Thank You Religion, You've Cost Me A Very Good Friend

Velocity Eleven
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Thank You Religion, You've Cost Me A Very Good Friend

ok, so there's this guy who i have been close friends with since I was 12 (and I'm 19 now). He's a christian and I'm an atheist and we sometimes have talked about it. A few days ago I showed him the RRS and TWOTM Nightline face-off thinking that he would see how stupid TWOTMwere being. Turns out he actually agreed with everything they said and made sense of it that wasn't really there. He then went on to say that the Blasphemy Challenge was a terrible thing. (which is stupid because TWOTM was calling everybody evil people, which he saw no problem with). So I told him that I denied the holy spirirt nad guess what... He now sais that he want's nothing to do with me and I'm no longer wlecome to his house even though up until that point I was his most trusted friend.

 Thank you religion, you've totally fucked up a friend of mine and totally ruined a perfectly good friendship. How can I possibly respect religion when this happens?


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He was never a true friend

He was never a true friend if he ruined the friendship because of that. Or, he was brainwashed to an extremely dangerous level.


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Sorry to hear about that.

Sorry to hear about that.


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I don't think it takes a

I don't think it takes a whole lot of brainwashing to become very deeply brainwashed


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 I am confused.  How can

 I am confused.  How can you hold it true that he was a good friend, yet still claim he did this?  You didn't lose a good friend, you just found out he wasn't one.

Sounds made up...
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Velocity Eleven
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what i'm saying is that up

what i'm saying is that up until that point he (and his family) trusted me more than any of his other friends

Velocity Eleven


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what i'm saying is that up

what i'm saying is that up until that point he (and his family) trusted me more than any of his other friends. And he was never any problem up until that point

Velocity Eleven


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That's awful!  It's really

That's awful!  It's really odd that something like this hadn't come up before between you two.  Obviously, he knew you didn't believe in the Holy Spirit.  You are, after all, an atheist.  So why was your simply stating it the final straw?  I'm really sorry.  I've lost friends over this stuff before.  Actually though, one of my Christian friends who couldn't stand our debates any more and severed ties with me later became and atheist, and we became close again.  I got lucky, but there's always hope.  More likely, your friend will just start to miss you and realize how foolish he was.  I hope everything works out!


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DrTerwilliker wrote: That's

DrTerwilliker wrote:
That's awful!  It's really odd that something like this hadn't come up before between you two.  Obviously, he knew you didn't believe in the Holy Spirit.  You are, after all, an atheist.  So why was your simply stating it the final straw?  I'm really sorry.  I've lost friends over this stuff before.  Actually though, one of my Christian friends who couldn't stand our debates any more and severed ties with me later became and atheist, and we became close again.  I got lucky, but there's always hope.  More likely, your friend will just start to miss you and realize how foolish he was.  I hope everything works out!

 

I hope that happens too, but saying that he has been a total bastard these last couple of days, I don't think I'd be willing to go back to him, at leastfor a while

Velocity Eleven


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Velocity Eleven wrote: ..I

Velocity Eleven wrote:

..I showed him the RRS and TWOTM Nightline face-off thinking that he would see how stupid TWOTMwere being.

Velocity eleven wrote:

... So told him that I denied the holy spirirt

 

velocity eleven wrote:
 

even though up until that point I was his most trusted friend.

 sounds like you pushed your mate too hard one day, but you're the one who brought religion into it. 

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Eloise wrote: Velocity

Eloise wrote:
Velocity Eleven wrote:

..I showed him the RRS and TWOTM Nightline face-off thinking that he would see how stupid TWOTMwere being.

Velocity eleven wrote:

... So told him that I denied the holy spirirt

velocity eleven wrote:

even though up until that point I was his most trusted friend.

sounds like you pushed your mate too hard one day, but you're the one who brought religion into it.

Yeah I mean who wants to be themselves around the people they consider good friends.

Sounds made up...
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Eloise wrote: Velocity

Eloise wrote:
Velocity Eleven wrote:

..I showed him the RRS and TWOTM Nightline face-off thinking that he would see how stupid TWOTMwere being.

Velocity eleven wrote:

... So told him that I denied the holy spirirt

velocity eleven wrote:

even though up until that point I was his most trusted friend.

sounds like you pushed your mate too hard one day, but you're the one who brought religion into it.

his friend is the one who brought religion into this by being a christian

priest puncher


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Magus wrote:

Magus wrote:
Eloise wrote:
Velocity Eleven wrote:

..I showed him the RRS and TWOTM Nightline face-off thinking that he would see how stupid TWOTMwere being.

Velocity eleven wrote:

... So told him that I denied the holy spirirt

velocity eleven wrote:

even though up until that point I was his most trusted friend.

sounds like you pushed your mate too hard one day, but you're the one who brought religion into it.

Yeah I mean who wants to be themselves around the people they consider good friends.

He said:

"I showed him the RRS and TWOTM Nightline face-off thinking that he would see how stupid TWOTM were being."

Why shouldn't it work both ways? Why should it be so bad for the christian guy to be himself too, and say he thinks twotm are right without his mate deliberately going out to scare him in retaliation? If you can't be a little blind to your faults around friends then who can you trust?

This has bugger all to do with religion and everything to do with velocity eleven's mate not living up to stringent expectations, so VE is chucking a tanty over it.

If VE really was a good friend ever, he would see that he's hurt his mate on a personal level that has nothing to do with religion, forgive him for seeming like a complete tool who agrees with Ray Comfort (LOL), and apologise for being a tool himself. If they have a good friendship this'll all mean nothing soon enough.

 

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Eloise wrote: Magus

Eloise wrote:
Magus wrote:
Eloise wrote:
Velocity Eleven wrote:

..I showed him the RRS and TWOTM Nightline face-off thinking that he would see how stupid TWOTMwere being.

Velocity eleven wrote:

... So told him that I denied the holy spirirt

velocity eleven wrote:

even though up until that point I was his most trusted friend.

sounds like you pushed your mate too hard one day, but you're the one who brought religion into it.

Yeah I mean who wants to be themselves around the people they consider good friends.

He said:

"I showed him the RRS and TWOTM Nightline face-off thinking that he would see how stupid TWOTM were being."

Why shouldn't it work both ways? Why should it be so bad for the christian guy to be himself too, and say he thinks twotm are right without his mate deliberately going out to scare him in retaliation? If you can't be a little blind to your faults around friends then who can you trust?

This has bugger all to do with religion and everything to do with velocity eleven's mate not living up to stringent expectations, so VE is chucking a tanty over it.

If VE really was a good friend ever, he would see that he's hurt his mate on a personal level that has nothing to do with religion, forgive him for seeming like a complete tool who agrees with Ray Comfort (LOL), and apologise for being a tool himself. If they have a good friendship this'll all mean nothing soon enough.

 

Alright, Eloise, I have stood by on many occassions whilst I thought your point untenable because I find your style of argumentation unpleasant; however, you have forced me into confronting you by kicking this fellow while he's down.  You have woven the tapestry to show VE as an unfeeling proselytizer for atheism.  Clearly, that was not his intent.  He found WOTM to be an absurdity and shared it with his friend.  (By the bye, I will use "friend" because where I am from a "mate" is generally someone you "bugger."  I am fairly certain I am using your venacular appropriately.) 

I would expect to be able to show my best friend anything about my life and not lose the relationship.  This is an expectation that most would have.  Instead, this fellow behaves as if there was zero history and throws his friend out of his home permanently.  There is a serious issue with the order of magnitude of his reaction.  I would expect in any philosophical conversation for there to be a point at which some cooling off needs to occur, but not a permanent expulsion.

I paused before I wrote this and referred to my guide to modern etiquette.  I was curious as to where the burden of apology would be placed.  In an argument in which one evicts another from a personal home, it is the duty of the home owner to make amends.  It is the duty of a host to be gracious with his guest, even to the extent of barring that person from future hospitality.  So, if this is to be resolved, it is the duty of the friend to make amends.

So, there you have it.  The gauntlet is down.  Please be certain to give me translations of the cockney slang.

"Tis better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven." -Lucifer


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Magus wrote: I am

Magus wrote:
I am confused. How can you hold it true that he was a good friend, yet still claim he did this? You didn't lose a good friend, you just found out he wasn't one.

Sad

If he really believes this fairy tale sh*t and he really considered himself your friend then he should be trying to convert you - not avoiding you at all costs.  I mean if he really, really believes it and he honestly thinks you are going to spend eternity and hell but he just turned his back...

Of course, having someone trying to "save" you 24/7 is annoying itself. 


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Observations from my point

Observations from my point of view:

It seems that your friendship was something of a sham. It hurts a lot to realize that things weren't as good as you thought they were, but it turns out that your friendship was based on your friend's faulty assumption that you weren't as strongly into atheism as you are. Now I can't say that I've lost friendships over religious differences, but I have lost friends over politics. I've had people say that they never wanted to speak with me again because of my views on abortion (being pro-abortion carries that tendency), and several members of my extended family have blacklisted me because I am a registered Republican (even though I tend to lean liberal). I don't blame politics for those unfortunate incidents, though. It seems like a waste to do so. I won't mourn those who reject me.


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I can't put the story in

I can't put the story in context, not having been there. I mean, I don't know what your tone was, or what lead up to your "denying the holy spirit" in a conversation. If it's only the content of that statement, and what it supposedly implies, then that is a sad example of the polarizing distortion of social values that makes atheists so distrusted in America. Like biology and astronomy, religion's contributions in this are arena are baseless and divisive.


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Nero wrote:   Alright,

Nero wrote:

 

Alright, Eloise, I have stood by on many occassions whilst I thought your point untenable because I find your style of argumentation unpleasant; however, you have forced me into confronting you by kicking this fellow while he's down.

 

LOL, fascinating, I had no idea. You say you didn't confront me sooner because you find my style unpleasant. In what way?

I haven't forced you into anything, I accept I have influence over what you read of my character, but I have no control over what you do about that.  maybe you just feel you have an advantageous position from which to heckle my posting now and didn't earlier? Sticking out tongue

 

Quote:

You have woven the tapestry to show VE as an unfeeling proselytizer for atheism.

 

I haven't. He prosetylised, that much is obvious. But what difference does it make, it's not the porsetylising that had an impact on his christian friends attitude, it was the ensuing disagreement, and VE pushed it till he got a reaction. The only reason he's upset is that it was not the reaction he wanted or hoped for, that has, as I said, bugger all to do with religion.

 

Quote:

Clearly, that was not his intent. He found WOTM to be an absurdity and shared it with his friend.

 

THat's not what he said, you're putting words into VE's mouth. What he said was he shared it hoping that his friend would see the absurdity. And when his friend didn't see the absurdity he went on to challenge his friends beliefs further with a different tack.

Quote:
 

(By the bye, I will use "friend" because where I am from a "mate" is generally someone you "bugger." I am fairly certain I am using your venacular appropriately.)

Who cares. But if it helps you I am Australian and 'bugger' has lost that connotation in ths culture quite almost completely. It's of no consequence, really. How about I say Sweet FA instead, it has Sweet FA to do with religion and everything to do with two friends being upset with each other over personal insults.

 

 

Quote:

I would expect to be able to show my best friend anything about my life and not lose the relationship.

 

But that's not what VE says he expected is it now?

 

Quote:

 Instead, this fellow behaves as if there was zero history and throws his friend out of his home permanently.

 

He behaves like a typical human being who was mad. Proclaiming absolutes and chucking tantrums. So what?

Quote:
 

There is a serious issue with the order of magnitude of his reaction.

 

No there isn't, in the heat of the moment there is nothing wrong with that reaction. How much did he mean it? How do you know how much he meant it? 

There's something wrong with the magnitude of VE's reaction coming straight on here to blame religion for a fight he started with his mate over religion. Unless you take into account tha it JUST HAPPENED and he's feeling a little pissed and wants to blow off some steam. Given a chance to get over it neither one should really feel this way down the track. Especially if they are/were as VE said Good Friends. 

 

 

Quote:

I would expect in any philosophical conversation for there to be a point at which some cooling off needs to occur, but not a permanent expulsion.

It just happened! The dust hasn't even settled on VE's side and here you are making judgement on how long his friend is gonna stay mad enough to stand by what was obviously a stupid thing to say?

Come on. see me next year when it might begin to matter.

Quote:
 

I paused before I wrote this and referred to my guide to modern etiquette. I was curious as to where the burden of apology would be placed. In an argument in which one evicts another from a personal home, it is the duty of the home owner to make amends. It is the duty of a host to be gracious with his guest, even to the extent of barring that person from future hospitality. So, if this is to be resolved, it is the duty of the friend to make amends.

Meh, it doesn't matter whose duty it is, what matters is who still gives a crap about his friend. He's the one that will make amends.

 

 

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henryts wrote:

henryts wrote:
Eloise wrote:
Velocity Eleven wrote:

..I showed him the RRS and TWOTM Nightline face-off thinking that he would see how stupid TWOTMwere being.

Velocity eleven wrote:

... So told him that I denied the holy spirirt

velocity eleven wrote:

even though up until that point I was his most trusted friend.

sounds like you pushed your mate too hard one day, but you're the one who brought religion into it.

his friend is the one who brought religion into this by being a christian

Look, if they were friends it's not because of religion is it? I mean they weren't hanging together because they liked singing the same songs on sunday. VE liked having this friend for whatever reason despite that they disagreed about God and religion, this whole debate is just so narrowminded and hypocritical, I can't buy into it. They were friends while one was christian and the other atheist, that subsumes any premise based on his christianity, they already like each other!

VE posts here on an assertive atheist movement message board, and it's only the christian that cares about how religious the other one is? pull the other leg why don't you, it plays jingle bells. The aim of this cybergroup is to "cure Theism" If a member of this group doesn't make it their business that others are or aren't theist I'm uncle monkey.

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There's not enough

There's not enough information here to understand the context. We know the OP wanted to show WOTM getting spanked, but we don't know whether this came out of the blue. For all we know, this came after the OP was solicited to go to church, or was handed a Lee Strobel book. Not enough info here, people (that's why I put an "if" on my previous comment). So, please, shut the fuck up until the OP elaborates.


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magilum wrote: There's not

magilum wrote:
There's not enough information here to understand the context. We know the OP wanted to show WOTM getting spanked, but we don't know whether this came out of the blue. For all we know, this came after the OP was solicited to go to church, or was handed a Lee Strobel book. Not enough info here, people (that's why I put an "if" on my previous comment). So, please, shut the fuck up until the OP elaborates.

 Yeah, you're right Magilum, good points all.

Ignore previous statements by me, Velocity Eleven, I hope you feel better soon and in the long run haven't lost a good friend, but please elaborate the details if you want to discuss it.  

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Well let me throw my two

Well let me throw my two cents into this if you wish a Christian's point of view.  I think that he over reacted and he will realize it sooner or later, on the one hand.  On the other hand, I think that pushing certain buttons on people such as blatantly saying you denied the Holy Spirit.   This is going to be some speculation, since I do not know either of you.  I am going to use a friend of mine who is an atheist, one of my best friends, he is also a homosexual and has a great relationship with a long time chap.  We talk about religion and atheism, but we do not antagonize each other.  I dont, ever time I hang out with him, tell him that he's going to hell or what some people think Christians are wanting to tell atheists every single moment; nor does he tell me all the details about how he and his non-theist club spout how they're planning on blaspheming the next chance they get.  It sounds as if you overstepped your bounds with your friend and with him overreacting, not a lot of good came out of it.  I think that you should apologize to him and I think that he should also apologize to you.  The best course of action is both agreeing to disagreeing toward religion and atheism.  Having an honest discussion about theology and atheism is one thing, but trying to hit the other's buttons is another thing entirely.  I hope you and this fellow can work things out, maybe you should invite him out for a drink of coffee sometime and try to work things out since you two have known each other (from what I can speculate) for a long time.


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NOTHING will make someone

NOTHING will make someone turn on you more quickly or more completely than religion or some other irrational, dogmatically-held belief.

I'm more angry with religion now than I have ever been.  I want to see it wiped off the face of the earth (by peaceful means only, but I want it GONE.) 

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I kindly have to say I

I kindly have to say I disagree, and this is why. Antagonism never does any good, and antagonism can often cause friendships to be hampered. He is a Christian, this young lady is an atheist. There is always a right way to talk between friends and there is always a wrong way to talk between friends. Just simply trying to press him and saying that you hate the Holy Spirit, et cetera, of course would cause wounded feelings. Not that this chap should of course jump too far and discard a long time friendship. Walking in another’s shoes does a lot more wonder and cause a lot better form of communication than being blatant and forceful. When two people discuss topics, especially the topic of Christianity and atheism, one should be reminded that this is supposed to be a discussion, not a boxing match. Whether a Christian being bombastic toward an atheist or an atheist being haughty toward a Christian, in the end, both sides will go away with hurt feelings—no matter how long they’ve been friends. Listening, respecting, showing reasons for your worldview, peacefully, is the best course when wishing to take up a discussion.


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FranklinRobertson wrote: I

FranklinRobertson wrote:

I kindly have to say I disagree, and this is why. Antagonism never does any good, and antagonism can often cause friendships to be hampered. He is a Christian, this young lady is an atheist. There is always a right way to talk between friends and there is always a wrong way to talk between friends. Just simply trying to press him and saying that you hate the Holy Spirit, et cetera, of course would cause wounded feelings. Not that this chap should of course jump too far and discard a long time friendship. Walking in another’s shoes does a lot more wonder and cause a lot better form of communication than being blatant and forceful. When two people discuss topics, especially the topic of Christianity and atheism, one should be reminded that this is supposed to be a discussion, not a boxing match. Whether a Christian being bombastic toward an atheist or an atheist being haughty toward a Christian, in the end, both sides will go away with hurt feelings—no matter how long they’ve been friends. Listening, respecting, showing reasons for your worldview, peacefully, is the best course when wishing to take up a discussion.

 

Woah Woah Woah, he never said he hated the holy spirit he said he denied it, how in fucks sake can you hate something that you deny? It sounds like he was respectful of him, and it sounds like the christian was the non respectful one.


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I think I have to call

I think I have to call shenannigans on those who are saying this friend wasn't a real friend to begin with.  That's a "no true scotsman" argument that is basically the same one that the Christians use when they say de-converted people were never real Christians to begin with.  It trivializes the emotional depth of the friendship that must have had a lot going for it if it went on for seven years.

Much more likely, from what it sounds like, and I'm with Ikura on this, it's in the nature of religion to make people act this way.  We know from brain scans that strongly-held prejudices can override and bypass all the thinking parts of the brain.  Everybody knows stories about religious beliefs causing people to disown their children (Mormons, Amish, some Orthodox Jews all do this). If religion can make you cut off all contact with your own *child,* why is it hard to believe that it would make you break off with a friend?

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Well like I said, because I

Well like I said, because I dont have all the information, I am just speculating.  When the poster said that there was the denial of the Holy Spirit to the friend, when the situation is highly charged already, it just seems that there was a (and I am sure this isn't what the poster was trying to do) proverbial putting the finger into the wound/an already charged situation.  I am not saying that the friend was in the right, instead I think that just as the poster seemed to be going too offensive, the friend went too defensive (kind of like a sword fight).  The friend's reaction to the offensive/defensive situation was to take the situation too personal.  I think, at least I tried to point out in the posts, that both were at fault.  The poster seemed to try to challenge over the line and the friend seemed to react too heavily and shouldn't have taken what was said too personal.  A discussion or a debate should never have an antagonistic (even if the antagonistic energies are not recognized by one side or another) power in its foundation.  And it seems to me that the way the poster tried to present the poster's point of view to the friend was antagonistic, accidently, in that the poster wasn't trying to be antagonistic but that is how the friend read the situation.  Again, both sides mis-stepped so to speak and both sides should apologize for their reaction and interaction.  Just my point of view in the sense if this had happened to me.  As I do not know either party, I can only speculate and see how I would feel or how I would view the situation if it was happening to me.


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Again I would have to

Again I would have to disagree with you.  I dont think that the "irrationality of religion" has anything to do with the situation in that I dont think that the situation was just the friend's fault and not the first party's unrecognized and probably accidental antagonism.  I am a Christian.  I have never disowned anyone.  I have friends who are atheists, I have friends who are homosexuals.  I hang out with these people just as much as I hang out with my Christian friends, and I do not "hide" or "tuck away" one from the other.  If I had a child who was an atheist or if I had a child who was homosexual, I would not disown them or hate them or whatnot.  Nor would any of the Christians I know react that way.  Whether the Christians I know at the seminary I go to or the Christians I know personally from the church I go to.  Nothing is by-passing anything.  Instead I think the situation was a delicate one between the two friends and that both reacted and intereacted in not the best of ways. 


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If this had happened to me

If this had happened to me when I was a Christian, I would have immediately thought of 2 Corinthians 6:14--just as we were brainwashed to do.  And just like in the roleplays we practiced in Sunday school, I would have felt a very strong pressure to cut off all contact with this person regardless of our previous relationship.

It's one thing to know someone is an "atheist," but it's another to see firsthand what that really means.  I agree that buttons were pushed, but I think they were buttons that activated pre-programmed behaviors based on conditioned religious prejudices, not the genuine feelings of the person involved. 

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


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Textom wrote:

Textom wrote:

I think I have to call shenannigans on those who are saying this friend wasn't a real friend to begin with. That's a "no true scotsman" argument that is basically the same one that the Christians use when they say de-converted people were never real Christians to begin with. It trivializes the emotional depth of the friendship that must have had a lot going for it if it went on for seven years.

Much more likely, from what it sounds like, and I'm with Ikura on this, it's in the nature of religion to make people act this way. We know from brain scans that strongly-held prejudices can override and bypass all the thinking parts of the brain. Everybody knows stories about religious beliefs causing people to disown their children (Mormons, Amish, some Orthodox Jews all do this). If religion can make you cut off all contact with your own *child,* why is it hard to believe that it would make you break off with a friend?

This is not a "no true scotsman". In order for someone to be a killer they must kill. In order for someone to be a Christian they must believe in Christ. So what makes a friend a friend.

 

[Edit: Taking in more from what you said, I think I see your point.  He was his friends based on current information, and is no longer friend based on new information] 

Sounds made up...
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Coming from a Christian I

Coming from a Christian I would have to say that if this happened to me, I would have brushed it off as my beliefs are my beliefs and my friend’s beliefs are his. When someone wants to talk to me about the idea of their being an atheist I do not start popping out this or that point like a mindless drone. Nor do anyone I know act that way. The way I react—that’s pretty much how most of the Christians I know would react, they may or may not go into a debate over the considerations, but they know there is a right way and a wrong way to debate. I have an atheist friend, a very good friend at that, and we know (because we are both mature) how to say something and how not to say something. Me saying something to the extent "you’re going to hell because you’re an atheist" would have as little use or as little taste as him saying to me "you’re an idiot for being a Christian." We do not treat each other that way because we are friends, it seems to me that (while this friend of the poster’s went overboard) the poster was trying to dig into her friend’s proverbial flesh. It seems to me that, in some respect, that is how the poster was talking to (actually more like talking down) to her friend—so of course this friend would be defensive, when we are cornered by someone, no matter what their ideology or belief (or lack there of) system they have, that we care about, of course feelings will be hurt. I am a Christian and while I realize I am not the brightest chap in the universe, I would consider myself an intelligent person with an intelligent, seeking, listening personality and mindset. As are most of the Christians I know, none of them are some robot that is programmed to act just like someone like, say, Pat Robertson. These are Christians and they are real people with their own unique personalities and considerations and views—to just treat all Christians as mindless drones is a lack of respect that should be considered before performing.


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I'd say your'e better off

I'd say your'e better off now.  Sounds like your friend was oversensitive and reacted showing his true colours.  I've often found the religious to be very emotional and tend to react accordingly.  It may well hurt but try and move on, you may even find that this is an opportunity.

A friend in need is a friend indeed, a friend with weed is better - Placebo. 

 

 


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at this current moment in

at this current moment in time, I really just want to stay away from him... He has lost his mind


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I tend to only be friends

I tend to only be friends with people who can put up with a spirited and occasionally viscious religious or political debate because I tend to be a rather blunt person. Even if VE was offensive and beligerent in the argument I think it is a little overboard to ban a friend permanently from your house. I've had friends I have thought were comeplete idiots on certain subjects but I wouldn't stop talking to them or kick them out because of their idiotic beliefs.

A good friend is someone you should be able to have a heated discussion with but still maintain a friendship. I think it is bad and unhealthy when people decide they are only going to be friends with others that agree with them.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Well, the bible DOES say

Well, the bible DOES say not to hang out with non christian friends...

 

He was sticking with you, with the hopes of converting you. Now that youve denied the holy spirit, the chances of that became pretty much 0. You shouldve either kept your mouth shut, or lied. Its partly, if not mostly your fault. You should know better. Religious people always have a hidden agenda.

I'm infallible. I don't know why you can't remember that.


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Franklin Robertson, you

Franklin Robertson, you must not be an American Evangelical Christian.

In my southern Baptist church that I went to when I was a kid, your attitude is still considered the worst possible version of Christianity--the "lukewarm" Christianity ala Rev 3: " So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."  We had it drummed into us that even sinners are better than lukewarm Christians.

How do you reconcile, Franklin Robertson, the Biblical injunctions to go out and always preach to everybody all the time (e.g. Mark 16:15) with your live-and-let-live views?  How do you reconcile the prohibitions in Rev 2 & 3 and 2Cor6 not to be "yoked with unbelievers?" 

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


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Actually you can just call

Actually you can just call me Franklin, that would be fine…

Actually I don’t consider myself a lukewarm Christian, chap, at all. I would have to say that I am very hyperactive about all that there is to be found and discovered in this world that is alive around me. That is to say, I am very excited and I am very much seeking to see the world around me in all the beauty and mystery. I am a Methodist, if you are interested. I am conservative, and I am a scholar. And I enjoy that. I do not hide my Christianity and I do not bend my morality or my mindset. If you wish to know a bit about me, just out of curiosity, I am a very Victorian gentleman. In fact that is how I dress, in men’s Victorian outfits. I tell people I get my dress code from watching Doctor Who. Because I am very excited about my relationship with God, because I am willing to see and explore all the mysteries that God has in store for me, I would say I am far from lukewarm. Well concerning my live and let live as you seem to indicate I would have to say this…Mark says that Christ says that we are to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature…" Well that’s one of the reasons I am in seminary. And seminary is very exciting I freely admit. So many considerations have been made, so many new insights have been discovered. Yes I have a degree already in history and a Master’s degree in Educational Theory, but this is where my mind and heart are unified and where my mind and heart finds true joy and nourishment. That is one of the reasons I am willing to help those at my church and those at school and even people who come into the bookstore I work for seeking a bit of guidance. That is the reason why I help others, I’ve worked at homeless shelters, I have donated money to causes, et cetera et cetera. I believe that there is a right way and a wrong way to "witness"—which is more meaningful, just going out and shoving a pamphlet into some lass’s hands or going out and doing what needs to be done to help anyone and everyone that comes my way to the best of my ability? To me witnessing is more than just going up to a person and saying "if you died tonight where would you go"…the likelihood of that really causing an excitement toward God is about the same likelihood of, say, finding Godzilla having a dandy time at the local nuclear power plant. Interesting thought, but really, unrealistic. I reach out with friendship, I stand in integrity, I endure, I give my point of view if asked, if desired to know, but I take things in stride because you have to take things in stride because if you don’t you end up a bundle of nerves with quit a headache!

As a Christian I am neither shy nor slipping under the table my Christian worldview and ideas, nor do I believe that being in someone’s face is the right thing to do. I do not badger nor do I hammer my beliefs toward anyone, though if anyone wishes to have a discussion, I am always open for one. For example, I don’t think that my wearing a "Jesus is my Boss" t-shirt really is effective. I mean really. How many souls have been won by some chap wearing a t-shirt? I seriously doubt that Martin Luther would have gotten too many places if his ideas were just placed on a t-shirt that he wore about town. Of course he might have started a new trend in clothing but I digress…Instead I do what needs to be done, whatever routes there are before me, no matter how small an action I take such as spending money for the Toys for Tots or how large an action I take, like my gaining the theological degree so that I can teach future seminary students. To me I see so many avenues of development for my self and help toward others before my eyes and I am excited about this. About being yoked with unbelievers. Well if that was the narrow view toward how to understand that point of view, then Paul, Peter, Mary, Martha, and all the men and women would never have gotten out of Jerusalem, much less Israel itself! Being yoked with unbelievers doesn’t mean that you spend your life walled up in your home, afraid of even answering the telephone. I think that, in the long run, on the greater path and understanding, being yoked and not being yoked means this: I will stay true to the Gospel, the overall Gospel, from Genesis to Revelation, I will live my life for the Lord through the ministry that Jesus Christ has placed upon me, however great or small that may be. As long as I am staying true, as long as I keep my sight upon the goal of that great race I am in, as Paul might put it, then not only am I not being yoked with others (i.e. having others tell me what to think or just shrugging it off as a relativist might think), but I am not being lukewarm. I would have to say that, though this is a bit of a cliché now, the idea that suits the true definition of how one should not be yoked is to "live in the world but not of the world"…that is, living, breathing, talking, meeting, having adventures in the world, but not letting the world’s ideas and constructions (which tend to be second rate to God’s ideas and Kingdom) dictate how I live my life. Thus I haven’t created the unevenness of how it would be to try to have God’s truths yoked with the world’s considerations, thus I am, from that nature, not yoked with unbelief.

Well it is time for sleep, I wish you well this night!


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FranklinRobertson wrote: I

FranklinRobertson wrote:
I would have to say that, though this is a bit of a cliché now, the idea that suits the true definition of how one should not be yoked is to "live in the world but not of the world"…that is, living, breathing, talking, meeting, having adventures in the world, but not letting the world’s ideas and constructions (which tend to be second rate to God’s ideas and Kingdom) dictate how I live my life.

 

Quite a conundrum you must be in then knowing that gods and bible books are all also "of the world's ideas and constructions."


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Fair enough on the

Fair enough on the preaching thing, Franklin.  Going to seminary seems like a good way to dispense your obligation to preach.

But I still think you're being a hypocrite--in the sense of disobeying what the Bible clearly tells you to do--about having friendships with sinners.  I encourage you to take a look at the whole passage from 2 Cor 6:

Paul(KJV) wrote:
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

Although Paul, and other members of the Dramatis Personae of the Bible regularly went among the sinners to preach and baptize, they only socialized with other "saved" people.  But it is clear that you're supposed to avoid sinful people and thoughts as well as actions, because those influences can corrupt you too.  "Bad company corrupts good character." (1Cor15:33)

And since "Everything that does not come from faith is sin," (Rom 14:23) an atheist "friend" definitely qualifies as touching the unclean thing.

 

 

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


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Stuntgibbon—I kindly and

Stuntgibbon—I kindly and have to respectfully say that I disagree with you. I believe that Scripture, and thus the significance of what Scripture has to say, what it points toward in the history of mankind, is of God, not of man. Men and women in science believe that there are superstrings, not by observation of these superstrings face-to-face, but out of what math points toward empirically. This same consideration comes about with those who trustingly know with certainty that there are black holes though they have never seen any up close. Along the way, for both instances, the math points toward there being superstrings and black holes. Logical and dynamic driven answers come about through observation even if not face-to-face with the many considerations found in physics, astrophysics, quantum physics, and so on. For me, in my studies of both science and history, I see there is an enriched and powerful pointing toward God, and that this God, this Creator, this Sustainer, is the same one who has correlated Himself and shown Himself in the way that we have in Scripture. I have never seen Christ Jesus right before my eyes, and thus never been eye-to-eye in God’s presence, but because I see how God shows Himself in His Kingdom, because I have encountered His walk with me, encountered His care and love for me (and for so many others that I have met), I am humbled because I see that there is truth that God exists and that God has revealed Himself—to the greatest degree—in Jesus Christ and through Jesus Christ. Still you have the right to have your own opinion and I respect that opinion even if I disagree with the presuppositions of that opinion. As the saying goes, agreeing to disagree while understanding one another’s considerations helps a lot in bringing kindness between strangers.


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Good day to you as well

Good day to you as well Texttom. I hope that this day is going well for you and that you are doing well. I do not have much time to respond in my usual, have to admit, verbose way, but here are some points to consider toward your views on this situation between my friends and myself. I would have to point toward what Jesus Christ Himself went through in His life and ministry. The Pharisees did have the belief that they should, taking the faulty presupposed idea of being "yoked with the wrong people" to a faulty conclusion due to their unwritten Laws that they had created to supercede the written Laws and the Prophets and the Writings, never have any encounter with "sinners." Jesus Christ Himself disagreed, He spoke very truly when He said that He was here not to call those who were "well" (those who thought they were well), but instead to walk among the lost and bring eternal hope and awakened salvation to those who were lost. Thus the reason you saw Him ministering and talking and befriending everyone from a woman caught in adultery to tax collectors.  Jesus Christ Himself went out amongst the lost, amongst the unloved, those that society had turn its back upon, and showed them the everlasting truth of Himself as He is God...as He is the Messiah, in this First Advent (and who will return in the Second Advent).  To live today by believing that "we should not be yoked" in the same faulty presupposition as held by the Pharisees, is to (as I stated before) just might as well walling oneself up in the house and never going outside for fear of what may lay waiting outside.

Concerning what was going on in 2 Cor 6, one must realize what was going on at that time and why Paul was speaking as he was speaking to those in the Corinthian church. What was happening was that there were false apostles who were bringing false messages to the church of Corinth. These false apostles were trying to bring the Corinthian church away from loving the truth of Jesus Christ that Paul was commisioned to preach by God, and toward loving their false views and their fake selves. The same goes for the quote from 1 Cor 15:33, what we are dealing with are not average day friendships and relationships with believes and unbelievers, we are dealing with a crisis in the Corinthian church of being yoked with false teachers.  False teachers who did not know the Gospel's truth, God's truth, from Scriptural truth.  They only knew what they wanted to know and wanted to teach.  Remember and realize that these letters that we have in the Bible are not average (as today) "letters," but responses to a crisis in that particular church due to false teachers and their false presuppositions. My friendships with these people will not lead me away from having a "sincere and pure devotion to Christ" because I am not yoked to these friends of mine, I am yoked with Christ and Christ alone (that is, I am not being yoked with Belial, that is, the world and all the world’s beliefs, I am being yoked with Christ). As I am yoked with Christ, there is no fear of being yoked with anyone else, because I aim myself fully toward that goal, toward that truth, that is Christ Jesus.


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Actually I am having a

Actually I am having a pretty good day.  Thank you, Franklin.

 

Franklin wrote:
I would have to point toward what Jesus Christ Himself went through in His life and ministry...

Already dealt with this when I said that Jesus and his immediate followers went among the "sinners" to preach and baptize, but their only close, continuous associations were with members of their own community.

Also it's important to remember that Jesus himself meant for his teachings to be preached to Jews only, and commanded the apostles not to preach to gentiles (Matt 10: 5-7, Matt 15:26).  So even the "sinners" JC refers to are still God's chosen people.

I'm surprised, Franklin, that your seminary hasn't taught you that the story of the woman taken in adultery is a late addition to the Bible, not present in the oldest and best manuscripts.  Many modern Bibles omit it entirely.  So before you come back with a counterargument from, for example, Mark 16:15 or Luke 24:47, be sure to check the reliability of those verses and the actual meaning of the word "nations" in "all nations."

Franklin wrote:
Concerning what was going on in 2 Cor 6, one must realize what was going on at that time and why Paul was speaking as he was speaking to those in the Corinthian church.

Ack!  Not the argument from context!  I had to laugh when I saw this because Christians (including my former self) when cornered by what the Bible *actually says* always appeal to the argument from context.   Especially in the epistles, which are so much more specific about telling Christians what they should and should not do, the debate eventually comes around to some version of "well Paul only meant for the *ancient Romans* not to get married..."

I don't accept any argument based on the idea that the context of an epistle means it only applies to the ancient church at Corinth or whatever.  Once you start down this path, you fall into equivocations and rationalizations that can take you anywhere you want to go. 

Either the Bible is the true and inspired word of God, or it's a book like any other book written by men.  If it's true and inspired, then when it says "be not yoked," then that's what you have to do.  If you have to use "context" as an excuse to rationalize away the commands the bible gives, then why bother obeying *anything* it says?

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


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Franklin wrote: My

Franklin wrote:
My friendships with these people will not lead me away from having a "sincere and pure devotion to Christ" because I am not yoked to these friends of mine, I am yoked with Christ and Christ alone

...and this isn't what the Bible says will happen.  Bible says "Avoid godless chatter because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly."  (2Tim 2:16)  It says "A little leaven leaveneth the whole loaf."  (Ga 5:9)  It says "put ye off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that ye put on the new man, which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness."  (Eph  4:22-24)

...unless you're going to argue that, because of "context" these commands only pertain to the Galatians, Ephesians and Timothy.

If you feel sure enough that you can resist all temptation by hanging around non-theists, maybe you should check out Romans 11:18 or Matthew 6:1 about the hazards of the pride that goes with demonstrating your piety for its own sake.

Or, you can always do the rational thing, which is my hope, and recognize that the Bible is a hopelessly error-filled book that gives so many internally-contradictory commands that it (1) can't possibly be divinely inspired and (2) is a terrible text on which to build a morality, a culture or a future.

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


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Greetings to you this

Greetings to you this evening. I hope that you are well. Sorry that I haven’t had a chance to write a reply until now as I have been at work this evening. As I explore your comments, here are a few comments back to you concerning what you have said this evening. I understand what you are saying and I understand what you say your old church had to say, however I firmly disagree with churches like that because they fail to see the message and the meaning of being in the world. I do not rely upon myself or my pride, I rely upon God to strengthen my endurance. To say, as your old church seemed to have been saying, that one should not go out into the world or amongst people who are different than you, then your church has forgotten several important and wonderful examples of those who have been the People of God amongst the world and the world’s worldview. All three come from the Old Testament by the way…

I would have to say yes you have to study and exegesis what Scripture says through context and through how the message of Redemptive History is developed across time, across space, and through the many People of the Lord. One cannot just say "the Bible is literal" and forget that the Bible contains multitudes of genres, of purposes, of wisdom, of consideration, and of messages, brought together through and aiming toward the all important and everlasting way of God’s Redemptive History for mankind. Each piece of Scripture has its own nuances, its own considerations and schematics, and if those considerations and schematics are not recognized, then a false reading will obviously come about. Reading the Bible is not like reading a Stephen King novel, you must continue to pay attention to what God aims before you. By studying the Scripture you will see (as in the OT I will now show) the acts of people of God in the world.

Example one, there is Joseph. Joseph was sold into slavery into Egypt. He lived amongst Egyptians and the pagan worldview. And yet instead of hiding, instead of giving up and barricading himself (which seems like the way the church you had gone to felt one should do), he lived amongst the Egyptians and knew that God would sustain him…not out of Joseph’s power, but out of God’s truth and everlasting wisdom and grace and justice. And by trusting in God, even when others strove to do evil toward him, goodness triumphed for not just Joseph but toward the People of God.

The same goes for another chap in history, the fellow named Daniel. Daniel had been one of the many who had been brought to Babylon. The Babylonians tried to change him, tried to make him adapt to the pagan worldview of the Babylonians. There Daniel lived amongst the pagan world and the worldview of this pagan society. Instead of hiding in his house, instead of ducking one’s head into the sand, like the church you had gone to seemed to have taught you, he lived amongst the Babylonians and remained strong in his trust in the Lord. It was not based upon Daniel’s pride or power, it was humble trust in God.

Another grand example is Esther. This was during the later time period of the Jewish history during the Old Testament days. Esther was a Jew in the Persian Empire, brought to be the queen of the Persian Empire, and in faith she held onto her convictions and her love for her people. She was willing to risk her life, to go up to King Xerxes (which is the Greek name for Ahasuerus, which is the Hebrew name) and speak in honor about her people, to protect the Jewish People of God. Again, this was not on the power of her own pride. Not at all. All that she did was found within the guiding power of God.

Not to mention so many of the Prophets of the Lord, found throughout the Old Testament, spread out across the times taught in both the two books of Kings and the two books of Chronicles. Here are mighty men who humble themselves before the Lord, trust in the message of the Lord, and bring the message of the Lord to the People of God, even when the people of the God did all that they could to destroy the messengers of the Lord. You have Isaiah, you have Jeremiah, you have Amos, and so many more. Their message was filled with love, with justice, with wisdom, and they brought the message no matter what.

When studying Scripture you must understand the context of what is being written. The histories that are placed before you, just using the before mentioned Joseph and Daniel and Esther, all come about through different authors but authors that are tied together across space and time by the power of God for the message of God to the People of God. No matter where or when. You have to explore what is being said just as much as understand what isn’t being said. You have to comprehend the genres that each book of the Bible is placed within—whether Gospel (as in the Gospels) or theological history (as the Torah) or wisdom books (such as Job and Psalms), and letters written to individuals (like Timothy) or church organizations (such as 1 and 2 Corinthians and Romans). You also have to know literary devices, you have to know midrash (the ancient Jewish form of exegesis), and the use of metaphors and analogies.

Concerning the story of the woman caught in adultery, yes we know that this was added later, but that doesn’t mean that it was untrue and didn’t happen.  In my rational studies of Scripture, I have found that Scripture weas precisely and, fully and poignantly developed by men and women who lived fully and to the best of their abilities for the Holy Spirit across the first few centuries of the early Christian church, thus the canonization took time and effort and prayer and wisdom. The church didn’t just throw anything into the pot and create a stew, the church prayerfully brought together what God intended to be brought together for the sake of His Redemptive Historical message. I realize that a complete point by point story of the canonization would be too long for this already long message back to you (and I’m glad that you are having a great day by the way, good to know, it has been a pretty busy day for me myself!). I wish to include a series of works that I have read through and placed upon the "scale" so to speak to understand the Bible’s life.

Lee Martin McDonald’s The Biblical Canon

Arthur G. Patzia’s The Making of the New Testament

E. Randolph Richards’ Paul and First-Century Letter Writing

Mark Roberts’ Can We Trust the Gospels

Further, take into account all that Jesus has said. I realize that you do not believe in the Resurrection, but I have come to the logical conclusion that it is not only trustworthy but also viable to believe in the Resurrection. From the Resurrection Jesus spoke to His apostles telling them that they are to preach to all nations. Scripture shows God saying clearly that through the Jews (where Jesus came from) He would (through Jesus Christ) bless the nations. This syntax can be trusted when bringing together all the cat cradle strands that are found throughout the evolution of Redemptive History. Jesus Christ of course means for His message to be spread far and wide, to every man, woman, and child. The Gospel is the Good News for one and all, that through God’s plan and God’s action by way of the Cross and the Resurrection, there would now be hope for the hopeless and joy for those in mourning. I find wisdom and peace in that.

God sustains us. God strengthens us. God helps us. As Jesus said He would be with those who trust in God through Him even through the end of the age of man. That must I have found to be true, before my eyes, through my encounters over the past several years. Why should I worry what another person believes or thinks, I have had God prove Himself to me in so many ways in my life over the past few years that I have been a Christian. There is none that can match God’s power and truth and justice and live. I do not worry about what the television has to say on the evening news, I do not worry about what books by fellows like Sam Harris (and yes I have read his works) have to say, my conviction and trust and endurance is clear—I race toward the finish line, I race toward the way, the truth, and the life, that is found in God through Christ and only found in God through Christ. My life is for Him through Him, no matter what.

Thus I would have to say that, through careful study over the past few years that I have been a Christian, that I would have to say through empirical deduction that the Bible is inspired by God, God’s message to mankind of His Redemptive Historical plan…from His creation of the universe (as I parallel my studies and readings on astrophysics and cosmology with the pericopes of Genesis 1 and 2), to the sustaining and the evolution of the Jewish people, to the coming of Jesus Christ (as not just a historical figure that can be trusted, but also as a God in sight figure that can be trusted), and forward as the world heads toward the Second Advent. I do not come to this deduction out of flimsy emotionalism, nor do I come to this deduction out of blind hope. I have used my skills, I have looked at all the arguments, and I have found that God is true, that I can trust in this God who has come into human history as Jesus Christ.

Not only that, I will also say that through careful study I can indeed trust in what we have as Scripture today—that Scripture, though written over centuries, by many different people, all come together to form the truth that is this Redemptive History in action by God and in aim toward the human race. This has come through careful study of the Hebrew text for the Old Testament (along with the study of the Septuagint which is the OT in Greek used by the early church), along with the study of the Greek New Testament. I have carefully studied the archeology of the Bible, I have also studied the sociology of the Bible, the history of the Jewish people and the ancient world. I have further studied carefully the development of Scripture, the copying of the Scripture, the canonization of the Scripture, and I keep learning more each and every day. And the more I study, the more I trust on reason and wisdom.

Of course you may disagree with me. That is your choice. I respect your choice though I respectfully decline to agree with your choice. I also understand what your old church had to say because I have seen churches like those, and I have talked to people who have the same views.  I kindly have to disagree with their idea of "hiding" in order to "not be yoked," though they fail to understand the context and fullness and development of the entire message of God's Redemptive History.  For me and myself, I do not place my power on myself or my pride, in fact I realize that in the cosmic scheme of things, I am powerless. However I trust in God, through Christ, and will continue to trust in God through Christ. I accept others as my friends and I share my care and my friendship with others because that is the right thing to do. Not that I have any hidden agenda, I am who God wishes me to be to the best of my ability. Still, I am enjoying this conversation though I realize that it has gotten off the topic of the original topic of this posting on the board. For that, to the original poster, I am sorry. Now it is time for sleep due to it being a long day, I wish everyone well.  Goodnight.


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I'm pretty much ready to

I'm pretty much ready to cash out on this discussion, Franklin, so I'm not going to respond to your whole post.  For one thing, I hope that you do maintain your friendships with nontheists, and I'm not really into telling people what they should and should not do.  For another thing, it's clear that I'm not successfully getting you to question the integrity of your religious schema.

 But I do have one last question.  I am familiar with the books you list, and I've read many like them.  I doubt there are very many Biblical apologist arguments I haven't heard before.  I used to use many of them myself.

But I did finally ask myself, if the Bible is such a great book--is so full of important truths for life and spirituality--then why does it need so many apologist books to be written about it?  Why does it have so many apparent contradictions and ambiguities that it requires a whole industry of secondary publishing sources to explain what it "really" means?  Is God so helpless in the face of human fallability that he can't engineer a book that is  clear on the questions that matter most to people?

Isn't it much simpler, and perhaps more likely, that the Bible is just an accumulation of human texts, and the religion built on top of it isn't any more divinely inspired than any other religion? 

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


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FranklinRobertson

FranklinRobertson wrote:

Stuntgibbon—I kindly and have to respectfully say that I disagree with you. I believe that Scripture, and thus the significance of what Scripture has to say, what it points toward in the history of mankind, is of God, not of man. Men and women in science believe that there are superstrings, not by observation of these superstrings face-to-face, but out of what math points toward empirically. This same consideration comes about with those who trustingly know with certainty that there are black holes though they have never seen any up close. Along the way, for both instances, the math points toward there being superstrings and black holes. Logical and dynamic driven answers come about through observation even if not face-to-face with the many considerations found in physics, astrophysics, quantum physics, and so on. For me, in my studies of both science and history, I see there is an enriched and powerful pointing toward God, and that this God, this Creator, this Sustainer, is the same one who has correlated Himself and shown Himself in the way that we have in Scripture. I have never seen Christ Jesus right before my eyes, and thus never been eye-to-eye in God’s presence, but because I see how God shows Himself in His Kingdom, because I have encountered His walk with me, encountered His care and love for me (and for so many others that I have met), I am humbled because I see that there is truth that God exists and that God has revealed Himself—to the greatest degree—in Jesus Christ and through Jesus Christ. Still you have the right to have your own opinion and I respect that opinion even if I disagree with the presuppositions of that opinion. As the saying goes, agreeing to disagree while understanding one another’s considerations helps a lot in bringing kindness between strangers.

 What historical evidence can you provide that coincides with the notion that the bible was written by means of magic, godly influence or by a god?  Also for extra credit, what are the reasons you DON'T believe stories about Zeus, Thor, Osiris, Allah or Mohammed are also true on similar grounds.

"Believing in your heart" disqualifies the answer.   I could "believe in my heart" I'm rich enough to own a hotel in New York, but that won't make the check I sign any different from the reality that there's not enough money to make the purchase.


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This is all I really have

This is all I really have to say and then I really do not think I need to say anything more. This is, as mentioned before, off the topic of the original consideration of this portion of the forum. I do not do this out of defeat, but out of the reality that discussions should not turn into broken records, that is, discussions should not continue to say the same thing again and again. When the conversation does that, then the conversation really has very little point for its life. Saying that, consider these points that I am about to say. I realize that you may disagree with me on most of what I have to say, but I do hope that you will at least give these considerations some thought instead of just brushing them to the side. These considerations come from what I have studied not just in theology but also in my study of history, not just the skills of hermeneutics but also the skills of historiography. For you see just as great skill must go into exploring the nuances of history and all that history has to offer to say, so to, even more, because God is the author of history, you need great skill in understanding Scripture.

Whether dealing with a primary source material, say a letter from Thomas Jefferson to, maybe, John Adams, or whether dealing with a secondary material, say a discussion of said letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, one must consider the context. The letter was not written in a vacuum. There are questions that need to be asked when reading the primary source material, such as "why was the letter written," "when was the letter written," and "what was the situation that brought about the need to write the letter." When reading the secondary source material, you will have to ask what was the views of the author who mentions the letter, how does the author use said letter later on in his or her work, and why did the author of the secondary material use this particular letter. If you do not ask these focused and precise questions, if you do not seek the answers to these questions, then you are failing to give full and mindful and reasonable attention to the letter that is being studied. These same skills of historiography and literary examinations can and should be used as well with Bible studies.

So too can be said of reading the Bible’s source materials. Whether you are dealing with primary source materials such as the Dead Sea Scrolls or dealing with copies of the autographs of the works that would be canonized under the heading of the New Testament, careful study must be maintained. This doesn’t mean that every Christian out there needs to get a seminary degree, but every Christian needs to know the circumstances in which the works from the Old to the New Testament were written. For example, questions such as "in what ways do the authors of Kings differ from the authors of Chronicles and why are these authors different though examining the same periods of history," other questions could be like this, "if each Gospel was written toward a particular someone or group, for what reason and how does the Gospel aim toward that group, while also being open enough to be read by all Christians?" If questions are not asked, if Scripture is treated as a vacuum, then there is failure to understand. And when there is failure to understand, there will be abuse of Scripture.

For example let’s use the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. A lot of Christian churches speak of this story as an examination of God’s judgment toward homosexuals, as if that is the only thing going on in the pericope of the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah. When reading this pericope in Genesis, you have to ask the same questions as I mentioned that are needed to be asked in the Thomas Jefferson letter, along with asking oneself as to how other Scripture writers may mentioned and may use Sodom and Gomorrah as examples in their own writings. If you begin to see how other Scripture writers point and examine this show of judgment, you will realize that homosexuality is not at all in the forefront for the reason of God’s justice being done. You see that this city was wicked, that it wronged others, far and wide, and that this city failed to do justice toward strangers, toward visitors, toward one another. Furthermore, when Sodom and Gomorrah is mentioned by Jesus Christ, He does not mention homosexuality, all that He does speak about is that this is an example of what it will be like on the "Day of the Lord."

Another example will be the used 1 and 2 Corinthian letters. Instead of just saying that these letters are needed to be treated as literal messages, such one dimensional thoughts should be turned away from. A Christian, well, anyone for that matter, who studies these two letters should use the same questions and considerations used by someone studying the Thomas Jefferson letters. Who is writing these letters? Paul. Who is Paul writing to? The Corinthian church. What was going on in the church at that time? What was going on in the overall city’s life at that time? Why was there confrontation occurring between members of the Corinthian church? Who were the leaders, who were the detractors, within these house churches? By asking these questions you will begin to understand the complex context of the letters. Other points of matter that should be addressed concern the meaning and the genre of letter writing at this time period. What points are being used in the letter, what constructions are developed through the letter, and so on? If you do not try to understand the first century letter writing, you miss a lot of information.

One of the greatest injustices today is when a church or an individual or a group treats the Bible as a vacuum, ready to have whatever they want placed within the Scripture. That is not exegesis, that is extreme use of eisegesis, and that is wrong. A person or a group must allow God to speak through Scripture as Scripture is that which has come together through meticulous development across time and space, in order to give God’s message of Redemption and Covenant to mankind, from the writings of the Torah to Jesus Christ, toward the coming of the Second Advent. A person needs to understand why the works were written, who the works were written to and for what purpose, a person needs to understand what was going on in the greater world around which the works were written. A person fails Scripture, not the other way around mind you, when he fails to truly develop an understanding of Scripture. Every person out there does not need to go out and get a seminary degree, but every person out there should mindfully understand the works of the Bible, in order to understand God’s message through the Bible.

By studying even further into the historical settings, the motifs used by the authors of the various books of the Bible, one can begin to appreciate just how great a connection there is with what the Bible has to say with what has gone on in the overall magnitude of history. For example, studying Jesus Christ, one can find various works spoken about Him throughout both the believing world and the unbelieving world at this time. Furthermore, by asking historiographical questions concerning both the works of believers and unbelievers, you begin to have a greater idea as to the actions taken by Christ in the Gospels. Furthermore, by asking yourself questions about how the Gospel spread from its Jewish birthplace throughout the Roman world, how both Jews and Gentiles came together, how Jews and Gentiles differed, and asking questions about the validity that held people into enduring all that was endured in order to spread the message of the Gospel—great important realizations are found, the greatest of all being that what was happening, from Jesus through the first century church of the Bible, happened in "real time and real place."

Unlike stories of Zeus and Hercules, the works of the Bible are grounded in logical development of history. While the stories of Zeus and Hercules were founded in the mythical world of magic, the works of the Bible could be considered ultra-realistic in that the stories are filled with average men and women, men and women with faults, men and women with hopes, men and women with uncertainties, men and women with considerations—all bound together, to the great point, toward the relationship with a very real, a very present, a very Holy, a very True, God. The works of God through Jesus Christ, for example, are founded in a very real miraculous power of God in a very mundane (but also, quite, volatile) world of Israel during the Roman occupation. When going back through reading my works on the history of Rome at this time, and correlating it with the works about the first century church, and correlating even further through the study of the Gospels and Acts and the letters, thee correlation adds up and is bound together in truth. This truth is not found in the stories, in the mythologies, found in the writings of Zeus and Hercules.

You ask why are there so many apologists for the Bible? As the Bible has lived, fully and developed, for almost two thousand years? You seem to suggest that there is no validity for the Bible because there are people like myself to people like Martin Luther to people like Catherine of Seana who are willing to go to bat for the Bible and the messages of God through Holy Scripture. I would have to say that is a faulty reasoning because then, if any argument should just have the primary argument, then why would you be so interested in reading the works of Richard Dawkins who is quite an apologist not only for atheism but also for (even greater) evolution. If I used the same argument that you are using, then Richard Dawkins would not be of interest to you because you should only focus on the original documents of Charles Darwin. But you see, thoughts develop, thoughts are constructed and evolve. The greatest of these deal with God’s interaction, through Scripture, and through the lives of men and women who went to bat for Scripture (and thus for God), because here you see the acts of reason and faith and truth and hope are mapped out

That is my opinion, that opinion that has come through my own continuing development in understanding God’s Scripture, God’s message of Redemption, to mankind from Genesis through Revelation. You of course disagree with me, but I do hope that one day you will learn to be mindful to walk in other’s shoes. Maybe you will seek to understand why people like myself not only find love and endurance in the works of Scripture, but maybe you will also seek to comprehend why people like myself find peaceful wisdom in the study of Scripture. You should, instead of just saying that you find the Bible wrong and just leave it at that, try to see why people (intelligent people like myself and the many men and women who are missionaries, who are church workers, who are everything from seminary professors to church ministers) find the everlasting, power in what we call God’s Scripture, God’s message, to mankind. You may of course continue to disagree but at least in trying to walk in other people’s shoes, you will find that you appreciate instead of demonizing these other people.

I hope that I have been respectful of you here in this little discussion. I do not want you to think that I am thinking "I’m better than you" or anything of that sort. I have tried my best, whether or not I have succeeded, well we will throw that to the fates, to answer the questions through the best of my ability through the lens of the worldview that I have developed through constant study and meditation. I have not done any of this out of sheer spite, nor do I hope that I have only made enemies in this discussion as I have no wish to do so. This will be my final message for this moment because I do not wish the discussion to turn to a broken record. All that I ask is that instead of just reading the works of apologists, instead of just reading the works on historiography and Scripture, and Christology, et cetera, really study. There is a difference between reading and studying. You read a Stephen King novel, you study a work of theology and philosophy and history. For me and myself, the same logical reasons I use when studying history I have used and found foundation when studying theology. That is all I have to say.


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Man, I thought I was done,

Man, I thought I was done, but I have to say a couple of things.

 

Franklin wrote:
A person or a group must allow God to speak through Scripture

Yeah, we learned this trick in Sunday school.  When the Bible appears to say something you don't want it to, you can change the meaning willy-nilly by opening your heart and letting the Holy Spirit communicate the "real" meaning.

So, for example, when Paul says "don't get married," or "don't try to improve your situation in life," then we can be all about the historical context and how the meaning was sooo specific to those circumstances.

But when Jesus says "preach unto all nations," we're allowed to totally disregard the historical context that suggests that by "nations" he meant "Jewish nations only," and pretend that verse exists in a vaccuum. 

Context gives a selective escape hatch for contradictions, but we can disregard it when it changes one of the meanings that we like.

 

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


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Some great reading material

Some great reading material for people who don't already believe to have all the answers about the origin of the bible.

 http://tinyurl.com/34uroh