into another person's life. If they reject my view, it doesn't diminish my love for them and doesn't necessarily mean that I stop "witnessing" to them.

Walnut Creek's philosophy puts a lot more emphasis on human ability and human responsibilities. This is why they spend so much time getting people to vote for Christian candidates, and why they separate themselves from so many other Christian organizations and churches. That part of what they do is very dangerous and can fuel many other dangerous things. Point being, I would argue that their 'tactics' are not consistent with the Bible and again, is why I still follow Christ, even though I am no longer there.

I hope this helps. I assume you may still think me irrational, but my point was not to convert you but to explain why I have still remained in Christianity. Others on the forum who are Christians may disagree with me, but I wanted to share my perspective. When I read your post, it sounded like you had buyer's remorse (like if a friend were to talk you into buying a ticket to see Barry Manilow, which is why I picked the name - meaning no disrespect to you (or Dan Rude for that matter) Wink ). I don't have remorse, but just regrets that a few salesmen tried to sell me a bunch of extra gadgets that proved to be unnecessary to enjoy the gift of Christ.
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danrudeisevil
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2011, 11:45:31 am »

Exquisite! I say I am quite happy to agree with your depiction of Barry Manilow as evil in the sense that you give it, and to a certain extent with some of your arguments. Several things confuse me though: What do you mean by 'emotional' vs. 'real' stuff regarding my or our experiences? I think I get the gist, but would ask you to elaborate or concretize for me.

I would also like to summarize an undercurrent that has occurred with regards of the atheist who says he would prefer hell. What we are doing is stooping (in the european sense of bowing to show respect) to your beliefs, conceding that IF hell were real and IF one had to be given a choice.... etc. It is preposterous to say I hate God, if I did it would presuppose that he exists.... rather I say I hate the proposition of God, the idea or its effects on people. I'm sure you 'hate' Baal, not because he is real but perhaps of the horrible sacrifices made to his name. I'm taking it one step further, and applying it to your God and all gods.

It is also an interesting proposition of belittling one for one's belief or lack thereof. I refer you to my post just a few minutes ago on the 'Is anyone here an atheist?' thread
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Huldah
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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2011, 01:30:20 pm »

I have a feeling I'm about to bite off more than I can chew, but I'm a fairly logical person myself, so this topic is just driving me up a wall.

DRIE, I'm glad you're here. This is a good place for discussion, and you seem to have a lot to say. But may I be blunt? I'm not very good at softening my words when I write, so please forgive me if this sounds a little brusque. Your original post comes across as, "Christians, you're not very smart, you don't know much, and I don't like you." Maybe that's not what you meant. Even if you did, I trust no one here will take it personally. We, too, know what it means to be hurt by GC. And to be strictly honest, right after I left GC, I did some lashing out of my own at other Christians. You at least have an excuse, since you believe all Christianity is evil. I was still a believer; the people I took it out on were my own brothers and sisters in Christ. So I'm not judging you; after all, I'm guiltier than you.

I'm sorry your experience of Christianity was so negative. Mostly, I'm sorry you missed out on Christ Himself. If GC had been my first church, I probably wouldn't have given Him a second chance, either.
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EverAStudent
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2011, 02:23:27 pm »

Quote from: DRIE
It is preposterous to say I hate God, if I did it would presuppose that he exists.... rather I say I hate the proposition of God, the idea or its effects on people.

That is a distinction without a difference.  If I hate the very idea of having a wife, and if I am married, I hate my wife.  If I love my wife, in truth, I love the idea of my wife.  Or perhaps a clearer illustration of the inconsistency is to say "I hate the idea of paying taxes but I love the taxes I actually do pay."  To hate the underlying conceptualization of a reality is to also hate the reality.  

Just saying, "I only hate the idea of God but not God Himself" is a game of semantics.  Granted, you may not believe in God, but IF you are wrong and He is real, you still hate Him because you hate the very idea of Him.  And He is the one who told us about Himself, that is, He gave us that idea of what He is like.

Uncounted atheists have said to me they cannot and will not admit to hating God because that would give theists the wrong impression they would think atheists believed in God.  Trust me, few deists would think atheists "really" believe in God, so the need to resort to wordplay does not exist for the most part.

In truth, if you hate the idea of God, you hate the God behind that idea (if He exists).  

I find the bigger question to be:  Why do you hate the idea of God?  I can see being upset with God's people because they are imperfect and often mess up, but why be angry with God based on human imperfection?
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BarryManilowisevil
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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2011, 02:45:24 pm »

In regards to the 'emotional vs. real', I would say the emotional is something like a politician's speech, which aims at persuading somebody and often times does use facts, but the decisions are made from feeling rather than taking time and listening to the arguments and counter-arguments and making a decision out of deep conviction. I'm not trying to corner you into an experience, but to further use the analogy of a person casting a vote, there are people who vote because of deep rooted positions and beliefs that come from thinking things through, and there are also people who do not apply any critical thinking and make an uninformed position, sadly often because a commercial may have resonated with them.

I also totally understand what you mean by it being preposterous from your vantage point to call your vantage hatred of God. I hope you also see what I mean by pointing out that if God does truly exist and if the Bible is true (which as you know, I believe by faith), then rejecting what Romans 1 says are the plain attributes of God would be seen as hatred towards him. So from my position, if I were to stoop (agreeing that it should be out of respect) and say that IF God didn't exist, and IF the Bible isn't true, then to call your position "hatred" would be indeed very preposterous. However, given what I believe, it would be hatred given my definition of God. Also, as a person of faith, it would be illogical for me to expect anything else or demand anything else from someone in that position (hope that doesn't sound offensive).

Just to be clear, I hope you do not feel as if I am belittling you. I am not trying to do that at all. Because of what I believe, I do hold some ideas as higher than others, as we all do. If a person arrives at their position through logic, I respect that. I also respect argumentation. I am also aware of the belittling (mocking of another's position) that often went on there. The whole, "they don't get it and we do" mentality was very prideful - and that was speaking of other Christians! Anyhow, I sincerely hope you will continue to ask good questions and keep engaging in respectful conversation with those of opposing viewpoints. Hopefully if we have enough conversations, we will realize that we don't hate each, perhaps respect each other a bit more and at the very least not try to kill each other.

FYI - check out www.manilow.tv (there are a few things worse than GCx Grin )
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danrudeisevil
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« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2011, 04:11:08 pm »

Excellent! I admire your boldness and bravado! Because these are important distinctions I will answer each in turn, keeping in mind that there will be quite a bit of overlap.

Huldah: Bluntness in my view is praiseworthy, since being nice (eh perhaps proper? you know what I mean)usually necessitates falsehood, usually a lie of omission. I say next, with trepidation, since doubtless it could be taken the wrong way, but I think in a certain manner you are right about 'my superiority'. An example will illuminate. Especially those christians in GCM will say they are certain about Jesus' resurrection because its a historical 'fact'. Where do those facts come from? Josh McDowell (and others like him). It's really frightening how damn-near every single word he said is fabricated and so demonstrably false, to such an extent that theist biblical scholars will not bother to listen to him! (much like Palin's supporters tried to edit wikipedia this week). Any amount of intellectual rigor will expose his lies and fallacious thinking. Moving away from Josh McDowell, pastors will lie all the time as well, and one of the (many) things that started the path for my deconversion was the word Vomitorium. A pastor described it as a place to gorge on food (then vomit it) as an example of Roman debauchery and licentiousness. I casually looked it up and discovered that every stadium has a vomitorium; it's the arch underneath the seats that allow people to flow freely out (vomited as it were). The nefarious thing is how PLAUSIBLE the first definition sounded. I have seen most evangelicals (including myself when I was one!) falsify arguments to prove their point. I'm glad I worked my way out of that mind*&^% (to put it bluntly). In this sense I could allow the deduction that I feel a bit of intellectual hubris, but I dare say well founded. I thoroughly appreciate you, as you say 'biting off more than I can chew'; thats a good sign of courage (to me)

Everastudent:
Quote
If I hate the very idea of having a wife, and if I am married, I hate my wife.  If I love my wife, in truth, I love the idea of my wife.
      Logic is one of my hobbies. This is the fallacy of composition (I looked around for a definition:http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/composition.html) the shorthand for which is simple. This statement is not reciprocal because of the specificity of the term 'wife' (among other things) so if I flipped the statement around: I hate my wife, therefore I hate the very idea of having a wife. You might like your second wife but your first wife was an a**hole! Just plug in the term 'GOD' to the previous statement. The reason I think you think this way is that you assume that God=Christian God; I meant in my prior argument God=Any God (or gods). Simple. As to your 'bigger' question it is a very good one, but yet contains another equivocation, that being between god and religion: Since god doesn't exist (in a vacuum this is a presupposition I grant you), religion is man-made. Since religion is man-made, all ill it does is human ill.
       Or let me put it to you another way. Let's imagine I concede that the seemingly innocent belief that a zygote has a soul. Well what happens when that zygote could cure cancer, or heal amputees (which is the one healing power god can't seem to quite muster), or a million other things that benefit humanity? That innocent belief is now detrimental to human progress. Or another one we both agree on, mutilating a woman's clitoris. What sane human would actually do that if wasn't for the express mandate of his god?

Barry: While I might disagree with your argument I thank you for making it, and since you truly speak your mind I will never feel belittled. I also I admit no immediate threat that a xian will knife me in the grocery store, but that wasn't the case 200 years ago (I'm more referring to quakers, but my point still stands). And as much as I 'hate' the precepts of religious thought, or as much as I might be glad to be rid of religion, the ends never justify the means, and there is no possible conception that I would kill to eradicate religion! In fact, Christopher Hitchens admitted that he doesn't want religious thought completely exterminated if not just for someone to argue with. I thought you might be amused by that anecdote
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danrudeisevil
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« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2011, 04:12:02 pm »

Oh and the manilow site is awesome!
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EverAStudent
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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2011, 04:35:01 pm »

Quote from: DRIE
This statement is not reciprocal because of the specificity of the term 'wife' (among other things) so if I flipped the statement around: I hate my wife, therefore I hate the very idea of having a wife.

Ummmm....no the illustration does not work if you flip it around, which is why I did not flip it around as you did.  The statement is rooted in the fact that if you detest the very concept of something, its very idea, the very thought of it, you must by default hate its real world implementation.  If you find you do like the real world implementation of something, then you cannot actually detest the idea of something.

If you hate the idea of God, you must hate God (if He exists in reality) for He is the personification of the idea.  If you find you like the real God, you must recognize you like the idea of God.  

Atheists who are utterly ambivalent about the idea of God may be able to say they do not hate God.  Every atheist who says they hate the very idea of God must by definition hate the real world God (if He exists) for He is the representation and perfect implementation of the idea of God.
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danrudeisevil
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« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2011, 06:52:19 pm »

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The statement is rooted in the fact that if you detest the very concept of something, its very idea, the very thought of it, you must by default hate its real world implementation
I actually do agree with this statement and am not arguing with it, real world implementation does not necessarily mean its true. Lets say I hate the idea of spiderman because it teaches that superheroes are created by spiderbites. Is spiderman real/can you disprove his existence? And its interesting you ignore the formal (rather informal in the case of god) logical case I submitted. I flipped it around to show it as a case of composition.

Regardless, lets take witchcraft. I also hate witchcraft, namely because witch doctors in africa teach that if you have sex with a boy you will cure yourself of aids. Does it follow that witchcraft is true? And don't even pretend to say that it is because I know you don't!
Or take the athenian cults, they performed human sacrifice, it is vile;is Athena the true God? By your reasoning Athena must be the perfect implementation of God.... leprechauns, unicorns, Zeus, Allah, Loki, Mithras, Cruithne are then all representations and perfect implementations of the idea of God.
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« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2011, 09:38:01 pm »

To DRIE,

I am uncertain why you made the last post, as it illustrates my point:  if you hate the idea of something you must necessarily hate the idea's real world and faithful implementation of it.  If you hate the idea of a Spiderman, you will hate movies that faithfully re-enact that idea.  If you hate the idea of witchcraft, you will hate the witchcraft that modern practitioners attempt to perpetrate.

If you hate the idea of a holy, just, loving, forgiving, jealous, wrathful, and sin-hating God, then you will hate much of the Bible (the faitfhul revelation of that same God) and you will hate the actual God Himself (when you get to meet him some day). 

Hating or loving an idea means nothing about whether the idea is true or false.  Similarly, the presence of an idea does not mean the idea has a real world faithful implementation.  But if you hate the idea, you will hate the reality (if or when it exists).
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danrudeisevil
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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2011, 07:22:46 am »

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Hating or loving an idea means nothing about whether the idea is true or false.  Similarly, the presence of an idea does not mean the idea has a real world faithful implementation.  But if you hate the idea, you will hate the reality (if or when it exists).

I rest my case then, the only corollary to that is the fact that since you believe god is real and I actually do hate him, the onus is on you to prove he is real.
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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2011, 08:01:25 am »

Quote from: DRIE
It is preposterous to say I hate God, if I did it would presuppose that he exists.... rather I say I hate the proposition of God

Quote from: EAS
I am uncertain why you made the last post, as it illustrates my point:  if you hate the idea of something you must necessarily hate the idea's real world and faithful implementation of it.  If you hate the idea of a Spiderman, you will hate movies that faithfully re-enact that idea.  If you hate the idea of witchcraft, you will hate the witchcraft that modern practitioners attempt to perpetrate.

If you hate the idea of a holy, just, loving, forgiving, jealous, wrathful, and sin-hating God, then you will hate much of the Bible (the faitfhul revelation of that same God) and you will hate the actual God Himself (when you get to meet him some day).  

Hating or loving an idea means nothing about whether the idea is true or false.  Similarly, the presence of an idea does not mean the idea has a real world faithful implementation.  But if you hate the idea, you will hate the reality (if or when it exists).

Quote from: DRIE
I rest my case then, the only corollary to that is the fact that since you believe god is real and I actually do hate him, the onus is on you to prove he is real.

It is possible I misunderstood, but I thought the goal of this dialogue was to establish whether or not it was fair to say that atheists who hate the idea of God by extension hate God Himself (if He exists) or whether it is "preposterous to say atheists hate God."  

As for whether God genuinely exists, that is an entirely robust subject all of its own.

Thanks for having engaged in the topic.  Have a great day.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2011, 08:15:38 am by EverAStudent » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2011, 10:04:18 pm »

My first post ever on this site got sidetracked a bit, for the full story you can read it. But I would like people to respond to the content of this (my second post or reply). The stigma regarding atheists are enumerated briefly below, and I would challenge you all to break the stereotype of christians. Namely that when presented with a well reasoned argument, you respond with pity (or disdain) at how broken I am or bitter or that Satan crawls inside me. I exhort you all, break this christian stereotype, and respond to the content of my argument, not your perception of my emotional state... and for god's sake don't respond with platitudes, pity, pandering or that I need God's cleansing. The full post is enumerated below:

I will "break this christian stereotype" when you break the internet atheist stereotype. Your first paragraph in this thread is straight out of every stereotypical, condescending, atheist troll I have encountered (especially when combined with the "Is Anyone Here an Atheist?" thread content - at no point have I understood from your posts why you have bothered to come and post here other than to essentially argue with Christians? Maybe I missed this. I not necessarily mind I suppose, primarily because you do break the atheist internet troll stereotype somewhat in that your posts are reasonably coherent).

I personally do not like someone essentially stating something along the lines of "I put forth an argument, and you didn't respond in depth [I read this as 'didnt bite?' maybe I'm cynical...], why am I better than you  Huh Huh Huh."

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1. For those of you that either were born into GCM or were christian before joining, did your doctrinal disagreements or any associated emotional spat with GCM ever cause you to question the validity of christianity? Or is faith immutable, but some believers (GCM) fall into deception?

I grew up Christian but didn't really *get* it. I had no understanding of salvation is. Needless to say, it is of course possible at a later time I will look back upon now and feel similarly.

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2. For those that were not christians before you joined GCM, but converted by being "shared to' or via friendship evangelism but are still christian nonetheless..... what is your rationale for sticking with xianity despite the intellectual dishonesty that got you there in the first place?

In many regards, this is me, as I had no real understanding of salvation prior to being involved in GCM.

Your second part of this is quite intellectually dishonest tool, because it implicitly states that xianity itself is also a result of intellectual dishonesty, and implies truth is purely dependent upon the path taken to understand it. Now, this does not necessarily mean the ends always justify the means, but if something is True, the end is true whether or not the path taken is intellectual dishonest or honest. Parents do this all the time with children, how many parents explain with rational and logical arguments to their children when telling them things not to do? Does this make parenting intellectual dishonest?

With respect to your question, however, my rationale for "sticking with xianity" has nothing to do with the intellectual dishonesty presented by GCM methods. Christianity is either true or false irrespective of how its presented.

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3. Simply, are there any atheists on this site? Not to offend, but my experiences have caused me to thoroughly and intrinsically distrust men of the cloth. If I am going to get any emotional 'healing' as it were from visiting this site, I would prefer it from someone who's sworn duty isn't to convert me, though I am interested to see all of your responses to the first two questions.

Well, in some regards this may apply to me as well. I have learned over the years "online evangelism" is a futile waste, because in the overwhelming majority of cases where it [religious beliefs and/or reasons] comes up, there is no legitimate interest in learning and understanding someone else's position, but rather argument for a variety of reasons.

So I have no interest in trying to "convert you" via online discussions with someone  who comes across to me as a textbook religion troll. Perhaps you are not? Perhaps you are honestly seeking to learn/understand more about Christianity in an attempt to better discern Truth about existence? Or perhaps you are just here to sharpen your intellectual muscles or feel superior or just waste time or feel smug? I of course cannot know the answer to this.



---------------



Some stuff from the other thread's early posts which appeared to be missed in the thread -

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The stigma comes into play where atheists are portrayed as immoral, licentious, loud-mouthed haters of religion.

Ah, yes. Sometimes the last one is in fact true, but the first in reality should be "amoral," and not immoral.


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      The second revolves around the word 'hate'. I will explain myself by appealing to some rhetorical questions: Which of you would say, that if you were to see a Muslim brutally hacking away and dismembering a female's clitoris, it is his religious right (and which the fundamentalist muslim would consider morally praiseworthy and obligatory according to the Quran)? Or would you look with indifference at the systematic child rape rampant in the catholic church? It is utterly, inconceivably vile, and I feel no shame in saying that I 'hate' the aforementioned prospects. And those actions are only permissible because of the religious belief espoused by those individuals. I don't hate catholics, I hate catholicism because it is the psychological excuse for priests to commit such acts.

This perspective is interesting to me before this thread and is still interesting to me. Why are those acts vile?


I do not need to explain why this is though, because the next paragraph I quoted (incorrectly directed towards Christianity, as I will discuss further) actually explains exactly why believing those acts vile and worth hating is inconsistent with atheism. I suppose you could take a view on atheism that allows the existence of some universal Morals or Law outside god(s), and still consider that athesism? I don't know, I have never tried to become an expert on definitions. I would find it rather difficult to simultaneously and logically disbelieve existence of god(s) and also believe in some sort of universal or all-encompassing morals. Perhaps it is possible.

Slightly modified -- "That is to say that deriding a moral belief specifically ordained by the same method that you yourself believe in on moral grounds is tantamount to accepting a morality superseding that of your belief system."

This is FAR more true than your paragraph.

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       All of you are right to say that GCM is wrong, but that moral standpoint actually originates outside of christianity. In fact, a large part of that is due to the acceptance of a hellenistic morality in the church several hundred years after christ when they realized that the morality of Jesus (abandon your wealth, you must hate your family, give no regard for the morrow etc. which makes sense if Jesus' return were imminent) is simply not sustainable in civilization. That is to say that deriding a religious belief specifically ordained by the same holy writ that you yourself believe in on moral grounds is tantamount to accepting a morality superseding that of your God.

This first and last sentences are blatantly incorrect from a Christian perspective. Attempting to more accurately discern information about God, and more correctly apply it (and rebuke/correct those in error) is a strong component of the New Testament. People can misinterpret things either blatantly or slightly. Either way, it still can be incorrect. Physicists who disagree with scientific theories do not invalidate science by doing so, they primarily look - or should - within science itself for additional ways to better improve/correct/refine existing theories.

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In order to be a 'true' christian, you must believe the bible to be inerrant

This is a rather bold claim to not be backed up in the slightest. What of someone who believes in Christ as a result of someone on a mission trip sharing to them verbally - they may have never even heard of the Bible as a text, let alone have any understanding of inerrancy? Are they not Christians?

Or are you using an ambiguous term - 'true' Christian - intentionally so you can make a statement like this one and those preceding and following it without actually making a firm point? I find it incredibly unlikely anyone alive at the moment (ever, save Christ) has been 100% a 'true' Christian or lover of God in literally every thing they did or thought, and simultaneously had a perfect understanding of God.

This statement and surrounding sentences is a great strawman argument. Honestly, a lot of your arguments are that way, I just started at the beginning of this thread and the "Is anyone..." thread.

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To admit that some part of the bible is metaphorical because it is historically or scientifically untrue (which most theologians do) is to admit that everything in the bible is metaphorical.

What? This makes no sense. First, how many prominent evangelical theologians have done this? Second, even if "most" have, how does what you put forth make any logical sense?





Honestly, dan, so much of your posts do the following two steps that I could spend all night going through them sentence by sentence, but I do not have the time to do this -

1) put forth an assertion as to what Christians believe (your version, oftentimes not true or misleading)
2) refute it (sometimes successful)

Posting a lot of text =/= a convincing argument. Maybe you've convinced yourself, but when I see arguments in contrast to Christianity (since I believe your overall points are not so much a defense of atheism as intended to poke holes into Christianity) presented poorly, it makes atheism or agnosticism or whatever seem even less logical. But then again it is really difficult to argue successfully against things which one does not fully understood, and in general, people tend to be woefully ignorant of other sides in any theological discussion.

If you are indeed serious about understanding Christians or learning from here, you need to recognize your version of Christianity, your version of why/what/how Christians believe X/Y/Z, your version of Christians may not be true. All of us - if we are to learn anything - must realize this. Nothing I have seen in your posts hints at you believing in any possibility of error on your part. This should be even more obvious considering you believe you were "Christian-ized" in a church committing serious doctrinal error!

My apologies if anythings were blunt and/or unclear. I wrote a lot and read a lot this evening.

Oh, and I definitely would appreciate it if you'd knock off the condescending and superior attitude.
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« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2011, 10:08:27 am »

Right.  I don't care if you are an atheist or a theist or an agnostic.  I was trying to explain what I believed (can't control or change that really, it is what it is at this time).  I feel like unless I have the proper "belief" you don't care, DRIE.

Fundamentalism comes in all forms, including atheism.  You can't have a free exchange of ideas with a hard core fundie.  Beliefs must line up exactly.  It's pointless.

If Dan Rude is your example of "orthodox Christian teaching" then you haven't dug far enough.  There is plenty of historical debate for all kinds of different thought, including no literal hell, universal salvation, and the like.  Even in the Orthodox Church, these thoughts fall within the realm of acceptable thought and questioning.  Not every Christian believes in the same canon.  Not every Christian believe revelation is exclusively held in the canon.  Not every Christian is pre trib or whatnot.  Christianity is HUGE.  Simply HUGE. 

Dan Rude is uneducated in Christianity.  He has never been to seminary.  He has been taught by a father and pastors who never went to seminary.  He's about as non orthodox (small o) as you can get.

I don't particularly care if you are an atheist and I hate these kinds of debates.  Just saying, your "logic" is flawed. There's more out there.  I don't think GC is even aware of that.

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« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2011, 02:29:31 pm »

I have to admit something that will shock you. I've never read a book from Hitchens or Dawkins or any others like that! The process of my 'deconversion' was a result of refusing to read or listen to anything from EITHER side in terms of Dawkins or Strobel for two years, I began my disbelief by dissagreement and didn't want anybody else to tell me what I believe. My metaphysical and epistemological views I came to myself based off of thinking about them. Biblical infallability was squashed by reading the bible, and I do admit to doing a lot of historical research about the bible from secular, verifiable sources (like manuscripts of the dead sea scrolls, 'Q', extrabiblical references to jesus etc.)
That being said, anything that comes off as me being superior is from three things which I would rather call advantages. First, is I have been an atheist agnostic, christian, and now explicit atheist. I have experienced 'both sides of the coin'; from what I've seen most of you have not (I'm generalizing, my apologies to those who have not) and I see that as a dialectic advantage... cuz it is (think about what a jewel someone who has been a muslim and a jew would be to a journalist reporting on the palestinian conflict). The second is that for the most part, out of respect, I've been arguing within the framework that the bible is 'true': If you gave me a scripture I would be completely right in saying in wasn't true because there is no evidence that the (potentially, jury is out) historical Jesus said that scripture, I've been reasoning within your framework of thought. An rhetorical advantage I have specifically not pressed. I also apologize that I have not been clearer about the definition of 'God', because god can mean a wide berth of things (easily equivocated) in many contexts, which is actually the source of many disagreements... intrinsically. The last being that the one who posits a positive affirmation (A.K.A God exists), the onus of proof is on them that the concept exists where no observational evidence is present.

So everything that has been said thus far has been living in the upper stratosphere of 'reason', I submit to you all that we analyze assumptions and get to a metaphysical and epistemological purity first. I have to say that most of you are arguing from the perspective that since God exists things must be so, I submit that reality is dictated rather on what human consciousness can achieve. In the case of calling me a fundamentalist, I agree. 'Truth' or rather 'What is true' can be known, BUT ONLY by verifiable proofs. If I believe that the earth is round (technically an oblate spheroid), it's because it its  true! It's been tested, observed, etc.... but I take nothing on faith, and no matter how much you say that you believe the earth is flat (hypothetically) doesn't make it true. In that sense I am a round earth fundamentalist and nothing can shake me in my 'belief', so I take it as a compliment and not a disparagement that you call me a fundamentalist in that sense. There is an amazing amount of things I don't know, but that which I do know and claim is verifiable. I also try as much as possible to be skeptical and test what people say to me. For example, I recently heard someone say to me that the egyptian god has all the same characteristics of Jesus (born of 25th dec, born of virgin, 12 disciples etc), which is apparently is a common case against Christianity, it didn't jive with me so I looked it up, and lo and behold it was a fabrication! Many ancient gods have one or two things in common with Jesus but not 30. In that case I'm not a fundamentalist because I don't blindly believe whatever anybody or any book tells me.

Ok so back to basics, this is what is important, epistemology. I will state how I obtain knowledge and you tell me if I'm insane:

The steps to truth:
Conscience (in the sense of 'I think therefore I am', not 'I feel guilty) leads to observation, leads to information, leads to knowledge, leads to 'truth'. I will admit that not all knowledge leads to truth.
Here is what I said in practice:
Conscience, someone sees the sunrise; someone gets curious and starts tracking its movements and acquires data; someone assembles that data into a cogent testable theory (Copernicus being the first); heliocentrism tells us we don't occupy a special place in the solar system

Thats how I see it generalized, there are more nuances, but thats the basics.

Also. We must agree on the basic tenets of logic:

1. Law of Identity: A is A or anything is itself (self explanatory)
2. Law of Excluded Middle: Anything is either A or not A (there is a fallacy that describes some cases where a 3rd option is possible but omitted, but this takes the form of: Anything is either AB or not AB where A and B are not contingent on each other)
3. Law of Contradiction: Nothing can be both A and not A (again with the AB admission)

Do we all agree on this epistemology? Remember we're doing this to start from the ground up not top down
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repent n believe
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« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2011, 03:32:10 pm »

Dear 'danrudeisevil', you are an example among many who have been given false assurance of salvation at WCCC. I am sorry about that but its true. This is pretty common at WCCC because without proper theological teaching and doctrines leaders (especially youth pastors and young leaders) false assurance of salvation is given to many who are involved in many activities who are told if you don't get involved you are not a christian.
You have been victim of this, mr. danrudeisevil, yes you have been victim of this.
Seek unto God, if you are His lost sheep you will hear His voice and follow Him. (John 10:27).
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« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2011, 03:38:31 pm »

DRIE:

You need to dial it way back...

There's a line in Napoleon Dynamite, when the chicken farmer looks at Napoleon and says; "I don't know what the hell you're talking about".

None of us are dumb chicken farmers, but you're throwing around a lot of big words, phrases and quite frankly, in the words of John Lennon:  "Higgery Jiggery".

My advice:  Stop being so condescending, phrase your argument so it is acccesible to all, and speaking for myself, stop trying to impress me with all the big talk.  My professors at the U of M never spoke this way....ever, nor the books I read in graduate school.

Speaking for myself.  There is nothing you will ever say, nor any argument strong enough to erode one iota of my faith in Jesus.

  






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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2011, 03:58:29 pm »

DRIE:

Debate on theism or logic?  Not interested, sorry! 

Peace!  Be who you are, that's fine with me!

GC is messed up!  I'm sorry you experienced it.

Again, peace.

 Smiley
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