brace yourselves and be brave... this one is about church

sapphen
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brace yourselves and be brave... this one is about church

church is an unusually thing for me.  i don't have a certain church that i go to but rather visit a variety of them.  most of them assume that i am lost.  although i don't agree with some of the things religion teaches i have always learned something from a sermon.

during the services i pray contentiously for God to enter into the message.  as a pastor it is easy to get discouraged and i find that a smile and nod from an actively viewing participant does wonders.  in part i go to church for their own good and not my own.

a lot of messages i hear actually deal with issues that i am currently going through.  i am not talking about a generic idea or something i have to search for but something that completes an idea for me.  that is one way i feel God communicating with me.  i hope you do realize that i have shown that i can be rational and i would at least like a little bit of consideration that i may be approaching this rational as well.  i have already read some of the reasons why you believe this happens and you are free to post them again but it still doesn't change the fact that it is real for me.

i know that preachers are not perfect but i still believe God speaks through most of them.  i have many experience with pastors from other beliefs and when i go to a church i usually like to get to know the pastor and have conversation with him.  you will see that they are human like you and me, if they are approached with respect they will give it in return.

so i came here and questioned my beliefs but are you able to do the sameyou want to try a funny experiment, try going to a church.  you would do good to learn about the enemy so to speak.  i wouldn't suggest going to a hellfire and brimestone church but that would be better than a catholic church.

go on a wednesday night, most churches don't expect new people to pop in them, be nice and friendly.  tell them what you feel comfortable with, stare at the pastor with a constant smile pasted on your face.  if anything show up late and leave when they all stand to do the ending prayer so you won't be confronted with ARE YOU SAVED!!!

i think you might find that church isn't as bad as you think but i understand if you too scared to go.  LOL, i also understand there are some bad churches out there so i do apologize if it is as bad as you think BUT i also recommend that you try more than one.

for anyone who is a daring individual and brave enough to try my challenge i would love to read your replies, good or bad.  i would say that don't go in there with preconceived notions, so if it is just neutral please say so.

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


zarathustra
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sapphen wrote: so i came

sapphen wrote:

so i came here and questioned my beliefs but are you able to do the same? you want to try a funny experiment, try going to a church.

Tried for 20 years.  Didn't work.   

sapphen wrote:
you would do good to learn about the enemy so to speak.

Many here have explicitly stated they are former believers.  We already know the enemy.

sapphen wrote:

i wouldn't suggest going to a hellfire and brimestone church but that would be better than a catholic church.

Why would that be?  Miffed at the pope's recent exclusionary remarks perhaps?

sapphen wrote:

i think you might find that church isn't as bad as you think but i understand if you too scared to go.

Not scared, just have better things to do with my time. 

There are no theists on operating tables.

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I like church. I really do.

I like church. I really do. I haven't been there in a while, but it was a very nice place. I miss hymns most of all, I think. There's nothing quite like singing that really brings people together, you know?


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The occasions that I have

The occasions that I have "visited" church must number in the thousands..

- Many of the people I met and got to know were nice. 

- Many of the people I met and got to know put on a fake plastic smile and were not so nice!  Some even could be best described with a concept humans refer to as evil !

Just like the regular population it turns out...however, none of the church-goers I've ever met were successful at embracing reality or had ever learned to be honest with themselves. 

If I want to escape reality that bad I could just watch TV and I wouldn't have to put on a cheap suit !

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
George Orwell


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sapphen wrote: i know that

sapphen wrote:

i know that preachers are not perfect but i still believe God speaks through most of them.

Why would god speak through (some) preachers and not others?  What makes them different? 

Furthermore, why would God only speak through preachers and not other people?  Or even just speak to people directly, instead of through another person? 


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Sorry Sapphen, but I can't

Sorry Sapphen, but I can't do it for the following reasons:

1) I hate Jesus

2) I've never read the bible

3) A traumatic event in my life happened at church

4) I know God exists but shun his love

5) My parents used to beat me with a book of hymns

6) God touched me in bad places

7) Satan has better dental

Cool My mind is closed to the truth

9) God hasn't opened my eyes yet

10) I've never heard of Pascal's Wager

 

"A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven." -- former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien


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Sapphen do you know what it

Sapphen do you know what it means to have a closed mind? Here's some of what you just posted:

sapphen wrote:

i have already read some of the reasons why you believe this happens and you are free to post them again but it still doesn't change the fact that it is real for me.

So you can't argue against the reasons but you refuse to change your opinion. This is the very essence of irrationality.

sapphen wrote:

i know that preachers are not perfect but i still believe God speaks through most of them.

But if God is perfect shouldn't the message be perfect? Why are you purposely ignoring your own reasoning processes?

sapphen wrote:

so i came here and questioned my beliefs but are you able to do the same? you want to try a funny experiment, try going to a church. you would do good to learn about the enemy so to speak.

You'll find that most people here have been to church many, many times. Some were devout believers in the past. I have also found, consistently, that the atheists on this site and elsewhere have, on average, more knowledge of the bible and the history of religion than most theists.

 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


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sapphen wrote: i know that

sapphen wrote:

i know that preachers are not perfect but i still believe God speaks through most of them. i have many experience with pastors from other beliefs and when i go to a church i usually like to get to know the pastor and have conversation with him. you will see that they are human like you and me, if they are approached with respect they will give it in return.

I never expected them to be anything but human. I don't talk to them mostly because I don't have a reason to. They are there to answer the specifics of their faith not to debate with non-believers.  I don't think they would appreciate my demands for proof when their time could be better spent (from their perspective) working wih the faithful.  

Quote:
so i came here and questioned my beliefs but are you able to do the same?

Constantly. 

Quote:
you want to try a funny experiment, try going to a church. you would do good to learn about the enemy so to speak. i wouldn't suggest going to a hellfire and brimestone church but that would be better than a catholic church.

This is something I've never understood about christianity. The hatred of catholocism. I get that different sects have slightly different beliefs and therefore dissagre but everyone (except the catholics) singles out the catholics as the worst. Is it tall poppy syndrome? The catholic church is the oldest, richest and (historically atleast) the most powerful version of christianity. It this jelousy or is there a good reason that you think the catholic church is evil? Don't they have the strongest claim of being true christianity?

I have been to church a few times. Mostly catholic I admit but some of other denominations too. I went to a catholic highschool and attendance at certain masses were compulsary. I also discussed my non-belief at length with my religious education teachers.

I'm sorry to say that attending mass only strenghtened my disbelief. All I saw was empty ceremony and parts that looked a lot like brainwashing.  

Quote:
i think you might find that church isn't as bad as you think but i understand if you too scared to go. LOL, i also understand there are some bad churches out there so i do apologize if it is as bad as you think BUT i also recommend that you try more than one.

The only thing that scared me about church was the way it took away people's individuality, atleast temporarily. The memories of people mindlessly reciting responses in monotonous unison are burnt into my mind.

Quote:
for anyone who is a daring individual and brave enough to try my challenge i would love to read your replies, good or bad. i would say that don't go in there with preconceived notions, so if it is just neutral please say so.

I just don't get anything from being preached to. One-way information exchange doesn't do much for me. I like to discuss, to challenge ideas when I hear something that doesn't add up. I'd galdly chat with a pastor though if I knew of one willing to take part in two-way communication and not approach me as a potential convert, to accept that I probably wont believe everything he tells me. 

Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-My-Own-Grandpa!


sapphen
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good sound reply

good sound reply zarathustra, thank you for your response.

i don't hate catholics.  i may not agree with some of their teachings but there are some good people in the catholic church. all i said is that i don't suggest a catholic church.

i like the music too streak, i don't particularly care for it when it is the entire service but it is still a good medium.

fair enough americanidle, i can respect that.

fish, i think God speaks though a lot of people.  the difference isn't the person so much as the timing.  sometimes i feel God speaking through me, sometimes i feel i just wished He did and most of the time i just babel on hoping that God could use something out of the mess.

stillmatic... i am sorry.  i myself experience a tragic event when i was 14-15 from people of the church.  i was never touched in private places so i don't understand what you went through but for what it is worth i am truly sorry. at the age of 15 i was to be a father and my child died.  the mother was only 14 and her family was insane, violent and religious.  this event turned me away from religion during most of my teenage years.

tilberian, we as christians have all the answers against the reasons why you think we should change our opinion yet they are not acceptable to you and only lead to further questions. everyone has information and for every claim there is a counter claim in which we can find a place of refuge.  with all respects the debates are still in progress and we have a lot to learn before we can prove or disprove God's existence.

God's message is perfect but the man is not perfect.  God is a talented and great God, He can use what may seem like a mistake and turn it into a miracle.

i would agree that most atheist been to church and do know more about the bible than most theists.  i am curious how many different churches but ultimatly i don't want force or try to talk anyone into going to church.

thank you for the response paranoid.  i can understand what you are saying.

 

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


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I don't think any atheist

I don't think any atheist is scared to go to church.  It's more likely that they simply don't think it would be any more productive than going to the Creationism Museum. 

What exactly do you think someone could learn from going to church.  So far you have suggested that it would help someone understand that it's not a bad place or full of bad people.  I don't think anyone is really disputing that (as in, most would agree that churches, like everywhere else, contain both good and bad people.  "good" and "bad" being used in a very general sense).

I will take your word for it, and I understand that you enjoy it.  However, what benefit would there be for someone who does not?  Feelings of warmth or compansionship are good, but they are not in any way evidence of god. 


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fish.. good conclusion. i

fish.. good conclusion. i don't think people who don't want to go will benefit much from it at all.

the history of this post came from two other posts in which i was described as being an "on the fence" christian because i came in here with an open mind, listening to what you have to say and trying to understand it. for some reason a few people seen that as me doubting my religion and creating internal conflict.

the closest thing i could see to compare it to you guys would be if you went to a few different churchs for about a month or so. as a christian i came here willing to read the many different view points of atheism.

i have learned that religion and God is separate. i learned that religion has done and is doing bad things and is in the need of a update that puts more emphasis on love instead of judgment. i have learned that atheist in general are very intelligent and have some thoughts to consider. i see that we are incredibly similar in a lot of ways and if stated correctly we could create some goals for our society that would include us both without effecting or taking away beliefs. i feel this peace is necessary because we may be coming close to a civil war.

i posted the original to try to put in perspective what i personally did to come to my conclusions. i stayed in an environment that i did not agree with and went against what i know in my heart. science has came a long way and still has far to travel but it can not successfully debunk my experiences with God nonetheless i tried to express my opinion and admit when i did not have an answer.

i put great thought in the points brought to me and if you went to a few different churches looking for the good and putting great thought into finding it, i would suspect that you probably would have a deeper understanding. i'm not saying that you would convert or enjoy it but you could make some friends and learn more about yourself.

i can only offer my opinion and without peer review it is bias and not well formed. i know that a lot of you are deconverts and i understand that you have experience with religion but how many aspects or denominations? if i only had to deal with the angry atheist i would not have the knowledge that i have now. i feel that there is still more to learn and we shouldn't excluded some of the most available opportunities.

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


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Quote: so i came here and

Quote:
so i came here and questioned my beliefs but are you able to do the same?

That's how I became an atheist. I understand why you ask the question, though. When I was a theist, it was really difficult for me to understand that the certainty of atheists wasn't the same as the certainty I felt. When you believe that certainty is absolute, and belief blind, it's almost impossible to understand what it's like to be certain, yet open minded. I know. I've been on both sides.

Quote:
you want to try a funny experiment, try going to a church.

Like probably 2/3 of the atheists here, I've been there and done that. Just so you know, when I was a theist, I was a church musician, and I'm pretty sure I've played at least twenty or twenty five different denominations, from Catholic to Pentecostal and everything in between, and probably attended two hundred different churches. I can say with confidence that I have already received the full tour.

Quote:
you would do good to learn about the enemy so to speak.

I'm a bit rusty, but I've read the entire bible at least three times, in different translations. I was an apologist, and read Stroble, Lewis, Graham, Robertson, Fallwell, etc... I've probably read more theist books than I have secular books (at least about theism) Safe to say I know what Christianity is about.

Oh, and I'm the only person I know who actually read significant portions of the Qumran scrolls.

Quote:
i wouldn't suggest going to a hellfire and brimestone church but that would be better than a catholic church.

I agree to some extent. Hellfire and brimstone pastors really piss me off, but Catholic services are insanely boring unless they're doing a High Mass complete with the Latin and the fancy duds.

Quote:

go on a wednesday night, most churches don't expect new people to pop in them, be nice and friendly. tell them what you feel comfortable with, stare at the pastor with a constant smile pasted on your face. if anything show up late and leave when they all stand to do the ending prayer so you won't be confronted with ARE YOU SAVED!!!

Wednesday pot luck got me through a financial settlement from a divorce. There was a church down the street from my house, so I could walk there and eat a free meal. I just took a book to read during the sermon, though. I'd already heard enough sermons.

These days, it's my opinion that my presence in a church implies that I condone the activity, and I don't. So, I stay away from them.

Quote:

i think you might find that church isn't as bad as you think but i understand if you too scared to go. LOL, i also understand there are some bad churches out there so i do apologize if it is as bad as you think BUT i also recommend that you try more than one.

I think you might find that you seriously underestimate the experience we've had with church. The core members are all ex-Christians, and lots of us mods and regular members were active church goers.

When I was a theist, I was just sure that all atheists needed was a good experience, and to hear someone explain things just long enough for god to "touch their heart." What I didn't understand is that the atheists were chuckling at my naivety when I suggested such things. One of the biggest shocks for me when I became an atheist was when I started talking to other atheists, and told them all the exciting things I'd figured out, and how shocked I was to learn that I simply had been naive. Almost without fail, they would be nonchalant, as if they'd heard it all a thousand times before. They had.

I have always been proud of my intellect. I don't mind admitting that. When I was a theist, I was still a very smart guy -- I just hadn't examined my theism with the same critical eye that I used for everything else. When I did that, it opened up an amazing world for me, but it was also extremely humbling. I learned a very valuable lesson. No matter how certain I think I am, I could be wrong. The best way to know if I'm right or wrong is to learn, and to do things in the right order... Facts first, then conclusions. Sometimes the conclusions are not what I'd like, but it's better to know that I'm approaching life honestly.

After many years as an atheist, I am more certain than ever that there is no god. As I've learned more about history, psychology, and critical thinking, I've seen first hand that literally everything I've seen that is testable and verifiable points to the non-existence of god.

Could I be wrong? Sure. Any time someone says they have a new proof for the existence of god, I listen to it. So far, every single time that happens, the 'proof' is simply one of the same defeated arguments I've heard hundreds, if not thousands of times.

So, Sapphen, I tell you this honestly: I recognize myself in you. Not me now, but me in another decade -- another universe, really. I said everything you have said in these forums, and believed things that are probably very similar to what you believe. One of the reasons I get so easily aggravated with you is that you remind me of when I was like you, and I don't like thinking about that time. I don't like feeling naive, and I feel embarrassed when I remember how arrogantly I dismissed people who knew more than I did, simply because I knew in my heart that I was right and they, with their years of education and experience, were wrong.

Take this for what you want, Sapphen. If you think I'm just trying to make you feel small, that is your right. But Sapphen, you accused me of not being as mature as I think I am. I tell you in all honesty that I have been where you are now, and I have never had a more humbling and maturing experience than when I looked back at my years as a brainwashed theist and cringed at my own immaturity and intellectual dishonesty.

 

 

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

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Hambydammit
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Sapphen wrote: i have

Sapphen wrote:
i have learned that religion and God is separate. i learned that religion has done and is doing bad things and is in the need of a update that puts more emphasis on love instead of judgment. i have learned that atheist in general are very intelligent and have some thoughts to consider. i see that we are incredibly similar in a lot of ways and if stated correctly we could create some goals for our society that would include us both without effecting or taking away beliefs. i feel this peace is necessary because we may be coming close to a civil war.

This was also my first conclusion when I faced atheism for the first time as a theist.

It's a step in the right direction, and I'm glad you have learned something here.

As I've said before, I would like for everyone to give up theism, but I'd certainly settle for living in a place where theism stayed out of my government and my personal life. I agree that this is a reasonable goal.

Quote:
i posted the original to try to put in perspective what i personally did to come to my conclusions. i stayed in an environment that i did not agree with and went against what i know in my heart. science has came a long way and still has far to travel but it can not successfully debunk my experiences with God nonetheless i tried to express my opinion and admit when i did not have an answer.

I sincerely hope that one day you will answer the questions that you either can't or won't answer honestly now.

Quote:
i can only offer my opinion and without peer review it is bias and not well formed. i know that a lot of you are deconverts and i understand that you have experience with religion but how many aspects or denominations? if i only had to deal with the angry atheist i would not have the knowledge that i know now. i feel that there is still more to learn and we shouldn't excluded some of the most available opportunities.

If this is something that is really important to you, I encourage you to put a lot more stock in peer review. Learn more about science. Read about critical thinking skills and logic. Apply what you learn to what you believe. Take your armor of faith off and look at yourself, spiritually naked, in the mirror.

There is always more to learn.

 

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

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For future reference sapphen

For future reference sapphen there are these two keys on your keyboard, ones on the lower left and the other is one the lower right, they are called shift keys. Use them. 


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WillieBop - if there is one

WillieBop - if there is one thing I hate, it is grammer police.  Caps police is included in this.  And seeing that you only have seven posts left, you can be assured you are on my "list".

Sapphen - I do go to church constantly, not for my own accord, but for my mother.  I still live with her, after all, as I have yet to hit the age of 18, and she deals with enough stress as it is.  No, its not completely bad, but I doubt I will continue after I leave for college as I gain nothing from these Sunday services.  Again, I don't hate Christianity, nor do I fear it.  I just lack faith.

However, you are convinced that your God is the truth.  Fair enough.  So what would you say to convince me to try and renew my faith and "save my soul"?  Because, unlike may here, I truly am open to all religions -  and I am giving you a chance to reopen my eyes to God.

 

I hope that when the world comes to an end I can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.


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I've been going to church

I've been going to church every goddamn week for the past 17 years. Think I don't know the church's message? Think I don't know the Bible? Hell, I've heard it all and thought it over hundreds of times. If anything made me an atheist, it was going to church and listening and thinking about the pastor's nonsensical dribble, going to youth meetings and seeing children be taught to hate, and taught nonsense as if it were truth.


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xam, the chance you given

xam, the chance you given me has opened more doors than i could ever possibly pose back to you.  when i first read it, i immediately close my browser down, put my daughter to bed and began meditating upon a tremendous amount of information, begging God to give me some sort of answer.  i have never really been good at convincing anyone on anything and at best i play advocate to try and help people question and build on their current beliefs.

as i prayed and meditated my mind drifted to the phrase, like a child.   He is our creator and He loves us deeply like a good Father loves His children.  we may ask to borrow money or rebel against His teachings but His arms are always open to continually guide and support us even if He doesn't agree with what we do.  it is up to us to love and support our brothers and sisters even if they fail. peoples opinion of us may change but our Father loves us unconditionally and without cease.  He is a kind and understanding Father that, in spite of others opinions, only desires our love.

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


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so i came here and

so i came here and questioned my beliefs but are you able to do the same? 

i think you might find that church isn't as bad as you think but i understand if you too scared to go.

No, you have never questioned your beliefs.. If you truely have you would never have made that statement. You might be fooling yourself into believing you are, but you aren't questioning anything about your faith. You are simply questioning ours...

I've been to Mormon, Catholic, Baptist, Non-denomination, Born Again and even Buddhist churches and temples. In my opinion religion is the easy path, try growing up being different than your entire family, and the majority of society. Then come back and tell me i'm a coward again.

I spent years and I mean years just questioning my lack of faith and trying to get rid of the guilt associated with not having any, just wondering why I was different. Searching for whatever it was I was missing that everyone else had, but the more I searched the more I realised there's nothing there.

Religion isn't all bad but it does have a big flaw, it creates an enviornment to make people feel better about themselves for no good reason. If you don't believe me, then go to any city and ask yourself why there are homeless people in a society that is 80% Christian. I figure, if you ever want to know how many true Christians we have in the U.S. all you have to do is determine how many homeless people we have and assume it's some number less than that.

Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer. - William S. Burroughs


sapphen
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LOL?! neptewn... i'm sorry

LOL?!

neptewn... i'm sorry but i believe you either took me or yourself too seriously.  i never called you a coward but only wanted to provoke thought. i did it out of a school yard mentality but only meaning to tease slightly, not offend.

i am glad you have experienced such a variety of religions but i was hoping maybe you could have added more instead of telling me how you felt guilty or telling me what i have or have not questioned.

i have heard a lot of arguments about religion but i would have to say that yours is very unique;

Quote:
neptewn said: Religion isn't all bad but it does have a big flaw, it creates an enviornment to make people feel better about themselves for no good reason.

 from your statement, wouldn't feeling good about yourself be a good reason?  i can make a better argument than that against religion.  i suspect the big flaw of religion is the fact it tells people what they should feel and think.  in some ways it takes out the ability to question the different aspects of God.

the rest of your argument sounds like a logical fallacy.  as of yet i am still learning the various types (thanks BGH for the link), and in my time away i will spend some time studying them.  i am not following how homeless people are a factor in this equation.

i felt like you assumed i have a been a christian all my life and i feel like i haven't been understood.  a lot of people have disagreed with me and i have very much respected their opinion.  you may have to reword your thought process because i see little more than an emotional response that lacks any concrete support.

thank you for your opinion though, i do appreciate the response.

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


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I live in Boston, which is

I live in Boston, which is where the headquarters of the Church of Christ, Scientist (aka Christian Science) is located. I go to their services all the time. I'm planning on doing some Youtube videos about this place, which I find disturbing yet strangely alluring at the same time. Hopefully, they allow cameras inside during services.


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Well I don't have

Well I don't have much beliefs, i go on the facts, so the only belief i do have is that people are good, trust me this is constantly challenged on a daily basis. I am not afraid to challege the facts, i have yet to meet a preacher/cleric that can challenge the facts and prove them wrong. I am not afraid to attend chruch, i actually volunteer at a church for charity purposes, I am one of a few atheists that does this at the church, my father being the other, because they send aid to central and south america. There usually is a sermon during this, I have yet to see god work through any preacher, they speak of common troubles that people have. Never had them solve any of my problems that i already don't know how to solve though proper reasoning, proper timing and understanding. I have yet to have a need to have God intervine.

I don't think chruchs are bad, i know the foundation they are built on (metaphorically speaking here) is not sound at all, they are easily corruptable, which is why many churches or better put religious sects (pick one) have a bad reputation (reason i still volunteer at the chruch i go to because the preacher is quite liberal). Many have the same problem, OUR interpretation of god's word is correct and ALL others is WRONG. Why aren't catholics christians to some? because of interpretation (as to this statements, catholics are christians, there is no way around this, because they believe in jesus, most other christian sects are protestants, catholics are christians no arguements) Christadelpinans believe their views are correct and all others wrong, same goes for baptists, evanglists, anglicans, lutherians, jehova witnesses (and boy have i had fun with the jehova witnesses, anyone have any good stories?) All these sects believe they are correct and all others wrong.

It so easy for them to become corrupt, the foundations are not that good for the church itself.

However i am never afraid to challege the facts and my views, and chruch has never scared me (even though many a preacher has tried to scare me) I know what it would take for me to believe, what would it take for you not to believe?


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sapphen

sapphen wrote: 

Quote:
as i prayed and meditated my mind drifted to the phrase, like a child.

Our world is rife with humans who refuse to grow up and spend their entire lives believing in one form of magic or another.  While it makes those humans easy to control, it seriously stunts our progress as individuals and as a species.

Quote:
   He is our creator and He loves us deeply like a good Father loves His children. 

I get so tired of seeing this overdone parent-child analogy.  You would think an omnipotent creator could create an original analogy.  I have often worked w/ abused children and have seen the horrible acts parents are capable of, although I haven't seen many that drowned all of their own children when they would not obey, and what kind of sick, twisted mind would call this love? 

Quote:
 we may ask to borrow money or rebel against His teachings but His arms are always open to continually guide and support us even if He doesn't agree with what we do.
 

First things first.   After we've destroyed every Creed CD on the planet, how about we recognize how jaw-droppingly egotistical the idea of a "personal" god is ?  While I'm begging to borrow money, how many children are slowly dying of starvation around the world ?  How many children are being drowned in a bathtub by a parent ?, etc. How about we turn a blind eye to this and blame it on another being who doesn't exist ? 

Quote:
  He is a kind and understanding Father that, in spite of others opinions, only desires our love.

Stop trying to sell a car.  he doesn't want your love...your god (meaning the ridiculous concept of his existence) wants your worship and your obedience.  That, sapphen runs contrary to love.   So a kind and understanding father would allow a disobedient child to be tortured forever in a lake of fire is that it ?  What's next, the ordering of the death and mutilation of entire towns...except the virgins.. we always want to save those?  Whoops, too late.  Already been done!

I can't believe I actually believed this crap at one time.  Indoctrination is a mother........----!

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
George Orwell


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Thank you Sapphen for your

Thank you Sapphen for your response - it is nice to see someone hear show some real compassion to others.  However, there is still one question in my mind: how do I know who my father truely is?  I have his word on it, but I cannot ignore the others who claim the same thing.

I have not closed my mind to Christianity - someday I might return if it strikes me as true.  However, I cannot believe at this point of time because I do not know enough about myself, much less this universe, to make an accurate assesment.  I am in search for the truth, and I hope I find some semblance of it before I die.  

I hope that when the world comes to an end I can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.


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neat idea manchild, i feel

neat idea manchild, i feel that is a good project.  i would encourage you look at it with an open mind. a true observer would try to find the good and bad rather than making another propaganda video.  think of it as studying the behaviors of a foreign species.  i would also consider maybe some other churches in the area.  one church represents christianity as well as a random atheist represents atheism.

--------------------------------------------- 

latin, thank you for a very well constructed post.  i easily followed your logic and see a lot of truth in it.  "what would it take for me not to believe?"  i'm afraid another user already had me pegged when he said there is no hope for me.  God is inside me, this i know because of my personally relationship with Him.  it is all encompassing.  i am in constant conversation with Him and He speaks back to me in many different ways.  i think the only way i would ever fit into an atheist majority society would be in a mental hosipital in which i would live happily the rest of my days talking to God.

i hope i did not disrespect you in any way.  i read an incredible reply from you that poses much thought for me and for that i am grateful.

---------------------------------------------

americanidle... what makes you think that i am easy to control?  who are you to group me up with your belief of what a christian is?  i think there is a child inside us all and to forget that nature you could set aside a lot of fine attributes that come from such an innocent mindset.

 i did not come here to defend God's actions.  He is more than capable of doing that Himself.  i do not understand why He did what He did and i don't think you do either.  you are saying that God does not exist yet He is cruel?  how does His judgment deny His existence?

the being you should blame for the drownings are the parents that did it.  we are given free will to act how we wish on this earth.  i think that starving children is a terrible thing and if you feel a conviction i suggest you do what you can to help them.  their government and the parents that had those children are the ones that have this issue and need to find ways to work through it.  God works through people and i am sure there are a lot of religious people that are over there doing everything they can to help and feed these people.

despite your constructs our God wants our love.  some of us work for Him and some do not, that is lead by our personal convictions.  you can state your interpretation of "your" god but please do not try to tell me of mine.  Jesus came to save us from "the lake of fire" not to put us there.  save is the key word here and whether you believe it or not that is my opinion.  He can not save you if you do not acknowledge His existence.

seems like you are very angry with this issue and i would suspect in your case, it goes deeper than you can admit.  i'm sorry to toss you a bunch of "christian mombo jumbo" but if you talk to me rationally i will try to respond rationally.  calling my belief crap and saying that my God does not exist and He is really mean... well, that is crap.

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


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xam, i think searching

xam, i think searching through other religions is a good thing.  that is how i learned (and still very much learning) who God is.  one thing i do not like about christiainity is they try to tell you who there God is.  in some ways i believe He takes on many faces and that all of us have certain purposes and are lead by our convicitons.

thank you for a positive response.  i believe your searching will lead you to your answers.  even at your age you seem very wise and i wish you much success in your quest.

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


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sapphen wrote: neptewn...

sapphen wrote:
neptewn... i'm sorry but i believe you either took me or yourself too seriously. i never called you a coward but only wanted to provoke thought.

Taking you too serious, I'm probably guilty of that. Although if you think you aren't calling people cowards, I have to wonder what you think you are saying...

Challenging people to be brave, thus assuming they aren't? 

Brave: possessing or displaying courage

So I have no courage?

Saying people are scared to goto Church.

scared: made afraid; "the frightened child cowered in the corner"; "too shocked and scared to move"

coward: a person who shows fear or timidity

It's not that atheist are cowards, it's that we are unbrave and scared to go to church?

So If I don't take you too serious, then I have to assume you are simply teasing us, as if we are afraid to ride a roller coaster for example?

The problem is religion isn't like a roller coaster, it's more analogous to a tank. You're not afraid to be in the tank, you're afraid to be out of it.

sapphen wrote:
i have heard a lot of arguments about religion but i would have to say that yours is very unique;

It all boils down to credentials...

If you call yourself a plumber: I assume you can fix plumbing

If you call yourself an auto-mechanic: I assume you can fix cars

If you call yourself a Christian: I assume you are attempting to be Christ like

I can call myself whatever I want but if I don't meet the criteria, we can assume they are falsifying their credentials.

So if 8 out of 10 American's are Christians what would you expect this country to be like? War, Homeless, Murder rate, etc

It's a simple fact that the evidence does not support the numbers. So what's the reasoning for falsifying their credentials? My guess is it's to feel good about themselves.

sapphen wrote:
wouldn't feeling good about yourself be a good reason

Let me call myself a Doctor to feel good about myself. 

The problem that arises is this, when I attempt to make a decision based upon those credentials. Since you don't meet the criteria how can you make an accurate decision?

If a group of doctors make a medical decision do you feel comfortable? I do if they have the credentials.

If a group of Christians make a moral decision do you feel comfortable? I don't because they don't have the credentials.

When they raise the bar on what it is to be a Christian, then maybe we can respect the credentials.

Signed,

Not too serious

Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer. - William S. Burroughs


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    Well I understand

    Well I understand why people cannot disbelieve, i do comphrend it, although i always find it funny that they would ask what it would take to believe, but they never truely question their own beliefs to understand what it would take to disbelieve of their own views.  Like i stated before i know what i need to believe, which are the facts, for me reasoning, logic and understanding are far more wonderous and beneficial than faith.

    Personally i doubt an atheistic soceity would throw someone in the mental ward for believing. If so many scandinavian countries should have many mental patients that are believers, I doubt that's the case. Then again I don't personally know that to be true. 

    I have personally found that any system set up with an adherence to dogmatic beliefs, be it, religious or otherwise is set up to corruption. We have seen this in communists countrys that are atheists (russian/china) we have seen this in theolocratic countries (iran/afghanistan) and countries which the church may not be the power but has a hand in it (Nazi germany, rwanda, many south and central america countries, israel) Yet those secular countries with a majority of atheists/agnoistics are usually the lest corrupts, they normally have a transperant goverment that leads to less corruption

       As well they tend to have more freedom of speech, thought, and rights as well as more tolerance towards others than church/religious/dogmatic lead countries. Again this is lead due to mainly the corrupts that is so easily attaniable in any form of dogmatic that does not allow the freedom of it to be questioned by the people. This is also a problem of the chruch as of late. Once people could question it, they broke free of the hold. 

 


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a lot better reply neptewn,

a lot better reply neptewn, thank you.  i can see that we may have a better understanding of each other now.

i really didn't mean to directly relate the title, "brace yourselves and be brave... this is about church", to actually going to church but i can completely understand what you are saying.  i really don't want to get over particular in what appears to be a misinterpretation and misrepresentation but if someone asks you to be brave that doesn't necessarily mean that you are not.

on your second point i think that you are mostly right.  most people do claim to be christians just to feel good about themselves.  i can't really argue about what a "true scotsman" is.  i feel that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes.  i am so far away from being "Christ-like" it isn't even funny.  i feel everyone has their purpose and in another's eyes they may have done some good things.

feeling good about yourself is a vast subject that stretches beyond morals and doctors.  you don't have to have credentials to say that you look professional in that suit.  i'm not sure how you feel about the spiritual side of a person so i really can't give an accurate example that you could relate to.  people tend to look for reassurance and if they respect the person they rarely need the credentials to feel better about themselves.  i claim that a positive attitude is enough and can go beyond what experience one has.

a doctor could have credentials and tell you that "you have cancer and you are going to die" or he could say that "you have cancer and there are somethings you can do to improve the life you have left".  to feel good about yourself is subject to a persons feelings, interpretations and personal expectations.

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


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sapphen wrote: church is

sapphen wrote:

church is an unusually thing for me. i don't have a certain church that i go to but rather visit a variety of them. most of them assume that i am lost. although i don't agree with some of the things religion teaches i have always learned something from a sermon.

during the services i pray contentiously for God to enter into the message. as a pastor it is easy to get discouraged and i find that a smile and nod from an actively viewing participant does wonders. in part i go to church for their own good and not my own.

a lot of messages i hear actually deal with issues that i am currently going through. i am not talking about a generic idea or something i have to search for but something that completes an idea for me. that is one way i feel God communicating with me. i hope you do realize that i have shown that i can be rational and i would at least like a little bit of consideration that i may be approaching this rational as well. i have already read some of the reasons why you believe this happens and you are free to post them again but it still doesn't change the fact that it is real for me.

i know that preachers are not perfect but i still believe God speaks through most of them. i have many experience with pastors from other beliefs and when i go to a church i usually like to get to know the pastor and have conversation with him. you will see that they are human like you and me, if they are approached with respect they will give it in return.

so i came here and questioned my beliefs but are you able to do the same? you want to try a funny experiment, try going to a church. you would do good to learn about the enemy so to speak. i wouldn't suggest going to a hellfire and brimestone church but that would be better than a catholic church.

go on a wednesday night, most churches don't expect new people to pop in them, be nice and friendly. tell them what you feel comfortable with, stare at the pastor with a constant smile pasted on your face. if anything show up late and leave when they all stand to do the ending prayer so you won't be confronted with ARE YOU SAVED!!!

i think you might find that church isn't as bad as you think but i understand if you too scared to go. LOL, i also understand there are some bad churches out there so i do apologize if it is as bad as you think BUT i also recommend that you try more than one.

for anyone who is a daring individual and brave enough to try my challenge i would love to read your replies, good or bad. i would say that don't go in there with preconceived notions, so if it is just neutral please say so.

"Trust me" doesnt work with us. It is not a matter of "trust". many of us had that same feeling of belonging or community that you seem to feel when you are there. Being around like minded people can give you a false sense of "I must be right|".

This isnt about weither the people there are good or bad. This is about what they  believe and what the "holy person" in the pulpit teaches them. Just because a bunch of people pat each other on the back and sing songs doesnt make a deity real.

I am quite sure that all the kids in Islamic schools find companionship too and throught that compainionship they truely believe that Allah is the one true god.

This long post is nothing more than an emotional appeal.

I used to attend AS AN ATHEIST, a Unitarian Church. But make no bones about it. Because Iliked being amongst open minded people whom I dissagreed with, I never mistook that need for human contact for some magical being by any name being real.

"It isnt that bad" yea, it wouldnt be if most treated their club like a highschool sports rivalry, or debate club, or thumb wrestling tournyment.

These clubs(incert lable here) are not satisfied with hanging out with their own on their own time. They want their sect to rule government(incert sect here) and have you live under their laws.

"Hanging out having a good time" is a NO DUH and everybody likes to let their hair down and "have a good time". But when you take something that should be yours on your own time with your own resources and try to spread it via goverment force, that is when it ceases to be a passtime. 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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latian, i have not always

latian, i have not always been a christian nor do i think i have not truly questioned my beliefs.  it is jumping to conclusions to assume that if one was to truly question their beliefs they would not be a christian.  i don't want to put words into your mouth but that is what i personally interpreted so please correct me if i am wrong.

still today i question what i believe but maybe the difference is the questions we ask.  i have to come to highly respect logic and reasoning but i also have faith.  i feel that logic is as true as the logician and reasoning is subject to the reasons.  i feel faith and logic works hand in hand and only by using both can we truly find our goals.  i do not wish to tread on your conclusions and it seems you have put a lot of time into your quest.

i can not argue what a certain civilizations will do with or without religion. i feel there will always be corruption within government no matter what "tool" they use.  i think we should build towards a better society and religion may have done some bad things to hinder that growth.  i also feel God is separate from religion and we could work towards a better society without taking away anyone's beliefs.

i am very against politicians/leaders/people of power that use religion to control the mass and from what i have read i feel that the bible says the same thing.  i personally feel that religious leaders should have no power or wealth and only the means to live comfortably (feed their family and pay the bills).  i don't know if that opinion would change if i won the lottery.

it is difficult for me to answer the question "what will it take for me not to believe", in my point of view that is like asking you "what would it take for you not to believe in your computer" (if you are using a computer).  of course you can see your computer and it is a physical object but i can not see it.  you could send me a picture but that could be fake or you could take it to me but i could claim it is not yours.  yet responding to my post is proof that it does but i feel the knowledge we have to be able to respond to posts is proof that God does exist.  the only way is to go into your house and personally see that it resides there.  unfortunately you can not go into my heart and see God but i can not think of something that would disprove God when He is a part of me.

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


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brain, thank you for the

brain, thank you for the post.  i really don't see anything that i tremediously disagree with.  i don't feel like your post was an emotional appeal but more like an opinion. it seems to be soild and have some good points to think about.

*being around a bunch of like minded individuals does create a false sense of "i must be right". 

*singing songs does not create deities.

*the enjoyment of being around open-minded people whom one disagrees with does not make one agree with them.

*groups tend to want to have power and their government help them make rules that everyone should have to adhere to.

*religion has no business making rules for everyone else.

out of all seriousness though, my original post was an emotional appeal and i do completely understand what you are saying.

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


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I may have

I may have incorrectly posted my thoughts here. What i meant was not that you wouldn't be a christian, but many a believer i have found always are willing to ask what it would take to believe, but they rarely (and I do mean very very very rarely) ask themselves what it would take to disbelieve. You believe in god, you believe that you have a personal relationship, but there is no evidence that god exists, there is no miracle or anything that has occurred in the bible that we can verify this at all. All claims towards this god cannot be verified at all by indepenedent sources. You believe, however you do not have facts, evidence and reasoning.

Belief in god is not the same as belief in science as one can verify the studies of science, i can verify my computer, i can verify many many things, i cannot verify god exists. I can show the probability is very very small, nearly non existant that the god of the bible exist, but i cannot say he doesn't exists 100 percent for sure.

I know science is not 100 percent of the time correct, but it is self correcting, with new evidence correcting previous errors, but belief in god and religious ideas don't change, they change the facts and views to fit the dogmatic beliefs, but that is not the same.

As for corruption in goverment, i agree there will always be corruption. however my point was the more dogmatic it is, the more corrupt it gets. It's adherence to beliefs without questioning is really bad for society for it lends itself to corruption. The worse are those of theocracies/dogmatic goverments (i don't even know if this is the correct spelling) that do not allow basic human freedoms, such as freedom of thought, speech, sexuality and religious views. Being that I have heard the speeches of many religious leaders in the US, it is amazing how they live in a country they say they love, yet would gladly punish homosexuals, atheists, communists, freethinkers, scientists, etc and anyone that would speak against the church if they were in power, yet atheists for the most part wouldn't be the same way. A secular society with non dogmatic system is far better off. However I do not want to put words in your mouth as well, I assume you are far more tolerant than those type of preachers.


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latin... thanks for the

latin... thanks for the clarification.  i honestly did not mean to jump to conclusions myself.

the probability of God's existence is very low but not non-existent.  i would also have to comment that the probability that humans came into existence is also very low, almost non-existent but we are here.

the thing i like about science is that it is self correcting and it doesn't have to defend past beliefs.  religion unfortunately does and in some cases rightly so.

as much as i heard the "religion ruins the government arguments" your post has actually connected to me (don't tell hamby).  i'm still thinking it out but the current conclusion i would draw is; the removal of religion in government would improve society, not necessarily the removal of religion as a whole.  i guess separating the two is where the challenge lays.  in that sight i can understand and respect where you are coming from.

if i am able to get a little "out-there" for a moment, i suspect the anti-christ will come and bring proof that God exists.  he will preform miracles and what not, uniting the world under one idea.  i feel the thing we have to fear the most is religion, even as followers of God.

i don't feel like God ever said anything about mixing government and religion.  likewise our constitution plainly states to keep the two separated.  in those regards i feel we share common ground.  i will think more on this and i thank you for having the patience for restating your idea.

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


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lol Sapphen.  I will

lol Sapphen.  I will pretend like I didn't read what you said, if it will make you happy.

Seriously, though, I'm curious why you're meticulously avoiding the point in front of you.  Granted, you haven't been directly asked, but geez, the question's sitting in front of you begging for an answer.

What would it take for you to disbelieve?

We all know that we can't prove with 100% certainty that anything doesn't exist, so that shouldn't be an escape hatch for you.  You don't believe in unicorns, so clearly the lack of a disproof doesn't stop you from disbelieving in some things.

So... recognizing that you will never receive a disproof of god any more than you will unicorns, what would it take for you to put god in the same circular file as unicorns?

 

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

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    I do not advocate

    I do not advocate the removal of religion completely, not in this society and at this time, it makes no sense to as there this a great majority that does believe in it. It would be detrimental at this moment in time, i do however adovate a secular society. The one thing that people of religious beliefs in the US do not usually understand that the seperation of state and goverment is for their protection, far more than atheists (as some would like to believe). As if the goverment made christianity the official state religion, which sect of it would it advocate? what would happen then? those other sects could/would be prosecuted. It would have what happened in Europe, which the church, catholic prosecuted other churches because they had different beliefs in the interpretation of the bible.


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humm... as one of my last

humm... as one of my last points i would say the thing that would make me disbelieve is if God came down and told me not to believe in Him anymore.

i would hate to end with such sarcastic answer to a honest question.  i've tried to answer that question a few times in my above posts but at the moment i am unable to give an answer that would fill the question.

perhaps i will ponder this question in my time away and could provide an better answer but please keep in mind that i do have my own personal proof that God exists.  i have not asked anyone to accept that but i can not deny that proof.

i see Him everywhere and in everything, He is the core of my being.  i've been without Him and He called out to me.  i am in His service now and He has given me the proof i needed, that i begged Him too time and time again.

i've doubted Him before.  i used to walk outside at night through out my grandfather's farm.  i was at the my ends crying and begging Him to show me some proof.  i was trying to help the marriage between my sister and her husband but i felt fruitless.  i dropped to my knees and asked God why did He put me in the middle of it and why doesn't He help me water the seeds i planted... then it started raining.

this is merely one example of many experiences i have had.  God speaks to us all if we could only listen.

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


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sapphen, I think you have

sapphen, I think you have some misconceptions about the Rational Response Squad. Many--most?--of us were Christians at one point. I ate, slept and breathed Christianity for the first twenty years of my life. I went to a Christian school all the way through college and attended church, chapel, bible class, etc. regularly.

I came to the conclusion that Christianity is bullshit...because of, not in spite of, churches, pastors, the schools I attended, chapels, bible classes, the bible and the believers themselves. It's a load of hooey.

sapphen wrote:

i know that preachers are not perfect

Wow, what an understatement! Both of our experiences are anecdotal, but I can tell you that most of the preachers I've known were complete assholes.

One of the preachers of a church I attended (he also taught at my school) was a pedophile who preyed on young boys. An older kid I knew who was molested by him committed suicide.

Another preacher I know is a total dickwad. He's the brother of a guy who used to be a California State Senator--another dickwad--who got booted out of his senatorial seat because of his attitude toward animals. Both brothers are cruel to animals. I personally witnessed them beat the crap out of their dogs with leashes. I saw both of them poach wild animals. I know for a fact the preacher killed a mountain lion without a depredation permit. He just left it dead under a tree.

Most of the other pastors I've known were dickwads in other ways. They hated gay people. They thought women should submit to men. They wanted all the power for themselves.

I'm sitting here trying to remember whether I ever knew a decent preacher and the only one was a Southern Baptist preacher I knew until I was seven. He may have had dickwadish tendencies a seven-year-old couldn't easily discern. He's dead now...I didn't want to ruin my good memories of him by staying in touch.

sapphen wrote:
but i still believe God speaks through most of them.

I sure as hell don't.  See above. 

sapphen wrote:
i have many experience with pastors from other beliefs and when i go to a church i usually like to get to know the pastor and have conversation with him. you will see that they are human like you and me, if they are approached with respect they will give it in return.

Only to a point. They'll still expect you to believe some guy died for your sins and rose from the dead. Most of the ones around here will also expect you to hate gays and be submissive to men. That isn't respect. Nor is asking someone to believe something completely unbelievable on pain of hellfire.

sapphen wrote:
so i came here and questioned my beliefs but are you able to do the same?

Been there. Done that. Bought the T-shirt:

sapphen wrote:
you want to try a funny experiment, try going to a church.

I've tried that funny experiment a lot. Hell, I've even been to a Catholic Church. I found it so funny I couldn't continue to hold such laughable beliefs.

sapphen wrote:
go on a wednesday night,

I've been on Wednesday nights.

sapphen wrote:
most churches don't expect new people to pop in them, be nice and friendly. tell them what you feel comfortable with, stare at the pastor with a constant smile pasted on your face.

Not only NO...HELL NO! I wouldn't smile at one of those snake-oil salesmen to save my soul! 

sapphen wrote:
if anything show up late and leave when they all stand to do the ending prayer so you won't be confronted with ARE YOU SAVED!!!

Well, I think I'll just skip the whole thing since I already tried it for about twenty years...that okay with you? Doesn't matter. I ain't goin' again. Smiling

sapphen wrote:
i think you might find that church isn't as bad as you think

Yes, it is. (See above)

sapphen wrote:
but i understand if you too scared to go.

You'd be scared, too, if you knew some of the preachers and congregation members I've known.  As a child I was molested in a church for FSM's sake.  No, I was not molested by the preacher.  He liked little boys.  I was molested by a congregation member.  I learned many years later that the church took the side of the molester. Shades of the Catholic Church?

sapphen wrote:
LOL, i also understand there are some bad churches out there so i do apologize if it is as bad as you think BUT i also recommend that you try more than one.

Most churches are bad churches. Any place that wants you to believe in something incredibly stupid to "save" your soul is a bad place.  

sapphen wrote:
for anyone who is a daring individual and brave enough to try my challenge i would love to read your replies, good or bad. i would say that don't go in there with preconceived notions, so if it is just neutral please say so.

Like I said. I've been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

How about I challenge YOU to STOP going to church. Not only that, I challenge you to stop praying and stop acting as if you believe. If you read the bible, read it critically, not as if it were the word of god. Do this for awhile and see if the hold the myth has on your life starts to loosen a little.

Why do you think preachers yell at their congregations for not coming every week to get their dose of brainwashing?

C'mon. I dare ya.

I wonder how long it will be before you find yourself wondering how you ever could have believed all that horse puckey to begin with. Smiling

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Well, it is what it is. I

Well, it is what it is.

I guess I'm going to use this post as an example, because it's really illustrative.

Quote:
perhaps i will ponder this question in my time away and could provide an better answer but please keep in mind that i do have my own personal proof that God exists. i have not asked anyone to accept that but i can not deny that proof.

I don't doubt that you have had something happen, or have seen something that convinces you of the existence of god. Since you believe, there is obviously a reason for your belief.

Unfortunately, this is not pertinent at all. Everyone who believes anything has a reason for that belief, and as you can clearly see, not all beliefs are true, despite the conviction of the believer.

In fact, many people who are completely certain of a belief are wrong. We see this every day if we just walk around and talk to people. It happens to me damn near every time I play trivial pursuit.

So, stating that you have a reason for your god belief is adding absolutely nothing to the discussion, nor is it doing anything to justify your belief.

Quote:
i see Him everywhere and in everything, He is the core of my being. i've been without Him and He called out to me. i am in His service now and He has given me the proof i needed, that i begged Him too time and time again.

Again, this is great for you, but it doesn't do anything for the discussion. You're simply telling us that you believe... again.

Quote:
i've doubted Him before. i used to walk outside at night through out my grandfather's farm. i was at the my ends crying and begging Him to show me some proof. i was trying to help the marriage between my sister and her husband but i felt fruitless. i dropped to my knees and asked God why did He put me in the middle of it and why doesn't He help me water the seeds i planted... then it started raining.

And surely, you can understand that it rains sometimes, and that there are billions of people on the planet, so the odds are pretty damn good that someone will pray, and it will rain on them.

Yes, it seemed real. Yes, it was quite a coincidence. But, in light of the overwhelming philosophical, scientific, and logical evidence that god does not exist, it's difficult to understand why you wouldn't want a little more proof than this.

One time, I was driving down the road, and I was thinking about someone I hadn't seen in years. The very next song that came on the radio was a song I hadn't heard in years, and which had great significance to this friend. Amazing coincidence, but I recognize it for that. Coincidences happen, and sometimes they happen when people are praying for proof of god.

Quote:
this is merely one example of many experiences i have had. God speaks to us all if we could only listen.

Why, then, do coincidences happen to everyone? When I was in a casino once, I gave some dude a free meal ticket I'd been given because I knew he was having a hard time. When I played Blackjack right after that, I hit four blackjacks in a row! The odds against that are staggering! Would you suggest that god was rewarding an atheist for gambling because he had acted altruistically towards someone?  Why have some really bad things happened when you were just trying to do the right thing, Sapphen?  It's easy to assign value to the good coincidences, while forgetting that there are also bad coincidences, and times when things don't work out.  In fact, there are many more of them.

Coincidences happen.

Why do people all over the world, when they hear god speaking to them, hear wildly different stories? Is god lying to some and telling the truth to others? Or are all the other people who think god is talking to them wrong? Is it just coincidence for them, and god for you?

Quote:

humm... as one of my last points i would say the thing that would make me disbelieve is if God came down and told me not to believe in Him anymore.

i would hate to end with such sarcastic answer to a honest question. i've tried to answer that question a few times in my above posts but at the moment i am unable to give an answer that would fill the question.

I understand, Sapphen. You really, really, really want to continue believing in god, and it scares you to think that if you tell us something that would convince you you're wrong, we might be able to produce it.  Admitting the possibility of being wrong is opening the door to disbelief, and you really really want to believe.

I am sure you're not thinking that consciously, Sapphen, but examine that answer you gave, deep down, and ask yourself if you're not afraid to answer the question because then you might have to give up god.

 

 

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

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thank you hamby, i will

thank you hamby, i will consider what you wrote.  i mean that and just not saying it.  i think a part of me does fear the lack of God in my life, i can't deny that.  i never claimed to be rational and the most i can offer is my opinions and feelings.  thank you for responding to me in a rational and relevant fashion.

-----------------------------------

latin, thanks for the conversation and your conclusion.  i think we feel similar about the situation and i thank you for presenting me a good solid rational exchange of mutual ideas.

 -----------------------------------

irkua, this is the first time i have never read a response all the way through.  it just felt too emotional and irrational.  from what i skimmed over i have already responded to similar ideas from others so if you want an answer look through them.

i thank you for your opinion but maybe someone else could respond. uhmm, so good luck with that. (p.s. don't pick up the soap if you are showering with a catholic priest.)

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


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Hambydammit wrote: What

Hambydammit wrote:

What would it take for you to disbelieve?

I know the question wasn't addressed to me, but I'd like to answer it anyway, if no one minds.

For me to disbelieve, my beliefs would have to make my life more difficult than it would be without them. Otherwise, I don't care. I'll believe in unicorns and fairies and leprechauns and orbiting teapots and the Goddess (all hail Discordia!) and fruit smoothies until the day I drop dead, and nothing you will say or do, short of showing up at my place of residence and putting a gun to my head, will likely ever change that. I don't care about your "objective truth," your "reality," your "facts," or any such thing. I have my own truth, my own reality, and my own facts, and I'd appreciate if you kept your filthy paws off them, you damn dirty apes.

Those are my thoughts on the matter. 


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Quote: I know the question

Quote:
I know the question wasn't addressed to me, but I'd like to answer it anyway, if no one minds.

I'm thrilled anytime a theist answers this question honestly.

Quote:
For me to disbelieve, my beliefs would have to make my life more difficult than it would be without them.

In a very illogical sort of way, this makes sense, and I can understand where you're coming from.  Pragmatic, anyway.

Quote:
I don't care about your "objective truth," your "reality," your "facts," or any such thing. I have my own truth, my own reality, and my own facts, and I'd appreciate if you kept your filthy paws off them, you damn dirty apes.

I'm not sure if this one is going to replace your earlier statement that graces my signature line now, but this is a real winner.

Reminds me of what Adam says in the beginning of Mythbusters.  "I reject your reality and substitute my own."

I have a certain amount of respect for the way you choose to approach reality.  I think it borders on crazy, but it's respectable.  At least you're honest about your irrationality, and you don't pretend to be able to justify your beliefs with science or logic.

 

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

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LOL... can i borrow

LOL... can i borrow losingstreak's answer!


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LosingStreak06 wrote: I

LosingStreak06 wrote:
I like church. I really do. I haven't been there in a while, but it was a very nice place. I miss hymns most of all, I think. There's nothing quite like singing that really brings people together, you know?

There is one thing I got from my fundy upbringing that I don't think I would have got otherwise: musical training.  In my fundy school, the coolest kids were in choir and small ensemble.  Jocks were popular, too, but it was "cool" to be musical.

We sang in many of our classes, not just chapel and choir.  My religiously insane social studies teacher (ask me if you really want to know) used 15-20 minutes of class time for singing.  I learned how to sing well and find a harmony part.  My friends and I sang constantly.  Unfortunately, those same friends dropped me like a bad habit when the chips were down. 

During the past few years I've sought out music again.  Right now I'm studying voice intensely and my teacher says she "has plans" for me.  I'm not sure what that means.  I suppose I should ask her. Smiling  Maybe I won't like the answer.  Regardless, I'm learning a lot and getting better. (Now, if these piles of sheet music around my computer desk would just organize themselves...)

Somehow I don't think going to a secular school would have given me as much exposure to music.  My only regret musically is I wish I had learned to sight-read better.  The opportunity wasn't really there for me. I can read a single line fairly well, but when it comes to playing piano...oy vey!  That's something I'm going to have to do on my own and so far, I'm rebelling.  I bought a book, but since my little diabetic struggle a few weeks ago, I haven't cracked it open. Somehow it's not as fun as making "real" music. Smiling

So, in a world without religion, how could we make music a bigger part of our lives?  Right now, there really aren't many non-religious opportunities available in music. 

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stillmatic wrote: Sorry

stillmatic wrote:

Sorry Sapphen, but I can't do it for the following reasons:

1) I hate Jesus

2) I've never read the bible

3) A traumatic event in my life happened at church

4) I know God exists but shun his love

5) My parents used to beat me with a book of hymns

6) God touched me in bad places

7) Satan has better dental

Cool My mind is closed to the truth

9) God hasn't opened my eyes yet

10) I've never heard of Pascal's Wager

                                             

I think that about covers it.  Smiling

The only problem is I did have bad experiences in church, but I consider those experiences to be supporting evidence against religion.  Even if everything was perfect in churches, I'd find it impossible to believe the supernatural garbage.  My skills as a logician have progressed too far.  

(Granted, they aren't as finely honed as are the skills of many rational responders, but they're good enough to keep me from believing in invisible sky fairies.)

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sapphen

sapphen wrote:


stillmatic... i am sorry. i myself experience a tragic event when i was 14-15 from people of the church. i was never touched in private places so i don't understand what you went through but for what it is worth i am truly sorry. at the age of 15 i was to be a father and my child died. the mother was only 14 and her family was insane, violent and religious. this event turned me away from religion during most of my teenage years.

Um, stillmatic was being sarcastic...and doing a good job of it, too. Smiling I'm the one who had bad experiences in church, but even if I hadn't, I couldn't believe in god.

sapphen wrote:

tilberian, we as christians have all the answers against the reasons why you think we should change our opinion yet they are not acceptable to you and only lead to further questions.

Yes, I'm aware Christians "have all the answers." The problem is they aren't good answers. Your answers are nothing but assertions, backed up by emotionalism. They completely lack empirical evidence. "Faith" is baloney.

sapphen wrote:
everyone has information and for every claim there is a counter claim in which we can find a place of refuge.

Mostly, I see a lot of intellectual dishonesty and even cowardice from religious apologists.

sapphen wrote:
with all respects the debates are still in progress and we have a lot to learn before we can prove or disprove God's existence.

No, the default position when it comes to such a claim is disbelief. Or rather, it should be. If I claimed there was a millimeter-high, plaid-colored mammoth living in my nostrils, would you believe it? Or would your default position be one of disbelief until I had solid evidence?

sapphen wrote:
God's message is perfect

No, it isn't. The holes are so huge a super star destroyer could fly through them.

sapphen wrote:

i would agree that most atheist been to church and do know more about the bible than most theists. i am curious how many different churches but ultimatly i don't want force or try to talk anyone into going to church.

I bet I've been to all the major denominations. Let's see if I can generate a partial list: Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Southern Baptist (pedophile was here), Freewill Baptist, Catholic, Assembly of God, charismatic, Pentecostal, Foursquare (pedophile was here) and many generic Protestant denominations. I never went to a JW or Mormon church because we considered them cults. That's pretty laughable considering the crappola we believed. Smiling

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Hambydammit wrote: So,

Hambydammit wrote:

So, Sapphen, I tell you this honestly: I recognize myself in you. Not me now, but me in another decade -- another universe, really. I said everything you have said in these forums, and believed things that are probably very similar to what you believe. One of the reasons I get so easily aggravated with you is that you remind me of when I was like you, and I don't like thinking about that time. I don't like feeling naive, and I feel embarrassed when I remember how arrogantly I dismissed people who knew more than I did, simply because I knew in my heart that I was right and they, with their years of education and experience, were wrong.

Word. Cool

That's probably the main reason I get aggravated with some theists, Hamby, especially the fundy ones.  I am still a little pissed off with myself for being that gullible.  Sure, I was brainwashed into it, but it's still sickening to realize I continued to believe it into my early twenties.
 

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iruka, i applaud you on

iruka, i applaud you on your effort and searching through the old posts so i went back and read through your first one.  i'm trying to think of an answer but most logical thought alludes me at the moment.

i respect your opinion but i feel you have some growing up to do.  i think if you keep searching for logical means you will eventually find them.  i deeply sympathize with you about your abuse and as you read above i had a terrible experience with religious people as well but i could never understand what you went through.

i also understand somewhat of why you disagree with religion.  i would like to warn you to not let that grow into hate.  a lot of different people carry the "theist" label and it would be unfair to them to group them with such monsters.

if you have a concern that you would like me to attempt to address feel free to respond.  again i am sorry that you've had mostly bad experience with churches and i thank you for posting.

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


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sapphen wrote: irkua, this

sapphen wrote:

irkua, this is the first time i have never read a response all the way through. it just felt too emotional and irrational. from what i skimmed over i have already responded to similar ideas from others so if you want an answer look through them.

Emotional and irrational?  How so?  

I told you that my experiences were anecdotal.  So were yours. Touché.  

I assure you I was not feeling very emotional during my response.  I was merely showing you that churches and preachers can be corrupt.  If you'd rather not confront that reality (as well as other realities), I suppose it's your choice.

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emotional and irrational

emotional and irrational was only my impression.  i think it was the language and exessive amount of smiley faces.  it just sounded like you had a lot of absolutes or maybe you just bounce off the walls.  your demeanor puzzles me.

i have never said that churches and pastors where not corrupt. i'm sorry, it does seem like i insinuated that.  you did provide me with sufficient evidence that they are not perfect.

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


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sapphen wrote: i respect

sapphen wrote:

i respect your opinion but i feel you have some growing up to do.

I think you may be either reading too much into a single post and/or projecting.   

sapphen wrote:
i think if you keep searching for logical means you will eventually find them.

Um, I've already found logic.  You are the one who is not applying it equally to all areas of your life.

I really don't see how my relating bad experiences I had at church makes me irrational, especially in light of the fact you believe a man died for your sins and rose from the dead.

sapphen wrote:
i deeply sympathize with you about your abuse and as you read above i had a terrible experience with religious people as well but i could never understand what you went through.

sapphen, I don't want your sympathy.  I don't want or need sympathy.  I was merely trying to show you another side of church.  Even under the best of circumstances, churches are places of brainwashing and indoctrination and are, therefore, bad places.  I would never recommend that someone go to church.  That's akin to sending them to a Scientology audit.

sapphen wrote:
i also understand somewhat of why you disagree with religion. i would like to warn you to not let that grow into hate.

I do hate religion.  It's not bad to hate some things. 

sapphen wrote:
a lot of different people carry the "theist" label and it would be unfair to them to group them with such monsters.

Actually, I get along fine with some theists.  I was telling you about the asshole preachers I've known and how they have abused their power.  If that makes you uncomfortable, perhaps you should ask yourself why instead of projecting your illogic and irrationality onto me. 

sapphen wrote:
if you have a concern that you would like me to attempt to address feel free to respond.

Yes.  I wish you would go back and read that post with a little more detachment.  I was not feeling overly emotional.  I was merely relating experiences.  I think perhaps you brought something of your own into reading it.  I wrote it before I learned you had some bad experiences in church.  I honestly think you are projecting your thoughts and feelings onto me.

I wasn't attacking you personally.  I was, however, attacking religion, churches, pastors, etc.  I think religion causes people to do horrible things they would not have otherwise done.  I don't hate the players.  I just hate the game. (That reminds me too much of "love the sinner; hate the sin," but it's the way I feel.) 

sapphen wrote:
again i am sorry that you've had mostly bad experience with churches and i thank you for posting.

Actually, I appreciate the lessons I learned from Christianity.  I learned to question everything.  I learned to question authority. I learned to be more careful about what I believed.  I learned that religion is--in the main--detrimental to society.  I would have rather learned some of these lessons a different way, but now that I have learned them, I plan to use the lessons I've learned to help others who have escaped religion or wish to escape it. 

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Hambydammit wrote: I have

Hambydammit wrote:

I have a certain amount of respect for the way you choose to approach reality. I think it borders on crazy, but it's respectable. At least you're honest about your irrationality, and you don't pretend to be able to justify your beliefs with science or logic.

I don't know, Hamby.  It kind of scares me.  It's like saying, "If it feels good, believe it" no matter how it may hurt others or society.  It smacks of intellectual cowardice. 

At the same time, I find that I relate better to folks like LosingStreak06 than to folks who believe something closer to what I used to believe.  It's too uncomfortable to confront the ghost of Iruka past. Eye-wink 

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