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A Religion Primer.

(17 Posts)
luisgarcia Fri 07-Dec-12 01:28:54


HolofernesesHead Thu 06-Dec-12 20:48:15

So that's that sorted, then! What shall we do next, now that SGB has taught us everything there is to know about what religion is and how it works?

ethelb Sat 01-Dec-12 13:04:08

are you 17?

zulubump Sat 01-Dec-12 12:58:24

Are you coming back to talk to us SolidGold?

luisgarcia Fri 30-Nov-12 15:18:30

Strobel did not interview any critics of Christian apologetics. For example, he devotes an entire chapter to his interview of Greg Boyd, yet he never interviewed a single member of the Jesus Seminar itself. Likewise, he repeatedly criticizes Michael Martin, author of Case Against Christianity, but he never bothered to get Martin's responses to those attacks. This hardly constitutes impartial reporting on Strobel's part.

newlark Fri 30-Nov-12 13:22:07

To respond to luisgarcia - Strobel interviews a number of respected academics and scholars and encourages his readers to approach the evidence in an impartial way (as if a juror in a court) than to make up their minds based on the evidence. He challenges the academic with the typical questions that an atheist might raise and shows how many of them are based on myths or have sensible explanations. Faith in Jesus is not "blind faith" but is based on the evidence we have - perhaps not as conclusive as some would like - but Jesus said himself that many would reject him.

To CoteDAzur - I've never questioned that Mohammed existed or that he said what he said. Because I am convinced that Jesus is who he claimed to be I want to listen and respond to what he has to say.

niminypiminy Thu 29-Nov-12 22:36:49


That's the kind of thing, OP, I thought was clever when I was an adolescent.

StackOverflow Thu 29-Nov-12 22:17:17

I'm staunchly agnostic on historical Jesus - but then I don't think whether Jesus existed matters, unless he was also divine.

As for keeping the underlings in line, I'm with Emma Goldman:

"Heaven must be an awfully dull place if the poor in spirit live there."


zulubump Thu 29-Nov-12 21:58:20

If we are talking about the life of Christ then most historians agree on his existence and that his baptism and crucifixion took place.

From my understanding of the Gospels Jesus told people they should be helping the undeserving poor, loving their enemies etc. He spent time with people suffering from leprosy, with prostitutes and taxmen. He wasn't about keeping the lower orders in line and he generally made life for the upper orders quite uncomfortable.

StackOverflow Thu 29-Nov-12 21:31:58

newlark even if that were the case, it'd still be a logical fallacy. The truth of any given religion does not logically follow from the historical existence of its founder. The existence of L. Ron Hubbard is undisputed - the veracity of Scientology teachings absolutely isn't. Classical non-sequitur.

There's also the fact that Lee Strobel is an ID proponent - which casts severe doubts on his understanding of what 'evidence' is in the first place.

CoteDAzur Thu 29-Nov-12 21:19:12

newlark - There is ample historical evidence and much better eyewitness accounts for Mohammad. In fact, his eyewitness accounts are incredibly well documented, with names of witnesses, often with several witnesses per quote.

So, why aren't you Muslim? (serious question)

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Thu 29-Nov-12 20:20:22

I recommend Breaking the Spell by Daniel Dennett for an excellently written and researched book on the origins of religion.

luisgarcia Thu 29-Nov-12 16:35:33

Newlark: Can you summarize what you found to be convincing in it please?

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Thu 29-Nov-12 16:02:42

Newlark: No, nor do I need to. It will just be 'Waa, but MY imaginary friend is real because I said so.'

newlark Thu 29-Nov-12 15:40:18

I once had a niggling doubt along those lines and somehow turned to 2 Peter 1:16 "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty."

Shortly afterwards I read "The Case For Christ" by Lee Strobel which presents some of the evidence supporting the historical and eyewitness accounts. Have you read it? Highly recommended.

luisgarcia Thu 29-Nov-12 01:50:31

Do you feel better for getting that off your chest?

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Thu 29-Nov-12 01:46:55

Ie what religion is and how it works.
Ok, initially, religion started because 'Great Big WooWoo Did It' was a convenient explanation for primitive people who were generally too busy finding food and staying alive to investigate stuff like why the sky is blue and how babies happen.
Then, at various points quite early on in the history of human societal development, the following things happened, not necessarily in this order.

Some people came up with a rather pretty allegory about the cycle of life in an agricultural community ie The Imaginary Friend is born, grows up, dies and is reborn - crops grow, are harvested and cut down and then they grow again.

Some unusual events and/or unusual actions of individuals made such good stories that they were passed on, and as they were passed on they got edited and varied and tidied up into neater stories.

Some people worked out that claiming to have an imaginary friend with a big stick and/or a special present for the obedient was a good way of making other people do what they were told. Some other people reckoned that they could come up with an even better imaginary friend with an even bigger stick and/or present.

That's about it. Unfortunately a lot of people are still content to have their thinking done for them, so Great Big WooWoo provides them with a pick and mix bag of excuses for helping the deserving rather than the undeserving poor, stealing territory and resources from those who prefer Great Big BumBum instead, and keeping the lower orders in line with promises of wonderfulness after they're dead ie stuff which the upper orders are not going to have to deliver.

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