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Mia: “Have you even read the Bible?”
Posted: 16 March 2007 06:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 271 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”]

You could start by spending a little less mental and typing energy simply broadcasting the party line, but this may be a long shot for you. Spreading the ‘good news’ is part of your programming, and you automatically proceeded with it just as a paramecium invades its host. It’s part of the paramecium’s nature. It’s in the DNA.

As far as facing down the dominionists: You seem to have no other M.O. than patiently reminding aaeoni that the true purpose of your faith is not to rule as Caesar does. I don’t expect there is much you can do, but I do urge you to recognize clearly what people like her are after.

If I could fully discharge the anger with which my life experience has imbued me in relation to Christians, I would be attempting what you propose, to undertake a real dialog between believers and atheists. I do not feel confident that I can, face to face, calmly tell someone who I think should know better (but for his paramecium programming) that what he offers, and indeed appears to me to live life as, is a kind of infection.

In the end, as long as what you are “about” is “living Christ’s message”, you are speaking a language whose content I take for nonsense a priori, but whose function is infection. A priori, because it has no relation to anything else I know or observe. What dialog is possible then?

I would not engage you so pointedly if I did not see clearly two things about you. One I have already pointed out to you is your attitude toward Judaism which is quite evidently broadly schizoid (though you yourself might have a hard time recognizing this so far). The other is this fear you express that somebody might be trying somehow to deprive you of the exercise of your worshipful practice. You have brought this up so many times now, that it now appears as a fundamental (no pun intended) anxiety in your emotional life. I don’t think you feel that way at home amongst your brethren. You might like to ponder the source of this anxiety a little.

Well, so far you have called me 1) a turd in a punchbowl; 2) a paramecium; 3) a carrier of infection; and 4) broadly schizoid.  If you have any other dehumanizing thoughts, please share them now so I can know what you really think.  As you should know, and as Burt has impliedly observed, when you begin to think of someone as non-human, it is very easy to proceed to the next step of elimination (maybe you already did that with the “turd” comment). 

I’m really not anxious about it, as you are the only one who uses these types of dehumanizing terms.  I came here in part to learn more about atheists, and to see if there is any basis for common ground.  There is an “evil atheist” persona, fostered mainly by Grandmother O’Hair a few decades ago, that has impressed itself upon the American Christian psyche.  I am in the process of shedding that idea, and in the process I am learning how to communicate with non-believers, something that I don’t get much chance to do in my town.  There is a dialectic process going on in my mind, and the synthesis is beginning to form.  I’m sure that the process appears clumsy.  But underneath it there is good will on my part, for what it’s worth.

I would appreciate more information on what you perceive to be broadly schizoid about my view of Judaism, if you care to do so.  If I am a paramecium, at least I want to be a fully integrated one with good mental health - you know, be all that you can be.  Maybe I can evolve rapidly.

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Posted: 16 March 2007 06:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 272 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”]I just can’t resist going with this: If freedom grew from a Christian womb, who was the father.  Must have been a Greek!  Then the kid was brought up by the Masons and launched into adolescence by the American founding fathers.  As for Islam, I wouldn’t worry about it so much Bruce, the only reason it is growing in Europe is because of immigration.  It is a great religion, and actually accepts the idea of the day of judgment presided over by Jesus so from your perspective why worry.  (Note: in general, Islam has been far more tolerant of Jews and Christians than Christians have been of Jews and Muslims.  The current radical fundamentalism we see is a sociological phenomenon: in any culture that feels itself threatened by an economically and militarily more powerful culture the first reaction is a return to fundamentalism.)

I do not share your optimism about Islam.  It has not gone through any form of Reformation yet, and is fundamentally violent.  The Koran, which does not have an ameliorating addenda like the New Testament, provides plenty of fuel for angry young men in any generation.  Furthermore, Islam has never been the predominant religion in a liberal democracy.  If most of the lawmakers are Islamic, will I be able to say “Mohammed is a false prophet” or “the Koran is a lie?”  The producers of South Park won’t even say that as a joke, for crying out loud - and there are only about 2% Muslims. Imagine if Muslims were a majority.

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Posted: 16 March 2007 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 273 ]  
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[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]But underneath it there is good will on my part, for what it’s worth.

I feel like I’m having deja vu and amnesia at the same time.

http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=58622&highlight;=#58622

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Posted: 16 March 2007 06:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 274 ]  
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[quote author=“Joad”]Bruce,

When I speak of the Christian Utopianism, I don’t just mean political influence. I refer to the entire ideology. It is the utopian vision of “turn the other cheek, love they neighbor”, etc.

It is basically a system of restraint rather than one of empowerment. It is unavoidably flawed because it is based on the premise that we are flawed.

It doesn’t try to make us more human. It tries to remove the very things which make us human.

It is doomed to failure because it has no way to solve problems. It states that our problems are inherent and eternal.

The Commandment says “Thou shalt not kill”, but it fails to ask “Why dost thou kill?”.

You cannot find a solution if you do not think there is a problem.

What do you perceive to be our most fundamental problems as human beings?  Is it just the presence of religion?  I realize you don’t agree with the Bible’s view of man’s condition, but if Christianity sees the problem as one of a sinful nature, and offers spiritual rebirth, atonement, forgiveness and a way of living in response, how can you it has no way to solve problems?  I think the Bible gives us a very good explanation of why we kill and do other evil acts.  We all have heart disease and need to be healed.

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Posted: 16 March 2007 06:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 275 ]  
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Imagine if Muslims were a majority.

I don’t have to imagine if Christians were a majority. We had examples in the early 1500’s in Salem, Massachusetts.

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Posted: 16 March 2007 06:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 276 ]  
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[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]What do you perceive to be our most fundamental problems as human beings?  Is it just the presence of religion?  I realize you don’t agree with the Bible’s view of man’s condition, but if Christianity sees the problem as one of a sinful nature, and offers spiritual rebirth, atonement, forgiveness and a way of living in response, how can you it has no way to solve problems?  I think the Bible gives us a very good explanation of why we kill and do other evil acts.  We all have heart disease and need to be healed.

Thanks for trying to tell us what we all need.

I don’t get it, Bruce. (Yeah, you know I don’t.) Sure, Christianity sees it as a matter of man’s sinful nature. Why are you happy to be told this by your god, but when an atheist eliminates the middle man, and notes the fact that you have merely displaced the problem, you find it hard to accept? It’s an honest question, this time.

The Bible does not offer spiritual rebirth. It claims to offer spiritual rebirth, and you insist on talking about things in terms that imply it really does what it promises. There are dozens of people here who testify to the fact that the Bible does not offer them spiritual rebirth. Your claim that your spiritual rebirth is due to Jesus and the Bible is questionable.

What’s wrong with you is that you keep insisting that the only way to the Father is through the Son. That’s enough bullsh1t for the time being.

The fact is, your program is entirely crippled if it does not include the permission to offer that view to everyone else as if it were true for everyone else. That’s what proselytizing is. It sucks.

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Posted: 16 March 2007 07:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 277 ]  
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Thanks for the quote from Daniel Dennett on spiritual thinking hampsteadpete and also for your own thoughts on the subject.  I could feel your emotion in the way you defended the atheist’s expressions of frustration that gets interpreted as anger, perhaps as long as those who believe in a deity read our emotional outbursts they will always see it as anger addressed at them.  What they don’t see is the spiritual aspect of venting our frustration; that it is real, it is deep, and that it is aimed at all theists not for their personalities, but at their collective beliefs.  What we are saying is “How can you do that (believe in a god) and still pretend to maintain your humanity? In our faces, so to speak!”

Bob

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Posted: 16 March 2007 08:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 278 ]  
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Bruce asked:

What do you perceive to be our most fundamental problems as human beings?

That goes to our fundamental disagreement.

I don’t see us as having fundamental problems. I see humans as wonderful beings. You see them as abysmally flawed.

I see Christianity as an attempt to impose NON-HUMAN standards of behavior on us.

We are not gods. We cannot emulate gods without losing our humanity.

What is good for dogs is lousy for cats.

Our job is to be good Humans, not poor imitations of a god.

My all time favorite quote is “Who will save us from the people who are trying to save us?”

Quit saving us. We don’t need it.

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Posted: 23 March 2007 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 279 ]  
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Quit saving us. We don’t need it.

This is a basic problem of Christianity. The fact that God created us the way we are, then punished us for not following the rules. How can you blame your creation for how you made them? The truth is we are not these sinful beings who are lucky to have a God who wants us to find the right path to get to heaven. We are simply beings who are lucky to be alive (for the most part). Yes, of course it’s a fantastic feeling to think a God of the universe loved you so much he sent his only son to die for you, but it doesn’t mean much when he’s fake and the only reason you needed the sacrifice in the first place was because God made you a creature capable of evil.

I don’t think anyone will disagree that there are people alive capable of villainous evil on a grand scale. Stalin comes to mind. But to say that we are all evil natured and need salvation is a dehumanizing mistake. This is one reason atheism is superior to any religion I’ve ever known. I am responsible for my own actions, not the God who created my spirit. And I don’t need salvation from God because I don’t have a sinful nature. I have a human nature.

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