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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Robert Satori wrote:Matt

Robert Satori wrote:

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.  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.

 

A very astute distillation of the Judeo-Christian ethic, there. Clearly a pretty good thing for society, those old Laws.

The question is: does this concept of sin necessarily need God in order to be valid?

We have a similar conundrum with the US Constitution. The basis of human rights is stated therein to rest on the authority of God. Nevermind hysterical political efforts to deny the various theological leanings of the US Founders (we don't need to change history). Can this idea stand without God?

What if we consider morality to be a matter of logical extrapolation, based on a fundamental principle that we all agree upon? For example: promote what is positive to man's survival (on both the individual level and as a species) and suppress that which is negative. If we are completely honest about our definitions, would we not wind up with something very similar to the expression of "God's Love" you described?

Obviously, I'm not a proponent of Nietzsche, but give it a think.

Matt Churchman wrote:

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.

Not a good sign for religion, is it?

Absolutely I hear what you are saying...I think.  In politics it is certainly neccesary for the state to provide legislation that it feels will contribute to the freedom or well-being of the people.  This seems not to be the case most often. The state often legislates in its own interests.

Okay this is interesting though.  The morality that is laid out in the Bible as far as what is sin and so on can not be defined as merely what is positive or negative to man's survival.  It is about experiencing life, reality, love to the fullest. As human beings one of our areas of weakness is judgment. Especially when it comes to what is good for human beings...what is positive or what is negative. That's what the Fall story is all about I think. So what you are talking about would be an attempt at emulating what I defined as God's Love but it would likely lack in it's moral judgments.

Actually I think it is not really a reflection on religion I just learn less when I talk to people who beleive exactly as I do. Know what I mean?


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I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:Matt

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

Matt Churchman, 

Thanks for hangin' out. I am an "Atheist for Jesus" ( which, btw, is an interesting site you can google) One of the big reasons I say this, is the eastern writings, old and current, regarding Jesus "philosophy" and the errors of the Christian church. The errors of Islam is also discussed here.

THIS Large HINDI Site has won many awards, whatever that's worth !?

"The masterful articles on Christianity that are featured on your web site are an eye opener. The penetrating insight and the analysis of the life and teachings of Jesus as contrasted with the practices of the church, are excellent."

"Jesus versus churchianity" , ETC

http://www.hinduism.co.za/jesus.htm

Messed up Islam, and some praise too,

http://www.hinduism.co.za/islam.htm

             Let's remember, wackos come in most all labels ....

I see story Jesus as atheist/pantheist, but it makes no difference as to me and you being 100% god, as all is connected as one. Late Alan Watts was a "world religion philosophy teacher uniter", I've enjoyed and recommend. 

 

 

        

 

 

Yeah I'll check it out most definatley. this actually sounds really intereting. Thanks.


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nigelTheBold wrote:Matt

nigelTheBold wrote:

Matt Churchman wrote:

Again I'm not saying that some things are false and others true. I'm saying that by examining the teachings of Jesus one can attempt to discern whether something is applicable to a modern Christian or whether it may have been temporary to serve a certain purpose. This is perhaps the rubric you are looking for. Some theologians call it the Jesus hermaneutic. There is definately a method to interpreting biblical passages. The OT is actually quite clear that the law is temporary and the prophets speak about a day in which it will be fulfilled.  In the NT it is taught that the law is "obsolete". So you see it is not that Christians are merely ignoring the rules and laws of the OT because they don't feel good about them. It is actually a part of what is taught by Jesus and other NT authors.

It seems the contextualization of the Bible is exactly that to which I referred -- political and social expedience. If there is no constance to the dictates of the Bible, then cherry-picking that which seems applicable is essentially situational morality. If parts of the Bible  are outdated rather than wrong, it seems you are still in the situation of judging God's word. That hardly seems appropriate for a sacred text.

It seems, though, that you are referring specifically to the OT.  However, didn't Jesus say, "Until Heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the law, until all is accomplished" (Matthew 5:18)? What did he say to indicate that "all is accomplished?" It seems that he is stating clearly that the laws of the OT were not to be ignored.

As an aside: have you ever read John Shelby Spong?

"If there is no constance to the dictates of the Bible, then cherry-picking that which seems applicable is essentially situational morality." You are right but that is a big 'if'.  AS I said earlier there is actually a method to the madness.

"What did he say to indicate that "all is accomplished?" - I don't know...maybe "it is finished".  Actually again if you read the passage you have quoted in context you might better understand what is being said here. Who is Jesus talking to? What are His issues with the religious authorities of His time? and so on.

No I'm not familiar with him. Should I check him out?

 


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I guess the other thing I

Shoot! I left something out and also may have misread you earlier. As far as situational morality...you sir are correct in sense. This is the difference between following the rule of the law and the spirit of the law. Jesus often criticizes the religious authorities of his time for enforcing the letter without regard for the spirit. They say observe the sabbath...he says but what if I am healing someone? Is it still wrong for a man to carry his carpet on the sabbath if he is carrying it because he has just been healed of leprasy? What is the spirit of the sabbath rule? Do men serve the sabbath or was the sabbath designed to serve men? This can also make moral judgments incredibley difficult at times as Jesus doesn't give us a set of strict rules to live by, but an ethic of love by which we should live.  This is why he seems to provide different answers for somewhat similar examples. The morality of an action is in part determined by the situation. I'm sure you would agree on this. 

 I guess the other thing I should mention here is that my belief in God was not formed strictly through the study of the book of Leviticus.  Noone reads the story of Sodom and Gamorah and says "I beleive!".  When reading these sorts of difficult passages one must put themselves into the worldview of the book and say 'well if this is true as a whole then it is possible that a God with infinite knowledge might also be a just judge'.  We rarely quesiton state intervention in cases of horrific human rights violations for the good of the whole. With this understanding, if there is a God then it would be reasonable that that entity might justly intervene, even violently, on occasion to ensure the safety or wellbeing of creation. That is one option. The other is to read them as if there is no God and therefore they become extremely problematic if beleif in God hinges on these passages alone. The point is that we don't draw a conclusion about whether there is a God by reading these passages...we come to it for other reasons and those assumptions guide how we interpret the text either as we read them or in hindsight after reading the entire book and also looking into the issue of whether God exists or not through other forms of personal study.

After being on this site for the last week or so and listening to everyones opinions I am convinced more than ever that beleif in god is not merely an intellectual decision.  It is a very personal one that each person comes to based on their own personal pursuit of truth. There are reasonable reasons to be an athiest and there are reasonable reasons to be a Christian.  There will always be groups on either side of the argument that will assert that they have it right and others have it wrong. It is these sorts of claims that we should attempt to upset...not simply beleiving or not believing. That's not the problem.  My issue with the RRS is that they seem to imply that beleif in God is unreasonable and that they have a monopoly on truth, which I don't think is the case. Throughout the site I have noticed some of the same things about "Religious fundamentalists" that bother me. Emotionalism, claims of superiority, a tone of exagerated confidence ect.  That's not to say that they're not basically good people or that I couldn't go for a drink with any one of them. I think that it  is almost natural for human beings to assume that what they beleive is right. I beleive what I beleive is right...right enough to form some sort of worldview sufficient to live by. You beleive what you believe is right enough for you to form some sort of worldview sufficient to live by.  The problem with intolerance arises when we try to convince others that they should beleive what we beleive and if they choose a different path we call their rationality or intellect into question as if we know all there is to know about the issue. We need to keep an open mind in this areas in my opinion. Making claims like "we need to eradicate this from the world" seems to contradict some of the rhetoric about keeping an open mind. If there is an absolute truth on the matter then it is possible that one of us is right and one of us is wrong however at this point the debate over the existence of God is open.  There is no one group that has all the answers and therefore we should hold onto our beleifs with a level of humility recognizing the limit of our knowledge at this point on this issue. Education is important and I recognize the significance of raising awareness.  This is acredit to the RRS because they are doing a good job of presenting the information that they beleive to be central to this dialogue.  Likewise it is important for religious groups to do the same.  Let's make it not so much about making converts that will carry the flag of our own worldview, as it should be about exposing people to all the different information upon which both sides have based their beleif and allowing people to then make an informed choice. To paraphrase a quote that was used earlier by someone " eagerly persue truth but be suspicious of those who claim to have found it".

I've learned a lot about the other side of the discussion from you all and I'm thankful that you have been civil and understanding with me.  this isn't my farewell. I will check in and see if people have added their thoughts to the forum. I would also like to check out some of the other discussions in some of the other forums on the site to see what people are saying and get a better understanding of the Athiest belief.

Peace and Love


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Matt C , your writing

Matt C , your writing interests me , but it's hard to eye track, read in long paragraphs.

At the bottom of your post is the edit option, and you could break up that "block of text", with more spaces,  to make for easier reading.

LOL man, thanks for caring, and I am so very poor at grammar .... but like to read.

         So, What ain't god , what is god , why these questions ? 


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Matt Churchman wrote:Shoot!

Matt Churchman wrote:

Shoot! I left something out and also may have misread you earlier. As far as situational morality...you sir are correct in sense. This is the difference between following the rule of the law and the spirit of the law. <snip> The morality of an action is in part determined by the situation. I'm sure you would agree on this. 

Excellent. Thanks -- this is exactly what I was asking/rambling about.

Quote:

After being on this site for the last week or so and listening to everyones opinions I am convinced more than ever that beleif in god is not merely an intellectual decision.  It is a very personal one that each person comes to based on their own personal pursuit of truth. There are reasonable reasons to be an athiest and there are reasonable reasons to be a Christian.

Absolutely!

Although I am a hard atheist (I believe firmly that God doesn't exist, which is, as some would be quick to point out, just as irrational as believing in God), I understand that faith is an important part of some people's lives. As long as that faith doesn't lead to irrational decisions of import, or irrational behavior, I am happy.

I think you'll find that many atheists are not against religion per se. Many of us are against destructive irrational behavior. (Constructive irrational behavior is welcome, however.)

Quote:

I've learned a lot about the other side of the discussion from you all and I'm thankful that you have been civil and understanding with me.  this isn't my farewell. I will check in and see if people have added their thoughts to the forum. I would also like to check out some of the other discussions in some of the other forums on the site to see what people are saying and get a better understanding of the Athiest belief.

Most of us are good folk, who are more interested in a lively, interesting, intelligent discussion than biting the heads off Christians (though we enjoy that, too). Keep in mind that, in general, we subject our beliefs to the crucible of empiricism, and that all thoughts and assertions are judged by their congruence with observable reality. Don't take anything personally, because we can also be (and often enjoy being) assholes at times.

"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:

nigelTheBold wrote:

It seems the contextualization of the Bible is exactly that to which I referred -- political and social expedience. If there is no constance to the dictates of the Bible, then cherry-picking that which seems applicable is essentially situational morality. If parts of the Bible  are outdated rather than wrong, it seems you are still in the situation of judging God's word. That hardly seems appropriate for a sacred text.

It seems, though, that you are referring specifically to the OT.  However, didn't Jesus say, "Until Heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the law, until all is accomplished" (Matthew 5:18)? What did he say to indicate that "all is accomplished?" It seems that he is stating clearly that the laws of the OT were not to be ignored.

As an aside: have you ever read John Shelby Spong?

"If there is no constance to the dictates of the Bible, then cherry-picking that which seems applicable is essentially situational morality." You are right but that is a big 'if'.  AS I said earlier there is actually a method to the madness.

"What did he say to indicate that "all is accomplished?" - I don't know...maybe "it is finished".  Actually again if you read the passage you have quoted in context you might better understand what is being said here. Who is Jesus talking to? What are His issues with the religious authorities of His time? and so on.

No I'm not familiar with him. Should I check him out?

Just to get back to this for a moment -- saying "It is finished" while dieing on the cross is ambiguous. Also, Mat. 5:18 starts with, "Until heaven and earth pass away..." which indicates forever, not until he says, "It is finished." At least, that's how I would read it.

As for Spong -- he's a retired Episcopal bishop who has a rather radical view of Christianity, based on his own quest for the reconciliation of faith and observable reality. His writings attempt to remove theism from God, and to remove the afterlife as a method of reward or punishment by God. He essentially holds a Christian version of panentheism. But it seems that you and he have a lot of similar views on the Bible itself. He's for basic human rights, such as gay rights, racial equality, gender equality, and the like. And, he's an enjoyable read.

"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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I AM GOd AS You

I tried but the edit thing is not working. Sorry about that. Talk about a run-on paragraph Sticking out tongue I hope you got through it anyway.  Also I was just wondering about your recommendation. Who is Alan Watts? Is there a particular book or article that you enjoyed most of all?


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Hmmm. Actually even just reading your description of some of his ideas I think I might be interested in looking into some of his writing.


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Matt C, thanks for you

Matt C, thanks for you interest. Popular Alan Watts can be googled, and also found in Youtube etc. For me, he is generally much easier to listen to than to read. I really can't remember my favorites, but do remember some of his stuff really stuck instantly with me while some of it just breezed by me. Some great vids, some a bit slow or redundant, but always cool. I love that guy .... he was a partier too .... 

  Cool Alan Watts wrote: "The religion of Jesus was that he knew he was a son of God, and the phrase "son of " means "of the nature of," so that a son of God is an individual who realizes that he is, and always has been, one with God. "I and the Father are one." .......... and,  "Let this mind be in you." that is to say, let the same kind of [rational] consciousness be in you that was in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ knew he was God."

"Wake up" [said a buddha] and find out eventually who you also really are [ god ]. In our culture of course, they'll say you're crazy or you're blasphemous, and they'll either put you in jail or in the nut house (which is the same thing). But if you wake up in India and tell your friends and relations, "My goodness, I've just discovered that I'm God," they'll laugh and say, "Oh, congratulations, at last you found out." ~ Alan Watts 


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nigelTheBold wrote:Matt

nigelTheBold wrote:

Matt Churchman wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

It seems the contextualization of the Bible is exactly that to which I referred -- political and social expedience. If there is no constance to the dictates of the Bible, then cherry-picking that which seems applicable is essentially situational morality. If parts of the Bible  are outdated rather than wrong, it seems you are still in the situation of judging God's word. That hardly seems appropriate for a sacred text.

It seems, though, that you are referring specifically to the OT.  However, didn't Jesus say, "Until Heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the law, until all is accomplished" (Matthew 5:18)? What did he say to indicate that "all is accomplished?" It seems that he is stating clearly that the laws of the OT were not to be ignored.

As an aside: have you ever read John Shelby Spong?

"If there is no constance to the dictates of the Bible, then cherry-picking that which seems applicable is essentially situational morality." You are right but that is a big 'if'.  AS I said earlier there is actually a method to the madness.

"What did he say to indicate that "all is accomplished?" - I don't know...maybe "it is finished".  Actually again if you read the passage you have quoted in context you might better understand what is being said here. Who is Jesus talking to? What are His issues with the religious authorities of His time? and so on.

No I'm not familiar with him. Should I check him out?

Just to get back to this for a moment -- saying "It is finished" while dieing on the cross is ambiguous. Also, Mat. 5:18 starts with, "Until heaven and earth pass away..." which indicates forever, not until he says, "It is finished." At least, that's how I would read it.

As for Spong -- he's a retired Episcopal bishop who has a rather radical view of Christianity, based on his own quest for the reconciliation of faith and observable reality. His writings attempt to remove theism from God, and to remove the afterlife as a method of reward or punishment by God. He essentially holds a Christian version of panentheism. But it seems that you and he have a lot of similar views on the Bible itself. He's for basic human rights, such as gay rights, racial equality, gender equality, and the like. And, he's an enjoyable read.

In response to your interpretation of the passages you quoted I would just like to provide perhaps another perspective.  You are correct in your assertion that "it is is finished" in itself is perhaps ambiguous.  When read together with the rest of Jesus' teachings about the law it becomes a little more clear.  That is also why I mentioned taking into consideration the relationship between Jesus and the religious authorities of his time, the pharisees.

This passage is in part about reunderstanding the significance of the law...what the law is really saying according to Jesus.  Immediately before the quoted text Jesus claims that he has not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. With this he goes on to redefine those who will listens understanding of the law.  When he speaks about the law not dissappearing it would appear that he is refering to a much different understanding of the law than would have been the norm for the pharisees. It is not the undestanding of the law that some religious fundamentalists have today. It is not the sort of understanding of the law that guides people to pull out a single verse to justify discrimination or bigotry. He is not speaking about the rule of law but the spirit of the law. This can seem confusing because of his language when he uses words like 'letter' of the law. 

The passages that follow bring more clarity however. Jesus goes on to speak about a number of the Laws of Moses and puts them into an entirely new perspective. To paraphrase -  'They say do not murder, I say do not be angry with your brother. They say do not be adulterous in your actions, I say do not objectify in your thought life'. So in way you are right that he does claim that the law will endure until the end but it is his understanding of the law by which  it is now understood by Christians like myself. So the law as it was previously understood...the law alone as a rule book by which we govern our actions (or the actions of others) is obsolete, however the spirit of the law is still of great significance, according to Jesus, in experiencing a human life to its fullest.

 


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When I read the ancient

When I read the ancient unscientific texts, I look to see what I might find as pride and wisdom from my ancestors rants.  Is it not true that the "laws" of nature, physics will always be true of this now , even if they change in a future time transition?


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I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:Matt

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

Matt C, thanks for you interest. Popular Alan Watts can be googled, and also found in Youtube etc. For me, he is generally much easier to listen to than to read. I really can't remember my favorites, but do remember some of his stuff really stuck instantly with me while some of it just breezed by me. Some great vids, some a bit slow or redundant, but always cool. I love that guy .... he was a partier too .... 

  Cool Alan Watts wrote: "The religion of Jesus was that he knew he was a son of God, and the phrase "son of " means "of the nature of," so that a son of God is an individual who realizes that he is, and always has been, one with God. "I and the Father are one." .......... and,  "Let this mind be in you." that is to say, let the same kind of [rational] consciousness be in you that was in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ knew he was God."

"Wake up" [said a buddha] and find out eventually who you also really are [ god ]. In our culture of course, they'll say you're crazy or you're blasphemous, and they'll either put you in jail or in the nut house (which is the same thing). But if you wake up in India and tell your friends and relations, "My goodness, I've just discovered that I'm God," they'll laugh and say, "Oh, congratulations, at last you found out." ~ Alan Watts 

WARNING: Let me clairfy that the following ramblings are presupposing a Christian worldview. I'm just sorting through some of the ideas I've been exposed to and attempting to form some sort of coherent thought.

Okay I get what you're saying. So perhaps it could also be supported by passages that acknowledge that we are children of God...in this way we could all be seen as God's sons and daughters. 

Personally I wouldn't probably take it as far as some might but it is at the very least somewhat compatible with the worldview to which  I subscribe. Interesting thought and I would like to hear it carried further perhaps by listening to Watts some more I will better understand the concept. 

It is not something that I've given much thought to at this point. My initial response would be this. If there was nothing before God and all that exists comes forth from that force or personality we call God then everything that has been created is in some way a direct extension of God. Being made in the image of God perhaps refers to this in that we are all essentially relational, intellegent and creative beings (sorry to anyone out there who was still holding onto the big white bearded guy in the sky imagery). Also when you said we are all one in your earlier post it made me think along a similar line. From a Christian worldview or course, if the spirit that dwells in us is just an extension of the divine, along with all of the matter that makes up our biology - well then we are essentially all one in some sense.

thanks for the thought. very interesting.

Peace and Love


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Cool Matt C , therefore I am

Cool Matt C , therefore I am atheist, and as I often say , so is my jesus , as all is one! No Master ....  Alan Watts asked , are we not the air , the earth , the sun , ETC ? !!! 


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Who? I'm old...

I don't know from Alan Watts but it sounds like Timothy Leary to me.


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Robert Satori wrote:I don't

Robert Satori wrote:
I don't know from Alan Watts but it sounds like Timothy Leary to me.
Imagine if Leary had never gotten into psychedelics and instead based most of his ideas in "Eastern" philosophy instead. That'd be Watts.

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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Have you read much of

Have you read much of Leary's stuff? Yeah, he loved the LSD, but he was a big part of the movement bringing over these ideas from India in the '60s.


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Robert Satori wrote:Have you

Robert Satori wrote:
Have you read much of Leary's stuff? Yeah, he loved the LSD, but he was a big part of the movement bringing over these ideas from India in the '60s.
Yes. I meant "Buddhist" where I said "Eastern".


 

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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Having skimmed the Wikipedia

Having skimmed the Wikipedia page on Watts, I think I may have read some of his works, but his name since slid out of my head (references to his being on YouTube threw me as well, since I have that preconception of Youtube being more of a soapbox for today's young people). Leary was still alive at the time I took an interest in the subject, so I have a more vibrant memory of the man in that case.


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Matt Churchman wrote:So you

Matt Churchman wrote:

So you don't think that any of the things you feel are good or bad apply to others as well? You make no moral judgments about the actions of others? It's just to each his own? So if everyone can just choose to live based on sensations then the religious individual who finds a great deal of good in their beleif in God has just as much right to live that out as you.

You just changed what we were talking about. We weren't talking about morals at all...

It seems to me that you are a lot like Totus_tous, who I respect, in your biblical beliefs. You believe it is true but justify any badness because god did it. As far as christian morals, you also don't get them directly from the bible. There is no true Christian way, as everyone interprets for themselves. I have no problem with that except that religious folk keep saying that athiests are less than them because we don't follow this imaginary way.

I have no problem with individuals and their belief in god. They do have a right to follow their own way. I don't like religious organizations.

Zen-atheist wielding Occam's katana.

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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Leary got Alan high on

Leary got Alan high on mushroom, as Alan wrote on it and said WOW, once is enough !

     

    


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Matt Churchman wrote:The

Matt Churchman wrote:

The passages that follow bring more clarity however. Jesus goes on to speak about a number of the Laws of Moses and puts them into an entirely new perspective. To paraphrase -  'They say do not murder, I say do not be angry with your brother. They say do not be adulterous in your actions, I say do not objectify in your thought life'. So in way you are right that he does claim that the law will endure until the end but it is his understanding of the law by which  it is now understood by Christians like myself. So the law as it was previously understood...the law alone as a rule book by which we govern our actions (or the actions of others) is obsolete, however the spirit of the law is still of great significance, according to Jesus, in experiencing a human life to its fullest.

Ah! That actually makes sense, given the context. Thanks for the clarification.

I guess  then the question becomes, "What is the spirit of the law when discussing selling your daughter into slavery?" (I know, it's a loaded question. I'm mostly just funnin' you.)

"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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ronin-dog

I'm not familiar with Totus.  I do think I see what you're getting at though.  You are right in saying that you can't read the bible and just get a clearly defined set of rules for living. There are certainly some things that appear clear enough but of course life has all sorts of ins and outs. What Jesus does do in terms of morality is he provides an ethic of love by which we are to operate in all things. he also gives teachings through parables as well as his actions to show us what love looks like in action. In this way there is a Christian way (in terms of morality)...the way of love. Though this can look very different for different people we have to be honest about our intentions in our attempt to live whatI would call a Christ-centred lifestyle. Of course we can not always forsee the impact of our actions on those around us and so we manifest this ethic of love imperfectly at times.

Well we are on the same page in that regard. I mean that I have a problem with religous and non-religious folk treating others as if they are less than themselves. I wonder though if by you calling someone elses concept of reality imaginary, even if it based upon just as much seeking and searching as your own you may be commiting a similar offense.  I mean that by making an absolute statement that their way of percieving things is imaginary are you not claiming that you have some sort of superior knowledge. Certainly you are open to the idea that there is perhaps someone more intellegent than yourself who has a much more solid base for their beleifs (perhaps someone who has dedicated their entire life to the study of these issues) that beleives differently from yourself. I actually don't think this is what you were meaning to say because of your statement at the bottom about having no problem with individuals who beleive in God. I'm more just having fun with you. I feel the same way about some religious organizations. I'm sure there are some good ones but I do see a lot of these groups on both sides that seem to have it all figured out...if we don't we must be lacking somehow I suppose :P 


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Hey speaking of points and

Hey speaking of points and posts, I'm almost to 6666 posts? Does something happen then?


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I realize some of the

I realize some of the positive things about religion but to be brief, it's negatives far out weigh it's positives on humanity. Religion is the pollution of knowledge and wisdom. 

Religion is full of dogmatic superstitious idol worship and certainly not Jesus or Christ like by any wisdom I can construct from the perverted conflicting cannon edit of a story character Jesus. No wise one would call them self christian and certainly not my atheistic Jesus character construct. For many to be a Jesus, fan such as my self, is to view christianity and the likes of bible Paul as anti-christ. Most xains are Paulines, followers of clever Paul. 

"If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be--a Christian."
--MARK TWAIN

"People who don't want their beliefs ridiculed shouldn't hold ridiculous beliefs."

"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion."
- Steven Weinberg, Nobel Prize-winning physicist

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

"Organised religion is the ultimate form of blasphemy."

"The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can change this." -- Einstein

Science is the study of gawed, religion is the perversion of gawed.

6666666666666 ?  

 

 

 

 


Matt Churchman
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Hey man, I hear your

Hey man, I hear your frustrations with religion and the ways in which it has been abused....really in so many ways. I guess it also depends on how you define the word. To me religion is not neccessarily the problem. Simply beleiving in God and living that belief out in your life appear on the surface to be only as positive or negative as it's effects on your own life. It is the human traits of arrogance and thirst for power and superiority that are actually the root of the problem. Religion is merely a tool that is used to achieve these ends. Look at the various negative things you would claim to be the product of beleif in Christ - then look to the teachings of Christ to discern whether these actions are a product of Christs teachings or or do they come from some other place. If they are not directly related to Christs teachings (and I would argue in most cases ie the crusdaes they are actually in direct opposition to Christs teachings) then they are not really the product of religion. I hear you though. I don't want to minimize the disgusting things that have been done in the name of God because I find them just as dispicable as you do.

Religious institions are definatley full of dogma and superstition.

"No wise one would call them self christian and certainly not my atheistic Jesus character construct." -

OUCH! Fair enough. That is your opinion but I would have to respectfully disagree. I have in my life come into contact with what I would call 'wise' people of all different backgrounds and religious affiliations (including athiests).

I am interested by some of your beleifs expressed here. Your 'athiestic jesus character construct'? I am not sure how you've constructed this character based on the information that we presently have about the life of Jesus...perhaps this is what you mean by 'jesus character' but I can find little to support the position that Jesus was in any way atheist. At the very least, according to the defintion of the RRS, Jesus may be looked at as agnostic perhaps as he almost certainly does not appear to define himself by doubt...which is what the RRs calls an athiest. His confidence in the existence of a supereme entity seems clear enough but I would be interested in hearing what you have to say on this subject.

Also from reading some of Pauls letters I find his work incredibly consistent with the teachings of Jesus as I read them.

 

"Unquestionably. No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life. How different, for instance, is the impression which we receive from an account of legendary heroes of antiquity like Theseus. Theseus and other heroes of his type lack the authentic vitality of Jesus.No man, can deny the fact that Jesus existed, nor that his sayings are beautiful. Even if some them have been said before, no one has expressed them so divinely as he."

"If anyone consdiers himself religous and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he decieves himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

James 1:26-27

Einstein

 


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Thanks MattC. There is a lot

Thanks MattC. There is a lot to respond to here, and many of my RRS posts try to do just that. You can click on anyones name here at RRS, including yourself , then click the "track" button to follow all posts that a person has been involved in.

I preach atheism a bit unique from the norm. I use a bit of exaggerating to create discussion and debate ..... as Jesus, "I did not come to bring peace" .... with the dogmists .... but to divide and expose the hypocrites !!!!!

I actually consider the character of Jesus philosophy to be close to "pantheism", or buddhism ... And talented Paul did write some agreeable things. "What is Love" was pretty nice.

Yes we all want a better world. Idol worship and self separation from "g-o-d" is not helpful to this end. Admiration of wisdom is all good.  I've asked 1000's of time, "what isn't g-o-d?"  Well it the sure heck isn't any of the separatist definitions such the "god of abraham".

As contradictory as this may sound, I am a hard core atheist because of my simple god definition that god is ALL, as all is ONE. I see this reflected in the story Jesus character, especially in the dead sea scrolls, in buddism, and much of eastern god related philosophy. All the wise ones said essentially the same things. It is fine to have a favorite mentor of admiration.

I hope you will understand my simple point, and read and watch the links I include in my past posts. We are all students and teachers wanting to better communicate and help make our world a better place.

When it comes to "g-o-d", I reject most everything written dogmaticly "religious" on the subject and the dictionary. Was Jesus a Christian as when reading to then summarize all the ancient writing we can find on that "philosophy"? .... Truthfully I say definitely not. Maybe more to the point is what does it mean to be saved?  To me, it would simply mean rejecting all separatism, superstition, and idol worship, and atheism is that very message. Atheism is the "good word". Wonderful atheism is. Godly !

I appreciate your obvious caring, and empathy, as your freely and so honestly sharing your thoughts and your serious search for helpful wisdom.  Stay the course. We share the same wishes ..... Nice to know you, me god as YOU ! Me and god are "atheist", no idols before us, as we are ONE.    LOL

 Don't get stuck in words and babel, as a famous buddha said, "fix my words".....

 Check this out, My atheistic/pantheistic Jesus approves.

"Wisdom of the Buddha" , 8 min

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTsb-woP3jI

Carl Sagan - "Pale Blue Dot" , 3 min

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p86BPM1GV8M

P.S. Bible James is my favorite little book in the bible, since last reviewing the NT.

 

 


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Hey Matt I did private email

Hey Matt I did private email you don't know if you got it, you are slightly more interesting than your average christian (no less wrong but more interesting Smiling

 

MrJonno


Matt Churchman
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Sorry buddy,I actually

Sorry buddy,

I actually thought I had got a PM from you late one night. When i went back to check I had two others from another poster but yours wasn't there so I thought perhaps my ind was playing tricks on me. I just went back to check now and I can't even find my inbox...call me technologically challeneged.

"Hey Matt I did private email you don't know if you got it, you are slightly more interesting than your average christian (no less wrong but more interesting Smiling"

Haha...That last part actually made me laugh out loud when I read it. Anyways yeah for sure private message me and we'll give this another try. Thanks!

 

 


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Oh yeah I think I see what

Oh yeah I think I see what you're saying about Jesus not being Christian when you put it like that. Most definately, from the accounts of the NT I think He would probably take serious issue with a lot of what the 'church' has represented over the years.  It's funny because it's almost like Christians have in many ways become like the pharisees that Jesus so often criticized.

I have also asked this question..."what does it mean to be saved" and as well what does it mean to "beleive" in Jesus. Interesting to think about it. 

I will definately check out the links you've posted and I hope if I have any questions you might be willing to walk me through some of what you've taken from them.

James is one of my favourites as well.

Peace and Love

 


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Matt Churhman, I wish I had

Matt Churhman, I wish I had my favorite sites in some kind of logical order of rating I could send you, but I don't. I just get a bit of inspiration from each of them, like this ones below. For me a historical Jesus or Buddha etc, are really besides the point. The concepts and stoies and foklore and the varied ancient philosophies that were, and latter came from them is the point. Jesus and Buddha etc are concepts and opinions of many. All words ever written are the words of humankind.

I have agreements and disagreements with all sites regarding g-o-d. My main point always is that "we and everything is g-o-d, and that there is no thinking "creator" of existence, no master idol to worship."  Love is my favorite thing.

I really should assemble a list of sites for questioning christians.  It's been a long time since I visited these sites but some thing there clicked in my head .... Yes , the courage to say I am indeed god as YOU, and so I am indeed an Atheist.   LOL

http://www.atheists-for-jesus.com/

http://www.jesusreligion.com/

ETC , like I said, "some of this" is even silly and I oppose, and that is the blessing of logic, and study, and self realization of awaking to what we are. We are god    The churches are full of "vipers and snakes, hypocrites", separatists, idol worshipers. They are the enemy to understand, as love is to understand. The Jesus of Paul is full of idol worship  dogma  .....  

 I can also construct a sick crazy Jesus from the NT .....  ummm  how come ?

 

 

 

 

 


Matt Churchman
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Cool,Yeah I totally didn't

Cool,

Yeah I totally didn't suppose that you would neccessarily agree with everything said on the sites as I do not agree with all the authors or websites that have helped me in developing my worldview. That's why I figured I would maybe dig deeper into what parts you did  find useful if I had any questions after I check them out.

I don't suppose too many people on here would be interested in hearing this conversation but I was wondering if I might PM you (or you could PM me) to get at what you are saying here about "the Jesus of Paul being full of idol worship and dogma". I'm not sure I would totally agree but I am definately interested in hearing how you have constructed this opinion and what particular passages that may have lead you to this beleif. Also about your final comment here about being able to construct a sick-crazy Jesus from the NT...I suppose you mean that if you take 'jesus soundbites' or isolate passages without regard for the whole you could paint a picture of a sick-crazy Jesus?

I am really interested in this idea...that we are all god, but there is no god? What is god if humans are all god? Wouldn't we just be human then? And is it possible that we are all 100% God, but not 100% of God? Like my arm is 100% me but not 100% percent of me? Maybe I will find a little more clarity into your beleif once I check out the websites you linked. 

Peace and Love


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I can try, but I am drinking

I can try Matt C, but I am drinking Rum now as the musicians here are jamming.

   What is heaven is an important starting question ? Freedom from separatism. I think logical definitions of religious words is a big part of the problem. As unscientific our ancient ancestors were , I don't think they were all simply superstitious fools. Clever Paul rings of a personal intent, an egocentric , a lust for greed. Read his words, I forget the details.

   This part of that site, at page end, called blog, is a clue,

http://rescuingjesus.org/

   And a little above ,

http://www.atheists-for-jesus.com/paul.php

That site is largely an objection to Paul, and there are many others on the internet

  What person would say they are god? Well, many a wise one .... What cannot be god? , and therefore there is no god thingy to worship, as there is no master. Zero superstition and idol worship. Simple. Jesus was atheist ! Like Buddha .... Paul played on the peoples fears and emotions.

  To understand Jesus and the message of the many wise ones, is to know you are 100% god. The christ isn't just in you, You are the Christ ! .... as all is the very nature of all connected existence , and in any "god" christ sense equal. Go science, the study of "god" .... ourselves, what we are.  

 

 


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I've private messaged you

I've private messaged you again Matt, hopefully  the Christian Internet Spam filter won't have caught it Smiling


Matt Churchman
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I sent you an email

I sent you an email Smiling