Heated debate with family
The following began with a myspace bulletin that provoked a cousin of mine to chime in with defense of his bullshit. I reposted an article from here with the blatantly provocative title "CHRISTIANS ARE RETARDS". His text will be quoted.
You do realize that are offend lots of family members with stuff like this.
You really should stay open to the possiblity that there is a God.
So you believe in this stuff? Did you actually read any of the below before making judgment on whether or not I "offend lots of family members with stuff like this"?
By "stuff like this" do you mean logically questioning obvious fair-tale-like childish thoughts? Do you ACTUALLY think there was an Ark... a whale that ate someone (and that someone living inside the whale -Matthew 12:40)... a virgin birth?
If my calling into question the mental capacity of adults that willingly believe this stuff contrary to all rationality and logic I honestly don't care if it offends or not. These things actually being believed as literal truth as opposed to obvious mythology by anyone older than the age of 7 is offensive to me.
Well then I am sorry to hear that you feel that way. As mythologically as it may seem do you really think that you as a multi-celled organism just happened to be formed from a giant burst of random gaseous energy?
There are too many inconclusive coincendences in this universe.
As far as some of the bible stories go, sure some of them are a little bit of a stretch, but Jesus said in Matthew 21:21, " I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not ony can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, "Go, throw yourself into the sea," and it will be done."
The fact of the matter is this: There is one true God, creator of heaven and ALL of earth. He had a human son, born to the virgin Mary. Jesus, part of the trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), is and was God on Earth.
Believe what you will, just know that I, as are many of your family members, are praying for you and your salvation.
"Believe what you will, just know that I, as are many of your family members, are praying for you and your salvation."
Why would you have to pray for me and my "salvation" if your god has obviously "made" me how I am and led me to this nonsense called basic logic and rationality (ie- what I use to understand the mythology of christianity)?
That's going against god's "plan" that is all too famous. Ah, but I have free-will to choose denial of god/Jesus/holy-ghost right? If that's so, then how can you call this god all-good and perfect when s/he creates human beings to simply be damned to eternal hell-fire for asking for a little evidence to back up these extraordinary claims.
Well, I just need faith, right? Faith... what is it? The dictionary definition states "firm belief in something for which there is no proof".
Well lets think about this one here... where would humanity be if we all "just had faith" in things?
-I just have faith that crossing a road to get to church to pray for god without looking will be safe... afterall I am going for the betterment of my "spirit"/"soul" god will protect me.
-Scientists should just have faith that things work the way they work cause god created all of nature a few thousand years ago the way it currently is... no long protracted development through evolution... it was the serpent in the tree, OBVIOUSLY.
Regarding evolution, I assume you don't believe in this fact, right? "Just a theory like 'Intelligent Design'?"
Think about all the advances in medicine that is accomplished because of the incorporation of the basic facts of evolution. When was the last time praying ever cured polio or when has asking for god's help made anti-biotics (which by the way wouldn't be possible without evolutionary scientists).
People used to think that there was such a thing as "devil possession" and such nonsense, Jesus actually believed in this (Matthew 8:28-34). Now it's understandable at that time that people used mythology and stories to explain things they didn't understand, Jesus apparently thought demons had possessed this man and therefore he had to throw the demons into a herd of pigs to get the out of the man (which on a side note... isn't that cruel, could he just had destroyed the demons instead of damning a herd of seemingly innocent pigs?) BUT... WHY would Jesus not explain what was actually happening to this man, that he had a very real and material problem with his brain --epilepsy, if he's god he should have known that and explained the proper treatment of such a hideous condition instead of using something like exorcism to "cure" the man.
Anyways, I'll continue...
"As mythologically as it may seem do you really think that you as a multi-celled organism just happened to be formed from a giant burst of random gaseous energy?
There are too many inconclusive coincendences in this universe."
If actually I did think that I just popped into being from "a giant burst of random gaseous energy" wouldn't I be more a christian than skeptic? You say "there are too many inconclusive coincidences in this universe"... but aren't you just setting up ANOTHER inconclusive inconceivable question when you make a god to create everything? If god "did it" what "did god"?
"As far as some of the bible stories go, sure some of them are a little bit of a stretch, but Jesus said in Matthew 21:21, " I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not ony can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, "Go, throw yourself into the sea," and it will be done.""
But obviously this isn't true... mountains don't get thrown into seas. If I have unimaginable faith that I can fly and "the lord" will watch over me (with angels or by some other means) can I jump off a cliff and start flying? NO! That's completely insane, just as insane as someone two thousand years ago stating that if you have faith you can make mountains jump into seas. Nuh uh.
If you're using faith to back up something what you're doing is abandoning reason and rationality, you're believing for the sake of believe for some goodie (afterlife) that isn't provable. Since you're using faith as your criterion for belief, what's to say the "one true God" isn't allah, zues, the flying spaghetti monster, krishna? I'll answer for you, absolutely nothing other than you were brought up in the U.S. by christian parents. Not because of it's truthfulness, because of it's influence and because you didn't get the proper dosage of reasoning everyone (usually) needs to abandon superstition.
"The fact of the matter is this: There is one true God, creator of heaven and ALL of earth. He had a human son, born to the virgin Mary. Jesus, part of the trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), is and was God on Earth."
No, I'm sorry, that's not the fact of the matter at all. It's your much used "faith" (which I call self-deception and hopeful thinking) that makes you state such things, not actual fact --because you have none to base this on, just a bible and a preacher telling you what to believe.
The god of the judeo-christian bible is a monstrous egotistical and sadistic maniac. Some examples:
-Slavery is upheld in the bible, both old and new testament... Paul said a slave should be docile and gentle to his/her master (their 'real' gift would be in heaven).
-The subordination of women to men is promoted in a HUGE way. So much ugly chauvinism throughout the bible I'm sure you're aware of it (though you neglect it).
-It's okay with God if you slowly beat your slaves to death. After all, they are your money. Just make sure that they survive at least a day or two after the beating. (Exodus 21:20).
-God punished the children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren of sinners (Numbers 14:18)
- If someone makes an image of anything (like a bird or flower) then God will destroy the entire nation. (Deuteronomy 4:25).
If god was real, it would be necessary to reject him/her for such hideousness.
I'll end by telling you thanks but no thanks, I had christianity for 18 years of my life and I wasted of my time in life on it. Thinking about going to church, to Sunday school, religious education, confirmation preparation, religious retreats and praying almost on a nightly basis because of a false bronze-age myth makes me angry. BUT I understand the world now, I understand that I have a say in what happens with it, that I can actually rely on myself rather than an imaginary sky friend to guide me on my way. I can consciously, without mental chains to lock me into religious dogma, change the world for a better place... cause cousin, contrary to what you've been learned, THIS is the only one there is.
While you and family members are mine are praying for me, I'll be thinking for you.
You have answers for it all, and I would expect nothing less.
But I tell you this, and I will leave it as is: I would rather be right than wrong. If I am wrong than nothing happens to me, but if you are wrong...Well you know it all it seems.
You don't have any answers for any of your beliefs, I -unfortunately- expected nothing less. Yes, I do have answers for a lot of things, that's what happens when you think about things, Jason. You've obviously been a good christian and not done a whole lot of research or inquiry into the matter of your beliefs (hey, that's what you've got faith for right? No time for silly thinking or critical thought). I guarantee you I know more about your religion than you know about it... and not what your preacher TELLS you what to believe in, but what's actually in your bible.
You will leave it at something like Pascal's wager???? So that's you're WHOLE basis of belief?
Look at what you've said with the "if I'm wrong... but if you're wrong" logic. Do you know how many gods and prophets there have been throughout the recorded history of our homosapien species? Literally thousands.
You and I are atheists to all of them, but you stop short of one that was said to be around about two thousand years ago (and that actually lifted much of his story from Mithra, Dionysus and other myths around that time period). If you were right, think about all the good people that will be damned to eternal hell-fire for simply being born without your Jesus (or people like me that require a little more than faith be have beliefs). If you were right, all the hindus, muslims, buddahists, tribalists, jainists, and others were made by your god to be examples... "this is what happens when you don't go through Jesus". Egotistical nonsense.
So you're betting all your "soul" on Jesus, I get it. I'm betting nothing on any of it and living my life without fear of some cosmic bogey-monster in the sky watching my every move ready to judge for the slightest bullshit. Enjoy the delusion.
I have plenty of answers for my beliefs. You just have said nothing that I haven't expected.
You will go on and on about how much you supposedly know about my religion. But in all honesty, you don't know that much. If you did, you wouldn't have to argue your case to help make yourself feel better about what you believe.
I have thought more about my faith, than you ever will about not having your own.
Go THINK on this:
"I have plenty of answers for my beliefs."
Oh, really? I've not heard much other than "just have faith" and "well, if I'M wrong, blah blah blah". To which both I've answered with pretty full explanations to their vacancies. I'm sure you read them real thorough-like right?
"You just have said nothing that I haven't expected."
Ha, right. I bet your preacher talks about us evil atheists and how we're a bunch of dirty liars. You're an apologist to all that is in the bible and that's pretty disturbing. I can honestly say that most of my immediate family is pretty clueless to most of what the bible promotes. Hopefully if I'm right, you've just not read it all that much to actually know what you're taking up.
"You will go on and on about how much you supposedly know about my religion. But in all honesty, you don't know that much."
Yeah, I've sure proved that, huh? It's not like I am providing any bible citations along with the horrors that they expose. I'm TOTALLY full of it. Why do I make this stuff up? Must be my lack of faith.
"If you did, you wouldn't have to argue your case to help make yourself feel better about what you believe."
It's a disbelief, I just like to point out how wrong people are about something so damned silly. Am I responding to you because I'm struggling for what I believe to be true or is it because I need to "feel better"? What your lame two sentence responses of the late show is your complete and utter inability to actually defend any of the stupid shit you believe. Remember, you were the one messaging me with the whole "hey buddy, you're makin' fun of me and your family wah wah fest. But I'll pray for your salvation, hyuck hyuck" crap.
"I have thought more about my faith, than you ever will about not having your own."
Think some more, cause it's not enough yet. You're still holding on to fairy-tales.
Please, keep sending amazingly awesome non-responses back my way... you're TOTALLY kicking my ass here. I'm almost a theist again... but uh oh, I'm kinda heading toward believing all of reality to be on the back of a turtle and that we're all just plugged into the Matrix... woah.
So what answers would you like?
Here is what Jesus syas about the truth: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
Your relativism is an unlivable worldview, it is also self-contradictory. Isn't the claim the that there is no absolute truth an absolute truth claim in itself?
Zack, there is a part of us all that is drawn to God because we have an innate need to be in a relationship with our Creator, yet there is another part of us that wants to run away from Him. This is talked about in the book of Romans.
You talk of fairy tales and myths. The Bible, which I have read to your disbelief, is not written in mythological style, it reads like a record of history that contains a wide variety of leterary genres--biography, peotry, narrative and eyewitness accounts. What about specific names and dates in the Gospel accounts that place them on an actual timeline?
Miracles? How do you know miracles don't happen on a daily basis?
We could go on and on about who is right, and who is wrong. But it is apparent that you are stuck in a godless rut, and will have to find out on your own.
Good luck, and just be open to the fact that you could be wrong.
"So what answers would you like?
Here is what Jesus syas about the truth: 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.'"
This isn't so much an answer as much as it is an example of your reliance on what some guy may or may not have said 2000+ years ago. There were plenty of "saviors" around the supposed time of Jesus, what makes him so special? Time? Lots of people believe in him/it? Again, why not Mohammad, Krishna, Buddha or any of the thousands of other gods? If the only places you're looking to "truth" for are in ancient texts by people with big followings, you've got more choses than Jesus, man.
"Your relativism is an unlivable worldview, it is also self-contradictory. Isn't the claim the that there is no absolute truth an absolute truth claim in itself?"
I'm not sure where you pulled this out of. I'm hardly a relativist, and I HATE HATE HATE post-modernist thinking --example, "well, that MAY be true for you, but that's just your reality. The reality". No, there is objective reality, there is truth (ie- what correctly corresponds to reality). THAT'S exactly why I'm answering you here, because you're being the relativist.
Think about it... is it okay to stone adulterers... kill disobedient children, kill those who do not make the sabbath holy, have slaves so long as you don't beat them to death?
Of course not, but those are all things that are promoted and directly enforced by the god of the bible. What do you say to those things? How do you explain the inerrancy of the bible but not uphold those things? You use relativism.
"Isn't the claim the that there is no absolute truth an absolute truth claim in itself?"
This was answered above. Yes, I agree with you here, "there is no absolute truth" is in itself an absolute claim.
"Zack, there is a part of us all that is drawn to God because we have an innate need to be in a relationship with our Creator, yet there is another part of us that wants to run away from Him."
Hmmm, an "innate need", there would have to be some sort of measurable evidence to back up this sort of claim. There are plenty of non-believers that never miss out on anything in life because of their unbelief in the idea of a "Creator", if anything they are much more liberated to not have to waste time each week going to church/ praying/ fasting/ etc etc. They could actually live their lives in the here and now instead of looking to afterlifes to hope for.
Also, which "Creator"? If it's true that you are absolute in your beliefs and I am the relativist... which god do people have this innate need to have a relationship with? If it's true why hasn't Yahweh let everyone know he's the right god and all the others with gods besides the "one true god" are living with fake-relationships?
Honestly... I could have a "relationship" with a flying teapot orbiting the Earth... that doesn't make it anymore real though. That's just not how reality works.
"You talk of fairy tales and myths. The Bible, which I have read to your disbelief, is not written in mythological style, it reads like a record of history that contains a wide variety of leterary genres--biography, peotry, narrative and eyewitness accounts. What about specific names and dates in the Gospel accounts that place them on an actual timeline?"
Please explain the Vinaya Pitaka, Qur'an, Hadith, Torah, Ginza Rba, The Arzhang, The Gnostic Gospels, The Urantia Book, Daozang, Śruti, Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants, The Arul Nool, and that's just a few.
"Miracles? How do you know miracles don't happen on a daily basis?"
Haha, because they'd be publicized like mad! For real, if someone: started walking on water, bring people back from the dead, growing back limbs, bring sight to the blind, bring hearing to the deaf, parting seas, flying on a chariot of winged horses, walking around as a zombie, ascending straight to heaven, etc etc etc... it would be the proof theists have been waiting for.. "see, here is a god!".
But miracles don't happen on a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly/any-other-time-span basis. Sorry.
"We could go on and on about who is right, and who is wrong."
Ha, and we have.
"But it is apparent that you are stuck in a godless rut, and will have to find out on your own."
I could say the same thing to you being stuck in a god rut and that you'll have to find out on your own, but it's clear you've taken up faith as a reasonable reason to believe in something. I'll tell you, it's hard to argue with when someone who thinks it's admirable and virtuous to be able to believe in something with no objectively real thing to to back up that belief. I can't prove there's no such thing as unicorns, but can you prove that there are? Etc etc etc.
"Good luck, and just be open to the fact that you could be wrong."
Jason, do you think I am being dishonest when I tell you that I prayed on a nightly basis for 18 years of my life? I believed everything you still do... I did all the duties required to be a "good catholic boy". I went to mass each week, went to religious education, made confirmation, did confession... shit, I was even a alter boy! I was a believer... didn't need to be open to the "fact", I was living it. Through the course of actually investigating the world and the way it actually works, its apparent that there is not need for a god, let alone any reason to blindly take that belief up.
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear." - Thomas Jefferson.
“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.” - Voltaire