I haven't read every book or evaluated every theory, nor am I a logician or an expert in rhetoric. I drive a tractor-trailer for a living. I am called by my faith to reach out to you. You may feel this is condescension. I assure you, I do not suffer from delusions of grandeur. I'm a simple man.
The anger and hostility many of you see stems from a very small segment of religious people. I've spent my life around Christians so I can only speak to their habits. Some are narrow minded, some are egotistical, some ARE arrogant and condescending. So are some of you. Many are the most selfless people I know, some paid $2,738 and used their own vacation time to travel to Indonesia for two weeks to aid tsunami victims. The truly cynical among you are pointing out the "rampant evangelistic brainwashing" that will occur. I know from experience that it is very difficult to speak about God to a person who hasn't eaten in days, or who is freezing under a bridge, homeless in winter. (Or who has seen their entire family destroyed by a wall of water.) These people are eternally grateful for a cup of broth and are focused on bare survival. Trust me. Your role in an area of suffering is to simply be a caring human being; not a good time for evangelization.
The cynicism I sense in your outlook saddens me. Most of you seem infused with anger. I can't discern whether its a statement I've made or whether it's just a generalized hostility toward believers. I am beginning to agree with some of you however, as to the pointlessness of this discussion but let me close with this.
From my own experiences I can tell you that Christians cherish life.
We cherish the Earth and everything in it as gifts from God. To desire to destroy you or anyone simply because you don't believe what we believe is actually comical to me. Zealots come in all shapes and sizes. Some are even atheists.
[quote author=“Jesus Freak”]our role in an area of suffering is to simply be a caring human being
(An admirable goal in my eyes)
generalized hostility toward believers
(generalized hostility toward believers that buy the goods without carefully thinking over ALL the ramifications)
Christians cherish life. We cherish the Earth and everything in it as gifts from God.
What about ‘dominion theorists’ that believe that we may as well rape and pillage the Earth as the Rapture is eminent.
What about those that will easily give other than their own mother’s sons, volunteers from Appalachia whose whole ecosystem has been destroyed by cutting the top off of mountains and using them as ‘fill’ in the stream beds, to die in a foreign wars unless feckless mass media ‘sees’ an opportunity to create a new American hero such as Jessica Lynch?
A true Christian that buys into the nonsense spouted by American aristocracy will be doomed to hell by Jesus Christ himself for failing to stop a meglomaniac, GW Bush from destroying the values passed down by none other than the Father to respect and cherish all life that was created by the Father.
Jesus Christ never said “kill your enemies” (maybe they have changed the Bible and I am out of touch with the new, the up-to-date, the improved, the properly translated, the never-a-touch ever of corruption or mistake in translation Bible)
And probably if I read every word and contemplate it every day I too will experience an ephiphany similar to the one GW Bush had when he walked with Billy Graham (and made a pact with him to allow Graham son to be the one to bring enlightenment to the mass of Iraqi’s bewitched by the devil.)
I never would of said this but you appear to be a sincere man that does not flinch from reality. How can Christians support a man that sends their sons and daughters off to die in a ‘crusade’. (GW Bush’s words) Oh and this man that never backs down now admits that it was a mistake to taunt the Iraqi Sunni’s, “bring them on” .
A man that respects the individuals that have given their lives for ‘a worthy cause’ does not make a joke out of looking for weapons of mass destruction under a hall table!
I agree with most of your comments regarding the character of Christians. I have overwhelmingly fond memories of my religious background—good people, good times (my wife is a Christian—we both were when we married). As just about everyone else, I’ve seen the “dark side” of belief (and disbelief) as well. These are irrelevant issues to the validity or merits of the associated belief systems (or the rejection thereof) though. They have to be evaluated on their own merits, not those of their followers. We can discuss the psychological impact of beliefs on followers, but again, that’s a different matter.
[quote author=“Jesus Freak”]The cynicism I sense in your outlook saddens me. Most of you seem infused with anger.
I can see some of that (a fair amount in the responses to your first post, actually, for which I tried to offer explanation). But I’m beginning to suspect that it’s merely the iconoclastic nature of our responses—we’re not responding in the way you think we should to what you perceive as a loving message because we don’t see it in just those terms. I try to keep in mind that’s the angle genuine, caring believers are coming from, but that kindness and warmth is tainted by rather extremely presumptuous thinking. So I can appreciate the sentiment while at the same time recognizing it’s pretty reckless and irresponsible.
[quote author=“Jesus Freak”]I can’t discern whether its a statement I’ve made or whether it’s just a generalized hostility toward believers.
I suspect that’s because you’re unable and/or unwilling to consider the actual causes—that we’re right, and your statements and claims lack truth value; that your religious faith is ultimately disingenuous and false. You don’t seem to understand either the basis or the actual nature of our responses, and you probably won’t unless/until you can overcome the compromise to your intellectual intergrity that is faith.
[quote author=“Jesus Freak”]I am beginning to agree with some of you however, as to the pointlessness of this discussion . . .
Until you recognize faith for what it is and remove it from your mind like the intellectual cancer that it is, that’s probably true.
Please note—that’s not meant personally. I get the impression you’re a kind-hearted person . . . probably a hard person not to like. It’s a comment about the nature of faith, not you. I think most people (that most likely means you too) are too good, too honest, and too strong to really allow faith to overwhelm their intellects, but rather their Humanity sets limits, and overcomes faith (which is how we’ve progressed as much as we have with religion kicking and screaming behind like a selfish, unruly child).
[quote author=“Jesus Freak”]Zealots come in all shapes and sizes. Some are even atheists.
Absolutely—couldn’t agree more.
I encourage you to take care and separate harsh comments about ideas (most deserved) from harsh comments about people (ad-hominem, usually uncalled for). If you can do this I think you’ll find it’s the ideas you’re presenting that are being rejected, not you (though all we have of you here are the ideas you’re presenting).
In any case, I don’t think it’s valid to interpret anything beyond some of the initial replies to your first post as personal and hostile. Still, you’re likely right about the pointlessness of “discussing” your religious notions (but you’ve got the problem backwards).
The cynicism I sense in your outlook saddens me. Most of you seem infused with anger. I can’t discern whether its a statement I’ve made or whether it’s just a generalized hostility toward believers.
Don’t tell my you are one of those drivers who used to preach to me on the cb when I was driving OTR. Somehow, I don’t think so, would’nt be your style. Yes, there is some anger. Again, I can only speak for myself on this, and for me, it is not you, but what you represent that angers me. Most anger is fear-based, so what am I afraid of?
Two Supreme Court justices have publicly expressed a belief in creationism. I fear two or three more.
Four Supreme Court justices would vote right now to overturn Roe v Wade. I fear one more.
When asked what the rest of us should do when Bush pays his debt to the christian right, Rev. Kennedy answered: “repent.” I fear he will get his theocracy.
Students in the United States rank among the worst in the world in Science and Math. I fear it will get worse, especially with vouchers going to christian schools where Science is not taught.
I know it is a trite bumper sticker, but it used to grace the bumper of my frieghtliner: The last time your religion ran things, we called it the dark ages. I fear a return.
First you burn books, than you burn people. These things are a matter of history, and judging from recent quotes from your leaders, these things could happen again.
This christmas, you witnessed an outpouring of secular protest over the religious nature of this holiday. Don’t forget that the council of nicea hijacked a secular mid-winter festival and adopted it as the “birthday” of your mythical saviour. WE are taking it back!
The council of nicea made a concious effort, that was continued as the roman church formed, to include as many pagan festivals, and even gods as possible. If you check, you will find dozens of pagan gods are “saints” of the roman church, including Bhudda and others. The early christians were interested in including as many people as possible, in the beginning. The burning of heritics started with the second and third generations.
I have a question for you. It is one I have been wanting to ask a christian for some time. We have found life in almost every conceivable environment here on Earth, from the highest mountain peak to the deepest part of the sea, and almost everywhere in between. The only absolute requirement for life on this planet is the presence of some amount of liquid water during some part of the life cycle of the organism.
Other than this planet, we know of only two other locations in the solar system where water either presently exists, or has existed in the past. They are, or course, Mars and Europa, the second moon of Jupiter. We have yet to find hard evidence of life on Mars, but we may soon. We are starting to mount an expedition to Europa with the object of penetrating the ice crust on the moon, and look for liquid water below, which almost certainly exists due the gravity of Jupiter.
My question is this: What do you feel would be the implications for your faith should evidence of life be found in either of these locations? My read is that finding such life would invalidate, finally, the old testament. What do you think and why?
You wanted to have a discourse, here is your chance.
Interesting comments here, but I have to openly doubt if there can be any bridge between those who seek logic and reason as guideposts for living responsibly in the world and those (freaky or not) who avoid examination of faith and religious dogma lest such scrutiny let the magic wind out of the proverbial bag of tricks. There is more to this subject than “well, some of us are feeling-toned and some of us are into the cogitation tango” but the gulf is wide—I loved the quote about the bumper sticker (paraphrased) The last time religion ruled they called it The Dark Ages. ‘Nuff said.
I noticed that jesusfreak has employed a Karl Rovian tactic of framing those who disagree with him as “angry”, thus negating anything that was written by the presumably “angry” poster. Would that Yahweh’s works in the Old Testament also come under such open and honest scrutiny, because if you want to take a look at one angry fella, check this guy out. Angry! Angry! Angry! At least in the New Testament we don’t see Psycho God until Revelations (the little incident at the Temple re
moneychangers etc. was just high spirits)!
Last add: If religious arguments only exist to defend the unprovable then what is the point of arguing? If someone comes up to me and insists that “Jesus is love” and the “Only Way” I simply tell them that, on a good day, I too am love, but cannot definitively assure anyone of things (afterlifes, etc.) that are beyond my ken. What of it?
“The truth is one, the sages call it by many names.”
“Love is a rose so you better not pick it
It only grows when it’s on the vine”
I read something once which asserted that children associated time spent with them with “love”—that families that had beaucoup bucks often suffered because devotion to money took time away from parents and children. Now, what is love?
Love is attention without fear
Love is contentment without surrender
Love is forgetting distance
Love is irrational
Love is rational
Love is alacrity in the face of banality
Love is responsibility, i.e. My child for all of this life has my heart to hold
Love is disease in the face of empty mechanics
Love is wine
Love is the way you hold my hand, where the abstract touches skin
Love is sex with someone you love
Love is an illusion so strong it became real
Love is a rose and a thorn in the rose
Love invades the perfection of pointlessness and sighs
Love is a meditation
Love is none of these things
“He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in Eterniy’s sunrise”