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Talk:20 Reasons to abandon Christianity
In # 15, Christianity sanctions slavery, you neglected to mention the key biblical passage used in United States to defend slave-holding. It is a passage Frederick Douglass discussed in Narrative of a Slave's Life (I no longer have the books for accurate reference). It is in Genesis or Exodus when one of Noah's sons, Ham, comes into his father's tent and finds him drunk and passed out. He makes fun of his father when talking to his brothers. When Noah finds out he curses Ham and all his descendants forever to be slaves of descendants of his other two brothers. Somehow, Ham's descendants got associated with Africans, black skins, and hence god-ordained slaves of "whites." It would be laughable if it weren't so stupid and so full of historical misery for millions, black and white.
I find one overwhelming problem with this argument, and that is that is assumes that each and every Christian, or if you will, the general classification of "Christian" is representative of all of the bad (and apparently only of the bad) that any group or interpretation of Christianity implies.
I'm not out here to say blind faith is a good thing, but I think that perhaps it's the kind of faith some people have (unexamined, unethical and, in their eyes, infallible) that is the evil. Christianity and even the broader category of Judaic religions do not hold any kind of monopoly on this kind of thought pattern. Indeed, Jesus (who is, by the way, historical, whether you believe in his title of savior or not) proves to be in favor of moral and religious self examination over and over. He says "love god", and "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and "turn the other cheek" and "if a roman asks you to carry his pack, then carry it". The messages are clear, and indeed there really are Christians that live by these principles. You don't hear from us much, because Jesus also says people aren't going to get a thing more by being loud and obnoxious when they pray.
It's important not to confuse your own morals and your moral role in a cause with the evils that may or may not be supported by the name of the cause. Many people who fervently support good causes portray the same characteristics as the "bad Christians" you talk about. They justify violence in the name of their cause (ecoterrorism), have some egotistical reason to turn the faith of others (nirvana), have a rocky past including the rationalized subjugation of another group (women in Islam), accept unverified statements as cannon (biofeedback), and wage war justified on divine right (Augustus Caesar, Pharmaceuticals in Africa). Abandoning your faith because members of your faith have used it towards evil ends is like saying "some humans are evil, so I wish no longer to act as a human" or "Ghengis Khan and his men committed horrific atrocities in Asia, so I no longer wish to be Asian". Instead, any member of any cause should be encouraged to individually examine the relative merits and foibles of their cause, and choose a path that they can rationally support as the most advantangious to all involved. Then they should be honest about their goals and ready to support their rationalizations in ways other than "because it says so" or "because my immortal soul is in danger".
Ideally, the answer to every question would be "because it makes me feel good and helps other people live fuller, happier lives". To questions where this isn't the answer, a person of any belief system should stop and ask themselves if they are indeed doing the right thing (and yes, I did stop and ask myself that before posting this). In some cases people will disagree on what -will- make someone's life better, and in these cases the best we can do is turn to good advice and good evidence. -Charles
This is the problem with your argument. Christians themselves can't agree what constitutes a Christian. There are at least 30,000 (thirty THOUSAND) different sects of Christianity alone, all arguing over whether you wipe the chalice clockwise or counter-clockwise, should women wear pants or if the pope is infallible. It's ridiculous. There comes a point when, if nobody in the club can get along with anybody else, much less their own club members, that perhaps this club does more harm than good.. --Pile 13:51, 23 September 2007 (CDT)
The reference to Pascal isn't entirely accurate. The attempted goal of the Wager is to show believing in God is better than not believing, not that god necessarily exists. Although this is subtle, even if this is a valid argument for god, it is only to believe that there is a god not that a god exists.
The article illustrates the point you're making. I do not see how it is inaccurate. However, Pascal's wager does indeed call into question which God we're talking about? Which is relevant. Besides, this article is not about whether or not God exists. It's about flaws and inconsistencies in dogma and philosophy. --Pile 09:11, 26 September 2007 (CDT)
1. Christianity isn't based on fear. While some may have used hell fire preaching, it shouldn't or isn't the prime motive for Christianity. Merely something that makes you take it seriously. Hell isn't a means to drive you to God, but something he has to do out of his Goodness, in the same way a Good Judge will not pervert Justice when a clearly guilty criminal is before him. The Lord is "...not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" 2 Peter 3:9
Remember all those murder investigation shows? At the end, most of us get a righteous anger toward the guilty criminal when he shows no remorse for his Crimes. Our side of the fence is clearer then his, and Gods side of the fence is clearer then ours. But he has dropped us a line, that we may avoid eternal justice and see his amazing love demonstrated toward us on the Cross. Here is the clear side of the fence,
1. You shall have no other God's before me (anything we have access to, is a gift and if we love the gift more then the giver, it’s a wrong order of affections) 2. You shall not make for yourselves any graven images (either with your mind to soot your sin, or with your hands) 3. You shall not take the name of the lord your God in vain (do you consider Hitler bad enough that you use his name to express disgust?) 4. Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy (he gave us 7, can't we give him 1?) 5. Honour your father and mother 6. You shall not murder (in 1st John it says whosoever hates his brother is a murderer) 7. You shall not commit adultery (Jesus said whosoever looks with lust on women commits adultery with her in just heart) 8. You shall not steal 9. You shall not lie (you don't have to lie 10 times to become a liar, only once) 10. You shall not covet
2. Christianity prays for everyone. "consider this quotation from an officially approved, 19th-century Catholic children’s book" The only officially approved book for the Christian is the bible.
If you would rather teach your kids the theory of evolution (or something similar) which is a series of statistical monstrosities, whilst omitting God, the second option which is merely one statistical brain throb, when being wrong about the first could rob your Kids of accepting the gift of salvation from the just reward of pain for eternity, go ahead and keep your heart of Stone.
3. Your heading needs revising. Personally I don't think the title of your third point aptly describes your argument for me to make a clear heading against it. The wager you speak of, might be Food for thought, but not a basis for all Christianity.
4. Your right about one thing. Christians do preach in error, when they preach the "God has a wonderful plan for your life" message. The problem lies in our perception of Wonderful. Our perception might be a healthy family, protection and a bigger car. Take someone through the book of Acts to look at the horrible things Christians face and see if he will utter the word "wonderful". Where as God might see it, our wonderful plan is to forsake ourselves that others might be saved. His Goodness won't bend eternal justice one bit, because he is holy, just and righteous. He says "behold I change not and by no means will I clear the guilty". Anyone speaking of Christianity, who promises roses without thorns is in error.
5. True Christianity breeds humility. There are wolves in sheep's clothing like the bible warns. But a true Christian, he in himself isn't 'better' then anyone else, just more forgiven.
6. Man is to love his bride like Christ loves the true Church. Everyone loves to dog the bible when it says wives submit to your husbands, but fail to read on. The bible instructs that the husband is to love his wife like Christ loves the church. Any man, that loves his wife like Christ loves the church is a man worthy to submit to. Good luck finding one though. Its worth mentioning that this all takes place in the same chapter.
Here’s merely six responses to your 'reasons', and most of the rest have been answered before. If you did some searching around You may find some answers to your arguments, like some of the amazing scientific facts in the bible, thousands of years ahead of their time.
Have a good day. Just adding my 'Free Thought"
Like every Christian, you have your own version of what your doctrine espouses, whether it's love and humility or shock and awe. The problem is, the Bible is so ambiguous and badly pieced-together, as well as contradictory and inconsistent, every person has a different interpretation. And as usual, you feel your interpretation is superior. This is the problem with all theists. Even the "humble" ones are self-righteous and stubborn about what they claim to "know" about Jesus, so this whole notion of humility is ultimately a facade.
As for your citation that the ten commandments serve as a dividing line between moral and immoral behavior, that's another great example. Take a look at this analysis of the ten commandments for more details.
First off, the first five commandments really have little to do with moral behavior. They're promoting submission to a more powerful authority figure. If your God is so great, why does he demand submission and respect instead of earning it? Why is pandering to his sense of insecurity more important than avoiding murder, which doesn't appear until commandment #6? How can you abide by a token, sweeping rule such as "Honor thy mother and father?" What if your parents were ruthless, abusive monsters? Do they still deserve your respect and submission?
I could go on and on tearing apart the very basis for your so-called morality and it seems to me that at the least, there are very strong counter-points for seriously questioning whether these commandments are moral, well thought-out, or even reasonable. As far as commandment #6, it is not "Thou shalt not murder", it is "Thou shalt not kill". If you look up the original Hebrew you will find the word does not relate to murder. The same word in the sixth commandment is also used in other areas of the bible when describing non-sentient animals killing other creatures. --Pile 10:06, 1 October 2007 (CDT)
Ref's Response to Pile
The basis of Christianity is the teachings of Christ. You don't have to look up the Hebrew meanings to know that. What Christ says goes first. The rest is just unnecessary commentary, and/or backstory. What does Christ say? Love God and Love Others. But that's not what every Christian does. As it is, though, your page here, as well as your response is more about disproving, discrediting, and destroying all need, want, or belief in Christianity. Instead of being tolerant of what you see as another's imperfections (after all, they wouldn't be your own). And as such, you're not setting out to be the bigger man, which brings the question... Why are you trying to destroy a belief that has nothing to do with you? If it's so hateful and opressive... why return the favor? How does that make you the better person? It makes you equally hateful and opressive. Show some love, let the religion bring on it's own judgement from a God it believes in. If that God doesn't show his judgement, then what harm has come? The Christians are obviously done for and screwed. But, no, you have to bring it into your own hands. You're not doing anything helpful. You're not proving how bad Christianity is. By blatantly attacking something you see as unjustifiably wrong, it makes you no better. Claiming how intolerant Christianity is isn't the best way to preach tolerance, sir. Reflectionist 17:41, 26 December 2007 (CST)
Another Cafeterian - someone who picks and chooses which scripture and dogma to pay attention to, while ignoring the rest... *yawn*
What "teachings" of "Christ" are you talking about?
Where Jesus says you should cut off your testicles to become a diciple? (Matthew 19:12) Where Jesus says he doesn't come to bring peace? (Matthew 10:24) Maybe Matthew 10:35 where Christ says the family should turn against each other? Or maybe Luke 14:26 where he clearly says you need to hate your mother, father, sister and brother? How about Matthew 5:29 where Christ says you can pluck your eye out for profit... --Pile 18:09, 26 December 2007 (CST)
Pointing out the irrationality in any religion is not tantamount to intolerance. If you kept your delusions to yourself, then it would be none of my business. But when you air your deluded visions of a theocracy in the public sector, you invite you and your beliefs to be held up to scrutiny and be judged. You can't have it both ways.
I didn't say I was ignoring the rest. That was something you put into my mouth. I just said that what Christ said was most important is most important because Christ means everything in Christianity.
But I like how you have managed to slip into the typical Atheist stereotype by showing more condescension than intelligence. Congratulations. Quoting me in that very article was proof itself that this entire site is nothing more than a single person's dream of bringing a religion to it's knees. There's no basis of fact here, no tact, no intelligence, certainly no credibility. Just one man's personal vendetta. Have a good day, guy. I'll be praying for you. Reflectionist 20:21, 26 December 2007 (CST)
You didn't say you were ignoring the rest. You just ignored it. Whatever. Now you go for misdirection instead of addressing the issues I raised. Yes, I called you a Cafeterian, and I guess you think that's some sort of ad hominem, but I think it's just a characterization, for what it's worth. It's a label and it does fit you, by your own explanation and simplistic idea of Christianity. And yes, your response was what prompted me to write the article and quote you. You should be flattered that I now consider your words to be apocryphal examples of Cafeterianism.
And of course, again, rather than address the issues I specifically raised, what do you do? You accuse this site of being 'one man's personal vendetta' -- that's rich, especially after you vandalized one of the pages here and removed content. I can see any further dialogue with you is pointless because, like most of your kind, you can't stay on point and when you're confronted with facts, you start blowing smoke. Thanks for playing, but note, whatever you call me or this site doesn't detract from the fact that you failed to prove anything, much less adequately defend your perspective.
So you say I'm "condecending?" You're entitled to your opinion, but let me just say this... to paraphrase you: That's irrelevent! What does the tone of my writing have to do with anything? I listed numerous examples of "Christ's word" that you think is so important -- why didn't you respond to that? oh no, you don't like my tone. That's a classic case of a red herring. And as far as condescension, theists have elevated that activity to an art form and given it a special name: self-righteousness.. and yet if I act "self righteous" about my own beliefs, that's somehow inappropriate? This is another hypocritical double standard you have. Just because your fragile sense of self is offended by the fact that I don't believe your delusion does not mandate that I have to pretend otherwise. Honesty trumps politesse among intelligent people.--Pile 20:40, 26 December 2007 (CST)
By the way, go ahead and pray for me. I'll think for you.
1. You say: "Throughout almost its entire time on Earth, the motor driving Christianity has been—in addition to the fear of death—fear of the devil and fear of hell." That's flatly untrue. I've attended hundreds of sermons in my life and never heard hell or the devil mentioned. You claim that hell was more frequently brought up by Christians in the past. Unfortunately for you, it's easy to read Christian books from the past and verify that this is not true.
The central motor driving Christianity is Jesus Christ. That's why it's called Christianity.
2. Reason two is a repeat of reason one, so nothing more needs to be said on that.
3. Your argument here isn't even coherent. Even if I accepted what you said about Pascal's wager, how would that make Christianity "dishonest". But, in fact, you're flat-out wrong about what Pascal's wager says. Pascal put it in his book Pensees. The text is available online if you'd like to read it. In any case, Pascal's Wager is not "one of the most popular Christian arguments for belief in God"; it's not an argument for belief in God at all.
4. What's ego-centric about believing that God cares about me? I also believe that my mother cares about me. Is that ego-centric to?
5. This claim is flatly untrue. Christianity is based on unconditional love of all people, and it does not encourage followers to think themselves superior to others. It encourages followers to think themselves inferior to others, as exemplified by Paul in the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians.
In any case, anyone who's written an article like this one is going to look pretty silly accusing someone else of promoting an 'us v. them' mentality.
6. On argument number six, most of what you say is made up. For example, you say: "Up until the late 19th century in England, atheists who had the temerity to openly advocate their beliefs were jailed." That's flat-out untrue. Many people have been jailed in British history for being Christians and running afoul of the British government. None have ever been jailed for being atheists. Then you say: "Even today in many parts of the United States laws still exist that forbid atheists from serving on juries or from holding public office." This, again is utterly untrue. You just made it up.
Where do people have more freedom, in countries where the majority is Christian such as the United States or Canada or in countries ruled by atheists such as North Korea and Cuba? Obviously, the free countries of the world are the countries that have the most Christians, and the most oppressive countries are the ones that are ruled by atheists. Just ask the millions of Christians who were slaughtered by atheists in Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Red China, Tito's Yugoslavia, Jacobin France, Portugal, Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile, and scores of other countries. (Well, of course, you can't ask them, because atheists killed them. But you get the point.)
7.On argument number seven, what you said is made up. (Starting to see a pattern here.) First of all, you claim that the Spanish Inquisition engaged in widespread torture. This is a myth, made up by anti-Spanish propagandists after the fact. For the facts on this issue, search for the article "History and Myth: The Inquisition" by historian Robert P. Lockwood. The quote from St. Thomas Aquinas at the end is another bogus one.
8. Ah, the good old Galileo myth. I was wondering when you'd get to that. Galileo himself was a devout Catholic and the Catholic Church was the sole source of funding for all of his research. Two Catholic priests served as assistant and helped him to take measurements. How exactly does that fit in with your claim that Christianity suppressed science?
When Galileo first proposed the heliocentric theory, he was opposed by atheists. The atheist dogma was that Aristotle was always right, and since Aristotle said that the earth was the center of the universe, the atheists wanted to shut down by force anyone who said otherwise. It was only the Catholic Church who stood up and said that observed reality should take precedence over dogma.
The only groups to ever persecute scientists are atheists. Just ask Antoine Lavoisier, the French chemist who had his head chopped off by the Jacobins because he was a Catholic. (Well, actually you can't ask him cause he's dead, but...)
9. More untruth here. You say of the Catholic Church "its moral pronouncements rarely going beyond the matters of birth control and abortion". Flatly untrue, since I have thousand of pronouncements from the Catholic Church on my shelf which prove it wrong.
10. So Christian people are unhappy with their sex lives? How exactly do you know? Are you spying in the bedrooms of every Christian couple?
11. You say: "Christians ignore the very real evils plaguing our society—poverty; homelessness; hunger; militarism; a grossly unfair distribution of wealth and income; ecological despoliation exacerbated by corporate greed; overpopulation; sexism; racism; homophobia; freedom-denying, invasive drug laws; an inadequate educational system; etc., etc." So how, pray tell, do you explain the millions of Christian charities devoted to solving exactly these causes?
You also say that Christians engaged in the slave trade. This is untrue. Slavery was clearly prohibited by all major churches. If you don't believe me, read the Papal Bull "Sublimus Dei" written by Pope Paul III in 1537. It was Christians who ended the slave trade. Slavery is still common in countries run by atheists, such as Vietnam.
12. According to you, Christians say "That’s human nature. It’s always been that way, and it always will." Who, exactly, said this and when? Please be specific.
13. Your statement about James Watt using the Rapture to justify deforestation is a flat-out fabrication, made up by Democratic Party propagandists.
14. Your declaration that an organization is "authoritarian" even though everyone in it participates by choice would bring a knowing nod from George Orwell. It's atheists in places like North Korea who run authoritrian organizations.
15. I've already dealt with this one above. None of the quotes from the Bible that you list actually support slavery.
16. More lies about what the Bible says. Read the quote from Ephesians that is supposedly misogynistic, but read it in its context. Then you'll see that it's saying basically the same thing to men and women.
17. The "current wave of murders of gay people" does not actually exist, except in your imagination. Not in America, anyway. In countries ruled by atheists, such as Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, thousands of gay people were murdered by the state. When England tried to legalize homosexuality in the 50's, all the church supported legalizing it but atheists blocked it.
18. Your claims about when the gospels were written are flatly false. We have manuscripts dating to about 60 years after Christ's death, so they can't have been written 200 years after his death.
Also, the "Jesus Seminar" is not a group of scholars. It's a bunch of ordinary people, most of whom don't have any expertise in Bible scholarship at all. It even includes Hollywood celebrities.
19. So the Bible contains contradictions. So? So does Hamlet. So does The Iliad.
20. Christianity was copied from the Cult of Mithra. Mighty funny, given that Christianity was founded a century before the cult of Mithra. I never knew that atheists believe in time travel.
In summary, all your "reasons for abandoning Christianity" are based on lies and nonsense. Reading them has greatly increased my confidence in the truth and good sense of Jesus Christ and his followers.
Your response is pretty much a dictionary of logical fallacies, from the Argument from personal experience (you've never heard a sermon mention the devil) to Two wrongs make a right (Hamlet contains contradictions just like the bible so that excuses the bible) to downright lies or blatant ignorance (Christianity being founded prior to Mithra, and your claims about the age of the gospels) to boatloads of simple, Naked assertions. I find nothing particularly interesting or new about your response. It's just an argument. You make no actual counter claim of any substance. You simply disagree and act like you're right, which is the typical theist response. Just once, I'd like to see something more substantive, but that's probably asking too much. If you really want to discuss it, take it to the forum: http://forum.freethoughtpedia.com/
In the meantime, I urge you to do more research into the scripture you claim to hold noble, because judging from your response, an average atheist knows more about the history of Christianity than you apparently do.
By the way, I cross-posted your comment on our forum here: http://forum.freethoughtpedia.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=214
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