To Build a Bridge

crushingstep7
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To Build a Bridge

Hey everybody.

First, I do call myself a Christian.

However, I used to frequent these forums, and called myself an Atheist at the time.

My question for everyone here, is - what is the true difference between an "Atheist" and "Theist"?

Aren't these just words, after all?

 

 


Atheistextremist
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Ummmmm - Just words?

Nope. Atheists don't believe in any of the available gods, unless they are also agnostic of course, in which case they might maintain a vanishing small position on a potential god-thing.

Theists on the other hand, believe in a particular god. These words actually cover some pretty big ideas.

Like your taste in music BTW - tend to be a Bon Scott fan, however.

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


crushingstep7
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I'm certainly aware of the

I'm certainly aware of the linguistics involved.  It would be quite a waste of my time to post a question that had such a seemingly, obvious answer. 

But ok, fair enough.

 

 

I have another question.. do you see ANYTHING, I mean ANYTHING in this world as nice? Or lovable?  Or enjoyable?  Thank you, by the way!  I am also a Bon Scott fan.  Brian Johnson was good, also (in his own way).


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crushingstep7 wrote:do you

crushingstep7 wrote:
do you see ANYTHING, I mean ANYTHING in this world as nice? Or lovable?  Or enjoyable?

 

Of course. Life is filled with good and bad things. Beauty. Joy. Love. Sex. Good food, for instance at a friendly dinner party.

 

But there is also dishwashing, toothaches, grief and sorrow. Death. Abuse. The evil that men do towards one another in the name of what they think is a worthy cause.

 

Is this not obvious? Yours is a strange question.

"The idea of God is the sole wrong for which I cannot forgive mankind." (Alphonse Donatien De Sade)

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Atheistextremist
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Lol

crushingstep7 wrote:

I'm certainly aware of the linguistics involved.  It would be quite a waste of my time to post a question that had such a seemingly, obvious answer. 

But ok, fair enough.

I have another question.. do you see ANYTHING, I mean ANYTHING in this world as nice? Or lovable?  Or enjoyable?  Thank you, by the way!  I am also a Bon Scott fan.  Brian Johnson was good, also (in his own way).

 

Ok - the difference between the 2 words is the letter 'A'.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Anything good in the world?

crushingstep7 wrote:

I'm certainly aware of the linguistics involved.  It would be quite a waste of my time to post a question that had such a seemingly, obvious answer. 

But ok, fair enough.

 

I have another question.. do you see ANYTHING, I mean ANYTHING in this world as nice? Or lovable?  Or enjoyable?  Thank you, by the way!  I am also a Bon Scott fan.  Brian Johnson was good, also (in his own way).

No doubt some one else will deliver a superior treatment to your OP in the course of time. But my thinking is that an atheist believes none of the gods presented to them is real while a theist has selected one. I don't there's any other distinction between the 2 designations unless you'd care to provide one for us.

I worry that your repetition of the word ANYTHING suggests you might not see the world as offering anything good or beautiful. Anything lovable? Do you have any family? Friends? A favourite cuddle pillow? Of course there is good in life or theists would not seek to prolong it eternally, would they?

I have good times in my life. I tend to be a glass half empty person but I don't let that stop me from doing the things I love to do. Life has it's lows of course and it's frightening to think of dying and the manner of it but you just have to muscle up and do the best you can.

You sound like a Black Hat code breaker looking for a way in. What point are you trying to make with all this?

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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crushingstep7 wrote:Hey

crushingstep7 wrote:

Hey everybody.

First, I do call myself a Christian.

However, I used to frequent these forums, and called myself an Atheist at the time.

My question for everyone here, is - what is the true difference between an "Atheist" and "Theist"?

Aren't these just words, after all? 

What is your real question? Atheistextremist answered your question as most of us would. If you were aware of the 'linguistics' involved, why not ask a different question? Your OP is titled building a bridge ~ you claim you were atheist and now a christian ~ are these two proclamations to be used in the answer you are looking for?

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To this:"No doubt some one

To this:

"No doubt some one else will deliver a superior treatment to your OP..."

Well, I doubt anyone could do a better job of articulating a response.  I'm not here to make superior or inferior statements, or to pretend my perspective is one of the two in relation to yours.  You can put your guard down=) This is all out of good will. I promise.


"Of course. Life is filled with good and bad things...But there is also dishwashing."

Wise words indeed! haha  Dishwashing can suck, unless you are a fan of Zen. 

Whatever that stuff is.  I see that we all agree that some things suck, and that some things don't.   

 

"Is this not obvious?"

What is not obvious (at the moment), is the root of conflict between ideologies.  It's easy to define words with more words, but it's not so easy to live in a place where there is so much understanding between people, that words aren't needed.  Especially with the overpopulation of our planet, endless communication across nations and continents - it's hard not to make some noise, I suppose.

 

 

 

In short, 

I hardly see a difference between the Theist and Atheist.

We're all fascinated by something; we sit here socializing in the digital age as opposed to going out and dealing with people - many who are downright nasty.  This is a safe place for conversation, and safe place for truth.  This is one of the many marketplaces in which ideas are traded - ideally, practical ones that suit our needs on a day to day basis and ones which will until our dying breathes.  And thankfully, with minimal bickering and fighting and conflict. 

Although we discuss truth with different terms, we all recognize that there is a greater truth to be found.  That is where the "theist" and "atheist" do not differ.  Their pursuit is the same.  Each claims that they have found the true way.  And they have! Their words and their thoughts bring them comfort in this lonely and dark world.  

So my point in all this, if there's any, is that we're all after something greater.  When I say greater, I mean beyond our own bodies and our own minds, which will stand the test of time longer than our decaying bodies.   You may not be comfortable with calling it God, or Allah, or Zues even.  But as we all agree, there are certain things we find pleasing and enjoyable, and although an eternity of one thing is hell in itself (say, Barney's theme song)... we'd like to find as many of these pleasurable things as possible, and keep them for as long as possible.  Or at least the feeling that these things bring us, if only for a moment here and there.

 

  And that is our mistake.  We expect these happy things to be around for our whole lives, without them leaving for even a blink's worth of our experience.  EVERYTHING changes.  There is no exception to that rule.  And thinking even in the slightest, that you or your belongings will be an exception, produces more confusion and pain than needed.  So again, I'll go as far as to say what we find to be good, or enjoyable, or holy, or of Divine Nature - is outside of ourselves.  Some might call this God, some might call this Nirvana, some might call this sex.  The words hardly matter, but I like to call it The Grand Ultimate Is-Machine.

I have much reverence for my God, and I will admit that I fear my God to no end.  And I love my God to no end.  For all things are possible through him.  Death and torture, life and satisfaction.  And I will say this... there is a way to know this God.  There is a way to understand this God.  And it's in all of our best interests, which is why we discuss it every day of our lives.  As the Bible says: "All things are in God, and God is in all things."  Or something like that.  If we pay attention only to ourselves, we will experience the worst of misery.  We will do no good for the world, and spread the misery while we're alive - and to future generations.  Our words echo for hundreds of years, and our actions for just as long.  For this reason, "death" is hard to define.  And death could be very violent, and life very painful if we ignore The Grand Ultimate Is-Machine and it's will.  For example, if there is a train coming, it's in your best interest and the guy who will have to deal with the mess.... that you DON'T step in it's way. 

Simple, yes.  And that is the beauty in all things, is our ability to grasp them and understand them completely.  When we start to ignore this common sense we're born with, what is right and wrong to do, we suffer.  Immensely.  It's called retardation in extreme cases.

 

 

 

Also, I urge you to consider -

 

What is the difference between an Angel and Alien from the perspective of a man who lived before great technological advancement?

How many stupid things does a person have to do before they are in a place they might call Hell?  

How easily can one slip into a trajectory, based on past actions or "karma", whereas they cannot escape their fall to such a place?

If you believe lights go out when your heart stops, and your brains ceases to function - what is it that's experiencing the sounds and colors and sensations while they're working?  

With experience being an absolute in existence - what will you experience after death?  Nothingness is hardly any more plausible than it would be now.

 

 

 

 

I wish I had spent more time organizing this better, so that it'd be easy to understand... but I feel these are important things to consider, and that the time spent pondering will be well worth your while.  I can write volumes more if anyone is sincerely interested in my perspective.   I doubt that will be needed, however.

Good luck on your journeys, in any case. 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 


Atheistextremist
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Oh, no.

 

We've lost one of our boys to the dark side....

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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HardlyMy atheist adventures

HardlySmiling

My atheist adventures led me to where I am today.

I have few reasons for asserting that I am a Christian, ones that I would have never discovered if I hadn't spent time as an "Atheist" with no care for my actions.  I explored the deep seas of rejecting societal norms and morals, and in it I found all the more reason to stay the course.

 

 

 


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crushingstep-Thanks for

crushingstep-

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts ~I wanted to point out one thing:

you wrote: "So my point in all this, if there's any, is that we're all after something greater.  When I say greater, I mean beyond our own bodies and our own minds, which will stand the test of time longer than our decaying bodies."

I can not speak for every single atheist on the planet, but I will say that personally(and I am confident many on this forum will hold similar views) I am not looking for anything beyond my life right now. You however, by stating that "we all" are after something greater, are speaking for every human on the planet.

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If your truth applies to

If your truth applies to others, does that truth not exceed the scope of your self?  Your own body and mind?

 

 


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crushingstep7 wrote:If your

crushingstep7 wrote:

If your truth applies to others, does that truth not exceed the scope of your self?  Your own body and mind?

 

 

I will assume that by truth, applied to this conversation, you mean my view/thoughts on life as I know it.

If there are others that hold the same view, then that view does becomes shared.

Again with the vague, ambiguous questions ~ ask what you want to ask ~ you are not confucius, just confusing.

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crushingstep7 wrote:I hardly

crushingstep7 wrote:

I hardly see a difference between the Theist and Atheist.

 

 

In my opinion, a possible difference is that the atheist typically refuses to accept ideas without reasonable evidence.

"The idea of God is the sole wrong for which I cannot forgive mankind." (Alphonse Donatien De Sade)

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I apologize that Confucius

I apologize that Confucius is talking in your head as you read this...

But you must understand - the world is much greater than yourself, and focusing on your thoughts about it all day long will lead to nothing but a false sense of how the world actually works.  And in turn, severe unhappiness and confusion take hold of your existence.

For example - a nuclear weapon has gone off 50 miles away from you.  You've survived the blast, and you think about all who were lost in the explosion - muttering how unfair the world is and how you're entitled to something better.

What you should have been doing was being thankful you are alive. 

Or perhaps, before this shit went down, spurring people into action so that the Genocide in the Middle East would come grinding to a halt.

 


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But ideas don't exist! They

But ideas don't exist! They are ideas!

What evidence is there for an idea?

 

Perhaps for a God or Goddess you could demand evidence. 

But what evidence would suffice?  Maybe logic and reason would be better terms.

Is it incorrect of me to say that people who act like bastards will live the lives of bastards?

 


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And might I say again - I am

And might I say again - I am not here for confrontation.

Just a philosophical discussion, and an inquiry into the causes of conflict between theists and non-theists.

I'll be more direct, here.  Sorry, all nighter.

 

Why all the challenging?  Why are people like me a threat? People who gladly call themselves Christians?


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crushingstep7 wrote:And

crushingstep7 wrote:

And might I say again - I am not here for confrontation.

Just a philosophical discussion, and an inquiry into the causes of conflict between theists and non-theists.

I'll be more direct, here.  Sorry, all nighter.

 

Why all the challenging?  Why are people like me a threat? People who gladly call themselves Christians?

No challenge, just a request for clarity to the questions you pose ~You are all over the place ~

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crushingstep7 wrote:Hey

crushingstep7 wrote:

Hey everybody.

First, I do call myself a Christian.

However, I used to frequent these forums, and called myself an Atheist at the time.

My question for everyone here, is - what is the true difference between an "Atheist" and "Theist"?

Aren't these just words, after all?

 

Okay ~ lets engage in conversation.

HI! Welcome back to the forums!  Smiling

What denomination of christianity do you follow?

You state that you called yourself an atheist in the past. Can you share your conversion story with us?

 

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crushingstep7 wrote:My

crushingstep7 wrote:

My atheist adventures led me to where I am today.

I have few reasons for asserting that I am a Christian, ones that I would have never discovered if I hadn't spent time as an "Atheist" with no care for my actions.  I explored the deep seas of rejecting societal norms and morals, and in it I found all the more reason to stay the course.

I don't get it.

You think being an atheist has something to do with having "no care for your actions" ? Or "exploring the deep seas of rejecting social norms and morals" ?

Also, if you believe there's no real difference between being and atheist and being a theist, then why did you even bother to switch sides ?


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crushingstep7 wrote:But you

crushingstep7 wrote:

But you must understand - the world is much greater than yourself, and focusing on your thoughts about it all day long will lead to nothing but a false sense of how the world actually works.  And in turn, severe unhappiness and confusion take hold of your existence. 

So much for the general eastern/asian religions path to Enlightenment

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Thank you!I am

Thank you!

I am non-denominational and have a distaste for organized religion or anything else.  Men aren't the wisest of creatures.

 

And yes, I used to consider myself an Atheist.  My "conversion" was very subtle.  I mean, I'm trying to think of the "one thing" that changed my mind... My opinions have just changed as I've experienced more of life.  Simple as that.  There's no real story for it. 

The difference between myself now and myself then, is my understanding of the Bible and the circumstances of it's writers, my understanding of Messiahs and the lives they lead, and religion's role in a sociopolitical context.

 

 


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Well, no.  Not

Well, no.  Not completely.  For me, not believing in God was liberating, because I felt I could do whatever I pleased with no "eternal consequences".  It also had somewhat to do with going against the grain, and being the underdog. 

I believe there is no difference in practice, between an atheist and anyone else.  We're all involved in the process of life, and life is outside our selves.  But I see more Atheists pretending that they are it.  They are the end all be all when it comes to spirituality, and there's nothing more but their bodies and their minds, their thoughts and ideas.

This is a generalization, of course.

 

 


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crushingstep7 wrote:And yes,

crushingstep7 wrote:

And yes, I used to consider myself an Atheist.  My "conversion" was very subtle.  I mean, I'm trying to think of the "one thing" that changed my mind... My opinions have just changed as I've experienced more of life.  Simple as that.  There's no real story for it.

 

From what you are saying I can only draw the logical conclusion that you were never in fact an atheist. The act of "coming to faith" is preposterous from an atheistic point of view. There is no "conversion". You can only convert from one set of beliefs to another; atheism is the absence of belief. It is a fundamental difference in how you relate to your imagination, your emotional life, and how these both connect with the world at large.

 

Look, the whole idea of "believing" in this or that is little but an act of willful gullibility. Intellectual immaturity, if you like. Whether your chosen pet belief is religion, astrology or spiritual healing crystal rituals. Most of it relatively harmless and silly - but it becomes dangerous when it reaches for political power. It becomes dangerous when fanatics decide to use lies, threats, manipulation, extorsion and outright violence to further their "cause". "Faith" is not just the innocent and cuddly psychological teddy bear that the grinning Jesus fools will have you believe. It is also utter insanity.

 

However, the only question worth asking is how do you behave? If you seriously think that giving up your faith would make you start killing people at random, all I can say is DUDE! Keep your fucking faith! And have some pills for good measure. It is not for me to tell you what you should think and believe in, but I will stand guard over the credibility of the scientific method (as opposed to simply believing in stuff without any evidence) and the freedom from religious dominance of the public space.

 

 

 

"The idea of God is the sole wrong for which I cannot forgive mankind." (Alphonse Donatien De Sade)

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No care for your actions?

crushingstep7 wrote:

HardlySmiling

My atheist adventures led me to where I am today... if I hadn't spent time as an "Atheist" with no care for my actions.  I explored the deep seas of rejecting societal norms and morals.

 

It doesn't sound like you were an atheist to me. I don't believe in god and I'm pinned to the wall by efforts at integrity all over the place. Rejecting societal norms and morals. Mmmm. It irritates me that theists insist that all goodness and rightness is the possession of their invented god. That's utterly false. Those are our finer qualities as a species and theists have simply trademarked them. You also make the point later on that ideas are just ideas and are not real but exist in our heads. We agree on something there. God is an idea and he exists inside your head. It's just you and a whole lot of other people trying to do the best we can. God is a shortcut to mental cradle where daddy can pat your head and tell you everything is going to be fine. That's great but it's not the same as being a full grown human being who has the opportunity to reject morals and social norms but does not reject them.

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Nice one, Marquis

Marquis wrote:

I will stand guard over the credibility of the scientific method (as opposed to simply believing in stuff without any evidence) and the freedom from religious dominance of the public space.

 

Another mind warrior.

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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I was indeed an Atheist. 

I was indeed an Atheist.  I went from that to Agnosticism, to Theism.  And "God" is the word I use to describe the entire Universe, all of it's workings, and the reverence that one should have for it.  And everything is not going to be fine.

I am now a Christian simply because my faith and allegiance resides with him.

 

 

 


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You were a Christian first

You were a Christian first right? I mean, you were a Christian, then you stopped, and now you "relapsed" as many here would probably characterize it, correct?

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
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No.  I was Agnostic, and

No.  I was Agnostic, and then went to Atheism.  I am now a Theist.


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If you're agnostic you still

If you're agnostic you still believe in god or you don't. So what you are saying is that you were always an agnostic atheist with no Christian upbringing or influence or belief in god, and now as an adult you see how right Christianity is?

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


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Excuse me, then.  My

Excuse me, then.  My understanding of words obviously differs from yours.

I was always unsure about the existence of God.  I went to Catholic School for a while, and got expelled.  I didn't fit in.  My mother attempted to force Christianity on me, and I resisted. 

I am now a Christian.  Does that make sense?


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OK - it would be good

crushingstep7 wrote:

I was indeed an Atheist.  I went from that to Agnosticism, to Theism.  And "God" is the word I use to describe the entire Universe, all of it's workings, and the reverence that one should have for it.  And everything is not going to be fine.

I am now a Christian simply because my faith and allegiance resides with him.

 

If you could sharpen your focus a bit. Do you love jesus, the lamb of god, or do you worship the universe and all it's workings, or have you combined them into a melange as many theists do? I come at this position from the point of view that a person who believes the NT is telling me I am evil and will be burned alive forever. Excuse any hostility I might project your way on account of my understandable dislike of this belief. If you're a pantheist I'll be pleased to apologies for my condescension.

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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I wasn't implying that

I wasn't implying that you're not telling the truth or that atheists don't become Christians, I'm just trying to understand the story. Why didn't you say that you were a rebellious Christian and now you're a good one?

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


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I have yet to meet Jesus. 

I have yet to meet Jesus.  I don't worship anything or anyone.  I guess you could say I'm a Christian Pantheist, then?

I believe any one of us could be burned alive at one point, but I'm no judge to say that your actions today or later will cause that.

So no, I'm not of the view that you are evil and will be burned alive forever.  But it is possible, in my opinion.


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I have yet to meet Jesus. 

I have yet to meet Jesus.  I don't worship anything or anyone.  I guess you could say I'm a Christian Pantheist, then?

I believe any one of us could be burned alive at one point, but I'm no judge to say that your actions today or later will cause that.

So no, I'm not of the view that you are evil and will be burned alive forever.  But it is possible, in my opinion.


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Lol. So you do believe in the hell thing but

crushingstep7 wrote:

I have yet to meet Jesus.  I don't worship anything or anyone.  I guess you could say I'm a Christian Pantheist, then?

I believe any one of us could be burned alive at one point, but I'm no judge to say that your actions today or later will cause that.

So no, I'm not of the view that you are evil and will be burned alive forever.  But it is possible, in my opinion.

you obviously don't particularly like it. I guess that's something then. I'm pleased to assure you that I don't think you now or ever will deserve eternal immolation for whatever it is you do that passes in your mind for great sin. Furthermore on judgment day, if it ever happens, I'll be attempting to start a mass riot during which god gets cast into the lake of fire and we all live happily ever after. It's an endless diversion for me to wrestle with why the godly think the ungodly are evil and cannot do good and must die. Especially when all the godly are required to do to get their get out of gaol free card is convince themselves they love something they have never met. It's too incredibly bogus to believe.

For me the greatest achievement a person can attain is face up to our impossible situation with dignity and honesty and to do right by others and all life on earth using the moral compass evolution has provided us. Dying alone and bravely with no god to hold my hand will be the greatest achievement of my life.

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


crushingstep7
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I have my own unique view of

I have my own unique view of Christianity.  The questions I previously urged to be considered might shed light on that.

As far as starting a riot or other conflict, is that not the danger of ideology?  There will be plenty of rioting and your conflicts with "the godly" will be small in comparison to the coming conflict.  There will be, and already is, enough bloodshed in the streets without that.  But do what you feel is proper. 

We will all die without God holding our hands, so to speak. 

For me, I'm only willing to commit myself to violent action if it is required to defend myself, my family, or my property (what I've worked for).  But I strongly suggest you don't add to already large amount of conflict in the world.  Again, I think this would be last thing any Atheist or Theist needs.


Abu Lahab
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crushingstep7 wrote:I was

crushingstep7 wrote:

I was always unsure about the existence of God. 

Then you were never really an Atheist.

 

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How can not believing in something that is backed up with no empirical evidence be less scientific than believing in something that not only has no empirical evidence but actually goes against the laws of the universe and in many cases actually contradicts itself? - Ricky Gervais