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Why are believers so angry at atheists?


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In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 12:22:23 AM PDT
AxeGrrl says:
Jeremy Crockett wrote: "Theistic Evolution would be the product of an unspeakably cruel God."
~~~~

Millions of Christians who accept the truth of evolution disagree with you. Discuss the issue with them and see what they say.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 1:29:25 AM PDT
Iatric says:
I'm guessing you didn't notice the "not in regards to you" part based on your response.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 2:06:49 AM PDT
Celsus says:
Jeremy

>>Theistic Evolution would be the product of an unspeakably cruel God.<<

Infinitely worse is a God that tortures the bulk of humanity eternally in hell, simply because they fail to worship him.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 2:56:53 AM PDT
Fingers,

Touché! As I said earlier, there's enough abuse on both sides.

Now, tell me why your group disparagement is more acceptable than mine. We don't even have to go into whether one is more "true" than another. Are you here to whine about atheists' abuse of believers? To criticize atheism/atheists in vague and careless terms? Or are you here to initiate a conversation?

If it's either of the first two, we can easily put you on "ignore." It is a sign of, at least, marginal respect that you get responses. What do you want to do with that gift?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 3:44:52 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 15, 2012 3:51:00 AM PDT
"Now, tell me why your group disparagement is more acceptable than mine."

I gave you examples that I have read on this very page, those were not theoretical abstractions. You make it sound as if I was making it all up. I wasn't. My whole point was that these kinds of arguments are maddening and irrelevant, and always brought up by people who do not understand our beliefs. Worse, you can explain it to them and they still refuse to believe it, in favor of their own prejudice. If, for example, you point out that Mormons are not considered "Christian" for theological reasons, they accuse you of using the "no true Scotsman" defense, which doesn't even remotely apply for reasons they apparently have no clue about. If you point out the fact that Jewish ceremonial law does not apply to Christians (even Paul said Gentiles do not have to be circumcised) they accuse you of "picking and choosing". This is just willful ignorance.

Finally, the accusation that speaking of the doctrine of hell is akin to "terrorism" is just plain hysterical, factually incorrect, and silly, and I have already covered that, and a certain atheist decided to post personal, inflammatory and gratuitous insults because of it.

I think my charges are well founded. Feel free to change my mind.

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 4:07:54 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 15, 2012 11:41:03 AM PDT
D. Mok says:
> Theistic Evolution would be the product of an unspeakably cruel God. If God did in fact use evolution, this would not be a god worthy of worship.

Hmm, that's a new one I haven't heard. The concept of original sin -- where every baby born is automatically sinful and doomed -- is not cruel, but evolution is?
I've been arguing for the possibility of evolution being created by a God (Christian or not), because evolution and scientific evidence can't explain the first step, which is how life originated. But why would this be somehow "more cruel"?

> In order to subscribe to monotheistic religion, one must believe that humans were born, struggled, and expired during this time, often dying in childbirth or for want of elementary
> nurture, and with a life-expectancy of perhaps three decades at most.

Still don't get it. Life expectancy and quality of life are created by humanity. What does it have to do with a Creator and his intentions?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 6:54:08 AM PDT
dischism says:
Fingers

< If, for example, you point out that Mormons are not considered "Christian" for theological reasons, they accuse you of using the "no true Scotsman" defense, which doesn't even remotely apply for reasons they apparently have no clue about. >

May I give you an analogy, so you can see where atheists such as me stand on this point?

Do you consider Ahmadiyyas and Sufis Muslim? Sufis are considered by most Muslims to be Muslim, but not all, even though they themselves call themselves Muslim, whereas most Muslims won't consider Ahmidayyas to be Muslim, although they themselves do. What are their theological differences and how important do you think they are to calling themselves Muslims or do you just accept how they label themselves?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 7:08:48 AM PDT
Fingers,

It seems, if I understand you correctly, that you claim atheists twist your claims and, thereby, make straw man arguments? Don't understand enough christianity to make a valid complaint? Make "maddening and irrelevant" arguments?

I agree that the "no true Scotsman" claim doesn't address the issue of Mormons as christians.

As for Jewish ceremonial law, I'll direct your attention to the fact that badly educated evangelicals (I've encountered on this thread [edit]) seem to believe that Leviticus says something meaningful about homosexuality -- a clear case of "picking and choosing" when said evangelicals make no bones about eating pork or violating other ceremonial laws. It seems we should recognize that most of us aren't ancient Jewish priests and use the same standards to judge ourselves as we use to judge others.

Is there no circumstance where employing the doctrine of hell may be considered "terrorism"?

Part of the problem, as I see it, is that we've both begun by painting with too broad a brush: we use phrases like "atheists say..." when we should say something like, "I've encountered atheists on this thread who say..., and I'd like to address that." (On that premise, I'll go back and amend my earlier sentences in this post.)

Change your mind? Not interested. Discussion? Interested.

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 7:40:08 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 15, 2012 7:41:27 AM PDT
The New Testament is far more cruel than the OT. The OT god only commands that people be murdered there is no mention of eternal torture. The NT says believe this or burn in hell for eternity and the only reason to be good is a promise of a reward in exchange for belief in a blood sacrifice by an immortal god.

Hm sounds like bribery a theological North Korea.

Non believers want to be good for its own sake, its the very definiation of Freedom. Liberty Univesity sounds like an Orwellian place that preachers Believe This or Burn in Hell some liberty!

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 7:42:49 AM PDT
The founder of Mormonisn was a convicted fellon just like Jesus. What does that tell us about the founders of religions.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 7:49:11 AM PDT
Iatric says:
If you believe that is the only reason to be good, perhaps you didn't read it yourself, how sad to hear.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 9:18:45 AM PDT
Jeremy,

You forget, not all of us are atheists. I certainly am not.

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 9:19:54 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 15, 2012 9:20:37 AM PDT
People should look up Philo of Alexandria who lived just before the time of Jesus. Its like reading the gospel of John. He was the most influential Jew of his time, his brother was a general who had to negotiate with Caligua. Alexandria was the center of the intellectual world , 40 % of all Jews livred there after the fall of the temple and Roman masacre and I believe its where the earliest ideas of the Jesus myth were created based upon the existing stories from the Egyptian religion which was at that time hugely influential. The Greek and Roman religions, and many others have antecendants there as of course did Judaism. Also interesting is the most well funded, most motivated and highest quality University for archiology is in Isreal. As Ben Gurian said the Bible gives Jews the right to the land. But and this is huge the Univesities there can find no truth to the Moses Stories they can however find evidence that the ideas for monotheism came to palestine from Eygypt after a palace coups 800 BCE just before the Genesis Kings narrative begins to take shape. So we can see a direct link from the Sun moon and star based relgion of the ancients and what we now know as the Bible. We know how the historicised Isis Horus becomes Mary Jesus and we know how Rome adopted this new version of the old stories to support an over extended and floundering empire. Rulers of Europe and else where require divine authority and it comes down to today where in the monument to the enlightenment the US Congress representives cower before an imagine god and the helpless masses prostate them selves in desperation yeaning for salvation. We are not sheep! We will die and life on earth will end. Get over it people there is work to be done.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 9:20:39 AM PDT
And, this is not a public forum?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 10:56:09 AM PDT
Iatric says:
You seem to be missing the point once again. Oh well, have a good weekend.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 2:29:43 PM PDT
Missing what point? I thought that this was an open forum and you mentioned something that needed to be clarified from a slightly different viewpoint than you approached it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 4:10:19 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 15, 2012 4:13:48 PM PDT
"Do you consider Ahmadiyyas and Sufis Muslim? Sufis are considered by most Muslims to be Muslim, but not all, even though they themselves call themselves Muslim, whereas most Muslims won't consider Ahmidayyas to be Muslim, although they themselves do. What are their theological differences and how important do you think they are to calling themselves Muslims or do you just accept how they label themselves?"

I really don't know much about the ins and outs of Islam, but here is my position on Christianity, and I think it would be fair to say that mainstream Christianity adheres to this:

The one thing the Catholic church and the Protestant reformers had in common (other than having come from the Catholic church) was their belief in the historic creeds. They argued about indulgences (and rightfully so) and salvation by grace instead of salvation by works, etc. but they could all agree on the following, which is called the Nicene Creed:

"I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen."

If there is one thing that Catholics and Protestants, Baptists and Lutherans, Methodists and Episcopalians can agree on, it's the Nicene Creed, the one thing we all have in common. Now I know someone is going to say that Constantine highjacked the Catholic church, yada, yada, yada, but let it suffice to say that the Nicene council beat back what we now call the Arian heresy, which says that Jesus is just a man and not God, which, if true, negates your salvation because a man cannot pay for another man's sins. (Psalm 49:7)

Yet, this is exactly what Jehovah's Witnesses teach, that Jesus was not a man, but Michael the Archangel. (Where they get this from is beyond me).

Likewise, Mormons teach that God was once a man living on another planet. I actually got one of them to admit that in another thread, I didn't think he would.

The bottom line is this: neither of those two religions teach what the church has always taught, therefore, they do not speak for the Church, Protestant or Catholic.

It's the same with the comments about the doctrine of hell being "terrorism" and proselytizing being breaking and entering. The Church does not teach this, she is speaking only for herself, not the Church, not Christianity. Call yourself whatever you want, if you are not in accord with Church teachings you have no authority.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 4:27:01 PM PDT
"As for Jewish ceremonial law, I'll direct your attention to the fact that badly educated evangelicals (I've encountered on this thread [edit]) seem to believe that Leviticus says something meaningful about homosexuality -- a clear case of "picking and choosing" when said evangelicals make no bones about eating pork or violating other ceremonial laws. It seems we should recognize that most of us aren't ancient Jewish priests and use the same standards to judge ourselves as we use to judge others."

My only comment on this is that atheists do this very same thing, with the mixed fabric clothing and shellfish eating, etc. As far as sexual sins go, I have been percolating a theory on that for some time, but I am not sure how valid it is. I have been thinking that any sin comes from bad thinking, and that the way to avoid sin is to change your way of thinking. This is possible, but it takes monastic like concentration to do that. I learned this while suffering from insufferable pain a few years ago.

"Is there no circumstance where employing the doctrine of hell may be considered "terrorism"?"

Not if you believe in it. I would rather scare the crap out of you in this life than have you face the possibility of the real hell in the next, whatever you think "hell" is. Personally, I think it's self imposed exile from God.

That's a start. It's Friday, and I am kind of burnt around the edges.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 4:38:16 PM PDT
Fingers,

I'll wish you a restful and restorative weekend, and hope to continue our discussion on Monday.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 4:53:53 PM PDT
Thank you. Let me just say one more thing and I'll try not to screw it up.

You know, I have my share of sexual sins. I love women, all of them. Trying to stay faithful to one woman has been a lifelong struggle for me. Too many people try to make too much of the sins of another when we have enough of our own to deal with. Despite what you may think about me, I am not in the business of judging, I just give my opinion if asked. Like most of you, I am only trying to find my own way, and I may be right, I may be wrong, but I have the advantage of having made enough mistakes to know what NOT to do.

One thing I do know is that I have been as close to hell as I ever want to be, and I would not wish it on anybody. My goal in ministry was to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned. With God's help, I will do that.

Posted on Jun 16, 2012 2:54:15 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 16, 2012 2:58:07 AM PDT
Okay, let me give the theory I was talking about a try:

What gave me this idea was Jesus' words in Matthew 5:28. He was saying that whoever lusts after a woman in his heart has already committed adultery with her, and it made me start thinking about whether or not thought was a sin. Elsewhere, Jesus says that if your hand or eye causes you to sin, cut them off and throw them away. Clearly, every sin must start with a thought, usually a thought that begins with evil intent. One thought leads to another and before you know it, you are violating your own convictions in a way you never thought you would do. This is how we lie to ourselves when we intend to sin knowing the ramifications.

Occasionally someone will try to trip me up by asking me if lying is a sin if it means you are hiding Jews in the basement to keep the Nazis from finding them. The above proposition solves that equation by asking if the idea is to lie with evil intent.

To take that a step further, Jesus excoriated the Pharisees when he told them that their intention to follow the law was not out devotion to God, they were just looking for loopholes. This is most clearly seen in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisee, even while following the laws of his sect, was too proud for his own good, and looked down on the tax collector for his sins. The tax collector exhibited true humility before God. Clearly the Pharisee's intention was not to follow the law out of devotion to God, but for the sake of his own pride.

People have a tendency to simplify things like this, and they have reduced the Pharisees to being Priests and Bishops merely because they are Priests and Bishops, when in reality only Priests and Bishops who suffer from the sin of pride are like the Pharisees. If it comes to that, prideful people of all stripes might as well be Pharisees. More on that in a moment.

Let's recap what we have so far: sin starts with a thought of evil intent. Lying without evil intent is not necessarily a sin, especially when it means you can save a life by doing so. Lying is not justified when you are lying to appease your own sense of justice. Pride, when your intent is evil, is a sin. This is not to say when you have done some good work, like a work of art, a sculpture, or any job well done, you can't be proud of it. What it means is you can't be proud of yourself to the point where you end up thinking that you are better than others. Take it or leave it, I will proceed from here.

A friend of mine once gave me the most lucid explanation of what he thought of the gay pride movement. He said that his own sin was pride, and frankly, he had a lot to be proud of: he is clearly one of the most successful men I know, he has earned advanced degrees for himself, he makes good money, he has only been married to one woman, and has two lovely children. Still, he knows that his downfall is "pride". He says that the one thing he does not do is put on "Pride pride" parades - in other words, he is not proud of his sin and does not flaunt it before God and the world because he thinks that is as much of a sin as the original sin of pride. To him, the "gay pride" people are the Pharisees. While he doesn't cast himself as the tax collector, in this case he is very much like the tax collector from the parable.

People who cast themselves as society's underdogs have a tendency to suffer from a kind of pride that makes them envious and greedy. They would like to think of themselves as the poor tax collector, when in reality, they are as prideful as the Pharisee because they look down on men like my friend because they are successful. And certainly, that goes both ways, some of the rich do look down on the poor.

I make these contrasts to set up the proposition I am about to lay out for you. Many people have left abusive marriages by committing adultery. Do I judge them for that? I have to say that adultery is wrong, it is damaging, it is hurtful for all concerned, including the perpetrator. But I do understand it. This is entirely different from the man or woman who simply can't stay faithful, but instead flaunt their promiscuity before anyone and everyone, before the world and before God.

Statistics have shown that many homosexuals are promiscuous. To me, the promiscuity of their acts make the issue of homosexuality beside the point, because the bigger issue is the promiscuity that is common to all of us. The Bible calls people like this "fornicators". I once knew a girl who was raped at an early age and told not to tell anyone. She told me she eventually found that if she gave up sex, she could get money, drugs, or other things she wanted or needed. Was this wrong? Certainly, it is a very destructive behavior. Was it her fault? To an extent, but I mostly blame the person who started her down that path.

On these forums we are often forced into black and white answers, gotcha questions. The intent of the questioner is to force you into a position you can't defend. Most often this comes in the form of a false dilemma - you are asked to choose between A and B, when in reality there is often a third way. This is one of the examples I led with: "If you accept Jesus was who he says he was, then you have to accept OT ceremonial law". Well, no, I don't. I don't even have to get circumcised, Paul said so.

The answers aren't always black and white, and this is one of many reasons I don't subscribe to "Sola scriptura". Is homosexuality a sin? You are the only one who knows. What is your intent?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2012 2:58:06 AM PDT
Fingers,

While the life of an atheist (of this one at least) is not free of guilt or regret, we do have the advantage of refusing to suffer such responses to the facts of being human. Lust is one of those, and it's fun even though it usually requires some control. I can fantasize about the cute young man next to me; I needn't feel guilty about the fantasy. My mental acts stay in my head and no one but me knows about them.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2012 3:07:37 AM PDT
"Lust is one of those, and it's fun even though it usually requires some control."

That's the trick, isn't it? I know many people, male and female, who are incorrigible flirts. We are all adults and we know it's all in fun, until someone takes it seriously.

I don't generally feel guilty about my own appreciation of a beautiful woman. Even my wife understands that I am still a man, but I know that if I dwell on certain things I would be able to talk myself into taking steps in that direction. Many atheists are moral people, they don't want to hurt anyone. They have to know, even in the absence of God, that taking those same steps can lead to problems.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2012 1:53:13 PM PDT
Fingers,

I've more than once done flirty things that, part of me knows, could get me arrested for assault. I've been lucky that the guys I've done them to mostly know me as a harmless flirt. (I've also learned to control my hands.) My exboyfriend, otoh, simply refuses to believe that I can appreciate a guy's beauty without wanting to go to bed with him.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2012 2:05:17 PM PDT
AxeGrrl says:
Charles F. Mielke wrote: " I can fantasize about the cute young man next to me; I needn't feel guilty about the fantasy. My mental acts stay in my head and no one but me knows about them."
~~~~

I completely agree :) the _only_ time I think there's an 'issue' with such fantasizing is if you do it MOST of the time when you're with your partner.

If someone is _always_ fantasizing about someone else while they're in bed with their partner, that's a red flag about the relationship, imo.
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Discussion in:  Christianity forum
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Initial post:  Jun 9, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 16, 2012

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