genuine question from atheist - view on Christanity and personal responsibility

(1000 Posts)
kentishgirl Fri 21-Mar-14 11:26:32

Hi - promise this isn't just Christian-baiting.

I've come to the conclusion that Christianity is a substitute for having a personal conscience or taking personal responsibility. Being a Christian is like having a 'get out of jail free card' in that you are taught God will forgive you anything. So you can do anything, as bad as you like, go and pray for forgiveness and move on, slate wiped clean, feeling great about yourself. So it doesn't matter if you do wrong. As an atheist, if I do something wrong, it's always with me, it's always on my conscience, so that makes me always try to do the right thing.
I didn't always think this way. It's the only way I can make any sense of something that happened to me at the hands of a couple of serious, committed Christians. One of them even works full time for a church. They did something terrible to me but have shown no remorse, no guilt, and made no attempt to make things right with me. I'm positive they prayed for guidance at the time and then forgiveness afterwards, and now all's good in their world, while I'm still dealing with the fall-out.
Am I really wrong in interpreting Christianity in this way? Isn't it true that it enables horrible behaviour by teaching you that if you do wrong, all you've got to do is pray for forgiveness afterwards, and you are ok, never mind the effect of what you did? Basically if God is your only judge, and forgiveness is guaranteed, it gives you permission to act like a right bastard as long as you say sorry to God afterwards? there's no personal responsibility for what you have done.

niminypiminy Fri 21-Mar-14 11:59:06

OP I am sorry to hear that you have had a horrible experience at the hands of some Christians. Christians, just as much as anybody else, can do horrible, cruel things. I am also sorry to hear that they haven't attempted to make things right with you. I can understand that this is making you very angry with them and with Christianity. I don't blame you for seeing Christian beliefs about forgiveness as a 'get out of jail free' card in this situation, particularly if you aren't a Christian yourself, so there would be no reason for you to have a correct understanding of what Christians actually do believe.

Christians believe both that we will face judgement for all the things we have done -- that God will see everything we have done in our whole lives, and who we are, and that we will have to bear that. There is no escaping the responsibility we bear for our own actions: we've done them and we will bear the consequences. But Christians also believe that we will be forgiven if we repent. Repentance means taking responsibility for what we have done, not hiding it or running away from it or pretending it wasn't so bad really, and then, with God's help, trying to do differently in the future. That means owning up to our cruel and horrible acts, making reparations, trying to make things right and do right next time. What forgiveness means is that we are offered a chance to change and do better next time. It doesn't mean that the bad things we do suddenly vanish -- far from it.

I have no idea what these people did, or what they have said to themselves about what they did, or what kinds of justifications they have given themselves about it. But God does -- and he is the one who is the ultimate judge -- and in the end they will have to bear the consequences of their actions, whatever they were.

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 12:01:39

You'd have to question a Christian's belief in Christ, if they d something really wrong. In you fully believe in Christ's work, it should make you more Christlike, a better person.

Forgiveness is available but you have to repent, accept that you are fallible and admit where you have gone wrong (when you know it).

Of course, as your knowledge of Christ increases, you develop as a Christian. Some people start off at very low points, but bad behaviour will be brought to their attention. At this point they should confess it, admit it.

So yes there is personal responsibility. If you believe in Christ you should act like it, more and more, as your knowledge of Christ increases. So maturity, as a Christian, is a factor.

CatkinsMakeMeSneeze Fri 21-Mar-14 12:02:05

I’m sorry these people have hurt you.
To try to answer your question: this is how I would see it as a Christian –
God’s unconditional love and forgiveness is for everyone – that is for atheists as well as committed Christians. Presumably, if you are an atheist, you don’t worry about whether God would forgive you, but as a Christian I believe that he would, and that as a Christian I should forgive an atheist (or a Christian or anyone else) who hurts me in some way too (of course, atheists can do this too if they choose to - forgiveness and compassion are not exclusive to Christianity).
The thing about being a Christian is not that I get an exclusive get out of jail free card, but that I am also expected to be forgiving, and love others unconditionally – hence in the Gospels we are told that it is not sufficient just to love our neighbours, but we should also love our enemies etc (see here
for example). It is very challenging and difficult – this is why we pray to the Holy Spirit for help to do it – and most of us fail a lot of the time – but we shouldn’t be disheartened and give up, because God will forgive us too, so it is worth picking ourselves up and trying again. Unfortunately, it is a long hard road and most of us are a long way from perfect.

bluepen Fri 21-Mar-14 12:12:49

Unfortunately I do know a couple of christians who act as you describe.
In fact, in saem circumstances.

The posters above are correct in how they describe God's forgiveness.

I too am left wondering how God will deal with them.

I am tempted to pm you.

atthestrokeoftwelve Fri 21-Mar-14 12:45:33

I know christians who abdicate personal responsibilty. My sister is a Baptist Pastor and refuses to recycle- she says the pollution and destruction of the planet is god's will.

kentishgirl Fri 21-Mar-14 13:04:31

'That means owning up to our cruel and horrible acts, making reparations, trying to make things right and do right next time.'

I think that's just what decent people do, not just Christians, but I'd be glad to learn that is actually part of Christian teaching. My impression is that it isn't at all - isn't that contradicted by the teaching not to judge others, to forgive those who have harmed you, and just leave them to God? That doesn't say any action/regret on the transgressors part towards those they harm is necessary at all.

It's no satisfaction to me to think God will judge them, as I don't think that happens to anyone. Surely Christians should also care about the impact they have on people here on earth, not just what happens to them after they die?

bluepen Fri 21-Mar-14 13:04:53

Does she abdicate personal responsibility in other ways as well?

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 13:11:57

John Chapter 14 verses 12-14 says this:

"12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it]
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments"

This shows Christians should be Christlike, behave like Christ, if they believe Christ.

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 13:12:40

^ So definitely part of Christian teaching OP.

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 13:14:11

atthestroke You have written about how your sister has hurt you and your family before. I think it is very sad and I hope she will do some heart searching.

Beastofburden Fri 21-Mar-14 13:15:27

I am an atheist but I think there is a good answer to this in the legend of Faust.

If you recall, Faust thought he was onto an excellent thing by selling his soul to the devil in life, in return for endless debauchery, money, sex, etc. His strategy was to repent right at the last minute and be saved anyway, haha.

The original and best Faust by Christopher Marlow nailed it: "Ah, but Faustus never shall repent!" in other words, when it came to it, he tried to be sorry but he didnt mean it. His nature ("soul" to Marlowe) had been so coarsened by his behaviour, he wasn't genuinely sorry. So he burned. (Goethe, the big girl's blouse, changed the ending to some wet stuff about the eternal feminine redeeming us all).

Of course, it will no comfort to us if the smug Christians are damned after all, because they got this wrong. In fact, we will probably be forced to share our personal space with them.

There is little you can do with a narcissist and a self-deluder. Except to recognise they would be just the same if they weren't christians.

niminypiminy Fri 21-Mar-14 13:39:55

kentishgirl the reason you think that owning up to our cruel and horrible actions etc is just what decent people do is because our ethical code is basically Christian.

I don't see how the commandment to forgive others and not to judge others contradicts the commandment to repentance. Forgiving someone doesn't mean saying 'oh well, that's ok then, the terrible thing you did doesn't matter, let's be friends'. It means not eating ourselves up with grudges and bitterness and anger, and instead trusting that God will deal justly with a wrongdoer. It might mean walking away from a situation in which you are being hurt, and not staying in it. It might mean pursuing peace and not revenge. It might mean allowing the justice system to deal with a crime and not trying to influence it. Forgiveness is hard, really hard.

I can see that it's no satisfaction to you that we all have to face judgement after death -- even atheists -- and indeed I think this is one of the problems that atheists face. Where do they look for justice? But it is simply not true to say that Christians need not care about the impact our actions have on earth. Christ commanded us to 'love your neighbour as you love yourself', and if that's not commanding us to care about our impact on other people I don't know what is.

kentishgirl Fri 21-Mar-14 13:45:01

'Except to recognise they would be just the same if they weren't christians' - yeah I know. I actually know a lot of Christians through my work - some of them are lovely, some of them are awful, most are somewhere in between just like the rest of us.

I think this is making me bitter about Christianity as I know they are both 'mature' Christians, both in positions of real respect in the church, so they must somehow be making what they did square with the teachings of the church. In their minds, any way. They must know what they did was wrong. It just was - by anyone's standards. But they then deliberately made the situation worse. I know they feel they don't have to answer to me at all, they answer to God. And that IS the teaching of Christianity. If someone hurts you, let God deal with it. It's such a morally corrupt attitude, to me, but it is encouraged by the church's teachings (or, perhaps the church's teachings are easily manipulated into this, I don't know.) In either case, it means churches are great environments for bad people. Not just thinking of my own situation, it happens constantly in far worse ways, eg the Catholic treatment of paedophile priests. The church sanctioned forgiving them, encouraging them to become 'right with God' and just moving them on to abuse more children, instead of having it dealt with here and now on earth by the law. It's part of Christianity that allows the continuation of, for want of a better word, evilness, and the victims of that simply don't matter.

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 13:48:46

I also think that forgiveness is important in that it offers Hope that the people who have behaved horribly can change in this life. Without forgiveness there would be no Repentance, no rehabilitation.

They would be condemned to remain flawed for the rest of their lives. The Repentance (needed for forgiveness) means a changing of direction can take place.

What would we do with all these people who could never even hope to improve their behaviour?

If the expectation is that they will always be bad, they do not have a chance to show they can change their behaviour for the better.

Thistledew Fri 21-Mar-14 13:51:46

I think that it is pretty much undeniable that there is such a divergence in how Christian belief is define and what it comprises of that you cannot honestly say that "Christianity teaches you X,Y and Z".

To take an obvious example of homophobia, 'Christianity' will teach you everything from that gay people are abhorrent and should be eradicated, to gay people should be forgiven but 'mended' in their ways, to toleration but they can't themselves be Christian, to there being absolutely nothing wrong with someone being gay and receiving Christian sacrament and marrying.

On an even more basic level, Christians can't even agree on who or what Jesus is - some Christians will tell you that he was mortal but infused with the holy spirit, some say that he was born of God, some will tell you he is God himself.

What I am trying to say, is that people will believe what they want to believe, whether they follow a religion or not. If they are the sort of person who is able to treat others abhorrently, then they will do so regardless of whether they do or don't follow a religion.

Many Christians will tell you that people who behave abhorrently are not 'real' Christians, which I find quite ironic - they expect deference to their beliefs because they say they have a genuine relationship with God, but yet will happily say that other people do not deserve such deference because it cannot be the case that those others have that genuine relationship.

-That has come out a bit muddy, let me try again. A Christian will tell you "I believe X,Y and Z because I follow my faith, and am guided by God that this is what I should believe. My beliefs therefore should receive deference as they come from God". if you point out that someone else who calls themselves Christian and has a genuine belief that God tells them A,B and C, they will say "That person cannot have a genuine relationship with God because God would never say that. Their views do not deserve the same deference as my own".

To an outsider, of course, there is no difference in the 'genuineness' of the belief of the first and second person.

What I am trying to say, is that I don't think that Christianity or any of the other religions provides a 'get out' to believe any particular thing, but it does provide an opportunity for the huge cognitive dissonance available to any person calling themselves Christian to claim that their views are justified and to avoid taking individual responsibility.

*NB references to Christianity also apply to the other Abrahamic religions. I don't know enough to comment on the polytheistic ones.

kentishgirl Fri 21-Mar-14 13:52:17

niminypiminy I do appreciate your responses, and it's very helpful to hear your point of view (even if I may disagree).

'the reason you think that owning up to our cruel and horrible actions etc is just what decent people do is because our ethical code is basically Christian'. I disagree with that, it's the basis of most religions, and ethical belief structures (the golden code) and it far predates Christianity. PErsonally I'm more in tune with the Jewish concept of forgiveness - this does spell out the need for reparation/reconciliation with the wronged party, and there is no obligation on the wronged party to accept or forgive. This puts the responsibility on the person who did wrong. Christianity puts the responsibility on the person who was wronged. But that's a whole other debate..

'love your neighbour as you love yourself', and if that's not commanding us to care about our impact on other people I don't know what is. Yes, I suppose it does. Thank you.

Perhaps I'm better to conclude that these two particular 'Christians' are distorting the messages of the church to serve their own ends. Certainly when I begged one of them to stop the mind games that were making the situation worse for me, out of pity, out of compassion, and they responded 'what's pity and compassion got to do with anything' it should have been clear to me that they aren't real Christians, just phoney ones. They would insist they are though.

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 13:52:52

I think OP they are just very weak. It does not mean they can never do any good at all, unless they are thoroughly corrupt. It does not mean they are not sorry. Maybe they just possess to much fear to admit they were wrong to you?

Yes, their sorriness should override their fear. But people are often damaged. Putting this damage right is what Redemption is about.

kentishgirl Fri 21-Mar-14 13:55:23

Sorry, thanks to all - very interesting ideas and plenty for me to think about and maybe bring me a little more peace with it all. That's what I want. Carry on - glad to hear more smile.

(I was just getting worried niminypiminy might think I was picking on her/arguing for the sake of it, that's why I singled her out for thanks last post).

niminypiminy Fri 21-Mar-14 14:00:30

I don't think we are not supposed to seek justice for wrongs done to us -- indeed justice is one of the two great attributes if God's kingdom. I can understand your anger if there has not been justice about whatever this thing was.

But there's a difference between justice and vengeance. It's the bitterness, the holding grudges, the desire for revenge and to hurt the other person that Christianity teaches against. Justice is never, never served by trying to hurt the other person back for what they did to you (and that is why the judicial system requires that people involved in a crime cannot be involved in judging the perpetrator).

I agree that the cover-up of sexual abuse by priests is a terrible, sickening thing. But let us not forget that this is not all the church is. We could say exactly the same of the family -- it is an institution that provides a perfect environment for people to abuse the vulnerable, and to do cruel, terrible things. More people have been abused by their fathers and mothers than by priests. But does that mean we should say that the family is itself a morally corrupt institution, and that we should get rid of it?

niminypiminy Fri 21-Mar-14 14:04:27

Kentishgirl that's very nice of you. As capsium says these two sound like a right shower. And I hope you do find some peace with it all. That is the best way for you to be able to move forward, whether you are a Christian or an atheist.

behindthetimes Fri 21-Mar-14 14:06:14

I'm not Christian, am from a different faith which has the concept of forgiveness for sincere repentance, but does not believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) died for our sins.
However, I feel maybe I can shed some light on the repentance and forgiveness thing. I think without this, people could do something wrong, and then end up going down a very dark path, and doing more and more bad things, as they would not feel like they could change, or ever be seen as different. I used to work in the field of addiction (gambling and alchohol) and it was well known that religious conversion was one of the most effective means of people managing to change in the long term. I suppose it guards against despair, if you feel you can start again.
However, in regards to the people you have mentioned who hurt you, in the religion I follow, unless those people tried to make ammends with you, and made very sincere repentance to God, before they died, they would be punished in the afterlife. Also true repentance involved the clear intention never to commit that action again.

niminypiminy Fri 21-Mar-14 14:13:06

Thistledew, don't have time to address your post in detail, but just to clarify. This is what Christians believe about Jesus:

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one being with the Father ... By the power of the Holy Spirit he was made incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.

That's the Nicene Creed, the basic statement of doctrine that all Christian churches adhere to. There are huge debates about what it means in detail and practice, but essentially if you don't sign up to this then you are not a Christian (as, for example, Unitarians and Jehovah's Witnesses don't).

kentishgirl Fri 21-Mar-14 14:38:09

'the family is itself a morally corrupt institution, and that we should get rid of it' - no, but generally families don't hold themselves up as something that guides/instructs others on the right way to live. Churches do, and with that comes a responsibility that families don't hold.

I do desire justice; in simple terms an acknowledgement of what they did and a heartfelt apology. I'm not in the vengeance line. I could have caused them both a lot of trouble but chose not to. I held out the olive branch and wanted to bring things to a more amicable close, but they both refused to.

Thinking about it all - what they did is the same as two other people did to me in the past. One of those was Christian, one atheist. I've had no further contact with/from the Christian, but made things up with the atheist and we are remotely friends still (in a Facebook sort of way) and I wish them well, and they wish me well. It's interesting to me that the will to put things right and reconcile to some degree was there in the other atheist, and absent from all three Christians. I do think that comes from the atheist view that life here and now is the only thing that matters, which is obviously not a Christian's view.

BigDorrit Fri 21-Mar-14 14:49:04

I think one of the main problems with things like this is that the Bible says so many different, and frequently contradictory, things that people who want to call themselves Christian can pick and choose all those that reinforce their inherent bigotries and feel the smug satisfaction of being a good Christian, without having to change a single thing about themselves.

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 14:51:04

I think we all come from different starting points and have different strengths and weaknesses.

An atheist could of course behave more 'morally' than a Christian some areas, if the Christian has not worked that particular flaw out yet.

I believe Redemption occurs upon Salvation at a spiritual level, but it can take a while for the renewed spirit to change the way we behave. People come to Christ with a set of bad habits. It can take a while to even realize they are bad. We grow in Christ.

A person can even have been a Christian for years and years but still have bad habits. Some bad habits might be the last to go.

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 14:53:11

things that people who want to call themselves Christian can pick and choose all those that reinforce their inherent bigotries and feel the smug satisfaction of being a good Christian, without having to change a single thing about themselves.

That has not been my experience. Some things I have found personally very challenging. I have changed since being more committed to my Faith.

Flicktheswitch Fri 21-Mar-14 14:59:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BigDorrit Fri 21-Mar-14 15:02:25

It is a very common experience though. The late, unlamented Fred Phelps would back up all his atrocious behaviour and obvious bigotry with the Bible and claim he was going God's work.

I like Steven Weinberg's famous quote; “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 15:03:25

Flicktheswitch Why?

Do you not believe an atheist can behave more 'morally', in some areas, than a Christian?

Is it the fact I say this as a Christian?

Is it because 'morally' is in inverted commas? - I did this because people do not agree on what behaving morally is.

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 15:05:19

Good people doing evil things does not take religion, only ignorance.

BigDorrit Fri 21-Mar-14 15:07:02

I think you've missed Flick's point. I believe most atheists believe more morally than most Christians, but the quote suggested that maybe, just maybe, an atheist could, maybe once in a while, behave slightly more morally than a Christian, although only a bad Christian.

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 15:08:47

Don't get it.

Beastofburden Fri 21-Mar-14 15:09:00

cap I thought that was awfully patronising too.

An athiest might manage to be more moral than a christian, if the christian hasn't quite perfected themselves in that specific area yet?

Er, no. An athiest might easily manage to be more moral than a christian at all times and in all areas, whether or not that christian thinks they have attained perfection. Atheists are exactly as likely to be moral as christians are.

Believing in christ does not make you moral. All it proves is you that believe in christ. You might or might not be moral; so might I.

BigDorrit Fri 21-Mar-14 15:11:18

To be perfectly honest, atheists behave morally because they believe it is the right thing to do. Behaving morally because someone told you to and threatened you with eternal damnation if you didn't do so doesn't seem to be quite so moral to me.

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 15:12:46

Beast

Being a Christian is a lifetimes work though. We are not perfected until the afterlife.

What being a Christian does or does not do for a person is a matter of belief. I am speaking about my beliefs as a Christian.

Flicktheswitch Fri 21-Mar-14 15:13:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 15:15:33

BigDorrit You seem to have circumvented all ideas of God's Grace changing us from the inside out. Although this is a matter of Christian belief again.

But I do know what I believe. I don't need you to tell me.

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 15:16:37

I never said good selfless or kind behaviour was the sole preserve of Christians, quite the opposite in fact.

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 15:17:55

You lot seem to be assigning a tone to my posts which does not exist. Projection?

bluepen Fri 21-Mar-14 15:19:05

Have you thought about exposing them kentishgirl?

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Fri 21-Mar-14 15:22:20

No matter what the text says (and it is translated and can be interpreted in many ways, particularly since any prior to a certain point among many others were destroyed), it is and has been used the way you describe. People who dismiss that this happens or call those people not real Christians are only supporting these people and not bringing about any real change in any of the Christian movements. Historically and currently this is used as a way to covert people particularly in colonial and neoimperial situations.

My father is an abusive man in multiple ways who manipulates women to pay his debts, allowed his children to starve when we lived in his home, a drunk and a drug addict who threatened us that if we left the faith he would be morally obligated to kidnap "his grandchildren". His family's opinion is that we should forgive him and have a relationship with him because if God can forgive him then so can we (even though that threat still stands and is a knows carried out threat within multiple Christian groups across multiple countries). And these are not laypeople - my father's father is a high ranking minister, as is my father's brother, his BIL, and the entire family are important members of their religious community (it's sadly where he tends to find the women he targets). And that community has protected him from his actions with that line. He has had to take no personal responsibility because his family and their religion will protect him. And anyone who would say that he or they are not Christians ignores that it is Christianity that gives them and him the power to be safe from things that others would not be. The power comes from Christianity and it is only from within that problem can be corrected (as the rest of us will be ignored even when we are raised and studied it personally and academically for many years).

kentishgirl Fri 21-Mar-14 15:31:47

Have you thought about exposing them kentishgirl? Oh yes I thought about it, fantasised about it even, but no, vengeance isn't my thing. I'm not dropping down to their level.

bluepen Fri 21-Mar-14 15:34:41

If you are not felling vengeful, it wouldn't be vengence.

It is about justice. And you will be doing the church and the people concerned a favour.

BigDorrit Fri 21-Mar-14 16:05:09

Projection? Really? Is that the best you can come up with?

I'm obviously not the only person who read that sentence in the same way.

Avoidance? Or do you really feel that all Christians are automatically more moral than anyone else?

Flicktheswitch Fri 21-Mar-14 16:10:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 16:15:35

Flick I have stated several times that I do not think all Christians are automatically more moral than anyone else.

Even if you read some ambiguity into what I was saying (I honestly do not see it) I have clarified my view several times and tbh it is frustrating.

Flicktheswitch Fri 21-Mar-14 16:19:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 16:23:00

Flick I could not have clarified more clearly than in my last post!

How many times do I have to write it out? Is it like doing lines?

Flicktheswitch Fri 21-Mar-14 16:26:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 16:27:47

Pot...kettle....

Beastofburden Fri 21-Mar-14 16:49:00

Cap I think you have to recognise that your post did give that impression.

If you didn't mean it, and it was thoughtless drafting, the right thing to do is to apologise nicely and clarify your meaning. Not to fight to the death saying that you didn't do anything wrong and we are all projecting things into your post.

I hope you can see the irony here.....

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 16:53:45

Ok, I'm sorry my drafting gave that impression. I hope I can write things more clearly next time.

capsium Fri 21-Mar-14 16:56:04

Admittedly I can be a bit warrior like sometimes. I have had a lot of practice having to defend people I love.

I take the point from some Christians that repentance is not supposed to be a 'get out of jail' card, but it's also been said that Christianity varies. No one group has the copyright to enable them to say "no, only this is Christian".

Bearing that in mind and taking into account my own experiences and discussions with Christians I have to say that it is a real Christian belief. In my opinion a very damaging one. For the person believing it and those around them.

BigDorrit Fri 21-Mar-14 17:02:54

I think that's part of the problem Back. There are so many varieties, and most of them lay claim to being the way they are because of their "relationship" with God.

I know many good people who are Christian, but I think that these people, had all religion been eradicated, would still have been good anyway, simply because that's the way they are.

Thistledew Fri 21-Mar-14 17:13:35

That's one of the big problems that I have with religion BigDorrit, is that the 'good' people, by demanding deference to their religious beliefs, make it easier for those who hid behind religion whilst doing 'bad' thinks to demand deference for their beliefs and actions also.

It's like men telling sexist jokes - the 'good' men who behave respectfully towards women but yet still tell sexist jokes, make it easier for the men who tell such jokes and do so with misogynistic intent to get away with it. You might say that this is not a good analogy as sexist jokes are not comparable to the Bible, but the comparison is with humour and the bible. If there were no actual misogyny, it wouldn't matter if someone told a sexist joke because there would be no harm behind it.

BigDorrit yes I'm sure they would have been good anyway. Religion just gets the credit. A bad person threatened by hell and/or offered heaven might behave differently, but that's not the same as a good person anyway.

And yes Thistledew, that is something that bothers me too.

I've had debates on here with some very nice Christians. One of the things I have said (As gently as I could) is that they provide cover for the bad ones. Even if they are not evangelists, just by being themselves they make their religion attractive and they are effectively vouching for it to the people around them.

If we could actually know for sure we might find that some of those attracted fell victim to the bad ones or even joined their ranks.

bluepen Fri 21-Mar-14 18:42:20

I would say that there are some people who use christianity as some sort of cover.

niminypiminy Fri 21-Mar-14 19:29:03

Backonlybriefly I think you are trying to have your cake and eat it. On the one hand, you say that your conversations with Christians have proved to you that they think that repentance is a get out of jail free card. On the other hand, you accuse Christians who don't think that of providing cover for those who do. We have seen before that you say that Christians cherry pick the Bible and aren't prepared to deal with the difficult bits -- yet when I said that I would like to discuss those difficult bits with you, you refused to do so.

You want on the one hand to portray all Christians as illiberal fundamentalists, and on the other hand you're not prepared to engage wi Christians who challenge that. That makes me feel quite cross, because it's a dishonest attitude masquerading as principle.

BigDorrit Fri 21-Mar-14 20:31:36

Niminy, I think it's you that is being dishonest here. It's not difficult to read what Back says - "I have to say that it is a real Christian belief", my bold, is not saying that she thinks it is every Christian belief.

If you want to argue inconsistencies in the Bible, start another thread, and I'm sure you'll have lots of takers (myself included). Start with Genesis: did God create man before animals (2:18-19), or after them (1:24-27)?

bluepen Fri 21-Mar-14 20:49:09

i did think that that was a little bit harsh niminy.

I can sort of see what Back means.

If she comes at it from an angle of, as she may see it, a lot of stuff is dont by so called religious people around the world, that is not good, then the genuine christians are supporting a corrupt church iyswim.

Yes, niminy, I've always acknowledged, and even insisted that there are many kinds of Christianity and of Christians. You may recall that I have said before that it would be actually be easier to talk about if each had a different name. I bet that rings a bell.

When someone describes something that Christians have done a poster with different beliefs will often say 'that is not my belief'.

Yes, we know that, but it is theirs and theirs is as much Christianity as anyone else's.

You may have heard Christians speak of how many Christians there are in the world. This is often used to lend credibility to the rightness of Christianity. Yet we see that there are nearly as many different forms as there are Christians.

niminy, your own post there is a bit muddled. You said "You want on the one hand to portray all Christians as illiberal fundamentalists" yet you admit in the same breath that I have said Christians are not all like that and also that I have spoken of cherry picking to support a different version. Which is it? I don't think you can reasonably complain that I lump you all together and also complain that I suggest you are different.

As for the cherry picking that is implicit in the varieties of Christians. If you all took it literally and followed every word then you'd have the same beliefs.

As for me refusing to discuss those difficult bits with you I can't recall the context. Were you perhaps trying to change the subject?

I have in fact tried to discuss those 'difficult' bits many times and usually I'm told (possibly by you too, but I won't swear to it) that 'those bits don't count'. I'm usually told for example that any part of the bible that shows god as kind are accurate whereas any that show him to be a sadistic brute are metaphor or mistranslation. Debate in that case quickly turns to farce.

niminypiminy Fri 21-Mar-14 21:18:54

link here, your post at 10.22. I wonder that you don't remember it.

What you are saying in your post of 18.30 is that 'nice Christians' act as a front for the Fred Phelps-style fundamentalists, and that the witness 'nice Christians' bear to our faith is a kind of grooming for the real Christian activities of the bad guys.

My kind of Christianity is just as real as Fred Phelps's, and I absolutely reject the slur that I provide a cover, or that I vouch for, or groom people for that version of Christianity. I do not.

niminypiminy Fri 21-Mar-14 21:57:06

So,*BigDorrit*, the Torah/Pentateuch was compiled during the Babylonian exile from materials brought from Jerusalem by the exiled Jews, some of which originated in the southern kingdom of Judah, and some in the Northern kingdom of Israel (the division occurred after the death of Solomon in 931BC). So Genesis was compiled in the sixth century, which makes it one of the latest parts of the Hebrew Bible to be written. The scribes who compiled the Pentateuch combined writings that referred to God as JHWH (from Judah) and those that referred to God as Elohim (from Israel), with other materials that had their origin in priestly writings from the Temple. These three main sources are known as J (Jahwistic) E (Elohistic) and P (Priestly).

Genesis 1-2 combine the J and E sources -- 1.1-2.3 is generally agreed to be of later origin and is Elohistic, 2.4 onwards is earlier and is Jahwistic. These two accounts of creation are clearly very different and in some respects contradictory. We need to consider what the scribes who compiled the book of Genesis thought they were doing when they put these two together. They were exiles who had been forced to leave their country and march hundreds of Miles to a foreign land; they had seen the temple, the centre of Israel/Judah's sense of its history and nationhood, the place where they believed God dwelt on earth, destroyed. They saw themselves as the remnants of a shattered nation. What they were doing was piecing together the fragments of their culture that they had been able to bring with them, to assemble out of it an account of who they were, and of how they had ended up where they were.

The Pentateuch as a whole is the founding story of Israel, and it moves from the creation of the the world through primordial man to the family stories that tell of the birth of the nation of Israel. The creation stories, then, are not supposed to be understood as quasi-scientific accounts of how the earth was made, but stories that tell us about the nature of the God that made everything. It doesn't matter that the stories are inconsistent because they are telling us different, complementary things about the nature of God. The questions underlying these chapters are not 'what happened and in what order' but 'why did God do these things, and what does it mean for humans' relationship with him'.

my post at 10.22 six weeks ago, but nice try implying that I was pretending not to remember something I said this morning.

grin

and I see that I was right about why we didn't get into it too.

Because you said. "I'm happy to have a talk about some of the hard bits in the Bible, because I'm committed to grappling with the Bible as a whole. And I'm committed to using the best scholarly tools available for doing so.

and I said "You mean we say "look it's all about brutal murder and abuse. It tells you that psychotic behaviour is normal and expected" and you say 'well according to this learned paper all those bits are metaphorical but it goes back to being literal for verse 12 and 13 and then 14 onwards is metaphorical'

Which is what you do, niminy. Hence your comment about "using the best scholarly tools available" instead of just reading what it actually says.

Now as for your whole point about me accusing 'nice' Christians of grooming I could take that two ways. Either you are so poor at reading you actually thought I said 'intentionally' or you are so dishonest that you thought you could get away with saying it and no one would notice.

I don't think you are stupid, Niminy, so it has to be the latter.

You realise that every time you do that Jesus cries in disappointment.

bluepen Fri 21-Mar-14 22:14:31

There is back history here so I am staying out of it.

niminypiminy Fri 21-Mar-14 22:28:53

So you will only talk about the Bible on your terms, is that it? Only in the most ignorant, literal-minded way? You aren't willing to take into account any of the scholarly study that has been done on it, but only to read it as literally as possible? That's a shame, because it means that you are appearing dogmatic and closed-minded. What would you lose by having a discussion with me about the Bible?

I beg your pardon if you did not mean that liberal Christians provide cover for fundamentalists -- even if they vigorously and openly disagree with them. But that is what you said -- even if, rather patronisingly, you put it 'gently'. I accept that you did not say that that amounts to grooming, although I still don't think it is a million miles away from what you did say, which was that people who are attracted by liberal Christianity might well fall into the clutches of the 'bad guys' as if liberal Christianity is the gateway drug for the Class A stuff.

Thistledew Sat 22-Mar-14 00:46:04

Why not? I don't know anyone who doesn't talk about the bible other than on their own terms. When was the last time you discussed a significantly different interpretation other than to defend your own view? Yet you accuse non believers who question and analyse what you say is the 'truth' as being narrow minded, usually just for pointing out that the explanation they have been given is contradictory or tortuous.

What I am always fascinated to ask is:
Given that there are so many divergent ways of interpreting the Bible, What aspects of your belief do you think you could be wrong about?
Are there any parts of the bible with which you disagree? Where you think it should properly be interpreted in a certain way but you don't actually agree that it displays a moral viewpoint?

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 00:53:49

Ah! There it is! Avoidance! And very aggressive.

I don't give a shit how many different bits of ignorant middle eastern irrelevant and bigoted rubbish is combined in the Bible to form the inerrant word of God. Quite frankly none of it makes sense, but if you really want to aggressively attack people by aggressively trying to scare them off from questioning your unfounded belief, that's really an option, even if it doesn't show your belief in a particularly good light.

I'm sorry Niminy, either man was created before animals, or animals were created before man, if we are to go by the belief that Yahweh created us out of nothing. Therefore one is right and one is wrong. If this is not correct, and it is all down to "interpretation" as we have heard rather frequently, then that makes all of it open to question, and none of it concrete as you would have us believe.

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 01:06:30

And re-reading your post is even scarier. It shows that you know that the Bible is a whole load of unrelated gibberish, but you will still use it to berate other people, and, scarier, as the basis for your entire belief system.

That really is scary...

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 22-Mar-14 05:03:59

Since nobody asked, this is my take on the subject (not the boring and pedantic terribly fascinating argument about who said what and what it all means, the actual OPs actual question...) as a follower of a Heathenish non-Abrahimic religion:

kentishgirl it is not your job to absolve anybody of responsibility for their actions. And it is not your job to make sense of what they did.
We are not responsible either for the guilt or for the innocence of others.

Your first job is to make sure that they are not continuing to hurt you in any way - including trying to make you feel guilty for being hurt in the first place. It's surprising how often this step gets skipped. If that takes going no-contact with them and/or those who defend them, or even reporting them to interested parties, then that's what it takes. Justice, as mentioned by somebody else, is not the same as vengeance - vengeance is when you make somebody suffer for the sake of seeing them suffer. I can't always bring myself to argue against vengeance to be honest. Although I do try. Justice is forcing them, through the law or other means, to face the consequences of their actions.

I do believe that some form of forgiveness is important, not for the other person involved but for our own health - anger causes heart attacks and other bad things. This might look like finally, after years, realizing that they did their best and it was still worse than completely fucking useless.
It is not something that you ever have to share with the other person, if you don't feel the need to. That's not your job. They might not have earned the right to know.
Furthermore, it absolutely does not mean that what they did was not wrong. If it wasn't wrong, you'd have nothing to forgive.
You do not have to be sorry for being angry for however long you're angry. If they hurt you, then you have the right to be angry.

I would say that they're the ones who will have to explain themselves to whatever god or gods they eventually come face-to-face with, and it's my understanding that most deities don't take excuses terribly well, but as an atheist you're unlikely to take any comfort in that. Maybe you'd like to see a wee bit of karma come their way instead - people who habitually hurt others seem to be their own worst enemy in the end.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 07:06:44

"it's my understanding that most deities don't take excuses terribly well, but as an atheist you're unlikely to take any comfort in that."

They might not take excuses very well but they are quite happy to sit back and watch individuals spend decades visiting unspeakable acts of violence on the defenceless. That makes them a bit sick in my book. As an atheist our only hope is us. We cant trust a god to protect or punish. We need to find ways, be it education etc, of preventing crime and supporting victims.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 08:00:07

head ever thought about relabelling yourself as anti-theist?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 08:07:27

Because the a, to me, just means without, which would suggest more of an ambivalent attitude. That is, not recognising the power of belief in deity.

Following on from this idea, as I see it actions would be the only things that mattered and those would be considered on their own merit or lack of merit.

Which leads neatly onto preventing crime...how can you with any surety predict the causes of crime?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 08:13:32

Unless you are a humanist? Revere humanity? Can humankind replace deity?

ProlificPenguin Sat 22-Mar-14 08:14:12

Get some new friends rather than trying to work out how other people think?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 08:14:39

I think you could predict my stance on the above question - no. But how do others think?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 08:17:00

Prolific asking how others think is a perfectly valid thing to do on a forum devoted to philosophy, religion and spirituality, I would have thought.

atthestrokeoftwelve Sat 22-Mar-14 08:23:28

capsium- for what it's worth I am an athiest, but I wouldn't go so far as to call myself an antithiest. I do have an instense disregard and dislike for Abrahamic religions in particular, but other religions hold their deities in a different regard.
I lived in SE Asia for a while, and have seen Animism work as a "religion", it seems to serve well, similarly the archetypal gods of of ancient Greece, Norse etc are useful models to help daily living.

What I don't like about christianity is the patriarchial power system and resulting misogyny, the idea of sin, the duality of good and evil, and the use of religion as a shield for many to exercise corrupt power.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 08:29:50

Which leads neatly onto preventing crime...how can you with any surety predict the causes of crime?

not with any great surety yet, although things are getting better in some cases, we are developing new methods of prevention and detection. I think our biggest hope is education. We have to keep thinking and trying. Look how much the issue of domestic violence is being addressed in the UK in recent years. It wasn't that long ago that DV was seen as just 'one of those things' that people shouldn't get involved in.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 08:43:17

I don't suppose it matters too much what label people would give me. I find discussing beliefs fascinating, especially so as an ex Christian.

bluepen Sat 22-Mar-14 08:50:12

With a little bit of faith left hih. Are you trying to lose it or grow it?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 08:53:49

atthestroke Norse? Crickey, don't get me wrong I have a certain respect for the Vikings, so I should, it is very likely that my ancestors were Viking. IMO they achieved a great lot and (eventually) integrated well. But some of the practices regarding their beliefs, absolutely terrifying! They were fearsome warriors certainly.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 08:57:20

I know there is a certain irony me saying that, regarding the Norse,but you can't slate the OT for being brutal and not recognise brutality in Norse beliefs and practices, can you?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 09:03:12

"...new methods of detection and prevention...," sends a cold silver down my spine I am afraid.

My DC was nearly 'written off' at 3yrs, not for any crime, I hasten to add.

Thankfully, after years, we have turned things around but I would hate to think what would have happened if I had actually believed what some people said about him.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 09:08:10

^shiver not silver. Typo.

bluepen Sat 22-Mar-14 09:08:40

atthestroke. Your story is different. Quite a bit like other people's. Who have been put off christianity by the behaviour of people who are professing to be christians.

There are indeed christians who cherry pick the bible, and dont change much.
There are indeed christians who use it for cover.
And there are a very few there who are not really christians at all.

There are also people who are not real christians and use the name of christianity to justify their bad behaviour.

But by far the majority of christians are trying to do their best.

There are bad apples in any large group of anything.
Take sport and their cheaters for example.
Most people do not therefore write off everyone who does sport! That would be ludicrous.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 09:11:47

atthestroke what do you think of Mary Magdalene?

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 09:29:20

The thing is, it doesn't matter how many instances we have of humans not being very good at something, it's not evidence for god. I'm not an atheist because I think humans are wonderful at xyz, it's because there's no evidence for the god you tell me exists and as such we are our only hope. In the words of Carl Sagan:

^Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

t has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.^

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 09:34:00

The big question is, 'How?', though, head. Every person has different ideas on this.

bluepen Sat 22-Mar-14 09:35:41

On what basis did you believe then, in the first place?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 09:43:01

Even if a person merely views the Bible in terms of myth and legend, it has to say something concerning the collective psyche of human kind. Especially since a lot of people still believe / take their Truth from it.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 10:09:08

Why did I used to believe? In my case I was a child but appreciate many people become Christians as adults so appreciate that the reasons people are able to believe in-spite of reality are vast.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 10:11:21

How we stop crime? We carry on with what we're doing, developing our understanding, gathering data etc. What choice do we have?

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 10:14:43

But numbers of people believing in something says absolutely nothing for its veracity otherwise you have to assert that there is quite a bit of truth to Scientology and astrology for starters.

bluepen Sat 22-Mar-14 10:15:26

Out of interest, did you realise what you were doing as a child becoming a christian?

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 10:18:08

Why not just pray the crime away?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 10:22:57

head the question of 'How?', goes deeper than that. Initially I was referring to kindness.

Do you not relate to any aspect of the Bible? Christ's birth, Mary unmarried and pregnant? Travelling on a donkey for a census? No where to stay? To me these are issues that play out, in different ways time and time again. Uncaring governments, hardship and social exclusion.

So in terms of speaking human condition, the Bible can also teach us things, regardless of belief in God. It is centuries old, but also has a timeless quality about it.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 10:26:23

For what it is worth I also think we can learn much about the human condition from other writings, old a new. That does not mean I agree with all they communicate, but they still tell us something about human psyche. There is some commonality between ancient writings too.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 10:29:09

Yes I can relate to certain situations in the bible, especially the Psalms with their raw and powerful symbolism but I can also identify with certain situations in Shakespeare. I'm not sure I understand the larger point you're making?

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 10:29:34

Is this the census of the whole world that the Romans forgot to record?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 10:32:38

But numbers of people believing in something says absolutely nothing for its veracity otherwise you have to assert that there is quite a bit of truth to Scientology and astrology for starters.

The veracity (anthropologically) concerns what this tells us concerning collective psyche. What part if human make up, leads us to have beliefs and the affects of these beliefs on human make up.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 10:34:51

Sorry not sure of the point you're making capsium? I get that humans have a habit towards looking for patterns.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 10:37:29

The point I am making could be considered a literary one, formalist theories regard narrative as 'living'. Ever dynamic and affecting readers even physiologically (heart rate increases for example when reading something exciting). Psychologists would go further and talk about value affecting our subconscious.

I just go one step further, relating to the 'living' idea and think of narrative in terms of spirit.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 10:38:05

^values. Typo.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 10:44:34

There is a 'Game if Thrones' quote, which frustratingly I cannot find now, which talks about being able to live a thousand lives through books.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 10:46:00

If our experiences make us who we are....

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 22-Mar-14 10:49:23

headinhands They might not take excuses very well but they are quite happy to sit back and watch individuals spend decades visiting unspeakable acts of violence on the defenceless. That makes them a bit sick in my book. As an atheist our only hope is us. We cant trust a god to protect or punish. We need to find ways, be it education etc, of preventing crime and supporting victims.

As a polytheist, that's essentially my take on things. Except for the 'bit sick' bit - no more or less twisted than humans not stopping a lion from killing another lion's cubs, or two bears from fighting over territory.
The gods might sometimes be susceptible to flattery willing to reward loyalty or otherwise intervene for their own reasons/amusement, but in general it's up to us to make the world a better place. Once we die, it's a bit late.
(Though, as mentioned, sometimes the idea of divine punishment can make us feel 'better' about the things we can't fix.)

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 10:54:24

^ That should be 'Game of Thrones'. Typo.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 10:56:02

Some books claim to 'haunt'....and in a way they can.

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 11:00:23

The bible reflects the thinking and political calculations of tribe leaders at the time that the passages were written. Hence they show many of the human qualities we now recognise.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 11:08:12

Cobra so at the very least the Bible teaches us about humanity. Which has got to be worth something. It also teaches us about Divinity, or depending on your beliefs human belief concerning the Divine. Which since this also forms part if the human condition, has something to tell us about our psychology.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 11:09:25

So the Bible is as relevant to atheists as theists.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 11:10:23

^Potentially of course....

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 22-Mar-14 11:10:59

capsium Unless you are a humanist? Revere humanity? Can humankind replace deity

This is the basic premise behind LaVeyan Satanism. That humans have never worshiped anything other than themselves. It's atheism/humanism taken to an extreme.

Norse? Crickey, don't get me wrong I have a certain respect for the Vikings, so I should, it is very likely that my ancestors were Viking. IMO they achieved a great lot and (eventually) integrated well. But some of the practices regarding their beliefs, absolutely terrifying! They were fearsome warriors certainly.

All religion reflects the reality of our existence, whatever that is, and hopefully helps us to make the best of it. All religions, also, require sacrifice of some kind - whether of pride, or of materials, or of life.

Christianity is a religion of human sacrifice. It doesn't get much harsher than that. Most Christians choose not to focus on that part of the religion, except around Easter, but there's no getting away from the fact that it's there.
I know of modern practitioners of the Norse religion who sacrifice animals (our world is a gentler place than that of our ancestors) and as an eater of meat it would be hypocritical of me to judge them for that. I'd just as soon toss a bit of money in a wishing well - a well documented pre-Christian Northern European religious custom.

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 11:12:33

Have I missed something? Has anyone suggested that the bible is not worth reading? Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm also teach about humanity. And I wouldn't suggest they were ignored either.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 11:16:03

Ninja in Christianity, God in the form of Christ, sacrificed Himself to Redeem humanity. And then it was done. Christ does not need to be crucified again.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 11:18:18

Cobra the point being that if you do not believe in God, but rather the capacity for good in humans, slating the Bible is counterproductive. Since you would believe God was a human construct, but what does that tell you about the collective psyche?

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 22-Mar-14 11:42:27

capsium Yes, your God provided his own sacrifice. Which was nice of him. (Although I suspect that Judas, Mary, and a handful of other people might have struggled with it. Possibly even Jesus, no matter how willing the sacrifice was...) Whether you consider Jesus the human son of God or God in human form, it's my understanding that the humanity is the main point. And, yes, in theory only one sacrifice was required; but an argument could certainly be made that martyrdom is/was a form of religious sacrifice. None of which changes the central fact of the sacrifice made.
Please understand that I'm not judging this. In fact, in an odd way, it's something that helps me to make sense of Christianity as a religion not always Christians, but that's my issue.

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 11:44:14

The bible tells us that human anger, jealousy, benevolence and anxiety are as old as writing. However, I am as likely to believe assertions it makes about an invisible deity that only talks to certain ancient desert tribe characters, and has some very human-like qualities, as I am of Goldilocks breaking and entering the bears' house to pilfer their porridge.

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 11:50:33

Any comment on the human sacrifice of Jephthah's daughter in Judges 11 30-39?

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 11:53:18

There are a few good morality tales in the Bible, but there are also rather a lot of stories of God telling people to go and murder children and rape virgins, so I think we can probably find a more recent set of morality tales that's better written, less evil, and more relevant to modern society.

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 22-Mar-14 12:00:45

Cobra As that's the Old Testament, and not directly related to the practice of Christianity, I don't personally feel it applies to my point. But I can't say how it might affect the understanding of the religion to somebody else, or how a Christian might view it.
When you compare the Old and New Testaments, it's obvious that God mellowed a lot after he became a father. wink

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 12:00:45

Cobra and Big, from a humanist perspective, the Bible accounts are just a valid as any other accounts. Or are you saying they were somehow less human? Really you cannot judge them from a morally superior stance, since they tell you something about human kind, which we all are and have to acknowledge.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 12:05:18

The New Testament is Good News from the Christian perspective. Redemption is available through what Christ has done. He made the sacrifice which covers eternity.

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 12:07:13

"the Bible accounts are just a valid as any other accounts"

I would strongly disagree with this. They were written of their time, hence the bits telling you where you can get your slaves from and exactly how hard you're allowed to beat them. I think we can all agree that our attitude to that and to offering your daughter up to be raped are rather better these days(in the main, I know there are some dodgy people around still).

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 12:10:23

And didn't the Jesus character explicitly state that the Old Testament still applied, and was not replaced by the New?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 12:15:11

Big no now we don't condone beatings or rape and slavery here.

Instead we have sanitised it into:

WorkFare and people saying people on Benefits should be paid in vouchers

Forming permanent records of wrong doings from infancy of misdemeanours so they follow a person about.

Yes rape is not condoned but girls are sexualised in terms of clothes available from an early age and someone dressing 'inappropriately' is still seen as provocative.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 12:15:51

Jesus fulfilled the Law of the OT.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 12:17:06

And in other countries you still have ska very, rape and beatings.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 12:17:40

^slavery. Typo.

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 12:23:02

Yes, you still have them in other countries, so supplying them with a book that condones them is hardly the best way to educate them otherwise, I would have thought...

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 12:41:20

Christian people were amongst the people who fought for abolishing the Slave trade in here and America.

Almost every society has slavery in it's history. Pagan societies still took slaves.

IMO this says something about the dark side of humanity, not religious belief.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 12:41:55

^over here. Typo.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 12:43:02

Maybe you would just ban all books containing historical accounts?

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 22-Mar-14 12:45:00

Christian people were amongst the people who fought for abolishing the Slave trade in here and America.
Those who fought most fiercely to keep it, as well as those who didn't care one way or the other, were also Christians. Which makes it a bit useless as an argument.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 12:47:30

It makes it even Ninja, Christians as a group, are no more likely to condone slavery than people of others beliefs.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 12:59:51

*Big no now we don't condone beatings or rape and slavery here.

Instead we have sanitised it*

Missing the point there. It was god who was condoning and ordering the rape and murder of thousands of people.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 13:05:04

IMO this says something about the dark side of humanity, not religious belief.

wouldn't you expect the method that the creator of the universe set up to communicate with his creation to be distinguishable from the other ancient and bloodthirsty false religions? And wouldn't you expect there to be some shred of evidence for it? Just one tiny scrap of data that you couldn't explain and that set it apart?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 13:06:34

head you have said you don't believe in God. So who was condoning it, then? People, human kind, of which we are part of.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 13:08:14

There is a difference in Christianity, God in the form of Christ, was the willing sacrifice, that died for our Redemption.

DrOwh Sat 22-Mar-14 13:09:24

Hi
I just read your OP but my experience is the opposite.
The times my faith is stronger, I struggle with my faults and errors.
If I wasn't Christian I would probably have no conscience.

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 22-Mar-14 13:10:41

The problem is that Christians don't read the Bible as a historical text, they read it as moral guidance.

Slavery exists. In modern Britain and the US. Those who perpetrate it often call themselves Christians and point to the Bible as their justification.
Some Christians point to the Bible as justification for homophobia. For abuse and discrimination against women. Or against non-Christians. Justification for war. Even for murder in extreme cases. It's all in there.

That doesn't make Christianity bad. It probably means that those people don't understand the Christ's basic message, in fact. But to deny that it can and does happen quite often strikes me as being dangerously naive.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 13:10:49

In other blood thirsty religions we sacrifice to appease the god(s).

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 13:15:37

Christians read the Bible in all sorts of ways.

I agree Ninja, I also believe those who use the Bible as justification to commit crimes have misinterpreted Christ's message.

I have never denied it (Christians clamping the Bible as justification for crimes) happened, just do not believe the Bible is the causal link. IMO the flaws which caused a person to behave criminally were already there.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 13:16:21

^claiming. Typo.

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 22-Mar-14 13:16:24

Pedantically curious, headinhands - how can you have a 'false religion'? Is that a religion that is obviously made up wholesale and which nobody believes in? Even Jediism has actual followers. And Scientology.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 13:17:53

head you have said you don't believe in God. So who was condoning it, then? People, human kind, of which we are part of.

I'm interested in what you think Caps. How do you interpret it? If you feel that it was metaphor, god didn't really say that, then why not say that about the happy fluffy bits too? That Jesus was a metaphor for being a nice person and so on.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 13:19:55

Pedantically curious, headinhands - how can you have a 'false religion'?

I meant false as in false to the person who believes that their religion is the one true religion.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 13:26:43

There is a difference in Christianity, God in the form of Christ, was the willing sacrifice, that died for our Redemption

It was still bloodshed to appease. And looked like all the other 'killy' religions in essence. It doesn't make it better because you think he killed himself or however you explain it.

kerala Sat 22-Mar-14 13:27:26

Op same position here. Totally screwed over by 2 devout Christians. One even said she would pray for us - when she had created the situation by her illegal and immoral actions!

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 13:28:39

head I believe things get intolerably nasty without the possibility of full Redemption. People are flawed, some seriously.

Dealing with the resulting chaos can be heartbreaking and brutal. If you read history and ideas of government, Machiavelli for example, ways preventing crime and maintaining order has always involved brutality.

I think God was as heartbroken as a modern reader at these events. Through the OT He prepared us for the coming of Christ the Saviour. In Faith I believe the timing was right, I am not sure human king could have received His message before.

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 22-Mar-14 13:29:02

In other blood thirsty religions we sacrifice to appease the god(s).
Or, we sacrifice in order to be given something in return. It would be selfish to ask to be rewarded without having done anything, no? The more something is worth to us, the more we should be willing to give in exchange. Some people would say up to, and including, our lives. (A sacrifice - of any sort - that is not willingly given is no sacrifice at all, incidentally...)

It's all a matter of perspective, I suppose, but aren't those who give their lives (more or less willingly) in the defence of their country said to have sacrificed themselves for the benefit of us all? I suspect that goes beyond being a figure of speech for a lot of people.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 13:31:14

In other blood thirsty religions we sacrifice to appease the god(s)

As they had to under very close scrutiny in the OT. Why didn't god shout 'No, no. no, you're getting me all wrong, it's me that wants to be killed for you, stop sacrificing animals to me because you're making me look like the man made religions'

And even then why the sacrifice? Why is it even necessary?

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 13:33:48

head I believe things get intolerably nasty without the possibility of full Redemption. People are flawed, some seriously

Can you explain, I don't think I understand what you mean?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 13:35:27

Ninja but in Christianity God blesses our Faith in what Christ has done with His Grace. Our sacrifice is that Faith, believing on Christ, which if we sincerely do, lets God work through us and we become more Christlike. So our resulting good works are by free choice, not for payment.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 13:37:59

head people with criminal minds, psychopaths, NPD to name a few flaws existing amongst human kind. There is fall out.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 13:39:13

Dealing with the resulting chaos can be heartbreaking and brutal. If you read history and ideas of government, Machiavelli for example, ways preventing crime and maintaining order has always involved brutality

but we are becoming much less barbaric. I think we have already covered the work of Steven Pinker and the fossil record showing we are much less likely to die at the hands of another human than at any other time in human history. I have every reason to think things will get better slowly for us as a species as we learn to reason and problem solve peacefully.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 13:41:11

criminal minds, psychopaths, NPD to name a few flaws existing amongst human kind. There is fall out

sorry, what does the existence of such people tell you?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 13:42:26

Why sacrifice?

Difficult question. There does seem to be something deep within human psyche that involves this act. In Pagan societies sacrifice is often central along with other blood rituals. Even in medicine we can treat others with blood products, so the donating and receiving of blood carries on.

But I cannot answer the question.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 13:43:05

Our sacrifice is that Faith

Can you explain more what you mean by this? Can you give examples of how your faith has been a sacrifice?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 13:44:00

I don't know Steven Pinker's work head so can not comment.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 13:46:10

head how is Faith a sacrifice? It is and it isn't. I cannot say I am justified worrying and feeling sorry for myself for example. However removing worry and self pity is liberating.

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 22-Mar-14 13:46:31

capsium Do you feel a sense of satisfaction in your good works? Peace of mind that comes from your faith? Friendship and kindness in return? Because those seem like rewards to me.
What happens if you don't do it? If you call yourself a Christian while resisting God's will as you interpret it? Are you rewarded anyway?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 13:49:33

Yes I feel Blessed and thankful to God. However I do not feel rewarded because I credit the works to God as it His Grace which enables me to do them.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 13:50:43

Resisting God's Will makes me feel uncomfortable and restless.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 13:51:19

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_sacrifice

You can't deny that the ancients had a penchant for sacrifice, they had a penchant for quite a few barbaric things. I don't see how it being something we see in ancient history as giving any credibility to the existence of an' interested in humans' god though.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 13:54:06

^ But I still feel blessed. I am glad I am sensitive enough to detect what is not a good idea.

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 22-Mar-14 13:57:50

capsium Not all Pagan sacrifices are or were blood sacrifices. In pre-Christian Northern Europe, specifically, sacrifice of material goods was widespread. That's what a lot of those 'Viking Hoards' that are found are. That's why Bronze and Iron Age weapons and jewelery are often found in rivers, bogs and lakes - because water was seen as a portal between worlds. Which is why we still throw pennies in wishing wells.
Fasting, or the offering of food, is also a sacrifice that well pre-dates Christianity. One which some Christian churches still employ regularly (think Lent.)

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 13:59:54

Caps can you think of times that you have resisted god's will? What was it you didn't do that you should have done?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 14:01:24

Ninja yes I know.

head too personal to share.

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 22-Mar-14 14:05:20

Apparently we have a different definition of the word reward, capsium, because I would definitely classify feeling blessed as a reward for faith.
The big question, though, do you believe that a person calling themselves Christian will go to Heaven if they do not do the things you believe your faith calls you to do? Because I think that would be the big reward most Christians are hoping for.

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 22-Mar-14 14:08:18

You just seemed stuck on that one element, possibly for effect, and I wanted to point out to the kids following along at home that it was an oversimplification. wink

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 14:13:47

Belief on Christ is what is required of Christians to go to heaven Ninja. However this beliefs involves change, becoming a different person through God's Grace, not our own good works. The good works are like a bi-product of being changed by believing in Christ.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 14:17:30

Rewarded? Hmm thinking about it maybe. Ambiguous word. I mean not rewarded in the sense that payment is a reward. Rewarded as in feeling blessed as the result of something good you wanted to do, yes.

capsium how would you know you had done it just right so were going to heaven? You might have nearly got it right and still be working on it when the piano falls on your head (or whatever)

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 14:25:41

Back I have to have Faith.

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 22-Mar-14 14:32:52

I think people spend too much time thinking they disagree because they each have different words for the same thing.

So, let's see if I have this right, you believe that it requires accepting that the Christs sacrifice was made to redeem you, and allowing yourself to be redeemed (changed) in order to be rewarded with Heaven? Would it be completely unrealistic to see this as a sacrifice of your former self? Because I've known Christians who have framed it in those terms - and others who were not altogether willing to make the sacrifice, believing (erroneously, as I understand it) that they would be forgiven for it at the last minute.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 14:42:46

Ninja I think people spend too much time thinking they disagree because they each have different words for the same thing.

Couldn't agree more.

And yes, I think you have understood me in terms of Redemption.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 14:57:07

Caps i'm just trying to work out how your life would look different to say ninja's or mine. I reckon all 3 of us care for our families and friends, help others, pay bills and all the other things that Average Person does. I'm always a bit eyerolly that someone will say they go about doing gods will when we can see non-Christians going about doing the exact same stuff. It looks like gods will is 'making decisions' to me.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 15:07:41

DrOwh *If I wasn't a Christian I probably wouldn't have a conscience*

What makes you think that? Do you think other people can manage it? What moral compass did you use to decide the gospel was good if you didn't have a conscience beforehand?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 15:08:01

head developing my Faith and knowledge of Christian belief has been life changingly significant to me. It has given me Hope, whereas before I was a worrier and great strength to get through some difficult times in my life. With greater Faith i gained clarity. Although i appreciate looking from the outside I may seem confusing, but you should have seen me before! I am more relaxed generally and never bored. Before I really pursued my Faith I was beginning to feel a bit jaded. And I like people more, even through seeing more of their faults.

You might not notice all the changes, although if you you knew me very well, you would begin to notice them, I am sure.

bluepen Sat 22-Mar-14 15:09:36

kerala. I would same the same thing to you that I said to the the op.
Please report them.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 15:13:32

People have noticed I get visibly uncomfortable when they start bitching about others and have commented. They laughed and rephrased what they said.

I used to be able to bitch for England and prided myself on being acerbic.

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 15:15:26

"If I wasn't Christian I would probably have no conscience."

This is a very scary sentence. Do you really think that without whichever sky fairy you choose to believe in you would have no morality? I think that would put you down as a psychopath, whether you're religious or not...

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 15:15:43

I no longer love shopping as much as I did...

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 15:17:12

Cap a lot of the good benefits you put down to your religion are the sorts of things that come with age anyway, a deeper appreciation of people, more patience with others as well as ourselves, more satisfaction with the simple things in life and so on.

From wiki: The experiments talk of how life satisfaction grows as people become older because they become wiser and more knowledgeable, so they begin to see that life will be better as they grow older and understand the important things in life more.[9]

bluepen Sat 22-Mar-14 15:18:52

"For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, "The insults of those who insult you, have fallen on me".
Romans 15.

Personally, I am not bothered whether, as a christian I am insulted on here or not. Perhaps I should be, I dont know.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 15:19:18

I don't resent spending money or argue about it very much.

As I say lots of things have changed since I pursued my Christian beliefs more. Again no qualities an atheist or someone of different beliefs could not possess but aspects I experienced change in.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 15:21:51

head that life experience for me included developing my Christian Faith. I can not turn the clock back and say I would have been the same without it and I still find it enriching. No regrets here.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 15:22:29

I'm guessing you don't enjoy clubbing or getting horribly pissed anymore either? grin

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 15:26:00

No not really. Still like the odd bit of champagne and good food though. Clubbing became uncomfortable when I was engaged to be married and I was having to fend off some unwanted attention.

madhairday Sat 22-Mar-14 15:28:59

I do hih

<or at least would if I wasn't on these flaming antibiotics the whole time>

<Helpful>

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 15:29:00

I can be dreadfully embarrassing if I get drunk...cringe. blush

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 15:30:12

Hi mhd <waves> !

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 15:33:14

"the Bible accounts are just a valid as any other accounts"

...of genocidal deities.

madhairday Sat 22-Mar-14 15:35:57

Seriously though. So much here, and I have joined the thread a bit late...but to go back to the question from the OP, if that's OK?

I feel sad you've experienced this crap at the hands of these Christians. You know, I used to say all the 'they can't be real Christians' kind of stuff but I have actually been educated here that that is kind of a copout thing to say, and that actually Christians do vary in their actions. What I think I meant by that was that people who are not showing Christ like qualities in their actions, and in fact the opposite, are not displaying 'being Christians' in the truest sense of the word. However it may well be true that they have professed belief in Christ, but are simply not taking it further in terms of redemption/sanctification, or are in fact using the whole 'God forgives' thing as a copout, as you describe.

There is a passage from Romans that specifically warns against this. I'm not one to quote the bible on these threads but it's worth saying that actually, Christianity does not advocate this kind of getting away with it type of thinking. Paul says 'should I keep sinning then, so grace can increase? By no means! We have died to sin' - meaning that as part of our life in Christ we need to be daily making decisions that reflect our repentance.

I do think God will have something to say to people who act in such a way, and I also think that justice is hugely important in the life we have now. 'I believe in life before death' - truly.

Anyway, digressing from what this thread has become. As you were smile

madhairday Sat 22-Mar-14 15:37:56

<waves back at capsium >

<and everyone else - sometimes these threads feel like coming home smile >

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 15:38:04

Cobra you missed the 1st bit out. Rather importantly, I thought, I was saying this would be true from a humanist perspective the Bible is representative of humans, since they don't believe in deity. Deity is seen, by them, as a human construct. So the Bible, for humanists, should be seen as important in terms of what it tells you about the human psyche.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 15:40:39

mhd couldn't agree more. smile

My home is a tip and this is one big messy thread I think in terms of digression...grin

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 15:40:41

Capsicum: "Jesus fulfilled the Law of the OT."

Matthew 5:17. The law was not being replaced, but fulfilled.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 15:43:17

Yep.

? What have I missed?

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 15:49:04

I don't think the Bible is a good text for human nature. Maybe as a historical document showing how human nature was thousands of years ago, and how it has changed since. Also as a fantastic demonstration of how to manipulate human nature.

I find the theory that the Christ character was a creation of a Roman politician quite believable.

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 15:49:17

NinjaLeprechaun: "As that's the Old Testament, and not directly related to the practice of Christianity"

The Old Testament is part of Christian teachings. It is the same God.

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 15:52:00

NinjaLeprechaun: "it's obvious that God mellowed a lot after he became a father"

Coincidentally, he mellowed as human reasoning developed.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 15:54:56

BigDorrit do you like the 'Song of Ice and Fire' series? (Game of Thrones). Very popular, bloody brutal though. What does that say about human nature? This is modern, albeit fiction.

OT same God different covenant. Redemption through Christ changed everything.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 15:58:58

And I think human reasoning has been around for an age. Plato? Pythagoras anyone?

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 16:00:46

I was not aware that the Game of Thrones was supposed to be an ethical guide.

I was certainly not aware that vast numbers of people were taking their morality from it...

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 16:03:18

Plato and Pythagoras were not big in the stone age Middle Eastern desert.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 16:09:28

I've a very interesting book entitled,

"Game of Thrones and Philosophy...Logic cuts deeper than swords" edited by Henry Jacoby.

I would recommend it, very interesting. But yes, I am a fan. 'You know nothing, Jon Snow....'

I think a lot of books have something to say about morality. I don't agree with it all though.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 16:10:46

What about the ancient Egyptians? Some great building technology there. And I seem to remember something about a form of battery, although I could be wrong...

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 16:16:51

Yes, and they had their own religions, nothing to do with Jesus and Mo.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 16:18:39

BigDorrit That last comment was in reference to the sophistication of ancient people and how long technology and reasoning has existed.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 16:21:25

Nah my friend tells me the pyramids were built by aliens. She saw it on a program called Ancient Aliens dontcha know.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 16:23:57

head interesting...<cue X-Files music>......

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE...

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 16:25:15

I get that Cap, but it makes it even more bizarre that Yahweh should choose to reveal himself only to ignorant goat herders and not to the sophisticated Chinese, for example.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 16:26:47

...Well it just shows that reasoning is not everything. Something which I'm very thankful for myself. grin

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 16:27:47

I wouldn't underestimate a goat herder either...

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 16:30:51

OOh oooh <hand up> and think who witnessed Jesus' birth? Shepherds...

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 16:35:07

capsium: "Yep. ? What have I missed?"

OK, you agree with BigDorrit's point about Jesus explicitly stating that the Old Testament still applied and wasn't replaced by the New.

My mistake, I read your response as disagreeing. Apologies for that.

bluepen Sat 22-Mar-14 16:37:30

BigDorrit.

Part of the reason is because some of the first shall be last, and some of the last shall be first.

atthestrokeoftwelve Sat 22-Mar-14 16:39:59

I am glad that this thread has been able to run whilst contain some very opposing and diverse views. There has been some mud slinging either way, but no-one has stormed off, the thread hasn't been moderated, and there has been no personal attacks or abuse. So that in itself is an an achievement. Glad to all who contibutes- even my antagonists!!

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 16:42:39

Casual No worries.

The Law is fulfilled in Jesus, not destroyed by Him. Because God, by Grace, through our Faith in Jesus Christ, changes Christian's nature,we are no longer under the Law but under Grace. But we actually want to do the right thing anyway because our nature is changed.

I like it to your child admitting, truthfully, they were wrong about something and deciding to trust what you tell them. They then want to observe closely what you say and emulate you. Although they might still get it wrong sometimes, you don't mind because the intention is there, and they will improve.

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 16:44:10

capsium: And I think human reasoning has been around for an age. Plato? Pythagoras anyone?

Who would have been part of the development of reason. The behaviour of deities would be viewed differently after a succession of such thinkers. And it's very possible that the new prophets would alter the tone of "God" accordingly.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 16:46:09

atthestroke Ah, don't worry I am used to banter. I haven't thrown the i-pad at the wall yet...grin

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 16:48:50

IMO reasoning has always been around. It is wired into our brain physiology. Although I would not say hard-wired. The brain is plastic. Who knows what it could become....

atthestrokeoftwelve Sat 22-Mar-14 16:50:48

"The Law is fulfilled in Jesus, not destroyed by Him. Because God, by Grace, through our Faith in Jesus Christ, changes Christian's nature,we are no longer under the Law but under Grace. But we actually want to do the right thing anyway because our nature is changed."

I don't understand that post. "under the Law"- whose law?

"But we actually want to do the right thing anyway because our nature is changed."
Meaningless fruit salad to me.

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 16:53:33

BigDorrit: "bizarre that Yahweh should choose to reveal himself only to ignorant goat herders and not to the sophisticated Chinese"

And decided to reveal great revelations about loving each other and following God, but not mention anything about sanitation or microbiology or anything that could have actually been of some use.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 16:56:13

Atthestroke

whose law?
OT Law.

Meaningless fruit salad to me. That make sense. From the experiences you have described, with your family, it does not sound like you have encountered much of God's Grace, to me. Your sister sounds very 'legalistic', in her condemnation of you, as I understand it.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 16:57:05

^I may have got it all wrong, atthestroke

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 16:58:51

capsium: "Cobra you missed the 1st bit out. Rather importantly, I thought, I was saying this would be true from a humanist perspective the Bible is representative of humans, since they don't believe in deity. Deity is seen, by them, as a human construct. So the Bible, for humanists, should be seen as important in terms of what it tells you about the human psyche."

It tells me a lot about the capacity of modern man to be able to find some justification for the appalling behaviour of a deity.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 16:59:46

We hadn't developed microscopes yet Cobra. There were some cleansing rituals that made sense in terms of hygiene.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 17:00:37

alter the tone of god accordingly

Like the way god's stance on divorce/homosexuality and so on has evolved in line with human reasoning? Thankfully I've never encountered a Christian on Mumsnet that was anything but fully supportive of gay rights/marriage. A wonderful and reassuring example of the creator of the universe moving with the times. grin

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 17:01:50

Cobra I thought you didn't believe in deity? But you believe in the behaviour, of what you would term as a mythical, entity?

Correct me if I am wrong but I thought you were an atheist?

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 17:03:03

Those cleaning and food preservation practices are found in other religions and predate the bible. We spoke about this months ago Caps.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 17:05:42

AS God acts through people, it seems perfectly possible to me, the tone may seem different. I picked my bedroom radio out because I particularly liked the tone. The broadcast is still the same as on the (less nice) kitchen radio though...

IMO these changes reflect the individuality of humans.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 17:07:00

head I remember it. The Bible, in the OT starts with the dawn of time, I said or words to that effect.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 17:09:12

Oh and going with the radio analogy some radios break up and you can't make a thing out of the broadcast and then there is too much interference....

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 17:09:26

Capsium: "The Law is fulfilled in Jesus, not destroyed by Him. Because God, by Grace, through our Faith in Jesus Christ, changes Christian's nature,we are no longer under the Law but under Grace."

The Old Testament was either destroyed and replaced by Jesus or not. It sounds like this is some sort of manipulation to have some cake and eat it.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 17:16:21

Casual Re cake and eating it...Thats why they call it the Good News. smile

atthestrokeoftwelve Sat 22-Mar-14 17:19:10

What is "grace"?

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 17:20:53

capsium: "Cobra I thought you didn't believe in deity? But you believe in the behaviour, of what you would term as a mythical, entity?"

Correct me if I'm wrong, but we were talking about the bible's claims?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 17:21:34

atthestroke God's power working through you when you exercise your Faith in Christ. This power makes behaving Christlike more effortless.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 17:23:46

Cobra You referred to a quote I made referencing a humanist perspective. I find it curious you could criticize God when you don't believe He exists. Without this belief you are criticizing humans.

atthestrokeoftwelve Sat 22-Mar-14 17:25:13

Cap- is it a sign up? "Behaving like christ"? Do you "behave like christ"?

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 17:25:46

capsium: "We hadn't developed microscopes yet"

And that would have prevented them from understanding the concept? They could understand the concept of a deity they couldn't see, but not microbes?

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 17:28:07

capsium: "There were some cleansing rituals that made sense in terms of hygiene"

Like treating the mentally ill by casting out demons?

CasualCobra Sat 22-Mar-14 17:31:43

capsium: "AS God acts through people, it seems perfectly possible to me, the tone may seem different. I picked my bedroom radio out because I particularly liked the tone. The broadcast is still the same as on the (less nice) kitchen radio though..."

The words coming out are the same. You don't get the bedroom radio telling you to love everyone, whilst the kitchen radio commands you to commit genocide.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 17:49:38

atthestroke You don't have to sign anything. Just have Faith in Christ. As for behaving like Christ, I want to but you would have to ask those around me as to how successfully I do this.

Cobra, A while back Ninja said,
"I think people spend too much time thinking they disagree because they each have different words for the same thing."

I think the Bible tell us lots about lots of things. The language and terminology is different though. I have read some accounts in New Scientist concerning how viruses act and can affect perception and brain physiology. These viruses described act very similarly to the way some spirits are described as acting in the Bible. If you view a spirit as an agent, which can affect us physically and mentally, it can act in the same way as a virus.

Regarding the radio: my later point pointed out how there can be interference in reception, something preventing the broadcast coming through, instead you hear someone's CB radio for example.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 17:56:54

Like treating the mentally ill by casting out demons?

For some mental illnesses talking therapies are used. In the Bible words spoken are of vital importance. Casting out demons is done by words. Similar to the way talking therapies are used now. If you look at how Jesus cast out demons, he spoke. It wasn't some grand thing either ,like in films....

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 17:58:39

Certainly, if you think how important the right words are for reassuring people when they are suffering from stress or anxiety, I can see how the right words make a huge difference.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 18:00:16

Of course what Jesus did is much more amazing than that. But I think what I posted above shows just a little of what is possible.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 18:11:42

And that would have prevented them from understanding the concept?

If you are familiar with any 'Scaffolding' concepts in 'The Theory of Mind' you will understand how some knowledge is foundational. IMO the OT leads us up to Christ, who is our 'foundation stone.'

Now I don't go completely with 'Scaffolding' I think learning is less linear and more of a web like pattern, with individuals interacting with their individual experiences. Grace circumvents the need for linear learning as God knows us as individuals. But being under Grace, not the Law, came with the New Testament and Redemption through Christ.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 18:16:27

^ and we interact with God's Holy Spirit. Jesus describes His words as spirit.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 18:55:22

It is interesting that images of brain physiology has shown neural pathways to appear like tree structures. Some appear to have round fruits, some thorns. The thorn like structures have been found, by some, to correlate with stress disorders and the fruit like structure with good mental health and happiness. This is very interesting when considering Bible imagery.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=neural+pathways+images&client=opera&hs=NgS&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=dNstU9uYAeKt7Qbvx4DgDg&ved=0CDEQsAQ&biw=1920&bih=972#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=8PGBppipVcy9MM%253A%3BnaLgTvBIZ4brIM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.theemotionmachine.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252FneuronGrowthDeath.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.theemotionmachine.com%252Fmindfulness-and-neuroplasticity%3B747%3B476

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 18:56:21

I've not had a look at much of the research but found the images fascinating.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 19:10:54

Just musings really but I like to think about these sort of things.

I have studied a bit of narrative theory, learning theory and psychology and this is the sort of thing that comes to my mind when you grow used to reading symbolism and narrative features and make connections in relation to psychology - which naturally leads onto physiology.

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 20:21:06

"The Bible, in the OT starts with the dawn of time"

Yes, (well, supposedly 6 and a half thousand years ago rather than the billions of years we know know it to be), but it wasn't around at the time, so nobody was learning anything from it then.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 20:28:37

It refers back to the dawn of time....retrospectively.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 20:30:28

Like we refer back to history. Oral traditions existed before things were written down.

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 20:37:08

Yes, but you were claiming that it had influence at that time. There may have been some stories going around, but I suspect they had minimal relation to what we know today.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 20:53:18

I do claim this. I belief Truth has been preserved.

Oral tradition is great for delivering Truth to most effectively reach the current audience. That is the language and narrative evolves to reach the current audience most effectively. It's why Jesus told parables using farming and fishing imagery.

This is also why I am happy with new translations, I believe you can be drawn to a translation which can reach you best as an individual, which most effectively communicates Truth to you. We each use slightly different language, dialect and so on.

I am most comfortable with the King James translation, but then I was more comfortable with the older literature I studied at university. The modern stuff I found very difficult to write about.

bluepen Sat 22-Mar-14 20:54:51

All scripture is inspired by God.

Presumably the bible (even in oral form) was much smaller back then. I mean 2 weeks after Adam & Eve ate the avocado it would have consisted of a story about "How I made a universe in 1 week" plus a couple of diary entries saying something like "That woman got me in a lot of trouble" and "that man is blaming me for everything as usual".

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 20:59:51

To be honest when I hear old manuscripts read from old and Middle English they seem surprisingly current and relevant to me.

People's motivations, relationships and aspirations in very old texts I find touchingly moving, in their similarity to our everyday lives today.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 21:01:27

back grin see what I mean. The enmity lives on...

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 21:25:59

Well, I think that Yahweh must have had the Saatchis of his day on his side, and people are actually worshipping the wrong one. After all, the first person to lie to man was Yahweh (telling Adam he'd die if he ate the fruit), and Lucifer (which, after all, means "light bringer") told them the truth, and wanted them to find knowledge (Yahweh wanting to keep them ignorant - plus ca change).

grin

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 21:34:26

hmm I wouldn't fancying trying following Lucifer...

God did tell the Truth, human kind do die. However Redemption through Christ means our spirits can now live on eternally in the afterlife, if we choose to believe on Him.

And the tree of knowledge was our Fall because knowledge without God (good) corrupts. Ethics that is...

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 21:38:19

I'm pretty sure he told him he'd die "that day", rather than it being something a bit more esoteric.

And, let's be honest, I think the Devil character is responsible for just 10 deaths in the Bible, whereas Yahweh is responsible for literally millions...

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 21:41:24

Don't think so 'surely die' from my remembrance.

Not counted up but Satan is synonymous with evil, death and corruption.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 21:42:33

Or I should say connected rather than synominous.

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 21:48:17

Again, that's probably only because of bad press...

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 21:52:34

Faith is by choice BigDorrit.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 22:00:36
bluepen Sat 22-Mar-14 22:06:49

God is allowed to kill. He owns everything and everyone. There is no escape. Resistance is futile. Utterly pointless and ultimately worse.
Hell exists. About 1/3 of the population are going there.
<given up sugar coating this>

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 22:12:46

I see what you are saying blue but if people do not believe, the threat might not mean much.

This is why I think it is worth pointing out that considering Bible's meaning in terms of it's human perspective is a valid endeavour, as it leads to some very pertinent questions.

The main one being, 'Why?', and 'What does this tell us about humanity?'

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 22:13:33

Evidence Bluepen? If I said I reckon you've got the wrong god and the right one is well pissed off with you, you'd want a good reason to believe what I say wouldn't you?

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 22:13:47

You're welcome to your opinion, but stating it as fact doesn't make it such.

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 22:14:24

That was at Blue, obviously, I must be a slow typist...

bluepen Sat 22-Mar-14 22:15:58

But if they do not believe, they still need to have the knowledge. It is cruel not to give people the knowledge. It is up to individuals what they choose to do with the information.

I should imagine, and I could be wrong, that as in all walks of life, some things work for some people, and some things work for other people.

But all people, once they are capable adults, should have access to the truth.

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 22:16:09

Caps do you not think other ancient texts also tell us about human nature?

bluepen Sat 22-Mar-14 22:18:22

I was not particularly talking to any one person on this thread, who probably all ready has adequate knowledge to make choices.

But more and more people generally are not so well informed.

headinhands. Evidence! I am smiling. smile

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 22:19:52

What information Blue? Just words on a screen, nothing to discern it from any other man made religion. You could easily be an adherent to any other belief system. Why should I believe your claim and not the 15 other supernatural claims I have read today?

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 22:20:17

True blue grin (80s teenager in me,sorry)

head oh yes, I love ancient texts. Terribly exciting. Voices across the mists of time...

But I really really love the Bible and funnily enough since reading it I have appreciated other ancient texts more...

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 22:20:36

Blue, you call it knowledge, we call it fiction. Trying to force it on us doesn't endear your particular brand of sky fairy to us.

BoffinMum Sat 22-Mar-14 22:21:16

Haven't read whole thread, but I think it's possible to have a conscience and believe in God. That's because if you are intelligent you realise without good behaviour in society, life will be nasty, brutish and short, which is not something you want to condone or contribute to. This state of mind would exist whether you were a believer or not. The idea of forgiveness is just a bonus and has nothing much to do with day to day living in that sense.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 22:21:26

.. than I used to, that is!

headinhands Sat 22-Mar-14 22:22:38

I'd love there to be someone to sort it all out, there isn't. It's down to us blue.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 22:23:15

BigDorrit didn't know you followed Homer Simpson. Aahuuuurrrrghhhh....donuts.....

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 22:24:47

Well, I've read Homer, but you can appreciate the works of more than one Homer...

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 22:27:19

grin me too and I had a bloody awful translation, not easy going. Had to do an assignment on the Iliad's message!??!

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 22:28:00

Much preferred Beowulf.

bluepen Sat 22-Mar-14 22:29:18

I did used to wonder about the wrong God.
But for instance, look at the difference in countries that have lots of God worshippers, and those that dont.
[no I am not going to pull apart that statement and dissect it]
A cursory glance and think about countries around the world is adequate for the average reader of this thread which includes lurkers.

There are also other things.
Feelings [no I am not going into that]
How doing the things in Proverbs happen as it says [not going into that]
The more you do the things in the bible, the more it comes true. And the more the bible opens up.

I am now feeling quite christianly spiritual.

bluepen Sat 22-Mar-14 22:30:25

I am glad that you would love there to be someone to sort it out, headinhands.

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 22:30:55

"look at the difference in countries that have lots of God worshippers, and those that dont."

Yes, those that don't tend to be wealthier, happier, with better social care etc...

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 22:31:13

smile to feeling spiritual.

bluepen Sat 22-Mar-14 22:34:30

I haven't asked you BigDorrit, if it is ok if I pray for you?

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 22:35:09

I had a dreadful translation as well. I keep thinking I must find a better one one of these days.

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 22:36:53

Blue, you can waste your time however you wish. If speaking to your imaginary friend about me floats your boat, knock yourself out...

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 22:37:51

The imagination can be a very powerful thing...

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 22:43:11

Indeed it can.

It doesn't make it any less imaginary though.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 22:47:14

Try imagining stuff and it happening, like with praying in Faith (in Christ). Whatever is God's will, you can have Faith that you will get it, if you ask. Just need to find out God's will, which is in the Bible.

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 22:51:54

I'm sure there must have been many many of the faithful who have prayed for all those children starving to death in Africa. It still goes on...

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 22:56:04

Surely they can't all have been praying for a lottery win or a new car.

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 22:56:07

Faith is a big thing to exercise wholeheartedly. Unbelief works against Faith, sadly.

I am just thankful for what has been achieved.

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 23:07:06

Ah, blame the atheists...

capsium Sat 22-Mar-14 23:10:38

Unbelief can come from all sorts of places BigDorrit. Low aspirations, low self esteem, lack of Hope within common culture, people saying negative things, some Churches communities.

BigDorrit Sat 22-Mar-14 23:26:12

Seems convenient to have something to blame though.

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 22-Mar-14 23:40:46

Cobra ^"As that's the Old Testament, and not directly related to the practice of Christianity"

The Old Testament is part of Christian teachings. It is the same God.^

Sorry I didn't respond earlier, I had to wander off for a few hours...
It's my understanding that most Christians think of the OT as being part of Christianity the way a foundation is part of a building; not the bit you walk around and live in.
The more pertinent point, though, is that the particular sacrifice you refer to (or most of the others in the OT) is not part of the core belief of Christianity. Unlike the 'sacrifice' of Jesus, which is as central as it gets.
I could probably have been more clear about that.

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 22-Mar-14 23:43:17

capsium - in my experience, people with low self esteem will believe almost anything, and are often easy marks for those peddling religion.

CasualCobra Sun 23-Mar-14 06:45:38

capsium:Cobra You referred to a quote I made referencing a humanist perspective. I find it curious you could criticize God when you don't believe He exists. Without this belief you are criticizing humans.

Absolutely bang on the money. The character constructed by the ancients shows all the human qualities, which also means that he behaved appallingly at times. It doesn't stop some from claiming his benevolence and trying to spin the evidence.

atthestrokeoftwelve Sun 23-Mar-14 06:57:40

So athiesm is a problem? If everyone on this planet had faith in a christian god them we wouldn't have starving children?

CasualCobra Sun 23-Mar-14 07:05:53

Capsium: "If you view a spirit as an agent, which can affect us physically and mentally, it can act in the same way as a virus."

Or it could just be a virus.

CasualCobra Sun 23-Mar-14 07:10:05

Capsium: "Regarding the radio: my later point pointed out how there can be interference in reception, something preventing the broadcast coming through, instead you hear someone's CB radio for example."

And this interference would be giving a completely different message, saying that you should love people instead of killing them?

headinhands Sun 23-Mar-14 07:17:24

i am just thankful for what has been achieved

And I'm guessing what you have achieved other people achieved without divine intervention. If god answers prayer then wouldn't we have even just one undisputed miracle somewhere?

CasualCobra Sun 23-Mar-14 07:30:11

Capsium: "For some mental illnesses talking therapies are used. In the Bible words spoken are of vital importance. Casting out demons is done by words. Similar to the way talking therapies are used now. If you look at how Jesus cast out demons, he spoke. It wasn't some grand thing either ,like in films...."

The talking therapy used by Jesus was a very short one; he simply said, "Begone". It should be in every psychiatry book. And wasn't casting them into a herd of pigs who then stampeded off a cliff quite a feat of showmanship?

CasualCobra Sun 23-Mar-14 07:34:40

Capsium: "If you are familiar with any 'Scaffolding' concepts in 'The Theory of Mind' you will understand how some knowledge is foundational. IMO the OT leads us up to Christ, who is our 'foundation stone.'"

How does this explain how the ancients would understand an invisible deity, but not an invisible microbe? My kids got the concept of germs when they were 4.

atthestrokeoftwelve Sun 23-Mar-14 07:36:33

"casting out demons" can result in horrific mental and physical abuse.
For individuals already suffering a mental illness being subjected to an exorcism or even being led to believe that they have demons within them is abusive.

Disgusting to contemplate.

headinhands Sun 23-Mar-14 07:39:38

bluepen you urged lurkers to think about countries with lots of god worshippers as some kind of proof for god The most religious countries also enjoy the shortest life span, highest infant mortality rate, lowest education attainment*, least access to adequate health care and so on to name just a few.

You did the same thing on Friday when you appeared to believe that Christians never commit suicide. Your apparent ignorance on such issues is without excuse.

To save yourself from further embarrassment you should start reading around a given issue before posting your erroneous and ridiculous assumptions on the internet.

CasualCobra Sun 23-Mar-14 07:41:16

Capsium: "this is the sort of thing that comes to my mind when you grow used to reading symbolism and narrative features"

AKA cognitive bias

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 07:55:58

Cobra

Re interference: I was rather thinking the opposite way on. The interference preaches the stuff to do with death, murder, violence.

Re viruses: like the song, "... tomato, tomato, tomato, tomato, let's call the whole thing off..."

Re miracles: if you do not recognise the spiritual component all you see is the physical result / manifestation and declare it spontaneous, coincidence, unexplained.

Re talking therapies: Jesus did not need many words to heal. No vain repetitions there. He spoke with absolute authority. The evil spirits entering the pigs meant death for them, they couldn't tolerate it, as evil is connected with death, corruption, despair.

Re scaffolding: the ancients possessed knowledge (Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge) but not full appreciation of God. It was more difficult to be close to God before The Redemption Christ made available to us. They did not have the Comforter (Holy Spirit) live in the through Faith in Christ. In the OT The Holy Spirit is described as being kept in the Ark of the Covenant and put in the Temple. The priests were the ones to interact with the Holy Spirit, generally, and then they communicated God's messages back to the people.

CasualCobra Sun 23-Mar-14 07:57:02

bluepen: "God is allowed to kill. He owns everything and everyone. There is no escape. Resistance is futile. Utterly pointless and ultimately worse.
Hell exists. About 1/3 of the population are going there.
<given up sugar coating this>"

Now I believe that you have the one true God. The benevolence just shines.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 08:00:45

atthestroke yes I know, sadly. Citing the Bible as an excuse for abuse is very wrong and horrible.

Jesus cast out demons with just a few words, no abuse. I liken it to speaking words of encouragement, reassurance and correction in terms of correcting dysfunctional ideas.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 08:02:50

Cobra everyone has cognitive biases. Some have them in ignorance. Mine are not in ignorance so they are more correctly termed Faith.

CasualCobra Sun 23-Mar-14 08:09:07

Bluepen: "But for instance, look at the difference in countries that have lots of God worshippers, and those that dont."

Like Afghanistan and Sweden, you mean?

headinhands Sun 23-Mar-14 08:14:15

*God is allowed to kill. He owns everything and everyone. There is no escape. Resistance is futile. Utterly pointless and ultimately worse.
Hell exists. About 1/3 of the population are going there.*

That's beautiful Bluepen. Maybe Hillsong would be interested in using those as lyrics for their next big worship song? You'd get a cut of the royalties of course. grin

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 08:16:46

atthestroke added to this I know only too well the brutality if treatment of people with mental illnesses over the years, within the health service as well.
I know someone who underwent ECT and years of lithium treatment. Thankfully now he is well.

You don't have to look very far into history to find lobotomies, experimentation, forced sterilisation and forced late abortions though. sad sad sad

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 08:17:12

^of treatment. Typo.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 08:20:16

Cobra have not shirked the responsibility for that recent tragedy. They are looking into dysfunctions within their whole society for answers.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 08:21:09

^omitted Sweden at the beginning of that sentence. Typo.

CasualCobra Sun 23-Mar-14 08:42:42

Capsium: "Re interference: I was rather thinking the opposite way on. The interference preaches the stuff to do with death, murder, violence."

Whichever way round it is, and however the RF is delivered, you have two messages being delivered. One says, "God is allowed to kill. He owns everybody and everyone. there is no escape. Resistance is futile."; the other says "God is benevolent, full of love and wants you to be happy and healthy. By the way, love your enemies."

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 08:44:53

Cobra yep. 2 messages. One choice. Choose life!

bluepen Sun 23-Mar-14 08:45:48

You did the same thing on Friday when you appeared to believe that Christians never commit suicide

I apologise if it came across that I was disbelieving you.
I did think that at the time I made everything clear, both before and afterwards.

Would you like to talk about what has happened in your life as regards this?
Has something happened to someone you care about?
If it has, that is very tough.

CasualCobra Sun 23-Mar-14 08:46:24

Capsium: Re viruses: like the song, "... tomato, tomato, tomato, tomato, let's call the whole thing off..."

Except that the treatment for someone for a viral infection is administering antivirals. The treatment for someone with demons is what?

And, of course, there is no evidence for demons.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 08:48:38

Depends on your definition of demons, Cobra.

bluepen Sun 23-Mar-14 08:49:27

CasualCobra. This sort of post comes up often.

I do think that people in general somewhat have a wrong view of God. Then rant and vent when He doesnt seem to fit the actual picture.

And in this, I blame christians and the church in general.

Christians and the church and general, over about the last 60 years, has chosen to very much sugar coat things.

The true picture, is that God is indeed loving, but peoples' part in it is the obeying.
Throughout the bible and beyond, obeying is crucial.

CasualCobra Sun 23-Mar-14 08:50:01

Capsium: "Re miracles: if you do not recognise the spiritual component all you see is the physical result / manifestation and declare it spontaneous, coincidence, unexplained"

I am sorry, I don't know to what this is a response. In general, having something unexplained means that further research and investigation is needed, not "God did it".

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 08:51:50

And antivirals are not offered for every virus. We do not have them for every virus. We also have an immune system to combat viruses. Stress is said to be bad for the immune system. Reassurance, rest and kindness, good (Godly) things, are said to be good for stress

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 08:53:12

Cobra showing your own cognitive biases there.

CasualCobra Sun 23-Mar-14 08:54:58

Capsium: "Re talking therapies: Jesus did not need many words to heal. No vain repetitions there. He spoke with absolute authority. The evil spirits entering the pigs meant death for them, they couldn't tolerate it, as evil is connected with death, corruption, despair."

So it was magic rather than talking therapy? Talking therapy, to my mind, is not an instantaneous cure.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 08:55:49

But sorry cobra I have re read and realise now it was head who asked a questions about miracles.

headinhands Sun 23-Mar-14 08:57:05

good (Godly) things

You mean good things. Kindness and understanding are not the preserve of the religious.

CasualCobra Sun 23-Mar-14 08:58:33

Capsium: "Re scaffolding: the ancients possessed knowledge (Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge) but not full appreciation of God. It was more difficult to be close to God before The Redemption Christ made available to us. They did not have the Comforter (Holy Spirit) live in the through Faith in Christ. In the OT The Holy Spirit is described as being kept in the Ark of the Covenant and put in the Temple. The priests were the ones to interact with the Holy Spirit, generally, and then they communicated God's messages back to the people."

Word salad. The ancients were able to envisage an invisible deity enough to commit genocide. Why would they not understand invisible microbes that a 4 year can comprehend?

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 08:59:11

Cobra Magic? The correct term is generally thought of as miracle.

I was just making connection with Talking Therapies and the power of the words we speak, as written about in the Bible.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 09:01:12

Cobra Word salad? Well if you had exactly the same understanding and knowledge as me, we would think the same....?

headinhands Sun 23-Mar-14 09:01:22

Reassurance and rest only works with self limiting illness. For the bad boys humans had to develop real working stuff like medicines and operations. I don't think the bible is referred to much in A & E.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 09:02:47

head Good things are not the preserve of the religious but they are Godly.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 09:04:44

head you'd be surprised, I bet many people pray in A & E. Though I am thankful for A&E, they do good work

headinhands Sun 23-Mar-14 09:04:52

You'd have to establish that there even was a god before I could examine it's character.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 09:05:58

head your own personal choice.

CasualCobra Sun 23-Mar-14 09:07:16

capsium: "Cobra everyone has cognitive biases. Some have them in ignorance. Mine are not in ignorance so they are more correctly termed faith"

Looking to equate neural patterns with something you think might be in the bible is classic cognitive bias and increases the chance that a random passage will be spun to fit the pattern you are looking for.

headinhands Sun 23-Mar-14 09:10:35

I bet many people pray in A & E

They might be praying but that's neither here not there. It's the medicines and treatments that save lives. If prayer worked why do we see a clear link between the development of better medical care and survival rates. If prayer worked Afghanistan would boast the the best healthcare in the world.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 09:11:56

Cobra tomato, tomato again. grin

The distinction I am making is I accept them, so am not ignorant of them, and thus call them Faith. As you choose how to exercise your Faith. Whereas if you do not accept and admit cognitive biases, we are talking about ignorance here.

headinhands Sun 23-Mar-14 09:13:40

your own personal choice

Either an interested god exists or he doesn't. I see no evidence so I have no choice. We're entitled to our own opinions but we're not entitled to our own facts.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 09:15:11

head I never said working in the physical sense (medicine, practical help etc) does not work, neither does the Bible. We are physical beings.

We can also be spiritual. I believe the spiritual can affect the physical and is present in all life.

CasualCobra Sun 23-Mar-14 09:16:14

Capsium: "Magic? The correct term is generally thought of as miracle"

I could learn something here. What is the difference between the two?

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 09:16:48

head your own choice to believe only on the presentation if evidence. You will have some cognitive biases though, not to admit them is ignorance IMO.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 09:19:30

Cobra Magic is done to esteem self, miracles to esteem God.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 09:20:22

^^of evidence. Typo.

CasualCobra Sun 23-Mar-14 09:20:53

capsium: "have not shirked the responsibility for that recent tragedy. They are looking into dysfunctions within their whole society for answers."

What tragedy? Has Sweden had some ongoing disaster to grapple with? Do they need to ban stoning of adulterers or beheading of homosexuals?

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 09:23:10

Cobra came from a documentary on Sweden I watched. What one of the leading psychologists (from what I recall) said.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 09:24:48

The tragedy was the recent(ish) shootings.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 09:26:27

Oh just dawned on me you weren't referring to them Cobra actually it may not if been Sweden...sorry, my fault.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 09:27:04

^of. Typo. Again!

CasualCobra Sun 23-Mar-14 09:27:52

Capsium: "Word salad? Well if you had exactly the same understanding and knowledge as me"

So why then can a 4 year old understand the concept of microbes, but it wasn't possible for a goat herder to understand it 2000 years ago, in spite of them being capable of understanding the power of an invisible deity?

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 09:28:51

Sweden has had some difficult things go on in fairly recent past though.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 09:31:51

Cobra the point is in the OT times is was more difficult for a person to know/be close to/understand God than since Christ. The OT reflects this. It is why Salvation and Christ was needed.

bluepen Sun 23-Mar-14 09:45:16

A "fact" can be people's opinions.
Just see how often diet and food "facts" are changed.

headinhands Sun 23-Mar-14 10:37:16

I meant 'fact' in the science, not the layman's way.

headinhands Sun 23-Mar-14 10:39:26

Problems arise when people assume things to be facts. Like you did with Christian suicide and countries with lots of god worshippers.

BigDorrit Sun 23-Mar-14 12:09:13

"A "fact" can be people's opinions"

No. It can't. This is just gibberish.

BigDorrit Sun 23-Mar-14 12:11:00

Yes, Sweden has had a horrible event to deal with, but I don't see where religion comes into this.

The event wasn't religious, and they are dealing with it by helping the people in genuine ways, not by praying for them and hoping something will happen all by itself.

BigDorrit Sun 23-Mar-14 12:13:48

"Magic? The correct term is generally thought of as miracle"

Well, I'd dispute that that is generally thought. But even so, if miracles could be proved there would be no reason not to believe in whatever the person performing them told you was the cause.

Obviously, in modern times it is less easy to fool people because we have witnessed what technology and knowledge can achieve. And because a miracle has never been proved to have happened.

capsium Sun 23-Mar-14 12:13:53

BigDorrit

I think the point is, that in spoken English, the word 'fact' is commonly misused.

If you go with the concept of 'Living Language', this idea evolves into something even more complex. Placing emphasis on language being 'living' claims usage is 'king' and usage evolves, and meanings change, over time...

Yikes! grin

headinhands Sun 23-Mar-14 12:25:40

Wasn't it Norway that had that mass shooting? Unless there's something else? I think Cobra was refuting a claim Blupen made, not making a claim that countries with low religiosity have no crime.

BigDorrit Sun 23-Mar-14 12:26:20