I'm on the verge of Deconversion

simmo
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I'm on the verge of Deconversion

Hello everyone. 
I had written out a longwinded post here about my journey from true believer to my current state of what I would call semi-decoversion, however before I could post it I hit the wrong button at the wrong time and lost it all. The Christian side of my brain tells me that God didn't want me to post my comments, therefore I lost them, whereas the rational side of my brain tells me I'm just an idiot. But I am going to try again, albeit in a shortened point form. I am looking for comments from atheists and theists to try and help me make sense of things.
- I have always gone to church and had a 'born again' experience and belief as a teenager.- I have been reading many things recently cause me to question the truth of a historical Jesus, particularly the lack of mention of him by historians of the time and the similarities of the Jesus story with prior Egyptian gods.If he did not ever exist as a living person who lived, preached, performed miracles, was crucified and then rose from the dead, then everyting about Christianity changes.- I am still skeptical about there being no creator 'god', as the intracasies of life, the world and the universe seem difficult to imagine happening by chance, so at this stage I'm still with the watchmaker people.- The idea of God answering prayer seems to be an increasingly unlikely thing to me. The number of people who cry out to God for healing and don't get a yes is incredibly high, with the number of genuine healings not  easily explained as having been medically or naturally induced is extremely small.- Despite the negativity of many towards Christianity, I see much to like about it's effect on the world. Much of the humanitarian work throughout the world is done in the name of Christ, and the selflessness that is displayed by many (and should be by all) Christians makes the world a better place. - The teachings of Jesus and Paul in the new testament  are in general great guidelines for life. - The moral codes that Christians generally seek to live by are positive ones.
So at this point I am having severe doubts about the validilty of Christianity yet still see that living a Christian life as being the best way to live. Does that sound confusing to you? Because at the moment many things are confusing me, so I would appreciate your feedback. I hope this makes sense - my original post was far more eloquent than this one, but I was not going to attempt it all again lest I lose it asecond time. If this post doesn't go through perhaps I will take it as a sign from God that I was not going to post it (not that any of you will see it) or perhaps it will just be confirmation that I am truly a moron. 


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Similarities to earlier

Similarities to earlier stories aren't the only reasons that someone would doubt Jesus was a real person.  I'd recommend taking a listen to this show that Richard Carrier did on "how not to argue the mythicist position."  

 http://infidelguy.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=178318

 

"Richard Carrier appears on the show to discuss theories on the origins of Christianity that imply a mythic Christ. The primary focus of this show will be to take a critical look at the errors of those who promote mythic Christ theories. In other words, this show is about how NOT to argue for mythicism."


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simmo wrote: I realise

simmo wrote:
I realise that there is much about Christianity that makes no sense, and that is what I am trying to explore. As I have stated before, I still want it to be true, but am having a hard time being convinced that it is.

What are your reactions when you find something about christianity that doesn't make sense? What are your thoughts when you realize something is difficult to reconcile with reality? 


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Quote: Similarities to

Quote:
Similarities to earlier stories aren't the only reasons that someone would doubt Jesus was a real person. I'd recommend taking a listen to this show that Richard Carrier did on "how not to argue the mythicist position."

Simmo, here's a question I want you to ask yourself, and try very hard to take yourself out of the mindset of not questioning Christianity. Try not to assume anything is true, and just ask the question.

Like stuntgibbon said, earlier stories aren't nearly the only reasons to doubt that Jesus existed, but let's look at this for a second.

Have you ever thought about how myths form? Even if you believe that Christianity is true, you believe that other myths exist, and that they have formed gradually, right?

Let's look at Santa Claus for a minute, ok? Everybody knows who Santa Claus is, right? He's the jolly guy in the red suit who comes down chimneys and brings presents to little kids on Christmas, right? But where did this myth come from? That's a lot harder to answer.

Our Santa is most often traced to a mispronunciation of Sinterklaas, which is a variant of Sint Nicolaas. So just the name has gone through no less than two changes if we draw a direct line. But, the line is not direct.

Saint Nicholas was a 4th Century bishop in Lycia, which was in present day Turkey. The legend of St. Nicholas included his generous gifts to the poor, particularly one notable gift to three poor girls so they wouldn't have to become prostitutes. He has been historically portrayed as a bearded man in church robes.

Before Christianity reached the Germanic people, there were stories of the god Odin (who was known as Wodan, too! Isn't it amazing how myth changes!) who would have a great hunting party at Yule. Children would put their boots, filled with carrots, near the chimney for Odin's flying horse, Sleipnir. Odin would reward them by replacing the carrots with candy. After the Christians took over German culture, they adapted this festival and replaced Odin with St. Nicholas.

An earlier folk tale tells of a holy man and a demon. There was a monster who would slither down chimneys and slaughter innocent children, stuffing them in a sack and scampering back up the chimney with his prize. The holy man sought out the monster and tricked it into wearing blessed shackles. From then on, the monster had to slither down chimneys, but instead of killing the children, he had to do household chores and bring gifts. In an early version of this story, the demon had to recruit elves and imps from the forest to help him.

(See how the myth is forming from different elements?)

In Dutch folklore, De Goede Sint, or The Friendly Saint, had a beard, a hat and a spear (which changed into a staff over the years.) He would ride a magical white horse through the air, and he had servants with him carrying a cloth bag in which to capture naughty children. (Naughty or nice? Notice the previous versions didn't say anything about deserving the gifts!)

In very early versions, the helpers or servants were actually ravens, and were derived from earlier Odin myths.

In later version -- in fact, until World War II -- St. Nicholas was helped by one servant, an Ethiopian boy name Piter. St. Nicholas and his little black servant went around doing Santa type stuff. Later, Piter became a chimney sweep because it was thought that the white/black images from before the war were racist. Since he was a chimney sweep, he became white with a sooted face to avoid the racist image!

Santa Claus in the American form originated in roughly 1809, when Washington Irving adapted Sinterklaas, did away with the clerical frock, put him in a green Dutch sailor suit, gave him a green pipe, and made him rather jolly looking.

In 1823, "A Visit From St. Nicholas" was published. It has become known as "The Night Before Christmas." This is the first mention of the reindeer.

Simmo, this is only a brief summary of the more common Santa Clause myths. There are many more. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if someone disagrees with my story! There are probably other versions of all of these stories that I just told you about -- regional variations, etc...

Here's the kicker. This has all been meticulously written down, and we still don't really agree on it.

You see how myth works? It changes as the times change. Most importantly, I want you to see how at least four or five different stories, each substantially different, but similar in some ways, were amalgamated. Is Santa Clause like the saint who shackled the demon? Not even close. Both stories have a bag, candy, and a chimney, but demons and saints, versus a jolly old man who lives in the north pole with midgets who make toys and flying reindeer and a jolly Mrs. Clause who patiently waits as her husband flies all over the world?

Hardly.

Now, I want you to think objectively about the Jesus myth. There are individual similarities in Horus, in Mythras, in Marduk, in a half a dozen Pharoahs, in Moses... Yes! Have you ever thought about the similarities between Moses and Jesus? Moses had to be secreted away so that he wouldn't be killed as a baby. Jesus had to be secreted away so that he wouldn't be killed as a baby. Moses came to set his people free from the law and rule of the Egyptians. Jesus came to set his people free from the law and rule of the Romans and the Jewish Priesthood.

In fact, there are death and resurrection stories from dozens of different cultures, many of which, through capture or conquer, had some contact with the area where the Jesus story came from!

Now, objectively looking at both stories, Santa Clause, and all that Jesus stuff I printed earlier, can you see how similar they are? Do you see how each one is a conglomerate of many different myths? Of course they aren't identical. That's because word of mouth, immigration, being conquered, illness, disease, and a hundred other factors change the way a myth is passed down.

Now, once you've thought about this for a while, I want you to ask yourself if you've actually thought about the way that Christianity has changed since it was invented.

Yes. Christianity has changed. When was the Catholic church formed? Do you know? How about the Protestant Reformation? Wildly different ideas about what Christianity "really is." Calvinism. Methodism. Baptism. Mormonism..... yes, that's about Jesus, too.

It behaves just like any other myth, simmo.

If you take away the blind belief, you'll see how it works.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Questioning your beliefs is

Questioning your beliefs is good, and it is not a one way ticket to disbelief.

It really annoys me when people say 'Well if you just questioned you would see.'  This is the exact same tactics fundies use. 'If you just opened your eyes, you will see God.'

 

In fact, questioning can be a good thing. If you base your belief on something inane and then find it to be false, you will have a crisis of faith, and  then your likely hood of de-converting skyrockets.

 However, if you constantly question, then you can base your belief on what makes sense.


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Quote: Questioning your

Quote:

Questioning your beliefs is good, and it is not a one way ticket to disbelief.

It really annoys me when people say 'Well if you just questioned you would see.' This is the exact same tactics fundies use. 'If you just opened your eyes, you will see God.'

 

In fact, questioning can be a good thing. If you base your belief on something inane and then find it to be false, you will have a crisis of faith, and then your likely hood of de-converting skyrockets.

However, if you constantly question, then you can base your belief on what makes sense.

Cpt, sometimes I wonder if you take a nitpick pill every morning. Seriously. Take your panties out of a bunch, ok? Did I tell him he has to believe that Jesus is a myth? No. I told him that if he examines the Jesus story, he'll see that it has, in fact, evolved since its beginnings, and that there are enough stories preceding it that it could well be a conglomerate of stories, just like Santa Clause.

There are predecessor myths with elements of the Jesus story. This is fact. Myths evolve. This is fact. Santa Clause has similar predecessor myths, and we know for a fact that this is how Santa evolved. We don't know for certain about Jesus because we don't have the records. I asked simmo to take the blinders of belief off and look at this evidence objectively. I did not tell him that he has to believe that Jesus is a myth.

I personally don't know if Jesus is a myth or not. I simply presented a strong case for it, since simmo has come here and asked us questions about it.

Chill out, dude.

You're the one who posted the thread about how nobody ever deconverts anyway.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit wrote:

Hambydammit wrote:

Cpt, sometimes I wonder if you take a nitpick pill every morning. Seriously. Take your panties out of a bunch, ok? Did I tell him he has to believe that Jesus is a myth? No.

Did I imply you did? No.

 

Quote:

There are predecessor myths with elements of the Jesus story. This is fact. Myths evolve. This is fact. Santa Clause has similar predecessor myths, and we know for a fact that this is how Santa evolved. We don't know for certain about Jesus because we don't have the records. I asked simmo to take the blinders of belief off and look at this evidence objectively. I did not tell him that he has to believe that Jesus is a myth.

I personally don't know if Jesus is a myth or not. I simply presented a strong case for it, since simmo has come here and asked us questions about it.

Chill out, dude.

I never mentioned the historical validity of Jesus

 

Quote:

You're the one who posted the thread about how nobody ever deconverts anyway.

What?


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So why are you nitpicking

So why are you nitpicking me?

If you don't object to the parallels between Santa and Jesus that I've drawn, and you don't object to the fact that belief can blind people, and you don't object to the fact that there are similar cases, what are you objecting to?

Would you be mad at me if I told you that if you just opened your eyes you would see the elephant standing in front of you if your eyes were closed and there really was an elephant standing in front of you?

Everything I've presented here is verifiable fact. I have only asked simmo to take the blinders of belief off so that he can see the parallels between Santa and Jesus which objectively exist.

I ask for no conclusions, only acknowledgement of facts.

Chill.

Quote:

Quote:

You're the one who posted the thread about how nobody ever deconverts anyway.

What?

You posted a thread asking if anybody ever deconverts, noting that people argue all the time, but no theist ever admits they're wrong.

Forgive me if I inferred that you think nobody (or very few) deconvert, and you actually meant that it rains on Tuesday in Guam.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Quote:

Quote:
It really annoys me when people say 'Well if you just questioned you would see.' This is the exact same tactics fundies use. 'If you just opened your eyes, you will see God.'

Cpt, seriously, are you just trying to be a pain in my butt?

No, it is not the same tactic. It is exactly the opposite. In English, words can have different meanings. Inflection and implication can completely change the meaning of a sentence. Just because the words are the same, it doesn't necessitate the meaning being the same.

When a theist tells you that you just have to open your eyes to see god, what they mean (and what they say, verbatim, at other times) is that you have to stop thinking and just let your "heart" be your guide so that you can believe what seems to be contrary to logic.

When I tell simmo that if he opens his eyes, he will see how myth works, I have facts. Empirical, objective facts. Through lack of study, or through indoctrination, or through some other combination of factors, it might be that he has never looked at the Jesus story objectively. I suspect he hasn't, but maybe he'll be kind enough to answer the question for us if we ask him.

What I've done is present facts, and presented a proper analogy. Both Santa and Jesus are represented in stories. Both stories have evolved since their beginnings. Both had predecessor myths that have similar elements. This makes them objectively analogous.

The missing variable in the analogy is whether the Jesus story evolved in the same way as the Santa story. I have not provided an answer. I have only provided the analogy, which is fact.

Before anyone can answer the question for themselves, they must recognize that the analogy is genuine.

From my essay on reasoning:

REASONING BY ANALOGY
As the name implies, this is the process by which we examine two things which are similar and reach conclusions about unknown parts of one or both of the analogous things. Essentially, reasoning by analogy follows this form:

A---------------------C
| xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx |
|xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx |
| xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx |
Bbxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Bx

In the diagram above, A and C are our analogous items. "Bb" a known item about A, and "Bx" represents an unknown item about C that shares qualities with Bb. If A is a type of fish with certain external qualities and flaky white meat (Bb) then we might reach the conclusion that C, a very similar fish from the same family with very similar external qualities might also have flaky white meat (Bx). The degree of cogency in this kind of reasoning is determined by the answers to several important questions:

1) Are there a large enough number of similarities?

2) Are the points of similarity relevant to the comparison?

3) Are the points of difference non-critical to the analogy?

4) Is the analogical reasoning cumulative? Remember cumulative evidence, where each case adds to the credibility of the proposition? This is essentially the same thing. If we can show 5 similar fish that are all analogous and all have flaky white meat, our reasoning is much more sound than if we only have one.

5) Are only literal analogies used as logical proof? Also a very important concept! Only literal analogies have any validity in critical thinking. Figurative analogies are good in literature and sales meetings, but they have no place in critical thinking. Let me say that again. Only literal analogies may be used in critical thinking.

What is the difference, you ask? A literal analogy involves items in the same classification. For instance, we may compare U.S. states because they are all under the same federal law. We might also compare types of wood, or models of Dell Laptops. The famous cliche, "You're comparing apples to oranges" is a way of saying, "You're making a figurative analogy." Any analogy in which the two things being compared are not within the same category is a figurative analogy. Clearly there can be debate over whether an analogy is valid, since humans have an almost limitless desire to classify every conceivable aspect of everything we can describe. The ultimate question always comes down to the relevance of the classifications. (See question 2 above.)

 [edited for stupid formating glitches]

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Santa is good - Jesus is

Santa is good - Jesus is good - the parallels are staggering.  Maybe you should make a youtube video.   

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


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Quote: Santa is good -

Quote:
Santa is good - Jesus is good - the parallels are staggering.

Glad you're back for more REV.

I'll justify the analogy. Thanks for asking.

1) Are there a large enough number of similarities?

Jesus is a story that has been handed down historically through a combination of word of mouth, writing, and incorporation of outside stories, as is evidenced by the celebration of Christmas, an originally pagan celebration, and the development of religious dogma that is not included in the bible, such as devotions to saints, sainthood itself, the entire Catholic Mass, etc.

Santa is a story that has been handed down historically through a combination of word of mouth, writing, and incorporation of outside stories, as I demonstrated above.

2) Are the points of similarity relevant to the comparison?

The purpose of the analogy is to demonstrate the possibility that the Jesus story was formed in the same manner as the Santa story. I have demonstrated that both stories have been handed down both verbally and orally, and that both have evolved since their original telling. I have further demonstrated that they both incorporate elements from different cultures and religions. I have further demonstrated the cogency of the argument that predecessor myths need not have much in common with the myth that emerges from them. I have further demonstrated objectively that it is possible for many dissimilar myths to converge into one new myth that only superficially resembles its ancestors.

3) Are the points of difference non-critical to the analogy?

Many people literally believe that Jesus exists. This is not relevant to the analogy, however. Argumentum ad numerum is the logical fallacy which states that because a large number of people believe a thing to be true, it is therefore true. This is easily demonstrated by pointing out that for centuries, the entire population of earth believed that the earth was flat, when in fact, the earth was spherical the whole time. Furthermore, millions of children believe in Santa Clause, but this clearly has no bearing on the reality of his existence. This point of difference, then, is not relevant to the analogy.

The Jesus story has been around for much longer than the Santa Story. This is not relevant to the comparison, for we can find examples of older stories which are also myths, and which also clearly evolved from previous myths. The length of time, then, is irrelevant.

The Jesus story has been handed down as a religion, whereas the Santa story has not. Again, this is not relevant, for we can find literally hundreds of examples of extinct religions which have traceable lineages, and were clearly mythological, evolving in the same way as the Santa and Jesus stories. Therefore, a story's status as a religion is not relevant to its status as a mythology.

There is an ancient text purporting to record the life of Jesus, while there is not such a book about Santa. This is perhaps the most compelling argument against the analogy, but it too fails. Many of the aforementioned extinct religions also had books purporting to record the lives of their own god figures, and they are universally acknowledged as myths today. Therefore, the objection is not relevant to the analogy.

4) Is the analogical reasoning cumulative?

As I have stated previously, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of examples of stories that have evolved in the same way as the Santa story, and have predecessor myths analogous to botht the Santa and Jesus story. Yes, there is voluminous cumulative reasoning.

5) Are only literal analogies used as logical proof?

Yes. I have gone to great lengths to demonstrate that the Jesus story and the Santa story belong in the same category, namely "Stories which have clear historical predecessors, which have evolved significantly after their initial telling, which have been passed down in the same ways, and which have contained inclusions from other cultures as they have evolved.

 Would you like to make any more pointed objections, REV?

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hey Hamby,  I was just

Hey Hamby, 

I was just wondering if you could direct me to the book written hundreds of years before Santa shows up written by Santa about Santa.  If you could give me the ISBN number I would appreciate it.

1.  The pear grows on a tree.  It is good to eat.  It has a stem.  It contains seeds.  It is covered by a peel.  It is a fruit.  It falls off the tree if no one picks it.

 I think I have shown that we can compare apples to pears.

2.  Are the points of similarity relevant to the comparison?

Both grow on a tree, both are good to eat, both have stems, both contain seeds.  Both are covered by a peel.  Both are fruits.  Both fall off the tree if no one picks it.

3.  Are the points of difference non-critical to the analogy?

Many people think they taste nothing alike

They are two different colors.

They cannot grow on each other's tree

4.  Is the analogical reasoning cumulative?

As I have demonstrated - there are many, many similarities between the pear and the apple.

5) Are only literal analogies used as logical proof?

Yes. I have gone to great lengths to demonstrate that the pear and the apple are the same.  They are the exact same fruit.  No doubt about it. 

Whereas both the pear and the apple are fruits - they are two completely different fruits.

Whereas both Santa Clause and Jesus are both narratives - they are two completely different genres.  The story of Santa - myth.  The story of Jesus - Nonfiction.

 

You are getting desparate.

    

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


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simmo wrote: My faith came

simmo wrote:

My faith came from my upbringing, then from reaching a point where I felt that I needed to accept Jesus as my saviour in order to be acceptable to God and inherit eternal life. I realise that sounds extremely cliche'd but that was how I felt at that time.
 There is no wrong answer to this question - I was just curious.  Do you think this need for acceptance also came from your upbringing?  If you let go of this need, do you think you would live your life differently?  
simmo wrote:
What faith does for me is provide an explanation as to why I am here, that life is not meaningless and that this life is not all there is. Again pretty basic stuff, but that's generally what I think it does for me (and many others). That hope for the future beyond this life is so important for many people, particularly when what they have here is so miserable for them.

It is possible that this is what you have been taught to believe.  Without your faith, do you think your life would be meaningless?  I doubt that it would.  Does it matter why you are here?  If the answer was 'no particular reason' would that change how you look at things?  Is it possible for you to create your own meaning of life?  

Your answers are not basic in any way!  Think about why religion started.  It was a way of explaining the unexplainable.  Later it became a way to control people.  It still works well for that.  

Since becoming an atheist, there has been little change in my life and how I live it.  I was able to let go of some irrational fears, but other than that, I am still the same moral, decent person I was before.  As was stated earlier, a lot of information and questions are being thrown at you right now and no one expects you to absorb it all or have all the answers right now.  Think about the questions.  Think about why they are being asked.  Good luck.


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Quote: I was just wondering

Quote:
I was just wondering if you could direct me to the book written hundreds of years before Santa shows up written by Santa about Santa. If you could give me the ISBN number I would appreciate it.

Did you read anything I wrote, or did you just pick out the word Santa and run with it. I'd appreciate it if you demonstrate an ability to comprehend my arguments before you make any more stupid objections.

Quote:

1. The pear grows on a tree. It is good to eat. It has a stem. It contains seeds. It is covered by a peel. It is a fruit. It falls off the tree if no one picks it.

I think I have shown that we can compare apples to pears.

Congratulations. You've learned that categories can overlap.

Would you like to make an actual rebuttal to something that I've stated?

Quote:

2. Are the points of similarity relevant to the comparison?

Both grow on a tree, both are good to eat, both have stems, both contain seeds. Both are covered by a peel. Both are fruits. Both fall off the tree if no one picks it.

This is not an answer to the question. Christ on a fucking pogo stick! You can't even justify your own objection by answering the question that's asked.

Quote:

3. Are the points of difference non-critical to the analogy?

Many people think they taste nothing alike

They are two different colors.

They cannot grow on each other's tree

Seriously, you haven't answered this question either! This is a yes or no question. Once you answer yes or no, you provide evidence for your answer. You have simply provided more similarities. This is too fucking funny. You're fucking up your own analogy, which doesn't have anything to do with mine!

Quote:

4. Is the analogical reasoning cumulative?

As I have demonstrated - there are many, many similarities between the pear and the apple.

ROFLMAO!!

You're right. You have demonstrated that apples and pears are similar. Congratulations! Next week, we'll see if you can tell the difference between a squash and a meat cleaver.

You don't even know what cumulative reasoning is, even though I just explained it a couple of posts up!

Quote:

5) Are only literal analogies used as logical proof?

Yes. I have gone to great lengths to demonstrate that the pear and the apple are the same. They are the exact same fruit. No doubt about it.

Honestly, it's hard for me to type right now. My side hurts from laughing at how stupid this is.

I'm not kidding. This is the single worst argument I've ever heard in my life. For anything.

Quote:

Whereas both the pear and the apple are fruits - they are two completely different fruits.

Whereas both Santa Clause and Jesus are both narratives - they are two completely different genres. The story of Santa - myth. The story of Jesus - Nonfiction.

If Chewbacca doesn't make sense, you must acquit!

Is it possible for you to take your head out of your bible long enough to recognize that the question of whether or not Jesus is fiction or non-fiction is precisely what my analogy is meant to address?

Once again, I thank you for illustrating so clearly why critical thinking skills ought to be taught in schools. I'm sorry the system failed you.

Quote:
You are getting desparate.

Do you mean disparate? I am different in kind from something else?

Or do you mean desperate? reckless or dangerous because of urgency?

By using logic skills, I will decide between the two words, each equally wrong, and assume you mean that I am desperate.

Thank you for your assessment of my current emotional state. I don't feel so, but your logic has been so impecable so far, it must be true.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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In addition to the above

In addition to the above rebuttal:

 

REVLyle wrote:

 

4. Is the analogical reasoning cumulative?

As I have demonstrated - there are many, many similarities between the pear and the apple.

5) Are only literal analogies used as logical proof?

Yes. I have gone to great lengths to demonstrate that the pear and the apple are the same. They are the exact same fruit. No doubt about it.

 

It sounds like you are still reading Hamby's arguments as "Jesus and [earlier myth] are the same story."

He wasn't saying that Santa = Jesus.

He never said that Horus = Jesus.

He simply said that the evolution of their stories went through a suspiciously similar merging process. (Santa and Jesus, that is).

 

If we use the apple/pear comparison, we can still reach conclusions much like Hamby's.

The apple and the pear are not the same fruit, but they are both tree-growing fruits.

Jesus and Santa are not the same story, but they have both been similarly grown.

 

You just crafted your answers to make a mockery of him. The line of reasoning he uses actually does make sense. You just have to use it correctly.

 

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Thanks for your continued

Thanks for your continued comments everyone. Whenever I am away from here for a few hours there ends up being a whole lot of reading and thinking to do. Which is good. In reply to some of the comments - Hambydammit - Yes I can see how stories mix together and change over time. With regards to the Jesus story I have really just thought that it was sufficiently accurate to show the character of the man (love, forgiveness etc.) and what he did on earth, with there being other historical evidence outside the gospels to verify his existence on earth and then those gospels providing the detail.BGH - What to do when something about Christianity doesn't make sense? There have always been doubts and questions about various things, and in many ways I have put them aside on the basis that I don't understand everything and at that with further investigation the doubts can be explained. The reality then was generally that life is busy, you get on with things and never get around to really looking into things. Until now.JCE - "Do you think this need for acceptance also came from your upbringing?" - To an extent, but I think we all need to feel loved and accepted, and Christianity provideds that."If you let go of this need, do you think you would live your life differently?" - I don't think much would change about how I outwardly live, it would more be an internal change of thought process on many issues."Without your faith, do you think your life would be meaningless?" - No "Is it possible for you to create your own meaning of life?"  - Absolutely, and in so many ways I already do. Christianity influences much of what I do and how I live, and as I have stated earlier I see this influence as a positive thing. But my meaning in life is far from just 'living for Jesus' and nothing else matters. I have my wife, my children, my extended family, my friends, my work, my sport, etc. which all bring all different types of meaning to my life. However many of these things are intertwined with my Christianity. So my existence is already not consumed by my Christianity, which some would say calls into question my faith anyway, regardless of fully 'turning away' or not. 


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Hambydammit wrote: So why

Hambydammit wrote:

So why are you nitpicking me?

I'm not. I never mentioned you in my post.  


Quote:

Quote:

You're the one who posted the thread about how nobody ever deconverts anyway.

What?

You posted a thread asking if anybody ever deconverts, noting that people argue all the time, but no theist ever admits they're wrong.

Forgive me if I inferred that you think nobody (or very few) deconvert, and you actually meant that it rains on Tuesday in Guam.

 

Did you even read the thread?  


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Quote:
It really annoys me when people say 'Well if you just questioned you would see.' This is the exact same tactics fundies use. 'If you just opened your eyes, you will see God.'

Cpt, seriously, are you just trying to be a pain in my butt?

No, it is not the same tactic. It is exactly the opposite. In English, words can have different meanings. Inflection and implication can completely change the meaning of a sentence. Just because the words are the same, it doesn't necessitate the meaning being the same.

When a theist tells you that you just have to open your eyes to see god, what they mean (and what they say, verbatim, at other times) is that you have to stop thinking and just let your "heart" be your guide so that you can believe what seems to be contrary to logic.

When I tell simmo that if he opens his eyes, he will see how myth works, I have facts. Empirical, objective facts. Through lack of study, or through indoctrination, or through some other combination of factors, it might be that he has never looked at the Jesus story objectively. I suspect he hasn't, but maybe he'll be kind enough to answer the question for us if we ask him.

What I've done is present facts, and presented a proper analogy. Both Santa and Jesus are represented in stories. Both stories have evolved since their beginnings. Both had predecessor myths that have similar elements. This makes them objectively analogous.

The missing variable in the analogy is whether the Jesus story evolved in the same way as the Santa story. I have not provided an answer. I have only provided the analogy, which is fact.

 

You wanna know what's really ironic, Hamby? Santa was based on a historical person (St. Nicholas). I believe you mentioned this in one of your posts

So just because they were 'pumped up to a myth', doesn't mean they never existed in the first place. 

 

That's what I find rather funny in the mythsist's position. 


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simmo

simmo wrote:

 

Hambydammit - Yes I can see how stories mix together and change over time. With regards to the Jesus story I have really just thought that it was sufficiently accurate to show the character of the man (love, forgiveness etc.) and what he did on earth, with there being other historical evidence outside the gospels to verify his existence on earth and then those gospels providing the detail. 

 

As far as I know, there is very little historical evidence for Jesus the messiah outside of the bible. He is mentioned in a few historical texts, but none of those are contemporaneous. The interim between his death and his non-biblical appearances is a huge span of time that, if memory serves, is in the vicinity of an entire century.

None of his alleged great works or miracles are recorded. It's likely that the name be just another guy named Jesus. Or it could simply be hearsay. One historian's comments about Jesus (Josephus) were found to have been tampered with. Of course, none of this necessairly means that it was definitely not Jesus Christ being described by those who dropped the name "Jesus", but it does demand a pause for thought.

 

I will say, though, that I am not an expert on ancient texts and I can only offer what snippets I remember from atheists who have looked into the textual evidence. The site's Co-Founder Rook Hawkins is well-studied in ancient texts and could give you a much better response on that front, if you were interested.

 

 

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You wanna know what's

You wanna know what's really ironic, Hamby? Santa was based on a historical person (St. Nicholas). I believe you mentioned this in one of your posts

So just because they were 'pumped up to a myth', doesn't mean they never existed in the first place. 

 

That's what I find rather funny in the mythsist's position.

 

That's a good point, haha. I suppose he should have used the Easter Bunny instead.

 

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Archeopteryx wrote: In

Archeopteryx wrote:

In addition to the above rebuttal:

 

REVLyle wrote:

 

4. Is the analogical reasoning cumulative?

As I have demonstrated - there are many, many similarities between the pear and the apple.

5) Are only literal analogies used as logical proof?

Yes. I have gone to great lengths to demonstrate that the pear and the apple are the same. They are the exact same fruit. No doubt about it.

 

It sounds like you are still reading Hamby's arguments as "Jesus and [earlier myth] are the same story."

He wasn't saying that Santa = Jesus.

He never said that Horus = Jesus.

He simply said that the evolution of their stories went through a suspiciously similar merging process. (Santa and Jesus, that is).

 

If we use the apple/pear comparison, we can still reach conclusions much like Hamby's.

The apple and the pear are not the same fruit, but they are both tree-growing fruits.

Jesus and Santa are not the same story, but they have both been similarly grown.

 

You just crafted your answers to make a mockery of him. The line of reasoning he uses actually does make sense. You just have to use it correctly.

 

 

The issue I have with Hamby's argument is that it is purely speculative.  The gospels are the story of Christ's life.  Whereas he has traced the story of Santa (I will have to take his word for it as I never wanted to know that much about Santa) from a lesser beginning (St. Nick) to the fly-around-the-world in one night Santa Clause the same cannot be done concerning Christ.  He looked at all these sources concerning Santa from different cultures and from different beginnings and different legends and traced them to the one of Santa Clause.  He then attempts to do the same with Christ.  We have absolutely no documents that show the gradual aggrandizement of who Christ was.  Christ doesn't start out as just a man and then from another source becomes a lesser God and then finally through a final culmination of cultures and myths becomes the 2nd person of the trinity.  There is absolutely no evidence of that.  If you have it or know of it - show it to me.  As a matter of fact, it was not but a couple of years ago that everyone was questioning why the Gnostic gospels were not included in the canon of scripture.  Go and read them.  They actually paint Jesus as being more God-like (more super human) than the Gospels that we have in the Bible - AND YET, rather than build Jesus as more than what He revealed of himself here on earth, and include the Gnostic Gospels - they were rejected.

What is deceptive is that Hamby then wants to point to the fact that the Christian Religion has changed so therefore the story of Christ changed as well, but I would argue that Christianity has not changed a bit.  Has our practice of our faith changed in 2000 years.  Sure it has.  Our cultures have changed, BUT GOD has not.  What pleases God has not changed and what displeases God has not changed.  From the day Jesus appeared he stated believe in me and you will be saved.  Today I still preach, Believe in Christ and you will be saved. 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
It really annoys me when people say 'Well if you just questioned you would see.' This is the exact same tactics fundies use. 'If you just opened your eyes, you will see God.'

Cpt, seriously, are you just trying to be a pain in my butt?

No, it is not the same tactic. It is exactly the opposite. In English, words can have different meanings. Inflection and implication can completely change the meaning of a sentence. Just because the words are the same, it doesn't necessitate the meaning being the same.

When a theist tells you that you just have to open your eyes to see god, what they mean (and what they say, verbatim, at other times) is that you have to stop thinking and just let your "heart" be your guide so that you can believe what seems to be contrary to logic.

When I tell simmo that if he opens his eyes, he will see how myth works, I have facts. Empirical, objective facts. Through lack of study, or through indoctrination, or through some other combination of factors, it might be that he has never looked at the Jesus story objectively. I suspect he hasn't, but maybe he'll be kind enough to answer the question for us if we ask him.

 

Hamby, what I was getting at was I have questioned me beliefs.

And guess what? Other people have questioned the Jesus story and believe it. My best friend is Christian and very smart. He has studied the story of Jesus (mostly through secular sources) and still beleives it.

 


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REVLyle, when you state

REVLyle, when you state "believe in Christ and you will be saved", what do you believe is the fate of those that are not saved? Do you believe in an eternal punishment in hell for all unbelievers? Because that is one of the real difficulties I have with my faith at present - the idea of eternal punishment based upon decisions made or not made during this finite time on earth seems hard to fathom, particularly when we spend most of our time talking about God's great love for us. I know all the standard lines about sin, God's perfection and judgement, but does it honestly make sense to you that God will send billions to hell forever? I just can't reconcile that thought with the rest of what Christians generally believe about God.


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simmo wrote: I just can't

simmo wrote:
I just can't reconcile that thought with the rest of what Christians generally believe about God.

Simmo, you have touched on one of the problems I had with the christian god.

According to their faith:

He is all loving yet will punish a 'soul' for eternity for seeking knowledge and questioning their faith.

He is all knowing but cannot know what 'free will' dictate, yet knows what the outcome will be.

He is all powerful yet cannot or chooses not to stop 'evil'.

He is all loving yet is vengeful and wrathful.

He is all knowing yet had to start his 'creation' over multiple times and ultimately had to sacrifice himself to himself for his 'creation' breaking rules he himself created.

He is all powerful yet had to use a blood sacrifice of himself to himself to absolve 'sin' regarding rules he himself set up.

 

None of this makes sense to me, and that is just the tip of the proverbial 'berg'. 

 

 


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Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Panentheist, and no particular religion
Damn, I thought you were deist. I suck.

 

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Questioning your beliefs is good, and it is not a one way ticket to disbelief.

Depends on the belief. Flat Earth belief, Reptilian Alien conspiracy theories, and Young Earth Creationism, for example, are so ridiculous that even the slightest questioning destroys the idea.

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
It really annoys me when people say 'Well if you just questioned you would see.' This is the exact same tactics fundies use. 'If you just opened your eyes, you will see God.'
I'd agree, if you're talking about belief in a deity in general. You have to look quite deep to abandon that. However, with most religion, simply looking at it objectively is enough.

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
In fact, questioning can be a good thing. If you base your belief on something inane and then find it to be false, you will have a crisis of faith, and then your likely hood of de-converting skyrockets.

However, if you constantly question, then you can base your belief on what makes sense.

I agree wholly here.


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Captain, what's really

Captain, what's really ironic is that you didn't even seem to notice that I did not say I was a Jesus mythicist.  I even specifically said that I don't know if he existed or not.

What's even more ironic is that even after numerous people have spelled my argument out in essentially kindergarten language, nobody is grasping it.

It's very, very simple.

Virtually every event in the story of Jesus' life has a previous precedent, i.e, another myth in which that event happened.

Whether there was a real person around which the myth grew or not, the logical conclusion is that just like Santa Clause, who never existed, but has a real person as the inspiration for the myth, Jesus the bible figure, never existed as described.  It's a myth.  Same as Santa.  It is irrelevant whether a man existed around which the myth was later built.  Completely and utterly irrelevant.  The myth formed the same way all myths do, regardless of whether their is a real person behind it or not.

Now, seriously, has anyone but me noticed that everyone who has objected has actually contributed something to my point?  Let me say that another way.  Every single objection to my posts has HELPED MY ARGUMENT.  I think everyone who is disagreeing with me should go back and read this whole thread again and see if you can figure out what I'm really saying.

 

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Quote: Hamby, what I was

Quote:

Hamby, what I was getting at was I have questioned me beliefs.

And guess what? Other people have questioned the Jesus story and believe it. My best friend is Christian and very smart. He has studied the story of Jesus (mostly through secular sources) and still beleives it.

What really gets me about you sometimes, Cpt, is that you always seem to say something that doesn't have anything to do with the debate topic.  One day I'm going to figure out how you can argue for days and never actually touch the topic of the debate.

 

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REVLyle wrote:

*edit* Holy crap! So many posts ahead of mine! Oh well.. it's all typed out, so I'm not deleting it now. Here goes:

 

=) 

 

REVLyle wrote:

 

The issue I have with Hamby's argument is that it is purely speculative. The gospels are the story of Christ's life. Whereas he has traced the story of Santa (I will have to take his word for it as I never wanted to know that much about Santa) from a lesser beginning (St. Nick) to the fly-around-the-world in one night Santa Clause the same cannot be done concerning Christ. He looked at all these sources concerning Santa from different cultures and from different beginnings and different legends and traced them to the one of Santa Clause. He then attempts to do the same with Christ. We have absolutely no documents that show the gradual aggrandizement of who Christ was. Christ doesn't start out as just a man and then from another source becomes a lesser God and then finally through a final culmination of cultures and myths becomes the 2nd person of the trinity. There is absolutely no evidence of that. If you have it or know of it - show it to me. As a matter of fact, it was not but a couple of years ago that everyone was questioning why the Gnostic gospels were not included in the canon of scripture. Go and read them. They actually paint Jesus as being more God-like (more super human) than the Gospels that we have in the Bible - AND YET, rather than build Jesus as more than what He revealed of himself here on earth, and include the Gnostic Gospels - they were rejected.

 

The merging of different figures, mythical and non, to create Santa Claus is something that can be easily researched since its a more recent myth.

The merging of different stories and figures to create the Jesus story is a much older myth about which not much is recorded, so it's harder to say with certainty that this is what happened. But one does not necessarily need absolute certainty to understand it as the more plausible scenario.

What makes more sense: That there was once a man who was the human manifestation of God that sacrificed himself to himself to forgive mankind for being the way he created them, or that this story, whose parts clearly resemble parts of other mythologies, is simply a myth?

If we know that this can be done to Santa Claus, why can't it be done to Jesus? All evidence aside, we can favor that position out of sheer plausability.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The Jesus story is painstakingly lacking in any evidence whatsoever. (Other than the bible, which cannot be used).

REVLyle wrote:

What is deceptive is that Hamby then wants to point to the fact that the Christian Religion has changed so therefore the story of Christ changed as well, but I would argue that Christianity has not changed a bit. Has our practice of our faith changed in 2000 years. Sure it has. Our cultures have changed, BUT GOD has not. What pleases God has not changed and what displeases God has not changed. From the day Jesus appeared he stated believe in me and you will be saved. Today I still preach, Believe in Christ and you will be saved.

 

But the Christian religion HAS changed. The central themes haven't changed, that much is true, but the practice has changed. Hamby gave the example of the Protestants breaking from the Catholic tradition. The bible has gone from being interpreted literally to being interpreted metaphorically on a variety of things (esp. creation). God went from being a patriarchal, all-powerful being to being a loving father who is our best buddy and one true friend. The bible has passages where God commands his followers to stone a man to death for working on Sunday. We don't do that anymore. God used to require sacrifices, but he doesn't do that anymore. (Ostensibly this is because Jesus' sacrifice ended all sacrifices, but why should that be? God had to give himself permission to stop asking sacrifices? And he had to do it by sacrificing himself/his own son to himself? Where is the sense in that?) God no longer controls the weather (though sometimes, if it's good weather, Christians will say that he does, but only if it's opportune to say so).

Saying that God hasn't changed probably depends on how loosely you understand God.

And always keep in mind that historical evidence is not the only evidence atheists weigh against him. It is simply the topic at hand.

 

 

Simmo wrote:

REVLyle, when you state "believe in Christ and you will be saved", what do you believe is the fate of those that are not saved? Do you believe in an eternal punishment in hell for all unbelievers? Because that is one of the real difficulties I have with my faith at present - the idea of eternal punishment based upon decisions made or not made during this finite time on earth seems hard to fathom, particularly when we spend most of our time talking about God's great love for us. I know all the standard lines about sin, God's perfection and judgement, but does it honestly make sense to you that God will send billions to hell forever? I just can't reconcile that thought with the rest of what Christians generally believe about God.

 

This is an excellent point, and I thought David Mills did an excellent job in touching on it in Atheist Universe.

 

Suppose a man is extremely devout, dedicating his whole life to God. However, being only human, he goes through a short period where he doubts, and in that time he maybe lets a few dirty thoughts slip by or maybe utters a few curses under his breath. If he died before repenting, wouldn't he go to Hell?

 

Suppose a man is extremely sinful, dedicating his whole life to lust, booze, and drugs. One day he suddenly feels the presence of Jesus and sincerely welcomes him into his heart and all of that. Soon after, he dies. Would he not go to heaven?

 

Suppose a man never believes in Jesus, but he lives a completely moral and healthy life. He never smokes, drinks, curses, or steals. He saved himself for marriage, he's an excellent father, and he constantly gives to his community. He dies. According to the bible, he would go to Hell simply because he never believed.

 

Compare that to another man who never believed who led a life of crime and debauchery. Is it really fair that these latter two should receive the same cruel reward? Is it really fair that the first two scenarios should receive such extreme rewards for what they did in their last few days as opposed to what they did through their entire lives?

 

This, of course, completely ignores the argument of why we're being judged for being how we were made in the first place.

 

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Quote: Hambydammit - Yes I

Quote:
Hambydammit - Yes I can see how stories mix together and change over time. With regards to the Jesus story I have really just thought that it was sufficiently accurate to show the character of the man (love, forgiveness etc.) and what he did on earth, with there being other historical evidence outside the gospels to verify his existence on earth and then those gospels providing the detail.

What I'm trying to get you to question is this.  Given that the Jesus story is a myth, and that it's sufficient to try to live by the good parts of his character and what he did on earth, is it not appropriate to look at everything Christianity does as a whole, and judge whether it's good or bad, not by it being "the one true religion" but rather on the same standards that we judge absolutely everything?  The facts?

Simmo, I know this may be hard to believe, but there is absolutely zero corroborating evidence from the time of Jesus.  What's really puzzling about that is that the events mentioned in the New Testament included some rather amazing and widely known miracles.  It's really telling that not a single Roman bothered to write any of it down.  Those Romans were really meticulous about their records, after all!

If you have time with all the other reading we've all given you, check out this thread.

Again, this doesn't prove that there was no person upon whom the Jesus story was built.  Perhaps there was.  This is just really, really strong evidence that at the time when Jesus/God supposedly walked the earth, nobody anywhere seems to have noticed.  This makes it extremely likely that the myth was formed later, around the time the gospels were written.

 

 

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Hambydammit wrote:
Quote:

Hamby, what I was getting at was I have questioned me beliefs.

And guess what? Other people have questioned the Jesus story and believe it. My best friend is Christian and very smart. He has studied the story of Jesus (mostly through secular sources) and still beleives it.

What really gets me about you sometimes, Cpt, is that you always seem to say something that doesn't have anything to do with the debate topic. One day I'm going to figure out how you can argue for days and never actually touch the topic of the debate.

 

 

What really gets me is that you can take one of my posts, nitpick it. My post never even addressed you. I was responding to the post in general, nto just your.

Then you came along and posted the stuff, and I responded. 


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Quote: The issue I have

Quote:

The issue I have with Hamby's argument is that it is purely speculative.  The gospels are the story of Christ's life.  Whereas he has traced the story of Santa (I will have to take his word for it as I never wanted to know that much about Santa) from a lesser beginning (St. Nick) to the fly-around-the-world in one night Santa Clause the same cannot be done concerning Christ.  He looked at all these sources concerning Santa from different cultures and from different beginnings and different legends and traced them to the one of Santa Clause.  He then attempts to do the same with Christ.  We have absolutely no documents that show the gradual aggrandizement of who Christ was.  Christ doesn't start out as just a man and then from another source becomes a lesser God and then finally through a final culmination of cultures and myths becomes the 2nd person of the trinity.  There is absolutely no evidence of that.  If you have it or know of it - show it to me.  As a matter of fact, it was not but a couple of years ago that everyone was questioning why the Gnostic gospels were not included in the canon of scripture.  Go and read them.  They actually paint Jesus as being more God-like (more super human) than the Gospels that we have in the Bible - AND YET, rather than build Jesus as more than what He revealed of himself here on earth, and include the Gnostic Gospels - they were rejected.

What is deceptive is that Hamby then wants to point to the fact that the Christian Religion has changed so therefore the story of Christ changed as well, but I would argue that Christianity has not changed a bit.  Has our practice of our faith changed in 2000 years.  Sure it has.  Our cultures have changed, BUT GOD has not.  What pleases God has not changed and what displeases God has not changed.  From the day Jesus appeared he stated believe in me and you will be saved.  Today I still preach, Believe in Christ and you will be saved.

REVLyle, it's not my fault that you don't know what reasoning by analogy is.  It's also not my fault that you've misunderstood my argument so thoroughly that your rebuttals have only helped my argument.

I'm only responding to this to point out to anyone else reading the thread that your entire point centers around the conclusion that Jesus did exist, and that the bible is not a myth.   This is completely and utterly ass-backwards from the way that reason works, and it's why your argument falls flat on its face.  We look at the facts, and then we come to conclusions.  I have laid a firm, factual foundation, and presented a valid argument from analogy that demonstrates the very strong possibility that the Jesus story is a myth.  Until you can actually counter even one of my premises, you have not a single logical leg to stand on.  You have presented exactly zero counter evidence.  You have just bitched about my analogy, without even coming close to showing that it's invalid.

I've wasted enough time trying to explain this analogy to you, and I'm done with it. 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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REVLyle, are you still out

REVLyle, are you still out there? I really would appreciate your thoughts on hell as per my previous post. Another problem that has come to mind with the general Christian concept of who and how one gets into heaven or hell is this - Christians usually believe that young children are not sent to hell if they die because they have not reached the 'age of reason', being of an age where they can understand and make a decision to be a Christian. So on this basis say a 3 year old would go to heaven if they died, but if that child died at say 16 years old they would be judged and go to heaven or hell dependent upon their decision to be a Christian or not. So then if our eternal happiness or punishment rests on this, how should a Christian parent react if their 3 year old contracts cancer? If they seek medical treatment, the child recovers, lives to 16 and then dies but has not decided to be a Christian then they are going to hell (most likely, according to generally accepted Christian thinking). However had they not sought treatment for the cancer and the child dies as a 3 year old, then the child is assured of going to heaven. So by having the child cured of their cancer they are taking a risk with the child's eternal fate if they do not become a Christian in later life. Therefore the best thing to do for the sick child is to let them die. This to me seems a logical progression of thought when looking at heaven/hell concepts, however that obviously flies in the face of what should be the right thing to do. Thoughts on this? I hope I've explained my thought process well enough.


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simmo wrote: "Is it

simmo wrote:
"Is it possible for you to create your own meaning of life?"  - Absolutely, and in so many ways I already do. Christianity influences much of what I do and how I live, and as I have stated earlier I see this influence as a positive thing.

 

Hiya Simmo,

I find the statement 'Christianity influences much of what I do' intriguing, I've heard many people say the same and whilst it is probably true I have noticed several things that may mean that it is actually not a valid statement.

 A large part of what an individual does in a society is to generally follow the directions/moral values of those that they associate with the most, even if the individual may believe otherwise. And in the majority of cases the individual will not say anything to contradict the majority even if they *know* something is wrong. After all it can be a very unpleasant experience to be badly treated by a group even though the individual may be right and the group wrong. It is commonly called peer group pressure. It is human nature to be this way, not everyone has the courage or the willingness to say 'Hey, that's wrong'.

Take for an example a group of kids, for fun and to prove how 'manly' (so to speak) they are to each other they decide to steal sticks of gum from the local store. Each one knows it is wrong to do so, but hey they all want to fit into the group and it is all ok to do it because no one else is objecting to it. I hope you understand the gist of what I mean.

 So the Christian influences you have, your family has and your friends have. Are they actually a majority decision everybody has made within your circle to go along with keeping in mind that if someone disagress then there is a high chance that they'll be on the outer with the whole group?

You personally have doubts, it is entirely possible that most of your friends have the same doubts but just go along with the status quo just like you do. Have you ever had your pastor/preacher/reverend (Apologies I have no idea on what the leader of your church is referred as) say something that your personally disagree with but never said anything about because he is the leader?

As everybody well knows, there are many faiths and many interpretations of those faiths. Church X could say that something is fine but Church Y could say the opposite! I met a group of churchgoers once that said that it is perfectly fine and not a sin to masturbate to pornographic videos, I was dumbfounded.

Also over time some of the beliefs of the bible have been done away with, once it was fine to stone a person for X reason. In the last century Rock and Roll music at one time was the work of the Devil, yet today there is Christian Rock Music. Faiths usually adapt to the times and what the majority say is right amongst the group. There are even people who will say they are of X faith and attend X church so that they will be treated as a normal human being instead of a filthy outcast that will go straight to hell even though that person may not believe in God at all.

 So when you say Christian influences, are they geniunely Christian influences or are they things that your church group have decided that are meant to be right or wrong? Granted some or all of those morals and ethics you follow may come from the Bible and thus Christian influences are attributed to those same morals and ethics. I know from experience however that morals and ethics are not exclusive to Christianity.

 

Thanks for listening.

UltraMonk

 

: Freedom - The opportunity to have responsibility.

: Liberty is about protecting the right of others to disagree with you.

 


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Quote: So on this basis say

Quote:
So on this basis say a 3 year old would go to heaven if they died, but if that child died at say 16 years old they would be judged and go to heaven or hell dependent upon their decision to be a Christian or not. So then if our eternal happiness or punishment rests on this, how should a Christian parent react if their 3 year old contracts cancer? If they seek medical treatment, the child recovers, lives to 16 and then dies but has not decided to be a Christian then they are going to hell (most likely, according to generally accepted Christian thinking). However had they not sought treatment for the cancer and the child dies as a 3 year old, then the child is assured of going to heaven. So by having the child cured of their cancer they are taking a risk with the child's eternal fate if they do not become a Christian in later life.

Oh, simmo, you're doing great, but you have to think bigger.

The bible says we can be forgiven for any sin, right? If we're truly sorry that we did it, god will forgive us for anything.

Ok, so all babies who die go to heaven. Fetuses are babies with souls, according to anti-abortionists. (The bible is oddly silent on the matter.) If a baby lives long enough to sin, it will probably go to hell when it dies.

Now, we humans did not set things up this way. God did. We can't control the reality of the situation, which, as you so eloquently explained, necessitates allowing dying children to go to heaven. But, why stop there? I think it really sucks that god set things up that way, but I'm able to figure out the logic.

So, the only responsible thing for me to do is to become an abortion doctor, and to encourage all good Christian women to have abortions. It's the only way to make sure the baby will go to heaven. We all know how attached women get to their babies after they're born. It's too risky. The flesh might be weak, and the woman might make the horrible mistake of letting the child live, giving it at best a 50/50 chance of making it to heaven!

The kicker is that I feel horrible that this is the way things are, and I feel awful about having to abort all those babies, but it's the only thing that can be done. Before I die, I'll ask god to forgive me. Believe me, I will mean it. I feel terrible, but there's nothing to be done. God made the rules, after all.

Now, simmo, and anyone else, before you blast me for this, I want you to think about it this way. I'm not inventing the rules here. I'm simply taking the rules that Christians swear up and down are the truth, and taking them to their logical conclusion. You can rationalize away the answer all you want. You're right -- it's extreme. You're absolutely correct -- it's evil, anti-social, and probably psychopathic.

But the logic is correct if the Christians are correct.

The point is that Christian dogma is flawed. It's illogical and contradictory. Normal people find ways to avoid the cognitive dissonance. They live in a kinder, gentler version of Christianity, where things are not carried to their logical conclusion. But, as we know, Eric Rudolph, among others, took an entirely different line of reasoning and came up with an exactly opposite conclusion, and he was so convinced of it that he did kill a bunch of abortion doctors!

Dogma that allows for this kind of extremism may also be presentable in a painted over, glossy finish, but it is still extremist.

Quote:
This to me seems a logical progression of thought when looking at heaven/hell concepts, however that obviously flies in the face of what should be the right thing to do.

Your logic is correct on all counts. The logical conclusion, then, is that the Christian dogma is wrong. You know the right thing to do despite the Christian dogma, not because of it!

 

 

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Quote: Now, simmo, and

Quote:
Now, simmo, and anyone else, before you blast me for this

And I thought that now I have the perfect excuse to run over the kids that play in front of my driveway. If I get them I conclude they failed to reason and heaven awaits...wonder if I will get a noble citizen award after I get the one with wonky specs.

He can't have a reasonable world view. 

I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.


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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
So on this basis say a 3 year old would go to heaven if they died, but if that child died at say 16 years old they would be judged and go to heaven or hell dependent upon their decision to be a Christian or not. So then if our eternal happiness or punishment rests on this, how should a Christian parent react if their 3 year old contracts cancer? If they seek medical treatment, the child recovers, lives to 16 and then dies but has not decided to be a Christian then they are going to hell (most likely, according to generally accepted Christian thinking). However had they not sought treatment for the cancer and the child dies as a 3 year old, then the child is assured of going to heaven. So by having the child cured of their cancer they are taking a risk with the child's eternal fate if they do not become a Christian in later life.

Oh, simmo, you're doing great, but you have to think bigger.

The bible says we can be forgiven for any sin, right? If we're truly sorry that we did it, god will forgive us for anything.

Ok, so all babies who die go to heaven. Fetuses are babies with souls, according to anti-abortionists. (The bible is oddly silent on the matter.) If a baby lives long enough to sin, it will probably go to hell when it dies.

Now, we humans did not set things up this way. God did. We can't control the reality of the situation, which, as you so eloquently explained, necessitates allowing dying children to go to heaven. But, why stop there? I think it really sucks that god set things up that way, but I'm able to figure out the logic.

So, the only responsible thing for me to do is to become an abortion doctor, and to encourage all good Christian women to have abortions. It's the only way to make sure the baby will go to heaven. We all know how attached women get to their babies after they're born. It's too risky. The flesh might be weak, and the woman might make the horrible mistake of letting the child live, giving it at best a 50/50 chance of making it to heaven!

The kicker is that I feel horrible that this is the way things are, and I feel awful about having to abort all those babies, but it's the only thing that can be done. Before I die, I'll ask god to forgive me. Believe me, I will mean it. I feel terrible, but there's nothing to be done. God made the rules, after all.

Now, simmo, and anyone else, before you blast me for this, I want you to think about it this way. I'm not inventing the rules here. I'm simply taking the rules that Christians swear up and down are the truth, and taking them to their logical conclusion. You can rationalize away the answer all you want. You're right -- it's extreme. You're absolutely correct -- it's evil, anti-social, and probably psychopathic.

But the logic is correct if the Christians are correct.

The point is that Christian dogma is flawed. It's illogical and contradictory. Normal people find ways to avoid the cognitive dissonance. They live in a kinder, gentler version of Christianity, where things are not carried to their logical conclusion. But, as we know, Eric Rudolph, among others, took an entirely different line of reasoning and came up with an exactly opposite conclusion, and he was so convinced of it that he did kill a bunch of abortion doctors!

Dogma that allows for this kind of extremism may also be presentable in a painted over, glossy finish, but it is still extremist.

 

 

I knew someone would play the morality card. The actions of one Christian do not denote that the religion is wrong.

Eric Rudolph was a sociopath. That's it.

 

Canada is predominetly Christian, and I don't see no choas and extremist behaviour. Canada has a very low crime rate, yet is mainly Christian. 


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Ultramonk - You are probably

Ultramonk - You are probably quite correct in saying that there would be many in churches who follow the crowd in terms of what they say they believe and how they act in and with a church group. I think many are content to keep to a simplistic faith comprised of 'God loves me, if I give my life to him and try to keep his commands then I go to heaven'.  However the positive side of Christian belief I see in the issue of peer pressure is that Christians are generally taught to stand up against the crowd when they see wrong being done.Hambydammit - I had thought about the abortion issue as well but did not put it down is my previous post. The main difference I would see here from the cancer example is that in abortion someone is doing the killing, as compared to simply letting nature take it's course in the case of untreated cancer. Another thought on abortion is this - shouldn't atheists be more opposed to abortion than Christians? For Christians, if that unborn child has a soul and are then going to heaven, then that should be OK for that child (forgetting about who did the killing as per my previous statement). Yet according to an atheistic viewpoint, if this is the only life we are going to have, surely we should ensure that the unborn child has the right to have that life. So really the Christians should be more pro-abortion and atheists anti-abortion. Regardless of whether my beliefs go, I think I will always be anti-abortion, simply because I was born to an unmarried 16 year old girl who had me adopted out. I could very easily have been aborted, so the life I have is precious (whether from a Christian or atheist viewpoint), and I believe an unborn child has a right to be born and have a life. But that's going down a whole other path of debate.


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simmo wrote: Ultramonk -

simmo wrote:
Ultramonk - You are probably quite correct in saying that there would be many in churches who follow the crowd in terms of what they say they believe and how they act in and with a church group. I think many are content to keep to a simplistic faith comprised of 'God loves me, if I give my life to him and try to keep his commands then I go to heaven'. However the positive side of Christian belief I see in the issue of peer pressure is that Christians are generally taught to stand up against the crowd when they see wrong being done.Hambydammit - I had thought about the abortion issue as well but did not put it down is my previous post. The main difference I would see here from the cancer example is that in abortion someone is doing the killing, as compared to simply letting nature take it's course in the case of untreated cancer. Another thought on abortion is this - shouldn't atheists be more opposed to abortion than Christians? For Christians, if that unborn child has a soul and are then going to heaven, then that should be OK for that child (forgetting about who did the killing as per my previous statement). Yet according to an atheistic viewpoint, if this is the only life we are going to have, surely we should ensure that the unborn child has the right to have that life. So really the Christians should be more pro-abortion and atheists anti-abortion. Regardless of whether my beliefs go, I think I will always be anti-abortion, simply because I was born to an unmarried 16 year old girl who had me adopted out. I could very easily have been aborted, so the life I have is precious (whether from a Christian or atheist viewpoint), and I believe an unborn child has a right to be born and have a life. But that's going down a whole other path of debate.

 

I'm willing to bet that there are plenty of atheists that are anti-abortion. There like/dislike of abortion just isn't rooted in religious beliefs. Smiling 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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Archeopteryx wrote:

Archeopteryx wrote:

 

I'm willing to bet that there are plenty of atheists that are anti-abortion. There like/dislike of abortion just isn't rooted in religious beliefs. Smiling

 

http://www.godlessprolifers.org/home.html

 

This is what I've been arguing. It's the person, not the belief.

Simmo, it doesn't matter what religion you are. You will still hold your views since they come from your person, not your belief.

 

{fixed link}

 


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Cpt_pineapple wrote: I

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

I knew someone would play the morality card. The actions of one Christian do not denote that the religion is wrong.

Eric Rudolph was a sociopath. That's it.

 

Canada is predominetly Christian, and I don't see no choas and extremist behaviour. Canada has a very low crime rate, yet is mainly Christian.

The religion may or may not be wrong, but it encourages wrongdoing in some ways.

Canada is becoming more crazy all the time. We opened a Creationist Museum around the same time you did, about a 30 minute drive from the largest dinosaur fossil collection in the world. Young Earth Creationists are gaining ground all the time. Hell, there's at least one in our Federal Cabinet right now. We have a low crime rate, true. We also have a much lower "religiousity" than the U.S. I'm not saying they go hand in hand, however (in fact, our province with the second highest crime rate is the most secular, and the one with the lowest crime rate is second most secular, and the 2 most "religious" provinces are in the middle...so religion has nothing to do with crime rates here, it seems) 


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simmo wrote:

simmo wrote:
REVLyle, are you still out there? I really would appreciate your thoughts on hell as per my previous post. Another problem that has come to mind with the general Christian concept of who and how one gets into heaven or hell is this - Christians usually believe that young children are not sent to hell if they die because they have not reached the 'age of reason', being of an age where they can understand and make a decision to be a Christian. So on this basis say a 3 year old would go to heaven if they died, but if that child died at say 16 years old they would be judged and go to heaven or hell dependent upon their decision to be a Christian or not. So then if our eternal happiness or punishment rests on this, how should a Christian parent react if their 3 year old contracts cancer? If they seek medical treatment, the child recovers, lives to 16 and then dies but has not decided to be a Christian then they are going to hell (most likely, according to generally accepted Christian thinking). However had they not sought treatment for the cancer and the child dies as a 3 year old, then the child is assured of going to heaven. So by having the child cured of their cancer they are taking a risk with the child's eternal fate if they do not become a Christian in later life. Therefore the best thing to do for the sick child is to let them die. This to me seems a logical progression of thought when looking at heaven/hell concepts, however that obviously flies in the face of what should be the right thing to do. Thoughts on this? I hope I've explained my thought process well enough.
To be honest, I don't even think this is biblical. As far as I can tell, there is no "age of reason". Kids that don't accept Jesus are going to hell, even if they're 3 or less. The "Age of Reason"
thing is a mutation of the religion that allows christians to not think of all the miscarried babies and SIDS kids that are burning in hell. Ironically, it actually means that they should abort every baby they can, to send them all to heaven. So they're stuck between the rock of having kids suffer for eternity and the hard place of possibly damning them by letting them grow up.

Hambydammit wrote:

Your logic is correct on all counts. The logical conclusion, then, is that the Christian dogma is wrong. You know the right thing to do despite the Christian dogma, not because of it!

Erm...yes and no. Yes, because the Bible is quite immoral. No, because the immoral parts aren't really part of the dogma anymore, in most churches[for the most part]. They're ignored. Most christians never know about them. So, in all likelihood, the good morality coincides with christian dogma-which has evolved to become decent, thus going against Hebrews 13:8.


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BenfromCanada wrote: The

BenfromCanada wrote:

The religion may or may not be wrong, but it encourages wrongdoing in some ways.

So does pretty much anything.

Quote:
 

Canada is becoming more crazy all the time. We opened a Creationist Museum around the same time you did, about a 30 minute drive from the largest dinosaur fossil collection in the world.

 

What?  A Creation museuem in Canada?  Where?

 


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Cpt, I'm not even going to

Cpt, I'm not even going to respond to your post because it's so off-base that it's not worth arguing over how badly you missed my point.

Simmo, the abortion thing was not meant to say that everybody ought to get an abortion. I was showing how Christian dogma is actually very susceptible to extremist interpretation. In fact, it is only by going against the logical conclusions of the dogma that one can come up with a basically sane, rational worldview.

You've done a great job of looking at what the Bible (or Christianity) teaches and making a logical conclusion based on what it says, not what other people tell you it means. I want you to realize that your moral nerves ought to have prickled at my abortion post, and that's exactly my point! There's no legend at the beginning of the bible to tell you what to take literally and what to take as metaphor. Anyone can interpret it any way they want, and the only thing another bible-believer can do is say, "No, you've got it wrong. My interpretation is correct!"

The only way to be objective about it is to apply the same standards to the bible as we do anything else. When we do that, like it or not, the bible comes out perverse and sadistic at least as often as it ends up promoting love and kindness.

 

 [edit:  Ben, I realize I'm using dogma a little bit loosely here.  I'm not interested in getting into the dogma vs. bible debate.  You just have to go with it for now because I don't feel like adding another 5 paragraphs just to establish that Christians rely on the bible, and pick and choose their dogma just like they do their bible verses.]

 

 

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Hambydammit, I realise you

Hambydammit, I realise you were not suggesting that eveyone should get an abortion - sometimes the point someone is trying to get across can get a bit misinterpreted in print if we don't get our wording exactly right. I was trying to say that I understand that it could be quite a logical conclusion to make (as Ben stated in his post) that if Christian thinking is that an unborn child has a soul and that if aborted that soul goes to heaven, whereas if they are born and live past an 'age of reason' (if one exists) then they risk eternal punishment if they don't decide to become Christians. I'm pretty sure we understand each other on this, it's just that I'm not explaining it weil enough.  


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Hambydammit wrote: Cpt,

Hambydammit wrote:

Cpt, I'm not even going to respond to your post because it's so off-base that it's not worth arguing over how badly you missed my point.

 

 

What you don't realize Hamby, is thos:

Hambydammit wrote:

Christian dogma is actually very susceptible to extremist interpretation

 

'dogma' being susceptible to any kind of 'interpretation' is an oxymoron. The very definition of dogma, is that it is the same throughout. There are no other ways interpret it.

 


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Quote: dogma' being

Quote:
dogma' being susceptible to any kind of 'interpretation' is an oxymoron. The very definition of dogma, is that it is the same throughout. There are no other ways interpret it.

honestly, Cpt, I'm not trying to be mean, but it really boggles my brain how you can read almost any argument and find a way to deflect it into oblivion by objecting to something that isn't even part of the argument.

That last statement is so ridiculous, I don't even know how to respond to it.  Did you, by any chance, read my statement about how I wasn't going to get into the dogma definition because it's so obvious what I'm saying that it isn't necessary?

And still, you insist on deflecting away from the point I was making.  I'm not sure you've yet understood.  Do you even know what my point is?

 

 

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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
dogma' being susceptible to any kind of 'interpretation' is an oxymoron. The very definition of dogma, is that it is the same throughout. There are no other ways interpret it.

honestly, Cpt, I'm not trying to be mean, but it really boggles my brain how you can read almost any argument and find a way to deflect it into oblivion by objecting to something that isn't even part of the argument.

That last statement is so ridiculous, I don't even know how to respond to it. Did you, by any chance, read my statement about how I wasn't going to get into the dogma definition because it's so obvious what I'm saying that it isn't necessary?

And still, you insist on deflecting away from the point I was making. I'm not sure you've yet understood. Do you even know what my point is?

 

Fine then. Before we continue, does this quote more or less sum up your point?

 

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Dogma that allows for this kind of extremism may also be presentable in a painted over, glossy finish, but it is still extremist.

 

 


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Hamby, I re-read the post

Hamby, I re-read the post in question and do feel I did jump the gun on it.

The main reason is because in your first post, you said people

Quote:

The fact is, people invent the myths to fit the morality they already have.

 

this seems to condratict your statements.  

 


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Quote: Fine then. Before

Quote:

Fine then. Before we continue, does this quote more or less sum up your point?

 

 

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Dogma that allows for this kind of extremism may also be presentable in a painted over, glossy finish, but it is still extremist.

Not even remotely close.

My point would stand quite nicely even if I had never mentioned this.  Why don't you go back and see if you can read this thread without assuming you know what i'm talking about.

 

 

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Okay, are you saying that

Okay, are you saying that Christians use their faith for reasoning, but since that faith is flawed, the reasoning is flawed and hence can lead to undersierable actions?

 


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I'm not sure about this,

I'm not sure about this, but have I even used the word "faith" in this whole thread?

 

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