Your understanding of theology is incredibly flawed. [YOU RESPOND]

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Your understanding of theology is incredibly flawed. [YOU RESPOND]

From: mchurchman_83@hotmail.com
Sent: Thursday, May 01, 2008 2:36 PM

Subject: [General Question] God?

 

Matt Churchman sent a message using the contact form at
http://www.rationalresponders.com/contact.

Hey Guys, I respect what you're doing...I believe that it comes from a
genuine place and despite the fact that I disagree with the conclusions
that you've come to I can see what you're trying to do. In my opinion
religion has been extremely hurtful throughout history...I think that's kin
d of why you all feel the need to propagate the view that God doesn't exist
(maybe i'm off). My first and most basic response to one of your videos
online is that your understanding of theology is incredibly flawed. That's
probably because you haven't done enough research...which is logical seeing
as you don't believe there is a God. However, it weakens your argument when
you use scripture out of context.  Another problem that I found seemed to
be your understanding of what faith is. I think when people say that
athiests have just as much 'faith' they are refering to the fact that much
of the athiest position is also based on a trust in things that seem
unknowable. We all make decision based on a kind of blind acceptance of
certain theories or assumptions we have based on our concept of the
universe. I think that's all they mean so really it's not debatable  in my
mind.  In the same way that your position is based on faith so is
mine...but we need to regage our understanding of what 'faith' means in a
biblical context.  Faith is not blind acceptance. It is a relational word
used to describe the trust between humanity and God. This trust or lack of
trust for God is based on the evidence that we have.  We either are
persuaded and decide to trust in God or we are not. It would be really cool
if someone would be willing to email me and maybe we could engage in some
sort of dialogue about the issue. I'm a 25 yr old new Christian...and I'm
the type of person who loves to hear new ideas and perspectives so if
you're game I'd love to hear from you. I guess just as a disclaimer I'm not
interested in converting any of you...quite frankly it's not my job...but I
would love to go back and forth and hear what you have to say.
Peace

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In what way is the atheist

In what way is the atheist interpretation of theology flawed? If by stating that most atheists find no evidence to support a god but not 100% convinced then you are mistaken. Most atheists, such as myself, do not unequivacally say there is no god. It just hasn't came to me and said "hiya". A second assumption you seem to be making is that we are all atheists that have never attended any religious services. Again you are mistaken because many of us were born again christians or were from religious families.

Again, which denomination of the church is using the right interpretation of scripture? As a former southern baptist (one of the largest in the world) I was always told that ours' was right. If you look statistically at the world the catholic interpretation of theology would be correct due to the largest numbers of observers. I will be the first to agree that many atheists use scripture out of context but theists should not be able to make the same fallacy considering it is your own words. However, stating that something is taken out of context without correcting the error is not helpful to the theist position either. Often I am told I am taking something out of context but when I ask to put it in the correct context I get the deer in headlights look. What is the correct context for the ownership of slaves in the bible? I find owning people an abhoration and even the proper context would not make me say that god is so stand up because I have been mistaken about who can be owned and who cannot.

Honestly, if a god exists what do I care? I see no reason to pay it homage of any sort anymore. I was a fundy born again baptist for a short time in my life but since have moved on. Any god that wants or needs adoration is worse than any human being I can conceive of. The need for love is a purely human concept. If god needs or wants to be loved then god cannot be perfect. If everyone today stopped loving god would it die? The answer to this is easy,no, because  man creates gods with human qualities. We always have and we always will.

As for faith in an atheist sense, I say that if something is unknowable then the skeptical route is much more rational. If I come home and find my door unlocked, is it normal to assume that someone broke into my home and did not take anything or maybe I just forgot to lock it. If I called the police and reported a break in I would get laughed out of the neighborhood. I just believe skepticism is the proper term and not "faith" as you have described it.

So how does one have faith in the unknowable? I had faith in my wife when she was alive that she would be honest to me and not cheat. I did this because I physically knew her and not what someone else had written down about her. Faith is always blind acceptance. I couldn't prove she never would all I had to go on was the past history we shared. Carl Sagan I think spoke for most atheists when he said that he did not want to believe, he wanted to know if there was a god or not. Belief does equal faith in such matters.

I respect your right to hold whatever views you do, however I found your rantings to be very pretencious. You clearly state the obvious about taking scripture out of context and offer your "expert" opinion even though you claim to be a new christian. Your arrogance defies the most ardant atheist's. Quite frankly it is your job as a christian to convert, however, like jesus allegedly said the non-believers should be like dust on your sandals. If we aren't interested in hearing your stories then be on your way. I hope I am not too condescending but which is more arrogant? The fact that I see no evidence nor a reason for a god to exist (skeptic) or that you say 100 percent sure that there is and we are just too ignorant to understand what the bible means you just need to explain it to us correctly? I find the latter more arrogant and again referring to the NT when jesus allegedly said that the believer should assume that others are better than themselves. I forget the verse references but I am probably taking them out of context anyways so why should I even bother to look them up.

"Always seek out the truth, but avoid at all costs those that claim to have found it" ANONYMOUS


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 1) Theology is not a real

 

1) Theology is not a real subject and has zero academic value and in fact no value whatsoever to humanity. To say you don't understand it is to say to someone that they don't understand how The Death Star or a light-saber works

2)  Faith is not blind acceptance

Yes it is,  if you have evidence for anything it ceases to be faith

How you 'feel' is not evidence , how you feel about anything has no relation to whether its true or not

3) I'm not really interested in removing christians from their cults either, its not worth the effort in adults, children are the ones to protect

 


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Theology is just glorified

Theology is just glorified apologetics.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It relies on presuppositions that certain texts are historical, infallible, authoritive, what have you.  They are all those things inside the field of theology, but anything but those things outside of that field of study.  The field as a whole is worth about as much as Ancient Klingon studies.

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Where can I learn ancient

Where can I learn ancient Klingon?


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mrjonno wrote: 2)  Faith

mrjonno wrote:

 2)  Faith is not blind acceptance

Yes it is,  if you have evidence for anything it ceases to be faith

How you 'feel' is not evidence , how you feel about anything has no relation to whether its true or not.

I would like to second the motion that mrjonno puts forth here.

Also, I will add, and it is well documented; any type of religious brain-washing generally produces a euphoric high. Why wouldn't people "feel better", if instead of having to actually deal with their own problems or sorrows they get to pass their pain away to some deity who is gonna make it all go away. That's really what church is all about at the core level. Indoctrinating new people through pressure and conditioning. Again, and most importantly, how one feels has no relation to truthfulness. The deity is imagined and unreal. The "feeling better" part is sometimes achieved and sometimes it is not. When it is achieved, it is often through the releasing of emotional tensions and the comforting from others who've been through the experience before. When I was a xian, all the churches I went to, across several denominations, had this rarely spoken motto:

The ones that can't be indoctrinated or converted are to be shunned.


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Response 1

Hey there,

just real quickly to start to claim that you are not certain that there is not a God...I think I need a refresher on terms. Wouldn't that be agnostic. I thought Athiests were as certain there was no God as theists are that there is one?

Actually the remark about things being taken out of context was made at a specific debate between the rational response group. This was an email to them and I was hoping to create dialogue about what it is that they believed so that we might better understand one another.  I was not making a pretnetious claim that I had the correct theology I was merely pointing out that some of the things that they had said were only flawed if you subscribe to a certain interpretation of scripture.  that's really all I was saying. Now as far as being more arrogant than the most strong atheist I would have to disagree...and if you knew me better perhaps you would as well. I am not arrogant nor do I think that I have the key to all truth. John Stewart Mill said that there is no such thing as complete certainty...existence as we percieve it could be a series of illusions. He said that there is enough certainty for us to live by certain beliefs. What I beleive is that there is more evidence to support the existence of a diety than there is to lead me to be an athiest.  I never said tha tI am 100% certain nor did I call anyone ignorant. That was fairly presumptious but from the change in tone by the latter half of your respons eI assume you just got yourself worked up. Fair enough but please don't misunderstand me.  You have just as much right to beleive what you believe.  Also I disagree with your beleif that it is the Christians job to convert. Perhaps share the message of Christ as an alternative for people who are seeking or work together with those who have shown a desire to learn more about Jesus so that we can grow together.  This is the difference between discipling and converting.  If there is a God as I believe...conversion is Gods job.

When i speak about faith I mean that certain theories that attempt to disprove God are just that...theories. Even still many of them don't disprove anything.  It also takes just as much faith for your average Athiest to take the word of people like Dawkins as it is for a Christian to take the word of their pastor.  Most of the theories and science behind the theories...and conclusions drawn from the science behind the theories are not even knowable for your average athiest.  You trust in the word of a professional athiest for your position. See what I mean? You hear something and you believe it wihtout fully understanding the science or philosophy behind it just as do many Christians. I'm not saying that makes you ignorant...we all do it to some degree. Quite frankly most of us don't seem to have the time to become experts in all areas of theology, philosophy, science ect.

The dust on the sandals remark I beleive you are refering to was when Jesus was instructing the apostles to go out into the world and share the message of Christ. He told them that if anyone was unhospitable to shake off the dust of there sandals and leave.  I think that is what you're refering to but if you have a specific passage I would be interested in it for my own study.


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REsponse 2

Greetings to you as well. Actually that is kind of what I meant by flawed perceptins of theologies. 

1. Theology is incredibly academic. Even if you don't beleive in God the study of the Bible can tell us a lot about history and ancient Israel, it's culture and literature.

2. That is one understanding of the word faith.  Often it is how it is defined by Athiests to help move this line of logic forward. It is not how the word is often used in the bible.  Faith is a relational trust betweena  person and God.  It is used in this context over and over again.  Faith is evidenced based. When your wife goes out with her old friend from college you have faith that she will be faithful.  This is based on your understanding of who she is.  I beleive because of the evidence tha tI see all around me in everyday life...and because I beleive I trust or have faith in God.

3.  "I see your true colours shing through" - Cyndi Lauper Sticking out tongue

 

Hope that helps in some way. And to the person who wrote this I would just like to say that it is okay for people to disagree. Not everyone has to beleive what you beleive my friend.

Peace and Love


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REsponse 3

See this is the problem with analogies...they are so seldom well thought outSmiling Maybe you did think this through though and you are implying that ancient Israel never existed nor the Jewish people.  Well if they did then it is certainly of value to study this book ...or is the study of historical literature, whether fiction or fact based, useless? Please don't take this the worng way I am writing with a smile on y face I just think that you have over simplified things. Let's not through the baby out with the bathwater.  We do see eye to eye on the history of organized religion. Read the book of James if you are interested in learning more about what the Christian writers beleived about religion. Thanks for your response.

 


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Matt Churchman wrote:Hey

Matt Churchman wrote:

Hey there,

just real quickly to start to claim that you are not certain that there is not a God...I think I need a refresher on terms. Wouldn't that be agnostic. I thought Athiests were as certain there was no God as theists are that there is one?

Read this: Am I Agnostic or Atheist?

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Response 4??

You are correct in some of your observations. Emotionalism has been abused by many denominations.  That is not at all what I am talking about though.  I don't beleive based merely on a feeling.  I believe based on my expereinces and the evidence I see both is the natural world, through history and even through conversations with people who disagree with me...conversations like this. I share your reservations about inoctrination and emotionalism.  These are things that humans do all the time. Even the language of many athiests...harsh words, anger, and a certain hyper-confidence with which some of them speak are tools that are used to feed off of peoples emotions, insecurities and so on.  Of course this is not the case for most athiests and that is not wha tI'm implying but it is certainly used in the same way religious institutions use it y some of the most notable athiest authors and leaders. Remember I'm not saying they are completely wrong in their beleifs.  just because someone preys on peoples emotions to convince them to believe their beleifs does not make what they beleive wrong. The tactics are however questionable and I beleive not honourable. I hope we can at least be honest enough to agree on that. 


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Just an add on to my

Just an add on to my Response 4??

Even the title of this thread was intended to get you emotional about what I'm saying.  It may even be that it has been used to prey on your preconceieved notions about Christians thinking they know everything. Of everything I said in my initial email the quote they decided to use was "your understanding of theology is flawed".  See how they do it. It probably wasn't even intentional I'm just trying to have an honest discussion here. No offense to the masters of the thread.

Peace and Love


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Thanks!

Thanks for the quick clarifiction Sapient. Much appreciated!


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RE-REsponse

I actually should have touched on this before but I just thought of it as I was reading back over the post.  It has to do with the comment about love and why does God need our love and admiration.  I'm not sure that is in the Bible anywhere.  Here's my understanding of what the text teaches us about the divine power we call God. 

God wants our love for the reason that (if their is a God) our being in healthy relationship with God would be in our best interest. To serve other gods...or man made gods above the true divine force of the universe would be a distortion of reality and therefore would not be in our best interest.  Everything (or most that I can think of off the top) that is understood as 'sin' from a Christian worldview is something that stands between our ability to live in loving relationship with either God, creation, ourselves or others. The word sin is actually an archery term which means 'to miss the mark'.  So when we sin we miss the mark of how God intended for us to be...or what is the most satisying way of being in the world.  In this way when God speaks of sin he is not laying out a list of rules just because, but guidelines for us to reach our full potential.  Greed - self centred, Lust - self centred, Wrath, envy, jealousy, adultery...the list goes on. These are all ways that we can choose to stray from the path of love and true intimacy.  If God loves us and knows that our loving God is central to us experiencing life and reality in all fullness then it is logical that God would also want our love - not because God needs our love but because we need to love God.  Of course it is a little uncomfortable to beleive that we need anything because we are so self-reliant.  Anywho, that's just how I see that so take it for what it's worthSmiling I'll leave now and give anyone interested in dialogue an opportunity to respond or perhaps introduce some new ideas. I'd love to hear from you all as I'm still growing and learning and I think one of the best ways to do so is through conflict of opinions and worldviews.  Funny as it is I actually tend to learn more through these sorts of exchanges than I do with other theists. Thanks again for your responses.


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Matt Churchman, thanks for

Matt Churchman, thanks for caring and asking yourself and sharing your questions. You will eventually be a saved atheist, or similar I predict. 

God (mystery, awe, gawed) is not the problem, theology (superstition/dogma) is the problem.


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Matt Churchman

Matt Churchman wrote:

Greetings to you as well. Actually that is kind of what I meant by flawed perceptins of theologies. 

1. Theology is incredibly academic. Even if you don't beleive in God the study of the Bible can tell us a lot about history and ancient Israel, it's culture and literature.

2. That is one understanding of the word faith.  Often it is how it is defined by Athiests to help move this line of logic forward. It is not how the word is often used in the bible.  Faith is a relational trust betweena  person and God.  It is used in this context over and over again.  Faith is evidenced based. When your wife goes out with her old friend from college you have faith that she will be faithful.  This is based on your understanding of who she is.  I beleive because of the evidence tha tI see all around me in everyday life...and because I beleive I trust or have faith in God.

 

1) Theology is the study of the nature of god, it is not the study of ancient literature. In fact I would go further and state you couldnt actually study the bible in a scientific and rational manner if you actually believe in god as you would be putting your own biases into it before you even opened it. Studying religion and what people believe is always a  subject (and an important one). In the same way media studies is at least moderately useful as a subject it isnt the same as studying how a light saber works even through you may watch star wars at lot in it

2) Trust for a wife is generally based on evidence not 'faith'. Thinking your wife loves you is in no way evidence she does. She may hate your guts ,she may only be with you for your money and having of with the neighbour daily. In fact you teling me you love your wife isnt even evidence for you have one.

Typical evidences for love

a) increased heart rate and other biological changes in the subjects

b) abilitiy to spend significant time with an individual

c) sacrifices a person will make for that other person (these may be one way )

d) previous actions take by that individual

but in absolutely no way does faith come into it

 

 

 


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You're simply 'believing'

You're simply 'believing' because you want to, not because of any evidence. It sounds good that you got an all powerful being looking out for you, so you force yourself to 'believe'. You do this because it makes you feel better. Religion is your high, your drug. A child wants Santa to bring him presents, so he believes in Santa. You're no different.

I don't think we 'trust' anything without strong evidence. You must admit belief in God is a pretty radical claim based on the fact that we don't have any verifiable evidence. To claim we don't know about the origins of the universe seems the most reasonable thing to assert.

Also I think you'll find that most Christians don't really believe, it's only wish thinking or a belief in a belief. I think that's what a lot of the new atheism is about. Atheists stop pretending you are really believers. You lie to yourselves enough that the lie starts to become the truth some of the time. 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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Matt Churchman wrote:Hey

Matt Churchman wrote:

Hey there,

just real quickly to start to claim that you are not certain that there is not a God...I think I need a refresher on terms. Wouldn't that be agnostic. I thought Athiests were as certain there was no God as theists are that there is one?

I think Sapeint answered this for you. It is a common misconception. Yes, I am a weak-atheist.

Matt Churchman wrote:

Actually the remark about things being taken out of context was made at a specific debate between the rational response group. This was an email to them and I was hoping to create dialogue about what it is that they believed so that we might better understand one another. 

You did not post this in the original so I apologize. I was just defending atheists in general for using scripture out of context.

Matt Churchman wrote:

I was not making a pretnetious claim that I had the correct theology I was merely pointing out that some of the things that they had said were only flawed if you subscribe to a certain interpretation of scripture.  that's really all I was saying. Now as far as being more arrogant than the most strong atheist I would have to disagree...and if you knew me better perhaps you would as well. I am not arrogant nor do I think that I have the key to all truth. John Stewart Mill said that there is no such thing as complete certainty...existence as we percieve it could be a series of illusions. He said that there is enough certainty for us to live by certain beliefs. 

Matt Churchman wrote:

Again you seemed to be making an assumption that everyone posting here would know exactly what interpretation you are referring to. Don't forget that christians are most notably known for misinterpretation. If everyone agreed on interpretation there would only be one denomination.

Matt Churchman wrote:

I never said tha tI am 100% certain nor did I call anyone ignorant. That was fairly presumptious but from the change in tone by the latter half of your respons eI assume you just got yourself worked up. Fair enough but please don't misunderstand me. 

You did not directly imply you were 100% correct, but by stating that someone is wrong in their interpretation it is assumed that you are correct. Could your translation be incorrect as well? Dealing in generalities will always cause misunderstandings.

Matt Churchman wrote:

When i speak about faith I mean that certain theories that attempt to disprove God are just that...theories. Even still many of them don't disprove anything.  It also takes just as much faith for your average Athiest to take the word of people like Dawkins as it is for a Christian to take the word of their pastor.  Most of the theories and science behind the theories...and conclusions drawn from the science behind the theories are not even knowable for your average athiest.  You trust in the word of a professional athiest for your position. See what I mean? You hear something and you believe it wihtout fully understanding the science or philosophy behind it just as do many Christians. I'm not saying that makes you ignorant...we all do it to some degree. Quite frankly most of us don't seem to have the time to become experts in all areas of theology, philosophy, science ect.


Ignorance is not necessarily demeaning. Most christians are ignorant about evolution. This is a fact because most do not understand the modern evidence to support it. Ignorance is not stupidity. I don't understand all aspects of evolutionary theory, but then again I don't live my life according to the Theory of Evolution. Darwin never set out to disprove god and the theory does not make a god incompatible with life..... just the literal 6 day 7,000 yr old Earth crap.

If the tone of my post changed it is because I tire of defending my atheism from others who do not know or understand what I do believe or not. It is just as tiring as having to defend your faith from bad examples like Billy Graham and Pat Robertson all the time.

"Always seek out the truth, but avoid at all costs those that claim to have found it" ANONYMOUS


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Matt Churchman wrote:God

Matt Churchman wrote:

God wants our love for the reason that (if their is a God) our being in healthy relationship with God would be in our best interest. To serve other gods...or man made gods above the true divine force of the universe would be a distortion of reality and therefore would not be in our best interest. 

Wow. That's exactly why I am an atheist.

So far, the only way we can draw conclusions about reality is through observation of reality. We can draw tentative conclusions based on those observations, and then we can test these tentative conclusions from the predictions they make. (For the sake of discussion, let's call the observations "data," and the tentative conclusions, "hypotheses," and the tested tentative conclusions, "theories." )

This is all very important. Without concrete, repeatable data, we can't create rational hypotheses. Without hypotheses that make testable predictions, we can have no theories. That limits our knowledge of reality to that which is both observable and repeatable. This is further limited by our ability to creatively construct hypotheses that make testable predictions.

So, while many atheists do have "faith" (a belief in something that is unprovable), many of us attempt to blunt our unsupportable beliefs by threading them through the gears of the scientific method. Many of us will readily admit that there is much we don't understand about the universe. Many of us would admit there is much we don't know. We have only a small, tentative knowledge of the universe. But the knowledge we do have is a good start to figuring out even more.

You can claim that there are other forms of knowledge, but then you must show how you came by that knowledge. This is called "epistemology," and it's a very important field of philosophy. So far, the only epistemology that seems to work consistently is science, which I half-assed described above.

To me, belief in anything for which there is no evidence is a distortion of reality. So far, there is no evidence for any God, let alone a specific God. The Bible is not evidence -- it is a book, and books are written by people. The Bible has no more rational standing than the Qu'uaran, or the Bhagavad Gita, or the Tao Te Ching, or the Book of the Dead, or The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. So far, there is no observation of God, let alone repeatable observation.

Quote:

I'd love to hear from you all as I'm still growing and learning and I think one of the best ways to do so is through conflict of opinions and worldviews.

This is wisdom.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Matt Churchman

Matt Churchman wrote:

Greetings to you as well. Actually that is kind of what I meant by flawed perceptins of theologies. 

1. Theology is incredibly academic. Even if you don't beleive in God the study of the Bible can tell us a lot about history and ancient Israel, it's culture and literature.

No it can't.  If the bible could be used as a historical text then there wouldn't be as much debate about which parts of it are historical and which parts are allegory.  Those that are classified as allegory vary from person to person, there is no clear cut defined or accepted list.  There is too little which is consistent with what we know of history in both the old and the new testaments, therefore it cannot be claimed to be a historical text.  It is only useful, as I said, inside the field of theology. 


 

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thingy wrote:Theology is

thingy wrote:

Theology is just glorified apologetics.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It relies on presuppositions that certain texts are historical, infallible, authoritive, what have you.  They are all those things inside the field of theology, but anything but those things outside of that field of study.  The field as a whole is worth about as much as Ancient Klingon studies.

YOU DOUBT THE EXISTENCE OF KLINGONS! YOU BLASPHEMER! WILLIAM SHATNER IS A REAL PERSON!

Next thing you are going to tell me is that Superman isn't real despite the fact that I saw him(albeit on a movie screen) flying around the real city of New York! And I suppose Peter Pan isn't real even though the original book mentions the city of London!

 

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Brian37 wrote:Next thing you

Brian37 wrote:
Next thing you are going to tell me is that Superman isn't real despite the fact that I saw him(albeit on a movie screen) flying around the real city of New York! And I suppose Peter Pan isn't real even though the original book mentions the city of London!

No, no.  Peter Pan is definitely real.  In fact, here is his homepage.

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Response 1

Both of your responses are really just a game of semantics. 

1) Theology actually incompasses all the things you wrote about here.  In order to understand the text we must consider the culture and literary forms that are used throughout it. For instance the creation story is in the form of poetry. This tells us something about the authors intent and perhaps the message which is being conveyed. To me that is what makes for 'good' theology...when all aspects of the texts and the history of the people who wrote them are considered.  You can not seperate theology from the study of those who wrote it.  I disagree with your beleif that theology is somehow a moderatelyimportant subject.  There is a lot of useful psychology, a lot of useful insight into humanity and human nature.  Even the order of Creation in Genesis tells us things that science openly accepts as truth.  Again, I feel like sometmes as people that when we disagree with something we attempt to downplay it's significance and downplay and disregard even the valuable elements far too quickly. I guess what I'm saying is that if theology is defined as you define it then as an athest you have little use for it. However I disaree with your definition and therefore I disagree with assumptions about the usefulness of theology.

2) Again, maybe I have not been clear about how faith can be defined. You said that trust is generally based on evidence not faith...but if I argue that faith is evidence based trust....See what I'm getting at. You are defining your terms differently.   You are refering to a blind faith and I am refering to  faith based on the evidences. You can simply replace the word faith with the word trust.  Just like your trust in your wife comes from the evidences you have seen overtime that attest to her character my trust or faith in God comes from the evidences that I have seen through my experiences and yes...also through the scientific study of the natural world.  This is what I mean when I say that this is just a word game.  You are defining faith different from me.  Hope that clears up the misunderstanding.


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Response 2

Well actually I'm not sure that I would agree with everything you are saying.  Beleif in God can sometimes not be very comfortable.  When you love someone you sometimes have to make sacrifices or are put in uncomfortable circumstances.  In fact as a follower of Christ in society today...well let's just say it would be a lot easier to not beleive in God. I'm sure that the large number sof Christians who were tortured and died for their beleif in God would also disagree with you that they merely beleived because it made them feel tingly inside.

Faith is trust.  As an athiest you trust whomever it is that has informed your worldview.  The people you read and the assumptions you make based on your experiences are not an exact science.  You trust in the theories and logic that have lead you to beleive what it is you beleive.  For the most part you have prbably not fully comrehended all of the information that has been imparted to you, yet you trust that you are being told the truth.  The existence or non-existence of God can not be undoubtabley proven either way and therefore even in the spaces of doubt you have formed some sort of semi-coherent worldview by which you live.  You have found a level of certaintly that is sufficient to live by but it is still not 100% certainty.

I do understand that there are many Christians who attend church on Sunday and it's a real social and spiritual high and then they don't make any sort of lifestyle changes. For them it is comfortable. Maybe they grew up in a church family and it was just the easy road.  Similarly there are Athiests who fit into a specific crowd and so athiesm comes naturally. It's comfortable. We are all products of our experiences and cultural influences. There are also Athiests who have done their homework and have legitimately come to the conclusion that there is no god.  There are Christians who have done their homework and have come to the conclusion that there is one. 


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Response to Cali Atheist 2

Or the 'crazy fox lady'!

I do completely understand and that's why I recognized what had probably happened. Thanks for replying.


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REsponse 3?

Actually what I was meaning to say, and I'll have to read it back because I thought I had, was that if God exists in the form and character depicted in the Christian scriptures then it would be logical that our love would be desired...then I gave the reasons why that would be logical. It was presented by one of the forum members kind of as a questin I think. Like why would God need our love if God is so perfect? I merely described why that would be the case given the assumption that God exists.

I also disagree with the relationship you draw between the Bible and some of the other Holy books. Not meaning to knock anyone but the Bible has several authors over an extended period of time. For example the Q'ran is a revelation that was given to one man whereas the bible is meant to be the compilation of several revelation given to a number of people over the span of 100's of years.  A historical record of an event actually is evidence...so if the Bible is looked at as a historical recorded validated by several individuals independantly then that is evidence. You are correct though that historical writings in themselves are not likley not adequate evidence for beleif in something. However, archelogy can validate some of the claims of the bible (ie historical characters - such as tiberius and pilate to name only a few, places that ceased to exist ect). Science and evolutionary theory can also attest to the order of Creation in the poetry found in Genesis1.  Even brilliant scientist are begining to use words like 'personality' to describe the behaviour of the properties that make up the universe through the study of Quantum physics.  In regards to philosophy Plato even spoke in depth about the spiritual realm and the possible existence of a diety. And the list goes on. Anyway I wasn't meaning to get inot a conversation about evidence for God in particular but it seems from many of the responses so far that that may be of interest to some readers.

Peace and Love


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Response 4

Well I would respectfully disagree.  I think that even the most devout athiest might as well.  I touched on a couple things in my previous response but there really is a great deal of stuff that from both a historical and literary perspective is of great significance. The politics, physchology, religious customs of ancient Israel, literary forms of the time period, the 'evolution' of culture...................................................

Even the most relevant historical texts are open for debate. We can discuss what may have actually went down or what the authors political or personal motives were but that in no way makes the study less academic or not useful.  Even still I would argue that there is a great deal of information that is widely accepted by the scholarly community as historically sound.


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I've been living a lie!

okay I'm convinced! Peter Pan is definately the real deal.


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Welcome to the RRS

I actually agree with you on the world "faith". Because they tend to get used in religious contexts, many people here don't like the words "faith" and "belief". However I have often thought of the wife example that you used (as well as others). Faith in a partner or friend is based on knowledge and experience, faith in religion is definately blind faith as it is not based on anything concrete.

It is very possible that you understand theology better than me, I haven't finished reading the bible yet. But what I have read just increases my conviction that, even if there were a god, he could not be the god described in the bible.

Two questions for you:

Do you really believe everything in the bible? Most christians don't and I don't understand how you can still believe in your religion if you don't believe in the bible 100%

All religions have texts proving that they are right, why do you believe that yours is the correct one?

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Jesus said, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division." - Luke 12:51


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Sorry you still have it

Sorry you still have it wrong about Theology.

Theology is the study of the nature of god it is NOT the same as just the study of the bible (or Koran).

I could spend years studying Shakesphere , really quite like Midsummers Nights Dream. But if I come to the conclusion (or even worse start with it) that the story is actually real and someone head got turned into a pigs I wouldnt be considered as an English Literature master but as a nut case.

 

After hearing from a few christians on these forums I really do think they fundamentally misunderstand atheists.

 

The fact that I don't have faith in Jesus as my saviour is purely secondary to the fact that I dont believe in 'faith' full stop. I don't have 'faith' in evolution, i don't have 'faith' in gravity I don't have 'faith' in Briain Sapient, Richard Dawkins etc.  (I do think some Americans tend to have faith in their constitution or their nations founders but I'm not American and thats a seperate point)

I don't accept the commandents of god is secondary to the fact I don't accept commandents

I don't worship god but more importantly I utterly despise worship. Do you get the point, telling me why I should worship god is a lost cause because you need to persuad me that I should worship in the first place.

 

But reversing things and sounding a bit arrogant I do actually have some idea why people want to be religious. Sure I sometimes I ask myself whats the point in life but came to decision based not on how I feel but on scientific evidence that their is almost certainly no purpose to your life at all. There are plenty of reasons to live ,through  football (not the american version), science, love ,sex arguing with christians etc.

In the end of the day through if an asteroid was to wipe out humanity tomorrow it would be of no concern to the universe which would carry on without any problems despise the deaths of 6 billion people and 20 000 years of human civilzation

 

 

 

 


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I also don't worship mrjonno

I also don't worship mrjonno ....  opps, my goof, until the GIRLS show up .... 


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I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:I also

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

I also don't worship mrjonno ....  opps, my goof, until the GIRLS show up .... 

You shouldnt worship me you should use your rationality and smaller brain than I, to determine I'm so superior you should just accept me as your supreme leader without question


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I'd love to know which (if

I'd love to know which (if any) of those responses was directed at me.  Please Matt, sign up so you can respond properly.  Each of your posts is obviously aimed at a post but which is aimed at what is somewhat of a guessing game at the moment.  I would love to rule that out so a real discussion could take place.

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thingy wrote:I'd love to

thingy wrote:

I'd love to know which (if any) of those responses was directed at me.  Please Matt, sign up so you can respond properly. 

Just as a general FYI: his responding capabilities are not limited in this thread due to the fact he's not signed up.  He should still be able to quote and type words like "this response is to thingy."

 

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thingy wrote:I'd love to

thingy wrote:

I'd love to know which (if any) of those responses was directed at me.  Please Matt, sign up so you can respond properly.  Each of your posts is obviously aimed at a post but which is aimed at what is somewhat of a guessing game at the moment.  I would love to rule that out so a real discussion could take place.

 

Yeah, I second thingy's motion. I had a previous post and I think I know which of your replies were directed back at me but I'm not certain.

MATT...When you wish to respond to a particular post, simply click on the "quote" and it will  take care of it for you. Then you just type in what you want to say, after the positioning of the quote, which will end with "[ /quote ]".... (minus the quote marks and spaces, of course)


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I am going to have to assume

I am going to have to assume this section of this reply was aimed at me.

Matt Churchman wrote:
Both of your responses are really just a game of semantics. 

1) Theology actually incompasses all the things you wrote about here.  In order to understand the text we must consider the culture and literary forms that are used throughout it. For instance the creation story is in the form of poetry. This tells us something about the authors intent and perhaps the message which is being conveyed. To me that is what makes for 'good' theology...when all aspects of the texts and the history of the people who wrote them are considered.  You can not seperate theology from the study of those who wrote it.  I disagree with your beleif that theology is somehow a moderatelyimportant subject.  There is a lot of useful psychology, a lot of useful insight into humanity and human nature.  Even the order of Creation in Genesis tells us things that science openly accepts as truth.  Again, I feel like sometmes as people that when we disagree with something we attempt to downplay it's significance and downplay and disregard even the valuable elements far too quickly. I guess what I'm saying is that if theology is defined as you define it then as an athest you have little use for it. However I disaree with your definition and therefore I disagree with assumptions about the usefulness of theology.

I'm not downplaying anything.  I'm seeing it simply as historical studies have shown them to be rather than theological "studies".  Your comparing of genesis to science proves my point.  That is nothing more than apologetics.  Depending on which christians I ask I will get different answers as to whether genesis is history or allegory.  There is no concensus.  If it is history then it goes completely against all the evidence for history that we have.  If it is allegory then studying it is worth as much as studying ancient klingon.

When looking at the old testament you cannot consider the culture and literary forms of the authors as it is unknown who and when they were written.  They most certainly are not written around the time that is being written about, but much later.  Historians have shown this, theologists beg and plead for special treatment.

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Response

Great reply. Thanks for this. In regards to your opinion on the wife/partner analogy we are at a stand still I suppose. I respect what you are saying I just disagree that faith in a diety is not based on evidence that is just as concrete as faith in partner.  In both cases there is some evidence based on experience as well as other factors.  While one is based on a physical relationship with a person and the experiences you have shared with that person the other is also based on personal experiences, relationships and the study of various academic disciplines.  I do see what you mean though.  Point is that a trust is neccessary in both circumstances because I'm sure as all of us have expereinced at one time or another our perceptions of even those we are closest to can be off sometimes. All we can do is go on what we know based on the informatin and evidences we have been exposed to.

Question 1:

Yes I do beleive everything in the Bible to the best of my knowledge.  It's kind of a loaded question though because I don't beleive everything that everyone thinks the bible says...nor do I beleive that I completely understand everything in the Bible. I also beleive that the bible needs to be read in context in order for us to understand what it is saying.  An example would be Paul in Corinthians speaks about women not talking in church.  That has lead many denominations to apply that as a rule that governs how they run their church.  This neglects to take into consideration the specific details that prompted Paul to write this to the Corinthian church.  First of all most is not all of the female members would not have been able to read which would make it difficult to teach.  Second, in the letter we find that some of the women in the church had been causing trouble in that community. Anyways, so my answer is yes and no I guess.

Question 2:

First of all let me make clear that I'm not knocking any religion when I say this nor am I claiming superior intellect.  There are many Muslims, Buddists, Hindus that are much more intelligent than I am.  The reason that I have chosen to accept the teachings of Christ over other religions that profess to be truth is first of all because I have experienced them to be true.  The psychology and theology of the biblical texts are absolutely revolutionary.  Also, as a historical document the Bible holds up to academic scrutiny extremely well. The consistency between unrelated authors, The number of authors,historical accuracy, the logic, the philosophies presented are incredible and in my opinion unparalled in any other religion.  This is what I have found in my search. That's the shor tof it I guess.

 

Just a side note I was wondering what you think Jesus might be saying in the passage from Luke that you have quoted?


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REsponse 2

Well I do have it wrong but only if I have it wrong.  Many studies of the nature of God or Theologies include and are guided by the study of the cultural contexts and literature contained in the biblical texts.  If the bible is the story of the nature of God and the relationship between man and God then in order to understand that story one must also understand all these other fields of study as they relate to the text. The seond defintition of theology in the dictionary is 'the study of religious beleifs'.  If ones religious beleifs are based upon an understanding of the biblical text as they relate to culture and literature then in this sense one must also study these areas for insight into that individuals beleifs. 

Perhaps you are right in a sense though...maybe only after reading the bible and examining these elements of it...then coming to the conclusion that God exists this sort of study becomes Theology. Again, that is really a word game because two people could do the same thing and because one comes to a different conclusion what they did can no longer be Theology while the other person was creating a theology without knowing it. Perhaps if I were more clear. Even still the study of another persons religious beleifs or theology is still important because it allows human beings to understand one another and through understanding love one another.  You listed love as one of the reasons for living so I assume you value intimate relationships among human beings. Part of the problem that we have as human beings relating to one another is that we seldom take the time to understand one another.  This is how we are able to dehumanize the enemy in times of war.  Ignorance breeds haterd while understanding results in love (in my opinion). Perhaps the reason that the 'Christian Church" has been such a devistating force on this planet is because they have not studied the theologies of others and out of ignorance have claimed superiority over others. Once you make second class citizens out of an entire group of people, treating them as such can be easily justified. In this case I'm sure you would agree that theology has an important place. That leads me to your next point.

I agree that many christians misunderstand athiests. Many athiests misunderstand Christians. Many human beings misunderstand other human being of different worldviews and cultures.  That is why I wrote the initial email which has been posted in this thread.  I have a desire to learn about the beleifs of others as I continue to develop my own.

Faith

I will attempt to respond to the rest of you reply as best I can without being able to actually have a back and forth conversation with you.  You say that you do not believe in faith. We probably have a different understanding of the word because in order to have any worldview at all one must have faith in something even if it is your own intellectual capacity to descern reality from illusion.  By not having faith in god you are having faith that there is no God or at the very least that there is not adaquate evidence to prove the existence of God.  Eithe that or you are completey apathetic. Something guides your actions and whatever that may be you have faith or trust in that. It is quite possible that I have again misunderstood you a will be the case with the remainder of this response because I do not completely understand the athiest beleif.

Commandments

You don't accept commandments? This is tricky. I'm not exactly sure what you are getting at here. Of course you don't accept commandents from God because you do not believe that one exists.  If a commandments is defined as an order or rule most us accept some sort of commandment in our work relationships unless we are self employed.  Do you mean commandment like as moral code? If that is the case then you accept your own moral code which you have established. If you beleive that there is no 'true self' then perhaps you are merely following the orders of you biology?  In that case you have no freedom from the orders of your biological make-up???

Worship

What is it that you percieve worship to be and why do you despise it?  Worship is simply showing 'great admiration, honour or respect'.  Sometimes I suppose this can be a test to our pride and maybe the idea that something or someone is worthy of your respect and admiration can be difficult.  Now maybe I have persuaded you that worship isn't at all despisable...as for persuading you to worship the God that I beleive in...well quite frankly (as I said earlier) I'm not in the business of converting people. But I heard Peter Popoff has some extremely potent miracle water that he will send you for a small fee (probably not a funny joke if you don't watch late night informercials).

Well you just named one of my main reasons for living too. Love. Glad that we are on the same page. Thats encouraging. I too have come to some decisions on life's purpose not merely based on how I feel but on science, philosophy, psychology and although we have come to very different conclusions it's cool that you have taken the time to look into these sorts of issues.

Yes the planet would survive and perhaps even thrive without human beings. Isn't that amazing! The way it is just like self sustaining...it would just devour up our remains, put them to use, dust itself off and continue on.

Anywho, get back to me. You are more than welcome to drop me a personal email if you are interested in talking more as well.

 

 


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Thingy

Thingy, This was the post I made in response to your second comment I think....I think. I will sign up tommorow but for now I will put names in the title of my reponses.

Well I would respectfully disagree.  I think that even the most devout athiest might as well.  I touched on a couple things in my previous response but there really is a great deal of stuff that from both a historical and literary perspective is of great significance. The politics, physchology, religious customs of ancient Israel, literary forms of the time period, the 'evolution' of culture...................................................

Even the most relevant historical texts are open for debate. We can discuss what may have actually went down or what the authors political or personal motives were but that in no way makes the study less academic or not useful.  Even still I would argue that there is a great deal of information that is widely accepted by the scholarly community as historically sound.


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Tingy Response 2

Well if you mean Genesis then you are likely correct in your statement about it not being written at the time that it takes place.  By studying the language and literary structure of Genesis scholars have been able to establish a window for when these books were written.  It is for those periods that we are then able to critic and study the writing. The other books in the Hebrew scriptures can be examined similarly.  Regardless of how long after the event...both secular and religious scholars will present both early and late dates...by establishing these dates we are able to look at the writings with a certain understanding of the culture and time that they were being written.  So say Moses wrote Genesis (this can be debated)...he is likley relaying the story of creation in the language of his day. Let's say he copied some older documents as well as wrote in his own words his understanding of what went down.  By looking at changes in language and literary structure we can attempt to differentiate between possible authors and by doing so also establish when and by whom they were written. By dong so we can then read these texts with whatever understanding we have of the culture from which they came.  Not only that but it can even tells us more about that culture. As with any historical document the older the document the larger the window.  I think that The New Testament is much more reliable when it comes to this sort of process because they are more recent but Jewish scholars in particular have been able to offer some great insights into the writers of the Old Testament and the times in which they lived.


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Yay!

Hey since i'm a member now do I get like a t-shirt. Maybe one of those little Jesus fish with the feet that says Darwin in the middle.  I think those are cute.


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You have to go to

You have to go to http://www.evolvefish.com for that.


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We've drifted away from what was actually said....

After responding to a couple of different post about the usefulness of theology I realized something...what was the context of the original post? I was writing to a group that had attempted  to use their own understanding of the Bible (among other things) to debate against a Christian on television. Whether or not you think theology is important to your own life if the Rational Response squad was going to make use of scripture in a debate against Christians then they ought to be aware of how Christians interpret the bible...their theology. That was really all I was saying. I still maintain that theology is useful whether or not you beleive in a God or the authority of scripture. I posted a couple of responses to your responses but for some reason they aren't up yet...maybe because I wasn't a member yet when I wrote them. Maybe they will be posted after I post this so you can have a read. Otherwise I might re-respond later...I'm just really tired right now. Peace and Love.


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mrjonno wrote:I AM GOD AS

mrjonno wrote:

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

I also don't worship mrjonno ....  opps, my goof, until the GIRLS show up .... 

You shouldnt worship me you should use your rationality and smaller brain than I, to determine I'm so superior you should just accept me as your supreme leader without question

 That is a funny twist on words .... crazy clever !

Okay , I worship, but refuse to pay. God has no debts .... love the one you are, as all is one .... perfect.

 


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Matt Churchman wrote:I still

Matt Churchman wrote:
I still maintain that theology is useful whether or not you beleive in a God or the authority of scripture.

 

Theism has to steal concepts from nature, thus, it is actually useless and because it steals concepts it is verily a malignancy.

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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Matt Churchman

Matt Churchman wrote:

Actually what I was meaning to say, and I'll have to read it back because I thought I had, was that if God exists in the form and character depicted in the Christian scriptures then it would be logical that our love would be desired...then I gave the reasons why that would be logical. It was presented by one of the forum members kind of as a questin I think. Like why would God need our love if God is so perfect? I merely described why that would be the case given the assumption that God exists.

I understood what you were saying. However, as soon as you make the assumption that God exists in the form of the Bible, you introduce a worldview that deviates from the observed. I was merely mentioning that I am an atheist because a belief in God "would be a distortion of reality and therefore would not be in our best interest. "

Quote:

I also disagree with the relationship you draw between the Bible and some of the other Holy books. Not meaning to knock anyone but the Bible has several authors over an extended period of time. For example the Q'ran is a revelation that was given to one man whereas the bible is meant to be the compilation of several revelation given to a number of people over the span of 100's of years.

How is it any different? It seems that revelation is revelation, whether it is to one person, or to many. In addition, much of the Bible steals from itself. For instance, the later retellings of Jesus' life and resurrection are all based on Mark. In early Bibles, the book of Mark ends with the discovery of the empty tomb, and has no angels or post-death Jesus. So the story grows bigger, until we have our modern awe and wonder resurrection.

In the end, it makes no difference how many people wrote the Bible. That makes it neither true nor false.

Quote:

A historical record of an event actually is evidence...so if the Bible is looked at as a historical recorded validated by several individuals independantly then that is evidence. You are correct though that historical writings in themselves are not likley not adequate evidence for beleif in something. However, archelogy can validate some of the claims of the bible (ie historical characters - such as tiberius and pilate to name only a few, places that ceased to exist ect). Science and evolutionary theory can also attest to the order of Creation in the poetry found in Genesis1.  Even brilliant scientist are begining to use words like 'personality' to describe the behaviour of the properties that make up the universe through the study of Quantum physics.  In regards to philosophy Plato even spoke in depth about the spiritual realm and the possible existence of a diety. And the list goes on. Anyway I wasn't meaning to get inot a conversation about evidence for God in particular but it seems from many of the responses so far that that may be of interest to some readers.

Peace and Love

But the Bible can't be viewed as an independent or accurate history. As with many myths, legends, and allegories, most are based on earlier writings or oral tradition.  As for the archaeological evidence, the mentioning of real places or people doesn't lend support to the historical relevance of the Bible, any more than the mentioning of real historic people makes Tim Powers' "The Drawing of the Dark" an historical text, or "The Iliad" an historical text. "The Iliad" may be historically relevant, but that doesn't make it an accurate description of historic events. As it stands, there is no evidence that Jesus ever existed. There is no evidence for a world-wide flood (which would've left much physical evidence). There is no evidence for the parting of the Red Sea.

In short, there is no evidence to support any of the Bible at all. The fact that the town of Bethany existed does not make the Bible true; it merely means the authors of the Bible knew the geography of the area of which they wrote.

I agree that the human desire for a "greater purpose" often drives irrational desires for a God. But as you said yourself, a distortion of reality is not in our best interest. Therefore, any belief in God is not in our best interest.

Finally, which brilliant scientists are using words like "personality" to describe the "behaviour of the properties that make up the universe through the study of Quantum physics"? What are the descriptions or properties to which you refer?

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Matt Churchman wrote:After

Matt Churchman wrote:

After responding to a couple of different post about the usefulness of theology I realized something...what was the context of the original post? I was writing to a group that had attempted  to use their own understanding of the Bible (among other things) to debate against a Christian on television. Whether or not you think theology is important to your own life if the Rational Response squad was going to make use of scripture in a debate against Christians then they ought to be aware of how Christians interpret the bible...their theology. That was really all I was saying. I still maintain that theology is useful whether or not you beleive in a God or the authority of scripture. I posted a couple of responses to your responses but for some reason they aren't up yet...maybe because I wasn't a member yet when I wrote them. Maybe they will be posted after I post this so you can have a read. Otherwise I might re-respond later...I'm just really tired right now. Peace and Love.

Soooooo how does your brand of christainity interpret the bible?

"Always seek out the truth, but avoid at all costs those that claim to have found it" ANONYMOUS


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Cali_Athiest2 wrote:

Matt Churchman wrote:

After responding to a couple of different post about the usefulness of theology I realized something...what was the context of the original post? I was writing to a group that had attempted  to use their own understanding of the Bible (among other things) to debate against a Christian on television. Whether or not you think theology is important to your own life if the Rational Response squad was going to make use of scripture in a debate against Christians then they ought to be aware of how Christians interpret the bible...their theology. That was really all I was saying. I still maintain that theology is useful whether or not you beleive in a God or the authority of scripture. I posted a couple of responses to your responses but for some reason they aren't up yet...maybe because I wasn't a member yet when I wrote them. Maybe they will be posted after I post this so you can have a read. Otherwise I might re-respond later...I'm just really tired right now. Peace and Love.

Soooooo how does your brand of christainity interpret the bible?

That is a huuuuge question.  If you would like to understand my own personal belieifs about the Bible definately feel free to email me and we could have a one on one discussion if you are interested in an in depth look into what I beleive. Actually I'm not merely speaking of my brand of Christianity when I wrote this post.  The passages that were quoted in the debate and interpreted by the Rational Response Squad were likely not the theology of any popular brand of biblical interpretation.  They were used in the same way that Christians will sometimes pick a quote and then just throw it out without providing any sort of context for the passage in order that it might be better understood. The example that I wrote about the letter to the Corinthians is a perfect example of how Christians do this.  In the field of biblical studies this is called isogesis and is often regarded as poor theology if it can even be called theology.  In this same way the Islamic community is often critisized by non-Muslims who really have little expertise in interpreting the passages of the Q'ran.


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Nidelthebold

Oh Nigel you are so bold.  A couple of things I guess to respond. If you are right that there is no God then you are right that beleif in God would be a distortion of reality.  That is a very valid opinion and you are more than welcome to it. I disagree and based on what I have encountered in my search I also believe my opinion to be valid.

Second, I think that any historian will tell you that multiple authors that validate a historical event makes a writing more historically sound. Perhaps my use of the word revelation made it seem as though the contents of the Bible were made up of seperate authors who all had deeply personal revelations that were given to them and therefore noone else witnessed these events or could validate them. This is not the case however.  Your assertion that all the gospels were written using Mark is in fact debatable and has been debated by secualr and religious scholars both ways.  Also we must take into consideration the letters of the apostles which seem incredibely consistent and contain several references to the ressurection.  The Gospel of Mark would not likely been available to Paul.  Mark was aparently a companion of Peter with whom Paul may or may not have had contact with. Even so if the earliest copies of the book of Mark did not contain accounts of the ressurection Paul was certainly aware of this event. Wow we can talk about the authorship of the the bible if you are interested. This could really get into a very indepth and time consuming conversation and if you are interested you can reach me at my email. Although you are only posting one comment every once in a while I am responding to several. By sending me a personal email I will be able to tell who is really interested in persuing this discussion further and who isn't.

As for the comment about mentioning real places doesn't make something historically valid...I would again disagree and agree.  In he case of Genesis it tells us that the stroy of creation predates it's author. This is true in part because many of the places mentioned by the author had ceased to exist by the time that it was aparently written.  This means that he had even older sources from which he was drawing. As for evidence about the flood one of things I found interesting in my own search was the number of cultures that have stories of a worldwide flood. Cultures which had no contact to one another all seem to echo this story with their own interpretations of the who's and why's surounding the events.

A text that draws upon any earlier material and orla tradition can not be viewed as historical evidence to support something? It's certainly not complete if we have only that but it is evidence never-the-less isn't it? There is no evidence to support any of the Bible at all? Really.  That's what I mean when I say that when we disagree with something we tend to become extremists.  This is another issue we could talk about mor eindepth.  The list of evidences that support parts of the biblical text is quite extensive.

Are you familiar at all with Quantum physics? This message was  quite full of interesting and detailed questions. It would be like if I asked you to post everything you know about science and athiesm on a forum.  I think I might be better able to respnd if we could focus point to point through email. This way I will be able to ask you mmore pointed questions and be better able to understand where you are coming from.


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Matt Churchman wrote:Are you

Matt Churchman wrote:

Are you familiar at all with Quantum physics? This message was  quite full of interesting and detailed questions. It would be like if I asked you to post everything you know about science and athiesm on a forum.  I think I might be better able to respnd if we could focus point to point through email. This way I will be able to ask you mmore pointed questions and be better able to understand where you are coming from.

I studied QM in college, as part of my physics program. I also try to keep up with modern research in QM. Does that count?

I really was only asking for names of scientists who talk of the universe using language regarding "personality." I know they talk about the "strangeness" of quarks, but that is because of colorful language used to describe quarks. (Get it? "Colorful language." Cause one of the properties of quarks is "color." Hah! I slay me.)

But, if you'd really be interested in continuing this discussion out-of-band, you can email me at tony (the strange swirly sign used to designate "at" ) paperdove (the period known as "dot" ) org. I'm certainly willing to carry on this discussion in whatever way you feel comfortable. Not that I'm as knowledgeable about the historic accuracy of the Bible as, say Rook, nor as good at QM as Captain Pineapple or Eloise or any number of other people who either do it for a living, or keep up with some of the more interesting developments. (I was distracted from physics by computer science, unfortunately. Ah, the lure of money to the very young!)

I'm glad you're sticking around, Matt. Most folks just drop an email "bomb" (which is usually nothing more than a squib ladyfinger) and bolt. I hope you enjoy your stay.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Matt Churchman

Matt Churchman wrote:

Cali_Athiest2 wrote:

Matt Churchman wrote:

After responding to a couple of different post about the usefulness of theology I realized something...what was the context of the original post? I was writing to a group that had attempted  to use their own understanding of the Bible (among other things) to debate against a Christian on television. Whether or not you think theology is important to your own life if the Rational Response squad was going to make use of scripture in a debate against Christians then they ought to be aware of how Christians interpret the bible...their theology. That was really all I was saying. I still maintain that theology is useful whether or not you beleive in a God or the authority of scripture. I posted a couple of responses to your responses but for some reason they aren't up yet...maybe because I wasn't a member yet when I wrote them. Maybe they will be posted after I post this so you can have a read. Otherwise I might re-respond later...I'm just really tired right now. Peace and Love.

Soooooo how does your brand of christainity interpret the bible?

That is a huuuuge question.  If you would like to understand my own personal belieifs about the Bible definately feel free to email me and we could have a one on one discussion if you are interested in an in depth look into what I beleive. Actually I'm not merely speaking of my brand of Christianity when I wrote this post.  The passages that were quoted in the debate and interpreted by the Rational Response Squad were likely not the theology of any popular brand of biblical interpretation.  They were used in the same way that Christians will sometimes pick a quote and then just throw it out without providing any sort of context for the passage in order that it might be better understood. The example that I wrote about the letter to the Corinthians is a perfect example of how Christians do this.  In the field of biblical studies this is called isogesis and is often regarded as poor theology if it can even be called theology.  In this same way the Islamic community is often critisized by non-Muslims who really have little expertise in interpreting the passages of the Q'ran.

I realize that that is a request for information that is beyond the scope of the forums. Maybe I should've just ask what denomination you are a member of if any. I realize that just because someone attends church x they do not always believe the same things but it does give insight into the person making the claims. I am with you, like I said initially, scripture is often taken out of context on all sides. Some atheists claim that jesus would've been an idiot cursing a fig tree out of season to produce fruit. This is clearly a parable. It's not the stuff that is taken out of context that I find repulsing but the stuff that is clearly apparent in the bible.

Theology, study of religion, is important to me in some regards. I find that as I become more familiar with the various religions the gods seem to become smaller. If you have some insight into the passages mentioned by Sapient and Kelly and the proper context then I would love to hear it. More often than not, someone just comes in screaming that certain passages are taken out of context and leave without justifying their position. This is extremely irritating to say the least. I have changed my stance on several occasions to those brave enough to stick around and I freely admit it. I just believe that if a god exists and it is the god of the bible it is a mysogonistic, sado-masochist dill weed.

I saw the debate when it aired and I didn't see anything unusual about their interpretation of scripture. From what I understand the use of the bible was not to be used by Cameron and Comfort because they intended to prove god without faith or the bible. Only after the christians used the bible did the RRS. I may have to rewatch the debate for myself to make sure if I am correct but pretty sure I am. Honestly, it is hard to be an expert in all fields but theists make the same mistakes when debating on topics such as evolution and the origins of life.

As for a one on one that's cool. I hate doing those usually because what starts out as one issue suddenly evolves into a huge spiderweb. However, when time gets more abundant maybe I will pick your brain about what you believe.

"Always seek out the truth, but avoid at all costs those that claim to have found it" ANONYMOUS