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  1. #371

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    I don't mind the asking nor do I mind the telling!

    To completely understand it would take a long drawn out look into how I grew up but suffice it to say that I essentially attended seminary during highschool. Four systematic theologies, read through the bible half a dozen times with different translations each time, preached in front of 3 thousand, traveled extensively "sharing the good news", worked full-time at a christian youth camp all through high school, private christian school through 6th grade, homeschooled from 7th grade on, leader of the high school youth group, people started calling me reverend when I was in 2nd grade, whole books of the bible memorized....etc etc etc

    So I think that I can say with a fair bit of certainty that I am essentially more biblically knowledgeable than the vast majority of pastors out there. Just for a background on me.

    Essentially one day I woke up and thought "but WHY?"
    and after processing it all for four years, give or take a few months, I finally decided that it wasn't what lined up with the world I've seen since I left the christian bubble I grew up in nor does much of the doctrines I taught even align with scripture, i.e. Hell, Premarital Sex, A loving God, "God's Will" and other fallacies of the modern church.

    So I stopped. It's been the hardest thing in the world to reprogram my brain. I had to literally wake up everyday and remember that I no longer believed in prayer or God. I would catch myself praying if I got scared or emotionally distraught, just out of habit and had to remind myself that I was being a hypocrite and that single thought always brought me out of whatever funk I was in. Like when I had a lady die in my arms last summer in Guam and blamed myself, in the past I would have dropped to my knees and prayed and prayed and things would have been worse, the nagging thought of whether or not she was a believer or if i had sent her to hell. Instead I just powered through it and talked it out with a shrink and life went out. I was the better for the experience and I learned that being a lifeguard sometimes means people die. God didn't care to save her, just like he doesn't care about the 30,000 that died of hunger today or the 30,000 more that will die tomorrow.

    Life is a crazy game and I'm just playing it. I like my worldview now much better. When I think back to what a self-righteous twat I was back then. I wouldn't have talked to the likes of me and all I would've done back then was prayed for me instead of getting to know me. If that line makes sense.

    My christian worldview may have been far more right winged than yours is, think of the movie Saved and then amplify it. In the four years I was wrestling for answers I attended and got involved with almost every sect of the christian faith. From the far right of my upbringing to the extreme left of the Disciples of Christ and everything in between. I've read Rob Bell and Donald Miller, R.C Sproul and Watchman Nee and once again everything in between.

    Christianity just doesn't fit into what I see. It doesn't make sense to me logically nor does it feel right to me.
    I am glad I am tolerant now. I am glad I am free.
    I love this poem to describe how I feel.

    "I woke up to an empty room

    No more angels watching over me.
    No more demons to be held at bay
    by the invocation of
    an Anglicized version
    of a Hellenized version
    of a Hebrew name

    I woke up to an empty room:

    Just a room. Four walls, ceiling, floor.
    Just a room. Nothing more.

    I woke up to an empty room
    and embraced the solid air.

    I woke up to an empty room and knew myself

    awake."

  2. #372
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    OK Owl, could you explain to me without getting too esoteric, if it is within your God's power to create the universe why is he unwilling or unable to cure cancer or AIDS? That's what I mean by suffering, not having a bad day or being sad that grandma died. I mean the stupid evil shit that we have to deal with as humans.

    See, if I'm right and there is no God and we're just animals that got too smart then there's nothing wrong. Science will solve our problems eventually, it's already fixed most of the big ones. But if there is a God who knows and cares about us and it's within his power to have prevented war, famine and disease in the first place then fuck him and fuck you for covering for him.

    People blame atheism for the deaths caused by the Nazis and Communists but they never blame God for not stopping it.

  3. #373
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sassafrassquatch View Post
    OK Owl, could you explain to me without getting too esoteric, if it is within your God's power to create the universe why is he unwilling or unable to cure cancer or AIDS? That's what I mean by suffering, not having a bad day or being sad that grandma died. I mean the stupid evil shit that we have to deal with as humans.

    See, if I'm right and there is no God and we're just animals that got too smart then there's nothing wrong. Science will solve our problems eventually, it's already fixed most of the big ones. But if there is a God who knows and cares about us and it's within his power to have prevented war, famine and disease in the first place then fuck him and fuck you for covering for him.

    People blame atheism for the deaths caused by the Nazis and Communists but they never blame God for not stopping it.
    Well, without even touching the Theistic portion of your point, it's pretty clear that your argument is bedrocked on the reasoning from disbelief fallacy. Constructing an offensive position against an ideal to which you aren't willing to entertain even the slightest probability of truth contaminates your potting soil.

    Your if/then algorithim is a pretty common sling levied towards religion. If God is good, why do bad things happen?

    This position is more a question of value than rationale. "Good" and "bad" are subjective coins. Each summarize a haze of variables, given emotional context.

    The failure of this position is one of transference.


    As a threadnote, it always amazes me how quickly people abandon civility on a topic like religion. It becomes less about the critical evaluation of alternative beliefs, and more about defending one's personal prejudices.

    Religion is alogical. To try to "logically" unwind perspective on a topic like religion is to not understand when/how to appropriately use logic.

  4. #374
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night View Post
    This position is more a question of value than rationale. "Good" and "bad" are subjective coins. Each summarize a haze of variables, given emotional context.

    The failure of this position is one of transference.
    How are AIDS, cancer, starvation, birth defects and natural disasters subjectively good or bad? They seem objectively bad to me and easily preventable by a god capable of creating the universe. That is unless I have misunderstood you.

    Religion is alogical. To try to "logically" unwind perspective on a topic like religion is to not understand when/how to appropriately use logic.
    This is the frustrating thing. Always trying to put the cookie jar on the top shelf where I can't get to it. I don't know the exact term for whatever it is you, Owl and some others believe, if they are indeed similar beliefs. This apparently monotheistic personal god thing, a sort of christianity that's been stripped of all its meat. If you know what the name for it is please let me know.

    I don't know how to form a counter argument that would be acceptable. Every time I try it's, "No no, mustn't use logic." Well what then? Are these beliefs inherently unassailable?

  5. #375
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sassafrassquatch View Post
    How are AIDS, cancer, starvation, birth defects and natural disasters subjectively good or bad? They seem objectively bad to me and easily preventable by a god capable of creating the universe. That is unless I have misunderstood you.
    The thing with death and suffering is that, although horrible, they can often create a positive expression of humanity.

    As an example, our present evaluation of AIDS, cancer, starvation and the like is a consequence of our ability to express compassion - compassion is to see our pain in others.

    To express compassion openly is to work towards a better global society - for all creatures, regardless of inherent diversity or similiarity towards ourselves.

    The 2004 Tsunami is an example of a truly horrifying event that served to galvinize human interest - if only for a moment - away from the petty inconsistencies that make us different.

    Donations of time/money poured in from around the world. Certain countries (Australia, Qatar) donated between 3-5% of their annual GDP in response to the tragedy. Globally, over $10 billion was donated to alleviate the destruction. Much of this money is still in use today towards the refurbishment (and advancement beyond what was historically possible) of schools, hospitals, roads, etc.

    What's more, the world better realized the abject poverty certain nations are unavoidably entangled with, and the vulnerability socioeconomic inequality creates.

    While certainly not an adequate reciprocal to the millions that died/were forced to migrate, horror can mobilize human compassion like nothing else - even religion.


    Quote Originally Posted by sassafrassquatch View Post
    This is the frustrating thing. Always trying to put the cookie jar on the top shelf where I can't get to it. I don't know the exact term for whatever it is you, Owl and some others believe, if they are indeed similar beliefs. This apparently monotheistic personal god thing, a sort of christianity that's been stripped of all its meat. If you know what the name for it is please let me know.
    My faith is a hybrid of Buddhism; Christianity; Sikhism; Shinto; Judaism and Sunni Islam.

    Quote Originally Posted by sassafrassquatch View Post
    I don't know how to form a counter argument that would be acceptable. Every time I try it's, "No no, mustn't use logic." Well what then? Are these beliefs inherently unassailable?
    I certainly can't tell you how to think. You are your own person.

    Let others be theirs.

  6. #376
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    Quote Originally Posted by findthejake View Post
    I don't mind the asking nor do I mind the telling!

    To completely understand it would take a long drawn out look into how I grew up but suffice it to say that I essentially attended seminary during highschool. Four systematic theologies, read through the bible half a dozen times with different translations each time, preached in front of 3 thousand, traveled extensively "sharing the good news", worked full-time at a christian youth camp all through high school, private christian school through 6th grade, homeschooled from 7th grade on, leader of the high school youth group, people started calling me reverend when I was in 2nd grade, whole books of the bible memorized....etc etc etc

    So I think that I can say with a fair bit of certainty that I am essentially more biblically knowledgeable than the vast majority of pastors out there. Just for a background on me.

    Essentially one day I woke up and thought "but WHY?"
    and after processing it all for four years, give or take a few months, I finally decided that it wasn't what lined up with the world I've seen since I left the christian bubble I grew up in nor does much of the doctrines I taught even align with scripture, i.e. Hell, Premarital Sex, A loving God, "God's Will" and other fallacies of the modern church.

    So I stopped. It's been the hardest thing in the world to reprogram my brain. I had to literally wake up everyday and remember that I no longer believed in prayer or God. I would catch myself praying if I got scared or emotionally distraught, just out of habit and had to remind myself that I was being a hypocrite and that single thought always brought me out of whatever funk I was in. Like when I had a lady die in my arms last summer in Guam and blamed myself, in the past I would have dropped to my knees and prayed and prayed and things would have been worse, the nagging thought of whether or not she was a believer or if i had sent her to hell. Instead I just powered through it and talked it out with a shrink and life went out. I was the better for the experience and I learned that being a lifeguard sometimes means people die. God didn't care to save her, just like he doesn't care about the 30,000 that died of hunger today or the 30,000 more that will die tomorrow.

    Life is a crazy game and I'm just playing it. I like my worldview now much better. When I think back to what a self-righteous twat I was back then. I wouldn't have talked to the likes of me and all I would've done back then was prayed for me instead of getting to know me. If that line makes sense.

    My christian worldview may have been far more right winged than yours is, think of the movie Saved and then amplify it. In the four years I was wrestling for answers I attended and got involved with almost every sect of the christian faith. From the far right of my upbringing to the extreme left of the Disciples of Christ and everything in between. I've read Rob Bell and Donald Miller, R.C Sproul and Watchman Nee and once again everything in between.

    Christianity just doesn't fit into what I see. It doesn't make sense to me logically nor does it feel right to me.
    I am glad I am tolerant now. I am glad I am free.
    I love this poem to describe how I feel.

    "I woke up to an empty room

    No more angels watching over me.
    No more demons to be held at bay
    by the invocation of
    an Anglicized version
    of a Hellenized version
    of a Hebrew name

    I woke up to an empty room:

    Just a room. Four walls, ceiling, floor.
    Just a room. Nothing more.

    I woke up to an empty room
    and embraced the solid air.

    I woke up to an empty room and knew myself

    awake."
    This is very interesting to me. It seems to me like a conversion experience - but of course you are converting out of a particular and strong belief and practice.

    Particularly the poem you quote at the end seems to me to be mystical - in the sense that mysticism is the transcendence of something given into who-knows-what.

    And it is interesting to compare what I call your conversion experience with mine.

    You do seem to be a lot tougher than I am. Because all I did was convert my somewhat literal beliefs into metaphors. And in a way it gives me the best of both worlds.

    Your way seems to me the more radical. And involves a more radical rejection.

    And although you probably wouldn't agree with the word, you seem to have taken the mystical path in one leap.

    Whereas for me it is steady steps - husbanding my energies for the next step.

    It's nice to meet you.

  7. #377
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night View Post
    Donations of time/money poured in from around the world. Certain countries (Australia, Qatar) donated between 3-5% of their annual GDP in response to the tragedy.
    What is interesting is what we did with our substantial donation to Indonesia.

    Indonesia is our nearest Asian neighbour and the largest muslim country in the world. And also one of the most corrupt.

    And our relations with Indonesia have not always run smoothly, although our security depends a great deal on Indonesia.

    So after the tsunami we immediately approached the Indonesians with a thousand million dollars and offered to jointly administer it with them. They accepted recognising we are experienced in administration and are non-corrupt.

    It has worked out very well. We get on very well with Indonesians at a personal level. And this gave us the opportunity to work with them at the highest levels of the Indonesian Government.

    This has had spillover effects as our Federal Police have established a warm working relationship with the Indonesian police.

    And of course the donation is not being siphoned into Swiss bank accounts but getting to where it is needed.

    And we have improved our relationship with the Indonesians.

  8. #378
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by findthejake View Post
    Essentially one day I woke up and thought "but WHY?"
    and after processing it all for four years, give or take a few months, I finally decided that it wasn't what lined up with the world I've seen since I left the christian bubble I grew up in nor does much of the doctrines I taught even align with scripture, i.e. Hell, Premarital Sex, A loving God, "God's Will" and other fallacies of the modern church.

    So I stopped. It's been the hardest thing in the world to reprogram my brain. I had to literally wake up everyday and remember that I no longer believed in prayer or God. I would catch myself praying if I got scared or emotionally distraught, just out of habit and had to remind myself that I was being a hypocrite and that single thought always brought me out of whatever funk I was in. Like when I had a lady die in my arms last summer in Guam and blamed myself, in the past I would have dropped to my knees and prayed and prayed and things would have been worse, the nagging thought of whether or not she was a believer or if i had sent her to hell. Instead I just powered through it and talked it out with a shrink and life went out. I was the better for the experience and I learned that being a lifeguard sometimes means people die. God didn't care to save her, just like he doesn't care about the 30,000 that died of hunger today or the 30,000 more that will die tomorrow.

    Life is a crazy game and I'm just playing it. I like my worldview now much better. When I think back to what a self-righteous twat I was back then. I wouldn't have talked to the likes of me and all I would've done back then was prayed for me instead of getting to know me. If that line makes sense.

    Christianity just doesn't fit into what I see. It doesn't make sense to me logically nor does it feel right to me.
    As you see it, Christianity does not have the resources to answer 'why?', and its teachings may even contradict what can be learned from experience of the world.

    Do you think any worldview has the resources to answer why? When you say that Christianity does not make logical sense, what part(s) seem illogical?

    Quote Originally Posted by sassafrassquatch View Post
    OK Owl, could you explain to me without getting too esoteric, if it is within your God's power to create the universe why is he unwilling or unable to cure cancer or AIDS? That's what I mean by suffering, not having a bad day or being sad that grandma died. I mean the stupid evil shit that we have to deal with as humans.

    See, if I'm right and there is no God and we're just animals that got too smart then there's nothing wrong. Science will solve our problems eventually, it's already fixed most of the big ones. But if there is a God who knows and cares about us and it's within his power to have prevented war, famine and disease in the first place then fuck him and fuck you for covering for him.

    People blame atheism for the deaths caused by the Nazis and Communists but they never blame God for not stopping it.
    God is an eternal, infinite, and unchanging, sovereign creator; what he creates, and how he rules, is a product--a reflection, if you will--of who he is, much as what you do is a product of who you are. But, unlike you or me, God is infinite and, therefore, indivisible: every aspect of his being is necessarily, fully involved in what he does.

    God is both just and good, and so he will fully reveal both his justice and his goodness in his acts of creation and providence. A full revelation of justice requires that every degree of evil be revealed and condemned. But a full revelation of goodness requires that good overcome evil. Taken together, this means that every degree and admixture of good and evil will be worked out in the providential history until good achieves the final victory.

    This works itself out as an age-long and agonizing spiritual war occuring on earth between those who know and love God and do his will, and those who don't. There are cures for AIDS and cancer. There is a way to provide food, raiment, and clean water for all the people on earth. But we're too busy getting drunk and chasing tail to be distracted by the things God would have us pursue, or to concern ourselves with the suffering of others. And this is why we are made to suffer--we are so self-absorbed that we don't care to honor God or to love our neighbors; if we don't do these things now in the presence of suffering that gets us to stop and think about what is valuable in life, then why would we magically start to honor God and love others if this suffering were suddenly removed?

  9. #379
    Senior Member VanillaCat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Owl View Post
    This works itself out as an age-long and agonizing spiritual war occuring on earth between those who know and love God and do his will, and those who don't. There are cures for AIDS and cancer. There is a way to provide food, raiment, and clean water for all the people on earth. But we're too busy getting drunk and chasing tail to be distracted by the things God would have us pursue, or to concern ourselves with the suffering of others. And this is why we are made to suffer--we are so self-absorbed that we don't care to honor God or to love our neighbors; if we don't do these things now in the presence of suffering that gets us to stop and think about what is valuable in life, then why would we magically start to honor God and love others if this suffering were suddenly removed?
    What? I'm pretty sure there are people who are involved and truly care about other humans, who DON'T believe in god. We're made to suffer so we care about other people - who are suffering too? Why do we have to suffer in the first place then?! And if I'm suffering, how can I help them? Shouldn't I take care of myself before I'm even capable of taking care of them?

    I don't stop and think of God when I value things. In fact, I stopped believing in God because of "suffering." If I had never suffered, I probably would have always kept my faith. But suffering is what caused me to question it, coupled with unanswered prayers. Maybe in your mind what you say makes sense, but in MY mind, this has been my experience as I'm sure it has been radically different from yours.

    And this is where the everyone's opinion is pointless. Because in our minds, we process things differently. Always. And this is why I don't like talking about religion, because you can't change how someone processes their thoughts.
    It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.

  10. #380
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Owl View Post
    God could have left mankind alone. You're a theist, right? Would you rather God not act in history in order to make himself known?
    I'm a Quaker but my thoughts on God are very ambivalent. I am not convinced that God has acted in history to make himself known, or even exists. Probably not how we typically think of it, if it does. However, what you responded to was just a joke.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

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