Essay I wrote

Weston Bortner
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Essay I wrote

            I suppose I should begin by saying that I am not an expert on anything, and I don't claim to be. I am merely a college student who has spent a lot of time pondering somethings. I'm sure very many people will look at what I have written and think of it as ridiculous, but I hope to at least put some thoughts on the table. This does not mean that these thoughts have not already been introduced by somebody, perhaps Hume or some other person brought them up. But, no matter what you think; you can either take what I say, or leave it. That is up to you. I hope to learn some things by telling people what I think and perhaps being shown how wrong I am.

            This has been something of a big thing for me in recent months. The idea of going against the mainstream religion, Christianity, and it's Apologists and it's ethics and teachings, etc. But, in writing this essay, that is precisely what I plan to do.

            I don't agree with the ideals of the Christian faith, or any other religion for that matter, and I also find issue with the arguments of some of the faithful that they are not only morally superior to all that are not faithful, but they also claim superiority over the faithful who have faith that does not line up with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and/or Jesus the Nazarene (In regards to the research presented by Rene Salm of the existence of Nazareth). 

            The Bible is no longer relevant in my opinion. If you were to examine the Holy Judea-Christian Bible, King James Version, you'll note some of the cooky things that it spouts. We are not sickened by devils, women and homosexuals are not inferior, we were not created from dirt (though the debate continues), different cultures did not come from a tower, donkeys cannot talk, burning bushes can't talk, snakes don't talk, a man can't walk on water, he can't change water to wine, he can't transfigure on a mountain, and any other absurd event that takes place in the Old and New Testaments. In the many books of the Old Testament, God murders and supports slaughter of several people, inevitably violating one of his own sacred commandments: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Why, even if such a God exists, should we honor and worship him if he is such a gross hypocrite? What glory does this omnipotent being have if he can't does not honor the holy laws that he created for man to follow. Many would probably answer, “It is God. His will be done” or “God made the laws for man to follow. It does not say he has to follow them”. Then, if this be the case, God is not all loving and not all wise. He, in fact, quite human and can be jealous, angry, and vengeful. He is no better than any of the other Gods that have been offered to humans throughout the ages. Zeus was profoundly unloyal to his wife, threw his lightning bolt without reason, the God of War, Ares, was known for his unstoppable slaughter, and basically all of the Roman and Greek Gods had their fallible humanistic traits. This, in my opinion, is the same with the Judea-Christian God, the most famous one of them all. The one that has influenced several hundred millions of people, and still does today.

            The mightiest religion comes from dubious activities in Palestine; one that very many people, even in the area at the time, apparently didn't notice or had little interest in, but that can be debated, I'm sure, by Apologists against non-believers of Christianity. I don't know who said it, but, I'll quote, “If you want to know what's wrong with your religion, ask someone of a different religion”. What evidence we have for the existence of a man name “Jesus of Nazareth” is debatable, ergo no answer is readily available. Apologists will tell you, with one hundred percent certainty, that things such as the Resurrection of Christ can be proved historically. But, as I say, this is debatable and has been disputed not just between Atheists and Christians, but even some believers of the faith agree that Jesus rising from the dead is not provable with any real certainty.

            What I intend to do in these essays here (if I can call them that) is not to really prove anything. I will put my disclaimer here: I am not a trained professional of anything, except I do have a knack for writing, hence my desire of becoming an author. I am simply a Freshman college student who wears a bowler hat (or derby), who sits around most days thinking about random things, such as religion, history, and what ever other garbage that entertains me for short while before I move onto the next obsession. Before the real religious analysis, I looked through the events of John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination and discovered that Lee Harvey Oswald was in fact the man who shot the president and there was nobody else involved. Of course you may disagree with me on that.

            While I have brought it up, I want to draw a parallel of religious discussion that I found while studying the Kennedy assassination. Around that topic, there are two sides: Those who believe in conspiracy, and those who don't. Conspiracy believers of the Kennedy assassination have to believe some kooky things for their theories to work. For example, some believe that Kennedy's body, carried by a plane to Lovefield, TX, was stolen, mutilated as to fit with the implications of the “magic bullet” (which wasn't so magic, as I came to discover), and then delivered the dead man to the Bethesda hospital, while, accidentally, forgetting to put the brain back in the president's head. This theory is still believed, despite numerous testimony by people who were actually there, such as Dave Powers, who state that no such event could have possibly taken place.

            What does this have to do with religious debates, you may be asking? Well, quite simply, the fact that people who are try to defend religion are, inevitably, trying to defend things that are quite absurd.  Kennedy's body being stolen was just one example of some of the far-fetched stories that sound convincing to the ignorant person, but eventually fall apart when you examine them in detail.  Now, I'm not saying that religion is the result of a conspiracy (though there are people who believe such a thing), but, from my perspective, there are interesting parallels between those arguing for religion, to those who argue that Lee Harvey Oswald was, in fact, innocent of the shooting attributed to him. 

            History got muddled when it came to Jesus. Understandable, considering the susperstitious nature of people in antiquity, the fact that we weren’t there to see it (I’m looking at you, Ken Ham), and the fact that arguments about Christianity’s authenticity have been going on for centuries, further muddling things. But history was also muddled with Lee Harvey Oswald. There, we know that he was a historical figure, but the amount of rumor and legend written about him has made him one of the most famous people in all history. Was he a member of a conspiracy? Was he merely a pasty? Was he the lone nut? C.S. Lewis told us that Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic, or the Christ. Lee Harvey Oswald was either a lone nut, a patsy, or a conspirator. Are the Gospels telling the truth when the authors claim to have been eyewitnesses to the events of Jesus? A woman has come out and proclaimed herself to be a witness to the life of Oswald and claims that there was conspiracy. Is she telling the truth? After all why would she (or the Gospel writers) lie? Could it be that she (and the Gospel writers) are simply deluded individuals or misunderstood what happened?

            I sometimes feel that the people in support of the Bible are trying immensely hard to continue the livelyhood of an old book, which a great deal of people, all around the world, do just fine without, and did fine before it existed.  What use do we have for Deuteronomy and list of laws that are of little relevance? What use could we possibly have for a corporal punishment of a man picking up sticks on the Sabbath? What use do we have for a list of codes that are no longer followed by even Christians themselves? Thou Shalt Not Kill is constantly being broken. Jesus' teaching of do unto others as you would unto you, is a rule that absolutely no one follows, though it is one of the wisest words in the Bible (though not exclusive to it).

            To me, there are many places where the religious zealots of today try and confuse and/or coax people into believing what they do by showing rational reasons for doing so. These rational reasons are, at many times, not often actual proof. Many of them are simply fallible human beings trying to use fallible human thinking using logic to decide what happened. Perhaps there was a time where it was reasonable to assume that we were created by a God, but now, with evolution, we realize that that might not be the case. After all, who, with using simple philosophy, would have guessed that, rather than being created by a God, that we evolved from earlier species? Philosophy isn’t the answer to our questions. The First Cause argument might make sense now (if it does) but we might be surprised to find that the universe is a lot more difficult to understand than simply “Something caused the universe, therefore it is logical to assume it was a God, who is exempt from the rules of time and didn’t need to be created.”

            Of course the religious are not certainly wrong, and claiming that they are isn't exactly true.  They, in some circles, may not have much merit to their claims and may be laughed at as amateurs in their arguments; but one must consider a system of truth which can be explained in two examples, one a quote, the other a consideration. This system is, naturally, nothing really new, but I will show it just for the sake of it.

             Alfred Wegner, a meteorologist, was the man who proposed or revolutionized the theory of continental drift. He was not exclusively trained as a geologist and he was laughed out of rooms when he proposed this theory that we now know happens without a shadow of a doubt. Therefore, the religious (and I do mean creationists and the like) are not wrong because they are minorities. To believe that it is true is simply an Ad Populum fallacy, regardless of who is saying it, because experts can always be wrong.

            However, the quote hinders the consideration.

            “The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” - Carl Sagan

            Now, I have encountered some who say this might be viewed as close-minded when it regards science and that we should treat everyone who proposes something fairly and not ridicule them. However, this is just simply not true for two reasons. If we allowed every person who came up with some “revolutionary” idea, we would be swarmed with incredible theories, some of which most likely would have no place in a science lab or otherwise. But, more importantly, the science community should ask for evidence when the person proposes a new  “revolutionary” idea, and that they must propose a hypothesis of how this will continuously affect the world around us and then test it to make sure that it is actually true. Such, if my understanding is correct, is the scientific method, which will not take unmeasurable notions as something that needs to be tested for validity.

            Basically, my point, and it goes for me and this essay, is: “Be open to those who come to you with new ideas. But be wary, as they may be deluded.”

Our job on this Earth, is to take care of each other. Something that we have ultimately failed at doing, hence why we are so miserable.


Weston Bortner
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This is actually the first

This is actually the first part of an essay I wrote. It's not a professional essay, more like a reflection essay.

Our job on this Earth, is to take care of each other. Something that we have ultimately failed at doing, hence why we are so miserable.


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Writing is not for the timid

 

 

Weston Bortner wrote:

I suppose I should begin by saying that I am not an expert on anything, and I don't claim to be. I am merely a college student But, no matter what you think; you can either take what I say, or leave it. That is up to you. I hope to learn some things by telling people what I think and perhaps being shown how wrong I am.

 

              This has been something of a big thing for me in recent months. The idea of going AGAINST the mainstream religion, Christianity, and it's Apologists and its' ethics and teachings, etc.

 

            I don't agree with the ideals of the Christian faith, or any other religion

 

 .. The Bible is no longer relevant in my opinion. If you were to examine the Holy Judea-Christian Bible, 

            Basically, my point, and it goes for me and this essay, is: “Be open to those who come to you with new ideas. But be wary, as they may be deluded.”

 

   

    IMHO,   Nobody has to live according to the morals of your religion.  Sounds like an instance believers love to exploit  even might come across as too stereotypical.  It screams bias.  You must be very mindful to not make purely rhetorical points that are not looking for an answer   You have to take a reader on a journey. I think you need to beef up the reasons for "why" the bible is not relevant.  While displaying you have  not fallen prey to the danger of seeming too biased (harder to do than you think).  One author wrote the pages of the Old Testament were analogous to being "preserved in amber".  What drives everyone insane is with the 'bias'  shown by "believers" will tend  to twist any set of standards one would naturally use (like 'inquiry') to determine if something should be taken as purely literal or allegorical in its' interpretation.   Dont you do something just as bad.  There are innumerable ways to look at the Scriptures, you have to understand   So  there lies a nasty can of worms for you :~ 

 

 Note :: I do hope this will help you. I hope to contribute a good thing that you find useful; I do apologize for not saying what I thought: Loved the read  even if I didnt say that to you  Smiling 

 

 --  --  -- --

 

God told me not to write a book, I was devastated.

 

: 

           

 

           


ex-minister
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excellent. keep writing,

excellent. keep writing, keep thinking.

Weston Bortner wrote:

Therefore, the religious (and I do mean creationists and the like) are not wrong because they are minorities.

I would not consider creationists a minority. You have fundamentalist Christians, Muslims and Hindus who believe in it. I think that constitutes as a majority.

If you are hinting at the backdoor creationist, intelligent design, then yes they are free to say their theory. But the problem is that have no backup evidence. The are not adding anything, mostly arguments from ignorance.

The proper procedure is to come up with a hypothesis and determine a scientific way to test it, build those up with facts and propose your theory. Submit it for peer review publicly and others will review and run your same tests to see if they can be repeated and if so they may develop additional tests and provide additional facts. You don't get your gold star right away. This is an international process. That is how it is unlike religion. In religion it is a "revelation" and local and you get your gold star right away. You cannot test it in the same way. you must believe it before you can understand. i.e. bullshit.

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


Brian37
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The bible was NEVER relevant

The bible was NEVER relevant to reality anymore than Santa is relevant to reality.

I would put it more along the lines that it was understandable in our species history to make up all sorts of deities because we are a pattern seeking species. Combine that pattern seeking and gap filling with the fact that humans didn't know better back then, it was understandable. But now that we know lots more about the universe and evolution now, those stupid myths should rightfully die like one gives up on the idea of Santa when they grow up.

But the Bible was never relevant, it was and unfortunately still is, popular, just as other religion's superstitions are still popular. I wouldn't give Christianity special attention like this. It is not special, it is merely one of a history of traditions in human history.

 

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Wonderist
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All comments are my own

All comments are my own opinion, of course. Take 'em or leave 'em as you please. I only hope some are helpful.

Weston Bortner wrote:
But, no matter what you think; you can either take what I say, or leave it.

I'm still not 100% sure when semi-colons are correct and when they're not. The last thing I read, I gathered that they separate two closely related sentences which are basically talking about the same thing, but with different emphasis or adding extra detail to an initial statement. But I'm not even clear on that. As such, fistful of salt.

But, I'm pretty sure that; this is the wrong way to use one. The first part is not a sentence on its own. I.e. if you had replaced the ; with a . you would not have ended up with a grammatical sentence.

Here are two alternative ways I've heard suggested:

"But, no matter what you think, you can either take what I say, or leave it." (This is just resorting to commas when in doubt.)

"But--no matter what you think--you can either take what I say, or leave it." (This is deliberate use of an em-dash (I used the ASCII approximation with two short dashes), to emphasize one clause/phrase as parenthetical (without using parentheses, which aren't used much in fiction/literature).)

Quote:
The idea of going against the mainstream religion, Christianity, and it's Apologists and it's ethics and teachings, etc.

"Its" instead of "it's" in this case. 'Its' is the possessive pronoun. 'It's' is a contraction of 'it is'. Its makes sense if you compare it to his and her. "He took some of Jack's money out of his pocket, and put it in Georgia's hand. She bought some food for her dog, Zipper. The dog's tail began wagging as it ate its food."

Used together: "What's that nasty rash marring the complexion of the teenaged corpse lying there?" "Oh that rash? It's its zits."

I usually remember this by thinking: If I replaced i-t-s with i-t - i-s, would it make sense? If not, then I leave out the apostrophe. If yes, then I put it in.

(Beware of inline grammar corrections which I'll put in square brackets and bold, [like this].)

Quote:
            The Bible is no longer relevant[,] in my opinion. If you were to examine the Holy Judea-Christian Bible [is there a version by this name? I'm not familiar with it], King James Version, you'll note some of the cooky [kooky; related to kooks, not cooks] things that it spouts. We are not sickened by devils, women and homosexuals are not inferior, we were not created from dirt

The last sentence begins reading like: We are not sickened by devils, women, and homosexuals ...

I think this might be a possible occasion for trying semi-colons, but again, I'm not even greater than 50% sure. When in doubt, you can always simply turn them into complete, independent sentences. Sometimes this actually works nicely to change up the flow of reading so it's more rapid-fire at this point. Two possibilities:

"We are not sickened by devils; women and homosexuals are not inferior; we were not created from dirt"

"We are not sickened by devils. Women and homosexuals are not inferior. We were not created from dirt"

(After seeing the long list of observations, I think you could make a case for keeping the commas, but I think you'd need to clean up the beginning of the list so that it's clear that 'women and homosexuals' are not just two more things that 'we are not sickened by'.)

Quote:
What glory does this omnipotent being have if he can't does not honor the holy laws that he created for man to follow.

Missing word there. Probably either or, or and. Or and/or, or maybe: "he can't, and does not, honor". I'm not sure if that's actually grammatical, but I find myself using it quite often as a way of emphasizing just how bad religious ideas (such as this god) are. I say stuff like this all the time: Not only does the Bible suck donkey balls as story book, but it simply can't, and certainly does not, serve as a moral basis for any person we could reasonably call 'moral'. But then, I sometimes write run-on-ish and ranty kinds of sentences.

Quote:
He, in fact, quite human

I'm a big fan of 'in fact', in fact. In fact, I probably use it too much to be honest. In fact! I've used it so much that I think I might, in fact, have some tips on how to use it, in fact.

First of all, if you remove the 'in fact' and any surrounding commas, then the sentence should read as a normal sentence as if nothing was missing. The 'in fact' is just there for emphasis, IMO.

I tend to sort my points in a general order of least-damning to most-damning. So, I'll start with a weak criticism, but then I build on it, and then build an even bigger attack on that, and then finally I deliver the power punch at the end (when I actually pull it off).

So, not only are your shoes actually untied, but they are also soaking wet. And what's more, they are hanging from the power lines down the street. So, we know you don't have your shoes tied! In fact! We have scientific evidence that Billy the Bully threw your shoes up in the power lines last week during the storm, which explains why you were making flip-flop sounds when you murdered your girlfriend last night. Arrest him, boys!

Long story short, there are two ways I would recommend here, and they depend on where you want to put the 'in fact' pause and emphasis. If you're following on from a previous point, and making it more damning, then I would usually lead with the 'in fact'. If you're instead countering a specific point of your opposition, then put the 'in fact' closest to where you highlight the contradiction in their claims:

"In fact, He is quite human" or

"He is, in fact, quite human"

I would go with the latter, because the thing you are trying to do is emphasize the contradiction between the religious claims and the 'fact' that their 'god' is really just a flawed human (fictional) character.

Quote:
without reason, the God of War, Ares, was known for his unstoppable slaughter, and basically

Again, I would investigate whether semi-colon might help here. I think there are just too many commas. If in doubt, you can prevent run-on sentences by just splitting them into multiple sentences. It will read perfectly fine that way, though it might not look so sophisticated as a well-placed semi-colon.

"without reason. The God of War, Ares, was known"

Quote:
had little interest in, but that can be debated,

Separate sentences at But.

Quote:
Apologists will tell you, with one hundred percent certainty, that things such as the Resurrection of Christ can be proved historically.

Two possible ways this could be misinterpreted: 1) That the apologists actually have 100% certainty, 2) That you believe that you have 100% certainty that all apologists "will tell you ... that such things as the Resurrection...".

Any theist reading this is going to look for ways to intentionally misinterpret you, to show that you are not thinking clearly about the subject and that you are over-stating your case because (as they all know) you are so 'arrogant'. Try to be very clear about the degree of certainty you yourself have, the actual degree of certainty it is worth giving someone (benefit of the doubt, for example), and the other person's belief in their own degree of certainty. I might have phrased it:

"Apologists will tell you, with claims of one hundred percent certainty,..."

Here you pin that 'arrogance' right where it belongs, on the one making the claim of absolute certainty. And you also avoid 'reading' their minds and saying that "they all think they have 100% certainty", which you couldn't really defend either. But, if someone makes a public claim that X is true with 100% certainty, then all you have to say is "Pastor Joe made a claim that he is 100% certain that X". Notice the subtle re-wording of the phrase. They speak about the exact same event: The first is waaay open to misinterpretation, but the second leaves no doubt that it was Pastor Joe himself who made the 'arrogant' claim.

 

Quote:
Now, I'm not saying that religion is the result of a conspiracy (though there are people who believe such a thing), but, from my perspective, there are interesting parallels between those arguing for religion, to those who argue that Lee Harvey Oswald was, in fact, innocent of the shooting attributed to him.

The first phrase is not needed, IMO. The analogy you are using works when you side with the skeptics on both cases, and the Christians are the conspiracy theorists on the other hand. If you're concerned about readers getting confused by the analogy and thinking you're putting forth the opposite one, I would suggest not trying to 'correct' that misinterpretation first. It just confuses things for readers who don't make the wrong connection.

Instead, just re-word the way you introduce the analogy, so that you juxtapose the Christian side of things with the conspiracist side of things earlier on. E.g.: Like the conspiracy theorists, the Christians ....

This makes the analogy rock-solid against being flipped around by mistake. Only a moron could read that and confuse your analogy. And in that case, you just point out that they are a moron for misinterpreting your clear writing, and move on. (Assuming you're interacting with the reader, that is.)

Quote:
this might be viewed as close-minded

I believe it should be closed-minded.

Quote:
If we allowed every person who came up with some “revolutionary” idea, we would be swarmed with incredible theories

Something's off in this sentence. If we allowed every person ... to do what?

Quote:
Basically, my point, and it goes for me and this essay, is: “Be open to those who come to you with new ideas. But be wary, as they may be deluded.”

Excellent note to end on. Is that literally a quote from someone else, though? If not, then I might remove the " marks and instead make the entire two sentences bold or italic or otherwise offset from the main text

I think it's a solid essay, concept wise. I don't disagree with any major point. I sense some of Sagan's Demon Haunted World in there. If you haven't already read that one, get it ASAP, it will solidify those concepts for you, and give you some great examples that you can rely on to help you illustrate your basic skeptical stance.

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A_Nony_Mouse
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.

If one is on a mountain and has a fear of heights would could turn white but I don't think that is what they were trying to say.

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml